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 Post subject: Re: 60% of Mormons Approve of the racist, sexist pig Trump?!
PostPosted: Sat Jan 13, 2018 6:19 pm 
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moksha wrote:
Utah is one place where Trump's popularity has increased since the election.


I think that's explainable in the fact that Trump was relatively unpopular for a Republican among Mormons in part because of his feuding with Mitt Romney. Now that this has faded from memory, partisan loyalty can spring back.


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 Post subject: Re: 60% of Mormons Approve of the racist, sexist pig Trump?!
PostPosted: Sat Jan 13, 2018 6:21 pm 
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deacon blues wrote:
Conservatives have more kids than liberals. Conservative Mormons have more kids than liberal Mormons. :sad: My conservative kids (4) have more kids than my liberal kids (4): 17 to 6.

There's your future.

http://thefederalist.com/2017/07/21/lib ... net-power/
I feel like I read this idea on Federalist pitchbot before it became an actual Federalist article.


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 Post subject: Re: 60% of Mormons Approve of the racist, sexist pig Trump?!
PostPosted: Sat Jan 13, 2018 6:36 pm 
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Philo Sofee wrote:
moksha wrote:
Utah is one place where Trump's popularity has increased since the election.


This makes sense in a quirky way. Trump wants to make America "white" again. The church wants to be "white and delightsome" again. Two peas in a pod.


You would think that the Mormons would want a Righteous White and Delightsome President. Not this POS, adulterous, bigoted, fornicating, racist, moronic, OOPS, what am I say, that is Mormonism.

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 Post subject: Re: 60% of Mormons Approve of the racist, sexist pig Trump?!
PostPosted: Sat Jan 13, 2018 6:38 pm 
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deacon blues wrote:
Conservatives have more kids than liberals. Conservative Mormons have more kids than liberal Mormons. :sad: My conservative kids (4) have more kids than my liberal kids (4): 17 to 6.

There's your future.

http://thefederalist.com/2017/07/21/lib ... net-power/


As a serious reply to this, you should also note that populations are disproportionately liberal and prefer Democrat politicians the younger you go. If just the 18-35 group voted, the US would be Scandinavia right now. Even if you had a voting cutoff age of 65, the country would be azure blue. You might think this is just how things work. People are liberal when they are young and conservative when they are old. Only, that's not really true of US history. As far as polling goes back on this, there has been relative parity among the age groups with Republican preferences even taking over Democrat preferences for a period of time in the 1980's. The more extreme demographic splitting on age in politics is a new phenomenon that I don't think we've quite wrapped our heads around yet or understand its full implications. It's been getting more and more pronounced year after year with a big shift surrounding the 2016 presidential election. Part of this is explained in the population becoming less white as you go younger and Republicans/conservatives more and more dominating white people. Part of this is explained in the fact that young people are on average better educated than older people and Democrats are doing better and better among the well educated. And part of it just reduces flat out in age differences.

The lesson here is that some conservative parents, recent or longstanding, have to have liberal kids right now. The politics of your parents isn't destiny. There is some fluidity to political self-identification.


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 Post subject: Re: 60% of Mormons Approve of the racist, sexist pig Trump?!
PostPosted: Sat Jan 13, 2018 6:45 pm 
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EAllusion wrote:

I think that's explainable in the fact that Trump was relatively unpopular for a Republican among Mormons in part because of his feuding with Mitt Romney. Now that this has faded from memory, partisan loyalty can spring back.


I think partisan loyalty, like appeals to "in-group identity," seem to explain the appeal while actually avoiding explanation. The question is: what is the source of that partisan loyalty? Partisan loyalty was much stronger in the late 19th and early 20th centuries than it is now, but this didn't map onto ideological or policy commitments like it does today. Exhibit A: the Hyde Park Roosevelts vs. the Oyster Bay Roosevelts, one strand of the family fiercely Democrat and one Republican but ideologically not that far apart. Exhibit B: JFK was more like Eisenhower than he was like either Roosevelt, and it's hard to see how he would fit into today's Democratic party (tax cuts and an increase in military spending and rather weak on civil rights?). Until the 1980s, patronage networks that operated under and through a strong party system cemented loyalty, whereas today what cements loyalty is how well a party aligns with a cluster of cultural attitudes (ideology would be too generous a term). The party system is rather weak now and is less an organ of political mobilization than it is a reflection of the aspirations of two cultural super-groups. That is why even pro-immigration Republicans like Graham and McCain have can't move their voters an inch and why every Republican fears a primary challenger.

