On the binary paradigm in U.S. politics, with a digression on ‘false equivalence’

Here’s another case in which I got carried away with a comment response, and decided to turn it into a separate post.

This morning, Phillip observed:

Also, important to remember that parties have been born, fragmented, and died during the course of American history. The fact that we’ve had “Democratic” and “Republican” parties as the two main parties (even as each one’s identity has changed radically over time in many ways) since 1856 has made us forget that a little bit. Perhaps we are seeing the real fragmentation of the Republican party, an upheaval in the two-party system unknown for a century and a half.

Some of this may be attributed to the unusual nature of Trump as a candidate himself, but the wave he sits astride will not vanish with his probable defeat this November. The GOP will not go all kumbaya after this election, whether Trump loses narrowly or loses by a “yuge” margin.

It was a trenchant, relevant comment of the sort we expect from Phillip, and it got me going along these lines…

We’ve had these two parties for so long not because of anything special about these two particular parties and their respective, shifting platforms.

It’s about having two parties, period.

It’s about the binary paradigm. It’s about the fact that we decided some time ago that we had to have a dichotomy. Left and right. Winner and loser. Up and down. Black and white. American League (boo!) and National League. You get two choices, and that’s it. There are only two teams on a football field — there are no players out there wearing a third uniform, or no uniform at all — so why should politics be any different? Isn’t football the perfect analogy for life? (I may never fully extricate my tongue from my cheek after typing that.)

We’ve decided there have to be two parties. It doesn’t much matter how those two parties define themselves, or what they are called. We’re used to Democrat and Republican, so we stick with that. It’s convenient. We don’t care enough about the particulars of parties to try to start new ones, and besides, starting new parties means you might temporarily have three or four before they are winnowed back to two, and that’s contrary to the whole idea of the game.

Worse — and this is particularly maddening to someone who engages in ideas in the public sphere and despises both options — if you reject one option, tout le monde automatically places you in the opposite category. Because you’re not allowed other options.yinyang

And to digress – yes, my horror of being accused of adhering to Option B when I criticize Option A leads me often to make a point of noting that the same problem, or a problem of equal magnitude, exists with Option B. Hence the “false equivalence” that drives some of you to distraction. Except that it’s not false. I really mean it. It’s just that bringing up the fact may seem forced or out of place to you, no matter how elegantly I try to put it. You Option B folks wish I’d just point out the oh-so-obvious faults of Option A without gratuitously picking on your team. Sorry, but I’ve been conditioned to making a particular point of placing myself outside both camps to avoid confusion.

To digress from the digression: Interestingly, Option B in this analogy is pretty much always the Democrats. Y’all notice that? It’s usually, if not always, my more liberal interlocutors who complain of the “false equivalence.” A search for that phrase yields comments by Bud, Kathryn, PhillipSCL and Tim. Not a conservative in the bunch. OK, not all of those accusations of “false equivalence” are aimed at me, but usually they are. SCL provides a particularly good example:

Honestly, you are the king of false equivalence. Have you EVER written a piece, going back to your editor days, that you didn’t try to fit into that “both sides are at fault” template? I’m not a member of either party, but you’re wrong to say the blame for this one lies anywhere other than 100% with the SCGOP….

I wonder why that is — that it’s usually, if not always, liberals/Democrats. I have a couple of theories. The first is that, as holier-than-thou as the Republicans can be, it’s Democrats who are more fully convinced of their own virtue, and of the other sides’ failings. So they are outraged by observations that challenge that. Does that strike you as true? Perhaps not. Here’s my second theory: That Democrats/liberals agree with Republicans/conservatives in seeing the media as liberal, and it particularly irks Democrats when they see a media type going out of his way to lay Democrats’ sins alongside those of Republicans. They feel that he’s letting down the side, breaking an unspoken pact. No? Well, offer your own theory.

Or maybe it’s just that I seem to make more of a point of it when I’m describing Republicans’ failings and feel the need to stick in the Democrats’, as opposed to vice versa — being particularly sensitive to that “y’all are all liberals” meme. And therefore, the Democrats are more likely to notice it…

It was at this point that I decided to turn this into a separate post. Your thoughts?

30 thoughts on “On the binary paradigm in U.S. politics, with a digression on ‘false equivalence’

  1. Michael Bramson

    A lot of it comes from the system. It’s Political Science 101 kind of stuff that a first-past-the-post voting system, whether for President or for Congress, is likely to favor having only two major parties.

