Watching all the talking heads and pundits and pollsters and analysts and campaign operatives discuss the returns Tuesday night, I was struck by the fact that the most glaring difference between the political parties was never mentioned.
Practically all the discussion of Democratic returns focused exclusively on demographics: how did blacks, whites, old people, young people, Latino people, male people, female people, etc., etc., vote? I suppose that’s because the Democrats are ideologically homogeneous, with virtually no internal disagreement among themselves on major issues.
In stark contrast, most of the discussion of Republican votes noted the differences among conservatives, moderates, religious voters, voters primarily concerned with the economy or terrorism or Iraq.
A viewer who knew nothing of American politics but what he or she saw on TV analyzing these votes would think that the only things that matter to Democrats are one’s race, ethnicity, sex, age, etc., and that Republicans are concerned only with how conservative or moderate or concerned about terrorists or gay marriage one is.
Now that I think about it, that uninformed view is pretty close to the the truth.
Republicans are the party of real diversity and inclusion. Democrats are the party of balkanization.
Update, 2/12/08: This post helps explain why Republicans in general are happier than Democrats.
I’ll propose another explanation: I think it’s likely that happy people are more likely to be Republicans, while unhappy people are more likely to be Democrats, for unhappiness gives one an incentive to seek change, and happiness an incentive to resist it. But the causal link goes in the other direction as well, for Republicans stress freedom and individual responsibility, which lead people to feel in control and take action that changes their lives for the better, while Democrats assign blame to institutions, which makes people feel powerless and discourages them from undertaking ameliorative courses of action.