Sides argument about the nature of political

Sides and Hopkins, who are experts in the field of
political science, presents a cutting-edge argument about the nature of
political polarization and its extent within both political institutions in
America and the American public. Throughout the book, the authors capture the
debate along with central ideas in the research of polarization. The piece of
work consists a wide range of essays that are thoughtful and written by the
best scholars in this discipline. For the individuals who want to learn more
about polarization, its causes, impacts as well as consequences, this should be
their source.

In the modern American politics, polarization is
perceived as an impeachment of the political system which for most of the time,
concerns the two primary political parties, namely, Republican and Democratic. Various
authors have explored the belief that polarization is a present-day concept.
Nolan McCarty argues that the roots of the current manifestation can be traced
back to the 1970s. He claims “the movement of the Republican Party to the right
accounts for most of the divergence between the two parties.”(Sides and
Hopkins, 3) Furthermore, McCarty points to the polarization in Congress and
claims it “derives from both sincere ideological differences about policy means
and ends and strategic behavior to exploit those differences to win elections.”(Sides
and Hopkins, 6) The result of such actions from congressional polarization has
reduced its capacity to govern thus leading to less production in legislation,
delays in appropriating funds, and additional delays in executive and judicial
appointments.

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In this work, the essay written by Sean Theriault is about
how party polarization in Congress is related to the problem of political
warfare. Theriault writes “Congress is not operating as it should. There is
much too much partisanship and not enough progress; too much narrow ideology
and not enough practical problem-solving. Even at a time of enormous national
challenge, the people’s business is not getting done …” (Sides and Hopkins,
11-12) Polarization becomes ineffective as a facilitator of solving the policy
issues due to the legislative gamesmanship’ supremacy over honest debates.

            Similar to Congress, America’s state legislatures are
also polarized between Democrats and Republicans. According to Boris Shor, “Polarization
is defined as the average ideological distance between the median Democrat and
Republican in the state legislature.” (Sides and Hopkins, 17) Shor believes
Republicans become extreme quicker than the Democrats concerning state
legislatures, however this does not mean that this issue is the same in every
state.

            The Democratic and Republican parties are further apart
on public policy issues. In chapter 4, according to Thomas Carsey and Geoffrey
Layman, the public discussion of party polarization misses two points that are
of importance. “First, far from being something new, party polarization has
been the natural state of American politics throughout our history. Second,
contemporary party polarization may well be different, characterized by what we
call ‘conflict extension'”. (Sides and Hopkins, 23-24) A crucial function of
political parties is to organize political conflict by making policy separation
between Democrats and Republicans unavoidable. Moreover, in prior history the
parties may be polarized on one position but can still be able to find common
ground on other issues. The process, “conflict displacement” means “parties
were not locked into polarized positions on every major issue facing the
country”. (Sides and Hopkins, 24) However, their research shows the process of
conflict has been replaced by what they call “conflict extension”. (Sides and
Hopkins, 24) Major domestic issues such as welfare, culture, and race according
to the data shows there has been an increase in the gap between party citizens,
activists and officials. As a result of the data Carsey and Layman’s believe
they have witnessed conflict extension. Accordingly, “conflict extension has
evolved to such a degree that insurgent groups who in the past might press a
single-issue agenda are now likely to advance more strident positions across
multiple issues.” (Sides and Hopkins, 30) Conflict extension has led to the
belief that political polarization is worse now than ever.

            In chapter 8, author Lilliana Mason presents the point
that Democrats are more liberal and Republicans are more conservative.
Additionally the parties have become more divided on race and religion. “America
has gone from being a nation of cross-cutting political identities to a nation
of highly aligned political identities”. (Sides and Hopkins, 59) This results
in a reinforcement of social polarization. Political identities drive social
polarization quicker than they polarize any policy beliefs. Furthermore, we are
left with a nation of partisans appearing to disagree more often than we really
do. “It does not matter whether we agree or disagree, and it does not really
matter what the substance of the dispute is. We just want our side to win.”(Sides
and Hopkins 59) The more organized and powerful beliefs become, the less chance
political opponents get a fair shake. According to Masons’ opinion, “no matter
what the political debate of the day is officially about, it is rooted in the
partisan bias, eager action, and exaggerated anger that come directly out of
our political identities.” (Sides and Hopkins 59)