Samuel T. Michigan

Why Political Polarization Should Concern Our Next President

However divisive and tumultuous past elections have appeared, there is no comparison to the situation that us Americans have endured through these many unprecedented months. The one commonality that is shared is a collective wish for the whole ordeal to pass, and it is precisely because of the toxicity sprouting from political polarization. In this letter, I argue for our next President to mend the wounds that have been created by political polarization, as they are detrimental to progress, political gain, the well being of their people, and even themselves.

To whom it may concern,

Ever since I was a child, I have believed that one must possess an adequate amount of intelligence and morality to lead this great country that we have named the United States of America. In this election, that opinion can be reasonably argued against, but that lies beside the point. Whoever has taken office will have mounted a climactic victory, achieving the privilege of leading the free world. Though, the race has been tough and brutal at both ends of the political spectrum while culminating into mutual and nationwide disdain. At the point of writing this letter, America lies in the home stretch, and there exists minimal concern over who stands for what. People simply wish for this toxic depression to cease and desist. However close the end may appear on the tantalizingly sweet paradise that is November 9, 2016, the dawn of a tumultuous 4 years is soon to unfold into terror once again. The individual that will sit in the highest office will be the most disliked candidate within recent history, a person encompassed in so much hatred that the whole ordeal is ludicrous. Taking office today will be based upon half of the country believing they picked the lesser of two evils. The other half sees a deplorable liar. Now, I would like to address you directly, Mr. or Mrs. President. This next term will be horrible precisely because of this political polarization. It is detrimental to our people, our country as a whole, and the state of your personal well being. No one will escape the poison, so I believe that it is in your greatest interest as president of the United States to unify our country, as we cannot call ourselves united while split in two.

Political polarization needs to be mended because it is the root of halted progress within government, as there is little support for policy. In the current political climate, the lack of bipartisan backing prevents our country from approaching national wounds that lie somewhere between controversy and political arguments. An article plays into this disdain, speaking of the almost depressing attempts at proposing a new budget. It states, “At the end of September, the House passed an initial continuing resolution… through December 15 to avoid a shutdown, but it added a poison pill of defunding the affordable care act.”(Congressional budget gridlock). This is an apparent problem within our government, as it seems like daily news that political agenda, or the desire for reelection, is placed leagues before the need to actually benefit Americans. The majority Republican House chose to ignore the magnitude of their decisions and proposed legislation that forces their rivals to either choke upon party ideals, or become the villains who vetoed “logical” agreements. Those that have been elected to represent Americans are prioritizing stagnancy in the form of partisan games. Nothing came to fruition.“The House rejected the Senate bill, and members of Congress devoted themselves to a heated exchange of accusations about who is to blame while waiting for the government to reach the day when it hits the debt ceiling and no longer has access to the funds necessary to pay its bills.”(Congressional budget gridlock). If a governing system has the inclination to point fingers, alienate differing perspectives, all while ignoring that there is a nation to be lead, then it should be clear to anyone this two party polarization has gone too far.

Of course, this reality is no surprise. Adhering to staunch ideologies reduces the chance of political isolation from peers and from voters. Being a logical result of our government is all the reason to place it to the side, nothing to be worried about since truly critical topics should have higher priority. Yet, in the interest of the profession, hardline partisanship appears beneficial to one’s own political progress and policy. There exists possibility for agendas to be propelled with vigor in this case, take for example our country’s latest majority house, “The House Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies Appropriations voted June 29 to withhold all funding for the Obama administration's manned space plans…”(NASA Space Flight Funding Plan Embroils Congress Obama Administration 503112). One party barred the agenda of the other, displaying political success because the goals of the opposition were unfruitful. So it is “advantageous” to encourage this behavior because it can protect specific ideals within this country, or it could advance them if one’s party has large enough control. Think back to Franklin Delano Roosevelt and his first 100 days within office. It is but a president’s dream to reach that level of efficiency and speed.

But it is common knowledge that the 2016 election is far different from anything before. Madame secretary, much of your voter base is infamous for turnout, at least for midterms and congressional elections. As currently calculated by on 10/19/16, there is a 97% chance that you will be faced with a Republican-majority senate, and the fallout of soaring suspicion. Mr. Drumpf, you are also in the midst of a crisis. Twenty nine politicians have withdrawn their support from your campaign, fifteen have publically stated that they will not vote for you, and eight have called for your resignation from the race at the time of writing this letter. has also stated that there is a 66% chance of the house falling into the hands of Democrats. Finally, basing one’s political uprising upon being an outsider does not assist the situation in the slightest bit. Partisanship can and will butcher every whisper of policy that the next president decides to propose. What appears beneficial to the candidates and their party will only be halted by the very status quo under which they “thrive”. Because the system created this putrid climate, change cannot be insured unless a single party gains great control over the government. This common scenario has stung during the last few elections for Obama, but it is the everyday citizen that wretches in the aftermath. Not to mention how undemocratic it appears for one party to rule for the enhancement of their own definition of what is correct. Are there more important issues to be dealt with? Possibly, but how can we address those issues if there are two separate minds veering off in completely different directions? It is nearly impossible, so your literal best interest is to unify the country and our system before heading forward. If not, America shouldn’t be surprised when the cycle of rejection and shutdown continues throughout the next several years.

