As the armed standoff in Oregon between ranchers lead by Ammon Bundy and the Bureau of Land Management continues to make headlines, it has also incited a raucous political debate over the role of government and federal land use policy - even forcing GOP presidential contenders to stake out positions on the campaign trail.
Of course, it's not the first armed standoff between these two factions. You might remember a similar incident between Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy (father of Ammon) and the BLM back in 2014 which was similarly spurred over grazing rights.
Needless to say, there are vast ideological differences between both sides, something we confirmed after a deep dive into decades worth of campaign contribution data.
We analyzed the political contributions of self-described “ranchers” as well as employees of the Bureau of Land Management and found, unsurprisingly, that BLM employees (4.5L on average) to be significantly more liberal than ranchers who sit exactly opposite on the ideological spectrum at 4.9C.
Given their stark differences in ideology, it is perhaps unsurprising that conflicts between the two groups have flared back up. While dialog is key to solving the current crisis in Oregon, the chasm between them suggests it will still take significant compromise on both parts to reach a lasting solution.