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I’ll say it, Republican’s ruined their Party

Noel Rockwell, Editor

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Over the past few decades, both major political parties have changed. While this comes as no surprise, the effect is what’s truly shocking. Examining a graph of the average ideological positions of House party coalitions, both parties have moved far from the center.

However, when you examine it more closely, the Republicans have changed far more extremely than Democrats. A term political scientists call asymmetric polarization indicates the division of parties occurring at separate rates, or in this case, the changes of the Republican Party not aligning evenly with that of the Democratic party.

This level of polarization is a major problem in American politics. According to a study done by the Pew Research Center in 2014, overwhelming evidence suggests that those on the right have clear levels of change regarding antipathy for those on the other side, and the overall values of compromise.

Republicans are less willing to work with Democrats. Specifically, they refuse to consider Democratic appointees, procrastinate on acting upon Democratic legislation, and will use government shutdowns in order for their demands to be met. Democrats are then forced to delay Republican initiatives and overall become more obstructionist, according to Vox.com.

This was especially evident in our most recent government shutdown. The Trump administration sought funding for the border wall, however Democrats refused resulting in not enough votes to get the spending legislation passed. In the book It’s Even Worse Than It Looks: How the American Constitutional System Collided with the New Politics of Extremism, political scientists Thoman E Mann and Norman J Ornstein describe the Republican Party as “an insurgent outlier, scornful of compromise, and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition” (2012.)

They also detail the Democratic Party as being “no paragon of civic virtue but more ideologically centered and diverse.” This asymmetry is so problematic and in no way supports effective governance. Of course, it wasn’t always this way. Ronald Reagan, the Republican president worshiped for his tax policies, was actually an advocate for progressive taxes and even raised tax rates 11 times during his administration, according to Vox.com.

Additionally, despite their Party not sharing the same opinions as Democrats, they were willing to work with each other. This is no longer the case. In fact, it became more prevalent throughout Barack Obama’s presidency, evident in Republicans’ usage of the filibuster to block a vote in the Senate.

When they are not in power, they are more willing to stop Democrats from getting anything done, according to Senate.gov. What is even more problematic, however, is a journalist’s struggle to remain nonpartisan in a political climate that is I’ll say it, Republican’s ruined their Party Noel Rockwell anything but. This has caused the inability of news coverage to broadcast any of these discrepancies within politics without being accused of having liberal bias.

While there are circumstances that mandate no support of one side or any possible bias, there are just as many others that should be publicized in a clear, unambiguous way. An easy example would be the 2013 government shutdown where Republicans’ main objective was to undermine the Affordable Care Act. There is no other reason that shutdown occurred.

Media outlets failed to state that and instead blamed ‘both sides’ in fear of losing viewers or support from Republicans. An even greater issue regarding asymmetric polarization deals with levels of extremism needed to counter. Every time Republicans increase their demands, Democrats react by being forced to match them. This doesn’t come close to solving the problems at hand.

To anyone who disagrees with what I say, I know what you’re thinking. I am just another liberal student who is as ignorant as I might be making the Republicans out to be. What I encourage you to do, however, is examine the circumstances and understand how drastic changes to a political party is detrimental to democracy. And whether you support Republicans or not, I hope we can all agree it is not the same party as it was 40 years ago.

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I’ll say it, Republican’s ruined their Party