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Divisions Didn’t Begin With Trump

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Looking back on President Trump’s opening months in office, not even the most determined detractors can rightly blame him for dividing the country, since the nation was already deeply divided before he came to office.

Barack Obama lost control of Congress to the opposition party, barely winning 51 percent in his re-election bid. George W. Bush also won narrow re-election and lost both houses, while leftist activists demonstrated to demand impeachment. Bill Clinton actually was impeached, and 50 Senators voted to remove him from office.

This bitter, persistent divide stems in part from changes in media: with the rise of cable news, talk radio and the internet, news sources today don’t even pretend to be up-the-middle, catering to both sides.

Meanwhile, churches that used to draw congregants of all orientations now identify as unashamedly liberal or outspokenly conservative. Politics is polarized because the public is more polarized, with more Americans living in ideological enclaves where big majorities share the same outlook.

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  1. Ty  •  May 4, 2017 at 11:59 pm

    @Michael, I don't know if you ever read the comments, but I found a fascinating article that suggests much of the divergence is based on geography as well.

    I usually bring this up to take pot shots at arrogant and insufferable conservatives that think THEY alone are the ones that are carrying this nation on their backs, like Atlas, but it is increasingly the cities from which prosperity flows, and they are cosmopolitan liberal bastions. This is contrasted with the increasingly impoverished countryside.

    If we do not find a way to lift up the guttural conservative areas economically, we might have a divergent species of supermen from the liberal cities surrounded by conservative morlocks.

    Don't you see conservatives? I want to SAVE you!

    • Scott  •  May 5, 2017 at 10:43 am

      I live in a huge city and I'm conservative. I don't need your help and I especially don't need the government's "help".

    • Ty  •  May 6, 2017 at 1:33 pm

      Liberal cities still have plenty of conservatives, I just find it eternally interesting that as much as conservative complain about how awful liberal governance is, and higher taxes and increased regulations – everything concentrated most deeply in the nations cities and larger metro areas, that the more well to do conservatives often live in and around those same cities vs the failing rural countryside that votes conservative.

      The success of our centers of power is a repudiation of conservative dogma, that higher taxes and increased regulation are the two primary variables in economic success. It turns out, there are more variables than that, and it seems the ones that are never mentioned on talk radio and other conservative circles, are far more potent.

      And that sums up my most charitable view of conservatism, it is a terribly incomplete view of the world we live in, with the presumption that it takes in all that is needed. A toxic mix of presumption and certainty that their own models of a good society is the ideal, never mind that the most successful clusters in the nation more closely mirror the liberal aesthetic and ideal.

      • Watt Nau  •  May 12, 2017 at 9:54 pm

        Ty, thank u for explaining all the short comings of conservatism. Oh what, you mean you weren't specific nor have enough bandwidth to give us details????? While why don't you explain to us why liberalism is so great but this time don't be so parsimonious with the details.

      • Rizzo  •  May 13, 2017 at 4:09 pm

        Give up on this ridiculous argument. Your bastions of liberal, Utopian dreams are where people are fleeing at the largest rates. You liberal, locusts have destroyed most of what created the original success and wealth, and now you are fleeing to greener pastures.
        I wish California would actually secede. You can have all the illegal immigrants, you can confiscate all the guns, you can have abortion on demand, you can redefine every same-sex, gender-bender "marriage" your heart desires. You can even tax people at 90%, take away their GAS powered cars and force them to eat Michelle Obama approved food.
        It will be paradise on Earth… Too bad, after only a few years, NOBODY will want to live there. REAL AMERICANS will continue to flee your God-Forsaken, freedom robbing, Hell on Earth.

  2. Mark  •  May 5, 2017 at 1:50 pm

    The very origin and foundation of law is commandments and expectations of a cultures's perception of God. It establishes right and wrong and good and bad. In USA, the divergence between platforms and beliefs of the political parties are reflections of Judeo-Christian moral values….which are reflections of Judeo-Christian scriptures and religion. Conservative is a code word for believers, people who follow commandments and strict religious boundaries. Liberal is a code word for atheists, agnostics, and those who do NOT believe, obey and who decide they can make their own rules by what they like, not what God likes. Even "pseudo religious" people who will not or cannot understand and accept that common sense truth are deceived within the throes of worldly, selfishness denial.

  3. Aaron  •  May 5, 2017 at 2:43 pm

    We'll the comments are off to a good start. Absolutely no support for the notion of ideological bastions…

    So by my count we have one rather insulting "Go Team Liberal" and two combative "Go Team Conservative". It's becoming apparent that both sides are trying to use the force of government to dictate their preferences on the other side. The more I watch this petty squabbling, the more I lean towards team Libertarian. Live and let live folks.

    If we use the federal government to enforce our ideology no one wins in the end. The framers of the constitution understood this and left most powers with the states. Perhaps we should get back to that model. If California wants to be a liberal bastion, OK. If Texas want to be a conservative bulwark, OK. Folks can vote with their feet. If preference is dictated at the federal level, we are all subjected to the preference of the party in charge at the moment. This means roughly half the country is estranged at all times.
    Perhaps the framers were on to something when they created the boundaries of the federal government in the Constitution.

    • Rizzo  •  May 18, 2017 at 9:04 am

      Thank you for reinforcing "Team Conservative's" message.
      It is leftist libs, who desire a top-down, all-mighty, centralized government… especially when that government nationalized their WHACKO AGENDA.
      Conservatives are in favor of a Constitutional Republic, with divided government, strong states rights and ultimately, individual liberty… Just as the nation was founded.
      I'm sorry, if you misinterpreted anything else.

    • Hal  •  Jun 16, 2017 at 10:49 am

      I could not agree more. We are a Federal Republic because the US is far too large and its regional populations and politics far too diverse to successfully impose single solutions on the whole nation on any of the issues that govern daily life. Even in Europe, where the territorial size of each nation is far smaller, there are constant complaints from regions of each nation that the central government does not care about some of its people.

      The drive to eliminate the power of the states to maintain different ways of life for their people is exactly wrong. It violates the essential human need for self-determination. The worldwide backlash against internationalism make it clear that this is a human issue, and not just a US political issue. The answer is not to force or jawbone everyone into greater unity; it is diversity of governing authority and governing policy for most issues, and a single policy for the limited number of issues that absolutely require us to act as one nation, such as national defense, a national currency and international relations.

      There have been state abuses of poswer that have motivated appropriate national level action on issues like racial equality; but there are just as many abuses of the people's right to live their lives free of interference by the federal government, and those are no less important. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Increasingly centralizing governmental authority for the nation and for the world is a mistake, and the people know it and are rising up against it.

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