Though, it is not simply a matter of the ideology of individuals within congress, but the ideology of those that had placed them there that causes negative effects upon your political well being. There is reason to believe that the average male or female politician shares the quality of having more than half of a brain- a claim that again proves arguable. They represent the people and are meant to carry out change within the republic, so the expectation is that voters will remain content within their system. Counterintuitively, the people of this nation hold the tightest grip around Washington rather than the hand of the politician. Mr. or Mrs. President, your fate is a matter of image, and emotion. A recent article has stated, “most issues of election administration, though, the public often knows very little about the legal regime about which they have an opinion.” (Revisiting public opinion on voter identification and voter fraud in an era of increasing partisan polarization). Perhaps this is a cynical pill to swallow, but the most efficient way of taking office is to pander to public opinion and to the voters who will carry you into power. The public is far more interested in what they wish to believe and see, often times not reflective of truth or substance. Politicians thrive upon such ignorance, utilizing emotions to encourage behavior, and it may seem logical for them to feed the flames of fervor.

Donald J. Drumpf is a prime example of a man blessed with these voter mannerisms. As another article states, “born-again leaders distanced themselves from Drumpf, polling data suggested that rank-and-file evangelicals were supporting him at levels that contradicted the assumption that conservative faith and conservative politics go hand in hand.” (Fundamental Mistakes). The largest percentage of the evangelical vote is held in the hands of Drumpf, which seems ironic given his past actions of divorce and recent accusations of sexual assault. So one can conclude from this quote that voters often act illogically, and the sparse population that will truly vote upon fact is seldom appreciated. “Why would that be such a problem?”, some may ask, as this country prides itself in freedom. We the people have the protected right to believe without concern over what is thought or accepted. It only matters that the people retain this freedom. Yes, it is not a requirement for us citizens to take great care and know what is factually righteous. However, I would personally rather live within a nation that searches for truth rather than the fantasyland that is politics circa 2016. Partisanship places ideologies into convenient packages where the common man or woman selects one or the other, simplifying choice and reducing the need to delve into a candidate's true motivations when they must act as the ballot has dictated. Thus it is easier for voters to cling onto the narrative that the opposition is “bad” while what you, the president, represent is “good”. Why would there be reason not to have this remain if it gets politicians elected?

Consider the consequences that this powerful ignorance will bring. Politicians always act for reelection, this is their profession after all, so they would regurgitate whatever their party desires as long as the sweet scent of power reaches their nostrils once again. Naturally, their policies becomes further radicalized or completely different from what they had promised. That puts our political system in a frightening state. Either direction will cause a portion of the public to become outraged over whoever holds their vote, because so often is the stereotypical-lying politician seen as normality. The people of America had no idea in the first place of what their country was being lead to under the facade of smiling faces and kissing babies, and that facade does not help as the years stumble along. Gallup, in their poll titled “Congress and the Public”, shows that the approval rating of congress stands at measly twenty percent. Obama has made recent headlines for reaching 55 percent, while the two candidates lie pitifully under fifty. These tendencies will persist, ignorance, lies, outrage, calming, ignorance, lies, and outrage. In the presidency, there is no doubt that they will persist, ignorance, lies, outrage, calming, it is a terrible cycle. If you choose not to act upon this political partisanship, than the mistrust that already exists will only grow and insert itself into the back of voters’ minds. Your own job could be at risk, as the future doesn’t look very kind to your current promises when taking a passing glance at congress. Political polarization causes hatred for not only politicians, but the system as a whole. That is not healthy for a democracy, and it sure is not healthy for the presidency. If you cannot bring America together, which is under your best interest, then the future of our nation will rely on fate to decide if the mounting mistrust will reach a fever pitch. I can assure with utmost confidence that the presidency, and this heightened frustration, will worsen. Put simply, how can you lead the capitol of the free world when the people decide that you are unjust? They, in fact, are those who hold the power.

Finally, political polarization leads to fear, and subsequent violence within our country. If anything is reason enough for change, then it should be the well-being of one’s own people. Fear has stood as the common and overarching theme throughout this election, and much of it is rooted within a putrid climate of hate-filled partisan ignorance and blame. Donald J. Drumpf illustrates those very attributes in a stream of complaints within the weeks leading up to the election, “The election is absolutely being rigged by the dishonest and distorted media pushing Crooked Hillary - but also at many polling places - SAD,”(Drumpf complains of ‘rigged’ election - October 16, 2016). This encourages an outrageous and dangerous mindset. Spouting that our process and democracy is flawed makes one’s voter base feel threatened by their government and by their own country, serving only to anger and instill a sense of inequality. This mentality leads only to fear, fabricating necessity for action if the president does not follow their ideological beliefs. That is not democratic. That is terrifying. Though, while many are quick to dismiss his comments as a violation of a tradition that holds America together in the most tumultuous of times, his intentions may be supported by our very ideals. The people of America must constitutionally retain the right to abolish an unjust government if it is destructive to those that it is supposed to protect. Again, within Washington, politicians have exhibited tendencies to act in their own interest over the collective welfare of the country. Advocating for reform and the reimagining of the this country’s system is most definitely positive behavior, as what ails us now is far flung from perfection.

