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Exploring the dynamics and power of tribal partisan identities

Exploring the dynamics and power of tribal partisan identities
MinnPost file illustration by Jaime Anderson

Perhaps you’ve noticed that in most developed democracies there are more than two relevant parties. Not here.

Since the emergence of the Republican Party in the Lincoln era (replacing the Whigs as one of the two major parties), every president has been a Republican or a Democrat. And only once (in 1912, when retired Republican President Theodore Roosevelt attempted a comeback and ran as a Bull Moose Progressive and came in second) has any presidential candidate other than a Dem or a Repub even finished in the top nor anywhere near second (the most successful of these, in terms of popular vote, was Ross Perot in 1992, whose 19 percent of the popular vote netted him zero electoral votes).

In no other democracy have the same two parties retained such a stranglehold. Personally, I’m not a big admirer of this ironclad duopoly. I assume most Americans don’t think about it much or about why and how multiple parties are able to thrive more in other democracies or whether this makes the politics better or worse. I probably think about it too much. There’s no perfect system.

But Sunday’s presidential election results from France, following ours of last year, got me thinking about our system — especially about the dynamic between partisanship and identity.

A changing dynamic

Over the recent decades of rising partisanization in America, the degree to which Democrats and Republicans see their party affiliation as a core element of their identity is reflected in a poll question, used since the 1960s, in which Americans were asked if they would be upset if their son or daughter married someone from the “other” party. In 1960, the last year of the bland “I Like Ike” era, only 4 percent of Democrats and 5 percent of Republicans said it would bother them.

In 2008, that number increased to 20 percent of Democrats and 27 percent of Republicans, according to a poll by YouGov. By 2010, that number had leapt to 33 percent and 49 percent, respectively.

It’s an impressive trendline. While the portion of Americans who said they would be upset if their son or daughter married someone of another race or religion went steadily down over these decades, the portion of Republicans who would be upset to have a Democratic son-or-daughter-in-law went up tenfold and the Dem number went up sevenfold.

And by the way, according to research by Shanto Iyengar, director of Stanford's political communications lab, this feeling had almost nothing to do with a growing positive feeling by partisans toward their own party. It had almost everything to do with growing negative feelings toward the other party.

Consider the possibility, based on all of the above, that as a statement of their own tribalized partisan identity, more and more voters are casting a vote less in favor of their own tribe’s nominee but against the nominee of the enemy tribe.

Comparison with France

Hold that thought and let’s switch to the comparison of the recent elections in France and the United States.

Early last year, more than a few Democrats relished the idea that Donald Trump might win the Republican nomination, because they believed that he would alienate so many “normal” Republicans as to be unelectable. Starting in August, the Clinton campaign ran ads, targeted at Republicans, portraying Trump as so dangerous and so despicable that even loyal Republicans had to break party ranks.

If that strategy had worked, Clinton would have won not only the popular vote but the electoral vote as well. But it didn’t work. According to exit polls, the share of self-identified Republicans who crossed over and voted for Hillary Clinton (8 percent) was the same as the share of Democrats who said they voted for Trump (8 percent).

(I know that many who voted for Trump said they didn’t like him but believed he was better than Clinton. Personally, I think the negative stories about Clinton that so offended her detractors – Benghazi, her email server blunder, etc. – pale in comparison to the scandals, lies, policy incoherence, racism, sexism, predatory business practices, etc., that might have persuaded Republicans to break ranks on Election Day.)

You can dismiss that as my bias, fine. Either way, it fits with the argument I’m making here that tribal partisan identities are very powerful, and more and more Americans feel an increasingly powerful tribal partisanship as part of their identity.)

Now to La Belle France for a moment:

No primaries

For starters, their system of choosing a president is quite different from ours. No primaries. Each party has an internal mechanism of choosing a presidential candidate. In most cases, the party leader who will be the party’s presidential candidate has been the party leader for a while.

The winner this year, President-elect Emmanuel Macron, is unusual in this regard because his party, “En Marche!” is a brand new party, founded by him for the purpose of his presidential bid. Under the French system, the general election, which is the only election, is a two-stage process with all party nominees on the first-round ballot and the top two first-round finishers facing off in a second round.

