Whenever a controversy erupts, why do democrats seem to always circle their wagons and protect each other, whereas republicans will immediately eat their own? Is it part of the loyalty pledge? What causes one party to act out of self-preservation while the other seems bent on self-destruction?
The Democrat Party has long prided itself on its diverse views of culture and social mores. Until the rise of the Regressive Left phenomenon (a topic for another day), the attraction of the Left has been their promise not to judge anyone’s values. All thoughts and ideas are welcome, no matter how strange or bizarre to those on the Right.
Conversely, the Republican Party has prided itself on longstanding cultural traditions, to include religious and family values. The attraction of the Right has been their support of the Constitution and the principles of cultural assimilation, no matter how old fashioned it may appear to those on the Left.
Looking at these two disparate perspectives will give us a starting point for knowing why each party reacts in polar opposite fashion. But, we need to know one more thing before we can proceed. It is important to understand the concept of groupthink. It is a psychological phenomenon where individuals yearn for harmony or conformity within their group, resulting in irrational or dysfunctional decision-making. They try to minimize conflict and reach a consensus without critical evaluation of alternative perspectives, usually by actively suppressing dissenting viewpoints and by isolating themselves from outside influences.
Because those on the Left typically accept a much wider range of social behaviors or actions, their reaction tends to be one of tolerance. If that person is truly a member of their group, without question, the others in that same group will say to the offending member, “You are one of us so we are not going to judge you.” Therefore, their behavior or action is whitewashed through the prism of tolerance, even if it seems to defy logic and reason
On the flip-side, those on the Right, who typically demand self-control and to aspire to a higher moral code, will invariably choose to dissociate from the wrong-doer saying, “You are not one of us and we don’t want others to judge us by your actions.” Therefore, whatever the problem or failing, the fear of being lumped in with an aberration fuels a need among the Right to isolate and deride the individual, rather than forgive or show compassion.
The Left elects to accept the problematic person or situation, employing a sort of secular forgiveness and absolution while the Right chooses to pass down judgment and condemnation, ignoring the very religious tenants that are supposed to be at the core of the party.
I should note that it would be wrong to paint every Democrat or Republican with the same brush. Groupthink exists within the core — the rock solid center. It is made up of those who tend to be very vocal, militant in their stances and opinions and often are in positions of power, whether it be a political position or one within the halls of opinion, talk or social media. The further out one gets from the core, the less likely to be affected by the blinders of groupthink. And not everyone within the core will suffer, it just becomes far more prevalent.
Once the problem person or action has been identified, both parties will strive to regain conformity within their respective groups. The Left attempts to dilute the situation by surrounding, supporting and, in some cases, embracing the action or behavior of one of their own. Hence the notion of always circling the wagons. Conversely, the Right attempts to absolve itself from the nature of the problem by going out of its way to inform everyone that the behaviors or actions of the one individual do not represent the rest of the group.
This explains how someone like Bill Clinton, with a proclivity toward chasing and bedding women and a habit of lying can be dismissed by those on the Left. Those flaws become explainable. It’s the stress of the job. It’s the allure of the office. It’s a natural byproduct of the weight of the office. No one wants to be judged within their group so no one will do it either. The behavior or action is not only tolerated, in time, it also becomes something to admire.
On the other side, someone like Donald Trump, with a proclivity of boorish behavior toward women and a lack of political-correctness, is unacceptable within the ranks of the Right. Such behavior reflects poorly on the group identity and where Bill Clinton gets a pass from his own party, the exact opposite takes place on the Right. The need for sanctimonious piety precludes any acceptance or forgiveness. There can be no consideration given to an alternative viewpoint.
It explains how, in the last several election cycles, whichever candidate comes to the fore in the GOP, will have their flaws documented, amplified, exposed and used as reasons to then reject and dismiss. It also explains how those on the Left are willing to accept any flaw, even lawlessness and thievery, when their chosen representative ascends the mantle of power.
Many of our Founding Fathers, like George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, did their share of drinking and many engaged in unseemly activities. War leaders and heroes like Franklin D. Roosevelt, George S. Patton and John F. Kennedy have had their vices and vulgarities made known. We should always strive for the best, but our history is replete with individuals who will forever be remembered more for their leadership, bravery, intellect and patriotism than any social flaw or defect.
When the election cycle comes to a close, the GOP needs to engage in some significant soul-searching. There needs to be room for more tolerance. There needs to be room for more forgiveness. Fake outrage will not help the party. Sanctimonious tirades only serve the individual feigning disappointment. The Right needs to recognize that every human being is inherently flawed and to hell with worrying about what the other side is going to say. They need to worry more about achieving strategic victories and less about condemning individual foibles. Failure to understand and address these issues will lead to an even more fractured, divided and angry GOP; a pale shadow of it’s former self.
Maybe what is really wrong with the GOP is trying to shoe-horn too many rigid ideologues under the same tent. Who knows? But, if we cannot figure out how to be a little more flexible and a whole lot more focused, we will watch as the Grand Old Party rips itself apart along ideological lines.
And the Democrats will reign for an age.