The creation of the political party system is, inherently, detrimental to the United States’ democratic values and was even warned about before their creation, noting George Washington’s Presidential Farewell Address against such institutions. Political parties create divisions between the masses, pitting what used to be united citizens against each other through the demonization of each political side.
In addition, they play a central role in current identity politics, stating how one must be a member of such a political party due to their color or socioeconomic status; Republicans are “Redneck racists”, and Democrats are “Triggered snowflakes”.
The travesty of the situation, however, is the forced conversion of these once not-so-different political units into opposite sides of the political spectrum; these parties, controlled by the aging elites, hold no reasonable ground with the everyman of the United States.
Pre-1987, parties were decisively mixed in voting and the individual members’ ideologies, as shown in this video by Business Insider. Most members either went along with what the previous administration created or even added to it, i.e. Republicans dealing with the New Deal (which should have been repealed after it’s needs were accomplished, but that’s for another publication). Subgroups within the Democratic and Republican parties, such as Rockefeller Republicans and Blue Dog Democrats, once notably held significant sway within their respective parties, moderating the basis of them.
A notable increase in partisanship and extremism began at the beginning of Clinton’s administration, where Newt Gingrich assembled his coalition of members in the new right; a strongly conservative, strongly religious group that opposed Clinton’s grand plans of universal health care and tax reform, considered significantly Progressive views. While this contrast in beliefs worked out with the passage of welfare reform, State Children’s Health Insurance Program, and three consecutive years of consistent budgetary surplus, a resentful tone between the parties took place within the halls of Congress.
Though a peaceful transition of power occurred between Clinton and Bush, the subsequent transfer to Barack Obama, the US’ first black president, wasn’t as harmonious. Pictures and dolls resembling him being burned and a resurgence in racially discriminatory language settled down for a bit, but through the maneuvering of social media and news organizations by the left focusing on racial issues, as well as Obama’s sneering of general conservatism and his neglect of the average american in favor of minority groups, stimulated an ideology separating races and economics by the party.
By suggesting that, as a human being, the only party that cares for the individual is the Democratic party, creates this circulation of beliefs that hold all Republicans to be horrid people. A study done by the Pew Research Center shows that more than half the membership of both major parties are scared, angry, and/or frustrated by the opposing party.
The violence doesn’t stop at verbal insults, however.
In the past year, there have been many incidents revolving around violence against members of the other political party for voicing their opinions. As of recent, comedian Gavin McInnes was maced while attempting to enter a New York University building. Additionally, Trump fans cruelly attacked a man shouting “Black Lives Matter” at a Trump rally in Alabama during the campaign.
Quotes like “Republicans are men of narrow vision, who are afraid of the future.”
by Jimmy Carter and “Republicans believe the best way to assure prosperity is to generate more jobs. The Democrats believe in more welfare” by Ronald Reagan generalize both parties to a combative extent that doesn’t bode well for inter party relations.
In summary, the divisiveness and overtly contrasting views held between the two most powerful political parties in the United States has the potential of becoming even worse, and continuing this path of polarization will leave only destruction in its wake.