American Politics Are Broken And Politicians Aren't The Only Culprits
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Politics and Activism

American Politics Are Broken And Politicians Aren't The Only Culprits

When did having multiple viewpoints become a bad thing?

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American Politics Are Broken And Politicians Aren't The Only Culprits
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Don’t get me wrong, our political system has never been perfect (see the Civil War) but modern politicians, especially candidates such as Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, seemed to have ripped the scabs off our system and expose the ugly wounds underneath. Currently, Democrats and Republicans are further apart ideologically today than they were at any other point in history. Roughly 50% of Americans used to hold an equal number of republican and democratic views but this has shrunk to 39% of Americans.

Your view on one issue today now determines your views on a myriad of other issues. If you think about it, does environmental regulations, police brutality, and the war in Iraq actually have anything in common issue-wise? No, but today you have to support environmental regulation, recognize police brutality as a social justice issue, and oppose the Iraq War if you are to be considered a Democrat.

American politics have grown increasingly polarized since 1980 as the parties seemed to “purify” themselves which means all candidates of a party will hold the same views in order to appeal to the politically active right and left-wing voters.

The urban-rural divide has also increased with liberals grouping in major metropolitan areas and adopting secular, cosmopolitan values and conservatives staying in rural countrysides and having more patriotic, religious values. These different ways of life have greatly influenced beliefs, politics, and the candidates that represent these districts.

The parties also just hate each other and feelings towards the opposing party have been trending downward since 1980 and have especially decreased since the contentious 2000 election where George W. Bush became president after losing the popular vote. This trend was accelerated when Republican Newt Gingrich became Speaker of the House and discouraged cross-party friendships by changing the legislative calendar so that new members didn't have to live in Washington and befriend other congressmen.

Without good relationships forged outside the capitol building, chances for collaboration plummeted.

Finally, the media is a culprit in polarization as well. And yes, both CNN and Fox News are at fault no matter which one you agree with. With the rise of the internet, people have access to hundreds of sources and people are more likely to receive their news from a source they agree with. This phenomenon is also known as confirmation bias. If politicians deviate from their party’s platform, the news source that supports them will lampoon them in headlines and opposing medias will do little to support them. Why risk losing reelection when you can just vote against something like background checks?

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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