However, neither candidate has taken true action to unite the United States. Rather than making a true and reasonable claim to back up his concerns with this issue. Mr. Drumpf simply presented the idea of a rigged system to inflame a following of fearful minds in the midst of their candidate falling behind in the polls. Creating divides and rifts within our nation does not make us truly united. That is clear manipulation, and it encourages voters to act against the unjust system, when in reality, they are motivated by an unwillingness to accept validity from the other political party America sits in a special place in history, where her future seems more uncertain than ever before in this election of such unprecedented occurrences. No election has had so many shuddering from what is to come as we steer ever closer to the day of reckoning, and the commonality of crippling distress for the future is unnerving to say the least. This feeling may have originated from existing concerns, though I believe that its scale is a direct result of actions made by the two candidates. Now it is understandable, politically, why one would cultivate panic among the population. After all, fear is a master of persuasion and passion. Fear is reason enough for immigration, injustice, and incompetent leaders to dominate the campaign trail. It just simply treats the polls well, as supported through the words of Madame Secretary, “To just be grossly generalistic,” she said, “you could put half of Drumpf supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables.” Right? Racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic, you name it.(Drumpf’s forgotten people: The sense of grievance he has tapped into is real-and justified). Why would she alienate potential voters from other candidates in such crucial time within the election? It is because her existing supporters are given specific reason to feel more entitled compared and weary of the opposition.

The thought that our country could be run by bigots strikes their emotions, and provides explicit reason to dismiss them as degenerates. This is truly the war of the polls, as both sides are adamant as to what they are afraid of. Individuals have even stated from both ends that “there will be bloodshed”, or “civil war” if “they” take power. Of course, most individuals merely joke or whine, but there are a select few who are now mobilized by the narrative that their candidate will save this country from “them”. Again, that is not a healthy thought for a democracy. All of these concerns culminate together in this statement, “It's comments such as those, as well as the numerous protests and accusations of violence that have emerged at Drumpf rallies, that are leading media outlets this year to devote more resources to cover what's happening outside the arena.”(A convention rarity: unpredictability: as the campaign comes to a head, the media prep for surprises at both parties' gatherings). People are attacking others simply for what they believe, just because of a mounting separation of beliefs. I cannot put into words how alarming that is to me, my family, friends, and to all of the American people. To you, Mr. or Mrs. President, may I ask you to heal these wounds. It may seem too obvious, or an issue to be laid to the side, as the threat is not apparent in the same manner as terrorism or cyber-attacks. But to ignore the knowledge that you are a catalyst for harm unto your own people is despicable, and inexcusable. This fear has and will culminate into violence, unrest, and distress, conditions that make leadership characteristically impossible. If not for the safety of our ideals, our democracy, and our own people, do it for your own. I cannot imagine something more important than uniting a place who prides itself on that very word.

Now here we are, a time that will most certainly go into books to be studied by future generations. I can just imagine lectures and lessons, talking about the effects and toxicity of such a partisan election. A time of great ignorance, congressional stagnancy, and terror inside the United States. A time, where the boundaries that have separated us for so long are now marked in the sand with bright red and bright blue paint. States are now but separate parts to this partisan mess, a reality that halts progress, hurts politicians, finally mounting danger to the very people that call the USA their home. However frightening this is, there exists yet another selfish reason for action and unity within. Mr. or Mrs. president, you have the chance to create a lasting legacy, forever know as the one who pacified America as the world sat at the edge of their seats for 644 days of nail-biting news coverage. Whichever one of you is reading this, and frankly it matters no more, take up this challenge and make the United States whole again. Try introducing non-partisan legislation, act like decent human beings, don’t alienate the public, back up your decisions with facts, and make it clear to the whole world that we have not made a mistake when picking you as our Commander in Chief. I am terrified, yet I still have confidence. You can make America great again from before it had split, show us that you can trump hate.


Congressional budget gridlock

NASA Space Flight Funding Plan Embroils Congress Obama Administration 503112

Revisiting public opinion on voter identification and voter fraud in an era of increasing partisan polarization

Fundamental mistakes

Gallup Polls: Congress and the Public

Drumpf complains of ‘rigged’ election - October 16, 2016

Drumpf's forgotten people: The sense of grievance he has tapped into is real-and justified

A convention rarity: unpredictability: as the campaign comes to a head, the media prep for surprises at both parties' gatherings

Image from "Mapping the political geography of US Presidential Elections"

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Hausauer 2nd Hour

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