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  2. David Carlton

    What Michael Bramson said. If your objective is to actually get public policy done, you have to assemble a majority, and that can best be done with an organized political party. I’m not aware that Americans ever “decided” to have only two political parties. In fact, Americans have repeatedly tried to have more than two; in the 1850s the Know-Nothings and Republicans co-existed (and overlapped), the 1890s had the Populists, there was a significant Socialist Party in the Progressive era (plus the Bull Meese), and later we had the Dixiecrats, two different Wallace movements, and Perot. The system can’t tolerate that, though; As Richard Hofstadter once remarked, “third parties (the very term is telling) are like bees; they sting once, then they die.” If you actually want to get something done in public policy, there’s no substitute for engaging in partisan politics, and the choices in the end, at least in our system (parliamentary systems are different, and some would say better) boil down to two.

    Any rational political actor knows that there are problems with binary choices; they operate by foreclosing options that may be better but can’t get traction in either coalition, they exaggerate differences that work against compromise, they require working with people with whom you agree on some issues but not on others because on the whole you think your party’s policy constellation is better.

    But false equivalence is still false equivalence. I’ll persist in my insistence that there’s no equivalence between a party that believes in responsible government and one that basically regards government as the enemy, between a party that listens to scientists and one that routinely slanders them, between a party that seeks to be for everyone in the country and one that’s simply become a tribal expression of whiteness. I’m in very good company here, after all (see Ornstein, Norman).

    And finally, Brad–I can’t take your anti-Trump fulminations seriously as long as you continue to simultaneously insist that there’s no real difference between the parties. Trump matters because he’s the Republican nominee; he’s the choice of the GOP, the embodiment of its values. There’s no way Trump or any one like him would be the Democratic nominee, and there’s no way that our probable standard bearer can in any way be considered just as bad (I get enough of that swill from the Bernie Bros). That’s why all those “respectable” Republicans are falling into line behind him. To pretend otherwise–well, all I can say is that if you’re going to start accusing other people of self-righteousness you’d better first take a good, hard look in the mirror.

    Reply
    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      But I don’t insist that there’s no real difference between the parties.

      They’re different. I just strongly dislike both, for different reasons.

      And I LIKE both, for different reasons. As I said in a previous incarnation of this discussion, sometimes I agree with one party; sometimes with the other. (And it boggles my mind that anyone could feel comfortable in either camp all, or even most, of the time.)

      As for having “decided” to have two parties. Nothing I said indicates a conscious choice. Nor is it negated by the fact that, since (as Phillip said) our current two parties emerged as dominant around 1860, alternatives have tended to be temporary, ad hoc things, doomed to collapse as quickly as they rose up.

      And I assert that’s because we’re just not comfortable with anything other than two parties, no more and no less. I’d LIKE to see us break out of that, and this would be an excellent time to do so. But our habits of thought prevent it.

      And I don’t count, or take seriously, such ongoing “alternative” parties as the Libertarian. Talk about irrelevant — the overwhelming majority of libertarians in this country are Republicans. In fact, there are probably more libertarians in the Democratic Party (although far fewer than in the Repub) than there are adhering to the party that goes by that name.

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      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        Maybe if someone started a chapter of the Christian Democrats in this country, I could have a party.

        But I don’t know enough about European parties to be sure I’d fit in that.

        Pew says I’m in the “Faith and Family Left,” which means the person most likely to approach things the way I do would probably be a politically active black preacher circa 1965. And there aren’t all that many of those around these days…

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        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          And yeah, the aggressive secularism of the Democratic Party these days is one of my problems with it.

          Someone will argue with me, “But look at all the Catholic Democrats.” Yeah, you can be a Democrat and be Catholic, as long as you don’t actual believe stuff Catholics believe.

          OK, yeah there are exceptions, from Bob Casey to Vincent Sheheen. But those exceptions don’t change the rule….

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          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            I could have been a Democrat in 1960, before the party turned against the use of American power to advance our interests and ideals, embraced abortion and Identity Politics.

            For that matter, I could have been a Republican in 1960, before it turned to the Southern Strategy and decided that government was the problem, not the solution.

