Welcome to Biased Politics! Welcome to the world where our President is a reality-denying, white nationalism stoking, reality television star. Welcome to the world where our nation’s top regulators are currently titans of industry in the same industry they are tasked with regulating. Welcome to the world of Freddie Gray, Trayvon Martin, Black Lives Matter and its backlash. Welcome to Fox News, fake news and Breitbart. This is us. This is who we are now. This didn’t happen by accident.
How did we get here? Well, ask a thousand people that question and you’ll get at least a thousand answers. This site may be my version of the answer, but it’s also an exploration of how our everyday biases make an impact on our social and political world. In the posts to come, I’ll explore how Trump’s ridiculous self confidence draws many to admire him. I’ll explore why I can’t watch Fox News or take Breitbart seriously, but millions can only watch Fox News and get their information about the world from sites like Breitbart. I’ll explore how the splintering of media allows us to only read, see and hear opinions we already agree with. I’ll write about how early human civilizations affected our evolution in a way that makes us fearful of ‘the other’. I’ll detail how this fear of ‘the other’ has been exploited over the years to scapegoat minorities and perpetuate stereotypes. I’ll write about the Democratic Party’s lack of narrative and self-destruction when selling out to corporate interests.
This is my attempt at understanding the politics we are in today. Many others have and will seek to answer these questions thru a historical perspective, realpolitik perspective, sociological perspective or race and gender normative perspective. I choose to understand our political environment through a psychological lens because once you see it in this viewpoint, you no longer see groups of people stereotyping ‘them’, you no longer just see ‘white working class voters’ or ‘African American turnout’ or ‘red state vs blue state’. Seeing our politics thru the lens of how humans think and behave boils us down to individuals. We are individuals with imperfect ideas, organizing ourselves in imperfect ways. Come on this journey with me to understand how these imperfections, how these individual biases in our brains, interact with the real word we have thus created. These biases and the heuristic approach we often take in decision making allow us to elect a black man as President and an orange ego-manic as his successor.
Why care what I have to say? Good question, rhetorical device I just used asking my own question just to answer it. Good question, indeed. I’m not a psychologist. I’m not a professor of psychology. I’m not many things (a professional yo-yo artist, quarterback for the Cleveland Browns – yet, winner of America’s Next Top Model – yet). Who I am is someone who has worked in politics on electoral campaigns for over a decade. I am someone who has studied politics and government (my Bachelor’s degree in political science). I am someone who has personally spoken with thousands of undecided voters listening to what they care about. I am someone who has built relationships with hundreds of activists across the country who become active in politics for different reasons. I am among the best in my field in managing field programs to win votes for candidates and causes.
Much of the discussion about the nexus of psychology and politics is happening today in psychology journals, in social psychology classrooms and in a few political research and consulting firms. I’d like to take that discussion and bring it to a wider audience – to you. I’d like to have discussions with you about how the illusion of confidence creates movie stars and bad politicians. I’d like to have discussions with you about how selling out to corporate interests from politicians on the left (welfare reform in the ’90s, deregulation of our markets, privatization of every industry, etc) has not only led to disastrous policies, but it’s led to a weakened narrative about the Democratic Party and what liberalism stands for. It’s this weakened narrative that allows the Democratic Party to be defined by what it isn’t rather than what it is – which has led to its current downfall. I will discuss all this and more in the upcoming articles. Stay with me, check back regularly, keep an open mind about who you are and who ‘they’ are – however you define ‘they’. Welcome to Biased Politics.