Both the media and academic scholars have stated their views on how the United States government has split the country up into two separate forces, those who support the Democrats and those who support the Republicans.
One academic that came forth and recognized the issue of polarized politics was S. C. Stokes and the journal he wrote for the 1999 Annual Review of Political Science. In his journal entry, Stokes makes multiple references to E. E. Schattschneider’s view on politics and Schattschneider’s theory of politics which is that because political parties, democracy came about and so without political parties there would be no democracy and no America. Stokes does not fully agree with Schattschneider’s statement and throughout his journal he cites studies conducted by other political scientists, Linz & Stepan 1996, Vincent 1966, Cox 1987, and multiple of others. Using the research and studies conduct by other political scientists, Stokes demonstrated how the world changed and how political parties played a role in history of other countries besides the United States. In Stokes’ Journal, it can be seen how events occurring during a certain time period led to the formation of different parties especially in Europe; events like the Reformation, industrial revolution, and the construction of nation-states (Stokes, 271). Other studies conducted also showed how great of an impact religion had on the formation of certain parties. Throughout Stokes’ journal, he describes how a political party works and even gives equations on how parties make predictions on voters.
Even though Stokes does describe how political parties have been an asset to countries, he brings up points on how political parties are divided and that is why political parties are causing issues. Forms of how a party is divided are Overlapping Generations, Incumbent Hegemony, and Curvilinear Disparity (Stokes 253-256). In the second to last section of his journal, Evaluating Models of Political Parties, Stokes presents a table of how each issue in a party would approach a question about the party. The table (Stokes, 259) shows how the issues/problems have different responses and could lead to disharmony in a political party. At the end of his journal Stokes’ states,”It is clear that parties are here to stay, an unavoidable part of democracy.” (Stokes, 263), showing that even those who have done their research and have evaluated other studies, see political parties as an issue and a problem for the United States of America. Stokes does not propose a solution to the problems occurring within political parties, but states at the end of his journal that to fully know whether or not political parties are a benefit or harm, more research has to be conducted (Stokes 264).
Another scholar that sees that issues with political parties are causing a problem the United States and its government is Professor Richard H. Pildes of New York University. Pildes voices his view of the problems with politics in an article he wrote for the Washington Post,” How to fix our polarized politics? Strengthen political parties.” He also has the same views of Stokes of how political parties and the polarization of those parties are going to stay. Pildes’ reason is history and how politicians were different sides on allowing African-Americans and poor whites to vote. Pildes also sees the main issue with political polarization to be the issues that a political party has within its own party. Pildes calls the issue “Political Fragmentation”, and it is basically that the power is being taken away from a party’s leadership and is being transferred to other members. Pildes uses Senators Ted Cruz and Elizabeth Warren as examples of “Political Fragmentation”. In the rest of his article, Pildes talks about how great the changes are to the political parties and how the fragmentation has made running a successful party more difficult. Pildes proposal is that the only way to fix polarized politics is to fix the internal issues within the parties and that is by using the law to give the party leaders the power again to control their parties and to stop party members from creating separate divisions of a party.
One media outlet adds more fuel to the flames of the polarized politics, and that is National Journal. The NJ (National Journal) has two articles that oppose each other on how Americans view each of the political parties. One article, “Opinion: Women, Minorities, and Millennials Will Determine America’s Next Civic Ethos”, uses a national survey conducted by Frank N. Magid Associates to show the shifts in political views of different demographics and how the Republican party trailing behind the Democratic party. The article aims to show that the main demographics of the Democratic Party, women, minorities, and Millennials, are expressing their views of how the government should be ran than the main demographics that support the Republican Party, men, whites, and seniors. The Magid survey shows that 55% of women, 59% of minorities, and 55% of Millennials, support government intervention, which is a big Democratic belief, while 50% of men, 50% of whites, and 48% of seniors support the Republican belief of limited government intervention. The article continues to use the data founded by the Magid survey to show how the demographics that mainly make up the Democratic Party, ally themselves with the belief of their party on foreign policy and economics. In contrast the Magid survey shows that the main demographics that make up the Republican Party are not agreeing with wait the party is deciding on foreign policy and economics. Overall the article makes it seem as though the Republican Party is beginning to fail and that the Democratic Party is doing better off.
After the article,” Opinion: Women, Minorities, and Millennials Will Determine America’s Next Civic Ethos” was published, another article was published 18 days later to contradict the views of the article; that article was, “Opinion: A Closer Look at America’s Problems, Solutions, and Political Parties”. The new article was blaming the first article and the Magid survey of being bias towards the Democratic Party. The second article, the new one, saw the first article as “part of the messaging war that the Democrats have been winning for years.” The article expresses how the messaging war has played into the persona that the Republican Party is worse than the Democratic Party and that the “extreme language” used in the first article “contributes to the polarization of our country and also misleads Americans.” Throughout the article, the author contradicts the Magid survey and what is stated in the first article. The article says that Republicans also see that it is important that the government is involved in American life and states that,” We even heard Romney say in the first debate that there should be some regulation and oversight.” The article is organized in the same fashion as the first one, minus the headers, and gives points and examples on how the first article was wrong and bias. The article is clearly trying to show a contrasting view to the first article and each of the points made in the first article.
In the end, both articles show how divided people are and will use any source available to them to defend their case. The first article clearly leaned more towards the Democratic Party and its views; while the second article leaned more towards the Republican Party and its view. The first article was more subtle in its approach to make Republicans look like an incompetent party that does not listen to its own members. The second article is straight forward and clearly blames the Democrats, and their control over messaging war, for giving Republicans a bad name and causing an even greater polarized government.
I am not bias and feel that both parties are at fault for all the troubles that are occurring in today’s politics. Through the research I conducted, I have learned possible problems that are occurring in politics and the reasons why it has been harder for both parties to come to an agreement. I have also seen how the political party system has created divisions between people. There has been research done by none bias associations and it is true that American is almost split right down the middle. Data and research from people-press.org, pewresearch.org, and ropercenter.uconn.edu shows that minorities, women, and Millennials due tend to lean towards being Democrats and whites, men, and seniors (the Silent Generation) tend to lean towards being Republican. It seems that even though there are members of each party trying to evolve the party so they could attract members of all demographics, there are still many in each party who want to keep the party the same. That’s a terrible problem because it will just widen the gap between both parties and will make it even more difficult for the parties to come to an agreement over important laws and bills that need to be passed to help the country develop. I propose that the people of the United States take a stand and make their voice be heard. We the people have the power to change our country and to push for a change in politics. We can all take a stand and make the politicians realize that their constant bickering is causing problems for us, the people, and that they have to realize that no party is more important than the people it is suppose to serve.