|Both Democrats and Republicans are more likely to vote for candidates from their own party, regardless of that candidate’s policy positions or commitment to democratic principles.|
The team asks, “Are there democratic principles that, if violated by politicians, would generate resistance from the public? Are citizens of all political stripes equally willing to punish candidates for such violations?” These are hardly academic questions, but voters’ attitudes are difficult to isolate, let alone weigh, so a little professional ingenuity is in order. You need to determine how attitudes are shaped by party solidarity—by the sense of reassurance that voters feel in their allegiances. You must, as the statisticians say, “control for” aspects of identity besides party affiliation, such as gender, ethnicity, age, and so forth. (Will men support male leaders irrespective of how they lead on issues like tax cuts or respect for the rule of law?) You need to decide which values and policy principles are most characteristic of affiliation with a given party, so that voters can be positioned not only by professed allegiance but in a kind of ideological ecosystem.
Most important, and most challenging, you must determine what democratic norms are crucial, and how to represent them. In this case, the team decided to test for four norms: respect for universal access to voting; willingness to compromise in order to preserve the integrity of institutions; respect for the judicial-criminal processes free of partisan influence; and deference to court decisions, even when these seem wrong. The latter two suggest respect for the rule of law. Again, it is hard to believe that the anticipated Mueller report did not influence the choice of questions.
Read on at The New Yorker