The moralizing begins with the link leading to the CNN story: “Blame yourself for partisan Congress.” Of course, the idea is nonsense. You didn’t vote for a partisan Congress. You voted for someone you hoped would be principled enough to do right and resist wrong. The fact that Congress is polarized is because there are a lot of voters out there who elect the opposite kind of politicians for their districts.
In other words, as a recent Pew poll confirmed, the reason Congress is polarized is because the people are polarized. So the polarization in Congress proves that we truly have representative government. Why isn’t this good news?
Among the report’s findings:
- “The overall share of Americans who express consistently conservative or consistently liberal opinions has doubled over the past two decades from 10% to 21%. And ideological thinking is now much more closely aligned with partisanship than in the past.”
- “As a result, ideological overlap between the two parties has diminished: Today, 92% of Republicans are to the right of the median Democrat, and 94% of Democrats are to the left of the median Republican.”
- “At a time of increasing gridlock on Capitol Hill, many on both the left and the right think the outcome of political negotiations between Obama and Republican leaders should be that their side gets more of what it wants.”
- “People with down-the-line ideological positions — especially conservatives — are more likely than others to say that most of their close friends share their political views,” the report found. “Liberals and conservatives disagree over where they want to live, the kind of people they want to live around and even whom they would welcome into their families.”
Why does this matter?
Because, as the report points out, over the past 20 years, “partisan animosity has increased substantially” — more than doubling, in fact. The most politically engaged Americans are most likely to see only the rightness of their own positions and view the opposing side’s ideas as “so misguided that they threaten the nation’s well-being.”
Notice that a question of fact is treated as if it were an issue of personality diagnosis. If people really believe that “the opposing side’s ideas” are “so misguided that they threaten the nation’s “well-being,” their opinions are either right or wrong.
So make an argument. Persuade us!
CNN would rather simply assert that all these people are emotionally unstable. The “centrist” position is treated as the right and mature position and everyone else is condemned for not aligning themselves with it.
This is all just more propaganda like what Bob Dole has been pushing in his “bridge to the past.”In addition to being biased and condescending, it is intellectually stultifying. The media powers are simply trying to shame people into changing their behavior without any argument to actually engage in the political and ethical positions.