Some of the ideological conservatives in the Republican party, as you know, were worried that Trump was a Trojan horse liberal, but that hasn't proven to be the case. at. all. His agenda has largely been a far right one because Trump, who is not ideological and as far as anyone can tell doesn't even have ideas, knows where his support is. The complaints about him on the right are all about style, not substance except insofar as his blustering idiocy has hindered his—which is to say their—far right goals. The simple fact is that the more egregious elements of that platform have been enjoying increasing support in the Republican party for a few decades now, and what distinguishes Trump is merely the manner in which he voices what his voters believe. It's not just a question of unthinking partisan loyalty.

If Trump came out tomorrow and said "____," Mormons will be uncomfortable and some will protest, but if he comes out in favor of socialized medicine or directs his education department to be sure that BYU gets extra scrutiny on enforcing Title IX or if his justice department sued a Mormon cake decorator for refusing to sell to a gay couple or if the climate in general became more difficult for religious organizations—well, they would drop him like a gay son who makes porno films to support his gambling habit. The fact is that Mormons would rather that Trump were someone with more polish and basic decency, but they'd have him over any Democrat because of policy and cultural disagreements, not mere partisan loyalty. The partisan loyalty is the result, not the cause.

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 Post subject: Re: 60% of Mormons Approve of the racist, sexist pig Trump?!
PostPosted: Sat Jan 13, 2018 7:08 pm 
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I think Mormon partisan loyalty is a consequence of tightly wound in-group culture focused on consuming political information from preferred religious right sources, right-wing media largely, reinforced formally and informally in the ecclesiastical hierarchy and because Mormons are disproportionately white and patriarchal.

Donald Trump has adopted any number of stances that countervailed prevailing conservative orthodoxy only to see immediate, rapid shift in public opinion among conservatives on that subject. The one that comes immediately to mind is trade protectionism. Republicans went from overwhelmingly opposed to overwhelmingly in favor of it overnight right as Trump captured the Republican nomination. Partisanship drives policy opinion more than the other way around. To wit, one of the few positions Trump has show some consistency on over the years is a stated preference for socialized medicine. I'd lay good money down if he had a Democratic Congress putting a bill in front of him further socializing healthcare in America and Trump signed it, you'd see skyrocketing approval for it among Republicans if right-wing media opted to back the president on that front. We saw at least a little evidence of this when Trump had public opinion success breaking with his Republican competitors in promising not to touch Medicaid (a promise he promptly broke, but you get the point.)

I think if you want to see Mormon approval of Trump disapprove relative to general trends in the country, he has to specifically go after sacred cows in Mormon culture. So, yeah, if the tax-exempt status of the LDS Church was threatened, it would be bad. If Trump said he favored substantially increasing the marginal tax rate on people making over 1 million a year? Mormons would like that now assuming right wing-media wouldn't knife Trump over that, which they very well might.


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 Post subject: Re: 60% of Mormons Approve of the racist, sexist pig Trump?!
PostPosted: Sat Jan 13, 2018 7:17 pm 
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EAllusion wrote:
I think Mormon partisan loyalty is a consequence of tightly wound in-group culture focused on consuming political information from preferred religious right sources, right-wing media largely, reinforced formally and informally in the ecclesiastical hierarchy and because Mormons are disproportionately white and patriarchal.


You don't think actual positions matter?

EAllusion wrote:
Donald Trump has adopted any number of stances that countervailed prevailing conservative orthodoxy only to see immediate, rapid shift in public opinion among conservatives on that subject. The one that comes immediately to mind is trade protectionism.


Trade protectionism, to those few who even know what it means, was only orthodoxy to a narrow group of Republican policy makers and think-tank talkers. It was never what motivated Republican voters. And Trump has yet to deliver on any trade protectionist policies anyway. I doubt a Republican primary voter (or Democratic for that matter) could coherently discuss NAFTA. It is electorally irrelevant.

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Partisanship drives policy opinion more than the other way around.


As evidenced by what? There is a reason the south, which was solidly Democratic for 100 years, began voting Republican and has remained in that camp, and it has nothing to do with party loyalty and everything to do with culture. What you say was true up until the 1970s, but not today.

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I think if you want to see Mormon approval of Trump disapprove relative to general trends in the country, he has to specifically go after sacred cows in Mormon culture.


