Can Republicans and Democrats Date Anymore?
Survey says? Probably not.
When I was in high school, for a brief time, I chased around a cute girl who was generally considered a little weird in our stodgy, small, southern town. She loved alternative music, dressed differently than other people, and had wild, multicolored hair. I found all of those things to be huge turn-ons at the time. Both of us were teenagers and neither of us was political, but as it so happens, I turned out to be very conservative and she turned out to be very liberal. It didn’t work out, but I still occasionally keep in touch with her to this day and I think she’s a fantastic human being. She has an uplifting, charming, delightful personality, although the two of us don’t discuss politics very often… which is probably why we still get along.
Of course, high school was a long time ago and for quite a while after that, I didn’t see any reason why I shouldn’t give liberal women a shot. For example, several years ago, I went on a first date with a girl and things went well. Near the end of the meal, we talked a little about politics and she said something like, “I like you, but I couldn’t see explaining to my friends that I’m dating a guy who’s a member of the NRA.” Does that seem petty on her part? Well, maybe I am just as bad since I once bowed out of what had been a good conversation with a liberal atheist on a dating website after she casually remarked during our chat that she thought, “Christians had something wrong with their brains.”
Apparently, these difficulties are not just problems for me. Per a much-discussed, new poll by Axios, a lot of college students would be reluctant to date someone of the opposite ideology.
Incidentally, these numbers are roughly in line with surveys we’ve seen before.
Even the dating apps have pointed this out:
Unsurprisingly, people who share the same political opinions flock together like birds of a feather.
Conservative women are twice as likely to chat with their right-wing peers than to initiate a conversation with their liberal counterparts, according to the survey. Left-wing women are similarly set in their ways, as are liberal lads, who are three times more likely to chat with fellow liberals than conservatives.
Lumen, owned by the same holding company as Bumble, made the findings after analyzing data from its 1.5 million user base.
You’ll notice that the Left seems to feel much more strongly than the Right about this topic. That probably has a lot to do with that famous Charles Krauthammer quote:
This is obviously a big impediment to dating someone on the other side of the aisle, particularly on the liberal side. After all, the “stupid” can at least potentially be educated, but what’s the fix for evil supposed to be? This problem has been greatly exacerbated over the last few decades because, as I noted in my last column (What Exactly Do Americans Have in Common Anymore?) the ideological gulf between the Left and Right has become nearly unbridgeable.
At this point, I can’t even imagine marrying a diehard liberal activist and trying to raise a child with her. “Timmy had his G.I. Joe's fight in a dollhouse today and I asked him if he’d like to be a girl. He said it would probably be fun, so his name is Tina now. I just bought him some dresses. Hormone therapy starts Thursday and oh, by the way, you reached over and started pawing this morning before I was fully awake, which means it was non-consensual, you rapist! I’m so upset about it that I’m going to miss the Black Lives Matter rally tonight and this was finally going to be my opportunity to apologize to them for being white!”
Could it conceivably still work? Probably about as well as a marriage between a Nazi and a Jew, a member of BLM and a member of the KKK, or a union between a straight guy and a lesbian. Anything’s possible, but if you were going to put money on how it would turn out, the bet wouldn’t be on things working out.
All that being said, there are liberals and conservatives in happy relationships, and if I had to venture a guess as to why there could be a few reasons. Contrary to their rep, conservatives are actually the more tolerant ones, so if the liberal partner got a big dose of whatever genes/life experiences that made Joe Rogan so open-minded, that could do the trick. There are also certainly a lot of liberals who live their lives very conservatively, then advocate liberalism because they think it sounds good, to help their careers or alternately because they feel guilty they were successful. However, most commonly it would probably be because one or both of them aren’t rabid about what they believe. The world is full of people who go one way or the other politically because that’s what they’ve heard from their family and friends. Sure, they have a preference between the Republican and Democrat in the election, but they’re not carrying protest signs, crying because the other side won, or picking fights about politics over Thanksgiving dinner.
Unfortunately, that is still a potentially precarious situation because liberalism has become so radical that your sweet, adorable, mostly politically indifferent liberal girlfriend can quickly turn into Joy Behar if she starts taking a little more of an interest in politics.
Although all of this is certainly unhealthy for our society, it’s also an acknowledgment of the reality we all live with today. If a conservative asked me if he should seriously date a liberal at this point, I’d suggest that he think really hard about it. If she was an ardent feminist, I’d tell him to treat her like she was plutonium because at best, a relationship with her would turn your life into this…
"Men are just the worst, aren't they?"
"Manspreading everywhere while they're mansplaining things. Ugh! Men are horrible!"
We agreed to split the housework equally and I don’t think mowing the lawn or doing repairs should count, so I need you to do more around here.
"The only thing worse than a man, in general, is a straight, white man with all their horrible privilege."
It would be like a prison sentence if they allowed you to give up half of everything you own to get out of prison.
In any case, do I wish that the world wasn’t this way? Of course, but whether you’re talking about a culture or a long-term relationship, it’s just not going to be functional unless it’s built on a foundation of shared values. Quite frankly, those “shared values” are in short supply in America right now and unless we find a way to get back to them, it’s going to put a crimp in a lot more than people’s dating lives.