Polarization Is Increasing. Good Or Bad, The Electorate

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Polarization is increasing. Good or bad, the electorate is dividing more and more down party lines. Voters are struggling against each other in increasingly rigid groups with increasingly rigid ideologies. In Polarized Public Alan Abramowitz catalogs the data showing this trend through time (2013). The trend towards the poles of American politics has continues since his studies and shows no sign of stopping. Abramowitz gives some historical insight into the increasing division between political parties. He traces the split to the Civil Rights Movement; before then leaders of both parties were mixed geographically instead of straight down ideological lines (p. 17). When Civil Rights for African Americans became a defining political …show more content…

This made whites worried that other groups have too much power; Abramowitz points out that white flight of “racially resentful” voters from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party has increased racial polarization down party lines (p. 35). Now Democrats rely more and more on the votes of any group of nonwhite voters. Nonwhite voters are generally more accepting of activist government, so Democrats are as well, so fiscal conservatives flee the Democratic party, so economics are polarized as well (p.33).
It is this kind of cascading polarity that has caused the American electorate to separate more and more. One thing leads to another and everyone winds up on opposite sides. This is noted not only in issues of race, but in many areas. In areas of religion the voters used to be mixed across parties; Catholics were generally Democratic and Protestants were generally Republican in 1960 (p.66). The two religions started mixing by Conservative or Liberal values instead of religions and now, as Abramowitz puts it, “as the Catholic-Protestant split has diminished, a new religious divide has emerged among white voters - a divide between the religious and nonreligious” (p. 67). Here too issues cascade; as the Republican Party becomes more religious as a whole it becomes the defender of religious values, causing it to gain more religious followers, causing it to be more religious as a whole, and on down the line. The opposite happens to

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