American politics: a house divided
“A house divided against itself cannot stand.”
Abraham Lincoln spoke these words upon launching his campaign for the United States Senate. As of recent times, polarization is again overtaking America as we debate the fundamental issues of our society. The ongoing presidential campaign has brought these fault lines to the surface in dramatic fashion.
There have been rallies shut down because of protestors, as well as violence and punches thrown at others. Donald Drumpf supporters are veering toward the hard right while Bernie Sanders continues to gather supporters on the far left –- both parties are split.
Division seems to be the only commonality, along with anger at the government. Supporters of Sanders, Cruz and Drumpf all share the feeling that the government has not been serving their needs as it should, but they differ in how they feel the government should serve them.
Indeed, this election is a missed chance at party realignment. If one candidate could have consolidated the anti-government sentiment of the supporters of Sanders, Drumpf and Cruz then that candidate would have had the clear mandate moving forward.
This fictional candidate would have 1,393 delegates, if you add up the delegates of each of the candidates mentioned. This would already clear the 1,237 delegates needed to be the Republican nominee. Yes, they’re from different parties so this is not 100 percent accurate, but it serves as an approximation of what consolidating the anger in American politics could do.
However, these three candidates’ platforms are so different that this will likely not happen. Rather than the angry factions in America coming together to enact sweeping government reform and move forward, the two parties will remain divided among themselves and become further polarized.
But how did Lincoln’s speech end? He said: “I do not expect the house to fall — but I do expect it will cease to be divided.” While he was speaking on the topic of slavery at the time, these words ring true to American politics today. Our current divisive trend is not sustainable –- one of the many sides in American politics will eventually have to win.
Which side will prevail out of our polarization? Will it be Drumpf’s radical right or Sanders’ socialist left? This election will possibly be a step toward answering that question. But until further developments, our political system will remain entangled in a fragmented, faction-ridden mess.