San Francisco people won't be happy until Dallas is just like them - but they insist they need to force that change in the name of tolerance and diversity.
Of course, there is nothing about tolerance and diversity that is implemented with hostile intent. Yet if people from San Francisco would get to know people in Dallas, and vice versa, rather than relying on stereotypes and caricatures, it would help their ability to form close relationships, and even make them nicer people, according to William Chopik, Michigan State University assistant professor of psychology.
Yet few want to give any ground. California got a bullet-proof majority of blue in the state and forced the 35% of red voters into 20% of the Congressional districts, making them irrelevant. It is only a matter of time before a red state does the same thing to its minority. Yet neither side thinks there is anything wrong with it, because they believe it is imperative they do so - and all of the people they know agree.
The findings are exciting during an election year - primarily because it feeds into confirmation bias about politics, and that is where social psychology shines. In their Social Psychological and Personality Science paper, the authors looked at national survey data of 19,162 people, looking for political orientation, ideological climate and personality measures such as anxiety and avoidance (survey items include "I try to avoid getting too close to others" and "I sometimes try to understand my friends better by imagining how things look from their perspective").
They correlated living among politically dissimilar others with a psychological effect on people. These political "misfits" had difficulty depending on and accepting the viewpoints of others. Further, rather than assimilate or alter their dispositions to be more similar to their neighbors, they withdrew from relationships.
"Because living among politically dissimilar others is associated with a reduced sense of belonging, ideological misfits may feel as though they cannot reliably depend on the people around them," the paper claims.
So it's not a surprise if Clinton supporters don't know any Trump supporters - they don't want to know them, it might ruin the demagoguery - and likewise for the other side. Political segregation is comfortable. In many cases, much of segregation is by choice, people want to be around people like them, in culture and in beliefs: They just don't want to be told they can't live among whomever they choose.
"Obviously, Trump supporters exist, and Clinton supporters exist, but people are choosing an environment where the other side doesn't exist," Chopik said. "As people continue segregating themselves into geographic areas according to political ideology, it's important to understand the psychological states of the individuals living in these discordant communities."