A couple of obvious points of difference with our system:

They don’t have a year’s worth of elections comparable to our primaries. Supporters of many parties have the chance to vote for their real true first choice in the first round without having to worry about the “wasted vote” argument that applies in U.S. politics, for example to the Green and Libertarian Party voters. And it is essentially guaranteed that the president-elect will have received a majority of the votes in the second and final round, which seems like a good thing for the legitimacy of the new president. Our system guarantees neither a majority nor even a plurality vote winner, and, at present, we have a president who won neither the majority nor a plurality of all votes cast.

11 candidates on ballot

In France this year, 11 candidates, the nominees of 11 parties, were on the ballot in the first round. In round one, seven minor parties divided about 15 percent of the vote (but, as I mentioned above, at least their supporters could vote for them in this round without “wasting” their vote on a hopeless cause, because they would get a chance to cast a meaningful vote on the second round).

The other roughly 85 percent of the total first round vote was divided fairly evenly among the four biggest parties. Macron led the first round with just 24 percent. The vital battle for second place was quite close. The National Front’s Marine Le Pen squeaked into the finals with 21 percent, followed by François Fillon of the center-right “Republican” Party with 20 percent and Jean-Luc Mélenchon (whose socialist-leaning party La France insoumise translates as something like France Unsubmissable) at 19.5 percent.

So those four parties totaled 85 percent of the vote. By a narrow margin, Macron and Le Pen won the right to face off in the final. Everything favored Macron in the finals; he ended up actually exceeding expectations with his landslide 66-34 percent victory.

Those numbers mean that of the roughly 55 percent of voters who voted for neither of the finalists in the first round, more than three-quarters of them voted for Macron. Macron was expected to win, but his margin exceeded expectations. There may be a lot of ways to explain the result, but I want to link up with the rant at the top about the connection between partisanship and “identity.”

Republican identity

In the United States, the majority of votes in the Republican primaries were cast for a candidate other than Donald Trump. Of course, in a big field (17 candidates at one point), winning less than a majority in a field of 17 isn’t an insult to Trump. But given the dynamics of this race, the radical strangeness of Trump’s policy positions, many of which combined falsehoods, incoherence, inconsistency and deviations from Republican orthodoxy, and; considering that many party activists were trying to the very end to find a way to block his nomination, it’s reasonable to assume that many Republicans, at various points during the year, were horrified by the idea of Trump representing their party or as their president.

And yet, as mentioned above, 90 percent of Republicans, many of whom had viewed him with horror a few months earlier, voted for him. Why?

In the spirit of the argument I set up at the top, I would say that some portion of the explanation is that “Republican” is part of their identity, and it’s hard to vote against your identity. And the powerful pull of your political tribal identity will supply some explanation for sticking with your tribe, for minimizing your objections to your tribe’s new chief and maximizing your objections to the chief of the “other” tribe.

France's final round: the dynamics

The same thing might be true in France, but there’s the big difference: The majority of voters in the second round of the French vote were neither members of Tribe Macron nor Tribe Le Pen. Their tribes didn’t have a candidate in the final round and so were freer to take more seriously Le Pen’s disqualifying qualities, the sort-of racism, the sort-of fascism, the radical nature of her statement and policies vis-à-vis immigrants, the Euro and French participation in the European Union. Almost everyone who shared her views on those issues was already in her party and voted for her in both rounds. A relative few, who presumably liked her message but voted for someone else in the first round, switched to her in the second round.

But the “tractor beam” of partisan identity did not exert its powerful pull on those roughly 55 percent of French voters who were aligned with neither Macron’s En Marche! nor Le Pen’s National Front. Free of that incentive to ignore Le Pen’s unsavory qualities, they switched overwhelmingly to the less objectionable Macron.

By the way, that “tractor beam” reference derives from a powerful magnetic force represented in science fiction, and was also a nod to my friend Larry Jacobs, the U of M political scientist, who used the idea of a tractor beam associated with partisan identity way back in May to caution against the idea that Donald Trump was unelectable, back when the unelectability of Trump was conventional wisdom.

