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Concept: Republican Party


Since 2010, the fate of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) has been uncertain. The ACA was a historic achievement for the Obama administration and Congressional Democrats. But it passed Congress without a single Republican vote, and the GOP subsequently mounted legal and legislative challenges to Obamacare, vowing to repeal and replace it. The Supreme Court decision in June 2012 upholding the ACA’s constitutionality dealt a serious blow to the law’s opponents. Now, in the aftermath of the 2012 elections, with President Barack Obama reelected and Democrats maintaining majority control of the Senate, Republicans lack a viable option . . .

Concepts: United States, President of the United States, Barack Obama, Democratic Party, George W. Bush, United States Senate, Joe Biden, Republican Party


The Tea Party movement, which rose to prominence in the United States after the election of President Barack Obama, provides an ideal context in which to examine the roles of racial concerns and ideology in politics. A three-wave longitudinal study tracked changes in White Americans' self-identification with the Tea Party, racial concerns (prejudice and racial identification), and ideologies (libertarianism and social conservatism) over nine months. Latent Growth Modeling (LGM) was used to evaluate potential causal relationships between Tea Party identification and these factors. Across time points, racial prejudice was indirectly associated with movement identification through Whites' assertions of national decline. Although initial levels of White identity did not predict change in Tea Party identification, initial levels of Tea Party identification predicted increases in White identity over the study period. Across the three assessments, support for the Tea Party fell among libertarians, but rose among social conservatives. Results are discussed in terms of legitimation theories of prejudice, the “racializing” power of political judgments, and the ideological dynamics of the Tea Party.

Concepts: Hawaii, United States, Sociology, Race, Political philosophy, Barack Obama, Democratic Party, Republican Party


People often avoid information and situations that have the potential to contradict previously held beliefs and attitudes (i.e., situations that arouse cognitive dissonance). According to the motivated social cognition model of political ideology, conservatives tend to have stronger epistemic needs to attain certainty and closure than liberals. This implies that there may be differences in how liberals and conservatives respond to dissonance-arousing situations. In two experiments, we investigated the possibility that conservatives would be more strongly motivated to avoid dissonance-arousing tasks than liberals. Indeed, U.S. residents who preferred more conservative presidents (George W. Bush and Ronald Reagan) complied less than Americans who preferred more liberal presidents (Barack Obama and Bill Clinton) with the request to write a counter-attitudinal essay about who made a “better president.” This difference was not observed under circumstances of low perceived choice or when the topic of the counter-attitudinal essay was non-political (i.e., when it pertained to computer or beverage preferences). The results of these experiments provide initial evidence of ideological differences in dissonance avoidance. Future work would do well to determine whether such differences are specific to political issues or topics that are personally important. Implications for political behavior are discussed.

Concepts: President of the United States, Barack Obama, Democratic Party, Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush, Republican Party, George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton


The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently advanced two draft guidances(1),(2) proposing a regulatory framework for laboratory-developed tests, a category that includes many but not all genomic tests. The FDA convened a workshop in February 2015 to discuss the oversight of next-generation sequencing.(3),(4) President Barack Obama’s Precision Medicine Initiative calls for the FDA to modernize its approach to genomic testing(5),(6) as Senate and House committees also weigh options for genomic and other diagnostic tests.(7),(8) The recent initiatives by the FDA kindled debate about the legal authority of the agency to regulate genomic testing, as well as . . .

Concepts: United States, President of the United States, Barack Obama, Illinois, Democratic Party, Republican Party, United States presidential election, 2008, Bill Clinton


Changes in some lexical features of language have been associated with the onset and progression of Alzheimer’s disease. Here we describe a method to extract key features from discourse transcripts, which we evaluated on non-scripted news conferences from President Ronald Reagan, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 1994, and President George Herbert Walker Bush, who has no known diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease. Key word counts previously associated with cognitive decline in Alzheimer’s disease were extracted and regression analyses were conducted. President Reagan showed a significant reduction in the number of unique words over time and a significant increase in conversational fillers and non-specific nouns over time. There was no significant trend in these features for President Bush.

