A Tipping Point for Political Polarization?

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It’s no secret that polarization is one of the biggest issues in American politics. With congressional approval ratings hovering at 13%, this year’s election cycle marks an important opportunity for the American people to act on their dissatisfaction with the current system. Many political analysts have suggested that both the Trump nomination and Senator Bernie Sander’s campaign are the public’s reaction to the seemingly sluggish and entrenched nature of politics today. Despite radically different positions on the political spectrum, many have reported vast similarities in their message of tearing down the establishment status quo.

While Donald Trump’s success is a mere symptom of the high levels of disdain for Washington and its polarized politics, it might also serve as the tipping point for a much needed change. With a mix of absurd rhetoric and a policy platform quite detached from the Republican base, Trump’s campaign marks a sharp shift from the traditional playbook that Washington politicians know and love.

Trump’s rhetoric, though by no means justifiable, has served as a catalyst for igniting bipartisan backlash and hopefully some consensus. Following Hillary Clinton’s nomination at the Democratic Convention, Trump’s comments about the Khan family set off a bipartisan social media firestorm.  More recently, the leaked Access Hollywood tapes have sparked a united front against Mr. Trump’s consistent and deplorable comments about women. In addition to the widespread disdain among liberals, over three-dozen Republican politicians and operatives have pulled their support for the Republican nominee following the Access Hollywood incident. Even Mr. Trump’s own running mate is hard pressed to defend the remarks.


Trump’s candidacy, though discouraging on many fronts, might provide a much-needed break from the straight ticket voting that has defined past elections. While Mr. Trump claims that his presidency will be a great unifier for the country, his campaign itself might be enough.  


The response to Mr. Trump’s latest scandal is indicative of a larger trend in the GOP establishment’s disdain for their nominee.  Many high-level Republicans, including Rosario Marín, former U.S. Treasurer under President George W. Bush, and over one hundred GOP foreign policy operatives have decided to publicly back Secretary Clinton as early as March of this year. Distaste for the Republican nominee has even prompted conservative lobbyist Craig Snyder to found the Republicans for Hillary 2016 organization.

Mr. Trump’s atypical platform has also provided new hope on the polarization front. His vague economic policies, projected to add an estimated $30 trillion to the current debt, and plans to cut support to NATO allies have prompted many Republicans to retract their support, uncomfortable with both the vagueness and extremeness of his platform.  While Republican voters and politicians are by no means becoming more liberal, Mr. Trump’s deviation from the conservative orthodoxy has provided the Right and Left some common ground in the form of a common enemy.

Trump’s recent proposal for paid family leave creates a tenuous path for bipartisan consensus on important social policy issues. And as those in Washington deal with Mr. Trump, they may begin to find a commonality on what—or who—they don’t want in politics. Perhaps this paves the way to discussing the overlap on what they do want to achieve together.

The Trump campaign has not just affected those in Washington. Polls from across the country suggest that Mr. Trump receives the support of only 52% percent of his party, 20% of whom would instead choose to back Secretary Clinton. More surprisingly, Mr. Trump also receives support from traditionally Democratic voters. Tired of establishment politics, some of Bernie Sanders’ fans have even expressed their support.

Trump’s candidacy, though discouraging on many fronts, might provide a much-needed break from the straight ticket voting that has defined past elections. While Mr. Trump claims that his presidency will be a great unifier for the country, his campaign itself might be enough.

3 COMMENTS

  1. Lame article. When you Google it you find the only person who says Trump would add 30 trillion is Tim Kaine and other liberals. Why not a citation for your statement? It’s shame Republicans feel the need to do the Democrat’s job for them.

    America will become more divided b/c the federal government does too much and restricts too many rights of the citizenry. That, and immigration, which changes demographics and the political calculus (Dems love importing immigrants b/c they always come from countries with big government, meaning new immigrants will almost always vote Democrat) will lead to further instability and the break up of the United States.

    The main reason to vote for Trump is SCOTUS. The second reason is to keep demographics from continuing to change. The third is because he’s the only candidate who believes the first priority of politicians should be the American people, not globalists, international bankers, or foreign immigrants.

    If Trump loses, Republicans will not win the Presidency for another 30 years and will eventually die out as a party. And we’ll have Civil War II.

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