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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Resolving Ideological Conflicts by Affirming Opponents’ Status: The Tea Party, Obamacare and the 2013 government shutdown

  • Author(s): Bendersky, Corinne;
  • et al.
Creative Commons 'BY-NC-ND' version 4.0 license

Ideological conflicts, like those over the Affordable Care Act (ACA), are highly intractable, as demonstrated by the October 2013 partial government shutdown. The current research offers a potential resolution of ideological conflicts by affirming an opponent’s status. Results of one experiment collected during the 2013 government shutdown and a secondconducted shortly after the implementation of the health insurance marketplaces in early 2014 indicate that status affirmation induces conciliatory attitudes and a willingness to sacrifice one’s own outcomes in favor of ideological opponents’ by decreasing adversarial perceptions. Thesestudies demonstrate that status is an important social dimension whose affirmation by an ideological opponent buffers the integrity of one’s identity, thereby reducing defensiveness andresistance to compromising in political conflicts.

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