Partisan Polarization and Political Animosity

Partisan Polarization and Political Animosity

partisan polarization is increasing and may be impeding the ability of our political system to address important problems

2) about some of the suspected causes- including partisan “sorting”, the media environment (especially social media that amplifies a small set of loud voices), and the way our electoral and political system rewards political elites for “ideologically extreme ideas and language., all of which also contributes to a view among the general public that the “other” side is much more awful than one’s “own” side;

3) that political scientists distinguish between “issue” polarization and “affective” polarization, and they especially worry that “affective” polarization is driving “issue” polarization;

and 4) how the increase in “affective” polarization might be driving many away from political discussions, reducing their sense of political efficacy, and excluding them (even more than they currently are) from decisions about the public good and our common future. 

Many political scientists have been studying strategies for building trust and empathy across this divide.  One example is an experiment conducted in 2019 to test the role of “deliberation” in easing partisan polarization.  They brought together randomly-chosen individuals from around the country, gave them a pre-experiment survey about their views, taught them about policies AND about deliberation

Partisan Polarization and Political Animosity

decide HOW you want to reflect on this approach, either as a student or as a participant in our democracy: critique the methodology,  discuss the approach with others and report on their impressions, consider the insights of collective action theory and the free rider effect for this approach, suggest a larger list of questions for the upcoming deliberation on climate change or suggest another deliberation you think would be important (in which you would love to participate), consider the logistics and how one might make this sort of experience available to more participants and more relevant to decision making, relate this approach to your experiences in other countries, develop a way to convince others of the importance of this approach

for a quick summary of how this is different than simple discussion or debate), had them deliberate, and finally gave them a post-experiment survey about their views.  Here is a description of the “America in One Room”

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 deliberative poll in June of 2019,  links

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 to stories about the approach, an article about their findings

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, and about an upcoming deliberation in September

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