“Should responsibility for the rampant polarization that characterizes American politics today be laid at the feet of liberals or conservatives? I posed that question to my friend Bill Galston, a senior fellow at Brookings and a columnist at The Wall Street Journal.
He emailed me his reply:
It is fair to say that the proponents of cultural change have been mostly on offense since Brown v. the Board of Education, while the defenders of the status quo have been on defense.
Once the conflict enters the political arena, though, other factors come into play, Galston argues:
Intensity makes a huge difference, and on many of the cultural issues, including guns and immigration, the right is more intense than the left.”
David Lindsay: Good piece, and good comments. Here are two I really liked.
Jacob Hacker has the essence of it: “It strains credulity to argue that Democrats have been pushing culture-war issues more than Republicans. It’s mostly Republican elites who have accentuated these issues to attract more and more working-class white voters even as they pursue a plutocratic economic agenda that’s unpopular among those voters.” The culture war is a mostly manufactured and manipulated divisiveness, handy to distract the populace from the wholesale economic looting of the country by the 1%. And though its roots in modern times go back to Joe McCarthy’s demagoguery, it really got fed by the onset of Reaganism and the Reagan Restoration (of the plutocracy). Reagan’s right-wing business patrons were very happy to utilize his fearmongering and racebaiting B-actor’s shtick in their seizure of power over the last half-century (while witless or craven “Democratic” neoliberals either stood down or acted complicitly).
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AAaron BertramUtah5h agoTimes Pick
I’m less concerned about whether Democrats have moved further to the left than Republicans have to the right (though the idea is laughable to me when we have no livable minimum wage, no universal healthcare and no universal childcare). What concerns me more is that the right is moving further away from the truth. The fountain of lies issuing from the ex-president, members of Congress and Fox News personalities has no parallel anywhere else on the political spectrum and is paralyzing our ability to cope with present and looming crises.
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