The Role Of Political Polarization In American Politics

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What is polarization?
Throughout the course of American history, arguments occur regarding what role and function the government should play in the democratic process. Since the formation of two major political parties during the 1800s, political polarization began to impact how the government functions. According to Political Polarization in American Politics, polarization is defined as diverging from median Republican and Democratic views and increases when the political stances and ideologies move further to the left or right of the middle, central view (Hopkins and Sides 2015, 17).
Over time, scholars came up with different ways to measure polarization in America. Current polarization studies are from the 1970s into the 2000s. The American
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The people may have misconceptions about who is voting Democrat or Republican which leads them to believe that ideologies vary.
Another aspect to take into account is the media’s portrayal of politics. Authors of Culture War? believe that the regular citizen does not play a major role in polarization at all. However, Americans believe that polarization exists due to misinterpretation of election results, political activists, the media’s portrayal of politics, and confusion of the people’s choice.
The factors to incorporate into the American perspective on polarization include the media’s influence, political ideologies, and interpreting the election results. American citizens, especially millennials, act out of greed and are driven by self-gain. “This pole proves that millennials have totally incoherent political views” shows that citizens do not intentionally see politics as polarized but rather as an act of self-interest. Therefore, the American citizens have varying opinions on subjects and policies depending upon whether the political issue could help or harm
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Authors of Culture War? argue against polarization of American citizens yet in favor of polarization at an elitist level. Politicians are polarized. Activists have extreme views and are well-informed. Political activists are not considered “regular people” based on information from Culture War? (Page 9, 16, and 19) Politicians make America polarized whereas uninformed citizens contribute little to polarization.
The Front line Documentary “Divided States of America-2” further expresses how elitists are driving polarization further. An example comes from when President Obama delivered an address at George Washington University, criticizing the Republican’s proposed fiscal budget, without any knowledge that Republican Paul Ryan, a House representative who aided in creating the budget was in attendance. Paul Ryan felt personally attacked, and the Republican Party believed that Obama’s speech was perceived as extremely partisan and further deepened the political gap. Therefore, activists increase the amount of tension between the Democratic and Republican party which leads to an increase in polarization over time. Conflict displacement has been replaced by expansion, and political leaders disagree on policies such as civil rights, abortion, LGBT rights, and ensuring jobs for the public. Polarization occurs because the political elites cannot compromise on the political issues discussed. Therefore, events such as the 2013 government shutdown

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