Why Democrats Are Doomed
March 30, 2010 2:20 PM   Subscribe

 
Yes, clearly.

The article makes a serious mistake when it assumes that taking a bunch of people of differing ages and mapping their political views can give you a lifepath that all voters follow. In fact, voters' political views tend to pretty much get set in their 20s and remain more or less the same throughout their life. Thus, the president that's in the Oval Office while you're in your mid-twenties more or less determines which party you're likely to belong to for most of your life. If he's effective and popular, you're more likely to belong to his party. If he's not, you're not.
posted by EarBucket at 2:27 PM on March 30, 2010 [7 favorites]




Are they really basing this data just off people who have joined OK Cupid?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:29 PM on March 30, 2010 [4 favorites]


sooooo, the blogger is saying older people are more conservative, care more about money than social issues and the Democratic party is doomed because of that? All of which boils down to PARTY PURITY!!!

And his data points are people who use OkCupid?

(eyeroll)
posted by edgeways at 2:30 PM on March 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


The last two grids are particularly foreboding, as they tell me that as a liberal who is attracted to other liberals, i have a much lower chance of finding a romantic match. At least it confirms my own anecdotal observations.
posted by Jon_Evil at 2:32 PM on March 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Thus, they caucus block us.

wat
posted by jquinby at 2:32 PM on March 30, 2010 [4 favorites]


The word "independent" does not appear in this article. Independent voters decide elections. They will not necessarily vote for an idealogue elected by the lockstep consensus of the Republican primary electorate - indeed they might prefer a big-tent Democrat more willing to make compromises.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 2:33 PM on March 30, 2010


Heh. How many times has someone predicted the demise of the donkey? The disparate opinions in the Democratic party are what keep things interesting. Unfortunately, business interests have figured out that a few pieces of silver can buy the "loyalty" of someone who must raise a campaign chest..
posted by Cranberry at 2:36 PM on March 30, 2010


Does he see a trend of people becoming more conservative as they age? Or just that older people tend to be conservative? As the latter means that the GOP will shrink as their voters die off.
posted by mccarty.tim at 2:37 PM on March 30, 2010 [4 favorites]


Is this anything more than a snapshot of the current situation? What good is this as a predictive model?

I think they do better when talking about dating patterns.
posted by emjaybee at 2:37 PM on March 30, 2010


Ah, but allow me to retort. The Republicans are doomed because OMG THEY ARE CRAZY SERIOUSLY GUYS.
posted by norm at 2:38 PM on March 30, 2010 [17 favorites]


Paging Nate Silver, Nate Silver to the white courtesy phone. There's a bullshit poll and we'd like you to analyze it.
posted by immlass at 2:38 PM on March 30, 2010 [9 favorites]


The article makes a serious mistake when it assumes that taking a bunch of people of differing ages and mapping their political views can give you a lifepath that all voters follow.

I agree that this is a bad inference, and it set me off when I encountered it at the beginning of the article. There's some very interesting stuff later on, though, that is logically independent of that early error.

What's really interesting (in the later graphs) is the suggestion that the possibility of party discipline is related to the compactness of the underlying voter population that your party covers.

It's also interesting if this is caused by more-or-less natural life-cycle factors, but it doesn't rely on that analysis.
posted by grobstein at 2:38 PM on March 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


Now, having written what I've just written, here is my rejoinder of why the Republican Party is screwed in the long term.

America is getting less white and less homophobic, that is pretty undeniable, we got a ways to go but it is happening. The GOP rank and file is nearly exclusively white, "christian", anti-gay and usually male. The GOP is openly hostile to gays and, despite tokenism, have some pretty serious racism issues in certain quarters. Unless the GOP purges itself (and using the Tea Party to do so would be tactically great in the long term) they have major long term problems. Yes, a purge would hurt them immensely in the short to medium term, which is why I'm pessimistic it'll ever happen, but it would open the doors for true fiscal conservatives to more readily identify as Republican, and this would bleed off some current Democrats. And that is OK.

I hesitate to call myself a full blown Democrat, but to-date I have never voted for a Republican, and that is mainly because of their social stance. I am pretty liberal fiscally, but can at least appreciate an honest argument about fiscal conservancy. most social conservancy however is just people being fuckwads, and they deserve to be marginalized and made fun of.
posted by edgeways at 2:41 PM on March 30, 2010 [21 favorites]


"I'm not a member of any organized political party, I'm a Democrat" - Will Rogers.

Plus ca change, plus ca meme chose.
posted by Grimgrin at 2:44 PM on March 30, 2010 [3 favorites]


I don't have any fancy graphs or anything, but I've always thought that the democrats failing to agree on anything shows that many democrats are willing to think for themselves and stand on principle. Not all, obviously, but many.

The republicans all seem to pick up a talking point and run to the ends of the earth with it, and then vote that way.
posted by Huck500 at 2:47 PM on March 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


Jon_Evil: "The last two grids are particularly foreboding, as they tell me that as a liberal who is attracted to other liberals, i have a much lower chance of finding a romantic match."