            I could have adhered to one and respected the other. Now I have trouble doing that. I just like some individual Democrats and Republicans, and dislike others…

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        2. Mprince

          No, you wouldn’t feel at home with Christian Democrats. Despite the name, they’re as secularized as the Social Democrats (i.e. democratic socialists). Bernie Sanders could be a Christian Democrat.

          No, you’d have to go back a ways to find a party to your liking. Maybe something like the old “Center” party. Then again, they practiced a kind of identity politics (Catholic identity), so probably not for you either.

          Guess you’ll just have to stick with either Dems or Reps after all. Or form your own “Goldilocks” party. Its motto could be simply: “We don’t accept anything less than Just Right”.

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          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            Now THAT sounds promising. :)

            But I wasn’t JUST saying that about Christian Democrats because of the faith aspect. I was also thinking of it as a center-right party — which may or may not be accurate. As I say, I’m not as conversant with European parties as I should be…

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            1. Harry Harris

              This is a good topic Brad has opened. I think that one of the stumblers we face is our tendency to over-label and over-categorize with little attention to detail. We make nouns of verbs to give ourselves a convenient box rather than dealing with those mind-taxing descriptors. When I hear a person say “I’m a conservative” I wonder “conservative What?” I wonder what he or she might want to conserve. Stay out of the box, Brad. You might be a moderately conservative Catholic Christian with militaristic tendencies who believes in equal rights for all – but fail to fit into that box perfectly.

              On the secularist issue, the church/state divide figures prominently into my calculations, and it’s never easy. My position is that religion should affect the culture, but never dictate public policy. In a secular government, neither force nor government resources should be used to promote or suppress religion, only to mediate (or sometimes suppress) behaviors that harm society or bystanders.

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              1. Brad Warthen Post author

                Your position on church-state seems similar to my own, at least on its face.

                I have a problem, though, with a lot of my friends who overdefine the separation, and get all worked up at anything they can even remotely connect with religion.

                For instance, Doug and Bud’s libertarian hackles rise straight up whenever I get nostalgic for blue laws. For them, this is direct imposition of theocracy.

                For me, it’s more of an anti-commercial thing, by which I mean, a yearning for an occasional break from our lives being ruled by commerce. It’s about injecting some sanity back into our weekly lives. It’s a very humanistic notion.

                One of the wonderful gifts that Thomas Cahill wrote of in <em>The Gifts of the Jews: How a Tribe of Desert Nomads Changed the Way Everyone Thinks and Feels</em> was the notion of a Sabbath Day. I take to heart this observation from the book:

                Sabbath

                Bottom line, he’s thanking the Jews for coming up with the idea of the weekend, which most of us appreciate. It’s about a chance to rest and recharge.

                Some people can’t get past the connection with God, and insist that instituting a civil day of rest is the equivalent of imposing doctrines and tithes upon the secular populace. But Jesus himself set us straight on that point. The sabbath isn’t for God; it’s for us: “The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath.”

                Anyway, I consider objections to something so sensible just because of a historical connection with religion to be a case of being too sensitive. We should be able to discuss a simple, humanistic idea such as a day off from commerce without people thinking it’s the return of the Inquisition…

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                1. Harry Harris

                  Aye, but should the Jew’s day off have to coincide with your sabbath? And should it separate him from his customers who want to shop and buy on Sunday?

                2. Brad Warthen Post author

                  No, it does not. Make it Tuesday if you like, if you can make a case for it.

                  But I think that would be hard. Sunday would be the least disruptive day to shut down (because a lot of things are closed already), and Saturday the second least disruptive. If you made it Tuesday, how do we get a weekend? Take off Monday or Wednesday as well?

                  Also, in the effort to avoid even the appearance (however faint) of an establishment of religion, you would institute an actual infringement on the free exercise thereof. All of a sudden people who are not accustomed to working on Sunday would have to, which would interfere with the ability of the church-goers among them to attend their worship services.

                  So bottom line, making it either Sunday or the original sabbath, Saturday, would create the fewest problems. Because, thousands of years after the Jews gave us this gift, the weekend is fairly institutionalized…

                3. Brad Warthen Post author

                  Harry’s mention of the Jewish sabbath reminds me of a story I’ve told here before, but bear with me. (In fact, I’ll just copy and paste most of it.)

                  My first job out of college was at The Jackson (TN) Sun. I was there for 10 years, and did a number of different jobs and learned a great deal.

