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Americans Increasingly See Opposing Party As ‘Threat’ To Nation

Politics

Americans Increasingly See Opposing Party As ‘Threat’ To Nation

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By David Lauter, Tribune Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON — More than one-third of Republicans and just over a quarter of Democrats see the other party as a “threat to the nation’s well-being,” reflecting a widening partisan division in the country that has congealed into animosity and distrust.

Through two decades of political battling across the presidencies of Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, the ideological divisions among Americans have deepened. The percentage of Americans who hold consistently liberal or conservative views has sharply increased, and the antipathy between the two groups has shot upward.

Among those with a high level of political engagement — consistently voting in elections and following government and politics carefully — nearly half say they would go so far as to describe the other side as a threat to the country.

Although a majority of Americans do not hold such consistent ideological views, those who do have a disproportionate influence on elections. They engage much more in politics, vote more consistently, especially in primaries, and give much more money to candidates.

They also increasingly live cut off from adherents of the opposite party, choosing friends and picking places to live that reinforce their political outlooks.

Those findings come from an unusually extensive survey of more than 10,000 adults conducted by the Pew Research Center.

The results show how the partisan divisions that have gridlocked Congress reflect an increasingly deep and often bitter division at the grass roots. And although Americans overall express frustration with Congress and say they want to see lawmakers compromise more, the most politically engaged on both sides define a successful compromise as a deal in which their side gets most of what it wants.

A decade ago, only about 10 percent Americans held consistent liberal or conservative views across a broad range of issues on which Pew has repeatedly polled. The issues include the role of government, attitudes toward the poor and racial and ethnic minorities, environmental policies and the use of military force overseas.

Today, that share has doubled, to 20 percent. An additional 40 percent of Americans hold mostly consistent views.

As the number of ideologically consistent people has increased, they have become more clearly sorted by party: Many more Democrats are consistently liberal and more Republicans consistently conservative.

As a result, the two parties are more ideologically separate than they have been for decades, with less and less overlap between their backers. That’s true even though Pew included people who identify as independents in its survey. The vast majority of self-described independents, this survey and others show, lean toward one party or the other, and their views are nearly indistinguishable from those who openly espouse a partisan affiliation.

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34 Comments

  1. tdm3624 June 12, 2014

    I don’t know how to do it, but we won’t have change in Washington until the silent and apathetic majority go to the polls.

    Reply
  2. Allan Richardson June 13, 2014

    The facts of the last 30-40 years, in economics, in global climate change, in foreign policy, in suppression of minorities, women, and LGBT people, show that in REALITY, the Republican Party’s candidates actually ARE a threat to the nation. The Democrats are only a threat to the FANTASY “America” that the Republicans create in the minds of their voters, an “America” that is more like the colonial days, only without the British rulers (or does an Australian billionaire count?) over us.

    Reply
    1. kenndeb June 13, 2014

      But now we have our own lawless Emperor to rule over us.

      Reply
      1. highpckts June 13, 2014

        BS again!! His fault is he’s black and that just rubs you raw!!

        Reply
        1. kenndeb June 13, 2014

          I find it humorous that liberals can not understand the concept of honor and honesty. I was taught that truth was always the right course. My wife would say that I am too truthful. I guess with liberals it is such a foreign concept that they just think everything is a lie. How sad this garbage is being taught in our schools.

          Reply
          1. highpckts June 13, 2014

            Whatever! What gabage is being taught in schools? That the earh is flat and is only 6000 years old? Yeah, that is the GOP doctrine! Truth and honesty? I guess you can say a GOP politician that is running for office in OK is beng honest when he says Gays should be stoned!! That is HIS honesty! I guess definitions of honesty differ!!

            Reply
          2. idamag June 15, 2014

            The extreme right lies so much they think everyone does.

            Reply
          3. Jerry June 14, 2014

            So, conservatives that say the president is a Muslim, or that he isn’t a natural born citizen, or continue to pursue conspiracy theories that have been sharply shown to be just that, theories are honest and understand the concept of honor?

            Reply
          4. kenndeb June 15, 2014

            I haven’t seen ANY of these so called theroies proven one way or another, but when we have a POTUS that is cloked in secrecy, it brings up a lot of questions. Perhaps if he would act a little more like a POTUS and less like an Emperor?

            Reply
          5. idamag June 15, 2014

            Since history was your major in college, you are an expert on emperors? An emperor rules over more than one country. In other words he has an empire. Throwing out words does not make them true. You need some viable facts that does not come from some treasonous anti-government group.

