Spend nights on CNN and fireworks on the streets of European capitals afterward: Why do we so passionately participate in US elections around the world?
The election winner has been announced in the United States, but not without a fight. a The electionThe Americans themselves called it, or an election to bite your nails out of tension. This tension was noticeable internationally, but why?
Millions have been affixed to CNN
“I also noticed that I became addicted to apps with which you can closely monitor the counted votes. At one point, I updated such an app regularly to the point that only 10 new votes were counted in the meantime.” These are the words of Professor of Social and Organizational Psychology, Dr. Carsten de Drew at Leiden University. He wasn’t exactly the only person to witness the election at this level. In the days following the election, millions of Dutch appeared on CNN, which tried to provide updates 24 hours a day. And after the results, we shared the joy or the anger collectively on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
People love to fight with excitement
According to De Dreu, basic psychological principles underlie our fascination. A number of classes meet here. First, the election campaign was the same. ”capturingAnd we love it. The exciting match is more interesting and amazes us more than a boring match. Looking further, this comes with increasing political polarization in the United States. This easily creates a feeling of: “You belong to this group while you are with us, or you are against us and you belong to that group.” You, as it were, indulged in this polarization and you choose a side. It is almost impossible not to do this, as there are hardly any intermediate stations. This makes it difficult to engage with and share your feelings.
Polarization increases participation
“You can see it’s getting harder for people to say they don’t care much because both sides have good points,” de Drew explains. “You identify with one camp and therefore against the other. This adds more excitement to the match. If your side loses, you lose! And vice versa of course. When you watch a football match, it is almost impossible not to pick a team. Even if you take a neutral stance, you are gradually going.” “You become more involved and biased in one side. Then there is also a profit or loss at stake and you will become more involved. Before you know it, you will take the oath of referee and lose your mind if your team loses.”
Impact on Dutch society
Professor Leiden maintains that non-US citizens also have a clear interest in elections. As wonderful as a foreign phenomenon is, if it wasn’t related to us, we wouldn’t feel involved in it. The upcoming elections in Nigeria, for example, could be very exciting and will come in our living rooms for much less. Of course, what happens in America has an effect here in the Netherlands. Black lives matter For example, it started in the United States, but we see the movements running parallel here. So we can hardly say that we have nothing to do with events across the Atlantic. “
Online group formation through social media
It cannot be denied that there is a great interest in the Netherlands. De Drew believes that another factor contributed to the unusual interest in politics in the United States. We saw this coming in the previous elections 4 years ago, but not with the current intensity, that is, the role of social media. This enhanced the operations of a particular group. If you have a particular preference, social media algorithms respond to that and get interview feeds, which you might also find interesting. In this way, the same information resonates ten times on your screen and increases your own belief and what’s more: you notice that you share this belief with people in Paris and London. So you end up in a group of people online, all of whom share the same opinion and reinforce each other. “
The members of a group are born to each other
“After the election, I saw that members of such a group removed this and that strangers found each other at parties or expressing their disappointment. In a group you would behave differently than if you were alone. The members of the group raise each other a little without anyone noticing that you are celebrating heavy parties Or just a foaming mouth. Then you suspect yourself: Not at all, is it? Then disappointment, anger, or joy are expressed more than if you had done so individually, “de Drew concludes.
International interest in the battle between Biden and Trump and the intense emotions that brought the fight to an end again in recent days have waned. It would take another four years before the Dutch took to the streets again, celebrating and dividing after the election result 6,000 kilometers away.
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