The New York Times published an analysis Wednesday that blamed the Republican Party for political polarization in America, but the article’s argument was undermined by the very data it cited.
“The Republican Party leans much farther right than most traditional conservative parties in Western Europe and Canada, according to an analysis of their election manifestos,” NYT graphics editor Sahil Chinoy wrote in his article.
But a graph accompanying Chinoy’s article showed that the current gap between the Republican and Democratic parties isn’t the result of a Republican shift to the right, but rather the result of a sharp Democratic pivot to the left.
“The change isn’t a Trumpified GOP, it’s a post-08 swerve left by Dems,” noted Scott Winship, a staffer for Republican Utah Sen. Mike Lee.
Chinoy’s conclusions had other issues as well.
His analysis measured “how frequently the party platforms mention each topic” tracked by the Manifesto Project, a European nonprofit.
References to God, for example, were filed under “traditional morality” and would push a party farther right on the graph.
But analyzing party platforms that way comes closer to measuring platitudes than measuring how extreme a party’s proposed policies are.