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Comments (38)

Tribal?

Political Party's are not tribes. These references to "tribalism" in contexts like this, by writers with Eurocentric tendencies are almost always colonial denigrations that insult native cultures. In this context a the word "tribe" is a derogatory reference to "primitive" society or groups, as if they have no place in civilized societies. Real tribes exist, and real people are members of those tribes. We can discuss our politics without insulting those people. The characteristics of "tribalism" referred to in discussions like this have little or nothing to do with actual tribes, tribal societies, or tribal customs. So let's give the cultural genocide a break and stop referring to our political dysfunctions, bigotry, and intolerance as: "tribal" characteristics, as if such "civilized" society has disposed of such negative qualities.

Aside from that, I'm finding this narrative of division increasingly curious. If you really drill into issues you actually find a lot agreement by significant majorities. "Populists" after all would not populists if they didn't appeal to significant number of people in some way. The problem isn't a divided electorate, it's a political system that services the elite under the guise of serving the electorate. The curtain one way or another has been pulled back and people have seen the wizard, and the wizard cannot be "unseen" now that he's been revealed. It's interesting to see a media that's largely accustomed to servicing the same elite try to deal with a surge of anti-elitism. I mean, whats the "crises" here? Normal people would say that health care, stagnate and retracting middle classes, "austerity", wealth disparity, environmental catastrophes, etc. are the "crises". Yet the media consistently portrays "populism" and the demand for true democratic representation as the "crises". The crises isn't government's inability to respond to popular demands, the crises is the fact that people are demanding responses from their governments. Go figure.

Good piece

Sadly (at least in most circumstances), I think there IS something to the idea of a "tractor beam" and party becoming part of identity for (in my view) far too many citizens.

I sometimes voted for Republicans when I lived in Missouri (my first half-century), and sometimes for Democrats. Missouri didn't require me to register as a member of a particular party in order to vote in the primary, and the available choices sometimes included Socialist, American Freedom, Patriot, Green and other party labels. When I lived in Colorado, I had to register as either Democrat or Republican if I wanted to vote in the primary, and then, once registered, I could ONLY vote in the primary of the party for which I was registered. A vote for the Green Party candidate or for some other, even more obscure group's candidate, was, in practice, a wasted vote. I found that system so unsatisfactory in multiple ways that I was an official party member for only one presidential cycle. Since then, including my tenure in Minnesota, I've officially been an "independent" voter. I'm not, and not likely to be, a party loyalist.

In recent years, as the Republican party has drifted or been driven to the right, I've found it more and more difficult to find a Republican candidate I could support, even when I was less-than-enthused about the Democratic one, but I'd certainly be willing to support a Republican if the right one came along. Jennifer Carnahan, recently elected to lead the state GOP, ran for state senate (if memory serves me correctly) in my district, and we even exchanged a couple of emails during her campaign. Her campaign positions were out of step with much of the right wing rhetoric coming from other Republicans, and frankly, as a female entrepreneur of recent immigrant heritage, I thought she'd be more accurately labeled as a pro-business Democrat in today's political climate. But it also seemed possible that she was simply dealing with political reality in a Minneapolis district so heavily Democratic, and with a popular incumbent, that she stood a far better chance if she ran as a Republican, regardless of her personal views and policy preferences.

And, it occurs to me since her election to head the state party, maybe part of her dream, and part of her chosen task, is to drag the Republican Party away from what I view as its current ideological and policy dead end, and move it back toward the center, where it will be much easier for moderates to support Republican candidates. While I tend to lean left, I've never been comfortable with the ideological rigidity that's increasingly required to be considered a member of either of our two dominant political parties. I'm well aware of some of the hyperbole surrounding left-ish policy positions, just as there's plenty of it around some of the policy proposals of people on the right. I think the past 20 years or so demonstrate fairly effectively—and at every level from local to national—that trying to govern from the extremes, while perhaps emotionally and ideologically satisfying for whoever is in office and their supporters (including me, occasionally), doesn't work very well in the day-to-day lives of most people, and is largely a failure in the arena of public policy.

