How Increasing Ideological Uniformity and Partisan Antipathy Affect Politics, Compromise and Everyday Life
Republicans and Democrats are more divided along ideological lines – and partisan antipathy is deeper and more extensive – than at any point in the last two decades. These trends manifest themselves in myriad ways, both in politics and in everyday life. And a new survey of 10,000 adults nationwide finds that these divisions are greatest among those who are the most engaged and active in the political process.
Watch the death of the ideological middle, in 15 seconds
The ideological middle – both in Congress and in the country at large – is either dead or dying. This is not a new revelation.
But, rarely has the rising polarization in the country been explored as deeply as in new Pew Research Center data that seeks to explain not just the how but the why of our increasingly divided country. The entire report is very worth reading. One image from it, though, which documents where the average Democrat and average Republican have fallen on the ideological spectrum over the past two decades, really captures how much things have changed in recent years.
There are a few remarkable things in that animation. The first is how the “median Republican” moved to the ideological left from 1994-2004. The second is how in 2004, that movement stopped and immediately began to reverse itself. The third is how the median Democrat and Republican move rapidly toward their ideological poles starting in 2011.
In the past when you saw something like this happening, great political changes happened in the country.