Political Division in the US is Worse Than Ever, Study Finds

by | Oct 3, 2018 | Headline News | 37 comments

Do you LOVE America?


    According to a new study, the political divide in America is worse than it has ever been.

    While this finding is likely not a surprise to anyone who has been paying attention, the research does reveal some disturbing trends.

    Conducted by Zachary Neal, an associate professor of psychology and global urban studies at Michigan State University, the study is among the first to measure polarization not only by examining the frequency of parties working together, but also by demonstrating how they’ve grown more distant than any other time in modern history.

    Those who are affiliated with the Democratic party or the Republican party may be inclined to blame “the other side”, but not so fast: Neal found that neither side is to blame for the growing rift. Regardless of the party that holds the majority in Congress or controls the White House, the political divide has widened.

    In a press release, Neal explains,

    What I’ve found is that polarization has been steadily getting worse since the early 1970s. Today, we’ve hit the ceiling on polarization. At these levels, it will be difficult to make any progress on social or economic policies.

    Neal defines polarization in two ways: weak polarization, which occurs when parties simply don’t work together; and strong polarization, which occurs when a party not only shuns the other side, but also outwardly attacks opponents or paints them in a negative light.

    Strong polarization actually dropped in the early and mid-1970s, Neal found, but then took a steady turn for the worse by 1980. Fewer lawmakers are coming together to co-sponsor attempts at bipartisan bills, and instead, more are spending their time fighting with and criticizing the “other side”.

    To conduct the study, Neal analyzed publicly available data on who sponsored bills in Congress from 1973 to 2016. He specifically looked at how often politicians from both sides of the aisle co-sponsor legislation.

    Although thousands of bills are introduced each year, the average representative or senator co-sponsors only about 200. And when they decide with whom to co-sponsor bills, they view nearly half of their colleagues as “the opposition.”

    “We’re seeing lots of animosity in politics,” Neal said. “Although bills do occasionally get passed, they don’t stick around long enough, or never get fully implemented, and therefore don’t have a lasting impact. This kind of partisanship means that our democracy has reached a kind of stalemate.”

    Neal cited the Affordable Care Act as an example. “The Democrats held a slim majority — just enough to get the bill passed. Then the Republicans took control, again with a slim majority, and tried to repeal it,” the press release explains.

    “The threat that strong polarization poses to lawmaking may not be the implementation of extreme policy, but rather may be dramatic swings from one partisan extreme to another that prevent the long-term implementation of any policy,” Neal wrote.

    “This study raises new questions about the future of Congressional politics,” Neal said. “In truth, the only thing that is bi-partisan in Congress is the trend toward greater polarization.”

    There are three things that Democrats and Republicans seem to agree on (much to the detriment of Americans) that Neal did not mention: Spending taxpayer money, stomping on individual rights, and expanding the military-industrial complex.

    While many Americans were distracted by the Kavanaugh/Ford circus, our “representatives” were busy doing other things, as Reason reported:

    Congress passed a massive spending bill and another round of tax cuts that will combine to blow an even bigger hole in the federal budget. Lawmakers also found time to pass a bill restricting Americans’ access to prescription painkillers, something that’s likely to force people who are dependent on or addicted to opioids (a distinction seemingly lost on legislators) to seek out more dangerous alternatives.

    But if you needed further evidence that Congress doesn’t give a damn about planning for the country’s future, look no further than the passage this week, in both houses, of a $853 billion spending bill. About $600 million of the spending is directed towards the Pentagon—boosting the military budget to levels not seen since the height of the Iraq War.

    Trump signed that spending bill on September 28.

    Two actual fiscal conservatives –  Rep. Justin Amash (R–Mich.) and Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) – have spoken out against the spending bill.

    What can Americans do about this division?

    Electing more centrists to Congress may be an option, Neal said. However, that will be difficult, because centrists often don’t appeal to American voters, who are also increasingly polarized.

    While it’s hard to imagine incivility among Democrats and Republicans getting worse, it likely will, Neal said, especially if one party barely holds the majority.

