Not exactly new observations but useful.


It isn’t your imagination: Political polarization has risen sharply in recent years. The Pew Research Center confirmed it in a recent poll.

Interestingly, Pew’s survey shows no similar rise in polarization along racial, gender, or religious lines — only political affiliation. What seems to have happened is not a change in value systems but a sorting of those value systems into more ideologically cohesive political parties. Conservatives have become Republicans; liberals have become Democrats.

It’s not just self-identified partisans. Poll Watch notes that it’s happening to Independents as well: “Independents who say they lean — but are not committed to — either party have grown further apart from each other, particularly in their views on the role and effectiveness of government.”

This process — not any decline in “civility” or whatever — explains the passing of the supposed Golden Age of Bipartisanship. Cooperation across party lines used to be…

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