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By Ed Barrena

March 29, 2016 (San Diego’s East County) -- Pew Research Center published an article by Paul Taylor this week with some interesting political analysis, detailing a move toward polarization of the two political parties. The article discusses points from the first chapter of a book that Taylor co-authored with Pew Research entitled, “The Next America: Boomers, Millennials, and the Looming Generational Showdown.” The book was originally released as a hardback in 2014 and now a paperback edition is being released with 100 pages of additional material.

According to the article, the differences between liberal and conservative camps have sharpened and created a divide, resulting in two entities that Taylor describes less as political parties, and more as two camps resembling “alien tribes.” Republicans and Democrats are now much less likely to reach any sort of compromise than in the recent past. According to Taylor “Many in each party now deny the other’s facts, disapprove of each other’s lifestyles, avoid each other’s neighborhoods, impugn each other’s motives, doubt each other’s patriotism, can’t stomach each other’s news sources, and bring different value systems to such core social institutions as religion, marriage and parenthood.”

Along with this polarization, a physical exodus has occurred, with liberals more likely to reside in large cities while conservatives tend to live in large homes outside of city limits. Also as the country becomes more racially diverse, the older, mostly white generation of Americans has pulled to the right politically while younger voters and non-whites have primarily pulled more to the left, with many abandoning traditional political parties altogether, identifying themselves as independent voters.

Another point that Taylor makes is that the moderate voices in politics have been largely drowned out by more extreme partisanship in media and in the political structure. The moderate middle voters have largely become “the new silent majority.”

Another large factor in the current polarization is the tendency of young leftists to remain on the sidelines during interim elections. Taylor says, “We have the alternating red and blue election outcomes of the recent past, with President Obama’s victories in the big turnout years of 2008 and 2012 playing hopscotch with the GOP romps in the low turnout midterms of 2010 and 2014.” He adds, “This in turn has contributed to a Washington that’s paralyzed by gridlock.”

Americans in all parties remain upset with politics in general, with many having very little faith in government.  The bright side of all this according to Taylor is that the political landscape will most likely look very different in the years to come, as politics are never stagnant and remain in constant flux. Perhaps in the future we can look toward a Washington DC that is more open to ideas from the other side of the aisle, but in the immediate future, the gridlock is likely to continue.

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The "gridlock" is exaggerated

to throw us off the realization that both parties share important objectives regarding the primacy of corporations and the subjection of individuals to authority. Obama is just as much in favor of exporting jobs as any Repub, for example, and also has promoted more wars than the R's ever did. Gridlock? I don't buy it. Not where money and power are concerned.