    Perhaps it is time to start thinking about supporting third-party candidates, or abandoning the current political system entirely.

    Meanwhile, threats of civil war escalate, with no end to the division among citizens in sight.


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      1. The military budget; I’d rather see that kind of money spent on our defense than to finance welfare, Section Eight, DACA “kids,” etc… We’re a big country. We need a big military…

        • “a big military”?

          The US has 800 bases around the world, Russia has two and they’re our “greatest rival”. The US spends as much in the military as the next 10 nations combined, friend and potential foe. Newsflash, that big military isn’t there to protect you, a far smaller one is adequate for that. This gentleman who received the Medal Of Honor twice. USMC Major General Smedley Butler had this to say.

          I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. In China I helped to see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested.

          I served in all commissioned ranks from a second Lieutenant to a Major General. And during that time, I spent most of my time being a high-class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street, and for the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer for capitalism.

          The trouble with America is that when the dollar only earns 6 percent over here, then it gets restless and goes overseas to get 100 percent. Then the flag follows the dollar and the soldiers follow the flag.

          • Everyone needs to read Smedley Butler’s, War is a Racket.

            • We need to stop trying to “save the world” by spending trillions on these stupidass wars that never end.

              We also need to stop trying to “save the world” by spending even more trillions by letting the whole damned world move to America.


              • Folks, this country is too far gone, which is why I don’t post much anymore. We haven’t won a since 1945. The military is nothing more than a WPA agenda (circa 1930’s onward to keep bums off streets and crime down for those too lazy to work. Get with small trusted groups for support and bartering and resistance if needed. Blogs/websites exposing globalism, etc. are utterly useless at this point as America sinks down into the abyss.

          • Great Post!

      2. I do not agree to live under a far left regime.

        • When has disagreement made any difference for those who manage to remain alive?

      3. “Political Division in the US is Worse Than Ever, Study Finds”

        It’s been part of the big plan all along.

      4. FWIW, Republican Senators are now needing police escorts to get past the demonstrators against them. Note that you didn’t see this under Obama (or Bush before him and Clinton before him).

        Things are going all out now, the winner of the battle being decided in the next few weeks. Both the Kavanaugh confirmation and the following vote in this November’s elections will be the deciding events, the winner taking the war to overall victory and the loser defeated forever no matter how hard it tries to regain ground afterward. To the victor go the spoils – and you are the spoils.

        A political, and potentially eventual real, reenactment of Gettysburg as such.

        • Weyland Yutanni Corp versus Joseph Stalin?

          Same assholes different bumper stickers…

          The problem is unrestrained power.

        • Doubtful. There are (at least) 2 phases to this “civil war”. The one acting out right now and that you mainly allude to is the political portion…and you may be right.

          But Mao was also right that political power comes out of the barrel of a gun (or something like that). The other phase of this is military, and that hasn’t even begun yet. I’m not smart enough on military matters to state a coherent and plausible opinion on how it might play out…but I know I’ll have my AR oiled, my ammo chest, wood bin and larder full, and I’ll be remaining extremely vigilant.

          One of my complaints right now is that I am SO sick of politics and related current events that I just want to shut off all media…but in order to know when the time comes and which way to jump, you HAVE to pay attention to that stuff. It just makes me very tired lately.

          • I’d also reccommend Body Armor and a helmet. The helmet I reccommend is an M6 British Ballistic Nylon, nearly indestructible. You already mentioned a chest rig. Maybe after that Knee pads and a good set of boots.

      5. 1. We aren’t meant to be a democracy.
        2. I don’t want politicians passing any more bills / laws. We are lawed to death already.

        Tear it all down, repeal all laws written in the last 153 years.

        • BJ,
          Why 1865?
          I think if you just repeal the 16th and 17th Amendments things would go back to normal. No Federal income tax and states rights and power returned to the states.

          • “I think if you just repeal the 16th and 17th Amendments things would go back to normal. No Federal income tax and states rights and power returned to the states.”

            I second that. The most ignored Amendment in the Bill Of Rights is the 10th. Besides the aforementioned the encroachment was done as a response to The Great Depression with laughable use of the “Interstate Commerce Clause” veneer of legality.

