Is America Really So Divided?
A Polarized Nation?
Political scientist Morris P. Fiorina says no evidence supports the popular idea that the United States is deeply divided. Instead, the majority of Americans are moderate even on what are thought to be the most controversial issues, such as abortion. However, he says it’s the political candidates and the political class in general – the 1 percent of the population actively involved in politics day to day – who are so polarized. Fiorina says their passion for one extreme or the other gives the false impression that the general public feels that way. He suggests that the change is due to changes in government beginning in the 1960s that resulted in fewer personal benefits from political corruption. That, he says, led to a decrease in the number of politicians motivated by greed who were focused only on winning. Instead, we’ve seen a dramatic increase in the number of political activists on either side of the debate who are motivated by sincere beliefs – which they feel strongly.