Is America dangerously divided?
June 15th, 2014
03:41 AM ET

Is America dangerously divided?

By Bruce Stokes, Special to CNN

Editor’s note: Bruce Stokes is director of global economic attitudes at the Pew Research Center. The views expressed are his own.

If you thought that political polarization in America was bad, think again. Because it’s worse than you thought. And if you’re under the impression that dysfunctionality in Washington is merely a product of partisan political gamesmanship on Capitol Hill, try again. Because a new survey finds that the divisions inside the Beltway actually reflect a deep ideological divide within the U.S. public that manifests itself not only in politics, but in everyday life. Indeed, this polarization is growing – and it has profound implications for economic and security issues that affect the rest of the world.

Republicans and Democrats in the United States are more divided along ideological lines, and the resulting political acrimony is deeper and more extensive, than at any point in recent U.S. history, according to the Pew Research Center survey. And such partisanship is having a greater impact on policy because these partisans make up a larger share of the politically engaged members of their parties.

The share of Americans who express consistently conservative or consistently liberal opinions on a range of issues – on the size and scope of government, the environment, foreign policy, among others – has doubled over the past two decades, from 10 percent to 21 percent. And this shift isn’t just about one party – Democrats have been moving to the left and Republicans have moved to the right. As a result, now roughly one-in-five Americans hold either strongly liberal or strongly conservative views. Meanwhile, the percentage of the American public that takes a liberal stance on some issues and a conservative one on others has fallen from half in 1994 to 39 percent today.

This recent polarization has taken on an unprecedented personal element. Sure, Democrats and Republicans haven’t always liked each other. But today the feelings appear far more hostile. For example, 36 percent of Republicans say the Democratic Party is a threat to the well-being of the country, while just over a quarter of Democrats see the GOP as a threat to the nation.

Moreover, many Democrats and Republicans today don’t even want to associate with each other. More than six-in-ten of consistent conservatives and about half of consistent liberals say most of their close friends share their political views. People on the right and the left also say it is important to them to live in a place where most people have similar political sentiments. And three-out-of-ten consistent conservatives say they would be unhappy if an immediate family member married a Democrat (compared with almost a quarter of across-the-board liberals who voice the same concern about the prospect of a Republican in-law).

Such partisans are increasingly active in their respective parties. In 1994, just 8 percent of politically-engaged Democrats were consistent liberals. In 2014, these strong liberals made up 38 percent of party activists. Similarly, 20 years ago consistent conservatives accounted for just under a quarter of politically-engaged Republicans. Today they represent one-third.

Needless to say, such partisanship complicates political deal-making. When asked about compromise on the most important issues facing the country, consistent conservatives say that congressional Republicans should get two-thirds of whatever they want and that the White House should get only one-third. Consistent liberals are no more conciliatory: 62 percent say that in any deal between Congressional Republicans and President Obama, the White House should get two-thirds of what it wants, while the GOP should only get one-third.

Such partisanship would be political theater for the rest of the world if it didn’t have such serious policy consequences.

For a start, there’s no doubt that Republicans and Democrats typically take broadly differing stances on major international issues. Among the American public, for example, Democrats are more supportive than Republicans of both a free trade agreement with Europe (60 percent to 44 percent) and a free trade agreement with Japan and other countries around the Pacific (59 percent to 49 percent). Republicans are for their part more sympathetic to Israel than are Democrats, while Democrats are more opposed to the U.S. getting involved in the Ukraine than are Republicans. All this suggests that finding compromise will be almost as tricky on foreign policy as it is on domestic.

True, political differences are a fact of life in any country. But a deepening ideological uniformity and partisan animosity in both politics and everyday life challenges one of the premises of a functioning democracy: the ability to make decisions through compromise. The political partisanship now evident in the United States is not politics as usual. It is something different. And we should all be watching it very closely.

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Topics: Politics • United States

soundoff (808 Responses)
  1. Mike

    The big difference is what Zakaria tries to obscure with his wording. A 30 percent increase in consistent liberals vs an 8 percent increase in consistent conservatives over the last 20 years. Too much movement to the left too fast. This is what is driving polarization in this country.

    June 16, 2014 at 12:26 am | Reply
    • miranda

      Funny how obama ws in afgan then the hostages get released then iraq....hmmmmm......just saying...

      June 16, 2014 at 3:30 am | Reply
  2. Norrin Radd

    Read the book "Suicide of a Superpower." After reading it you will see that there is no hope for this nation or the world for that matter. The events that have been set in motion cannot be erased, negated, or recalled. These events only ensure that at the best case scenario we can expect is World War III by 2025. Not to far around the corner.