You mean, like Mitt Romney? :wink:

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 Post subject: Re: 60% of Mormons Approve of the racist, sexist pig Trump?!
PostPosted: Sat Jan 13, 2018 7:41 pm 
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Symmachus wrote:
You don't think actual positions matter?


I think they matter less than you'd think and that is backed up strongly by political science. That is why time and time again you see extreme shifts in public opinion when there is a shift in what political leadership is arguing. It's why, for example, Republicans as a party became vociferously pro-torture overnight when it was discovered that the Bush administration had authorized torture. This is a bit asymetrical on the right, but you see the same phenomenon on the left to a lesser extent. For example, support among Democrats for closing GITMO went from 2/3rds in favor to 2/3rds opposed when the only fact on the ground that meaningfully changed was that Obama didn't close GITMO. And GITMO was a major topic of the 2008 nomination process.

People prefer parties for a variety of reasons, and "because they best align with a coherent political ideology I support" is way down the list. You're obviously a bright person and I imagine your voting behavior probably is driven by ideology and an informed understanding of how candidates might advance or thwart your ideological preferences. It may seem counter-intuitive and condescending to believe that most people aren't like you, but most people aren't like you.

This is a popular press article that lays out my overall view of how political prefences work. I think it is an adequate representation of a dominant view within political science.

The scary side of this is you can get the public to support nearly anything if you can get a nominee with extreme views in. I think Trump would be bright-line example of this. The positive side is parties are less ideologically entrenched than you think and rapid change is possible if you can capture the candidate-selection machinery.

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It was never what motivated Republican voters.


It was a major political issue in the late 80's and early 90's. My argument is that few issues actually are issues that motivate voters.

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I doubt a Republican primary voter (or Democratic for that matter) could coherently discuss NAFTA.


I doubt a Republican primary voter (or Democratic for that matter) can coherently discuss any policy issue. Polling data, wherever you look, shows boundless ignorance buoyed by a numerically small elite group of ideologues. Most people rely on crude heuristics for their political opinions that don't entail understanding issues.

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As evidenced by what? There is a reason the south, which was solidly Democratic for 100 years, began voting Republican and has remained in that camp, and it has nothing to do with party loyalty and everything to do with culture. What you say was true up until the 1970s, but not today.


Oh, the issue of white supremacy did motivate white southerners to shift partisan loyalty. No doubt. Here we are talking about a rare, once every couple generation, shift in partisan affiliation in large numbers motivated by an underlying cultural issue. It took about 30 years of generational churn to complete. That corresponds with what I think, not contravenes it. What I'm saying is that things like energy policy, trade, taxation, etc. have little to do with why most people vote. People, when asked, say they support what they think the party they feel loyal to supports rather than their loyalty being driven by what they think a party supports. Or, put in the more correct, more nuanced way, the direction of influence goes both ways, but a large % of the public is more influenced on policy opinion by partisan loyalty than partisan loyalty is influenced by policy preference.

There are issues that matter more than others, of course. Partisan loyalty itself has to come form somewhere. And that comes down a lot to cultural identification more than policy analysis.

Then on top of this, you have another group of voters who are fickle and switch support based on their vague sense of how things are going. That's why the state of the economy can be enough to predict the outcome of a presidential election regardless of who is running.

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You mean, like Mitt Romney? :wink:


And so we round back into my original point. :smile:


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 Post subject: Re: 60% of Mormons Approve of the racist, sexist pig Trump?!
PostPosted: Sat Jan 13, 2018 7:53 pm 
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Getting little closer to the original topic, there's been a huge shift in people's opinion on whether a politician's personal moral behavior is important to evaluating their fitness for office. More specifically, while Democratic opinion is relatively unchanged, Republicans have gone from overwhelmingly saying it is important to overwhelmingly saying it is not.

https://www.npr.org/2016/10/23/49889083 ... moral-acts

In this PRRI poll, white evangelicals shifted from 30% agreeing that, “an elected official who commits an immoral act in their personal life can still behave ethically and fulfill their duties" in 2011 to 72% in 2016. What happened is Donald Trump, a ethical trainwreck, became the nominee.

The opinions being expressed in both cases are shallow and just reflect what they think advances their partisan interests. Republicans in the late 90's and early 2000's ran as the party of personal moral superiority (which is insane given our birds eye view now) in contrast to the party of Clinton. The 2011 poll is an artifact of that. The 2016 poll reflects a reconciliation of Trump as the party figurehead.

