Moderate Political Views Anyone? Increased Party Polarization.
Since when have the ideologies of the Republican and Democratic parties become such polar opposites? Does anyone still have moderate political views?
It has become increasingly clear that the Republican Party has become more conservative- I believe the existence of the Tea Party is sufficient evidence of that- and the Democratic Party has become more liberal. The gap between the parties today is said to be widest it has ever been. But why is that?
What happened to the moderates? Thirty years ago, moderates constituted an important political voice; there were “Liberal Republicans” and “Conservative Democrats”. Today, parties criticize their own members for being “too moderate”, such as Mitt Romney in his early 2012 election campaign. Moderate ideology seems to have no place in today’s partisan politics.
The reaction of the American people to party polarization has been somewhat split- some people have enjoyed moving towards an extreme, such as Tea Party supporters. However, I believe there are many Americans who are constantly frustrated with their choices in both presidential and congressional elections. Politically moderate citizens receive hardly any representation, which should be taken as a serious problem in our political system.
The other issue party polarization presents is that the parties cannot seem to agree on anything anymore. There has been less and less bipartisan legislation being worked on in Congress, never mind actually passed. Because the party ideologies are such opposites, it takes months and even years for a real issue, like the nation’s debt, to be addressed, and even then an agreement cannot be made! Everything seems to be pushed farther down on the legislative agenda, as if there is hope that some future congressmen and women will fix the problems we should be solving today.
I realize that some people truly do identify as ultra-conservative or liberal, but surely it’s not all of us. And honestly, I’m tired of hearing about 13-hour filibusters and disagreements on the fiscal cliff, sequestration, tax code reform, and everything else that the parties argue over, but never solve. If we want to have an efficient legislative branch that actually represents the American people, then perhaps we need to pressure our representatives to work together and meet the other side in the middle, because the middle is generally the where the most citizens can be represented.