T Nation

Interesting Observation: Conservatives vs Liberals

First off: I don’t want to debate politics, only discuss something I think is interesting that I haven’t seen directly addressed.

Based on both real world observations (living in very conservative central PA and very liberal Bay Area) and internet comments, I find a very striking difference between how conservatives and liberals discuss politics. If you go to foxnews.com as an example, almost every story is filled with comments bashing “libtards”, “snowflakes”, and how full of joy conservatives are when liberals are angered by something. Liberals, as a general rule, don’t seem to care so much about discussing the emotional effects that a policy or politician has on conservatives.

This is true in my real world experiences, as well. In central PA, the conservatives that overwhelm the surrounding population of the University I worked were very concerned and interested with how political policies or politicians impacted the “demotards” and relished in delight at their disapprove or anger over a policy or politician. I was quite surprised that most of the conversations centered around an immense dislike of anything or anyone liberal, and the vitriol many had for those that held liberal views.

While I’m not saying it doesn’t happen, I have rarely been in the company of liberals who were discussing politics from that viewpoint. I know liberals may say “trumptards”, etc… on websites, but as a rule it seems they don’t worry so much about what conservatives are thinking or what angers them.

Again, not saying it’s good or bad but after returning to CA after living in a conservative area, it struck me as an interesting difference.


As a general rule. People are all bad as each other regardless of the side (be it politics, sport, race/religion, what you study or whatevet).

If you dont see it that should probably give you clues as to your persuasion. I mean, think about it, why would a broad generalisation like this be even remotely likely unless that’s what you want to see?

Largely because it is true. Generalized stereotypes exist because there is a pattern.

Liberals have no brain, and conservatives have no heart. That old cliche is basically what OP is saying he/she is seeing.

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I don’t know. Perhaps you’re right, but a couple of things were striking to me, as examples, when living in a red-zone:

  1. Even in sports, people would be as emotionally attached to their rival’s failure as they would to their own team’s success. Especially regarding something like Big 10 football. In the Bay Area, Stanford fans/alumni aren’t delighting in the losses of Cal or UCLA to anywhere near the extent Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State, fans are.
  2. A really strange thing: in PA/Ohio, people would put bumper stickers on their Ford truck with Calvin (the cartoon character) urinating on the symbol of Dodge/Chevy/etc… and vice versa. In CA, you’d never see a Prius driver having a bumper sticker of Calvin peeing on a Tesla symbol. It’s great to like a certain brand of automaker, but it just seems so strange to publicly advertise your dislike of another brand.

So, it doesn’t seem to be just about politics, but I do find that those with conservative leanings tend to worry more about others being “punished” than those with liberal leanings.

Well, not exactly what I meant.

Utter hogwash. Liberals constantly call conservatives racists, antisemitic (including, ironically Jewish Israeli like me), etc. I am confident the rate is similar to the extreme right.

So, there are two things going on:

  1. You’ve apparently have polite liberal friends and impolite conservative friends. Change your sample; go look on the democraticunderground.com for rampant name calling.


  1. You are liberal and thus don’t hear names conservatives are being called as insults, but “true” according to your point of view.

Correct me if I’m wrong OP, but it seems he was saying conservatives openly and actively enjoy liberals suffering just as much as they do getting things they want, while liberals focus moreso on getting want they want as opposed to a 50/50 split.

I think it’s due to location. In the conservative areas there are some who may feel like liberals are the “enemy” as they have an impact on their lives. In CA I get the feeling the people you know don’t worry as much about conservatives because the liberals have won and they don’t feel as threatened. However, if there was a large enough block of conservative voters and things like abortion rights and gay marriage were threatened, they might be singing a different tune.

That is what he meant. I do recall there was some of that “enjoyment” when Obama won. His second election in particular was like that.

Yes, that’s what I was saying. Thanks for clarifying it.

This sounds quite plausible. Nicely put.

Probably worth your while reading some commemts out of the Roy Moore result then lol

That’s kinda the point though. Plenty of mud slinging from both sides. No disagreement there. Republicans (read: ludicrous number of mainstream Repubs) have openly and actively said they just enjoy doing things to piss off liberals. They love watching liberals freak out at their legislation.

I notice a distinct lack of “haha I love watching Republicans get upset” when ACA got through. The message was more akin to “Look at all we just accomplished.” Whether or not you agree that it accomplished anything doesn’t change the message and how it was delivered

Edit: Not saying this meaning one side is “worse” than the other. Merely different tactics.

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If we’re going to take the worst examples from either side, it’s going to be a pretty pointless debate. Everyone is just going to go back and forth forever.

I’ll stick to my overarching initial observation that bith sides (of anything) behave the same and it’s just bias that blinds one from the other.

Also I read somewhere that fake news never seems to catch hold with liberals whereas the older conservatives are easy targets for even the silliest fake news items.



Ehhhhh. Would you say Republicans are fond of wearing pussy hats and parading through the streets? Would you say Dems are fond of walking down the street with a rifle just to freak out people about the 2A?

The ends might be the same, but the means are ENTIRELY different.

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I’m not taking the worst side of anything, but people I have interacted with, or have known or know.

That’s what I’m saying, as well. There’s nothing inherently wrong with either approach, I would guess, but simply that conservatives seem to relish in the “You didn’t get what you wanted!” attitude towards liberals, while liberals, in my experience, have more of an “I got what I wanted!” attitude.

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Is it possible that you have this perception because the things you want end up being blocked by conservatives rather than all things being blocked? Especially as the job of opposing parties is to oppose.

How would you interpret this same comment coming from a conservative? Because I’m sure they’d say the same thing abiut election results, presidential orders and the like.

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I’m certainly open to being wrong here. But here’s my thoughts on this difference I have observed:

Many conservatives feel that liberals have chipped away at what they believe is of the utmost importance: Christianity, heterosexual marriage, and even an honest day’s wage for an honest day’s labor. Some, in my experience, feel that liberals have gotten their way and the country has changed to accommodate liberals but not conservatives.

So, when smug liberals don’t get their way, this is pleasing to many conservatives. I would go as far to say this is even more important than if what was achieved is actually good thing or not. This is not true for all conservatives, of course.

However, I also think there could be geographic differences (see my discussion of football and bumper stickers) as well. People in CA simply aren’t worrying about what is making people in Indiana angry, but many in the midwest are quite concerned with what CA is up to and would love to see its residents taken down a few pegs.


Maybe. If so, that’s called “schadenfreude” – joy in the pain of others.

It’s no less rampant on either end of the political cesspool.

Heck, the entire current strategy of the Democrats in the Senate is simply to delay and say “no” to anything – and then be joyful about gridlock.

This topic is why I dislike the use of labels. Many of the “conservatives” that are described in the OP as enjoying the pain of liberal “snowflakes” aren’t conservatives at all.

I think the people that the OP describes are something entirely different than conservatives. They’re more so populists than anything else (if I had to label it) currently in favor of non-establishment politicians like the current President who is not a conservative.