Why are Politics so Polarized Today?

It seems that with the return of every political season, we hear, “politics and politicians are more divisive than ever.” This division between political parties not only seems to span a Grand Canyon-like chasm, but it has perpetuated a US Congress that has an unprecedented level of gridlock and an unprecedented low approval rating.

But these concerns aren’t new. The majority of viewpoints of the Republicans and Democrats have been both very distinct and very different since I’ve been on this Earth. So when did this polarization begin? Did it start with the founding of our country? Or is the polarization of politics a 20th century phenomemon?  Alan Abramowitz, the Barkley Professor of Political Science at Emory University, and a renowned expert on national politics and elections, shares his thoughts on the subject here.

I do not claim a political identity to either party. I grew up Republican, with a grandfather that idolized Reagan, but with an aunt that challenged him about that viewpoint every step of the way. I like some of Romney’s ideas, but I also like some of what Obama has done. If you were to label me, then I guess I would be a Libertarian. While that term is thrown around a lot and people attempt to define Libertarians as many different things, when I say I’m a Libertarian, I mean that I believe in being economically conservative and socially liberal. For example, I think that as a country, we should have enough money in the bank to pay our bills and enough left over to save for the future. I also think that government officials shouldn’t tell me or my neighbors who we can or can’t marry or whether or not having a baby is the right decision for our family.

I think as a nation, we’d all like to see a lot less division and more togetherness. Like my Uncle Joe said in the eulogy that he wrote for himself (he just passed this last Tuesday) we need to just get mad at each other and get over it. Because this thing called America just ain’t gonna work without each other.