          • If memory serves me correctly, the first attempts at income tax, was right after the war and the SCOTUS shot it down later. Then it was tried again and I think defeated again?? And then we all know what happened in 1913. Income tax and the 17th amendment. But income tax first started in 1862 in the civil war 1.0. So things all started in the civil war 1.0 and were fought against, but finalized in 1913 with the federal reserve and the 16th and 17th amendments.

      6. Dog & Pony show. No real difference between partys. one is a pile of poop and the other a stack of turds. Trump isn’t really a Republican. He is simply a arrogant asshole who is having the most fun stirring a kettle of just desserts. Its at the point of the fueuding hillbillies are at. No one knows the actual beginning or any solution. Its just they hate the other side because that’s how its supposed to be. One side is good and had God on our side and the other side is bad and has the Devil that’s the mentality. When in truth there both just as evil.

        • “If voting made a difference, it would be illegal”.

      7. “Trump isn’t really a Republican”

        Not having Rand Paul (my first choice) I’ll take Trump. If the media, Neo-cons, progressives are against him he is doing something correct.

        • What about the libertarian complaints — particularly, pertaining to God given or natural rights.

      8. Endless hours of looking up Ford’s rusty, cobwebby, bat-infested rear end.

        A matter of minutes, to find Kananaugh’s legal philosophy.

        People who paid for 24hrs news channels (sewer pipes) have neglected their lives and acted like trash. What if you had spent that $100+/mo, and so many hours of your thought life, on self improvement.

      9. Abortion is one of those things that both sides feel strongly about.

        I once had a conversation with a woman who believed in the right to choose, ie supported unlimited abortion on demand. I asked her what she thought about leaving everything except the “partial birth” procedure for full term babies. She said that any limits on abortion would open the door for more down the road.

        She was right about that and she should know. Because it was by opening the door to reasonable concessions whether they be to women’s rights, immigration, pornography; it always starts with some small seemingly harmless change.


      10. What I’ve found is that polarization has been steadily getting worse since the early 1970s. Today, we’ve hit the ceiling on polarization. At these levels, it will be difficult to make any progress on social or economic policies.

        1970’s eh?

        Mumble gold standard.

        Why is this a surprise? Those that have (what little is left) don’t want to become poor, those that are poor don’t want to die.

        What did you think was going to happen.

        Particularly when each party panders to one side or the other.

      11. 70 years of listening to politics. Friends and family
        divided by political views.
        Those on FarceBook who don’t read newspapers
        are liberal. Those who look up “truth or lies” via
        the Obumhole appointed…..Annenberg Foundation
        and G00gle redirects to Demoncrap Socialist sites
        believe the sites without question.
        I am well aware how they screw the news and know
        where to go to get the “honest view points.”

        There is a deliberate divide…..Obumhole was succesful in only
        three things as president……deceit, division, and destruction.

        It proves the proverb “YOU DON’T KNOW…WHAT YOU DON’T

        If you don’t seek truth….you will continue to live in a world of darkness.

        Truth will not be on FarceBook…and 80% of the news sites, they are
        Communistic Socialized Globalists Cabals,….who deny, deceive, destroy, and
        try mind-controlling every facet of our lives.

      12. The biggest threat to my health, safety, and welfare is the Democrat party and it’s active supporters. I plan and act accordingly. I’m not a Republican. I don’t like Republicans, but vote for them because Democrats are so much worse.

        • Same here rellik – I’m registered ‘no party affiliation’; however, I vote Republican save for an occasional local councilperson or school board option who honestly is the better choice. So, don’t color me too shocked when I hear that rational conservative patriotic Americans vote for one side and despise traitorous liberal progressives dindus.

        • Bingo Rellick!

        • Bingo Rellick!

        • rellik, spot on!

