Author Topic: Polarization  (Read 2113 times)

Offline haunted

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Polarization
« on: June 17, 2013, 05:32:35 PM »
I whipped out this mini-paper on polarization in american politics in about an hour, just sharing. Didn't proofread or whatever, drank a few beers before writing... discuss, comment, read, etc... vast majority is opinion.

Polarization, Public Opinion, and Politics

Polarization is American politics is an ever-changing, self-sufficient, cyclical process and entity—respectively meaning it’s always evolving, polarization in itself is dependent upon it’s aspect of two-party competition, and ultimately this intertwinement has developed into a cycle with many relevant factors and reasons. First and foremost, in my own experience polarization is a guise to add control to the situation; the situation being American society or even more specifically the American electorate. This obviously means that I do not place the fault of a polarized electorate on the actual electorate itself. Politicians, the media, and special-interest groups are who I blame. These three categories are essentially the same political machine; all working for mutual benefit so they can figuratively meet behind the curtains and split what’s inside the briefcase afterwards. Polarization works to all of their benefit, so they attempt to polarize the country and successfully do so being that our nation is the most polar it has been since the Civil War.

I personally feel that both Fiorina’s argument and Wilson’s rebuttal made worthy and valid points. There is indeed an assumption that Americans have become more divided on cultural and social issues; and of course in a literal sense this assumption is correct. I am also sold on the reason Fiorina attributes for this occurrence: “political elites, particularly candidates for office, have become more polarized along party and ideological lines, thus changing the choices available to voters.” This basically means that the aforementioned political elites are in a position to mold our opinions on things, and to their delight social and cultural issues seem to be the easiest way to do so. Wilson additionally points out that it’s not just political elites and candidates, but American politics as a whole that’s causing this polarization. By American politics, he means “congressional elections, media, interest groups, and education”. I whole-heartedly agree with this as well. In particular, interest groups are the determining factor in congressional elections these days, and media is the primary way for the electorate’s opinion to be swayed.(Kernell and Smith)

The first thing that comes to mind concerning Popkin’s argument is this quote from Federalist 62: “if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood; if they be repealed or revised before they are promulgated, or undergo such incessant changes that no man, who knows what the law is to-day, can guess what it will be to-morrow.”(Madison).
I can’t help but point out that revered men from two and a half centuries ago saw this coming so Popkin really isn’t telling us anything new here. Legislation was drafted to be a preventative measure to this; briefly put, law that’s incoherent to the electorate is not law. The problem with this law is that the distinctions it suggests are about as known and defined as fair-play is with redrawing voting district lines(the fine-lines and subtleties are abused similarly to gerrymandering). In short, Popkin argues that the information and choices presented to the electorate is either biased or incomplete therefore leading voters to make irrational decisions. Jacobson argues that the elections, and the political machines that surround them, are the producers of polarization in politics. This makes a far better point in my opinion being that it’s the special interest groups only backing Republicans and Democrats that makes political elections a mere two-horse race. It’s in the best interests for these groups and the candidates to intensify this two-party-only competition so it’s equally apparent as to why both would want and encourage the electorate to be more polar. I would go inasmuch to say that this could very well be the primary cause of polarization, although it’s a very difficult call to make.(Kernell and Smith)

Studies show that most voters are moderate or independent, especially eligible voters that do not vote by choice. Historically it takes a highly exceptional president to draw this aforementioned group of people out of hibernation and to the voting booth, and it’s something our country has not seen in quite some time. Studies also show that the people more likely to vote in elections are the ones that feel more passionately about political issues. However, those who belong and/or identify themselves alongside the extremities of the two polarizing ideologies are the vast minority of the electorate. This makes it no surprise that about half of the country typically doesn’t vote, but it’s still counter-intuitive being that half of us still do vote. So the next question is obvious—what are the reasons for the actively voting moderate electorate to be swayed to one ideology or the other? This question is not easy to answer.(Todd)

In order to address the question/issue above, I think it’s relevant to cite this quote in regard to public opinion: “Individual opinions, though rooted in personal values and experiences, are both shaped by and expressed through leaders and institutions.”(King). In my experience it’s disingenuous to the extreme to blame the values and experiences of American society. Of course this is circumstantial and there is some blame on us being that we have developed into a polarized nation that literally chooses the news that they want to hear, but there must be a primary cause for this. I think that this primary cause via the quote above are the leaders and institutions; the ‘shapers’—and that is where the blame should be assigned. However, in order for blame to be assigned people actually have to acknowledge and designate it, and that’s something the electorate as a whole has serious difficulty with. I attribute this difficulty to the shapers as well as some of the scholarly articles that served as the basis for this paper did.

Polarization is a very interesting concept that plays a huge role on our lives as Americans. Although I do place the primary cause on the political machine caused by leaders, money, and special-interest groups, in order to understand the political poles in their entirety I feel it necessary to refer to back to my thesis. “Polarization is American politics is an ever-changing, self-sufficient, cyclical process and entity—respectively meaning it’s always evolving, polarization in itself is dependent upon it’s aspect of two-party competition, and ultimately this intertwinement has developed into a cycle with many relevant factors and reasons”—the electorate may not be the direct or primary cause of polarization, but stating the reason for polarization as us being victimized by the process would be wrong. To me, doing so is the equivalence of submitting oneself to the aforementioned cycle.

Offline haunted

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Re: Polarization
« Reply #1 on: June 17, 2013, 05:37:52 PM »
And y'all.. this was done in an hour, maybe an hour and 15 minutes. I don't want someone to critically respond to this shit being that I hardly put any effort into it, just a discussion promoter.

Offline <<Hypno Bird>>

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Re: Polarization
« Reply #2 on: June 17, 2013, 06:56:40 PM »
I'm never sure when to use a semicolon...
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Offline fdrjk

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Re: Polarization
« Reply #3 on: June 17, 2013, 06:58:19 PM »
i dont know either; they're a little confusing sometimes.
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    Rock On
    Flawless Logic
    Well-Reasoned Argument and/or Conclusion
    Demonstrates Exceptional Knowlege of the Game
    Appears Not to Comprehend Game Fundamentals
    Frag of the Week
    Frag Hall of Fame
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    Whoosh! You done missed the joke thar Cletus!
    Obvious Troll Is Obvious
    DO YOU EVEN LIFT?
    DEMO OR STFU
    Offtopic
    Flamebait
    Redundant
    Factually Challenged
    Preposterously Irrational Arguments
    Blindingly Obvious Logical Fallacies
    Absurd Misconstrual of Scientific Principles or Evidence
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Offline haunted

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Re: Polarization
« Reply #4 on: June 18, 2013, 07:30:04 AM »
Here's another post for you to rate down because you hate that I'm smarter than you Gumpo.

DANCE PUPPET DANCE :bubbles:

Offline |iR|Focalor

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Re: Polarization
« Reply #5 on: June 18, 2013, 11:57:40 AM »
Here's another post for you to rate down because you hate that I'm smarter than you Gumpo.

DANCE PUPPET DANCE :bubbles:

Sigh.

Like there was anything to disagree with in that particular post anyway. It was an assessment of the state of the two party political system, and a pretty obviously correct one. Both parties have done everything in their power and used every situation available to drive a wedge of spite and malice between themselves and the American people who naively align themselves with them unto death. It produces tangible satisfactory results at a rate of either zero or 1/4th the speed of smell. Had the post been authored by 2dum (as if 2dum would ever be capable of writing something that intelligent), Golgo would've applauded it until his hands fell off. But no, Haunted posted it... so let's fucking downvote the hell out of it like an asshole.

What a tool.

 

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