Why are we so polarized?

Feb 2011
18,516
13,301
The formerly great golden state
Why is it that US voters are so divided just now? The last time there was such political rancor and division was in the late '60s, early '70s, and that was over just one issue. Now, bipartisanship has gone the way of the dodo and the fiscal conservative, gone, extinct, dead. Why?

I think it is because we have so much information to choose from. We can listen to only so much, read only so much, and so we tend to pay attention to sources that confirm our biases. That solidifies our opinions and makes us believe that people with the opposite opinions are not simply misinformed, but also stupid, or perhaps evil and duplicitous.

Confirmation bias. We see it here on PHW, we see it in everyday life. If someone wears a MAGA hat, the non Trumpers don't just think, "There's someone who has the opposite opinion of mine," but all too many want to strike out verbally or even physically. We speak of fake news, of socialists taking over, of Fascism, of Communists taking over (shades of the '50s!) instead of Republicans think this, Democrats believe that. The other side doesn't just have an opposite opinion, they're evil and anti American.

Confirmation bias and too much information to process. That's the problem.
 
Mar 2012
58,640
40,150
New Hampshire
We are self segregating now too. I had a realtor friend tell me that a lot of potential buyers now ask if the neighborhood is red or blue before buying. We dont socialize with others different and we wont marry them or friend them anymore. Both my parents were opposites politically and my spouse and I are. Today kids wont date others that arent like them. We are headed for sad times.
 

boontito

Future Staff
Jan 2008
108,125
99,941
Most Insidious
It is a different world. I grew up with neighbors who had campaign signs in their front yard that didn't match with the ones my parents put up. They were dear friends though. We barbecued together all summer long, sometimes in their backyard and sometimes in ours. The same goes for our church. Politics was not in the top ten list of things used to define who a person was.

Not anymore. For many, it's the single determining factor if a person's worth.
 
Feb 2011
18,516
13,301
The formerly great golden state
I have friends, both on Facebook and in the real world, who think Trump is the best thing since sliced bread. I don't talk politics with them, of course. If you read my posts, you know I'm not exactly a Trump supporter.

It's best to talk politics on an anonymous bulletin board, like this one. I never post political stuff on Facebook, and only bring up the subject in person when I'm sure others will agree.

Some of my trumper friends probably think I agree with them. Let them think that.
 
Feb 2010
34,841
24,832
between Moon and NYC
Why is it that US voters are so divided just now? The last time there was such political rancor and division was in the late '60s, early '70s, and that was over just one issue. Now, bipartisanship has gone the way of the dodo and the fiscal conservative, gone, extinct, dead. Why?

I think it is because we have so much information to choose from. We can listen to only so much, read only so much, and so we tend to pay attention to sources that confirm our biases. That solidifies our opinions and makes us believe that people with the opposite opinions are not simply misinformed, but also stupid, or perhaps evil and duplicitous.

Confirmation bias. We see it here on PHW, we see it in everyday life. If someone wears a MAGA hat, the non Trumpers don't just think, "There's someone who has the opposite opinion of mine," but all too many want to strike out verbally or even physically. We speak of fake news, of socialists taking over, of Fascism, of Communists taking over (shades of the '50s!) instead of Republicans think this, Democrats believe that. The other side doesn't just have an opposite opinion, they're evil and anti American.

Confirmation bias and too much information to process. That's the problem.
Agree with your conclusions.

And the biggest contributor/factor to the development is the evolution of the interwebs. All that confirmation bias being fertilized and driven home via the black mirrors the masses have their noses pressed against 18 hours a day.

Have i ever mentioned how much i hate smart phones...??





..
 
Mar 2012
58,640
40,150
New Hampshire
It is a different world. I grew up with neighbors who had campaign signs in their front yard that didn't match with the ones my parents put up. They were dear friends though. We barbecued together all summer long, sometimes in their backyard and sometimes in ours. The same goes for our church. Politics was not in the top ten list of things used to define who a person was.

Not anymore. For many, it's the single determining factor if a person's worth.
Thats whats happening here now. NH used to be famous for homemade yard signs. Now everybody is afraid to put them up. Everyone is afraid to let anyone know. Have even heard some are re-registering as independents because they think it will be easier to get jobs.
 
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Dec 2018
5,266
2,058
Florida
Why is it that US voters are so divided just now? The last time there was such political rancor and division was in the late '60s, early '70s, and that was over just one issue. Now, bipartisanship has gone the way of the dodo and the fiscal conservative, gone, extinct, dead. Why?

I think it is because we have so much information to choose from. We can listen to only so much, read only so much, and so we tend to pay attention to sources that confirm our biases. That solidifies our opinions and makes us believe that people with the opposite opinions are not simply misinformed, but also stupid, or perhaps evil and duplicitous.

Confirmation bias. We see it here on PHW, we see it in everyday life. If someone wears a MAGA hat, the non Trumpers don't just think, "There's someone who has the opposite opinion of mine," but all too many want to strike out verbally or even physically. We speak of fake news, of socialists taking over, of Fascism, of Communists taking over (shades of the '50s!) instead of Republicans think this, Democrats believe that. The other side doesn't just have an opposite opinion, they're evil and anti American.

Confirmation bias and too much information to process. That's the problem.
We aren’t polarized! Go fuck your self you Nazi commie racist sexist anti American bigot!

(In case you are wondering that was sarcasm and I couldn’t help it lol).
 
Jan 2016
57,388
54,197
Colorado
It is a different world. I grew up with neighbors who had campaign signs in their front yard that didn't match with the ones my parents put up. They were dear friends though. We barbecued together all summer long, sometimes in their backyard and sometimes in ours. The same goes for our church. Politics was not in the top ten list of things used to define who a person was.

Not anymore. For many, it's the single determining factor if a person's worth.
When you and I were growing up, the two political parties were really MUCH closer to each other, ideologically. The GOP 1956 platform is astonishingly 'progressive', if you read it today. Both Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy were staunch anti-Communists when they ran against each other in 1960.

That's what has changed. Since then, the Republican Party has shifted much further to the right, and the Democrats have shifted at least some distance to the left.
 
Jan 2016
57,388
54,197
Colorado
We aren’t polarized! Go fuck your self you Nazi commie racist sexist anti American bigot!

(In case you are wondering that was sarcasm and I couldn’t help it lol).
I think you'll get thread-banned for that, even though you are clearly indicating it was sarcasm. We have at least some moderators here who clearly don't 'get' sarcasm.
 
Mar 2019
3,418
2,058
In Sunday School with Hognoxious
UnAmerican Leftist, cultural Marxist and Socialist views are clashing with traditional American worldviews. And there is no middle ground with these diametrically opposed world views