Polarization in politics refers to the divergence of political attitudes ideological extremes. Most discussions about polarization refer to political parties and Democratic systems of government. Typically polarization results in moderate voices being silenced. The extremes in both parties take the lead, which ultimately causes the same in the population. In our political climate the Right Wing extremists have demonized compromise, referring to it as weakness. the polarization in our current political climate has ground our Democracy to a halt. This in turn has hurt the middle and lower class Americans. It has damaged any attempt to fix our infrastructure or deal with anything of political significance. Hopefully i can succinctly describe the cause of polarization today.
Gerrymandering, also known as redistricting has had a bit to do with it. when a sitting representative feels safe from the other side they tend to double down on more extremist views. This is a way to pander to a base. Gerrymandering is illegal in the United States. instead of drawing districts in lines that make sense, the districts are drawn to keep Republican districts safe by splitting up strong Democrat sectors. This has been on full display in states where Republicans are sitting in the majority or as Governors. In several states despite a Democrat winning the majority of the votes they lost the states because of the redistricting. As i said this was found to illegal many, many years ago, yet still happens.
Lobbying is another humongous cause. The Sunshine Rules which came into being after Watergate created more transparency in committee meetings and recorded votes, also opened them up to special interest groups and lobb
yist. Which made it easier to figure out which Congressman were on the fence and needed a little push. This truly opened our Democracy up to the oligarchy our government has become. A perfect example of this phenomenon is when President Obama and Congress (Democrats) started working on the ACA. In the first week about 300 lobbyist from the health insurance industry descended on D.C. Look at who received these donations, it is public record, and you will understand the incredible disinformation about the ACA. Then throw the Citizen’s United decision into the mix and everything spins completely out of control. If anyone tells you that decision didn’t effect our Democracy is either lying or lives in a box. The candidate who raises the most money wins 94% of the time. Obviously money has a very large effect on our Democracy.
Last but not least, the Media has pushed our representatives farther left or right. As a Liberal I wholeheartedly believe it is more Conservative media then Liberal media pushing the extremism. I watch both sides and identify with little, if any thing the Conservative media says or believes. Republican Darrell Issa, who I personally believe is a disgrace to his
position, said that compromise might be a good idea to help stop the gridlock. That day conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh came out in a tirade attacking Issa. As ridiculous as it sounds Issa issued an apology to Limbaugh and promised to block any thing President Obama proposed. Yes, Issa apologized to a talk show host. I find that to be ridiculous. It does’nt matter if it is Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, Bill O’Reilly, Anne Coulter, Rachel Maddow, Ed Schultz, Chris Hayes or Lawrence O’Donnell, their shows are their opinions. Yes liberal shows give more actually facts and most stories are fact based, they are still spun with an opinion which taints the story. These are opinion shows, all of these shows cut speeches to get the speaker to say what they are looking for. the instantaneous news and opinions really hurt politicians and leave no room for compromise.
All of these things lead to the population hating one another based on your political opinion. This has led to a rise of extremist, the Tea Party, and other groups coming to prominence. People threatening to assassinate the President, referring to him with racial slurs. This has created a atmosphere where nothing can be accomplished. This has caused a double down on craziness. Is it possible to come back from this? I do not think so. In fact I believe it will only get worse. If a conservative reads this I will be referred to as a liberal idiot or something like this. But you cant please all the people all the time.