Group Identity and Political Partisanship pt.1

On November 3rd, 2020, and the days that followed we have all become apart of our nation’s history. With President-elect Joe Biden with an astounding 77,926,591 votes and counting and President Trump with 72,612,622 votes. In this election, we have seen voter turnout reach numbers never before seen. With Biden now surpassing President Obama in most votes received in our nation’s history (CBSNews). No matter what side of politics you stand it is amazing to see how many people are going out and performing their civic duty.

However, along with these groundbreaking numbers, another thing that will most definitely be found in future history is the great divide and animosity this election has created. Never before have I seen in my almost 20 years of life have I ever seen such a great divide than what I see before me now. But like many things that happen in society social scientists and theorists have found ways to explain it. 

One of the most valid reasons as to why people feel such a deep-rooted connection to either party is due to Social Identity Theory. The American Psychological Society defines this theory as 

“…. a person’s self-concept is based on their membership within a group, whether one’s group is defined by a religious affiliation, political party, gender, propensity to support a particular baseball team—or, sometimes, all of the above.”

In this case, people are viewing themselves, or their self-concept, as someone who is apart of and stands with their respective political party. This self-concept is defined by either being republican or democrat and it creates a much deeper divide because of this newfound “group identity”. Group identity is centered around the feeling of belonging and the human need to fit in. Due to this individuals will being to

 “like members of that group more than others. You want things to reflect favorably upon your group. You’re biased toward believing things that reflect positively on your group…Once you’re a member of a group, all kinds of group processes related to social identity kick in. (” 

This need to maintain a positive view of your group, its ideals, and the people in it is one of the main factors for the great divide in this country, and ultimately the distrust and dislike for the other.

In my next blog post, I will focus on how political partisanship relates to group identity and how it is greatly affecting our democracy.

Work Cited:

Weir, Kristen. “Politics Is Personal.” Monitor on Psychology, American Psychological 



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