Over time, the gap between Democrats and Republicans has widened to become insurmountable, alarmed experts and academics interviewed by the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Ohio’s largest daily. An article from our special issue America’s Fractures.
Anyone who has followed the last Democratic and Republican conventions that took place in August can conclude that the two parties have only one thing in common: contempt for the other side. The personalities who spoke at the two conventions offered a very different vision of the political landscape, but this was to send the same message, namely that the opposing party poses a terrible threat to theAmerican way of life, threat that can only be avoided by voting against this formation.
Election rounds shine a spotlight on partisan divisions, and polls show President Donald Trump to be a polarizing factor unprecedented in American political history. But they also indicate that this polarization set in long before Trump entered politics.
Growing ideological divide
Animosity between Democrats and Republicans has been brewing for decades, fueled by a growing ideological divide and amplified by social networks and cable news channels. In 2020, a year marked by both a pandemic, a hotly contested election and nationwide protests against racial injustices, these divisions appear to be growing.
One of the reasons Americans are so divided is that the two main parties have become more homogeneous. Those who say they belong to these parties largely share the same ideological values. They also tend to support candidates who fervently advocate the values that appeal to the grassroots most, and not candidates willing to compromise.
However, experts argue that it goes even further. Political communication has crept into the heart of our lives, even if we are not always aware of it. Even geography has become partisan. Cities tend to be overwhelmingly progressive, while rural areas are much more conservative. As a result, we have very little interaction with people who do not share our political beliefs, according to David Barker of American University.
Every aspect of our life is marked by partisan divisions. We don’t meet people on the other side very often, so we hardly have the opportunity to receive information that could change our point of view, or lead us to adopt more moderate positions. ”
Paradoxically, Americans agree on at least one thing: they don’t like
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