Just a few hours ago (Malaysian time), the American senate voted 50-48 to confirm a new Supreme Court Justice. The 100-member chamber voted strictly along partisan lines with only one exception on each side.
All the Republican senators voted ‘Yes’ for Brett Kavanaugh with the sole exception of Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R) from Alaska and all the Democrat senators voted ‘No’ with the sole exception of Sen. Joe Manchin (D) from West Virginia. Two senators ‘paired’ (explanation of the sitting-out procedure here).
Out of the 100 American senators, 98 toed the party line. Only two broke ranks. Tribalism is strong among elected reps but stronger still among the electorate they answer to.
So what is it that motivates voters even more than party loyalty? Answer: Loathing
Two tribes on the battlefield
Fear and loathing. That’s the political situation in the USA (see tweet above), a country well experienced in the two-party system. There, many Democrats and Republicans utterly detest each other.
Over here in Malaysia, party loyalty is weakening – Umno has suffered the defection of five MPs and 13 Aduns since polling was held a few months ago in May. However, despise for the other half of the two-party system – particularly against the DAP – is also peaking post GE14.
Umno supreme council members such as Annuar Musa, Tajuddin Abdul Rahman and Lokman Noor Adam regard the demented DAP as more than merely a political adversary. They are afraid the self-proclaimed ‘Save Malaysia DAP’ will destroy the country.
BELOW: The majority of Republicans believe Kavanaugh’s female accuser lied; a majority of Democrats believe she told the truth
Looking back over the last one dozen years, especially since the DAP began winning big in elections, we see that Malays have been called “racist” by Dapsters, Muslims called “religious bigots” by Dapsters, and Malay Muslim voters regarded as “stupid” and “extremist” by Dapsters for supporting either Umno or PAS.
One feral community rallied under the ABU ‘Anything But Umno’ banner, at the same time aiming their shafts at PAS as the enemy ‘Taliban’. Hence blowback is only to expected in the form of the other community similarly going tribal. The two-party system is a binary, remember?
BELOW: A YouGov poll found men to be evenly split in their opinion of Kavanaugh whereas women considerably favoured the judge’s female accuser
Compared with the gender gap, party bias is off the charts: 80% Democrats are anti Kavanaugh while 77% Republicans are pro Kavanaugh
Democrats – the party of vicious smear campaigns
In the USA, studies have been done and this political development associated with “in-group favoritism” versus “out-group animus”. Democrat hostility was amply displayed in how the party and its mob went all out to destroy Brett Kavanaugh who is President Trump’s pick to sit in the Supreme Court.
The Republican judge scraped through yesterday despite American senate minority leader Chuck Schumer (D) vowing [I’m going to fight the Kavanaugh nomination] “with everything I’ve got” barely minutes after Kavanaugh was publicly announced as the White House’s nominee.
He was finally confirmed for the seat by the full senate on the narrowest margin in the court’s history, and after the Democrats’ dirty, delaying tactics.
The Democrats don’t care about the man’s qualifications nor the total seven FBI vetting processes giving Kavanaugh the green light; all they want is blood.
BELOW: “A very scary time” … Trump transcript can be found at bottom of this page
Dapster credo: Guilty until proven innocent
Democrats suffer from Trump Derangement Syndrome; their Malaysian counterparts suffer from Najib Derangement Syndrome. DAP operatives had piled accusation after accusation upon the BN for their party to prevail in three successive elections (GE12-14). This is DAP politics of hate and its smear strategy.
In a two-party system where partisanship forces us to choose the lesser of two evils, we need to keep in mind that one side is really more ‘evil’ than the other.
“The primal sense of ‘us against them’ makes partisans fixate on the goal of defeating and even humiliating the opposition at all costs,” said American political scientist Shanto Iyengar.
In Malaysia, it is the DAP that is fixated on winning at any cost and arrogantly rubbing the loser’s nose in the dirt. An election won without grace can only breed resentment in the losing side. Such a graceless victory cannot be long sustained.
BELOW: The Democrats’ segment of the American religious pie might well correlate with Harapan’s quarter share of Malaysia’s Muslim pie
America is a deeply divided society where “hostility toward the opposing party” is the primary driver, said Iyengar who is a professor in Stanford University.
In his study ‘The Strengthening of Partisan Affect’, he said going by the logic of tribalism, it is quite predictable that a young black woman living in California would likely vote Democrat while an older white man living in Texas would likely vote Republican.
(Barack Obama obtained more than 95 percent of black votes – identical to the DAP’s success gaining Chinese votes.)
Race, religion and other significant social cleavages such as region (location) determine party identity to some degree or a large extent. For example, Trump and the Republicans hold sway among evangelical Christians and rural dwellers. Hillary and the Democrats label the white heartlanders “deplorables” and ‘irredeemable”.
So too is the Malay heartland disdained by Dapsters as backward “balik kampung” crowd.
BELOW: DAP’s all-evangelical MPs – Theresa Kok, Teo Nie Ching, Hannah Yeoh and Yeo Bee Yin … so many Christian leaders in the so-called secular party!
The party is personal and race-religion affiliated
“Affective polarization among ordinary citizens has reached the point where party affiliation is now a litmus test for interpersonal relations,” said Stanford’s Prof. Iyengar. What are the repercussions of his premise when applied to us?
MCA’s grand total of two DUN seats are in the rural constituencies of BN-ruled Perlis and Pahang. MCA state reps are representing Titi Tinggi which has 77.8 percent Malay (Perlis) voters and Cheka which has 71.5 percent Malay (Pahang) voters.
MCA won Titi Tinggi with a thin majority of 142 votes and Cheka with an equally slim majority of 202 votes. The sole MCA parliamentarian, i.e. MP Wee Ka Siong won the Malay-majority (57.7%) Johor seat of Ayer Itam with a 303-vote majority.
There are altogether 587 DUN seats in our 13 states (including Sarawak and excluding the Federal Territories which have only federal seats). Out of Malaysia’s 587 Aduns, a mere two are from MCA and representing areas with 70-80 percent Malays.
Out of the country’s 222 MPs, one Lone Ranger YB is from MCA and likewise representing a Malay area. MCA does not represent Chinese voters. No BN rep does after the pullout of the Sabah and Sarawak BN components following GE14.
Chinese have become synonymous with the DAP. The two-party battlelines are clearcut now.
Transcript of Trump “It’s a very scary time” video clip (up page)
“Well, it’s a tough thing going on. If you can be an exemplary person for 35 years, and then somebody comes and they say you did this or that, and they give three witnesses, and the three witnesses—at this point—do not corroborate what she was saying. It’s a very scary situation where you’re guilty until proven innocent. My whole life … my whole life I’ve heard you’re innocent until proven guilty, but now you’re guilty until proven innocent. That is a very, very difficult standard.”
[Replying to reporter’s question]
“Well I say that it’s a very scary time for young men in America when you can be guilty of something that you may not be guilty of.
“This is a very difficult time. What’s happening here has much more to do than even the appointment of a Supreme Court justice. It really does. You could be someone that was perfect your entire life, and somebody could accuse you of something. Doesn’t necessarily have to be a woman, as everybody says. But somebody could accuse you of something and you are automatically guilty. But in this realm, you are truly guilty until proven innocent.”