People tend to hang out with people they like. That often means people with whom they share values and community and life experiences. But now, it appears that our political polarization has grown so wide that Americans who voted differently in 2016 don’t want to hang out with each other.
That, at least, is the story from the Pew Research Center, which found that 47% of “liberal Democrats” stated that if a friend voted Trump, it would strain the friendship. For all Democrats, 35% stated the same. For Republicans, that number was just 13% when applied to Hillary Clinton.
Now, perhaps that number would change if Hillary had won. But there is more than a whiff of elemental scorn that Democrats hold for Trump voters. They don’t see what was so bad about Hillary that would necessitate a vote for Trump; they think that a vote for Trump could never be made in a good faith effort to help the country, but rather was an endorsement of Trump’s worst behavior. This feeling, combined with the fact that Leftists live in bubbles — as Aaron Blake of The Washington Post points out, 47% of people who voted Clinton had zero Trump supporting friends — means that the Left will continue to polarize and pillory.
Only 28% of Democrats say they aren’t stressed by talking with those who differ on Trump, which means that the vast majority of Democrats won’t even deign to discuss the issues. That leads to less knowledge of the typical Republican, and the lazy intellectual construct that turns Trump voters into an “other” to be opposed on grounds of supposed bigotry.
And that scorn will, in turn, drive more and more conservatives into Trump’s arms. Much of the Trump movement was built on a reactionary and justified anger against Leftist character assassination — and the Left’s solution seems to be more character assassination.