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Approaching the theoretical limits of bothsiderism


This op-ed by a couple of political scientists is really pushing it:

The common view of American politics today is of a clamorous divide between Democrats and Republicans, an unyielding, inevitable clash of harsh partisan polarization.

But that focus obscures another, enormous gulf — the gap between those who follow politics closely and those who don’t. Call it the “attention divide.”

What we found is that most Americans — upward of 80 percent to 85 percent — follow politics casually or not at all. Just 15 percent to 20 percent follow it closely (the people we call “deeply involved”): the group of people who monitor everything from covfefe to the politics of “Cuties.” . . .

There might be an advantage for politicians who focus less on the demands of partisans and more on tangible issues. Yes, hard partisans are more likely to reward ideological victories, but they are also a minority of the electorate.

Each day, partisan Democrats wonder whether that day’s “outrage” will finally change how people feel about President Trump. Partisan Republicans wonder the same thing about Joe Biden. But most “regular” voters are not paying that much attention to the daily onslaught. It turns them off.

And the major scandals that do break through? Well, to many of them, that is “just politics.”

This analysis does have one piece of useful information, in that it helps confirm the Ariana Grande Theory of Politics (a large majority of people pay very little attention to politics and basically know little to nothing about most public policy debates).

But its main point is an academically gussied up form of High Broderism: “If politicians wouldn’t be so ideological, and just adopt moderate sensible positions that most people agree on, everything would be OK.” It’s kind of amazing that academics who study political systems for a living could come to this conclusion about what’s going on in America at present, but the hunger for non-ideological [sic] centrism is apparently insatiable.

Of course the only way this kind of thing can be sustained is by engaging in constant false equivalency of the most extreme kind: It’s true that Democrats are outraged by Donald Trump’s bottomless corruption, but hey Republicans are outraged by exactly the same thing about Joe Biden!

Also too, the prescription that politicians should cater more to the political views of people who can’t be bothered to minimally inform themselves about any political issues is, shall we say, counter-intuitive.

Anyway this kind of thing is going to run rampant after Trump & Co. get wiped out a week from Tuesday, and a basically unlimited number of elites are going to be demanding that things get back to “normal” immediately. (On this note an internet friend relates that tons of Trump administration resumes are currently floating around DC law firms, and are receiving markedly chilly receptions. More “liberal bias” I suppose).

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