Concepts: President of the United States, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, Republican Party, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, George H. W. Bush, United States presidential election, 1984


We investigated the associations between frequency of eating at fast-food, fast-casual, all-you-can-eat, and sit-down restaurants and the body mass index (BMI) in non-large metro Wisconsin communities. To inform prevention efforts, we also analyzed the socioeconomic/environmental and nutrition attitudes/behavior variables that may drive the frequent eating away from home.

Concepts: Nutrition, Obesity, United States, Eating, Mass, Body mass index, Republican Party, Types of restaurants


We examined the effects of incidental anger on perceived and actual polarization between Democrats and Republicans in the context of two national tragedies, Hurricane Katrina (Study 1) and the mass shooting that targeted Representative Gabrielle Giffords in Arizona (Study 2). We hypothesized that because of its relevance to intergroup conflict, incidental anger exacerbates the political polarization effects of issue partisanship (the correlation between partisan identification and partisan attitudes), and, separately, the correlation between conservative partisan identification and perceived polarization between Democrats and Republicans. We further hypothesized that these effects would be strongest for Republican identification because Republican leaders were targets of public criticism in both tragedies and because conservative (Republican) ideology tends to be more sensitive to threat. In the studies, participants first completed an emotion induction procedure by recalling autobiographical events that made them angry (Studies 1 & 2), sad (Studies 1 & 2), or that involved recalling emotionally neutral events (Study 2). Participants later reported their attitudes regarding the two tragedies, their perceptions of the typical Democrat’s and Republican’s attitudes on those issues, and their identification with the Democratic and Republican parties. Compared with incidental sadness (Studies 1 and 2) and a neutral condition (Study 2), incidental anger exacerbated the associations between Republican identification and partisan attitudes, and, separately between Republican identification and perceived polarization between the attitudes of Democrats and Republicans. We discuss implications for anger’s influence on political attitude formation and perceptions of group differences in political attitudes.

Concepts: Louisiana, Arizona, Democratic Party, George W. Bush, United States House of Representatives, Republican Party, John McCain, Gabrielle Giffords


Previous studies have shown race/ethnicity, particularly African American and/or Hispanic status, to be a predictor of overweight/obese status in children. However, these studies have failed to adjust for low socioeconomic status (SES). This study assessed whether race/ethnicity remained an independent predictor of childhood obesity when accounting for variations in SES (low-income) among communities in Massachusetts.

Concepts: Socioeconomic status, Childhood, White American, American Civil War, English American, Republican Party, Baltimore, Virginia


Understanding the effects of widespread disruption of the social fabric on public health outcomes can provide insight into the forces that drive major political realignment. Our objective was to estimate the association between increases in mortality in middle-aged non-Hispanic white adults from 1999 to 2005 to 2009-2015, health inequalities in life expectancy by income, and the surge in support for the Republican Party in pivotal US counties in the 2016 presidential election. We conducted a longitudinal ecological study in 2764 US counties from 1999 to 2016. Increases in mortality were measured using age-specific (45-54 years of age) all-cause mortality from 1999 to 2005 to 2009-2015 at the county level. Support for the Republican Party was measured as the party’s vote share in the presidential election in 2016 adjusted for results in 2008 and 2012. We found a significant up-turn in mortality from 1999 to 2005 to 2009-2015 in counties where the Democratic Party won twice (2008 and 2012) but where the Republican Party won in 2016 (+10.7/100,000), as compared to those in which the Democratic Party won in 2016 (-15.7/100,000). An increase in mortality of 15.2/100,000 was associated with a significant (p < 0.001) 1% vote swing from the 2008-2012 average to 2016. We also found that counties with wider health inequalities in life expectancy were more likely to vote Republican in 2016, regardless of the previous voting patterns. Counties with worsening premature mortality in the last 15 years and wider health inequalities shifted votes toward the Republican Party presidential candidate. Further understanding of causes of unanticipated deterioration in health in the general population can inform social policy.

Concepts: United States, President of the United States, Life expectancy, Voting, Democratic Party, Abraham Lincoln, Republican Party, United States presidential election, 2008


President Obama has announced his intention to grant millions of undocumented immigrants a reprieve from the threat of deportation, along with the possibility of legal employment. If the plan is implemented, it could have substantial effects on the health care system.

Concepts: Health care, Health economics, Medicine, President of the United States, Barack Obama, Illinois, Democratic Party, Republican Party