Democrats Are More Dogmatic Than Republicans… When Dating
Democrats are more doctrinaire than either Republicans or Independents, at least among those seeking love through digital media. New market research conducted by the phone-based dating site, Coffee Meets Bagel, shows that while 32% of Independents will only date others who share their political views, and 33% of Republicans place the same wall around their dating pool, that number soars to 82% for Democrats. That’s rather striking given that Democrats pride themselves on openness and acceptance of others. I guess it all depends on what they are “other” about…
Of course, there are many ways to interpret this data, and they all don’t point to Democrats being more close-minded than are their Republican and Independent peers. One could easily imagine that this trend among Democrats was significantly impacted by the reality of Donald Trump becoming President, and the fact that communities in defeat often turn inward.
It’s not necessarily the wisest of all possible responses, but it is surely common, and not just for any one political or social group. It’s fundamentally human to seek affirmation and confirmation in the wake of a loss – be it personal, professional or political. Who doesn’t want a hug after having been kicked?
Democrats’ tougher ideological stance when seeking partners could also be a function, not simply of President Trump’s victory, but of his lengthy record of words and deeds related to women. While I don’t think that his worst behavior with and about women represents all of who he is, I do think that there is enough of a pattern there that one could reasonably wonder, especially when it comes to romance, about those who readily embrace him.
This interpretation is buttressed by additional data from another digital dating deal – OK Cupid – which says that Republican women are twice as likely to date outside their party, than are their Democratic counterparts. That could well be because those Republican women feel better about Democratic men, than do Democratic women do about Republican guys.
All that said, the polling did not ask if people supported President Trump. It merely asked about people’s willingness to date those who don’t share their views. So while it may be understandable why a larger number of Democrats insisted on dating only other Democrats, the gap also suggests that something more is going on, at least when it comes to how these folks define themselves.
First, there is the possibility, that people who see themselves as more progressive and inclusive, are actually less able and/or willing to see and practice those values quite as much as they may think they do. I often say that the only thing more nefarious than dogmatism on the right – which is plenty problematic – is dogmatism on the left. Why? Because those on the right are more comfortable with their being dogmatic. Heck, they are often proud of it! Those on the left however, often think that they have risen above such thinking, which makes it that much harder to address in those instances when they clearly have not.
Second, there is the possibility that politics has become the new religion of millennials and Gen X’ers, those most likely to use the apps and sites from which this data was collected. A generation or two ago, these kinds of questions were asked not about people dating across political affiliations, but of those subscribing to different faiths. Today, the question of dating across religious lines is increasingly irrelevant for increasing numbers of people, but that doesn’t mean that the sense of sharing something sacred with those you want to share your life with, has gone away. In fact, it may have simply shifted from one location – religion – to another – politics.
Addressing the full social implications of what such a religion-politics swap might mean, are beyond me just now, but I do know this: to the extent that one is increasingly taking the place of the other, those for whom that transference is more likely need to be on guard that they simply don’t import the worst misdeeds from “that old time religion” into the new one. Changing the god one worships, or what shape that worship takes, is no guarantee against the abuses that come whenever we enter any sacred territory – spiritual, political or emotional.
This will be a bigger challenge for Democrats, not necessarily because they are more dogmatic than Republicans, but because, as statistics show, they are less likely to participate in formal religious practice than are their Republican peers. It may simply be that we all have impulses to draw lines and keep some people out. The problem lies in pretending otherwise and in failing to build correctives which keep us connected to those who are other to each of us, whether their otherness lies in the faith they follow or the candidates they support.
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