I, as a liberal attracted to other liberals, find it encouraging, because it implies that my slovenliness, my weight problem, my lack of a decent income, and the fact that I am an obnoxious jerk may not the primary causes of my being single.
posted by idiopath at 2:47 PM on March 30, 2010 [4 favorites]


Laughable. Party ID at time of first voting is the most reliable predictor of future voting behavior. Not to mention that OK cupid users are self-selected and not a slice of the voting public at large.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:47 PM on March 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


this stuff with all the graphs lelft me with a raging headache. I like the Democrats. They give me lots of programs with freebies. The other party only gives freebies to their pals who don't need it.
posted by Postroad at 2:48 PM on March 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


There are many highly complicated methods of looking at the political spectrum, but the best way I've come across is to hold social politics and economic politics separate, and measure a person's views on each in terms of permissiveness vs. restrictiveness on a 2-dimensional plane. Like so:

Crazy assumptions.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:48 PM on March 30, 2010


Or:

More evidence that OkCupid's data set is inherently flawed and does not reflect reality in any way whatsoever.
posted by koeselitz at 2:49 PM on March 30, 2010


Doomed. Dooooomed!

D-OOOO-OOOOMED! DOOOOOOOMED!

DOOOOOOOOMED

DOOOOOOOOMED
posted by mwhybark at 2:52 PM on March 30, 2010 [9 favorites]


So, where's the chart that shows people who are socially liberal and fiscally conservative?

Gay marriage? Kick ass. Now pay a marriage penalty on your taxes, like the rest of us married schmucks.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 2:58 PM on March 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Also, can we please stop reposting whenever OkTrends posts some silly bullshit to their blog? It's always stupid. It's never statistically sound. What the hell is the point?
posted by koeselitz at 3:00 PM on March 30, 2010 [10 favorites]


This is interesting, but I'm going to wait and see what Match.com's take on the whole issue is before I come to an conclusions. I might even wait to read eHarmony's analysis.
posted by Joey Michaels at 3:01 PM on March 30, 2010 [5 favorites]


LOL, OK Cupid guy thinks his data is significant to matters of the broader society.
posted by nanojath at 3:07 PM on March 30, 2010


previous oktrends posts: 1, 2, 3

Making this 3 too many. Please stop.
posted by nanojath at 3:08 PM on March 30, 2010


what a fucking mess. who actually reads this?
posted by docpops at 3:15 PM on March 30, 2010


PRETTY GRAFIX MAKE MY SKEWED SAMPLE ALL VALID & STUFF OMG

Seriously, I wish someone with some math/stats skillz would come in here and debunk some of this stuff.

I'm not going to even get into the "vast Mamluk horde" crap.
posted by blucevalo at 3:17 PM on March 30, 2010


A "big tent" may be a problem, but the Republican tent is getting so small that not even a lot of Republicans are allowed in.

If the GOP keeps moving right, demographics will kill them. End of story.

And this essay is a bunch of pop psychology horseshit.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 3:19 PM on March 30, 2010 [4 favorites]


So, where's the chart that shows people who are socially liberal and fiscally conservative?

We don't exist. We're the mixed-race children rejected by both whites and blacks.
posted by three blind mice at 3:20 PM on March 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Why being the "bipartisan" party is stupid

I saw that the other day. Nicely encapsulates why the democratic "Bipartisan" ideal is so fucking stupid.
posted by delmoi at 3:20 PM on March 30, 2010 [1 favorite]



And this essay is a bunch of pop psychology horseshit.


My thoughts exactly.
posted by doctor_negative at 3:22 PM on March 30, 2010


These results could also be explained by something as simple as "Social conservatives get married more often while they're young and stupid." So there's less of them on OKCupid until they get divorced.

I'm not saying this is the case, but it's as plausible as anything they just pulled out of their collective asses.
posted by chundo at 3:26 PM on March 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


koeselitz > Also, can we please stop reposting whenever OkTrends posts some silly bullshit to their blog? It's always stupid. It's never statistically sound. What the hell is the point?

The point is to get the okcupid dot bomb page hits, up their page rank, and generate cash for them. If this was meant to be a serious scientific paper it would be submitted for peer review. It's not. It's a marketing schtick.
posted by bukvich at 3:26 PM on March 30, 2010 [3 favorites]


Right, so why are we helping?
posted by Pope Guilty at 3:29 PM on March 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


That poll tells me that at some point in my lifetime I'll witness an African-American lesbian being sworn in as a GOP representative for the state of Ohio in the US Congress.
posted by jsavimbi at 3:32 PM on March 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Gay marriage? Kick ass. Now pay a marriage penalty on your taxes, like the rest of us married schmucks.

The so-called "marriage penalty" happens to a very small number of people. First and foremost, both members of the couple have to be working. Furthermore, they need to make approximately the same amount. Thirdly, they both have to be making a rather large amount.

A couple consisting of an office manager and a stay-at-home mom will pay less than they would if filing separately. A couple consisting of a school-teacher and a CEO will pay less than they would if filing separately. A couple consisting of 2 Starbucks baristas probably won't see a change.

