American parties are dividing society. Voters are getting fed up

American parties are dividing society. Voters are getting fed up
American parties are dividing society. Voters are getting fed up

One particular threat also figures relatively high in predictions of the possible outbreak of new world conflicts this year: the risk of civil war in the United States. Commentators worry that the presidential election campaign will further exacerbate tensions in American society, strengthen distrust in the system and institutions, and fuel politically motivated violence. Both main parties have become radicalized in recent years and are trying to score points with sharp attacks on the other camp. However, experts point out that society is not as divided as it might seem from the statements of the loudest Republican and Democratic politicians. However, their voters are starting to get tired of the eternal fights.

There is no disputing that Americans are becoming significantly more polarized in this millennium. A survey by the Pew Research Center in 2017 already showed that only a third of them hold a mix of liberal and conservative views. Even in 2004, it was roughly half, just like a decade earlier. And in recent years, the negative assessment of political opponents has also been growing. More and more Republican supporters are calling Democrats immoral or lazy, and vice versa.

The time of protest and rebellion is coming

“What is particularly worrying is that Americans are increasingly willing to use violence to achieve political goals. Surveys show that there is a gap between Americans in their perception of true American values, in their perception of people from the opposite political spectrum as enemies and those who are trying to destroy the country,” warns Americanist Jan Beneš from the University of Ostrava. Therefore, experts fear that the November vote on the president and the composition of Congress will be very risky.

Beneš does not rule out that a similar event could happen again, such as the attack on the Capitol by supporters of ex-president and likely Republican candidate Donald Trump. “For protests, rebellions, ignoring the results of elections or the decisions of democratic institutions, there is even more space and a more intense atmosphere than before January 6, 2021,” notes the Americanist, referring to the tension in Congress, the blocking of aid to Ukraine and the heated topic of migration, which Trump uses in the election campaign.

“It is hard to imagine concentrated and organized violence in the form of a civil war as a result of current polarization, but local forms of violence cannot be ruled out. The elections will definitely be accompanied by tensions the likes of which the United States has not remembered for several decades,” believes another expert on American politics, Jan Hornát from the Faculty of Social Studies of Charles University.

Some experts, however, are convinced that the struggles on the political scene partially distort the perception of the state of American society as a whole. She claims that her division is more emotional than ideological. “Americans are not as ideologically polarized as they think they are,” Rachel Kleinfeld of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace think tank is convinced, according to the website, which looked into this phenomenon in detail in a study last year. According to her, the views of Republican and Democratic voters overlap more often than people think. They differ usually only in the emphasis on individual topics.

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The article is in Czech

Tags: American parties dividing society Voters fed


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