            Reply
          6. kenndeb June 15, 2014

            “An emperor (through Old French empereor from Latin imperator[1]) is a (male) monarch, usually the sovereign ruler of an empire or another type of imperial realm. Emperors are generally recognized to be of a higher honor and rank than kings. The Emperor of Japan is the only remaining reigning monarch in the world reigning under the title of “Emperor”.”
            I would suppose that if an island country can have an Emperor, so can a country that takes up most of a continent. Most of the groups you refer to are not anti government, just anti communist, such as the one the Emperor wants. You may want to open your eyes to what this regime has been doing to our constitution. Doesn’t it bother you at all that the Emperor thinks of our laws as only suggestions? That he believes that he is above the law and that he is indeed ruler over those that pay his salary?

            Reply
          7. idamag June 15, 2014

            Sorry, your study is skewed. The truth that hurts you Obama haters is that Obama was elected by the people without the help of the Supreme Court. No matter what he does, it is wrong in your eyes. You sit around with giant magnifying glasses looking for something to make a scandal out of. If you weren’t highly biased against the President you wold be able to find some positive things about him. Your constant name-calling and nit-picking shows prejudice. Therefore, your viewpoint is not one that is credible.

            Reply
          8. idamag June 15, 2014

            Good point, Jerry

            Reply
        2. paulyz June 14, 2014

          Another racist assumption!

          Reply
          1. highpckts June 15, 2014

            You brought it up this time! I say again, usually the ones that deny being racists are usually the biggist ones!

            Reply
        3. idamag June 15, 2014

          You got it.

          Reply
      2. idamag June 15, 2014

        You should read more. Your ignorance shows.

        Reply
  3. paulyz June 13, 2014

    Obama’s Hope & “Change” apparently isn’t the Change Americans wanted. Things are so much worse after just his 6 years of policies. Also, absolutely no transparency, no allowing policies as stand alone bills without pork, or allowing Americans to have the opportunity to see what is in all bills 3 days before passed!
    Our Country is very much more divided under Obama.

    Reply
    1. highpckts June 13, 2014

      BULL!! You are why we have division! You hate so bad having a black man in office that you wouldn’t compromise if it was handed to you!!

      Reply
      1. kenndeb June 13, 2014

        paulyz is right. All the Emperor has done is to divide this country. Why are liberals so blind?

        Reply
        1. highpckts June 15, 2014

          I believe you mean the GOP with their insane conspiraciy theories, their need to demote women, their need to get the vote by gerrymandering and voter suppression and their lack of empathy for anyone not a millionaire! They need to keep the country divided or they lose!!

          Reply
          1. kenndeb June 15, 2014

            I think the GOP is just a few steps above the liberal democrats. Bush did a real number on this country. That is why something like the Emperor managed to get into office. Most of the country was sick of Bush. That’s why I voted for a democrat. I wanted change, but not in my wildest dreams did I think we were going to get an anti American illegal that is committed on destroying my country. We need to get rid of BOTH parties, and stop career politicians from doing everything they can to stay on the government gravy train. Right now, the Tea Party seems to be the only group that will stop the erosion of our rights and freedoms.

            Reply
          2. highpckts June 15, 2014

            Something? You mean your President? Anti- American illegal? He is as American as you and certainly NOT illegal! Destroying this country? If Romney had won we would be nowhere because he couldn’t make up his mind from state to state what his stance was! Tea party stop the erosion of our rights? Ever hear of Ayn Rand? That is their muse and she was a card caring facist! Oh my God are you delusional! Who got us into this mess in the first place? GOP! Tea party is the most insane, far right wingnuts that I have ever seen! Their isn’t a drop of common sense in the whole group!

            Reply
      2. paulyz June 14, 2014

        By you even stating that shows YOU are the racist. I could care less what race Obama is. His politics are disgusting just as much as if he were White. How do YOU even know I am not Black? You make a racist, hateful assumption based on your own biases.

        By the way, I would like to see Dr. Ben Carson as President, or Rand Paul. Their policies would be good for ALL Americans, not just a select few compiled by favors to get elected!

        Reply
        1. highpckts June 14, 2014

          RandPaul? The plagerist? Can’t come up with an orginal thought! It’s been my experience that those that deny beng racists the loudest usually are!!

