America's One Party System

“Democrats can win — if they look like Republicans,” Paul Bedard writes this week at the Washington Examiner:

“Candidates running in right-leaning states or facing conservative voters seem to benefit from possessing facial features that make them look more stereotypically Republican than their rivals,” said the study authors in the authoritative publication Social Psychological and Personality Science.

Just what a stereotypical Republican looks like the authors didn’t suggest. Instead, they left it to survey participants to decide, though one of the pictures offered was of former GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum, known for his conservative style–and sweater vests.

“Our results show that people seem to agree that some candidates look more stereotypically Republican than their rivals, even some Democrats,” co-author Christopher Olivola told Secrets. Thus, he said, looking Republican can help a Democrat running in a conservative state or district.


That wouldn’t come as a surprise to Ann Coulter, who concluded a column in 2004, in which she noted how similar both parties appear in tone during an election year:

When they’re running for office, all Democrats claim to support tax cuts (for the middle class), to support gun rights (for hunters) and to “personally oppose” abortion. And then they get into office and vote to raise taxes, ban guns and allow abortions if a girl can’t fit into her prom dress.

The common wisdom holds that “both parties” have to appeal to the extremes during the primary and then move to the center for the general election. To the contrary, both parties run for office as conservatives. Once they have fooled the voters and are safely in office, Republicans sometimes double-cross the voters. Democrats always do.

Double-cross? Nonsense! The freshness-dating on their promises are simply intensely time-sensitive.


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