    June 16, 2014 at 12:32 am | Reply
    • skarphace

      It seems that you are putting way too much confidence in a single book. If I really believed what you said, I would be looking for some place safe to live, like say, Greenland. Why you aren't off the grid already I have no clue.

      June 16, 2014 at 12:47 am | Reply
  3. T.O.

    One thing I have noticed is that today's neo-conservatives exhibit more cowardly qualities, such as disguising themselves as "Libertarians" when you corner them and put them on the defensive.

    June 16, 2014 at 12:36 am | Reply
    • hkirwin

      Even funnier is when Dims say they are Independents or Vets.

      June 16, 2014 at 2:53 am | Reply
      • Bill

        It's sad that you're too dense to realize you're the exact kind of person who is hurting this country by buying into the partisan hack rhetoric, and fairly ignorantly so considering only 34% of active or retired military are Republicans. Your ignorance in blindly following your grossly dysfunctional party only empowers them to continue the gridlock that serves no real purpose and ensures no solutions to the multiple crises this country faces.

        June 16, 2014 at 4:12 am |
      • David L Laidig

        I am a democrat and I served in Korea. What is difficult for you neos to comprehend is that for the most part, Vets are peaceful people. We are not war mongers as you suggest. So back to your video to duty is it?

        June 16, 2014 at 4:51 am |

    It's not dangerously divided.

    Once the racist old folks finally die off.... you know. The ones who run around blaming everyone who isn't right wing a communist social sympathizer, things will be great. This includes the baby boomers.

    Until then, we need to muddle through the mess they created for the younger generations. Our endless college debt is supporting their retirement.

    Good job old folks.

    You destroyed at least two generations of young folks and probably the greatest country of the 20th century.

    Bravo.... pat yourselves on the back.

    June 16, 2014 at 12:40 am | Reply
    • Ed Joseph

      What an immature spoiled brat. You must've skipped out on your history classes...if you even finished school.

      June 16, 2014 at 12:52 am | Reply
      • JCK

        He may not have learned a thing in his history classes but I bet he got a TROPHY for just showing up !

        June 16, 2014 at 6:47 am |
    • Sinthor

      Riiiight... It's the OLD PEOPLE. That's why things are more divided NOW when there are more YOUNG people in the system instead of years ago when you're "old people" were in the majority? Not logical man. The problem is that everything in the world is worse and worse so everyone starts feeling that their beliefs are more and more personally under attack. And in some ways they ARE. Two examples from each side- the conservatives feel, rightly so, that gun rights are under attack and those attacks are more personal and more radical all the time. On the liberal side, social programs and issues like immigration and health care are under attack and those attacks are more personal and vigorous all the time. So each side is more and more defensive and starts reacting more violently to those attacks. It's a natural evolution. Besides, it's looking like our status as a world power is at least on the decline if not soon to be over. It's a shame because we really only have been for 50 to 100 years but it's clear the US won't last any where NEAR the time of someone like say the Romans who were the world power for 500 years or more. We won't. At least not in anything near our present form.

      June 16, 2014 at 1:31 am | Reply
      • Lance

        America is kind of stagnant right now but the Roman Empire went through several periods of malaise. Economies rise and fall. The Romans were not the only show in town even in their time. There were the Persians during their time. Also China had a huge Empire at the same time. The US has faced economic and partisan problems in the past and come out better in the end, and we can do it again. Things are actually pretty good right now if you really step back and think about it without watching the news all the time. Part of what the news does is make people worry so they will watch the news. There is still nowhere better to live than here.(You could make an argument for places being as good) we need people in Washington that will put all of America first and not just big campaign donors. The social stuff is really less important than the economics of the country. We need to bring back the good paying jobs, and that will increase the economic power of the country. Economic power leads to all the other kinds of power that you need. Crippling the middle class to let the rich make more money by moving jobs over seas is the primary problem for the country. The money is the thing. Bring back the jobs at a proper wage and you spark the economy. When the economy takes off everybody is better off. If everyone has a chance at a good and secure future the country takes off again.

        June 16, 2014 at 1:56 am |
      • sgtrock101

        What defines that status? If the willingness of children to trek, alone over 1,00 miles at just a chance at citizenship, maybe ; we're still on top. How many people immigrate to Russia, or a Muslim country or China? Not very many. We're not on the decline. In fact, we're doing to good to be avoided.