The only thing in the middle of the road...

Is yellow lines and dead armadillos. The problem isn't attempts to govern from one extreme or the other, the problem attempting to govern from the right, when the right doesn't believe in governing or government. There is no liberal, much less extreme liberal voice on the American landscape at a time when we desperately need that voice. Well, we have guys like Sanders and Ellison but they're struggling to break through elite firewalls.

I think the biggest problem American's face is this bizarre assumption that centrism is some kind of political panacea that breaks deadlocks and delivers progress. Centrism would have us ignore the best solutions simply because they lie one side or the other rather than in the middle. That's a form of social, cultural, and political suicide for any nation, and THAT explains our lack of progress for the last 50 years, not partisan driven deadlock. Partisan deadlock would have been a Democratic Party demanding Medicare for all facing off against a Republican Party demanding a pure health care "market" for the last 40 years... that's not what we've had. The truth is if Democrats had pushed for a single payer system back in 90s we'd have it by now.

Ever notice how. . .

The word "unelectable" rhymes with "detestable"? Not meaning to be cute or funny, but, really, in this case, it seems to me to be the truth - at least it is for me. I so agree with paragraph no. 4 under the headline, "Comparison with France", where Eric stated that the negative stories regarding Hillary Clinton "pale in comparison to the scandals, lies, policy incoherence, racism, sexism, predatory business practices, etc., that might have persuaded Republicans to break ranks on Election Day."

This latest business with the firing of Comey is just one more thing that doesn't add up. If Obama had done anything remotely like this, he would have already been impeached. I believe President Trump gave the reason as being that Comey "wasn't doing a good job". Well, in that case . . . once again, I'm remembering Richard Nixon.

Suggestions

I believe we can go a long way toward supporting more than two parties by requiring candidates to receive a majority of votes to get elected. No more pluralities. (Remember that Jesse Ventura got only 38% of the vote when he was elected governor and became a national Minnesota joke.) Instant runoff voting seems to be the best vehicle for accomplishing this, though it could not apply to presidential races without serious changes to the constitution. That and - even more important - getting big money out of politics (a type of corruption, in my opinion) are the two most important changes that should be made in American elections.

Let's do something about it

These tribal identities are very sad indeed and are ruining the country. So why don’t Democrats, who are more tolerant and accepting of opposite point of view, stop demonizing Republicans and Conservatives? I mean it’s enough to read what commenters here are saying… or step a foot on any college property… Speaking of which, it’s another reason Democrats should start the process – their overwhelming advantage in colleges where they keep breeding this tribal approach…

“Personally, I think the negative stories about Clinton that so offended her detractors – Benghazi, her email server blunder, etc. – pale in comparison to the scandals, lies, policy incoherence, racism, sexism, predatory business practices, etc., that might have persuaded Republicans to break ranks on Election Day.” Here we go – Clinton’s faults, even though very specific and dangerous to country’s security, are minors while Trump’s are always unforgivable… never mind that there is no proof that he is racist and sexist but name calling is easy and wins points…

By the way, did anyone notice that Macron is a newcomer to politics, similar to Trump?

Bad, Bad Democrats!

"So why don’t Democrats, who are more tolerant and accepting of opposite point of view, stop demonizing Republicans and Conservatives?" Are you telling us that Republicans and Conservatives are less tolerant and accepting of other points of view? If so, it sounds like they are the problem.

"[N]ever mind that there is no proof that he is racist and sexist but name calling is easy and wins points…" No proof apart from his many unfiltered statements that is. Well, consider his business practices, too, but apart from those two items, no, no proof.

"By the way, did anyone notice that Macron is a newcomer to politics, similar to Trump?" No, probably because he is not. This is his first elected office, but M. Macron served as a civil servant, and was a deputy minister and Minister of Economy, Industry, and Digital Affairs for two years. He is also has a master's degree in public policy and is a graduate of the famed ENA.

He has also had only one wife.

Just saying

“Are you telling us that Republicans and Conservatives are less tolerant and accepting of other points of view?” No, I am just saying that Democrats always say that they are more tolerant and accepting than Republicans…

“No proof apart from his many

“No proof apart from his many unfiltered statements that is.” First, actions are way more important than words, but what statements? And what business practices?

