Polarization And Political Trust Among The Mass Public

2102 Words Dec 8th, 2016 9 Pages
Introduction Throughout the semester we have been discussing the idea of polarization and political trust among the mass public. Hetherington and Rudolph’s central theory was based around the idea that polarization is at an all-time high in the United States. Many Americans are consistently displaying polarization in their policy preferences as well as how they feel about members of the opposite party. Due to the public lack of trust in the government, the probability of Congress compromising reduces. Since there is already an increasingly polarized political environment that has difficulties passing laws, the book discovers that trust in the government helps explain the reason why Washington is dysfunctional. Political trust helps create consensus in the public by providing a bridge between individuals across both party lines. A challenge in measuring polarization comes from the idea that many American’s don’t want to view themselves as extreme so they will typically take on moderate views. Also some individuals are not as politically knowledgeable so they usually fall in the middle. They solved this challenge by employing alternatives to a literal definition of polarization. Lastly, Hetherington and Rudolph stated that “a polarization of trust stands in the way of the emergence of public consensus on things, such as, public policy (H&R, 2015, pg.25)”. Also, a polarization of trust has cause people to become unwilling to make ‘ideological sacrifices.’
Hetherington and…
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