American matters because of the effect that polarization

American politics
has faced many issues over time. One for more recent times involves
polarization. Polarization remains to be a strong commitment to not just a
political candidate, but also a culture or ideology that sets a one group of
people apart from another group, one that is considered a rival. Polarization
affects political parties, ideology, and engagement of the people.
(Blankenhorn, 2015). “People often assume polarization is a synonym for
extremism. It isn’t”, polarization is sorting, separating each political party
or ideology father to the left or right (Klein, 2014). Polarization does not
have one set cause, but many put together is what has caused polarization to
increase other the years. This matters because of the effect that polarization
puts on the American people.

In American
politics what matter most is how the three forms of political polarization interact
with one another. Political party polarization involves elected officials
taking positions far apart from the center on ideology (Sides., Hopkins, 2015).
Party polarization has become one of the causes for gridlock in American
government (Polarization and Political Moderates). American politics once had a
time where ideology and political parties crossed lines and conservative
Democrats & Republican and liberal Republicans and Democrats existed.
Ideology polarization involves the distance and lack of cross over between
liberals and conservatives (Sides., Hopkins, 2015). In recent times Democrats
have become more liberal and Republicans have become more conservative
(Piereson, 2015). Ideology affects weather a person is more likely to support
the Democratic or the Republican parties polices and candidates for elective
office, with this greater separation between Democrats and Republicans offers
voters “a choice, not an echo” (Nivola, 2005). Ideological separation has given
rise to a greater gab in the political party and type of people that chose to
follow one party over another. The involvement of the people or engagement of
the people remains to be another factor and type of polarization in American
politics that has become polarized. How different those who are politically
inactive compared to those who are engaged in political issues (Sides.,
Hopkins, 2015). People who are more involved are more likely to get angry and
be fear compared to those that do not participate in politics and inform
themselves (Klein, 2014).

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Polarization does
not just magically appear one day, but has a history and causes for why it is
happening. A greater polarization trend began in the 1970s (Poole). It is
impossible to pin point one specific reason for polarization in America
(Piereson, 2015). Polarization grew in many different ways. When the
ideological points of Republicans and Democrats began to change, party
realignment became one of the major causes of polarization in American politics
(Haidt, 2014). Prior to 1980s there was a mix in ideology of republican party
and democratic party, the republican had a liberal wing and democrats had
conservative wing (Fiorina, 2014). With time people who are conservatives are
more incline to identify themselves as conservatives, compared to liberals.
Liberals are less likely to identify themselves as liberals. “Different
political parties believe that there are very different challenges facing the
country” (Austin, 2016).

Liberals and
conservatives have been sorting themselves into cleansed parties, colliding in
a competition for power belief that their own party is better then the other,
they repulse each other. Over time party sorting has left both political
parties with a lack of diversity in the ideology that they side with (Haidt.,
Abrams, 2015). Each party has strong personal and emotionally charged negative
feelings for one another, their hate for each other could be called
polarization (Fiorina, 2014). “45% of republicans and 41% of Democrats think
the other party is so dangerous that it is a threat to the health of the
nation” (McConnell, et al., 2017). Republicans and Democrats have shown
displeasure in the idea of their child marrying a member the other party
(Blankenhorn, 2015) . Political views are major factor in the separation of the
two major political parties, but many who label themselves as liberal or
conservative also want different lives, in different places with different
people (Patterson, 2015).

People wanting to
live near and with people like themselves in similar places, has given rise to
Homogeneity within communities and these places are becoming places of
extremes. “Americans have been sorting themselves into communities where people
increasingly live, think, and vote like their neighbors” (Tuschman, 2014). Homogeneity
and separation of ideological views is becoming greater with the help of
technology, people can find the perfect people, in the perfect place right
online (Nivola, 2005). A Relationship between spouses’ ideology views is
present. Spouses tend to agree on moral issues like school prayer and abortion.
People are choosing mates that they agree with and share ideology. These
couples’ similar views carry over to their children, our nation is becoming
more polarized through breeding. Since the views of parents are carrying over
to their child, questioning weather political orientation can be considered a
moderately inheritable trait is in order (Tuschman, 2014). The separation of
the two parties not just in ideology, but also in way of life and living is growing
the gap between both parties.