Macron was a minister – an executive position, which Trump did all his life. What’s the difference between business and government in this case? Or you want to tell me that government is more efficient than a private business? And what does it matter how many wives a person has had?

Welcome to the USA in 2017!

"First, actions are way more important than words, but what statements? And what business practices?" You must be new here. If not, there is no reason for me to review the catalog of sexist remarks which, while perhaps constituting "fake news," still show a remarkably bad attitude towards women (giving Daddy's Favorite Girl a sinecure in his organization has to be balanced against his creepy comments about would he want to date her). As for racism, look at his comments about the Central Park Five, or the big fines paid by the Trump Organization to settle racial discrimination claims (no one who knows about these things believes "settling without admission of liability" is anything other than a full confession).

As far as actions being "way more important than words," I recommend you read George Orwell's essay Politics and the English Language.

"What’s the difference between business and government in this case?" Plenty. Those who claim running the government is just like running a business have no idea how one or both of them work. Government serves different ends than a business, and has different factors to consider. By way of example, the Constitution does no impose restrictions on the actions of real estate developers.

"Or you want to tell me that government is more efficient than a private business?" Different does not imply superiority.

"And what does it matter how many wives a person has had?" Ask the family values crowd. I'm one of those dissolute liberals who don't give a rat's hindquarters for a person's private life, provided said person isn't trying to make the rules for everyone else.

. “there is no reason for me

. “there is no reason for me to review the catalog of sexist remarks which, while perhaps constituting "fake news," still show a remarkably bad attitude towards women.” Yes there is because then we can examine each and every one on its sexism… It is a popular perception but not necessarily a correct one…

“…big fines paid by the Trump Organization to settle racial discrimination claims…” We all know that government is eager to find businesses guilty of discrimination even if there is none. Just recently a bank in Minnesota (Chaska?) was sued for discrimination in an absolutely ludicrous case…

Sure, running the government and running the business are not exactly the same things but running the government may benefit from using some of the running the business technique… I would say that running a business is a better resume line than being a community organizer…

I don’t care about people private lives even though I am not a liberal… so one or seven wives doesn’t make any difference…

By the way, are Democrats more tolerant and understanding?

"By the way, are Democrats more tolerant and understanding?"

That depends. Are we raising a fit about who uses which bathroom, and then pretending it's all about privacy or safety?

Are we saying whom a person should be allowed to marry?

Are we forcing ourselves into the private health decisions of women, and then claiming it's all about religious freedom/personal responsibility/fiscal prudence?

They do

1. Yes, liberals are raising a fit about who uses which bathrooms – they started with laws to mandate who is permitted where; somehow, it worked before without that mandate. 2. Yes, liberals do say who a person should be allowed to marry: same sex is OK but several persons of the opposite sex is not. 3. Yes, liberals force themselves into private morality and creativity decisions of people when they mandate making a cake or bouquet (an art form) for same sex weddings and providing contraception against people’s religious beliefs and then claim it is all about equality (even though contraception is readily and cheaply available in any store). And finally, even you said "it depends." So are liberals tolerant and understanding of conservative position?

To the Contrary

1. "Somehow, it worked before the mandate," unless you were transgender and the conservatives decided this was a good wedge issue.

2. "Yes, liberals do say who a person should be allowed to marry: same sex is OK but several persons of the opposite sex is not." Who brought up polygamy? And why?

3. " Yes, liberals force themselves into private morality and creativity decisions . . ." By enforcing anti-discrimination laws.

You and your conservative brethren need to disabuse yourselves of the notion that "tolerance" means a person should be allowed to discriminate against/demonize people or a group of people just because someone tells you a way to articulate your bigotry in a way that seems to give moral cover. Feel free to despise whom you like, for whatever reason. Feel free to come up with patently transparent reasons for that hatred. Just do not expect that hatred and bigotry to be protected by law.

And yes, it's hatred and bigotry even if it is based on religion. And yes, you're defending it.