        June 16, 2014 at 1:57 am |
    • Peteyroo

      Not all Democrats are Liberals just as not all Republicans are child molesters.

      June 16, 2014 at 2:05 am | Reply
      • hkirwin

        .....but all liberals are loons.

        June 16, 2014 at 2:55 am |
      • Bill

        Not all Democrats are liberals, but all liberals are Democrats just like most racists are Republican.

        June 16, 2014 at 4:13 am |
    • Dan

      Stop using code words. It's clear you are referring to old white people. You're as disgusting as any other racist.

      June 16, 2014 at 6:48 am | Reply
  5. Mel

    I have no doubt if the Hard line tea partiers had the means...they would organize a coup and split this country apart in another civil war. The right wing in this country want to take this country back 100 years. If they could they would abolish womens right to vote, they would bring back slavery and they would force us into a neofeudalistic theocracy.

    June 16, 2014 at 12:49 am | Reply
    • camarors68

      The republicans are the ones who voted more for civil rights and women's right then democrats, Lincoln was a Republican and sign the emancipation proclamation. He is the voting on the civil rights act of 1964.

      The original House version:

      Democratic Party: 152–96 (61–39%)
      Republican Party: 138–34 (80–20%)

      Cloture in the Senate:

      Democratic Party: 44–23 (66–34%)
      Republican Party: 27–6 (82–18%)

      The Senate version:

      Democratic Party: 46–21 (69–31%)
      Republican Party: 27–6 (82–18%)

      The Senate version, voted on by the House:

      Democratic Party: 153–91 (63–37%)
      Republican Party: 136–35 (80–20%)

      Republican in the 80% range for civil rights Democrats in the 60% range for civil rights. Same with women's rights but I will let you look that one up.

      June 16, 2014 at 1:53 am | Reply
      • sgtrock101

        It's not a partisan label of yesterday that counts; it's what they stand for today.

        June 16, 2014 at 1:59 am |
      • Peteyroo

        Lincoln was the last good Republican.

        June 16, 2014 at 2:03 am |
      • JJH

        Yes, let's go back to traditional Republicanism. They campaigned for unions, they championed the rights of minorities by advancing Affirmative Action, they fought for equal pay for women, they were the first to add black members into their Caucus.

        All of this good is being undone in today's Republican Party.

        This is the Republican party platform in 1956:

        Under the Republican Administration, as our country has prospered, so have its people. This is as it should be, for as President Eisenhower said: “Labor is the United States. The men and women, who with their minds, their hearts and hands, create the wealth that is shared in this country—they are America.”

        Our Government was created by the people for all the people, and it must serve no less a purpose. For our guidance in fulfilling this responsibility, President Eisenhower has given us a statement of principles that is neither partisan nor prejudiced, but warmly American:

        The individual is of supreme importance.

        The spirit of our people is the strength of our nation.

        America does not prosper unless all Americans prosper.

        Government must have a heart as well as a head.

        Courage in principle, cooperation in practice make freedom positive.

        To stay free, we must stay strong.

        June 16, 2014 at 2:03 am |
      • Lance

        Just stop. You don't get to claim Lincoln. Lincoln was a northeastern liberal. The south at that time was the conservative democrat party. If you are going to use history as an example at least try to understand it before you start talking about things that you don't really understand. The parties switched liberal and conservative alignment when LBJ signed the civil rights act. He said at that time that "We've(the democrats) lost the south for a generation." He has been proven correct. Just please don't bring out throat tired old argument that shows only base knowledge and no understanding.

        June 16, 2014 at 2:03 am |
      • Evelyn Connaway

        camarors68 – In my 64 years of voting, I disagree with you.

        June 16, 2014 at 3:12 am |
      • MC

        Oh well as long as we base our decisions on what people did 150 years ago – the GOPers are human beings – looking at their actions of the last 50 years – they are racist trash.;

        June 16, 2014 at 6:07 am |
      • skytag

        So, you have to go back 50 years to find something you can brag about?

        June 16, 2014 at 6:30 am |
      • Regressive

        Yes, the Democratic Party of today is the Republican Party yo years ago. What is important is what they are today.

        June 16, 2014 at 9:11 am |
    • PatrickInBama

      You need to do your homework on the Tea Party since it's obvious that you only read MSM. The Tea Party is all about a smaller government, for the people, by the people, rather than a select few who make all of the decisions over decades. I hate to rain on your parade but we are looking at $19 Trillion in debt that will never go away. How about interest on that debt too? Right now, it's $255 Billion each and every year. That's at 1.4% interest. So what will happen once interest rates return to a normal 4.5%? We are looking at $855 Billion every year. That would make interest on debt the largest item in the budget greater than that of SS, Medicare, and the military. That money has to be paid before everything else too. No imagine if interest rates were to go higher. Scary thought and that is what the Tea Party is trying to educate the public on.

