The Growing Partisan Divide in America and its Potential Outcome

There is little doubt that, over the last half century, the United States has been politically more divided than it is today.  Thanks, in large part, to America’s federally elected politicians, the divide and conquer approach has caused the conservative and liberal agendas to have less and less in common.  The entire political landscape has shifted significantly and, to a significant portion of Americans, this shift is worrisome.

First, let’s look at how the United States political landscape has become increasingly disparate.  According to research by the Pew Research Centre, over the past two and a half decades, we have seen this happen to voters political values:

It’s quite apparent that voters’ political ideologies have become increasingly polarized over the past 25 years with liberals moving further to the left and the conservatives moving further to the right.   It is also interesting to note that a smaller share of Americans hold a mixture of liberal and conservative views, with more and more becoming entrenched in their own political reality.  Most of this change occurred during the Obama Administration but, as you will observe from the 2015 and 2017 data, a significant shift occurred as the Trump Administration took control.

As I noted above, the overlap in the political values of Democrats and Republicans has declined significantly over the past 25 years as shown here when Republicans are compared to median Democrats and Democrats are compared to median Republicans:

What is the ultimate concern that voters have with this rather seismic change in America’s political landscape?  A fascinating survey by Rasmussen Reports shows that the concern is, well, concerning to put it mildly.

According to a survey of 1000 likely voters conducted in late June 2018, Rasmussen observed the following:

1.) 31 percent of likely U.S. voters state that it is likely that the United States will experience a second civil war sometime in the next five years with 11 percent stating that it is very likely.  This breaks down further – 44 percent of blacks think that a second civil war is likely compared to 28 percent of whites and 36 percent of other minority voters.

2.) 37 percent of Democrats are fearful of a civil war compared to 32 percent of Republicans and 26 percent of voters not affiliated with any major party.

3.) 59 percent of all voters are concerned that those opposed to the Trump Administration’s policies will resort to violence with 33 percent being very concerned.  Interestingly, this compares to 53 percent and 28 percent who were concerned about violence during the same time period (i.e. spring of 2010) in the Obama Administration.

4.) 53 percent of all voters are concerned that those who are critical of the media’s coverage of Donald Trump will resort to violence with 24 percent being very concerned.

While all is certainly not a garden of roses when it comes to the Trump Administration, according to the Rasmussen poll, 42 percent of all voters say that the country is heading in the right direction under Trump’s guidance but only 40 percent think that the United States would be better off today if Hillary Clinton had been elected president in 2016.

In the experience of most American voters, the United States has rarely been as divided politically as it is today.  Unfortunately, the crop of politicians that we habitually re-elect are only too aware of this and are using the current polarization to their own benefit, dividing and conquering America for their own benefit.  The only way to beat politicians at their own game is to critically read/watch the news and assess what we see/hear without open minds so that we can make a political choice that is based on fact rather than gut instinct, inspired by those that we elect, when it comes to entering the polling booth during the next election.  The results of the Rasmussen poll suggest that the political future of the United States depends on informed and intelligent voting to prevent the option of civil strife.

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