Before the 2020 US Presidential election, I asked my friends on Facebook to tell me three good reasons why someone would want to vote for each candidate. Most people could quickly come up with reasons why someone should vote for “their” person, but struggled with their opponent.
Some thought through it and gave solid answers, while others responded more along the lines of “no one should ever vote for that person for any reason”. Oddly enough, there were people on both sides of the aisle that just could not bring themselves to come up with a single reason why someone might vote for their opponent.
The idea stemmed from a post I saw from a friend of mine, who shared that you should delete any of your friends that “like” Donald Trump’s Facebook page. Here was the post:
There are two big problems with this approach, though:
- You’re creating a filter bubble. Pre-election, I saw a few people on Facebook very proud of all of the people they were cutting from “the other side”, but those also tend to be the people that consistently “don’t understand why someone would vote for x”.
- The other problem is that some people (like me) followed the various social accounts for both parties for the sake of staying informed.
Trump’s Facebook page has long been removed, so I can’t use that as a tool for comparison anymore, but I thought it’d be interesting to see how many of my Facebook friends follow pages from both parties.
I figured I’d look at some national profiles as well as some that are local to us here in Georgia.
For the Republican side, I went with Brian Kemp and Tucker Carlson’s pages. I have a total of 49 friends that follow at least one of those (many of whom follow both).
For the Democrat side, I went with both of Joe Biden’s pages, as well as Stacey Abrams. I have a total of 50 friends that follow at least one of those.
It turns out I have a pretty balanced set of friends, at least with this rudimentary test.
So I have 49 friends that follow some Republican pages, and 50 friends that follow some Democratic pages. How many follow at least one page from both sides? Just two people. That was disappointing.
The two people are interesting, though, in that they’re very different.
One is a male, works for a Republican politician, and is certainly following both sides in order to stay in formed.
The other is a female, certainly a Democrat, and someone who I have long respected on Facebook. I don’t know her very well personally, but she always has well-reasoned arguments for her positions.
Neither of these people are ever demeaning to those on the other side. I can’t fathom him ever calling someone a “libtard” or her calling someone a “teabagger” — they disagree without dehumanizing. They’re educated, they follow what’s going on, and they work hard to understand viewpoints from both sides.
We should all work to be more like the two of them.