Understanding "left-center-right" typologies

Steve Corbin is a freelance writer and emeritus professor of marketing at the University of Northern Iowa.

Few people would argue with the nonpartisan Pew Research Center’s October 2020 finding that “political polarization is more intense now than at any point in modern history.” Resolving the strife starts with truly knowing your political beliefs, understanding other political values, listening (vs. preaching) to others, expanding (vs. restricting) political news sources, compromising (vs. convincing) and accepting intellectual humility.

When registering to vote, citizens must declare whether they are Democrat, Republican, or affiliated with no party (independent). However, there are several gradations of belief within each political stance. Three sources can assist individuals better realize their – and others -- political viewpoints.

Pew Research quiz

Which of these nine political profiles best identifies you, or do you even know: Faith and Flag Conservative, Committed Conservative, Populist Right, Ambivalent Right, Stressed Sideliner, Outsider Left, Democratic Mainstay, Establishment Liberal or Progressive Left?

A simple 16-item quiz can identify where your values land on the political landscape. The Pew center surveyed more than 10,000 Americans to create the typology.

Four of the nine typologies are conservative (40 percent of the general public), four typologies are liberal (45 percent), and the remaining 15 percent is smack dab in the middle—the "Stressed Sideliners."

Media Bias/Fact Check

The Media Bias/Fact Check (MBFC) website rates more than 3,100 news media for factual accuracy and political bias.  Where you obtain your political news speaks volumes.

According to MBFC, you are far-right (die-hard conservative Republican) if these are your news sources: Fox News, Newsmax, OAN (One America News), Breitbart, Heritage Foundation, Sinclair Broadcasting Group, Christian Today, National Review, and Washington Examiner.

You lean-right (Republican) if these are your news references: New York Post, Wall Street Journal-opinion section, Barrons, Hoover Institution, Forbes, Rasmussen Reports and Washington Times.

Center-of-the-road, independent and least biased citizens rely on these news authorities: Associated Press, Reuters, National Public Radio, Newsweek, USA Today, Wall Street Journal-news section, Christian Science Monitor, C-Span, Cook Political Reports, Gallup and Pew Research Center.

Lean-to-the-left Americans (Democrat) get their news from ABC, CBS, NBC, Axios, Yahoo News, Politico, The Atlantic and Bloomberg.

MBFC would describe you as far-left (die-hard liberal Democrat) if these are your news informants: CNN, MSNBC, Buzz Feed News, Huffpost, New York Times-opinion section, Mother Jones, Slate and Vox.

Conspiracy-pseudoscience unverifiable information comes from sources such as QAnon.pub, RandPaul.News and InfoWars.com. Questionably sourced news that’s propaganda and disinformation inundated includes Hannity.com, MAGA Daily Report, NRA and National Enquirer.

The Advocates quiz

Finally, the reported number one political quiz that takes one minute to complete and portends to give people a deeper understanding of their political stance is available at TheAdvocates.org. The site claims more than 23 million people have taken the quiz, which will pinpoint if you are authoritarian, conservative, moderate, progressive or libertarian. 

The vast majority of people are moderate, followed by libertarian, then progressive. Next is conservative, and authoritarians are supposedly the smallest group in the U.S.

“I have met the enemy, it is I”

In this bitterly divided and divisive political environment, maybe—just maybe—a goal for 2022 would be to try to seek a better understanding of ourselves as well as "the other side."

Consider purposely seeking out political news sources from "other camps" than you have done heretofore. Who knows, you may just learn something and become more tolerant and less hostile to others.

There’s hope for all Americans to develop more acceptance and humane treatment of others, let alone intellectual humility. The following bromide may assist to soothe political discord in 2022:  I can’t help the way I feel right now, but I can help the way I think and act.

  • There’s hope for all Americans to develop more acceptance and humane treatment of others, let alone intellectual humility.

    Today the U.S. Senate rejected legislative proposals that would have assured free and fair elections into the future.. Two Democrats joined the 50 Republicans in rejecting the proposals.I firmly believe that this vote will thrust our nation into the abyss of authoritarianism, even if Trump is watching from a prison cell. Iowa is neck deep in this swamp, and the ‘22 session is trying to pull our heads under. No bromide will ease my indigestion.

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