      June 16, 2014 at 2:19 am | Reply
      • eddie

        The problem with the Tea Party and the Republican Party is that they want to decrease our national debt by cutting services to the most needy in our society. If were to completely do away with food stamps, affordable housing, unemployment benefits, subsidized child care, earned income tax credit, child tax credit, school meals for low income families, aid for neglected children it would be 9% of our budget. It would barely cover the cost of the annual interest payment on our debt.

        At the same time the Tea Party and Republicans want to decrease taxes for corporate America and the wealthy. Here is an analogy, if you are sitting at home and are in debt, would you say to yourself I will pay off my debt by decreasing my annual income? No you wouldn't, anyone with common sense would tell you that is a crazy idea. But the GOP/Tea Party want to pay off our national debt by decreasing taxes, decreasing the revenue to the federal government.

        We as a nation had two economic policies during the 20th Century.

        From 1946 to 1979 the wealthy/corporate America were taxed at a 70% rate or higher, for nearly 15 years they were paying a 91% rate. During this period we did not carry as a nation a significant amount of debt, we had a infrastructure envy of the world, we had a education system the envy of the world, our higher education system was affordable, we invested heavily into R&D, we had the largest middle class seen in human history, our economy provided living wages and the priority of our economic policy was labor/the worker.

        1980 To Present Day, taxes have been lowered under 50% (today 39.6% a 61% decrease since 1960) and (1980) is when our nation's debt began to sky rocket. Today we no longer have the funds to invest in infrastructure, in education, in R&D, provide affordable higher education to our citizens, our economy no longer provides living wages, our middle class is shrinking. In 1980 the priority of our economic policy went from the labor/worker to what is best for the shareholder.

        We have to raise taxes on the wealthy (1%) and corporate America as that is where 95% of all the wealth generated by our economy each and every year goes. We have to remove the $115,000 ceiling on S.S. taxes. NO millionaire or Billionaire should be paying S.S. taxes on the first $115,000.00 he earns and the rest of his income be tax exempt. We have to means test Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, the more you earn the less of these benefits you will receive and we have to cut Military expenditures. These programs mentioned make up over 60% of our budget. We cannot pay our debt by ignoring over 60% of federal expenditures and by decreasing the amount of federal revenue that goes to the Federal government in the form of taxes.

        Also, the problem with the GOP/Tea Party is that they use fear, be afraid of immigrants, be afraid of minorities, be afraid of democrats, be afraid,of socialism, communism, be afraid of the government taking your guns, be afraid of gays, be afraid of gay marriage. I cannot remember the last time I heard a Republican/Tea Party candidate have a positive message, one that inspired you and made you feel hopeful. Again it is all about fear.

        From 1946 to 1979 we had the following Presidents, Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter and they believed in the economic model that was in place between 1946-1979 and by GOP/Tea Party standards today, these Presidents were socialist, communist, hated America and wanted to destroy America as we know it.

        We need a message of unity and we have to be adults about our problems.

        I do not always see eye to eye with my wife of 16 years and sometimes we argue but we treat each other with respect, we trust each other and we both understand that although we may differ, we always have each others best interest at heart.

        Not everyone who has served in the two wars over the last 14 years is a Democrat and not everyone who has served is a Republican. They serve not because they are Republicans or Democrats but because they are Americans and love their country..

        I wish our political parties would look at each other this way. With respect, with an understanding that Republicans and Democrats love their country and only wish for a brighter future for their children and our nation. That they will differ on issues, that it is not me against you and that they are willing to compromise to our move our nation forward

        June 16, 2014 at 5:33 am |
    • hkirwin

      ....its all in your mind. You need to expand your reading material from left wing talking points, seriously.

      June 16, 2014 at 2:57 am | Reply
  6. mrl

    Yes – under this President – we are very divided. He has done nothing but divide since he took office. Look at his latest college graduation address... I mean seriously – dumping on half the population (or more) over global warming stuff during a graduation – do we really need that divisive garbage all that time?

    June 16, 2014 at 12:50 am | Reply
    • atteckus

      Ah, but it wasn't on half the population. It was on YOU and the other 20-30% of ignorants who call science a farce. You can't deny the sky is blue when its blue, just because you prefer it to be amber.