I think the temptation is to read a poll like this as white evangelicals selling their soul for Trump. But I don't think they had a soul in the first place. The opinion was always about partisan identification.


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 Post subject: Re: 60% of Mormons Approve of the racist, sexist pig Trump?!
PostPosted: Sat Jan 13, 2018 9:01 pm 
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An insightful, yet rather depressing, look into the directionality of policy/politics/voter behavior is Democracy for Realists by a pair of academics who, in great detail, explore EAllusion’s earlier discussion. Rather than conforming to the more-or-less rational voter ideal proposed and modeled by previous political scientists, they show that voters (even those who are relatively well-informed) far more often choose political identity over actual policy substance (oftentimes even at their own detriment). Not only that, but they go further in showing that the actual policy beliefs of these voters are quite malleable under the pressure of these political loyalties.


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 Post subject: Re: 60% of Mormons Approve of the racist, sexist pig Trump?!
PostPosted: Sat Jan 13, 2018 10:22 pm 
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EAllusion, let me say first that I think you have passed over some key words in my comments and responded to others without addressing their connection, and in my last comment I did not include the significant qualifier that I used in my other comments. As a result, you've given me a lesson in what I already think for the most part.

The disagreement you seem to be addressing is different from what it actually is: it is not that I think voters study a set of policy issues and then behave accordingly, but that there are a cluster of policy issues connected to and motivated by larger cultural attitudes. On that I think we agree. I disagree about the extent to which the parties, especially the Republican party, are able to move voters because of this cultural current. They can't swim against it. The issues you pick are telling because of their electoral smallness and irrelevance to my point: they are not rehashed from election to election (like torture), nor are they always between parties (like free trade, which was largely a contest in the Democratic party when the third-way Democrats came along and only became an issue in this election because of how Trump linked this to white identity politics). But show me the wild swings on issues like abortion and the immigration of brown people or gay marriage or the "rights" of religious organizations (to name only a few). Of course, these are largely contested in courts, but there is a reason why they have such salience in electoral politics: these are metonyms for cultural conflict. No Republican, even Trump, can be elected on the national stage (maybe even on any stage) who is not anti-abortion, and increasingly you will find few Democrats who would identify as pro-life. You certainly won't get a presidential candidate who will. It matters little what the parties would actually like to implement. And of course as you well know we do have a contrast of a time when party loyalty was much more pronounced, so I object to the claim of partisan loyalty as a meaningful explanation for anything in 2018. No one says today, as they did a hundred years ago, "I'm a Democrat because my daddy was a Democrat." No one gives a ____ how the union wants them to vote (hence Trump's victory in the states where unions are strongest). Instead, partisanship is framed in terms of issues and policies, albeit a very small set, and my point was that you have to look at what the source of that partisan loyalty is.

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There are issues that matter more than others, of course. Partisan loyalty itself has to come form somewhere. And that comes down a lot to cultural identification more than policy analysis.


Or as one politically naïve subliterate put it:

Quote:
today what cements loyalty is how well a party aligns with a cluster of cultural attitudes (ideology would be too generous a term)


I don't really see much disagreement, then. Sure, I'll grant that parties can sway opinion on contingent issues that arise between election cycles, but that's a rather irrelevant point because these tend to be issues that people care least about and are least relevant to their political identity. When it comes to those sets of policies that stand in for the cultural aspirations of voters and are the policies that voters most identify with when they say "I'm a Republican" or "I'm a Democrat" and vote accordingly, the parties can't sway voters an inch. Jesus, we just witnessed an election where party leaders were basically brushed aside in both parties. And that is totally unlike the era of high partisan loyalty of the late nineteenth to mid twentieth centuries, where a party boss could mobilize voters without even bothering with issues. The Republican voters are the reason why the Republican party on a federal level has chased out nearly everyone who isn't a hardliner on immigration or become one. The Republican voters are why the party's infamous 2012 electoral autopsy has become a joke. On the issues that determine party identity for most voters—which is to say, the majority who don't go case by case on a policy or operate within an informed political philosophy—the parties are weak and reflect the voters, not the other way around.

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 Post subject: Re: 60% of Mormons Approve of the racist, sexist pig Trump?!
PostPosted: Sat Jan 13, 2018 10:28 pm 
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LamentoBoliviano wrote:
An insightful, yet rather depressing, look into the directionality of policy/politics/voter behavior is Democracy for Realists by a pair of academics who, in great detail, explore EAllusion’s earlier discussion. Rather than conforming to the more-or-less rational voter ideal proposed and modeled by previous political scientists, they show that voters (even those who are relatively well-informed) far more often choose political identity over actual policy substance (oftentimes even at their own detriment). Not only that, but they go further in showing that the actual policy beliefs of these voters are quite malleable under the pressure of these political loyalties.


