Bumped from a week ago, with an update: Philo of Alexandria discuss some evidence that Republicans are actually happier.
Commenter bs king over at her own blog, Fair Trade Certified, made an interesting observation last month, which has blown around in my head since. To oversimplify, when she is feeling upbeat and hopeful about the country, she leans Republican. When she feels less sanguine about the US of A, she leans Democrat. She opened this out to discussion, and her readers, at any rate, confirmed the observation.
I wanted you to know that I not only read these things but think about them, Bethany. I think your observation is true in an even deeper way than stated. It is not merely how people assess the republic’s chances at any given moment that leans them Republican or Democrat (or more precisely, conservative and progressive) but their overall cast of mind. My wager would be that even if things went brilliantly well over the next ten years, the same people who assessed things as worrisome now would assess them as worrisome in 2018 again. They would find other things to deplore or be anxious about, and would come to the same conclusion again.
I see an exception to this, hearkening back to my viewing everyone’s behavior as strongly influenced by their cultural tribe. If people feel their guys are in charge and running things, they will feel more optimistic about the future, choosing their objective evidence for their belief selectively. The poll question about whether folks believe the country is “on the right track” should come to mind here.
Even granting that motives are always varied and individual, what subterranean general motives would drive progressives to see the country as doing more poorly than conservatives see it, seeing that both are viewing the same landscape?
I've got my answer. What's yours? (For regular readers, what's mine?)
James Lileks has related comments today. An amusing and graceful writer.