A Thanksgiving Fable Debunked: Folks Aren’t Combating About Politics


Dr. Klar stated that her analysis has indicated that this development is pushed partly by the truth that, because the feminist motion’s second wave within the mid-Twentieth century, ladies have grown extra straight engaged in politics — and have change into extra more likely to put a precedence on discovering a husband with whom they agree politically.

The identical factor goes for folks and their kids. On issues of partisanship and political beliefs — together with a measurement that teachers name the “racial resentment scale” — younger individuals are much more more likely to maintain comparable views to their mother and father than they had been within the mid-Nineteen Seventies, and even within the Nineteen Nineties.

Because of this, Dr. Tedin stated, on the Thanksgiving desk, “if there’s a disagreement, virtually anyone within the nuclear household — mother, dad and the children — goes to be on one aspect, and the cousins are going to be on the opposite aspect.”

However largely, they’re more likely to tiptoe round each other. “Polarized politics will increase avoidance inside households,” he stated. “You would possibly assume polarized politics means they’re going to be combating at Thanksgiving, however no — it’s the reverse. Polarized politics will increase the stress to keep away from battle on the vacation.”

The inclination to keep away from battle doesn’t essentially imply that disagreement is inevitable if the dialog does flip to politics. Matthew Levendusky, a professor on the College of Pennsylvania who research political polarization, stated that when these sorts of conflicts do come up, they aren’t essentially more likely to change into hostile. And whether or not onerous or simple, Dr. Levendusky added, these conversations are elementary to the functioning of a democracy — particularly in a time when social media and cable information typically play up every occasion’s most excessive parts.

In 2016, Dr. Levendusky revealed a examine displaying that folks tended to vastly overestimate the variations between the 2 events. “We requested folks the place their place was, and the place they thought the typical Republican and Democratic positions had been,” he stated. “Mainly, they thought the events had been twice as far aside as they’re in actuality, on all kinds of points.”

Now he’s at work on a guide about how folks with differing views would possibly overcome their political animus. Merely speaking to 1 one other, he stated, is crucial to bridging the divide — and it’s typically not as painful as folks anticipate it to be. That’s as a result of most People should not deeply ideological, so political disagreements should not terribly high-stakes for them. In finishing the analysis for the guide, he and his collaborators convened roughly 500 examine individuals from throughout the political spectrum, and invited them to speak about politics.