Political Polarization Essay

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Political polarization is a prominent issue in elected officials today, according to a study done by Pew Research Center in 1973-74 there was substantial overlap between the most liberal and the most conservative Senators and House Representatives in the way they voted. In 1993-94 there was less overlap then there was in the 70’s, but it was still there, unfortunately in 2011-12 there was almost no overlap remaining. This shows that polarization is in fact getting worse in Congress and causing significant problems. There are many consequences of the political polarization in Congress such as (1) inability to get much done, (2) elected officials not representing the majority of American’s, and (3) further economic inequality. There are many…show more content…
The shift to the left and the right can be explained by the social changes and recent government actions that have caused disagreement about what the government should be accomplishing (“Hopkins 72”). Polarization has made the fundamental differences in how liberals and conservatives believe they should handle different issues more obvious to the general public. Two of the most controversial issues today are abortion and gay marriage, these two issues alone can be seen as creating polarization. The reason people use these two issues to point out the problem with polarization is because consistent liberals agree with each other on both issues and consistent conservatives agree with each other, but the majority of American’s do not align with one party on both issues. According to an article “Turned Off or Turned On? How Polarization Affects Political Engagement” elected official and party activists are more polarized, making it easier for people to sort themselves into the “correct” party. Although, it is also suggested by Elites that many voters might be turned off by the choice of picking a party, leading to many individuals not voting. There are many theories as to why political polarization is increasing in elected officials including gerrymandering, economic inequality, and voter…show more content…
It has become common for people to blame the polarization of politics on gerrymandering. According to a study “Does Gerrymandering Cause Polarization,” redistricting increasingly produces districts that are homogenous with respect to ideology; this is because ideologically homogenous districts make it more difficult for moderates to win, since moderates are divided so they no longer hold the majority in any given district even if they are the majority of the population. Due to redistricting (gerrymandering) polarization is possibly greater than it would be if the districting process were more politically neutral, but the fact that the U.S. Senate has experienced an increase in polarization at the same time the House has, suggests that gerrymandering plays a modest role at best in polarization (“McCarty, 3”). This leads us to our next theory that economic inequality is a possible cause for the increase in

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