      June 16, 2014 at 1:16 am | Reply
      • camarors68

        Just to let you know the sky isn't blue it is the color of the electromagnetic field that reaches your eyes. This is why it looks blue during the day but turns orange and red at sunset.

        June 16, 2014 at 1:48 am |
      • Lance

        Car: You can't be serious. If you go there then nothing is a color, but that would be stupid to use as an example, just like your example.

        June 16, 2014 at 2:07 am |
      • hkirwin

        too much Kool-Aid. obots and wannabe's are killing the country.

        June 16, 2014 at 2:59 am |
    • Julie Johnson

      Congratulations, mrl. You have just managed to prove the article's writer 100 percent correct.

      June 16, 2014 at 1:43 am | Reply
      • hkirwin

        so if you don't worship the man-god then you are the problem that is the true problem, the worship of a false god.

        June 16, 2014 at 3:01 am |
    • Peteyroo

      Right. And we were holding hands and singing kumbaya when Bush was president.

      June 16, 2014 at 2:00 am | Reply
    • sgtrock101

      More correct is that you, as a conservative adhere to the pledge taken by conservatives in 2009 to NEVER- EVER- UNDER ANY CONDITIONS work with Pres. Obama. Liberals worked, reluctantly, with Bush for the sake of unity; not because we believed less in liberal causes. The conservatives abdicated any pretense to work with Obama. The shame you bare as a party of divide, obstruction and stone walling is the hallmark of insanity.

      June 16, 2014 at 2:03 am | Reply
      • PatrickInBama

        And the President has tried to do what? My way or the highway was his motto. He talks about bipartisanship, but nothing in his 6 years has come close to it.

        June 16, 2014 at 2:21 am |
      • hkirwin

        you still can't believe that others refuse to follow blindly huh.

        June 16, 2014 at 3:02 am |
    • srichey321

      Weird. I thought George W. was no longer president.

      June 16, 2014 at 2:22 am | Reply
    • Bill

      Unless you were born in 2009 or developed amnesia around that time, there's little excuse for your ignorant belief that the division started with the Obama presidency. Bush hailed himself as 'the great divider' and then called Democrats obstructionists when they didn't rubber stamp every idiotic policy he tried to push through. Ironic that it was the Republicans who proudly wear the label as obstructionists when, on Obama's inauguration day, the GOP leadership made a pledge to not give Obama any big wins that could benefit him politically, even thought it meant more pain for millions of Americans living through the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, and all thanks to the policies of that same GOP who preferred to play politics rather than help real Americans. What a disgusting bunch of degenerates the GOP and their supporters are. Combined they have done more damage to this country since 9/11 than Al Qaeda could have in a century.

      June 16, 2014 at 4:18 am | Reply
      • MC

        Bush was a draft dodging war monger who killed more americans than cancer.

        June 16, 2014 at 6:09 am |
    • skytag

      The is right-wing nonsense. You've been brainwashed. We were divided before Obama took office and it's the right that works constantly to divide us, demonizing liberals, the poor, people who have no income tax liability, gays, atheists, blacks, Muslims. This is what 30 years of Rush Limbaugh has done to the Republican party.

      June 16, 2014 at 6:33 am | Reply
  7. Rick Adkison

    This is the challenge of a presidential democracy with a two party system. Believe the only two left are the US and Chile. The problem is eventually the parties become so professional and dogmatic that they can no longer work together and the result is gridlock. Many argue a parliamentary system would be better. Not sure I agre with that, but can say for sure the current two party system is failing us. Perhaps the only thing that will bring us all together is World War III and appears the Islamic radicals/fascists are going to bring it on sooner rather than later.

    June 16, 2014 at 12:54 am | Reply
  8. Kenneth Newman

    The GREATEST GENERATION may be dying off, but its the old WHITE folks who are between 60 and 90 who still think that liberals are dangerous, while the real danger has come from those who believed in Joe McCarthy and nutcase like the John Birch society, the KKK, and who think the NRA are GODs.The NRA is the MOST dangerous organization in the HISTORY of the USA. Its NO wonder WHY this country is going to hell in a hand basket, as human life is NO longer important. Just kill all Black and Brown folks, and let a few choice White people survive.

    June 16, 2014 at 1:01 am | Reply
    • Mary

      As an "old white person" of 66, I do wish people would not paint us all with a broad brush. I, and all my friends who are my age are all very liberal. We vote that way, we started protesting the Vietnam war, and we are still protesting. We work on campaigns of "liberal" candidates, etc. We are just as angry as young people about their college debt and we detest the right wing policies. Granted, more of our cohort are conservative, but there are millions of us who are not.

