America's political divide at widest in decades

When pollsters ask questions of voters a host of values questions, the gap between different groups has remained almost static. For example, voters of different races have a consistent 12% gap in their opinion on issues, while sex was the least at 6%. In between were different qualities such as income, education and religion. The one area that has been steadily growing, especially since 2000, is partisan differences.

What's very interesting in light of socionomics is that there was almost no change from 1987-2000, but since then the partisanship has almost doubled. This raises the question of whether voters are really expressing partisan political views they firmly believe in, or whether they are in a bad mood and fighting over politics. That in turn is interesting for what it means politically and for the future of a nation. Many people think of history in terms of rising and falling nations and cultures, with eyes now focused on the U.S. and China. However, as I've often said, social mood plays out based on the existing political realities. People don't spontaneously create new movements or political ideas in response to changes in social mood (though it can happen), they generally shift their support to an existing political movement that was formerly considered fringe or radical. If that's true, national success may depend on the choices available, which is based on a nation's culture. Those with a tendency towards dictators or bad economic and political systems will face the risk of choosing poorly and dooming their country to a long period of stagnation, whereas more politically centered nations will almost never face the risk of a truly poor choice.

The counter argument would be that political failures accumulate during periods of rising social mood and that while the voters are angrier and ready to fight, it has some rational basis. For example, looking at Japan, Europe and the U.S., and even China, accumulated political choices have led to untenable situations. The developed world cannot pay for its welfare state, while China must effectively end communist party management of the economy if the domestic economy is to grow. Social mood in this view isn't the driver of change: a crisis (defined as a turning point) was inevitable. Instead, it is about timing. Negative social mood forces the crisis.

Sharp increase in partisan divides among Americans

No comments:

Post a Comment