Enough Already About Political Polarization
Posted at 6:27 a.m. on Aug. 1, 2014
Jonathan Bernstein has had enough of the focus on partisan polarization.
“Yes, it’s important to note the distance between the parties, and to try to understand what’s driving polarization. Fine. I’m not suggesting that research on those issues should cease, or that scholars and journalists should ignore them.”
But: “Polarization alone doesn’t make good government impossible … The key isn’t the distance between the parties; it’s the willingness to compromise. That isn’t measured by partisan polarization scores. Put another way, government shutdowns don’t happen because the policy gap between the parties is large; they happen when one party (or a decisive faction within a party) decides to shut down the government.”
“Instead of focusing on polarization, I’d like to see more attention paid to how we can help our political institutions perform better given current conditions.”