      June 16, 2014 at 2:04 am | Reply
      • Peteyroo

        I am 65 and agree with Mary except that I am moderate rather than liberal. Unless you've met all us geezers, you should withhold your criticism.

        June 16, 2014 at 2:08 am |
      • Lance

        There are exceptions to any rule. I live in Oklahoma and I am far from a conservative. I doubt he meant every person from your age group. As a whole though I think that as time passes more liberal positions are going to be more and more popular as the older generation has less and less power. We will see if that is a good thing. I do know that if things don't change the republicans are going to find it harder and harder to win national elections. The demographics of the future don't favor them. Things could change but it would take a big change to alter that.

        June 16, 2014 at 2:17 am |
      • Susan

        Yes, and as a 68 year old "geezer" I am, and always have been, a diehard Democrat! Proud to say have never voted republican. The tea party might well destroy this country,

        June 16, 2014 at 4:42 am |
      • Byron

        Angry about college debt? You do not get that debt unless you sign on the line and why should I pay for it because someone wanted to attend an over priced college?

        June 16, 2014 at 5:16 am |
    • Evelyn Connaway

      Kenneth Newman, you are absolutely right, except for me and a few friends of that generation, in the age bracket of 65
      to 87. I was born 87 years ago in Alabama. Have been liberal all my life and never known a dangerous liberal. Always believed in "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." I have never been able to understand all the prejudice, bigotry, hate of our fellow human beings, along with greed, corruption and dishonesty, while all the time claiming to be Christians. I do know that the most of these people now claim to be republican/conservatives, many who were once the old democrats in the south (of which there were two kinds – the haters and the non-haters). The haters switched to the republican party when our civil rights fight began and was signed into law. They haven't changed, in fact it has gotten worse. We have our own "homegrown terrorist groups", yet call people from other nations terrorist because they fight the westerners for invading their country, steal and take from them.

      June 16, 2014 at 2:05 am | Reply
      • hkirwin

        big fan of abortion huh.

        June 16, 2014 at 3:06 am |
    • phil breen

      You have got to be kidding me (and yourself)? I'm all for removing the warning labels from ALL products sold in the USA. You would not have been around to post here.

      June 16, 2014 at 2:39 am | Reply
    • hkirwin

      what have you built in your lifetime. think about it.

      June 16, 2014 at 3:04 am | Reply
      • David L Laidig

        1/2 billion dollars worth of machinery, electrical equipment, refrigeration systems, and a shed

        June 16, 2014 at 4:55 am |
      • David L Laidig

        "Big fan of abortion huh" So that means that you are big fan of killing and maiming minorities huh?

        June 16, 2014 at 5:00 am |
  9. joeblowski

    not a lot of comparison over the long term. maybe things have become more partisan than the '90s, but i would say partisanship was more intense in the 1790s. plus a lot–if not most– of this solidification of ideology and party identification is because southern whites became republicans.

    June 16, 2014 at 1:15 am | Reply
  10. Drone

    Yes America is deeply divided by the MINORITY. The only forward is to dissolve congress and change the way we vote. One person, one vote. No more senators and congressX. They are worthless. We should adopt e-voting and put everything to the vote.

    June 16, 2014 at 1:50 am | Reply
    • Marc Parella

      That would be a catastrophic disaster. Exactly how much time do you propose the average person spend reading bills and investigating the merits of legislation. You can't even get this group to vote for Senators and Representative. Direct democracy is a terrible form of government. You need people to study issues and debate constructively. The problem isn't with our system; it is with our electorate.

      June 16, 2014 at 3:25 am | Reply
  11. somersetcace1

    Yep, partisan division is probably the most destructive force in our country right now. That's what happens when you break people up into groups with nifty little labels and villainize them. That's how you justify and rationalize hatred. I've heard so many descriptions and definitions for "liberals" and "conservatives" that I've lost count and no one actually fits any of them.

    June 16, 2014 at 2:14 am | Reply
  12. maanirantel

    This article ignores a fundamental difference between the two parties. The Republicans (and particularly their Tea Party masters) "govern" by extortion, blackmail, and obstruction. The Democrats, although they can be spineless and sometimes a tad intransigent, nevertheless accept that "governing" is ultimately a matter of compromise. Since the GOP absolutely refuses to compromise in its implacable opposition to the president and his party, the idea that both parties are equally to blame is a false equivalence.

