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Party Polarization - Essay Example

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Date Party Polarization Introduction Politics just like other phenomena like economic and social is dynamic. History is awash with incidences of gradual and sometime radical changes within the political sphere across the world…
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Party Polarization Essay
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Party Polarization

Download file to see previous pages... Polarization is defined in politics as the process through which public opinions are divided and go to extremes (Baumer and Howard 22). Party polarization is defined as the process through which extreme factions within a political party gain some form of dominance within the party. In such a case, the moderate factions tend to lose influence and power. In recent years, the United States political system has witnessed increased polarization. Party polarization has had consequences in the United States especially in respect to policy- making. Whereas the parties tend to go to the extremes, the public opinion does not really go to the extreme. That notwithstanding, party polarization greatly shape public opinion especially in regard to policy. Party polarization is very evident in both the Congress and the Senate (Ura and Christopher 280). The state of American politics is increasingly colored by partisan polarization: the two major political parties have grown ideologically more unified internally and farther apart from each other. As the two parties’ policy preferences diverge further from each other at the elite level, it naturally becomes more difficult for the two to work together. With the shrinking rank of ideological moderates, “the possibilities of bipartisan negotiation and compromise diminish.” Today the two parties clash with each other more often and more strenuously and vigorously than recent history in Washington and in state capitals. Party-based conflicts, policy stagnation, and paralysis inspired by party competition seem to have become the norm in the early twenty-first century. It is against the above background that it is important to understand party polarization in the United States. To achieve this, this paper will seek to respond to the following questions: What are the roots of partisan polarization? What specific developments in the emergence of the political parties led to party polarization? What are the main contributing factors to the re-emergence of party polarization? How is partisan polarization linked to deeper cultural divisions within American society? What have been the policy consequences of partisan polarization for the policy process? Roots of Partisan Polarization Partisan polarization in American politics traces its roots from the period of the Civil War. However, it became more apparent after the attainment of the American independence. Over the past century and half, American political system has been dominated by two main parties. Third parties that have emerged from that time achieved some measured success, but at the end, they have usually been absorbed by one of the dominant parties (Frymer 336). Partisan polarization has been as a result of ideological differences that can be traced throughout the American political history; it has emanated from the ideological divide of liberalists versus conservatives. It is also important to note that there are other factors apart from ideology that have been critical in creating partisan polarization; for example, geographical divisions have been so evident as parties have taken the dimensions of the “Southern” or “Northern” wings (Pearson 1). While the rapid rise in partisan polarization is relatively recent, the origins of party polarization are not; in fact, much of what we see today can be traced back to the early twentieth century. Throughout the twentieth century, the constituency bases of both ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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