Wow Kieran - you have written this with palpable zest! Electric, succinct, direct writing. Thanks so much, a pleasure to read. I am bookmarking this to read again! Amazon effort to comiple the worldclouds and stats - really brigns out the stark differences between the two approaches.
My take on American politics is based on the takeawyas from Jonathan Haidt's excellent book - The Righteous Mind. It goes someway in explaining why we are so tribalistic, when it comes to politics. We are essentially intuition-driven information processors, constantly scanning the world around us, morally interpreting information and colouring narratives with our unique worldview. We readily allow intuition to lead us and then use our rationality to come up with evidence to support our beliefs - the absolute arse-backward way it should be.
The dominance s democracy debate reminds me of my article based on Matthew Syed's Rebel Ideas: An alternative to a dominant leader, as proposed by Syed is a prestigious one. A prestigious leader gains respect by modelling her persona on the society she leads. She directs her attention to her followers by listening, co-operating and giving. She chooses an open-body position while interacting with her subordinates and encourages impromptu discussions. She showcases authentic pride in her personality, exerts influence using persuasion and creates long-lasting relationships with peers. A dominant leader demands respect and uses it as his own property. He uses coercion, aggression and reward/punishments manipulations to influence. He avoids eye contact and unscripted interactions with his subordinates and displays an expansive body-position with an expanded chest and wide stance. Narcissism is a common trait with hubristic pride at the forefront. He uses opportunistic and temporary social coalitions to attain a higher rank.
I'd really appreciate if you could read my article and feedback - the parallels between your take for WHY we are so polarized, enraged, partisan, seemingly undemocratic and HOW our brains are literally wired to be this way according to Haidt, are uncanny.