Age and
generational changes increases the ideological gap between parties and views on
political factors in the country (Binder, 2000). The increasing number of years
in ages between generations, is growing the cultural gap between them. This gap
in time and culture is making it easier for the generations to have different
ideologies and hate each other. These generations have different numbers of
people who are liberal or conservative, “45% millennials are liberal while only
15% are conservative” while the “Silent Generation (born between 20s and 40s)
have 40% are conservative while 26% are liberal” (Klein, 2014). Education has
an impact on generational influence on polarization.

The level of
education influences polarization in American. Those who have a higher level of
education are more likely to be involved, opinionated about politics and become
more polarized with in their political affiliation. Those who are “highly
educated liberals become more liberal, while highly educated conservatives grow
more conservative” (Tuschman, 2014). More education leads to greater growth of
the ideological gap in people (Binder, 2000). 

Over time more
congress members are replaced, this remains to be where we began to see a shift
in more extreme views. Current politicians are not taking on or converting to
more extreme views, but are being replaced by those who hold more extreme
ideology. Legislature is becoming more polarized because of replacement
(Ellenberg, 2001). The role of money in politics has increased over time
(Haidt, 2014). With greater amounts of money being put into politics, there is
now a “stronger incentive to please the big, well-networked donors who fund
their party”, politicians are looking to keep donors happy to keep receiving
the fat checks (Haidt., Abrams, 2015). With more money comes the ability to
advertise more, bringing light to the gap that exists between the parties. More
money means more in the media about the current happening in politics.
Polarization has been around for longer than thought, but now through media it
is being brought out of the shadows and to the people (Haidt, 2014).

Polarization is
not just a thing of the present, but also had a place during part of the cold
war. During the beginning of the cold war both parties strongly supported the
war. Eventually though the parties’ views spilt into those who were for the
war, the hawks and those who were for peace, the doves. By the end foreign
policy and response to foreign threats became more troublesome (Haidt., Abrams,
2015). This lead to disagreements over foreign alliances in times of
immigration rise and racial diversity (Haidt, 2014).

Extremism and
polarization are in no way the same thing. Polarization has to do with the
separating of two groups and extremism has to do with how strong and far to
left of right the views are. Extremism can be seen as the way for polarization
to occur. Ideology can be liberal or conservative and be moderate or extreme
views on the ideas at hand (Nivola, 2005). Extremes are far from the center or
moderates on views (Fiorina, 2014). Extreme describes how strong their opinions
are on a given idea. The “political extremists in the population had increased
from 4.5 to 11.2 percent, while moderates dropped by 17 percent” this shows
that over time there has been a great increase in the number of those involved
with politics in extreme viewpoints (Tuschman, 2014).

“It would bring
shame to our constitution and our democracy if it turns out that Washington can
address major problems only in those brief periods in which one party controls
all the levers of power. And it would bring admiration and hope if congress and
the president can buck recent history and find ways to work together
constructively” (Haidt., Abrams, 2015). Polarization is crippling our politics,
coarsening our culture, weakening our intellects and making it tougher to be
good neighbors and good citizens. Polarization is causing a stand still in
government, producing a gridlock (Blankenhorn, 2015). District that have
polarization present in them are less competitive and have less news coverage
during times of elections (Poole, 2016). What little makes it to the news is an
increase of politicians resembling silly children throwing food at each other,
dealing out abuse and accusations, which most would consider unspeakably rude
if they were in their own homes. Vindictiveness, disruptiveness and dumb down
conversation is what is making it into the news, and this is degrading the
public (Blankenhorn, 2015). Polarization segregates us and contributes to
inequality. Political partisanship increasingly correlated with income level.
Widening rich-poor divide between two main parties, economic interest of higher
income Americans and lower income American greatly different in ideas. The
income difference divides our nation. Leading to differences in residential and
geographical living and based on those, connection to a specific party or
views. People tend to rarely befriend or even have a personally encounter with
someone who disagrees with their political views (Blankenhorn, 2015). Through
this separation of income and living location, begins to form of loss of trust.
Mistrust of others and the government is magnified by polarization putting
wedge between people in various ways. Through separation leads to reducing in
social trust, people do not want to interact others of different ideological
views in fear of strong hatred to different points of views. This loss of trust
and separation through polarization greatly increases the negativity towards
others. Trust is “social glue” that helps make it possible law, effective
governmental institutions, a thriving civil society and economic dynamism. With
links to intellect division because of polarization has led to misunderstandings
and distorted thinking on both sides of the political spectrum. Less trust in
our political institutions and each other leads to a diminishment of our civic
capacity and this lowers the caliber of our citizenships and takes way from
what it means to be a citizen of the United States of America (Blankenhorn,
2015).

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