The "marriage penalty" hits a tiny niche of people who are not exactly hurting for cash, as they're likely to be professionals each making above what the average American household earns. Yeah, it does exist, technically. But geez it gets tiring hearing so many people complain about it as though it automatically hurts everyone. A system designed 50 years ago to lower taxes on a worker when he gets married is still an over-all good, and it still works today whether that worker is male or female.
posted by explosion at 3:34 PM on March 30, 2010 [7 favorites]


Usually OK Cupid blog entries are pretty interesting, but this is particularly stupid.
The article makes a serious mistake when it assumes that taking a bunch of people of differing ages and mapping their political views can give you a lifepath that all voters follow. In fact, voters' political views tend to pretty much get set in their 20s and remain more or less the same throughout their life. Thus, the president that's in the Oval Office while you're in your mid-twenties more or less determines which party you're likely to belong to for most of your life. If he's effective and popular, you're more likely to belong to his party. If he's not, you're not.
Pretty much
nless the GOP purges itself (and using the Tea Party to do so would be tactically great in the long term) they have major long term problems.
Are you kidding? If the republicans dropped the 'baggers, they would go the way of the Whigs and the Bull Moose party. The idea that the republican and democratic party are destined to duke it out for all eternity is absurd. Parties die. They go away. And in particular, the U.S. is only 234 years old. It could easily become a one-party affair, or go multi-party, or whatever.
Seriously, I wish someone with some math/stats skillz would come in here and debunk some of this stuff.
You don't need math to debunk this. It's just dumb. He's looking at data about people at certain ages, and assuming that it's all due to their age, and not when they were born But we know culture changes greatly through the years, while people's opinions don't actually change that much as they get older.

What causes the weird dip in social 'restrictiveness' around age 26? Maybe it just has to do with the people who are more likely to sign up for OKcupid around that age. Or maybe it's a result of all the Abstinence Only education during the bush years. Who knows.
posted by delmoi at 3:36 PM on March 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


The word "independent" does not appear in this article. Independent voters decide elections. They will not necessarily vote for an idealogue elected by the lockstep consensus of the Republican primary electorate - indeed they might prefer a big-tent Democrat more willing to make compromises.

This turns out not to be the case, and it's something we've known pretty well since the 1950s.

In most good surveys, they'll ask people a partisanship question -- do you usually think of yourself as a Democrat, or Republican, or what? Note that this doesn't have anything to do with which party you're registered with. There's a followup that asks whether you think of yourself as a strong or weak partisan.

If you say neither, then the standard followup is "But do you lean closer to one party or the other?"

And it turns out that independents who lean Democratic are pretty much behaviorally identical to weak Democrats, and independents who lean Republican are functionally identical to weak Republicans. I don't follow the research here, but IIRC one of the few differences between weak partisans and independent leaners is that leaners are, if anything, more likely to vote for "their" party's presidential candidate than weak partisans.

The people who are left, the pure independents and apoliticals, don't decide elections. They're disproportionately drooling morons; the sorts of know-nothing dumbfucks who couldn't decide between Obama and McCain in October and they disproportionately don't vote.

So as it turns out, independents don't decide elections. Partisans do. But in the modern US, there are three degrees of partisanship -- strong partisans, weak partisans, and leaners. Why some weak partisans call themselves that and other weak partisans call themselves ``independents'' is interesting but I can't remember the research on that.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 3:43 PM on March 30, 2010 [8 favorites]


According to this claptrap, I should, as you read this, be crossing over from Republicanism to Authoritarianism.

Either this is total bullshit or I am woefully out of step with my agegroup.
posted by Danf at 3:47 PM on March 30, 2010


Any analysis based on the Nolan Chart is going to be shitty because the Nolan chart is built around assumptions about politics that feed into a right-libertarian frame. If you do not believe that laissez-fair capitalism is "freedom", your positions become unmappable; you end up favoring "less economic freedom" regardless of whether your economics are liberation-minded or not. On the Nolan chart, Maoism and Anarcho-syndicalism are identical. And that's part of why the Nolan chart exists- to make it look like "freedom" is something that only Libertarians really value. If you're using it and you aren't an Ayn Rand/Robert Nozick fan, you're been suckered.
posted by Pope Guilty at 3:54 PM on March 30, 2010 [11 favorites]


Oh! Oh! Now tell us how the RNC reimbursing staffers for nearly $2000 of expenses for one night at a strip club is a death-blow for Democrats.
posted by odinsdream at 3:55 PM on March 30, 2010


I shot an arrow into the Net,
Like Cupid's arrow, blindly met;
It struck a random note so tragic,
Claims completely free of logic.

I wailed a song into the Web,
Elegiac for Dems and Libs;
For who can dodge my arrows long?
Oh, weep, to hear sad Cupid's song!

