This is a book which sheds light on the mysteries of our current politics. “Asymmetric Politics: Group Interest Democrats and Ideological Republicans” from Oxford Press, written by Matt Grossman of Michigan State and David A. Hopkins of Boston College, shows how the two parties are fundamentally different, and have been for a long time. Their messaging to voters, use of media, attitudes towards social science and scientific research, conduct of campaigns, and governing objectives and styles are fundamentally different. These differences explain contradictory behavior we see within each party and among voters.
Asymmetric Parties – the Key Difference:
Here is the key. Republicans value ideological purity, with messaging adopted towards conservative abstract appeals. Smaller government, government incompetence (real or fabricated), lower taxes, conservative social values, constitutional fidelity, nationalistic sentiment and for a portion of the populace and nativism are Republican themes that appeal to broad swaths of the public, even some Democrats.
Democrats, in contrast, value solutions delivering specific policies benefiting specific interest groups in their broad coalition. Civil rights, LGBT rights, women’s rights, labor rights, rights of working class, and environmentalism are key areas of focus for Democrats. Even when policies can be explained in terms of overall liberal objectives such as egalitarianism, Democrats avoid ideology in favor of pragmatic appeals to specific policy results and empirical practicality.
These different approaches, which are asymmetric, manifest themselves in different political messaging and different styles of governing, with Democrats emphasizing a pragmatic approach and Republicans emphasizing adherence to ideological goals. [Read more…] about “Asymmetric Politics – Ideological Republicans and Group Interest Democrats” – A Review of an Astoundingly Perceptive, Evidence-Based Book Shedding Light on our Divided Politics