Dr. Klar mentioned that her analysis has indicated that this development is pushed partly by the truth that, because the feminist motion’s second wave within the mid-Twentieth century, girls have grown extra straight engaged in politics — and have change into extra prone to put a precedence on discovering a husband with whom they agree politically.
The identical factor goes for fogeys and their youngsters. On issues of partisanship and political beliefs — together with a measurement that lecturers name the “racial resentment scale” — younger individuals are much more prone to maintain comparable views to their dad and mom than they had been within the mid-Seventies, and even within the Nineteen Nineties.
Because of this, Dr. Tedin mentioned, on the Thanksgiving desk, “if there’s a disagreement, nearly anyone within the nuclear household — mother, dad and the children — goes to be on one aspect, and the cousins are going to be on the opposite aspect.”
However largely, they’re prone to tiptoe round each other. “Polarized politics will increase avoidance inside households,” he mentioned. “You may assume polarized politics means they’re going to be preventing at Thanksgiving, however no — it’s the reverse. Polarized politics will increase the strain to keep away from battle on the vacation.”
The inclination to keep away from battle doesn’t essentially imply that disagreement is inevitable if the dialog does flip to politics. Matthew Levendusky, a professor on the College of Pennsylvania who research political polarization, mentioned that when these sorts of conflicts do come up, they aren’t essentially prone to change into hostile. And whether or not onerous or straightforward, Dr. Levendusky added, these conversations are basic to the functioning of a democracy — particularly in a time when social media and cable information typically play up every occasion’s most excessive components.
In 2016, Dr. Levendusky revealed a research exhibiting that folks tended to vastly overestimate the variations between the 2 events. “We requested individuals the place their place was, and the place they thought the common Republican and Democratic positions had been,” he mentioned. “Principally, they thought the events had been twice as far aside as they’re in actuality, on all kinds of points.”
Now he’s at work on a e-book about how individuals with differing views may overcome their political animus. Merely speaking to at least one one other, he mentioned, is important to bridging the divide — and it’s typically not as painful as individuals anticipate it to be. That’s as a result of most Individuals aren’t deeply ideological, so political disagreements aren’t terribly high-stakes for them. In finishing the analysis for the e-book, he and his collaborators convened roughly 500 research members from throughout the political spectrum, and invited them to speak about politics.