But surely it depends on what policies you're talking about. Voters are malleable on policies they don't care about, but on policies they do care about—policies that are metonyms for their cultural identity and aspirations—I doubt they are malleable at all. There's a reason you don't see a lot of atheist transgender African Americans campaigning on a platform for socialized medicine in the Republican party primaries.

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 Post subject: Re: 60% of Mormons Approve of the racist, sexist pig Trump?!
PostPosted: Sat Jan 13, 2018 10:58 pm 
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There has been a swing in Republican opinion on immigration issues during the past decade. There was deep, bipartisan support of of immigration reform proposals that Obama ended up endorsing in his second term.

At the beginning of Obama's second term, there was a brief period where Republican leaders thought that their loss could be attributed to poor appeal among Latinos and that the party going forward needed to do better in appealing to Latino voters. Some may recall that Trump once parroted these views in criticizing Mitt Romney's loss in 2012. This led to resurrection of immigration reform that ultimately went no where. Polls of Republican voters during this time indicated strong support of expanding visa programs and creating a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. The country as a whole overwhelmingly supported this.

See:

http://news.gallup.com/poll/160307/amer ... osals.aspx

After Obama pushed for that, even endorsing laws that were significantly more conservative than what there was broad support for in surveys of the public, Republican support of those positions faded. Fast-forward to now and polls indicate that Republican support has reduced by about 20-30 points for path to citizenship proposals for undocumented immigrants with a parallel increase in support for deportation.

If this was a sticky issue that moves partisan loyalty rather than partisan loyalty moving it, why such a large swing in public opinion on such a popular policy?


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 Post subject: Re: 60% of Mormons Approve of the racist, sexist pig Trump?!
PostPosted: Sat Jan 13, 2018 11:19 pm 
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Symmachus wrote:
But surely it depends on what policies you're talking about. Voters are malleable on policies they don't care about, but on policies they do care about—policies that are metonyms for their cultural identity and aspirations—I doubt they are malleable at all. There's a reason you don't see a lot of atheist transgender African Americans campaigning on a platform for socialized medicine in the Republican party primaries.


Donald "Two Corinthians" Trump could not have read as more inauthentically Christian if there was video of him worshiping Satan. If a Democrat had Trump's religious style, Republicans in general and evangelicals in particular would be apoplectic. We'd never hear the end of it. Yet, ultimately, evangelicals voted for him in large numbers. To reconcile with this while maintaining that evangelicals are attuned to religious identity and base voting decisions on it, you have to either propose that there was rational calculation that Trump would support evangelical causes as an imperfect vessel (likely true) or that mere pandering to cultural identity is sufficient for evangelicals. I don't know. I don't want to underestimate the give and take here, but I think you are likely selling short the extent to which Republican identity drives the bus here rather than the other way around. I think you you might be missing the extent to which Republican self-identity is itself a cultural issue. Your writing suggests you think that Republican identity is parasitic on other cultural signifiers. Republican identity is a primary cultural trait unto itself, though. In fact, one of the things right-wing media does for people is create brand loyalty that can be used for any number of positions, including mutually contradictory ones.


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 Post subject: Re: 60% of Mormons Approve of the racist, sexist pig Trump?!
PostPosted: Sun Jan 14, 2018 12:00 am 
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Philo Sofee wrote:
Read it and laugh.....wow......... and uh, the prophets and apostles teachings that Trump obviously doesn't know about and wouldn't care about, don't sway Mormons away from this dolt in the Presidency?!


Why wow? Most Mormons are climate deniers and supported the Iraq war. There are bigger concerns than Trump.


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 Post subject: Re: 60% of Mormons Approve of the racist, sexist pig Trump?!
PostPosted: Sun Jan 14, 2018 12:31 am 
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EAllusion, let me say first that my entire voting life (nearly twenty years) I have watched the Republican party primaries and they have been remarkably consistent in their harsh attitude toward immigrants and immigration. Sure, it ebbs and flows in intensity, but not in the way that views on the national debt do. Bush attempted to be the exception but ended up proving the rule, and it is simply not true that there was deep, bipartisan support a decade ago. 2005-6 was extremely contentious, and if you remember the multi-city protests in the summer of 2005, you'll know that that was a reaction to the one party then in power.

