Why Democrats and Republicans Literally Speak Different Languages

In the paper, they have a simple but specific definition of partisanship: “the ease with which an observer could guess a speaker’s party based solely on the speaker’s choice of words.” This definition of partisanship scarcely changed between 1870 and 1990. For roughly 120 years, the probability of correctly guessing a speaker’s party by listening to a one-minute speech was about 52 to 55 percent, nearly random. But suddenly, in the early 1990s, rhetorical partisanship exploded. …

First, it’s not good that Republicans and Democrats see political expedience in accentuating their separateness down to the way they describe a reduction in taxes on households earning more than a million dollars. It is, rather, a sign that both parties are predominantly interested, not in converting the other side, but rather in speaking to the converted flock.

Derek Thompson, The Atlantic

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