We’ve Entered the Age of Partyism—It Might Get Worse Than Racism

We’ve Entered the Age of Partyism—It Might Get Worse Than Racism, by Cass Sunstein.

Partyism exists when people have immediate, visceral negative reactions to members of the opposing political party. The reactions operate a lot like racism, in the sense that they affect decisions in multiple areas of life, including friendship, dating, marriage, hiring, and contracting.

Of course you might think that it’s rational to dislike people whose views you abhor, even though it’s irrational to dislike people because of their skin color. But what we’re now seeing goes well beyond rationality.

In 1960, 5% of Republicans and 4% of Democrats said that they would feel “displeased” if their son or daughter married outside their political party. By 2010, those numbers skyrocketed: to 49% and 33%, respectively. We’re probably not yet at the point where Republicans would be more upset if their child married a Democrat than someone of the same sex — but we are heading in that direction.

So why is this new form of discrimination exploding?

There are .. two primary reasons. The first, strongly supported by the evidence, involves modern campaigning: During periods of strong negative political advertising, there’s an increase in partyism. …

Partyism is also fueled by the increasingly fragmented media environment and by social media. There’s a ton of self-sorting out there. Decades of work in social science show that when people are able to create echo chambers of their own design, they tend to end up thinking a more extreme version of what they thought before.

Now take that last finding and consider what happens when almost the whole mainstream media becomes a PC echo chamber. Could that explain the sharp rise in PC extremism?