Not long afterward, on a blog,
The song was scorned and arrow mocked,
Which I had pulled out of my ass.
Oh, whither zombie Democrats?
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:57 PM on March 30, 2010 [4 favorites]


This is great news for future President Bristol Palin.
posted by sallybrown at 4:01 PM on March 30, 2010


koeselitz: "Also, can we please stop reposting whenever OkTrends posts some silly bullshit to their blog? It's always stupid. It's never statistically sound. What the hell is the point?"

please ignore this, thanks
posted by rebent at 4:01 PM on March 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


Thus, they caucus block us.

There's not a doubt in my mind that the whole post was an excuse to use this sentence.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 4:09 PM on March 30, 2010 [8 favorites]


The American two-party system creates an interesting mathematical situation: we can bisect our political plane and see which party more closely reflects a given age group's ideology simply by asking which side of the line the group lands on. People sitting in the upper right half should vote, in theory, for Democrats. People in the lower left, for Republicans.

Nice try, but this seems so overly eager; I see no reason why the division between two parties should appear as a line through the origin, rather than as a curve, or a coastline, or as some number of closed curves. Do we really carve up our metaphysical spaces so optimally?
posted by kid ichorous at 4:09 PM on March 30, 2010


Plus ca change, plus ca meme chose.

To nitpick, it's "plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose" which I believe is French for "you can't change the meme you've got".
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 4:16 PM on March 30, 2010 [3 favorites]


its nice to see some actual data behind the social vs. economic political map that was merely asserted by James Q. Wilson in American Government back in high school. Even though okcupid is a dating site, it is a big one---they should have the entire political spectrum pretty much covered.

I like the two polygons that show the span of democratic and republican views of economic vs. social government roles---the republicans on okcupid have nice narrow consensus.

I think its a deceptively simple yet appealling idea that government could or should have a well-defined, concisely describable purpose; and a naive desire for this kind of simplicity really helps the republicans avoid addressing any of the messy details in good governance.

Take "Deregulation":what a great idea! ...that has caused so much damage, loss, and suffering.
posted by dongolier at 4:18 PM on March 30, 2010


So, what can I really take away from this data?

Don't date people on OK Cupid over 55, they're probably boring in bed.

But if you want a cougar around 40, Ok Cupid seems to have a stable of "socially permissinve" freaky deaky subscribers.
posted by Muddler at 4:20 PM on March 30, 2010


The only numbers that matter are employment. Stemming the tide isn't enough, there needs to be solid job growth by October, or the Dems are sunk. Provided tea-partiers don't toss monkey wrenches into their local GOP political machines and split the vote, and toss aside name-brand Republicans for teabagger loonies in tight races.
posted by Slap*Happy at 4:23 PM on March 30, 2010


Oh! Oh! Now tell us how the RNC reimbursing staffers for nearly $2000 of expenses for one night at a strip club is a death-blow for Democrats.

I'd like to propose that we refer to this scandal as Lesbian Bondage Orgy-gate.
posted by EarBucket at 4:29 PM on March 30, 2010


Thus, the president that's in the Oval Office while you're in your mid-twenties more or less determines which party you're likely to belong to for most of your life. If he's effective and popular, you're more likely to belong to his party. If he's not, you're not.

Really? My mid-twenties featured Ronald Reagan who was popular and considered effective at the time, and I can't say I've ever even considered becoming a Republican.
posted by telstar at 4:39 PM on March 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


The so-called "marriage penalty" happens to a very small number of people. First and foremost, both members of the couple have to be working. Furthermore, they need to make approximately the same amount. Thirdly, they both have to be making a rather large amount.

I suspect it may therefore have a disparate impact on gay married couples, as (1) and (2) are presumably more common for gay people in relationships. That said, I'm willing to live with that, and am getting married in June after being "married" for 20 years. Woohoo!
posted by me & my monkey at 4:39 PM on March 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


My mid-twenties featured Ronald Reagan who was popular and considered effective at the time, and I can't say I've ever even considered becoming a Republican.

Yeah, I think that worked as an inoculation against the Republican party for me.
posted by me & my monkey at 4:40 PM on March 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


America is getting less white and less homophobic, that is pretty undeniable, we got a ways to go but it is happening.

Less white: The United States will be minority-majority by around 2042. There were 36 black delegates at the 2008 Republican National Convention--"fewer than 2% of the total."

There were massive protests against immigration reform in 2006. Will Rising Nativism Doom Immigration Reform?
Since Obama's election, the Republican Party has become more anti-immigrant, making the sort of bipartisan movement on immigration reform we saw in 2006 unlikely. Membership in the dubiously named House Immigration Reform Caucus, a nativist coalition whose initiatives have included an outright ban on all immigration -- legal and illegal -- has increased dramatically since the 2006 protests; for years it had membership in the teens, but it now includes 110 members. Republicans who once supported comprehensive immigration reform no longer do. For example, McCain's 2005 plan would have granted undocumented immigrants amnesty, but the senator has since backed down from the measure.
Less homophobic:
One of my daughters was in the workplace one day, and, in her particular workplace at that moment in time, there were a whole bunch of conservative, older men. And those guys were talking about gay marriage—they were talking about discussions going on across the country—and my daughter Kate, after listening to it for about 20 minutes, said to them: "You guys don't understand. You've already lost. My generation doesn't care."
-- Iowa Senate Majority leader Mike Gronstal
posted by kirkaracha at 4:41 PM on March 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Does he see a trend of people becoming more conservative as they age? Or just that older people tend to be conservative? As the latter means that the GOP will shrink as their voters die off.