    June 16, 2014 at 2:27 am | Reply
    • hkirwin this is your view through liberal lenses. I bet you even believe that BS.

      June 16, 2014 at 3:09 am | Reply
    • Byron

      Democrats had both houses and the Presidency for two years. They could pass anything they liked and you still blame Republicans?

      June 16, 2014 at 5:20 am | Reply
  13. maanirantel

    This article ignores a fundamental difference between the two parties. The Republicans (and particularly their Tea Party masters) "govern" by extortion, blackmail, and obstruction. The Democrats, although they can be spineless and sometimes intransigent, nevertheless accept that "governing" is ultimately a matter of compromise. Since the GOP absolutely refuses to compromise in its implacable opposition to the president and his party, the idea that both parties are equally to blame is a false equivalence.

    June 16, 2014 at 2:27 am | Reply
    • somersetcace1

      The fundamental difference between the two parties is more rhetoric than anything else. When you look at what they actually do and accomplish, they are a lot closer than the rhetoric would have you believe.

      Most conservatives I know, have no desire to destroy the middle class. They just want an efficient government that spends within its means. Just like most liberals I know have no desire to take other people's hard earned money and give it to lazy people that sit around all day and do nothing. the rhetoric and the hyperbole is reached the point of abject absurdity.

      June 16, 2014 at 2:55 am | Reply
  14. wfwrg

    Why do you think it is divided? When you have one party (GOP) trying to widen the gap between rich and middle class and poor, that will divide the country. It is no secret that rich get a lot of breaks yet they blame the middle class and poor for America's problem but they don't EVER blame it on themselves. The Government has spent way too much money starting with Bush Jr and the GOP will try to lay the bill on the middle class and poor making the U.S. harder to recover. It is sad that the GOP is so terrible and most of the members that run the party is really not smart.

    June 16, 2014 at 2:28 am | Reply
    • hkirwin

      seems greed and envy has poisoned your well

      June 16, 2014 at 3:10 am | Reply
    • smc

      The government has spent too much money starting with REAGAN – and since he's the idol of the right wing, nobody should be surprised which direction the cash flow went after that.

      June 16, 2014 at 5:45 am | Reply
  15. cedaly1968

    What the article did not touch on is HOW MANY people the percentages represent. The simple math is that the Democratic party is growing and the GOP is not growing as fast. Congressional districts generally are around 600,000 people. While gerrymandering districts by both parties is designed to "carve out" party controlled districts, this practice will become increasingly difficult. The poor populace in the United States is growing at an alarming pace and tends to lean Democrat. As the income disparity continues, that would seem to indicate that over time, Democrats should gain on Republicans in Congress. As that happens, economic policies that redistribute wealth to the poor will continue to rise as government attempts to do what markets cannot. Conversely, if markets were to more efficiently distribute wealth to the populace and the income gap lowers, then people will favor the GOP as they try to protect and keep what they have. I believe this to be cyclical and see the democracy is the effective counterbalance to free markets. Will this gap manifest itself in violence in the U.S.? I doubt it, not unless it becomes so extreme that people feel they have no other course of action. I doubt that Americans will ever take arms on a large scale against other Americans ever again.

    June 16, 2014 at 2:48 am | Reply
    • Regressive

      Hmmm, I wouldn't be so sure about that. Nevada May just be a tell tell sign of things to come

      June 16, 2014 at 9:33 am | Reply
  16. hkirwin

    "The poor populace in the United States is growing at an alarming pace" You can thanks Obumbles and the Dims for that. this is why they give them a few crumbs, it keeps them happy and cements them into life-time dependency on the Dims. I wouldn't be so quick to say there will never be another civil war in the US.

    June 16, 2014 at 3:15 am | Reply
  17. LogicSquared

    Where the problem lies between the two parties can be summed up in this quote from the article:

    "consistent conservatives say that congressional Republicans should get two-thirds of whatever they want and that the White House should get only one-third. Consistent liberals are no more conciliatory: 62 percent say that in any deal between Congressional Republicans and President Obama, the White House should get two-thirds of what it wants, while the GOP should only get one-third."

    There it is, in black and white. At the moment, the GOP controls 1/3 of the law-making process (House). The democrats control 2/3 (Senate, White House). Yet, the conservatives say they DESERVE to get 2/3 of what they want, even though they control 1/3. Meanwhile, the liberals - the ones displaying logic here - say they deserve 2/3 of what they want because they control 2/3 of the process.

    Conservatives are greedy, illogical, and are sand-bagging our country down the drain. Liberals ask for what they truly deserve.

