The Plagues And Profits Of Polarization

1587 WordsSep 29, 20177 Pages
The Plagues and Profits of Polarization In 1796, in his Farewell Address, George Washington warned against the “party passions” that weaken public administration, afflict the community, promote animosity between different sectors, and as a result, render the American nation vulnerable to foreign invasion. Political polarization is most simply defined as the divide between Liberals and Conservatives or between Republicans and Democrats. According to measurements from DW-NOMINATE, a system that gives politicians a score based on how liberal or conservative they are, polarization has been rising steadily for the past four decades. The general consensus among scholars is that the United States has not heeded the first president’s warning;…show more content…
His collected data show that Obama has seen much polarization throughout his two terms, but his predecessor, George W. Bush, also received a similar amount. This shows that the divide between voters has been increasing for at least over a decade . At times, rising polarization gives the impression that the American nation has disintegrated, but many political scientists argue that although our nation has its flaws, polarization is not the problem. Political scientist, Alan I. Abramowitz, is especially adamant about the manners in which polarization profits American democracy. He admits that polarization can lead to immature mudslinging, but presents this as a small downside to the important and essential benefits it provides. In his opinion, polarization can be a solution to legislative gridlock in congress. Polarization between different parties leads to “party discipline” within a party because it moves the moderates in a party further left or further right. Abramowitz claims that this can overcome procedures, such as the filibuster, that actually inhibit the law-making processes. Additionally he believes that polarization manifests party lines, making it less complicated for American citizens to associate with a specific side, which as a consequence, encourages them to vote and discuss their political views with others. Shaun Theriault adopts a similar view. He decries the name-calling and
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