“You’re Actually Rooting for the Clothes”

As I have aged, I have lost interest in both sports fandom and partisan politics at about the same time.

Those prone to name-calling cannot resist discounting me as a “Democrat” or the ever-popular “Liberal,” although I am neither.

New research suggests that I have good reason for my disdain for fandom and partisan politics:


The distinction between a person’s ideological identity and their issue positions has come more clearly into focus in recent research. Scholars have pointed out a significant difference between identity-based and issue-based ideology in the American electorate. However, the affective and social effects of these separate elements of ideology have not been sufficiently explored. Drawing on a national sample collected by SSI and data from the 2016 ANES, this article finds that the identity-based elements of ideology are capable of driving heightened levels of affective polarization against outgroup ideologues, even at low levels of policy attitude extremity or constraint. These findings demonstrate how Americans can use ideological terms to disparage political opponents without necessarily holding constrained sets of policy attitudes.

And we need to look no further than a Seinfeld skit to understand this succinctly: