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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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