Death of Reason in Post-Trump America
Death of Reason in Post-Trump America. The recently concluded Midterms saw the Republicans regain control of the House in a Red Wave that swept through the United States in the wake of the decision by the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v Wade. Studying the outcome of major elections in the recent past will cement our understanding of how political polarization continually undermines the ability to find common ground on sensitive issues such as abortion. The decision to vacate Roe v Wade in March 2022 effectively lifted the constitutional protection of women’s freedom to choose whether to keep or terminate pregnancies. It intensified the existing polarization that has characterized our politics in post-Trump America, subsequently influencing voting patterns in the 2022 Midterms.
Republicans regained control of the House in a heated campaign that created a Red Wave in rural America and various conservative strongholds around the country. The party’s conservative wing rose in solidarity with the Supreme Court’s 5-4 ruling to have abortion rights relegated back to the states by removing federal protection of women’s liberties on pregnancy termination. Elsewhere, the ruling inspired a terrifying backlash in liberal America amid strong opposition to state interference in the federal protection of civil liberties.
Common Ground a Fantasy?
We live in interesting times where our partisan affiliations dictate our stand on critical issues. As such, it is increasingly difficult to find common ground, even in matters like abortion that require ‘commonsense’ solutions. Even conservative women who deeply believe in freedom of choice still voted overwhelmingly for Republicans. On the other hand, liberals who believe abortion is dangerous still supported Democrats. Therefore, the 2022 Midterms were not about issues but political affiliation. Experts confirm that the ongoing political polarization has divided Americans into liberal and conservative hardliners. This way, the outcome of the Midterms was largely driven by how voters responded to the court’s decision in Roe v Wade.
Political Polarization in Post-Trump America
The unprecedented election of Donald Trump in 2016 ushered in an era of heightened political polarization that destroyed the voices of reason and undermined the need for finding common ground. It brought a surge of populism with it, which has profoundly impacted American politics, as it has shifted the focus away from finding common ground and toward more extreme views and partisan positions. Regrettably, this fondness for populism has been embraced by both sides of the political spectrum and has led to an increasingly hostile environment, with both sides refusing to compromise. Many Americans are willing to abandon their values merely because certain ideas conflict with their political ideology. Trump normalized this culture that is now deeply embedded in our political fabric.
A nation on edge
Which way America? Post Roe v Wade, America is a picture of a nation on edge. The impact of March 2022 decision has had a drastic impact on society. It now means that women’s reproductive rights are merely an idea of the past, as abortion would become illegal in many states. It has adversely affected healthcare providers because access to abortion would be limited, and unsafe abortions would increase, leading to higher maternal mortality rates. It is evident that we need to rethink who we are and what we stand for as Americans – not liberals or conservatives. It also means we must bring back reason; decisions on sensitive matters require a commonsense approach. We have reached a moment when we need to heed George Washington’s call to rise above superficial identities and think progressively as Americans.