And then a poll taken once doesn't mean all that much; trajectories are what matter, not snapshots. But only a simplistic reading of the poll you cite could suggest "strong support of expanding visa programs and creating a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants" among Republican voters. What stands out to me is the following discrepancy: 95% in favor of requiring employers to verify that all new hires are legal doesn't mean very much when only 59% support providing a means for absorbing undocumented workers into the legal economy. Notice that it's a downward trend and compare it to the independent column with a similar downward trend (85% to 68%) and then with the Democratic column: only 77% in favor of imposing a requirement on employers to enforce immigration status, but then the trajectory moves upward to 90% in favor of creating a pathway to legal participation in the economy. In your version, where this is simply a case of fluctuating views on policy based largely on party loyalty and independent of any deeper motivation, why do you think there is a downward trend in the largely white columns (Republican and Independent) and an upward trend for the Democrats, whose coalition in 2013 was a bit more, shall we say, colorful? The meaning lies in the trajectory between numbers, not the isolated numbers of one poll. There is a story to discover in these numbers, but I think it's not a very hard discovery to make for anyone who has followed Republican politics for the past twenty years, let alone anyone who has lived among Republican voters.

The only reason it is more intense now is precisely for the reason I keep telling you: the parties are weak and can't move the voters, and they're weaker now than they were 20 years ago. I've been hearing anti-immigrant rhetoric like Trump's my whole life on the right and among the now-fabled "white working class" which your humble poster claims as a home; I just never heard a presidential candidate say it until he came along.

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Donald "Two Corinthians" Trump could not have read as more inauthentically Christian if there was video of him worshiping Satan. If a Democrat had Trump's religious style, Republicans in general and evangelicals in particular would be apoplectic. We'd never hear the end of it. Yet, ultimately, evangelicals voted for him in large numbers. To reconcile with this while maintaining that evangelicals are attuned to religious identity and base voting decisions on it, you have to either propose that there was rational calculation that Trump would support evangelical causes as an imperfect vessel (likely true) or that mere pandering to cultural identity is sufficient for evangelicals. I don't know. I don't want to underestimate the give and take here, but I think you are likely selling short the extent to which Republican identity drives religious identity here rather than the other way around. I think you you might be missing the extent to which Republican self-identity is itself a cultural issue.


To reiterate again, I am emphasizing the importance of a small but potent cluster of policies as metonyms for cultural identity, not politicians. This is why a candidate like Trump can win over evangelicals, despite his phony Christianity. Of course they know he's not a serious Christian; that's obvious to anyone and it's insulting to them if you think they can't distinguish. But in the case of the evangelicals, as in the case of the Mormons, it's a distinction without a difference: they support him despite his manner because he flatters them endlessly, which they enjoy, and because they know he will for advocate them on the issues they care about—abortion and the expansion of religious influence in the public sphere—which they crave (and so far, he has). It's only if you think that politicians set the agenda and not voters that evangelical (and Mormon) support for Trump (and lack of it for Cruz in the primaries) is a mystery.

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Your writing suggests you think that Republican identity is parasitic on other cultural signifiers. Republican identity is a primary cultural trait unto itself, though. One of the things right-wing media does for people is create brand loyalty that can be used for any number of positions, including mutually contradictory ones.


Uh huh. And what sorts of things determine Republican identity? Why does every Republican politician have to be pro-life? Even Trump had to change his position on this.

To a certain extent, I agree that "Republican identity is a primary cultural trait unto itself," but the point I keep trying to make is that that identity is determined by the voters who choose to identify as Republican and their concerns, not the policy makers. To tackle your example, the social views of evangelical Christians really haven't changed that much over the past century (I welcome any correction from Ms Jack), whereas the Republican party has become drastically more religious and socially conservative since the 1970s, when evangelicals began mobilizing politically as evangelicals. That doesn't suggest that Republican identity is driving the religious identity of voters, but I sure do see a lot of Republican politicians every election cycle trotting out their god credentials, which is not something they had to do in times past.

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 Post subject: Re: 60% of Mormons Approve of the racist, sexist pig Trump?!
PostPosted: Sun Jan 14, 2018 1:34 am 
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Symmachus wrote:
EAllusion, let me say first that my entire voting life (nearly twenty years) I have watched the Republican party primaries and they have been remarkably consistent in their harsh attitude toward immigrants and immigration. Sure, it ebbs and flows in intensity, but not in the way that views on the national debt do. Bush attempted to be the exception but ended up proving the rule, and it is simply not true that there was deep, bipartisan support a decade ago. 2005-6 was extremely contentious, and if you remember the multi-city protests in the summer of 2005, you'll know that that was a reaction to the one party then in power.

