The Growing Ideological Gap Between The United States’

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The growing ideological gap between the United States’ two major political parties, in other words, rising levels of political polarization, has had a negative impact on American politics as it results in Congressional inefficient, public apathy, and economic inequality. The United States has maintained its two party system for some time, but the major parties have not always been so clearly separated. In the early and mid-twentieth century, polarization was actually declining, as there was much ideological overlap between the members of the two parties (Kuo). Many people, such as conservative Democrats and liberal Republicans, rested in the ideological middle. Additionally, each party represented a coalition of diverse interests. At…show more content…
Polarization in the United States today exists on two levels: polarization in the electorate and polarization in the elite. While separate, these two groups are perpetually intertwined. Polarization in the electorate refers to the movement of voters toward ideological extremes, and the ideological gap between voters on either side has been increasing in recent decades (Kuo). A study conducted by Pew Research Center in 2014 confirms the proliferation of polarization in the electorate: it found that since 1994, voters agree more intensely with their party’s policies and view the policies of the opposing party as a “threat to the nation’s well being” (“Political Polarization”). One factor that has led to this increase is the utilization of new technologies by the media, which allow voters to access more information than ever before. This broad scope of available information allows the public to be selective in what they consume (Kuo). As a result, many people participate in confirmation bias, meaning they seek out sources that share their beliefs; this strengthens their preexisting opinions and their level of partisanship. Another factor that increases political polarization in the electorate is geography. Republican voters tend to live in suburbs or rural areas, while Democrat voters are more likely to live in urban areas (Kuo). These geographic boundaries impact polarization because

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