Indiana Loses Its Game: Right now, Indiana is in a mess, and residents are worried about the loss of jobs and investment because of a meaningless and spiteful piece of legislation. They should feel free to blame their governor.

A lot of people I know around here grew up thinking of the Republican Party as their "team" or tribe, and internalized being a Republican as part of their identity. My mother still sometimes considers herself a Republican and catches herself using "liberal" or "democrat" as a general insult, simply because that is how she grew up, even though she is a strong Democrat according to political compass tests she has taken, and she's voted almost straight-Democrat in the past several elections. When she's consciously thinking about politics, she criticizes Republicans, but occasionally she'll mindlessly say something about "disgusting liberals" and then seems really surprised that she just said that. It's just mindblowing to her every time she realizes that she disagrees with the Republicans and agrees with the Democrats, because she had so strongly internalized, for so long, the concept that Republican = good/"our team" and Democrat = bad/"other guys".

Because of this, a lot of these people I know tend to default to the Republican on the ticket unless they know more about the candidates and the platforms. Humans tend to also like to be on the winning team, and Republicans win more often than not here. Is that an ignorant thing to do, just to vote for someone without knowing really what they stand for? Yes, but Indiana is not unique in that most of the voting population is unaware of the fine details of every race on the ticket.

My mom was THRILLED by Pence's first election commercials. I don't remember all of the content, but it was basically him talking about meeting his wife in Indiana and going ice-skating with her and how much he loved her. Pure sap, but high production quality sap. My mom teared up and thought those commercials were so great. She thought Pence's opponent's commercials were dumb (they really were). I had to sit her down and show her Pence's voting record and quotes of things he had said to prove to her that Pence is not someone she actually agrees with, and she eventually voted for Gregg (the Democratic opponent).

It is sad, but our brains really are wired to be tribal. I know that I considered myself a Republican throughout childhood up until the 2000 election (high school, for me) for similar reasons--my parents and almost everyone I knew were pro-Republicans, so of course the GOP was right about everything. It wasn't until a good number of people around me were opposing GWB (during that 2000 election) that I even started to consider that it was a socially defensible position to not be Republican. For most humans, our monkey-brain top priority is to remain in good standing with our tribe(s).

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