It should be clear to any American-whom is even slightly educated on politics- that our nation is more divided today than earlier points we remember.  The major division between Republicans and Democrats–or conservatives and liberals– exploded after the election of 2016, where Donald Trump came out victorious. However, this massive amount of tension has existed as early as 2010 during the early years of democrat Obama’s eight-year presidency. The case in point is that political bashing and aggressive hate is only increasing; therefore, the question at hand is what should we see, as far as the two political parties’ relationship, in 2020?

Despite tension seemingly being at a high for a number of years,  these last four years have made the bipartisan gap wider than wide. One of the main roots of this gap is the increased media attention on debates and the language used by candidates. Despite one’s political affiliation, it is widely acknowledged that Donald Trump has considerably changed the tone of political debate, specifically causing debate to become more bashing and less debating. A Pew Research Center survey concluded that a whopping 85% of Americans admitted that political debate in the country has become less respectful and therefore more negative. There were also 55% of Americans who said Trump has changed the nature of political debates in a negative way.

Trump supporter or not, it is reasonable to understand that the reason many Americans believe Trump has negatively changed the nature of political debate is because of his provocative choice of language in said debates. Another Pew Research Center survey concluded that while 41% of all Americans say it unacceptable to call an opponent “anti-American”{ in a debate on important issues. The political divide even becomes clear in this viewpoint as  51% of Democrats believe that using  “anti-American” remarks is completely unacceptable while only 25% of Republicans felt that way.  While there is a lot of overlap in an unacceptable feeling toward provocative and offensive remarks, these feelings are different by party and thus have caused massive tension, especially since Donald Trump– a former television star with a vocabulary full of particularly provocative language–was elected into office. Despite the actual nature of publicized political debates being controversial among political parties, the more important issue is the controversy on the topics discussed in those debates. Obviously, having different views on topics is somewhat what defines our two major political parties, but the ongoing debate on which topics hold the most importance is ultimately what has led to hostility between Republicans and Democrats.

There have actually been points in our country’s history that there was not such a divide between political parties in their views on pressing, political issues. Another Pew Survey, from 2-009, found that 89% of Democrats ranked “improving the job situation” as being a top, governmental priority and 77% of Republicans said the same. This much agreement on a topic does not emulate the political nature of today. Many surveys conducted more recently show that there are virtually no issues that both parties unanimously consider top priorities in a presidential campaign.  This obvious solution to bridging this gap is to utilize simple compromise tactics when discussing which topics to prioritize in our government; however, I personally believe that political party leaders of today–which could also refer to dedicated Americans who hardcore identify with a certain political party– are extremely outspoken, which makes compromising somewhat difficult. Despite which political party a person belongs to, it is pretty widely accepted that our current president seems to be one of the most outspoken and theatrical candidates we have had in a long time. Democrat leaders are not innocent as I am sure we are all familiar with the hardcore liberals on social media today. Neither are in the wrong or at any type of fault, but this outward outspokenness–along with such access to large social platforms; Donald Trump clearly prefers twitter– makes it pretty much impossible for any innocent and successful discussion to be had on what pressing issues must be dealt with first.  A more specific example that a CNBC article greatly credits to our bipartisan gap is the geopolitical nature of today. There are countless examples of geopolitical transgressions that made big news in 2019. We experienced a trade war with China,  the controversial action of taking US troops out of Syria and our President actually moving tthrough an impeachment trial because of his unlawful exchanges with Ukraine; however, the current year of 2020 promptly began with a pretty notable geopolitical event– to say the least.

 

At the very start of the New Year, January 3rd, Donald Trump ordered a US drone strike “unintentionally” killed Iranian military leader Qasem Soleimani which inevitably gave way to massive tension and experts have reason to believe those tensions are only going to grow this upcoming year(Ellyatt). It is also assumed that these geopolitics will massively influence the anticipated–or maybe not so anticipated–  election in November. This is highly likely as anytime there is so much talk of a WWIII, it may come up in a political debate. A CNBC article on the influence of geopolitics on this year’s election sets up a Biden- Trump scenario to given an example of geopolitics in the two parties.  In terms of foreign policy’s role in the 2020 election, the article says “We know what Trump’s like. Biden, from a deficit standpoint, is probably pretty similar to Trump. And on the China front, Biden is more conciliatory toward China so if it’s a Biden-Trump runoff that’s ok for financial markets”(Ellyatt). This is obviously not going to be the only difference in views on foreign affairs–and these might not even be the candidates– but it emphasizes that geopolitics are a major reason for the Republican-Democrat tension of today, specifically

In this age, political undertones accompany almost every public institution and so many aspects of daily life or conversation.  Social media is plastered with countless influencers with loud, outspoken opinions that they seem to believe is on behalf of an entire political party. It is clear that the disunity between parties is due to all the aforementioned reasons as well as the heightened intensity surrounding each party’s stance on topics. As for 2020. polarization within our political parties seems likely to get worse and therefore make for drama-filled democratic campaigns and a turbulent election in November. Our country is more split today than at any point in history and both democrats and republicans egos have inflated, leaving us with a massively wide gap that can only negatively influence the upcoming year and years to follow.

 

 

Sources:
“The Divided United States of America.” Harvard Political Review The Divided United States of America Comments, harvardpolitics.com/columns-old/divided-states/.

Drake, Bruce, and Jocelyn Kiley. “Americans Say the Nation’s Political Debate Has Grown More Toxic and ‘Heated’ Rhetoric Could Lead to Violence.” Pew Research Center, Pew Research Center, 18 July 2019, www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2019/07/18/americans-say-the-nations-political-debate-has-grown-more-toxic-and-heated-rhetoric-could-lead-to-violence/.

Ellyatt, Holly. “Expect Geopolitical Tensions to ‘Intensify’ and Play into the US Election, Experts Say.” CNBC, CNBC, 2 Jan. 2020, www.cnbc.com/2020/01/02/us-election-2020-will-be-touched-by-geopolitical-tensions.html

 

 

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