                  Our paper’s biggest advertiser was Kisber’s department store, a local business owned and operated by a local family for three generations. The Kisbers were Jewish, but they were glad to close on Sundays, letting their Christian employees celebrate their Sabbath.

                  But Jonas Kisber had a business reason for liking that state of affairs — the Blue Laws kept the big, out-of-town chains from coming in and driving him out of business.

                  The newspaper’s position was that Blue Laws should go away. Our publisher would regularly hear complaints from Jonas on that score. We had plenty of occasion to hear from him. Aside from his status as advertiser, his wife was our “society” columnist and his son worked in the summers as a photography intern. The newspaper and the Kisbers were sort of a blended family.

                  Eventually, the paper got its way. Blue Laws went away. Goldsmith’s, a department store chain out of Memphis, opened a store in the mall. Within a year or so, Kisber’s was out of business.

                  One thing that story illustrates is how complicated real human life is. It also illustrates another thing about my concern for community. In that case, it wasn’t just about community values in terms of closing on Sunday. It was also about a beloved local business institution — a place oriented toward customer service, with clerks knowing their customers and their families — going away as the local retail scene became more McDonaldized. It was about the death of part of what small town life was about.

      2. Michael Bramson

        You rail against parties and closed primaries and the like all the time, but I’ve never seen you advocate for a position to solve it other than letting everyone vote in both primaries, which would make them not primaries at all. And willing people to suddenly be less partisan doesn’t seem likely to succeed. Would you support an amendment to move away from first-past-the-post voting? Decades of research suggest that this system favors two parties, suppresses “spoilers,” encourages tactical voting, rewards gerrymandering, and generally produces results that make people unhappy with the outcome.

        Reply
        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          I’d have to study that more to know what I think of it.

          Frankly, I’m less in favor of changing rules and more in favor of changing minds. Which is why I go on and on about this stuff.

          One thing I would like to change is the way district lines are drawn. I’d need help from demographers, cartographers, statisticians and computer programmers to come up with a specific proposal of HOW to do that, but the current business of allowing lawmakers to draw the lines for incumbent protection is the one, single systemic thing that I think is poisoning our politics the most.

          If legislative bodies weren’t so polarized by gerrymandering, we’d see issues debated in less black-and-white terms and there would be more collaboration and synthesis.

          Then, I might not hate the two parties so much..

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          1. Michael Bramson

            California transferred authority for redistricting from lawmakers to an independent (and “mulitpartisan” if that’s a word) commission. There are also a bunch of guidelines that they must adhere to. My impression is that it worked out quite well. The ballot initiative system actually paid off for the state in that case.

            The electoral reform question is quite complicated because even advocates for reform don’t all agree on what the best alternative system would be. “Ranked choice voting,” a.k.a. “instant runoff voting,” a.k.a. “alternative voting” to the British, is the most popular, and has worked pretty well in a bunch of local jurisdictions in the US, as well as in national elections in Australia, Ireland, and elsewhere. Worth looking up, although it gets pretty technical if you start reading a lot about it. I just don’t think we’re likely to get real change to the two party mindset without systemic reform.

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  3. Brad Warthen Post author

    I’m sitting here smiling because this discussion of “up and down, winners and losers” reminds me of a tirade Fritz Hollings used to go into when he’d come to visit us at the paper.

    He’d complain that he couldn’t get anyone in the media to discuss serious issues, because they were all about the horse race. He used our much-beloved dean of SC political writers, Lee Bandy, as a punching bag on such occasions, complaining that Lee would never talk with him about anything but partisan horserace stuff.

    This isn’t nearly as much fun in text, but try to imagine that Foghorn Leghorn voice booming, “Ah can’t get past thuh BAYUNDY HURDLE! The BANDY HURDLE! ‘Who’s up?! Who’s down?! Who’s winnin’?! Who’s losin?!’ Thuh BAYUNDY HURDLE!”

    We always got a kick out of it. Lee, if he was in the room, would just chuckle.

    Poor Bandy. Covering the horserace WAS his job, after all, and he did it well and with gusto.

