Thursday, February 4, 2016

Election Year in a Polarized America

Here we are in another Presidential election year.  But unlike past primaries, this year's race has a much different feel with the candidates, the issues, the tone of the speeches.  
Rejection of Establishment Politics:  On both sides, we see a rejection of the establishment parties.  It seems all the Republicans are running as outsiders, railing against Washington and the press.  We hear Donald Trump, unencumbered by anything "politically correct," saying what no Presidential candidate has ever said, reflecting the latent racism, misogamy, and fear of foreigners of his loyal followers.  And on the left, Bernie Sanders is a self-defined socialist, railing against Wall Street and capitalism in general.
No Middle Ground:  Listening to supporters on each side, there seems to be no middle, no chance that any good can come from the other side.  The right believes a Democrat in the Oval Office means they are coming for their guns, the borders will be porous allowing in all forms of criminals and terrorists, and the economy is going to hell.   The left believes a Republican will put the country in reverse, reversing a women's right to choose, disenfranchising minorities, and enacting policies that benefit the rich as the expense of the poor and middle class.
This time around, there seems to be a more urgent sense that they can't let the other side win, or it will be a disaster.
Now the primaries inherently play to the base of each party, to the hard core, if you will.  So, the questions is who will be the winners in each party?  And will it be possible for them to play to the middle, or will the general election further polarize the country?

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