According to Kelley and Mirer , voting is a simple act with a single rule: Voters tally their likes and dislikes for each party and candidate, then vote for the candidate with the highest positive number. If this tallying ends in a tie, party identification serves as a tie-breaker.

Using this model with political attitude poll data, researchers were able to predict election outcomes more successfully than any previous model.

Strangely, such a model is no longer predictive of American elections.

Have you ever noticed that you don’t meet too many proud Republicans who happen to be in favor marijuana legalization. You never seem to meet a Democrat who believes no changes should be made to the 2nd Amendment. Attitudes towards disparate issues appear to cluster and are influenced by party identification.

Put simply, party identification becomes something of a lens, a red or blue filter for new information. A Republican develops seemingly logical rationalizations for their desire to vote for their party, and a Democrat creates the same justification for their allegiance. While the facts we’re presented are the same, their interpretation is predetermined.

As prosperity plummets in our country, with record levels of unemployment and a continual divergence between the average cost of living and average income, we’ve seen group identity grow in importance. Millions of Americans manage, like prestige leeches, to receive sustenance from identification from one of two parties that remain incapable or unwilling to address our dire economic conditions.

As satisfaction declines, group narcissism increases, and unhealthy group think is fostered. For a country perceived to be so divided by issues, America is actually divided by suffering and nefarious groups that profit and sustain power by harnessing confusion and the dissemination of information.