By Thomas Gaughan
As a nation we have survived multiple times of political chaos with both the 1968 election due to the Vietnam War and the 2020 election due to COVID-19. However, the polarization that plagues our current political system is only showing signs that things will continue to get worse before they get better.
To try and explain the current developing divide in the US political syste, I will address some statistics according to the Pew Research Center.
In 1994, 64% of Republicans were more conservative than the median Democrat and 70% of Democrats were more liberal than the median Republican. Well these are still quite differing statistics, the real show of the divide in our country today can be viewed in the 2017 reassessment of this statistic. This shows that 95% of Republicans are more conservative than the median Democrat and 97% of Democrats are more liberal than the median Republican. A staggering 31% and 25% increase respectively, from where we were at just 23 years ago.
On top of that, between 1994 and 2017, there has been a 28% increase (17% to 45%) of Republicans and leaners (people who are not exactly Republicans or Democrats, but have similar, more moderate ideals compared to the party) who have a very unfavorable opinion on the Democratic Party, as well as a 13% increase from a generally unfavorable view from 68% to 81%. As for the Democrats, they have also had a 28% increase in a very unfavorable opinion on the Republican Party, from 16% to 44% and a 24% increase in general unfavorable view from 57% to 81%.
How as a nation can we even bother try to and understand one another and accomplish things if the majority of those who affiliates with political parties can’t stand each other?
On the track this country is going, we will reach a total collapse before things turn heel and start to make improvements.
As of right now, the only option I see to turn this around is by achieving a miracle of understanding between both parties where they can agree on some sort of common ground and begin to work together, instead of bickering and arguing wasting everyone’s time.
So here I pose to question to you reading this: Are you willing to set aside your political differences to reach a common ground of improvement, or will you continue to fight until we reach a breaking point just over the horizon?
Thomas Gaughan was a student in Campaigns, Candidates and Current Elections, an honors course at St. Bonaventure University.