    I DEFY any conservative to lay out a logical argument for why the right deserves 2/3 of what it wants. If you can't do that, then you know that YOU are the problem here.

    June 16, 2014 at 3:46 am | Reply
  18. jeremy

    Maybe I should vote for the party that I'm not for. That way maybe we'd get something done lol. I always vote Democrat, but maybe I should vote Republican. But this wouldn't help. One vote isn't gonna count. I say we all just go into the ballot box, and close our eyes, and just press a button and whatever way it comes out, well so be it. It'd be better than what's going on now lol. Not serious, but you know...Probably would result in something better.

    June 16, 2014 at 5:19 am | Reply
  19. Jeff

    Foolish Americans are more easily conquered when they are divided.

    June 16, 2014 at 5:22 am | Reply
  20. Byron

    It kills me how so many Democrats here are bashing the Republican party for the nations problems despite having total control of both houses of Congress and the White House for two years. They had total control, you would think people on the left would be a bit happier. Our country is not perfect however living eight of the last 11years overseas, having seen farmers kill hungry children while in a war torn land, there is no other country I want to come home to.

    June 16, 2014 at 5:26 am | Reply
  21. Name*

    Republicans are nuts. How can you guys not see this? Just listen to them and their crazy ideology.

    June 16, 2014 at 5:32 am | Reply
  22. Amadea

    The Machine Stops

    June 16, 2014 at 5:34 am | Reply
  23. Joeseph Eclaire


    Because it's only name ! Both sides work for the same people, and it's not 'we the people'.
    They work for the real government called Corporate America. The Dems came in and did the same thing the Republicans have always done, look out for the interest of Big business when they bailed out Wall-Street and the Banks.

    We have never in the history of this country had control of our government, we don't even have a a real Democracy, we live under a Republic, much like the Roman Empire. And 'we the people' much like the ancient Roman citizens are used to fight their wars and work as cheaply as they can pay us.

    The real powers know the truth about that so called American dream, it's only while you sleep. The opportunities in America for the average person have been dead now for over 30 years when those powers through us over board. Everything now is based on shareholder greed and screw everyone else, as long as you got yours.

    And that shareholder expectation and greed let to these powers selling off our manufacturing base and outsourcing the jobs. What is really left in America for the average citizen, even a college education does not guarantee anything anymore.

    June 16, 2014 at 5:52 am | Reply
  24. Chuk

    This is a rhetorical question. And the answer is "duh"!

    June 16, 2014 at 5:52 am | Reply



    June 16, 2014 at 5:55 am | Reply
  26. Martin

    Let's get to the next civil war, kill a lot of each other and get it over with. Then we can heal and start again.

    June 16, 2014 at 5:56 am | Reply
  27. jar1807

    Sure. And, the Civil War was a bar fight that killed 620,000 of us long after Burr shot Hamilton and the deep harmony of the Jackson Presidency took place.

    June 16, 2014 at 6:01 am | Reply
  28. MC

    Why should anybody try to get close or understand the willfully ignorant racist filth of the GOP?

    June 16, 2014 at 6:01 am | Reply
  29. htenhoope

    Wow, reading these comments most of them only confirm the story.
    Such hostility is exactly what the story is about.
    What bothers me is when I post a comment stating my opinion, some people who don't share my opinion call me names and they don't even know me!!!
    Why all the name calling? Everyone has the right to have their opinion.
    Politics in Washington (and many state levels) is sick! You can already see it in the campaigns where candidates attack each other rather than telling us what they are going to for us.
    Washington needs to set an example for the people to follow and they fail to do so.
    The American people need to unite against the garbage in Washington and send a clear message in November that we don't take their crap anymore. They're just toying with real people and it has to stop!

    June 16, 2014 at 6:24 am | Reply
    • Regressive

      Sounds great, but will never happen. Too many sheeple in this country. Too many lazy people who feel it's easier for someone to think for them than to think for themselves. And, too many people who are motivated by FEAR.

      June 16, 2014 at 9:41 am | Reply
  30. trickyvic

    shame shame on all y'all is this my America talking?
    all you people scare me what the f happened to common good?
    really? all we can do is point out each others shortcomings while we are not looking we are losing the ability to do what's right for everyone ALL OF YOU ARE FORGETTING WE ARE THE ONLY COUTRY FIGHTING FOR FREEDOM
    any of our other differences can be ironed out don't loose sight of what we really stand for

    June 16, 2014 at 6:42 am | Reply
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