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Political Polarization

Another sign of mainstream recognition of political polarization in the United States — From the Economist:

The supermajority rule [60 votes in the Senate] would be no bad thing if it forced the majority party to reach out to the other side. The Democrats themselves have often been glad of it, for example to block some of George Bush junior’s judicial appointments. And the rule has not prevented Congress from passing far-reaching social legislation in the past. The creation of Social Security in 1935 and of Medicare in 1965 attracted support from both parties. But that was when the ideologies of the parties overlapped in the middle and made bipartisanship easier. Now they have grown more polarised, and in Congress the Republicans in particular have become highly disciplined. (Emphasis added)

America’s democracy: A study in paralysis | The Economist.

The primary election process has destroyed true centrists, making both parties more extreme and unwilling to compromise, and resulting in the rise of moderates, people who switch with differing frequency switch their votes between each extreme in order to get stuff passed and keep us functioning. The result is rule by the crazy extremes, an unhappy middle, and messy policy generated by the crazies and then watered down to nothingness to earn enough moderates to become law.

We need to hear the voice of the middle again, and the primary election driven polarization of the parties is unlikely to let that happen.

The Economist article tackles a lot of issues and brings up a lot of interesting points. I agree that America is not ungovernable, I think we are just ungoverned. I also agree that we are at a crossroads, a moment where we will decide the course of the country for many years to come — whether we address our issues or delay them for a later day yet again. I recommend you read the rest of the article. Let me know what you think.