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Poll: Who has played a bigger role in increasing partisanship in Washington?


alexey

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I think it depends on what you're starting point is. For me, and my generation the beginning of the ugliness really began with Whitewater, Rongate, and Monica. It was a ridiculous witchunt that far exceeded any rational expansion of its scope.

Dirty politics in America though actually began before this country was formed. Heck, the loyalists and the revolutionaries were pretty dang partisan and abusive towards each other. I suspect mudslinging began with the invention of dirt.

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until we realize that the Dems and GOP are just two wings of the same ugly bird, the conversation is somewhat moot.

Yeah, but nothing like a good finger pointing poll to drive more of a wedge between the two sides, drunk on denial.

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The reason there is partisanship is because there are two parties that inherently disagree with each other. However, this has gotten a negative reaction from Americans, so they will pretend to come together on some issues in a "bipartisan" manner. But its easy to see why some of these "bipartisan efforts" fall apart.

For example: comprehensive immigration reform

Both parties have some reason to their own benefit to reform immigration. Both parties want to be seen as friendly to immigrants much like Democrats have captured much of African American voters by their passing of civil rights legislation. However, when it comes down to the form of immigration reform it is the wings of both parties that actually act like wedge against their party moderates.

I also think the fact that more Americans view the parties not as pillars of support, but as enemies to the other party. I believe the view that "I'm not voting for McCain, I'm voting against Obama" has clearly encouraged partisanship, because voters want their party to actively oppose the agenda of the other party. In fact, this was the major theme in the past 2 presidential elections. Kerry ran as "not Bush" and Obama also ran on a platform that would be described as "not Bush" (he had a more positive spin of "hope and change").

In summary, I would say some level of partisanship is what we get when we have a two-party system. Now perhaps the media of course has played a roll in increasing the perception of partisanship... but Congress has done nothing nor has any reason to really work to decrease partisanship... as they have to at least have some semblance of being opposing parties, even if they are both captured by corporate interests.

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I think it's obvious that they are the perpetrators of the "us vs them" mentality :D

As a side note, I did try to avoid framing the question in the finger-pointing way. It doesn't ask "who's to blame" or anything like that. I think it ought to be possible to have a non-partisan discussion about contributions to divisiveness made by different parties.

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until we realize that the Dems and GOP are just two wings of the same ugly bird, the conversation is somewhat moot.

QFT. It's incredible how many people passionately support one side or the other when both sides prove time and again that they have their own agenda, not those that voted them in when it comes to voting.

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