(Trends Wide) — There are Democratic and Republican politicians ruling, and we refer to them as Democrats and Republicans in this text because that is how they vote.
But those words don’t paint the whole picture.
On the left, there are Democrats like Joe Manchin, worried about debt; Democrats like Joe Biden looking to cement a legacy; and Democrats like Elizabeth Warren who want to change the social fabric.
The same is true on the right.
There are Republicans like Donald Trump who attack democracy; Republicans like Liz Cheney who are horrified by it; and Republicans like Mitch McConnell who just want to move on.
And what kind of a Republican is Senator Lisa Murkowski from Alaska? She is a supporter of abortion rights and voted to convict Trump in one of his impeachment trials. She announced Friday that she will run for reelection as a Republican.
Different types of American political animals
A large new Pew Research Center poll, conducted mostly in July, divides the US electorate into nine distinct political groups, which Pew calls a “political typology.” It’s something he’s been working on periodically since the 1980s, but the results released this week are based on a much larger sample.
Republicans, in this view, are a coalition of four subgroups:
- Conservatives of Faith and Flag
- Committed conservatives
- Populist right
- Ambivalent right
The Democrats are also a coalition of four subgroups:
- Progressive Left
- Establishment liberals
- Grassroots Democrats
- External left
A large portion of the public – 15% – makes up Pew’s ninth group: people who feel marginalized and stressed. They are people who do not have a clear partisan orientation, have a mixture of conservative and liberal opinions, and may not participate in elections.
Read Pew’s descriptions of all these groups of people.
The descriptions are interesting in part because the Republican caricature of the Democrats is that they are socialists. The progressive left, however, makes up the smallest proportion of both the general public and those who vote or lean Democratic.
Likewise, the Republican Party is much more than the populist right supporting Trump than recent Democratic slogans would have you believe. Pew found that a large section of GOP supporters would back away from Trump just as quickly.
Republicans are divided on their level of support for business, their support for low taxes and their commitment to banning abortion, according to the poll.
Democrats are divided on the role of religion in society and on how to address racial inequality.
Race is the issue that casts the most partisan divisions. When it comes to race, the vast majority of all Democratic subgroups think that much more needs to be done to ensure equal rights. In all Republican subgroups it is less than a quarter.
What type is Manchin?
The typology is difficult to apply to individual people, like Manchin.
I think Manchin would fit somewhere in the grassroots column, but he’s a special case. It hasn’t influenced Biden’s agenda as much as it has rewritten the whole thing.
Exercising the extreme power of his one decisive vote, Manchin changed the format of the social spending bill, the one that Biden wants Congress to pass to complement the big infrastructure bill he intends to sign Monday.
Manchin’s objections so far:
Manchin is not done yet.
This week he expressed frustration that the bill includes additional tax credits of $ 4,500 for electric vehicles made in the United States and assembled with union labor. These credits would be in addition to the tax credits for non-US-made, non-union-assembled vehicles.
If Manchin decides he wants to wait until next year to vote on the social security bill in the Senate, Democrats will have to. They need your vote.
You can appreciate the courage of their convictions and feel frustrated by their power. If Democrats had won just one more Senate seat in 2020, this would not be happening.
He also represents the fact that a big top makes a majority. All the Democrats who cry that he is not committed to party principles sound a lot like Trump whining about the “RINOs” (“Republicans in Name Only”) whose biggest transgression is opposing the former president’s assault on democracy.
On climate change
Speaking of political parties, another interesting poll was released by the Washington Post and ABC News on the electorate’s views on climate change on Friday.
It comes as the countries meeting in Scotland are struggling to finalize a working agreement to reduce climate change, which has a lot to do with reducing the use of coal.
It also comes as the Democrats’ plan to combat climate change, mostly wrapped up in their social spending bill, is at the mercy of Manchin, who represents a state that identifies with coal.
The vast majority of Americans – 70% – say the federal government should regulate greenhouse gas emissions, according to the survey. That includes 90% of Democrats and 73% of independents. It also includes 47% of Republicans.
In fact, Republicans are evenly split: 47% say the government should regulate greenhouse gases and 46% say it shouldn’t. 7% are undecided. And yet party leaders have essentially formed a blockade against action to address climate change in the Senate.
This may be related to the fact that the poll also reveals a growing partisan divide on climate change. Democrats ‘concern has increased while Republicans’ has decreased. The proportion of Americans who say global warming is a serious problem – two-thirds – has not changed in the past seven years, according to the Post-ABC poll.
This is the great problem in American politics. The American people are not divided equally into two groups. But his government is built as if it were.