By Marc J. Hetherington
Even supposing politics on the elite point has been polarized for a while, a scholarly controversy has raged over no matter if usual americans are polarized. This ebook argues that they're and that the reason being transforming into polarization of worldviews - what courses people's view of correct and incorrect and strong and evil. those ameliorations in worldview are rooted in what Marc J. Hetherington and Jonathan D. Weiler describe as authoritarianism. They convey that ameliorations of opinion about the so much provocative concerns at the modern factor time table - approximately race, homosexual marriage, unlawful immigration, and using strength to solve protection difficulties - replicate ameliorations in members' degrees of authoritarianism. This makes authoritarianism an extremely compelling clarification of latest American politics. occasions and strategic political judgements have conspired to make these kinds of concerns extra salient. The authors exhibit that the left and definitely the right have coalesced round those opposing worldviews, which has supplied politics with extra incandescent colors than prior to.
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Additional info for Authoritarianism and Polarization in American Politics
1960). Despite all the talk about red states versus blue states, it is not clear that regular people are polarized today. A number of factors militate against the emergence of mass level polarization. Most central, the issue agenda is often not conducive to it. Political disagreements differ in their divisiveness from era to era. Some enduring divisions were born of events rather than ideas, which is important because polarization implies deep philosophical differences. The New Deal party system was forged by a problem - the Great Depression - and the Republicans’ inability to solve it.
This concept was developed by Kinder and Sears (1981) and extended by Kinder and Sanders (1996) to tap symbolic racism, which has in their view replaced the overt racism of years past. Rather than arguing that whites see blacks as biologically inferior, they argue that whites now see blacks as violating time-honored norms of hard work. On this measure of anti-black affect, the difference between Republicans and Democrats increased gradually between 1988 and 2000, then surged between 2000 and 2004.
The key point here is that the definition most often used by scholars to test for polarization is apparently impossible to meet. Given the place that politics occupies in the life of most people, their preferences are unlikely ever to cluster at ideological poles. To the extent that we use the term polarization, we must carve out a different understanding of it. To us, the essence of polarization is when hot-button issues become salient concerns for a large percentage of people. People feel intensely about these issues because they tap into something deep inside them.