And then a poll taken once doesn't mean all that much; trajectories are what matter, not snapshots.


I posted a single poll, but it is representative of consistent Republican opinion stretching back years. You can find many similar polls with similar numbers covering both before and after. It's only recently that these numbers collapsed, and the start of that collapse happened during Obama's failed attempt to reach a bipartisan deal on immigration reform and accelerated once a xenophobic candidate captured the Republican nomination. It's easy to forget now, but Trump was the least popular Republican nominee to actually win the nomination since we've been able to measure that. It wasn't until his nomination was secure that you started to see large swings in public opinion to Trumpish positions where they differed from prevailing Republican thought. For instance, Republican approval ratings of Vladimir Putin have jumped up about 20-30 points. People who were worried that the victory of Trump would represent a Trump takeover of movement conservatism were correct to worry and have seen their fears at least partially realized.

Immigration used to be an issue that had cross-over on both sides. The business-friendly, more libertarianish wing of the Republican party tended to be very open to immigration while Democrats' union voters and now totally collapsed southern base tended to be skeptical of immigration. That's why a Democrat president like Bill Clinton was able to push for more restrictive approaches to immigration, and frankly demagogue the issue, while George W. Bush tried to use the issue to expand Republican support into Latino communities.

Republicans have been trending more xenophobic over the past few decades, of course, but this does not explain the sudden collapse in numbers for support of path to citizenship policies or expanding legal immigration opportunities.That's well explained, however, by recent reflexive opposition to Obama and reflexive support of Trump. You might say that the current numbers are a better reflection of the "true colors" of Republican opinion. I'm inclined to agree, but you then have to account for why they were so much higher prior to this. Demography hasn't shifted enough to account for this. I wish it were more complicated than "If Obama is for it, then I'm against it" or "If it's good enough for Sean Hannity, then it's good enough for me" but I think that phenomenon is actually explaining a fair amount of the shift in numbers.

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The only reason it is more intense now is precisely for the reason I keep telling you: the parties are weak and can't move the voters, and they're weaker now than they were 20 years ago.


I agree with this, and I think a distinction needs to be made. Parties right now are very weak in enforcing support of institutionally preferred candidates. Being an incumbent is less of a guarantee against being eaten alive by special interests than it used to be. Partisanship, on the other hand, is as strong as it has been since the gilded age. The result of these two phenomenon happening at the same time is that primaries are more of a free-for-all process with traditional elite control in decline. But once a politician is able to represent the partisan brand, a large % of people's voting behavior and expressed opinions are highly partisan. This is helps drive the whiplash inducing shifts in public opinion. And while party elites are very weak right now at controlling the primary process, they are incredibly strong at promoting parliamentary voting once in office. The result is something like the 2016 election, where it's just bananas at the primary level, but once the nominees are set and politicians elected, everyone just falls in line.

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It's only if you think that politicians set the agenda and not voters that evangelical (and Mormon) support for Trump (and lack of it for Cruz in the primaries) is a mystery.


The problem with this take is that large numbers of evangelicals voted for Trump over candidates that were more credible in advancing evangelical agenda. Trump's awkward attempts to talk the talk, at one point briefly having a bad media cycle for failing to calibrate how anti-abortion he should sound, suggest he might not be as sure of a bet to be pro-religious right as some others. Sure, there was speculation and hope that Trump would support religious right causes, but Trump was running against people who were certain to. Preference for Trump over them makes no sense at all if you suppose that evangelicals are rational calculators looking for policies that signify evangelical cultural identity. Instead, I would argue that Trump did reasonably well among evangelicals because of reasons that have absolutely nothing to do with religion or evangelical identity. White identity politics played a greater role in his appeal to evangelicals than religion did, in fact.

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Uh huh. And what sorts of things determine Republican identity? Why does every Republican politician have to be pro-life? Even Trump had to change his position on this.


My entire point is that "Republican identity" is an amorphous thing that can adapt and shift depending on who is perceived as leading Republicans. What determines the identity is the tendency to support Republicans. It's like asking what makes someone a Green Bay Packers fan. Wanting success for the Green Bay Packers, mostly. The state of Kentucky in the past few years has elected Rand Paul, Mitch McConnell, and Donald Trump. These are very different politicians whose chief trait they have in common is that they have an R after their name. The R after their name is the identity.