    But while we loved him, and stuck up for him, I DID kind of sympathize with Fritz’ frustration with the media in general. The standard is to cover politics as though it were sports, in which there are always two teams on the field and one will win and one will lose, and that’s as far as discussion goes…

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  4. bud

    I wonder why that is — that it’s usually, if not always, liberals/Democrats. I have a couple of theories. The first is that, as holier-than-thou as the Republicans can be, it’s Democrats who are more fully convinced of their own virtue, and of the other sides’ failings.
    -Brad

    Let’s dissect this a bit. First of all since you lumped me in with several others I think it’s completely unfair and not true to suggest that all of us of the liberal persuasion think the same way about all, or even most, issues. Second, as I’ve maintained many, many times on this blog I’m a liberal, not a Democrat. And there are some issues that I side with conservatives, affirmative action comes to mind.

    But here’s the main problem I have with this absurd false equivalency thing. It comes across as forced. Like if you EVER say something bad about a Republican you feel it your duty to flounder around and find something to balance that out. It is beyond the pale to compare Bernie Sanders with Donald Trump. That is extremely offensive, yet you have done that on several occasions.

    Finally, the reason I tend to side with the Democrats so often is not because they are my “team” or that I like their mascot better or for some other trivial reason. It’s simply because I find that particular party very bad for the country. As proof I offer the years of the Bush administration. For most of that time the GOP ran roughshod over everything I hold dear. The got us into war under false pretenses, wrecked the economy, appointed offensive men to SCOTUS, and a whole host of other things that I find despicable.

    Today they disrespect the current Democratic president by standing in the way of his doing his job. It is especially odious that they refuse to consider his SCOTUS nominee. The only thing that stands between this band of typhoid Marys from completely ruining this great country is the very imperfect Democratic Party. That’s why it was so important to have Trump as the nominee. John Kasich would likely win the Presidency. And that would be an awful outcome for the country. Trump on the other is likely to lose.

    And this little ditty is especially laughable:

    Here’s my second theory: That Democrats/liberals agree with Republicans/conservatives in seeing the media as liberal, and it particularly irks Democrats when they see a media type going out of his way to lay Democrats’ sins alongside those of Republicans.
    -Brad

    No, no, a trillion times no. The media is very much not liberal. That’s absurd. It was the NY Times that served as a major cheerleader for the disastrous Iraq war. The conservatives have their own TV network for crying out loud. And then there’s talk radio with it’s echo chamber. Plus we have the NY Post and the Washington Times and the ever more hard right Wall Street Journal. So that claim is a big LOL moment.

    Reply
    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Bud, I didn’t “lump you in” with anyone. I did a search of who had used “false equivalence” in comments on the blog, and you were me of the handful who came up.

      It was a good group to be in, with some of our most thoughtful participants…

      Reply
      1. bud

        Thoughtful as Philip, Kathryn, SCL and Tim are it’s likely that we disagree on some issues. It’s also true that however misguided Doug and Bryan are :) I agree with them on occasion. Heck I’ve even found myself on your side a time or two. In fact I find many of my views nuanced and unique in many respects. All I’m saying here is if you find something disagreeable about Donald Trump or Ted Cruz or Mark Sanford say so for crying out loud without pointing out something disagreeable about Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren or Jim Clyburn (or visa versa) to make the same ole tired out point that the two parties are two sides of the same coin. It adds nothing to the conversation but only serves to annoy.

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    2. Brad Warthen Post author

      But now, to change gears…

      I wasn’t picking on you before, but now I will.

      You, and other smart people, refer to a “false equivalence.” Well, here’s a true equivalence for you.

      You, and partisan Republicans, share a habit of mind, and it is an extraordinarily dangerous one. It is making it more likely that Donald Trump will become president of the United States. And that makes the way you, and they, think outrageous, completely and utterly beyond the pale.

      You just said it yourself, echoing the arguments of Republicans everywhere:

      …it was so important to have Trump as the nominee. John Kasich would likely win the Presidency. And that would be an awful outcome for the country. Trump on the other is likely to lose.

      Do you see where I’m going with this? Yes — I’m calling you out for your absurd assertion that Kasich, a sensible center-right candidate, would be such an “awful outcome” for the country that it’s worth risking the election of Trump to prevent it. (Examine your words. You say Trump is “likely” to lose, which means it’s possible that he will win. That is a possibility you create, if you get your way, by promoting him for the nomination over Kasich.

      This is an almost perfect mirror image of the Republican belief that a Hillary Clinton presidency is unthinkable, an abomination that must be avoided at all costs. They say it over and over, and it’s absurd.

      If you and they get your way, you push Donald Trump closer to the White House. And I’m not going to be quiet about that for a moment. I love my country.

