You Hate Me, You Really Hate Me

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.

A recent paper that was posted online for the first time last week concludes that we just can’t stand each other these days. “Using data from a variety of sources,” say the authors, “we demonstrate that both Republicans and Democrats increasingly dislike, even loathe, their opponents.” And apparently this has little to do with policy positions. It’s more about the relentless tsunami of negative attack ads and partisan media that have consumed American politics over the past couple of decades. 

Sadly, the full paper is gated. However, Claude Fischer offers up a few tidbits:

From the late 1970s through the late 2000s, Americans rated their own political party pretty consistently, at about an average of 70 on the scale. However, Americans rated the other party increasingly coolly, from about a 47 average four decades ago down to about a 35 average these days. This trend portrays a growing animosity toward the other side. Notably, the gulf in party temperatures is now wider than that between whites and blacks and that between Catholics and Protestants.

A pair of surveys asked Americans a more concrete question: in 1960, whether they would be “displeased” if their child married someone outside their political party, and, in 2010, would be “upset” if their child married someone of the other party. In 1960, about 5 percent of Americans expressed a negative reaction to party intermarriage; in 2010, about 40 percent did (Republicans about 50 percent, Democrats about 30 percent).

Wow. I’m a pretty partisan hack, but I really can’t imagine not wanting my daughter to marry a Republican. But who knows? If I actually had a daughter, maybe I’d feel differently.

Still, it’s pretty disturbing. I’d call this the Fox Newsification of America, or perhaps the Limbaugh-ization of America, and increasingly liberals are playing the same game. MSNBC may not be quite the partisan hatefest that Fox is, but it’s certainly moving in that direction. If America were a parliamentary democracy, this might be more tolerable, but in our presidential system it basically just leads to uncompromising gridlock. Not a good sign for the future.

Via Balloon Juice.

DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate