Genopolitics

us-election

Genopolitics is the study of the genetic basis of political behavior and attitudes.

The election of Donald Trump to the presidency of the United States could not pass without comment or analysis. The map above tells me that there was something more than politics going on — it is a map of fear. A threat felt by middle-America that the world is changing and that they are being left behind with no jobs and no future. This fear was fanned by Trump into the flight or fight response — a heritable conservative human trait -- hence genopolitics. Do liberals and conservatives think differently or have different brains — the answer is: YES.  (See previous posts: My Genes Made Me Do It).

There is something of a consensus regarding the genetic nature of human traits -- the so-called OCEAN classification -- Openness: (inventive/curious vs. consistent/cautious Conscientiousness: (efficient/organized vs. easy-going/careless)  Extraversion: (outgoing/energetic vs. solitary/reserved)  Agreeableness: (friendly/compassionate vs. analytical/detached)  Neuroticism: (sensitive/nervous vs. secure/confident).  For more on this, see the previous posting on  Me, Myself and Us by Brian Little. Furthermore, specific studies on the political behavior of twins has shown that political affiliations are significantly influenced by genetics. Settle et al, showed "that heritability accounts for almost half of the variance in strength of partisan attachment, suggesting [that] we should pay closer attention to the role of biology in the expression of important political behaviors". 

What are the candidate genes? A round-up of the usual suspects: monoamine oxidase A (MAO-A), the serotonin transporter (5HTT), the dopamine receptors (DRD2) and (DRD4). Using a genome-wide linkage analysis, it will be possible to identify other chromosomal regions associated with political attitudes. In particular, neuroscientific analysis has shown that in Liberal vs Conservative brains, there are differences in their amygdala, the part of the brain that makes emotional responses.  Research has shown that people’s whose basic emotional responses to threats are more pronounced,  develop ring wing opinions.

Liberal vs. Conservative: A Neuroscientific Analysis by Gail Saltz. Watch the first 4 minutes to get the gist of the analysis -- it is 15 minutes long.
 

Finally the Clinton campaign depended on genopolitics of the most fundamental kind — that women would vote for Hillary because they were women.

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