Surviving Political Tribalism
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In a recent nationwide poll, 71% of the general public agreed that witnesses should be required to testify at Donald Trump’s senate impeachment trial. That is, until some learned their political tribe leaders stood against it. Those in the Republican political tribe realized their faction wasn’t supporting witness testimony and, thus, they couldn’t either. Predictively, support for witnesses being called to testify at the senate trial declined to a little over 50%, with Republicans having withdrawn their approval. Common sense would lean towards hearing from witnesses and gathering as much facts and information as possible for a trial, but once the tribe leaders had spoken, common sense flew out the window. Why can’t we admit when the “other side” has a good idea? How do we live with hypocrisy and bias? What is naïve realism?
Daniel Stalder, Ph.D., is a professor of psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. He’s received awards for his teaching and research. His recent book is The Power of Context: How to Manage Our Bias and Improve Our Understanding of Others. Dr. Stalder has written articles about political tribalism, hypocrisy, bias, and individual differences, and he has also been interviewed and published by outlets such as The Atlantic, The Verge, and NPR.