Total Pageviews

Monday, July 8, 2024


MEDIA MONDAY / By Amber Phillips, Politics Reporter, Washington Post. She explains and analyzes politics in her column “The Five Minute Fix Newsletter, a quick study of the day’s biggest poltical news. She is based in Washington DC.

Reader question: Why is there such a wide division between Democrats and Republicans in Congress? 

Amber Phillips
Answer: Phillips, Washington Post: You’re onto something. A 2022 Pew Research analysis found that the ideological differences between Republicans and Democrats in Congress are wider than at any time in the past 50 years. Twenty years ago, the least liberal Democrat and least conservative Republican had quite a bit in common. Today, they don’t. 

Political scientists have identified several reasons for this, including: 

• Gerrymandering encourages polarization by making it so the biggest risk to a lawmaker is often their primary, not the general election, so they’re incentivized to pander to the farthest-right or farthest-left voters. 

• Voters have self-sorted. Increasingly, liberals tend to live in cities and blue states, and conservatives in rural areas and red states. 

• Social media silos us even further, filing the void left by Americans’ breakdown in faith in institutions such as government and media. 

• Conservatives in Congress have also gotten much more conservative over the decades, more than liberals have moved toward the left, that Pew survey finds. 

• Former Democratic congressman Steve Israel, who now leads Cornell University’s Institute of Politics and Global Affairs, said there are solutions to polarization, but they take time to implement. They include limits on gerrymandering and increasing social media literacy, “so people don’t believe a conspiracy theory that pops up on their screens.” 

No comments:

Post a Comment