"If a man is not a socialist by the time he's 20, he has no heart. If he's still a socialist when he's 40, he has no mind."

-unattributed
posted by uncanny hengeman at 5:20 PM on March 30, 2010


Really? My mid-twenties featured Ronald Reagan who was popular and considered effective at the time, and I can't say I've ever even considered becoming a Republican.
posted by telstar


Also my precise experience.
posted by Ron Thanagar at 5:22 PM on March 30, 2010


the RNC reimbursing staffers for nearly $2000 of expenses for one night at a strip club

Ugh. I'm generally on-board for a good poking-Republicans-with-a-stick but I loathe the coverage this has gotten. It's the sort of distortion that makes the news so untrustworthy.

Voyeur (the club in question) is easy walking distance from my place. It is not a "strip club" in the sense that people use the term. It's a nightclub with an erotic flavor to it. You don't go there to throw dollar bills at strippers or get a nasty lapdance in the back, you go to drink overpriced cocktails while rubbing elbows with the glitterati while the doorman keeps the riffraff out. It's full of the rich, famous, and beautiful.

Should the RNC be spending their money there? I dunno. Probably not. But it's a completely different sort of hypocrisy than that implied by all the news reports that the RNC dropped $2000 at a strip club.
posted by Justinian at 5:31 PM on March 30, 2010


(It's understandable, of course. "RNC drops $2000 for skeevy lapdances" is more salable than "RNC spends time drinking overpriced champagne and martinis among other rich people".)
posted by Justinian at 5:33 PM on March 30, 2010


To follow up with kirkaracha's point - one of the major flaws that immediately jumps out at me is a lack of accounting for the cohort effect. Opinions on civil rights, for a great example, while now is associated with a particular party, is something that is most strongly correlated with what cohort or generation you belong to. Folks who are currently turning into old geezers are markedly less racist than the cohort before them - then entire range the political discourse has shifted dramatically to "permissive" (to use the original authors terms).

Republicans are failing to attract reasonable young people in large swaths of the country - and that is a fatal ailment to a national political party. I mean, do you know any young republican's who's opinions you respect?
posted by zenon at 5:37 PM on March 30, 2010


Laughable. Party ID at time of first voting is the most reliable predictor of future voting behavior. Not to mention that OK cupid users are self-selected and not a slice of the voting public at large.

This may be true for the individual, but not necessarily for the population as a whole. The idea that young people are more liberal than old people is older than dirt. To reiterate uncanny hengeman and intentionally misquote Churchill:

Any man who is under 30, and is not a liberal, has not heart; and any man who is over 30, and is not a conservative, has no brains. - Sir Winston Churchill

The second point is valid, and is inherent to any OKCupid poll. On that note.

Also, can we please stop reposting whenever OkTrends posts some silly bullshit to their blog? It's always stupid. It's never statistically sound. What the hell is the point?


Criticizing OKCupid polls for not being statistically rigorous is like criticizing Mythbusters for not being scientifically rigorous. Its entertainment that also happens to be informative. I enjoy it. Other people enjoy it. And you know what? So long as I can trust that OKCupid has no real objective in analyzing their data other than some entertaining navelgazing, its a damn sight better than a large number of polling organizations out there. No OKCupid "poll" will ever be proof of an idea any more than any Mythbusters "experiment" would be. But both are a good indication in my book. Because I don't read statistically/scientifically sound publications in my spare time.
posted by Bobicus at 5:48 PM on March 30, 2010




I get that you were intentional about it, I just love how it's backwards in his specific case.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 6:08 PM on March 30, 2010


Plus ca change, plus ca meme chose.

We speak American around these parts, you dirty liberal cheese sniffer!
posted by Pollomacho at 6:16 PM on March 30, 2010


Bobicus, a robot made out of meat,

I remember reading a discussion [internet site] where the author clearly came to the conclusion that the quote is mistakenly attributed to Winston Churchill. I'll see if I can find it.

The site author found at least one pre-Churchill version. Two fathers were talking about their socialist-leaning sons and how it's just a phase and it went something like "...and if he's still a socialist at 30 then I'll jolly well shake it out of him!"
posted by uncanny hengeman at 6:21 PM on March 30, 2010


The wiki (cites someone who) attributes François Guizot.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 6:41 PM on March 30, 2010


I just can't understand how anyone can support either of these parties...
posted by toekneebullard at 7:51 PM on March 30, 2010


Well, if a 16 year-old and a dating website tell me that the Democratic Party is doomed, I guess I should take them at their word!
posted by octobersurprise at 8:02 PM on March 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Any man who is under 30, and is not a liberal, has not heart; and any man who is over 30, and is not a conservative, has no brains. - Sir Winston Churchill

I want to go on record as saying this quote is stupid. Stupid like all aphorisms.