      The problem here — and this is where our discussions about parties over the last couple of days began — is that you and a lot of Democrats (which you don’t consider yourself to be, but for the purposes of this discussion, you’ll do), and those Republicans, and independents ALL need to understand something very basic.

      This is not like any other election we’ve had. Donald Trump is unlike anyone else who has ever won the nomination of either party. He is an outside of all norms.

      It is absolutely essential that Republicans understand that this is not business as usual; this is not just another guy you line up behind after a hard-fought primary campaign. This man would lead our nation (and has already led a significant portion of it) toward fascism; he really, truly would. That’s where he’s going.

      Democrats need to understand he is NOT the candidate you wish for because you think you can beat him — you absolutely do not EVER want anyone like this to be in a position to become commander in chief by default if his opposition implodes.

      And the rest of us need to understand the enormity of what is going on, and do what we can, short of violence, within the law, to stop him. At the very least, it involves turning out to vote for whomever is running against him (Kasich or someone else in the primary, Clinton or — if she is indicted or something — whomever the Dems put up in her place in the general).

      And I will keep raising the alarm. I’m not going to be able to stop the herdlike movement of the great mass of Republicans from voting for him. But if I can persuade one or two to see him as Graham and Sasse and the Bushes and Ryan and other good Republicans do, then I will have accomplished something at least, and that will help me to live with myself…
      .

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      1. bud

        Brad, it’s because of people like you that have me celebrating the nomination of Trump. You would have voted for Kasich but not for Trump. For the sake of discussion let’s say Kasich is a sensible center-right guy. But his victory, along with full control of congress by the GOP would be a very grave outcome for our country. And I won’t back down on that conviction because I too love my country.

        Reply
  5. Phillip

    We usually had some versions of two-party system before the Democrats and Republicans, though, too. Democrats vs. Whigs. Federalists vs. Democratic-Republicans. At the presidential level, with things designed as they are, it pretty much has to be that way, because if there were a consistently moderately strong third and/or fourth party, it would be more likely to have elections with no majority in the Electoral College, more elections decided by the House of Representatives a la 1824.

    What I often wonder is how we’d function with a parliamentary system and a prime minister instead, and under that scenario, with three or four political parties. It’ll never happen, probably, but fun to ponder. Of course, I guess that means we would been having President Boehner or Ryan recently.

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  6. Phillip

    Brad, the feeling that Bud or others may have had regarding Trump being a preferable nominee because he was more likely to lose, has nothing to do with Trump being the nominee. You can’t pin that on him or Democrats who may have thought that.

    The GOP made Trump their nominee. Republican voters bear the responsibility, entirely. They created the conditions to have such a person become a nominee. Only in the modern (post-Ford) GOP could such a person become a Presidential candidate. Trump ends the “false equivalence” debate about which party has gone further to the extreme, once and for all. (Especially if you consider the second place candidate was Ted Cruz). I hope a saner, more moderate-humane-conservatism arises from the ashes when this is all over.

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    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      There’s no cause and effect, which is why I worded it the way I did. I said that if Bud gets his way, it’s possible Trump becomes president. Whereas if a sane Republican were the nominee, that would be impossible.

      But my main point was the near mirror-image attitude Bud shares with the Republicans. They see a Clinton presidency as a disaster. Bud sees ANY Republican presidency, even that of a moderate conservative like Kasich, the same way.

      This absolutism is leading our country to a very dangerous place, because that is the phenomenon that will lead millions of Republcans who don’t like Trump to vote for him.

      People have to get over this routine demonization of everyone in the “other” party. The belief that no matter how flawed your own candidate is, anyone in the other party is automatically worse is a cancer on our political life…

      Reply
      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        To put it more succinctly.

        Bud can’t see why Trump is so much worse than Kasich that it’s a danger to the country for him to get the nomination.

        Republicans (most of them, that is) can’t see why Trump is so much worse than Hillary Clinton that they should suck it up and vote for her….

        It’s the same kind of blindness, caused by the same problem — partisan absolutism. “The worst of ours is better than the best of theirs.”

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  7. Bill

    “I wonder why that is….”

    Maybe because, as is the case with many folks, you take your biases for virtues.

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    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      That’s an odd answer to the question, which is “Why is it that it’s always the liberals who accuse me of ‘false equivalence.'”

      A reference to my alleged failings hardly seems to address that question.

      Reply

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