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Linz's New Book
Who Should Be the Republican Nominee?
Total votes: 5
What Makes People Vote Republican?
Submitted by William Scott Scherk on Wed, 2008-09-17 21:11
Here's a snippet and a link to an essay from Edge, by Jonathan Haidt, author of The Happiness Hypothesis. It is a provocative piece that aims to advise Democrats who "don't get it" -- who mistake the electorate's motives and self-interest (there is also a followup by Michael Shermer well worth the read).
Diagnosis is a pleasure. It is a thrill to solve a mystery from scattered clues, and it is empowering to know what makes others tick. In the psychological community, where almost all of us are politically liberal, our diagnosis of conservatism gives us the additional pleasure of shared righteous anger. We can explain how Republicans exploit frames, phrases, and fears to trick Americans into supporting policies (such as the "war on terror" and repeal of the "death tax") that damage the national interest for partisan advantage.
But with pleasure comes seduction, and with righteous pleasure comes seduction wearing a halo. Our diagnosis explains away Republican successes while convincing us and our fellow liberals that we hold the moral high ground. Our diagnosis tells us that we have nothing to learn from other ideologies, and it blinds us to what I think is one of the main reasons that so many Americans voted Republican over the last 30 years: they honestly prefer the Republican vision of a moral order to the one offered by Democrats. To see what Democrats have been missing, it helps to take off the halo, step back for a moment, and think about what morality really is.
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