I'm a fan of the view that a primary cultural trait driving movement conservatism at the moment is rejection of what they perceive liberals to be, updated continuously. It's not that I don't think cultural identity determines partisan loyalty. I do. It's that I also think that "Republican" is an identity unto itself, not reducing into any other group identity, and you can't fully understand how partisanship drives opinion until you understand this. Plenty of people are Republicans or Democrats like they are Green Bay Packers fans. It's not necessarily a rational preference. It's something that may have developed because of where they live, who their friends and family are, and what TV channels are on.

(In fact, if you live in an area where Fox News has a lower station number, you are more likely to be conservative / Republican simply because people are a little more likely to watch TV stations with lower numbers.)

Some positions sound more "Republican" to voters than others do based on previously established momentum. Because Republican identity is a thing unto itself, this is why politicians can try to out-Republican one another simply by trying to be the most extreme along something that has been previous branded as a Republican thing. I favor drilling in ANWR using artificial frac sand made from the ground up bones of Caribou! Whoooo! At the same time, there's very few things more Republican than being the Republican president of the United States, so if a Republican president says it, you can get many Republicans to go along with it, even if that contradicts previous Republican positioning. The partisanship drives the opinion more than the other way around.

It's important to understand that I think that different people are a mix of different motives for partisan preference, so I don't want my comments to be read in a reductionist way. At the same time, I absolutely think there is a sizeable group of people who are heavily motivated to support whatever their vague impression is that Republicans (or Democrats) support and it doesn't go much deeper than that. In general, huge % of the public say what they do in public opinion polls because they have a vague sense of what their "side" is supposed to support, because they respond to crude heuristic cues, or because they are flat guessing.


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 Post subject: Re: 60% of Mormons Approve of the racist, sexist pig Trump?!
PostPosted: Sun Jan 14, 2018 7:33 am 
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I’m a fan of the view that a primary cultural trait driving movement conservatism at the moment is rejection of what they perceive liberals to be, updated continuously.

For most people, politics is like team sports. It thrills them when someone on their team really takes it to the other side.

Fans of Team Red like Trump because they see him as a tough street fighter who takes no prisoners in the fight against ‘liberals,’ even when his personal behavior is abhorrent and his new-found conservatism is painfully obvious pandering.

A player whose brashness and dirty play has him hated around the league will be embraced by local fans when he comes to play for their team.

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 Post subject: Re: 60% of Mormons Approve of the racist, sexist pig Trump?!
PostPosted: Sun Jan 14, 2018 7:49 am 
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Blood is thicker than water and politics is thicker than religion.

How about this as another platitude: Mormons care not about the arts, sciences, and philosophies of men; they are interested in the business ledgers.

Even though Trump is the loose cannon President he is still the devil that they know and can transact business with, such as the give away of public land in the reduction of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. Mormons have pushed for local ownership of federal land for many decades and Trump delivered it to them.

Now that Trump will be able to commence the dissolution of United States, the Kingdom of Deseret can once again take its place as the rightful theocracy of the Great Basin. The Salt Lake Temple can fulfill the purpose of a majestic castle. Perhaps South Temple can be converted into a decorative moat and stocked with City Creek trout. Definitely, the red chairs on the front row of the dais in the Conference Center will need to be recovered in purple velvet.

Wonder if some of those mission field countries will object to Trump calling them s***holes?

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 Post subject: Re: 60% of Mormons Approve of the racist, sexist pig Trump?!
PostPosted: Sun Jan 14, 2018 8:32 am 
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Wish some other place could make Trump a more flattering offer such as naming him the Grand Nagus of the Ferengi Home World.

He could make a terse farewell speech and Kremlin could give him a solid gold pair of ear extenders together with some promo materials on Russian petroleum trading. The LDS Church could put together a simple picture book for the departing Trump on how to keep the Ferengi women naked and in the kitchen when they are not stroking their male's lobes. The Church is counting on Trump's help to aid them in establishing the hoped-for Ferenginar mission, sending elders with cosmetically enhanced ears within a year.

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 Post subject: Re: 60% of Mormons Approve of the racist, sexist pig Trump?!
PostPosted: Mon Jan 15, 2018 12:42 pm 
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I can explain why Mormons love Trump with a single photo:

Image

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