Any human who is under 30 who does not apply critical thinking to their life and society is a damned fool, and any human over 30 who does not apply critical thinking to their life and society is the worst type of fool there is.
posted by fuq at 8:07 PM on March 30, 2010 [7 favorites]


Liberalism is not idealism, and conservatism is not realism; if anything, the past fifty years of political history, both in the US and UK, should demonstrate that conservatism is a political philosophy which is utterly disconnected from reality.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:13 PM on March 30, 2010 [5 favorites]


Well, if a 16 year-old and a dating website tell me that the Democratic Party is doomed, I guess I should take them at their word!

Jabs at my age are always welcome, thanks!
posted by kylej at 8:22 PM on March 30, 2010


Thus, the president that's in the Oval Office while you're in your mid-twenties more or less determines which party you're likely to belong to for most of your life.

Except when it doesn't.

Reagan and Bush I were the Presidents throughout my 20's. Everyone surrounding me LOVED, LOVED, LOVED them.

I'm a Democrat.
posted by jeanmari at 8:26 PM on March 30, 2010


Yeah, but Reagan was the anti-Christ, so I think there's a bit of leeway there.
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:16 PM on March 30, 2010


I just can't understand how anyone can support either of these parties...

When the United States was founded, only white men who owned property had any rights to speak of, despite the great and noble sentiments in our founding documents. Black people were property; white women didn't have it that much better.

The story of America is the slow, slow, slow delivery on the promises the country is based on. Since the mid-1940s the Democratic Party has done more to help that delivery along than the Republicans have.

Harry S. Truman integrated the armed forces. LBJ signed the 1964 Civil Rights Act that "lost the South for a generation" and named the first black Cabinet member. Democratic presidents named the first women to be Secretary of State and Attorney General. Geraldine Ferraro, the first female Vice Presidential candidate representing a major American political party, was a Democrat. Hillary Clinton was the first serious female presidential candidate for a major American political party. The Democrats nominated--and elected--the first black president of the United States.

Bless their hearts, they're the most disorganized grabasstic party there is, but from time to time they do the right thing.
posted by kirkaracha at 9:31 PM on March 30, 2010 [4 favorites]


This may be true for the individual, but not necessarily for the population as a whole. The idea that young people are more liberal than old people is older than dirt. To reiterate uncanny hengeman and intentionally misquote Churchill:
That's because PEOPLE KEEP GETTING MORE LIBERAL. Someone born in 1990 is going to be WAAAAAAAAY more liberal then someone born in 1870!
Jabs at my age are always welcome, thanks!
Get off our LAAAWN! *shakes fist*

(I'm kidding!)
posted by delmoi at 9:44 PM on March 30, 2010


Jabs at my age are always welcome, thanks!

I thought that you'd be done with your vaccinations by age 16. And I don't mean to tell you what to do, Bub, but I really have to recommend you get your jabs from a licensed health care worker, not just random schmoes on the internet. EVEN AT A MEETUP.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:01 PM on March 30, 2010


God, this is like the poli-sci version of those stupid evo-psych just so articles that crop up regularly.
posted by klangklangston at 10:06 PM on March 30, 2010


You go to war with the meme have, not the meme chose.
posted by box at 6:12 AM on March 31, 2010


I just can't understand how anyone can support either of these parties...

I'm doing it just to annoy you.

Is it working?
posted by grubi at 6:25 AM on March 31, 2010


Thus, the president that's in the Oval Office while you're in your mid-twenties more or less determines which party you're likely to belong to for most of your life.

Except when it doesn't.


So you're saying there are exceptions to trends? HOLY SHIT IS THAT PROFOUND! I need to say it again!

"SOMETIMES THERE ARE EXCEPTIONS TO TRENDS!"

You do realize that information like that does NOT invalidate the trend, right?
posted by grubi at 6:28 AM on March 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


The Democratic Party is doomed because of a 30-year rightward shift in US politics that shows no signs of slowing. If Obama were in Congress in 1980 he would have been a Reagan Republican. Now he's considered a liberal (and even - for god's sake - a socialist). It says a lot when a center-right politician like Obama is the most "liberal" person with any reasonable chance of holding public office in the US today. I fully expect that within the next 20 years the Democratic Party will cease to be a major national party. They'll still have influence in some state and municipal governments, and a few seats in Congress, but the Republicans will have everything else firmly in their grip.
posted by Rarebit Fiend at 6:55 AM on March 31, 2010 [2 favorites]


If Obama were in Congress in 1980 he would have been a Reagan Republican.

No, he wouldn't have been, really. There were many shades between Reagan Republicanism and traditional liberalism at that time. Obama probably would've been regarded as an Atari Democrat.
posted by octobersurprise at 7:58 AM on March 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


The Democratic Party is doomed because of a 30-year rightward shift in US politics that shows no signs of slowing.