      13. We’ll remain on the decline until we stop taking sides. Sure, I thought trump was a better option than Hillary, but I cannot trust that he won’t be steered into a more or less neocon presidency (which seems to be happening). That’s the M.O. of this whole 2 party charade- have one side take us further up shit creek, piss off the voters until they vote out that side in exchange for the other, who keeps the ball rolling the same way. Sure the republicans will give you $400 extra of your taxes back (and billions to their elite masters), and Democrats will promise their gubmint handouts (while keeping the tax cuts for their elite masters),but the overall effects are the same-Endless war with countries halfway around the world for causes no American cares about. The truth is that if everyone stopped voting and paying taxes into this purposely broken system, it would collapse within a year and then we could restore the republic. Only problem is that half of the people want socialism, but if we truly clean house, we could nationalize all the big monopolies and stop paying interest to privately owned central bank monopolies for the RIGHT to use/print our own money. The proceeds from the monopolies, together with the savings experienced from not being debt slaves would be more than enough to reasonably fund our government while paying zero taxes. (Debt service alone is now roughly 1 trillion per year.) I would argue that THIS is true ‘national socialism’, and would be sustainable if ever tried. But people need to stop taking sides with these traitors and stop allowing them to continue to divide us along any and all lines, whether religious, racial, gender, made up gender, class, etc. Either that or just split the country in 2, have one side be socialist and one capitalist. Then in 20 years the socialist side can be purchased back by the capitalists for pennies on the dollar after it goes bankrupt.

        • Yea like that’s ever gonna happen

      14. And, and, Kavanaugh once cut some flatulence in a crowded elevator. In 1986. It was bad.

      15. If you back either side of the two party duopoly you are doing exactly what they want you to do as mindless minions to support what works best.. dividing and conquering the entire population to benefit the criminals controlling the ripoff.

      16. I am beginning to care little about how things are going now. Look how grotesque officialdom has been performing; does any rational person actually believe we are getting good gov’t ? Anyone with lifelong wisdom and experience will tell you when they see a trajectory going past the point of no return there’s no point to trying to save the status quo, it’s time to plan for the next future.
        The fed. gov’t is in debt more than 21 trillion dollars with at least another 100 trillion in future liabilities, officialdom is truly hopelessly corrupted to the degree it cannot be corrected without massive disorder, the fed. gov’t runs rough-shod over the states to where the states are only vassals, we are steadily losing our rights, we no longer have political, social, or cultural cohesion, there is hyper extreme concentration of wealth, we have endless wars, and the general American standard of living and quality of life is falling dramatically, to name a few of the symptoms of a failing nation.
        There is a big difference ideologically between Democrats and Republicans, but little difference in practice. They both want a big powerful intrusive state, only on their terms. Demo. and Rep. are equally responsible for the god-awful mess this country is in. The Demo. want a welfare state, the Rep. want a warfare state, neither can have all they want without giving the other what they want. We are a welfare/warfare nation, it can only be sustained by massive deficit spending. And they both are wholly in the pockets of big money/big lobbies (foreign and domestic). You can bet when it’s the Demo. turn to be back in power they will undo much what has been accomplished recently including unrestricted immigration, titanic budget-shattering social spending, heavy gun control, and ongoing curtailment of the Constitution.
        I am a Southerner. I, along with many millions more want our own country, I don’t want us to get dragged down with the rest of the US.

      17. Rand Paul is very fine man but he cannot fill his father’s shoes…yet. But as much as I admire Ron Paul, Rand may yet surpass him.

        You have to recall that while Ron Paul is brilliant, he could not build consensus and was always considered an outsider. That is not helpful. Hopefully Rand will figure this out.

        It’s vital to be honourable AND persuasive. That takes oration and eloquence and harnassing the unstoppable goodwill of the People.

      18. We need to realize there isn’t any viable political or ballot box solution. There is only one choice. and it requires doing without luxury and hard work. We as individuals must be persistant at prepping and learning self reliance for the time when it does evolve into full blown SHTF without rule of law. Do whatever we can to try and make certain that. Who we are responsible for survives the 90% die off. There isn’t any reasonable justification for joining any civil war or revolution. We cant fix stupid. There isn’t any hope of fixing the present situation. If you can take care of you and yours and I can do the same for me and mine that’s the best we can hope for.

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