1. Obviously it worked before

1. Obviously it worked before since it was not an issue ever being raised until probably 10 years ago. Does it work for left handed people that all cars have wheels on the left and they need to use right hands to shift gears? 2. I brought polygamy because there is no logical reason to support same sex marriage but not polygamy… 3. So who decides which class is protected and, therefore, may use anti-discrimination laws, and which one is not? Obese people have always been discriminated against and pretty people always have an advantage… Christians are being killed in some countries just for being Christians – does it remind you something?

Liberals should get off the

Liberals should get off the high horse and admit that selecting “discriminated” is subjective and is based on politics of the times, especially when it comes to clashing interests of different “discriminated” groups… And please stop attributing “hatred and bigotry” to people you know little about. And of course, the most difficult thing is to be tolerant and understanding of other people’s ideas, not their behavior, and it looks like you avoid answering this question of mine…

These tribal identities are

These tribal identities are very sad indeed and are ruining the country. So why don’t Democrats, who are more tolerant and accepting of opposite point of view, stop demonizing Republicans and Conservatives? I mean it’s enough to read what commenters here are saying… or step a foot on any college property… Speaking of which, it’s another reason Democrats should start the process – their overwhelming advantage in colleges where they keep breeding this tribal approach…

It is clear that the

It is clear that the white-nationalist end of the alt-right(embraced by the Republicans) and the racist/sexist end of the Republican-aligned supported Trump and remain his core supporters. Should we pretend that those views are not repugnant to many ?

“It is clear that the

“It is clear that the white-nationalist end of the alt-right(embraced by the Republicans) and the racist/sexist end of the Republican-aligned supported Trump and remain his core supporters.” No, it is not clear at all that white-nationalist end of alt-right… and racist/sexist end of the Republicans are Trump’s core supporters. Otherwise, why did they vote for Obama last time?

Making stuff up ???

Give me a link to a study that shows white-nationalists and racist/sexist people were for Obama in the last couple of elections.

It's laughable on the face of it.

I find it apt to this column about "tribal alignment" that there is such a clear demonstration of the need of a tribal member to fit a tale to a party's story.

Never said that

I never said that “white-nationalists and racist/sexist people” were voting for Obama. I just said that they were not his core supporters because they have been voting for Republicans since they stopped voting for Democrats about 50 years ago so their vote had nothing to do with Trump…

Yes, You Did

It looks like you were trying to say that "white nationalists and racist sexist people" voted for Obama. At least, that's how I interpret "No, it is not clear at all that white-nationalist end of alt-right… and racist/sexist end of the Republicans are Trump’s core supporters. Otherwise, why did they vote for Obama last time?"

"[T]hey have been voting for Republicans since they stopped voting for Democrats about 50 years ago so their vote had nothing to do with Trump…" Why do you suppose that is?

You are correct

I guess you are correct and it is possible to interpret what I said this way… but this is not what I meant… As for why all those people have voted for Republicans, - because they vote against Democrats and there was no one else for them to vote. The middle line of American politics keeps moving to the left and, while extreme left have other parties to vote for (Greens, Socialist), the extreme right do not.

"The middle line . . ."

"The middle line of American politics keeps moving to the left . . ." Stuff and nonsense. The mainstream political parties have been drifting rightward for nearly four decades. Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton were to the right of LBJ, and despite having been an Islamofascist socialist, Barack Obama did not represent the left side of the political spectrum. He was to the left of the Republicans, but so were most Republican presidents of the recent past.

"[A]nd, while extreme left have other parties to vote for (Greens, Socialist), the extreme right do not." So they vote Republican? They do not feel left out of Republican politics? That is a damning indictment of a major political party.

I am talking about the last

I am talking about the last 40 years: Bush was to the left of Reagan and Obama was to the left of Clinton. Additionally, could anyone think 20-30 years ago that same sex marriage will become the law of the land? So the tendency is clearly to the left…

So who should alt-right vote for even if they feel left out? There are very few of them to create their own party so they are left with the party which is to the right of Democrats. Extreme left, on the other hand, have quite a few parties to choose from, as I said, because there are so many of them – another proof that everything is shifting left.

