Political Polarization And Culture War Essay

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Political scientists Wilson and Fiorina both tackle the concepts of party polarization and culture war through the lens of the 2004 U.S presidential election. In 2016, their musings are, for the most part, still highly applicable. Neither denies the existence of either a culture war or political polarization. Rather, their theses differ in the extent to which they apply these terms to the general electorate rather than to the political elites. Wilson argues that both elites and voters are polarized, a phenomenon driven by the media, homogenization of political parties, and interest groups.1 However, Fiorina maintains that the polarization in the voting patterns of the electorate is merely a reflection of elite partisan stances rather than the polarization of the voters themselves.2 In examining their arguments, it is evident that Fiorina had the more tenable thesis in regard to the polarization of the electorate in 2004. Yet this does not preclude the existence of a culture war that has led polarization in 2016. Today, Wilson’s theories are more applicable to the political and cultural context. Looking towards the 2018 midterm elections, the Democratic party in particular should focus on cultivating moderate stances that can appeal to both Democrats and Republicans with the aim of gaining seats in the Senate and House of Representatives. Writing in the political landscape prior to the 2004 presidential election, Fiorina frequently invokes the 2000 presidential election as
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