Joe, I don't often agree with Marotta, but I do this time - that's an excellent article.
Politics is about joining the side whose moral tenents are closest to ones own, and in today's world that means Altruist Team A, or Altruist Team B. And that selection, in effect, is choosing the kind of sacrifice they will make (that is a great observation on your part - that seriously intentioned votes for a liberal or for a conservative are willing sacrifices being offered - not self-interest).
What kicks in after a person sides with a team is an emotional intensification - competition and team rivalry set in. (It is funny to think of it as a fierce competition to get to be one the side making the sacrifice, but, of course, that isn't the way it is seen or felt.) It is as if campaign managment is about who best manipulates the fight/flight responses of those they get to join their team to rev up the team spirit. The people are acting altruistically when they vote, while the politicians, who have been preaching altruism of some sort or another, are actually the only group using the process to get their hands on the un-earned.
If altruism is the motivator, then it must be tackled head on. You can't expect people to stand up for their own rights when they feel that they should be sacrificing for the sake of others.
Well said! There is no short-cut. It is still the education of the electorate that is the only path to achieving sane political change.