Drudge Retort: The Other Side of the News
Sunday, October 06, 2019

When political debates get heated, it's easy to think that Democrats and Republicans are so different that they might as well be separate species. Their extreme, opposing views on the world seem so deeply rooted that's hard to imagine anyone softening their position, much less changing their mind. But new research suggests that those views aren't as deeply rooted as most people think. In fact, in an alternate universe, they could have easily gone a completely different way.


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Michael Macy, a researcher at Cornell University's Social Dynamics Laboratory, wondered, "Why have the major political parties shifted positions on issues like free trade, balanced budgets, legalization of marijuana, same-sex marriage and trust in science? The findings, published in Science Advances, show something mildly shocking: It seems that luck, rather than deeply held ideals, leads political parties to their positions on a variety of issues.


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Macy and his research team point to "opinion cascades," where prominent folks are the first to choose their opinions (and do it sort of randomly) and the rest of the population follows. The cascades can push us into surprising extremes.

#1 | Posted by 6thPersona at 2019-10-06 09:21 AM | Reply

Utter nonsense. I have consistently held the same basic political opinions for my entire life and I can explain the reasons for every one of them. Some people do form their opinions based on peer pressure, friends, associates, etc. I have never done that my entire life, my father and I fought for years about the Vietnam War which I was diametrically opposed to. I never could understand how it was ok to napalm villages. My friends, my family, virtually everyone I knew disagreed with me but, in the end, most Americans have come around to my POV. Same thing happened over Iraq. I did make a mistake about Libya and I regret it. But it was an honest mistake and it wasn't due to me trying to go along with the views of others, it was simply a reaction to the Ghadafi sons threatening "rivers of blood." So, I agreed with our allies, Great Britain and France that we should do something to prevent a blood bath, to this day I am not really sure we were wrong.

#2 | Posted by danni at 2019-10-06 09:51 AM | Reply

Republicans have been quick to retreat from long held positions due to right-wing propaganda-infused partisan hatred, culminating in the "Better Russian than Democrat" guidance replacing much of Republican dogma; all in the name of furious and shameless Trumphumping.

The party of "family values" is now led by a would-be tyrant with 5 children from 3 baby-mamas who raw-dogged a porn star shortly after his 3rd wife delivered her first, and his 5th child; and paid said porn star $150K in hush money to bury the scandal, all the while, blithely lying to the nation about it during his 1st presidential campaign.

The party which once self-identified as law-and-order, rock-ribbed constitutional strict constructionists, today insist that Trumps barter-collusion with foreign nations to gather dirt to use on potential political opponents, is totally acceptable, and that any investigation into said presidential legal malfeasance is forbidden by law.

I dont see a corollary among Democrats.

#3 | Posted by oldwhiskeysour at 2019-10-06 11:04 AM | Reply

Look at how Republicans were appalled by Bill Clinton and Dems ferociously defended him.

Trump comes into office and the coin gets flipped, although Trump has less GOP support than Clinton had Dem support.

#4 | Posted by JeffJ at 2019-10-07 10:07 AM | Reply

Jeff, the leaders of the Republican Impeachment of Bill Clinton were, in fact, all having their own extra marital affairs, were they not?

They were not appalled by Clinton's extra marital affairs; they were appalled that Clinton won an election, and were trying to undo an election they lost. (That is how GOP party-line deflection is played now, right?)

#5 | Posted by oldwhiskeysour at 2019-10-07 11:44 AM | Reply

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