According to recent polling by Axios, young people who identify as Democrats have significantly less tolerance for people with differing “political views” — or, you know, fundamental beliefs about whether pregnant people, LGBTQ people, and immigrants are human beings who deserve rights — than their Republican counterparts. Axios’ polling found young, college-age Democrats were substantially less likely than Republicans to work for, befriend, and buy products from people and companies that hold political views they disagree with.
Of the many categories Axios surveyed young people on, Democrats and women’s political boundaries for dating have prompted the most chatter on social media. Per the report, 71% of young Democrats (compared with 31% of young Republicans) wouldn’t go on a date with someone of the opposite party, and just 41% of women (compared with 67% of men) would go on a date with someone of the opposite party.
None of this should be particularly surprising. As reproductive justice advocate Renee Bracey Sherman eloquently put it, “Why would I want to fuck someone who wouldn’t go half on an abortion?” (Duh! Those things are expensive — way too expensive, and notably thanks to Republican politicians.)
Requiring that the person you date is someone who respects you, or at the very least sees you as a human being and not a state-controlled baby-making machine, seems like a pretty bare-fucking-minimum standard to employ. California recently signed into law a bill that formally recognizes reproductive coercion — for example, forcing a partner to become or remain pregnant against their will — as a form of domestic abuse, and a pretty prevalent one, at that. And is that really so different from voting for politicians who want to ban abortion?
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Republican voters (along with voter suppression and a generally very un-democratic governing system), you’ll recall, are largely responsible for the current layout of the Supreme Court, and the devastating, even traumatic hearings that led to the installation of Justice Brett Kavanaugh, accused of sexual assault by several women. Few events in modern political history have felt more like a referendum on whether or not women, pregnant people, and survivors are deserving of humanity, and so you’ll have to forgive me for not wanting anything to do with those who used their voting powers to subject us to that, and the impending national dooms-day for reproductive rights.
Axios’ framing of the poll’s findings in the article’s headline, “Young Dems more likely to despise the other party,” is so out-of-touch with reality as to be laughable. Instead of the people who are voting for lawmakers who are trying to ban trans kids from playing sports or getting health care, force people to give birth, and generally screw over people of color, non-cis men, and LGBTQ people, it’s the people who don’t want to fuck them who are the hateful antagonists, here. And the oh-so open-minded Republican voters — notably voting for politicians trying to ban racism from being taught in public schools — are the victims.
What Axios’ poll doesn’t acknowledge is that, of course it’s easy for Republicans and ostensibly any straight, white, conservative man to not need to establish political boundaries or standards to their dating lives. It’s always been easy for privileged people to just opt to “not talk about politics” with partners and loved ones, because political debates don’t decide whether or not they’re a human being.
Cis, straight, white men, in particular, don’t have to constantly negotiate their humanity with lawmakers who usually look just like them and/or share similar backgrounds with them. And none of this, of course, is meant to mitigate the constant and harmful role many white women voters have played in putting Republicans in office, often to advance a white supremacist agenda that reinforces their own white privilege.
Politics and debates about my humanity, aside, for a very brief moment, but let’s be real here: There’s almost nothing more hideously unattractive than a homophobic, transphobic misogynist, and I hardly feel like any of us are losing out on a good time.