Surprise, surprise: The least-tolerant political side in American colleges isn’t the right.
According to a new poll from Generation Lab and Axios, far more Democratic students wouldn’t date or be friends with someone who voted for the opposing candidate in the presidential election than Republican students. They also wouldn’t patronize their businesses or work for them.
(It’s no surprise that the left has become increasingly intolerant over the last decade, particularly with media rhetoric fomenting the myth of the rise of a uniquely authoritarian right wing in America. We’ve been documenting this myth-making here at The Western Journal — and pointing out the myriad flaws in the narrative. You can help us by subscribing.)
According to the poll, released Wednesday, an overwhelming percentage of college Democrats say they wouldn’t date a Republican — 71 percent. Only 31 percent of Republicans said they wouldn’t date a Democrat.
Forty-one percent of Democratic collegians wouldn’t shop with or support the business of a Republican, compared with only 7 percent of Republicans who said the same thing about Democrats. When it came to friendship, 37 percent of Democrats said they wouldn’t offer that to someone with opposing views, compared to 5 percent of Republicans. Thirty percent of Democrats also said they wouldn’t work for someone who voted for the opposing presidential candidates versus 7 percent of Republicans.
“Partisan divides — as each side inhabits parallel political, cultural and media universes — make a future of discord and distrust in the U.S. all the more likely,” Axios’ Neal Rothschild wrote. “Democrats argue that modern GOP positions, spearheaded by former President Trump — are far outside of the mainstream and polite conversation.”
Women were more likely to behave in a partisan manner than men, with only 41 percent of the women polled saying they would go out with someone who had opposing viewpoints. Sixty-seven percent of men said they would.
If you still aren’t convinced by the numbers, I give you Salon writer Amanda Marcotte. Reacting to conservatives who used the numbers as proof of an intolerant left, Marcotte wrote a piece called, “Young Democrats are right: There is no reason to date or befriend Trump voters.”
Her argument: You can’t be friends with the other side because something something threat to our democracy blah blah Jan. 6, and therefore, Republicans are icky.
“On the right, there was a lot of trumpeting how this supposedly proves the left are the ones who are ‘really’ intolerant. Radio talker Matt Murphy whined that liberals ‘don’t believe in our republic cannot abide people who think differently than them.’ As if not getting to have sex with or go to parties with liberals is exactly the same as having your basic rights as a citizen stripped from you,” she wrote.
“This is about desirability, not ‘tolerance.’ Democrats are desirable as friends and lovers, not just to their fellow party members, but to Republicans, as well. But Republicans? They apparently don’t have much to offer to Democrats as friends, and certainly not as lovers,” she continued.
Marcotte also noted “a Harvard poll from last week shows ‘[m]ore than half of young Americans feel democracy in the country is under threat, and over a third think they may see a second U.S. civil war within their lifetimes.’ This isn’t about a dispute over marginal tax rates. If you — quite correctly — believe that Republicans are plotting to destroy democracy, then why would you want to be friends with people who support that?”
In Marcotte’s reductionist view, this poll was somehow proof of which side was more attractive as human beings — and liberals were the popular kids, while conservatives were creepy losers.
This is laundered through feigned concerns about Jan. 6 and imagined threats to democracy, but Marcotte seems to ably prove the point Matt Murphy “whined” about: She believes Democrats shouldn’t date, befriend or patronize Republicans because of a presupposition the only moral people in this country are on the left.
In her formulation, Republicans somehow seem to know this deep down, which is why they want “to have sex with or go to parties with liberals” — but no, no, a thousand times no! screams Marcotte. The cool kids need to keep the riff-raff out; this isn’t about those marginal tax rates, after all, but preserving our democracy.
A functioning democracy, however, requires sides that are at least willing to talk to one another. Republicans aren’t going to go away, unwilling to befriend them though Democrats may be, and othering the opposing political side as dangerous, anti-democratic reactionaries who ought to be treated like radioactive waste won’t just force Republicans to start behaving like good Democrats would.
The rest of the piece deals with straw men and fallacies — but this is hardly surprising, considering that’s what got us to this point in the first place.
No one on the right is saying, because collegiate liberals refuse to befriend them, it’s like “having your basic rights as a citizen stripped from you,” as Marcotte argues. Rather, we’re saying it augurs poorly for the country when everyone is reduced to their political affiliation and socialization is balkanized thusly. When politics becomes so all-consuming that you can’t even be the acquaintance of someone who cast a vote differently from you, we’ll have a nation full of … well, insufferable people like Amanda Marcotte. Nice work.