Political Shock Therapy Needed

Posted by & filed under Controlled by Parties, Fixing Congress, Hyperpartisan


A provocative post by Peter Coleman at The Huffington Post regarding current political realties in the United States, and how “shock therapy” may be the only thing to move us from the politics of today, things being more gridlocked and polarized today than they have been in well over 100 years, or as Coleman asserts, since the U.S. Civil War. We have discussed here at IVA at length how this polarization presents itself, both in the behavior of our elected officials in Congress and in the behaviors of party adherents across the country. Coleman lays it out:

“This is happening at a time when our nation is facing crises on multiple fronts — joblessness, housing foreclosures, border insecurity, declining education outcomes, soaring healthcare costs, you name it. Yet we are too divided and alienated from one another to do much about it.”

So, why is this happening?

“A series of studies by political scientist Nolan McCarty and colleagues shows that the US Government is more polarized today than it has been for 130 years –and this is particularly evident in the increasing divisions in Republican versus Democrat congressional voting patterns since 1979.

But a similar trend is apparent in the pattern of Red-Blue voting nationally over the last three presidential elections. If you look at the geographic breakdown of Democratic and Republican voting within each of the 50 states over the last 12 years, you see a fascinating pattern. The world has changed dramatically since 2000; by 9/11, the global threat of terrorism, a world financial crisis, the worst environmental catastrophe in U.S. history (the BP oil spill), and so much more. Yet despite this, Red versus Blue voting breakdowns within every state have barely budged. The world around us is being buffeted by extraordinary forces from every direction, but U.S. citizens keep voting the same way in the same places — and the chasm keeps getting deeper.”

Take a moment and read the entire post. It’s interesting and revealing of some of the larger forces that are at play in shaping the day-to-day political realities that we are at present the hapless victims of, at least until the shock therapy begins.

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