This short clip from the author of “Prius or Pickup?” Jonathan Weiler, explains that political parties on the left and the right have stopped defining themselves by the size of government and instead focused in emotional responses to identity politics.
The discussion uses the US system of Democrat vs Republican but it applies to nearly all parties globally. Political parties now energize there voters by vilifying the other side based on their identity:
- immigrant vs multi-generation citizen
- rural vs urban
- blue collar worker vs educated elites
These are wedges that political parties drive between citizens that often do not match the parties stated political mantra.
Emotional issues motivate voters but they are seldom in the best interest of the country and it does not lead to good government. Identity politics leads to division and distrust to the point that we think the ‘other side’ is acting with some dangerous ulterior motive, which is seldom the case.
“If there is one thing normal people can do… its that we can all try harder to understand why we believe the things that we believe and why when somebody else that disagrees with us is not necessarily acting in bad faith. We might think they’re wrong, … but we might at least remind ourselves that for the most part they are not evil bad people, they just have a different way of thinking about reality than we do.”
When you start thinking the ‘other side’ is not worth even talking to, the least you can do is double back on your own position, look at the facts, leave out as much emotion as you can, and think through your own logic. The “my dad is a Ford guy, so I am a Ford guy” is no way to win an argument. Calmly think it through and then see if you still find the ‘other side’ has no right to their position.