The cluster of positions taken by political parties may have been determined by luck. - Politics | PoFo

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I sometimes wondered why the collection of opinions that political parties have taken was the way it is.

One researcher asked why often unrelated opinions come together in a party

Macy asks: “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? And how is it that voters on both sides often have contradictory positions on abortion rights and capital punishment?”

This study shows that some partisan opinions have more to do with luck and early adopters of opinions in the party. Others then join in and follow the same opinions. ... ology-luck

Macy’s team looked for answers by conducting an experiment in which they re-created the early days of opinion formation, to see how the cards might have fallen differently had early movers held different arbitrary opinions.

The researchers split more than 2,000 Democratic and Republican volunteers into 10 “parallel worlds,” each isolated from the others. Within each world, participants took turns filling out an online survey to indicate whether they agreed or disagreed with a series of unfamiliar political and cultural issues. In two of the 10 “worlds,” the survey was private, but in the other eight, whenever a partisan took a position on a given issue, all other participants in their “world” saw a real-time update of how each party was leaning.

The results showed how a handful of “early movers” can trigger a cascade in which later partisans pile on to their party’s newly emerging position, leading eventually to large political differences. The big surprise was that the party that supported the issue in one world was just as likely to oppose the issue in another world.

“Sometimes the same party’s early movers would go one way, and sometimes the other,” Macy said.

And in each world, participants followed these early movers – often in opposite directions.

“Deep political divisions between Democrats and Republicans – which seem like they must have some philosophical or ideological foundation – may turn out to be arbitrary, in that the two sides could have switched but for the luck of the draw among the early movers,” he said.

Here is the study ... 4.full.pdf

We like to think we are independent thinkers but humans like other primates are not, at all.

I guess this explains why I'm an outcast. I think for myself and almost never just accept the liberal or now progressive position. I was always a contrary, as in the movie Little Big Man. Among the Comanche a contrary was a man who did everything backwards except fight. He would dry off in the river and then wash with the sand on a sandbank, etc., etc.
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