Bush to the Left of Reagan?

No, and again no. Reagan knew enough not to try to privatize Social Security, for one thing.

"So who should alt-right vote for even if they feel left out?" Frankly, if they feel left out, that's a good thing. Normally, I'm in favor of participation by a wide range of citizens, but for them I'll make an exception.

"Extreme left, on the other hand, have quite a few parties to choose from, as I said, because there are so many of them – another proof that everything is shifting left." And what influence do all of those "extreme left" parties have? Did President Obama install their champions on the White House staff?

Reagan had other priorities –

Reagan had other priorities – dealing with the Soviet Union, for example. But, on the other side of the spectrum, health reform failed in the times of Clinton but passed in the times of Obama… and now many people are thinking about single payer system… another sign of moving to the left.

So you want to make exceptions for some people? Isn’t it discriminatory?

“what influence do all of those "extreme left" parties have?” Well, Sanders, a socialist, almost beat Clinton… and then almost dictated the party platform… Isn’t it the influence?

"Almost"

"Almost" only counts in horseshoes.

"So you want to make exceptions for some people? Isn’t it discriminatory?" The so-called alt-right is free to form its own political party if it wants a safe place. The idea that it is a good thing that this crowd feels at home in one of our two main parties should appall the members of that party no less than anyone else.

Almost” doesn’t count in

Almost” doesn’t count in election but counts a lot in politics… Sanders has become one of the most influential Democrat even though he is not a Democrat. And who said that alt-right feel at home in Republican Party? If you are starving and have to eat grass to survive, it doesn’t mean you like it…

“Personally, I think the

“Personally, I think the negative stories about Clinton that so offended her detractors – Benghazi, her email server blunder, etc. – pale in comparison to the scandals, lies, policy incoherence, racism, sexism, predatory business practices, etc., that might have persuaded Republicans to break ranks on Election Day.” Here we go again – Clinton’s faults, even though very specific and dangerous to country’s security, are minors while Trump’s are always unforgivable… never mind that there is no proof that he is racist and sexist but name calling is easy and wins points…

Trump's sexism

is well supported by his own words.
I'm not aware that a similar issue has been made of racism, although some of his real estate practices would support it, and possibly his questions about Obama's birthplace and citizenship.
And take a look at his inner circle and cabinet:
Mostly white males, with a token female in charge of privatizing education, plus an Oreo in charge of housing.

Which words? His campaign

Which words? His campaign manager was a woman – first in history. As for cabinet, what difference does the color and sex make?

Trump's choice

of attractive blondes as lackeys is clear.
As for word, his comments about grabbing women's genitals should suffice.
And if color and sex did not make a difference, one would expect a more equal distribution. Compare Trump's cabinet with Obama's.
Trump's inner circle (not his PR flacks) is the richest and whitest in recent Presidential history.

Interesting

So liking attractive women is a sign of sexism in a man? Or just being attracted to women in general? An interesting theory… Now let’s compare Obama’s and Trump’s cabinets (15 secretaries + Vice-President+ Chief of Staff): Obama had one black and three women and Trump had one black and two women… By the way, Bush had two blacks and three women (http://www.latimes.com/projects/la-na-pol-trump-obama-bush-cabinet/). Pretty similar, I would say…

Looking at your link....

Trump has two women (one of whom is Mitch McConnell's wife).
Obama and Bush each had four.
Looking at the nonwhite category, Trump has two, Obama eight and Bush six.
........
And forcing oneself on women who one is attracted to is a sign of sexism, if not an assault felony.

Statistics can always be

Statistics can always be worked out to support almost any point: I chose top 17 people while you chose top 20 people. And why non-white is a category? Anyway, I just wanted to emphasize that these numbers do not matter (George Washington didn’t have any women and non-whites in his cabinet).

“forcing oneself on women who one is attracted to is a sign of sexism, if not an assault felony.” It is a felony, of course, not sexism, the same as forcing oneself on someone of the same gender. Has Trump been convicted of this crime?

And most obviously

Trump is his own campaign manager.
His spokespersons scramble to keep up with his latest twit (er, tweet).