          Reply
          1. idamag June 15, 2014

            His father, and thus Rand Paul, were followers of Ayn Rand, a well known fascist. She was actually a card carrying member until hitler made fascist unpopular.

            Reply
      3. idamag June 15, 2014

        Proof of racism against the President of the United States: White supremist hate groups doubled after a Black presient was elected.

        Reply
    2. Jerry June 14, 2014

      I love hearing people say that; what is President Obama’s policies? He hasn’t been able to get the Republicans to even most of the bills he has proposed nor have they passed anything in the House of Representatives that he has proposed. Rather, all it takes to insure the failure of any measure is for the president to say he is in favor of it. Even things, Republicans had earlier said they were in favor of? No president could be successful under these conditions. It isn’t so much Obama who has divided us as it is those who have opposed every single measure, proposal, or bill he has presented since being elected. Even the ACA was watered down to what it is to succumb to Republican pressure to make it so that only private insurance companies could offer the plans, and some other proposals that they now bash, and yet, when called to a vote, none of them voted for it. The president was left holding the bag with even some of his own party who were dismayed that he conceded to the Republicans the things he did.

      Yes, we are more divided now than ever before, but Fox News, conservative radio hosts, MSNBC, and most of all, Congress, are far more the reason than the president is. Fox consistently does all they can to make him look bad, MSNBC does all they can to call out the Republicans who spread false statements to their constituents, and Congress almost daily divides the country by their extremely partisan debates and committee meetings.

      Both sides get fed up with the tactics and craziness of the other over even the most simple of political issues. When have you ever heard such crazy remarks as supposedly intelligent people have made that currently reside in Congress do almost daily? Only during the Carter Administration have I ever observed anything close to the obstructionism and outright refusal of either side to go along with, or compromise with and produce a mutual satisfying bill for the good of the country.

      Don’t get me wrong; neither side is blameless, but of them all, the president has had less to do with it than those who have labeled him as a Muslim, a non-American citizen, a black man, and someone who wants to destroy the country, and on the other side, those who label all Republicans as being anti-woman, anti-minority, and anti-everything. lol I do feel the Republicans have been the worse at such things, but the Democrats have done their fair share of it, too.

      Reply
      1. idamag June 15, 2014

        If these “well read” people actually listened to Obama they would know his focus was on health care, ending the expensive and life threatening wars, and student loans. They don’t listen to him because it is against their party ideology. They are responsible for the division and hate in this country. Like Communist Russia, party before country and people..

        Reply
  4. howa4x June 13, 2014

    This had to come with the right wing media machine pumping out fear and hatred 24/7. Huckabee, Rush, coulter, Red State, Hannity, O’Reiley. Palin, Bachman, Beck televangelists and the NRA are at it constantly. Add to that 100 local right wing jocks yelling about everything from taking your guns away, to death panels to Obama is a Muslim. These are the people pushing the GOP further to the right. Just a few weeks ago Hannity was exhorting all patriots to come to the Bundy ranch to fight the Feds. It is this anti government fervor that is always at play. Add to all of it Koch bros money and you have a right wing witches brew that is isolating people from reason and critical thinking. They are getting people to vote against themselves in favor of giant corporations that are killing their kids with sugar, polluting the water they drink and causing climate change at a frightening rate. What we will see are far more mass shootings as the media machine whips these people into a fevered pitch. What we already have is a large segment of the population that is now suffering from paranoid delusions, and out of that no good can come.

    Reply
    1. plc97477 June 16, 2014

      Just one more mess we can place at the feet of king reagan. He started the deregulation of the media.

      Reply
  5. charles king June 13, 2014

    What? is the question because there is no answer because no (critical thinking) are being used from the beginning of the conversation. It is Not Who? is from Which? side but Who? is doing the Right thing. MONIES are What? has the People doing things that is not Right for the Democracy we claim our country is governed by. I am a (85yrs old Korean Vet and my parents had eight of their sons Who? went to war for their country) I thought I was fighting for Democracy but Plutocracy was in charge, explain that to the People instead of the BullS**** you are trying to, “say”. How? many States in our country are governed by Plutocracy instead of by Democracy that should be the question. Think about it. Thank You are the magic words with me.I Love Ya All. Mr. C. E. KING

    Reply
    1. idamag June 15, 2014

      Mine is.

      Reply
  6. idamag June 15, 2014

    And one party stated, early on, that they would make no compromises.

    Reply

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