True, except for the signs that it is slowing and the clear signs of the disentigration of the heretofore rock solid opposition bloc known as the GOP. Also, Obama would still have been a Centerist Democrat rather than a Reagan Republican. Reagan was a HUGE shift to the right in 1980. Compared to the domestic policy of Nixon in action, you might say he was more conservative, but that was a time when the pendulum was at the other extreme. Reagan was more of a pendulum jump than a swing. It was more like a Kucinich winning the White House in 2008 type shift. Clinton on the other hand wasn't a huge swing from Bush I.

Obama is an actual shift left from Bush II. For the first time in years the Federal government is slowly starting to be run by actual Federal employees, a major shift from Reaganomics and the years that have followed. Obama's still popular despite a rough first year and a hardline effort by his opponents. Healthcare (although watered down and not at all socialistic) actually passed despite a no-holds-barred effort by the right. The GOP has begun to feed on itself and we're likely to see more ugly fights between rightists to come and Democrats winning seats with 40% of the vote against a Republican and a Teabagger splitting the other 60.

Until now the Republicans' biggest strength was their resolve and willingness to march in lockstep and that is gone. Because the GOP already played their wedge issue ideologue cards in the 90's they've already drawn the support they could previously count on for those votes, now all they've got is their mystique and that is eroding faster than Sarah Palin's make-up in a Wasilla rain storm.

I expect more "shocking revelations" about "secretly" gay republicans and bondage parties as they start to backstab each other as a sort of bloodless house-cleaning takes place. John Boehner look like he's gonna get a little big for his britches? Phonecall from "The Hammer" Delay: "John, remember that night in Saipan with you, me, Dick [Armey], Jack [Abramoff], a kilo of blue flake, and those Chinese teenagers rounded up from the Gap sweatshop? I sure as hell do. I even have the expense report in a sfety deposit box where you charged the flight to your district! I just can't EVER FORGET good times like that John."

Thus, the president that's in the Oval Office while you're in your mid-twenties more or less determines which party you're likely to belong to for most of your life. If he's effective and popular, you're more likely to belong to his party. If he's not, you're not.

This is a nice theory, but in practice most voters now label themselves "independent" and we have yet to have an independent president.
posted by Pollomacho at 8:24 AM on March 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


Rarebit Fiend Except, of course, that what you said about America inexorably moving to the right simply isn't true.

No denying that our parties are doing so, but I think we're due for a fairly major realignment soonish. The population is actually more liberal than it once was. The war in Iraq has never, not since Bush first proposed it, had the support of a majority of Americans. Support for gay rights, women's rights, etc are all up. Hell, if you only counted the votes of people under the age of 30 Obama would have won virtually every state in 2008.

The problem, and the appearance of a rightward rushing America, is largely due to the fact that a) our system of government is deliberately and intentionally not truly representative and is rather geared to give more political power to the low population rural states, and b) since once a person gets elected they tend to stay in office forever, we've seen Congress become a geriatrics society. The average age in the Senate is 60.4 years. In the House it's 55.

Term limits might be nice, but I think what we really need is a mandatory retirement age for Congress.
posted by sotonohito at 8:34 AM on March 31, 2010


The war in Iraq has never, not since Bush first proposed it, had the support of a majority of Americans.

A substantial majority of Americans supported the Iraq War in Washington Post/ABC News polls in March 2003 (71%) and April 2003 (77%). This was probably partly due to the rallying around the flag that's common at the beginning of wars, before things start to go bad.

The war's been unpopular for years because it's dragged on so long, but if we'd been in and out in a year it would likely have been a popular war, despite the reasons for starting it being lies.
posted by kirkaracha at 9:13 AM on March 31, 2010


Rarebit Fiend: “The Democratic Party is doomed because of a 30-year rightward shift in US politics that shows no signs of slowing. If Obama were in Congress in 1980 he would have been a Reagan Republican. Now he's considered a liberal (and even - for god's sake - a socialist). It says a lot when a center-right politician like Obama is the most "liberal" person with any reasonable chance of holding public office in the US today. I fully expect that within the next 20 years the Democratic Party will cease to be a major national party. They'll still have influence in some state and municipal governments, and a few seats in Congress, but the Republicans will have everything else firmly in their grip.”

Seriously? You really believe that a few nasty Republicans have managed to halt five hundred years of liberalization in the western hemisphere, turning back the heretofore inexorable tide of progressivism entirely, simply by shaking a few pastors' hands and encouraging people to latch onto the tea bag as a symbol of victimhood?

The only way I could see to believe that would be to forget history entirely. Reagan said things casually in 1980 that didn't earn a second glance which would (rightly) be seen as highly offensive by some of the most conservative of Republicans. For example, I remember seeing some old footage of a Reagan speech in which he waxed poetic about a time when "we didn't have to be ashamed to be white," when being a white person was seen as "a gift." Find me a Republican who wouldn't do a spit-take hearing that today - seriously. And 'welfare queens'? No Republican could get away with that now, no matter how popular.

