Friday, December 27, 2019

Polarization on Stilts

RealClearPolitics links to a Ron Brownstein article in The Atlantic about the growing polarization of the American electorate. Here are three quotes from this excellent article.
Hillary Clinton won 87 of the nation’s 100 largest counties by a combined margin of nearly 15 million votes, according to calculations by the Pew Research Center, but Trump won over 2,400 of the remaining 3,000 counties and a higher total number of counties than any other nominee in either party had captured since Ronald Reagan’s blowout in 1984. The 2018 midterm elections further deepened that chasm.

Election outcomes now produce whiplash-inducing reversals in policy outcomes, since the two sides represent coalitions with such divergent priorities and preferences.

Nationally, Clinton beat Trump in the 2016 popular vote by a little over two percentage points, but 60 percent of Americans lived in counties that were decided by 20 points or more, according to calculations by Bill Bishop, the author of The Big Sort. (That was up from just one-fourth of Americans living in such landslide counties in 1976 and half as recently as 2012.) It’s possible, maybe even likely, that this divide will widen in 2020, with diverse major metropolitan areas rejecting Trump by even larger margins than in 2016, while predominantly white, rural areas rally behind him more firmly.
Two different embryonic nations exist here, more or less side by side, each hating the other and both enjoying their hate entirely too much. Comparisons with the 1850s may not be far-fetched.

It’s the plot for a science fiction novel. Imagine a civil war with bushwhacking along the margins between inner and outer suburbs. Picture Mad Max-style homemade ‘armor’ and gang-bangers vs. hunters with no prisoners taken.