Surprise: Voters AREN’T More Polarized than Ever, Only Pols and Media Are [VIDEO]
If you listen to the media, we live in the most polarized time since the Civil War. America has sorted into 2 mutual exclusive groups: Democrats & Republicans or liberals & conservatives. And, we agree on absolutely nothing. Without a common culture, the United States is rapidly descending into a war against all and may God have mercy on our souls. Well, not exactly. Americans actually agree with each other on many, if not, most fundamental questions. The polarization that we hear about all the time is largely restricted to political activists and media elites who mistake their own extreme views for the voice of the people. In reality, voters are not more extreme or polarized than in the past. Rather, it is the political parties that have pushed out to the far right and far left and they’re nominating candidates that represent fewer and fewer Americans. Stanford political scientist Morris Fiorina says it’s media and political elites who live in ideological bubbles, not regular Americans.
“You have two parties in a heterogeneous country where people have all kinds of views,” says Morris Fiorina, a political scientist at Stanford and senior fellow at the Hoover Institution. “It’s simply not enough to represent diversity in this country.”
In his latest book, Unstable Majorities: Polarization, Party Sorting, and Political Stalemate, Fiorina argues that Americans actually agree with each other on fundamental issues such as immigration, marriage equality, and pot legalization. The polarization we hear about is mostly restricted to political activists and media elites who mistake their own extreme views for those of the common people.
“Everybody worries about the average American being ensconced in a filter bubble,” says Fiorina. “Most of the research suggests it’s the elites who are in these filter bubbles…and have this biased view of the world.”
Reason’s Nick Gillespie sat down with Fiorina to discuss ideological bubbles, why President Donald Trump is a fracture in the two-system, and whether more Americans are becoming true independents (short answer: yes).