The right may seem particularly silly these days, flamboyantly so. But don't let that distract you from two monumental facts: first, polls show that Americans are overwhelmingly willing to vote liberally today; and second, the western nations have been liberalizing for hundreds of years, and this trend shows no sign of stopping. Just because it's not the 60s anymore doesn't mean this isn't still true.
posted by koeselitz at 9:34 AM on March 31, 2010


Frank Rich:
Demographics are avatars of a change bigger than any bill contemplated by Obama or Congress. The week before the health care vote, The Times reported that births to Asian, black and Hispanic women accounted for 48 percent of all births in America in the 12 months ending in July 2008. By 2012, the next presidential election year, non-Hispanic white births will be in the minority. The Tea Party movement is virtually all white. The Republicans haven’t had a single African-American in the Senate or the House since 2003 and have had only three in total since 1935.
(emphasis added)
posted by kirkaracha at 10:05 AM on March 31, 2010


You really believe that a few nasty Republicans have managed to halt five hundred years of liberalization in the western hemisphere, turning back the heretofore inexorable tide of progressivism entirely, simply by shaking a few pastors' hands and encouraging people to latch onto the tea bag as a symbol of victimhood?

Most of the West has continued on its liberalization, but the US constitutes a pocket in which that trend is on the reverse. Let me analogize to thermodynamics: just because closed systems (like the universe) trend toward entropy doesn't mean that certain areas within those systems (like the Earth) have to have ever-increasing entropy. The existence of a general liberalization does not mean that every country will liberalize at the same rate, nor that some nations can't move in the other direction.
posted by Pope Guilty at 2:10 PM on March 31, 2010


Most of the West has continued on its liberalization, but the US constitutes a pocket in which that trend is on the reverse.

I really don't see where you're coming from on this one. Most people in this thread seem to believe that America is showing increasing signs of liberalization, and that the Republican party is on its way to self destruction, myself included. Would you care to elaborate?

Let me analogize to thermodynamics: just because closed systems (like the universe) trend toward entropy doesn't mean that certain areas within those systems (like the Earth) have to have ever-increasing entropy. The existence of a general liberalization does not mean that every country will liberalize at the same rate, nor that some nations can't move in the other direction.


I like this analogy. I think it could stand a bit of extension. How much then the rarer for an extremely large object (4-5% of the earth's population) to violate entropy. Either then this entropy is a very weak principle (objects will probably move towards more entropic states, but most of the time it just looks like a random walk) or entropy is strong, but the forces acting externally upon the US are also strong.

The random walk theory, I think, has little merit. The achievements of progressivism are far too long lasting to exist under a nation whose liberalism is constantly shifting. And we even have the OKCupid polls to bear us out! The trend on social liberalism is a clearly defined, negative, linear slope, not some disordered mess. This suggests that individual people (on OKCupid, fine, but I think it's a good enough sample) are fairly consistent about their own degree of liberalization. Of course, this does not entail the same in the population as a whole, but it does make it far less likely.

We are left with the strong external force theory. This implies the existence of strong, conservatism-inducing external forces. That this is valid theory is almost beyond doubt; witness the Republican chokehold on American politics after 9/11. So then what are these forces today? I cannot see them, and so your bald assertion that American politics are descending into conservatism seems all the more strange.
posted by Bobicus at 3:27 PM on March 31, 2010


How much then the rarer for an extremely large object (4-5% of the earth's population) to violate entropy.

The point is that since the US is not the entire system, it is able to move backward without falsifying the larger trend.
posted by Pope Guilty at 3:42 PM on March 31, 2010


Right. And my response was that in order for that to happen, if one continues with your analogy, some powerful (and presumably visible) external forces had to be acting on the US and pushing it to conservatism. And that I couldn't see them.
posted by Bobicus at 5:39 PM on March 31, 2010


The Democratic Party is doomed because of a 30-year rightward shift in US politics that shows no signs of slowing.

All y'all better hope like hell that for the sake of your children, the pendulum starts swinging back the other way. Because otherwise, your kids and especially their kids, are gonna be fucked.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:24 PM on March 31, 2010


All y'all better hope like hell that for the sake of your children, the pendulum starts swinging back the other way. Because otherwise, your kids and especially their kids, are gonna be fucked.

You know why the Teabaggers and white supremicists are so vocal and virulent right now? Because they see the writing on the wall.
posted by Pollomacho at 12:42 PM on April 1, 2010


If only they could read.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 1:16 PM on April 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


Hey, give Hooked on Phonics a chance. Teabaggers aren't stupid, they're just ignorant and ill-educated!
posted by five fresh fish at 3:51 PM on April 1, 2010


The Democratic Party is doomed because Democrats like feeling doomed.
posted by klangklangston at 3:55 PM on April 1, 2010


This is also the reason for doom metal.
posted by box at 7:30 PM on April 1, 2010


I feel like OKCupid's been a little slow to get me a date. If I extrapolate this, can I say that they're doomed?
posted by mccarty.tim at 11:53 AM on April 6, 2010


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