About two-thirds of Americans say the country is more politically divided than it was four years ago, with blame going equally to the president and Congress. Fortunately, our countrymen have a plan for addressing these divisions: they plan to vote this November, presumably to enact their vision of the good life into law and stuff it down the throats of the folks on the other side of the divide.
Maybe, just maybe, the country should be really divided a whole lot more, so that people wouldn't have to hope "candidates they vote for will steer the country in the right direction" rather than the direction the other side wants. Bringing decision-making as far down the food chain as possible—preferably leaving most matters to individual choice—would make the current fretting over political polarization irrelevant.
Anyway, according to Rasmussen Reports, "Sixty-seven percent (67%) of Likely U.S. Voters say America is a more divided nation than it was four years ago."
Thirty-five percent put the blame on President Obama, while 34 percent tap Republicans in Congress as the culprits for all of this terrible disagreement.
To bridge the divide, or maybe just emplace fortified bunkers at their end of it, 57 percent of all voters say they are more likely to vote this year than they have been in past elections. Republicans have the edge on enthusiasm for the ballot box (65 percent), followed by 55 percent of unaffiliated voters and 53 percent of Democrats.
Fifty-nine percent "are at least somewhat confident that the candidates they vote for will steer the country in the right direction." That seems, at best, a problematic "solution" for dealing with disagreement over just what that direction should be.
Other polling has found that much of the public at large actually has similar positions on many major issues—that is, the political battle lines may be drawn between Red and Blue, but many Americans are a tad purplish if you ask them specifics. But that doesn't take into account levels of enthusiasm for different solutions, or for actually participating in the hard work of changing and implementing policies.
It also doesn't mean that the stuff on which much of the public agrees necessarily consists of good ideas. Lousy choices have a strong constituency, too.
And the Pew Research Center finds that political loyalties have grown so hardened that they've taken on cultural aspects. Liberals and conservatives don't just believe different things, they live differently, and apart from one another. That suggests that the divisions people perceive may well be here for the long term.
Which is all the more reason to turn them into real divisions. Forget ballot-box games of winner-take-all. Divide power as far as possible down to the level of individuals, and reduce the stakes of divisions and disagreements.