New Year’s is approaching, and one resolution will help our democracy: Make a friend with opposing political views and be kinder to people you disagree with politically.
Liberal women, this especially means you, given new research from media company Axios showing just how intolerant young leftists, particularly females, are compared with conservatives.
Axios, working with the Generation Lab, found just 5 percent of Republican college students said they wouldn’t befriend someone from the opposite party — vs. 37 percent of Democrats.
It also determined 30 percent of Democrats and 7 percent of Republicans wouldn’t work for someone who voted differently from them, while 71 percent of Democrats but only 31 percent of Republicans wouldn’t date someone with opposing views.
Researchers found college-age women more likely than men to take strong partisan stances, with 76 percent of women — and 86 percent of men — saying they’d work for someone who voted for the opposing candidate. Axios reported just 68 percent of women, as opposed to 84 percent of men, would shop at or support the business of someone from the other party.
This new research is sad but not surprising, given how liberal our college campuses are. A 2016 Econ Journal Watch study examining voter registration of economics, history, journalism, law, and psychology faculty at 40 leading universities, for example, found Democrats outnumber Republicans nearly 12 to 1.
The study, conducted by Brooklyn College business professor Mitchell Langbert, George Mason University economist Daniel B. Klein and FICO economist Anthony J. Quain, noted the liberal ratio among faculty under age 36 was 23 to 1.
Samuel Abrams, a Sarah Lawrence College politics professor, found similar trends in his 2018 survey of 900 university administrators (people who manage professors and campuses). He reported, “Only 6 percent of campus administrators identified as conservative to some degree, while 71 percent classified themselves as liberal or very liberal.”
This year, student newspaper The Harvard Crimson surveyed 236 arts and sciences faculty members, and a mere 3 percent described themselves as “somewhat” or “very conservative,” versus 76 percent who identified as “somewhat” or “very liberal.” That’s a ratio of 25 to 1.
“While the University has made a concerted effort across the past decade to promote gender and racial diversity among its faculty, Harvard has not made any explicit attempts to bolster representation from across the ideological spectrum,” the paper’s Natalie Kahn wrote in April.
The left frightfully claims our democracy is under attack, but democracy’s root demos means “people.” If millions of liberals refuse to speak with and feel concern for millions of conservative people — even though liberals claim to be enlightened and tolerant — who is the threat to democracy?
“Democracy Dies in Darkness,” The Washington Post intones. Does that include darkness about half your fellow citizens?
Michael Barone wrote in The Wall Street Journal about how liberals are so immersed in cultural crock pots that they don’t realize their ignorance.
“Social psychologist Jonathan Haidt and his colleagues have shown that conservatives are better at understanding liberal views than the converse,” Barone noted. “That’s not surprising: Whereas liberal views permeate the news media and popular culture, liberals can easily avoid exposure to conservative views. That distorts their view of the world and produces oversensitivity to leftist social-media mobs along with overconfidence in demographic trends.”
In a related vein, last summer the Cato Institute released research about political expression and self-censorship. It found 62 percent of Americans say the political climate prevents them from saying what they believe — up from 58 percent in 2017.
Majorities of Democrats (52 percent), independents (59 percent) and Republicans (77 percent) feel they cannot express their views. “Strong liberals” are the only political group comfortable sharing their views (58 percent).
Cato found 31 percent of Americans support firing Donald Trump donors and 22 percent support firing Joe Biden donors; but 50 percent of strong liberals support firing Trump donors and 36 percent of strong conservatives support firing Biden donors.
My colleague Carrie Lukas wrote a whole book about our lopsided anti-conservative cultural bias. In “Checking Progressive Privilege,” she declared, “Progressive privilege isn’t just unfair to conservatives; it has warped our entire political environment and made our country more divided. Recognizing progressive privilege is the first step to ending it, so that we can have a fairer, more truly inclusive society.”
To strengthen democracy, we need stronger civic fabric, which means speaking with and humanizing people with whom you disagree. Here’s hoping for a brighter new year in which we do just that.