How Election Stress Pulls People Apart and Brings Them Together

The reason why the US workforce (and the public in general) is so stressed out is that they are afraid of further economic and social instability. Specially, they doubt their abilities to provide adequately for their families in the present or near future. In reality, Bernie and Trump supporters are actually on the same side of the fence—their populations arose as a consequence of political and economic instability. Censoring political discussion at this point in history is only likely to worsen things. Workplace stress costs the US economy a minimum of 3 percent off the US GDP and is likely the largest sunk cost a business or institution has. When large swaths of the population are stressed at the same time in modern civilization, there is always a great chance for some sort of revolt. The best thing to do in these situations is for managers to encourage aggressive and scientifically-based stress management techniques. 

The phenomenon of “voting against” one’s self-interest reflects a large amount of cognitive dissonance present within our society. One overlooked aspect contributing to this is the fact that people in Westernized societies are experiencing an unprecedented level of stress. When circulating cortisol remains elevated for extended periods of time, a special set of receptors in the frontal lobe get activated, and executive functioning (that is, rational thinking and emotional regulation) becomes impaired. This is why heated political arguments in these very turbulent times lead to nowhere and people make decisions based on emotional impulse and not for self interest. It is indicative of humans being under stress in a turbulent society.