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Study: When it comes to polarization across the globe, America leads the way

Original post made on Jan 20, 2020

America's widening political divide stands out above other nations, according to a new cross-country polarization study by Stanford University economists.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, January 20, 2020, 2:43 PM

Comments (20)

Posted by theAlex
a resident of South of Midtown
on Jan 20, 2020 at 11:19 pm

This laughably "neutral" approach isn't neutral at all. What we're looking at is simply a rise in far-right white nationalism. You're approach implies that both sides share the same responsibility in the widening gap. It's simply racist whites and other morons who are scared of change. The responsibility lies solely with Republicans.

You fall for the politically correct fallacious reasoning of treating both sides as reasonable positions, when one is clearly immoral and destructive . You're not running for office, so don't act like it. It's not "polarization", it's one side falling off the deep end. Why can't you state the obvious? Is it not academic enough?

Posted by bothsiderism
a resident of Esther Clark Park
on Jan 21, 2020 at 6:19 am

All those words in the name of "bothsiderism". Ugh. That leads to "very fine people on both sides" of a Nazi march.

A short step to violence.

@theAlex: I agree, well put.

" has had a more distinctive shift in party coalitions over time. "

Ignoring the fact that Clinton, Gore, Kerry, Obama and Hillary were essentially economic centrists. Before the whiners start screaming "socialists!" - recall that ObamaCare is at it's core a GOP/NationalReview/Romney plan. Look at the Clinton economy - he created budget surpluses!!!

Name a republican who has had a budget surplus. Go ahead, we'll wait.

Posted by "Permanent Republican Majority" still trying to destroy Democracy
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 21, 2020 at 6:39 pm

Since my particular concern in democracy is healthy homeostasis and checks and balances, I'll tell you exactly when it started. This began when the Republican party was hijacked by those who wanted to end our government of, by, and for the people in favor of plutocracy/oligarchy. It was called "permanent Republican majority", and it works by LYING to get the electorate to give power to concentrations of wealth, so that they can continue to funnel power and money to the point that those at the bottom can no longer act as an effective check and democracy is over.

It started before Reagan, but it became a full-on deceptive war against democracy under Reagan. Reagan's own budget director, Stockman, admitted the whole trickle-down theory was made up and a trojan horse for cutting top tax rates. Being successful at LYING has made LYING and essential using the same propaganda techniques of the Nazis the stock and trade of Republicans ever since. This lying potus is the perfect endpoint of a party that puts the efficacy of their lawmakers ability to lie to the public (and now, to themselves) as their highest ideal.

Republicans were so eager to do this, they handed our government to the Russians, and treat a foreign enemy with subservience while treating their fellow Americans like the enemy.

Our democratic republic was most robust when checks and balances worked, when Republicans actually lived like they believed in honing forces of competition (including in politics). Now they just believe in tricks and deceit to avoid those forces, and their power and money above country. What I heard when I turn on the radio today is "WTF happened to the GOP??!!"

In every case in human history, when you have concentrations of wealth and money that seize control and try to nail the seesaw of power to one side, sudden and violent course correction by the other extreme is inevitable. That is what has been building. The divisiveness is the INEVITABLE result of the Republicans' attempt to, through lying and false framing over decades, destroy government of by and for the people with its competing forces ("drown it in a bathtub" and get people to hate the government that is their power).

The only way Republicans can keep things on course against the checks and balances the founders designed into our democracy is through lies and thwarting democracy. As much as they scream histrionically about "coups" (when, if this potus were removed, their own party would still be in power, which the GOP Congress CHEERED -- couldn't be a "coup" if they're cheering for it), it is Republicans who have wholesale been going after duly elected Democratics in state office, Republicans who overtly stacked the Supreme Court and refused to let the last President appoint the Supreme Court vacancy. It is Republicans who have been the ones caught trying to cheat using absentee ballot mills (which, by the way, if you wanted to set up, you'd do exactly what the Russians did in the 2016 election, and once that fix is in, they don't have to do it again to fix the next election).

There is no equivalency here. Democrats first swung to the right in the usual homeostatis response, but when Republicans then instead pushed things further and further to the right (since they no longer care about protecting our democratic republic, they JUST care about their power and the money at the top),
division and a pull to the left was inevitable.

The sad thing is that Republicans have not just guaranteed that we have division in this country, they have thwarted our ability to have any kind of a universal healthcare system (does NOT have to be single-payer, let's not have that argument -- we are the only first-world nation without inexpensive universal healthcare of some kind or another, and it is REPUBLICANS who are the reason for the millions of people in our nation who have died without it).

Republicans are the reason we stopped investing in our infrastructure around the time of Reagan. Republicans are the reason we ended up with a homelessness problem that doesn't exist anywhere else in the first-world, with a mass incarceration problem, that we have decaying crime-ridden inner cities in virtually every American City the likes of which don't exist anywhere else in the first world.

Republicans are the reason we got bogged down in wars that were not about 9/11, and the reason things went so badly (because Republicans are the ones who thought they could export the practice of making things so by lying well enough, including to themselves -- that's what the reports of what went wrong say, too many people at the top saying and believing things that were divorced from reality, and it was mostly Republicans who did it to us).

It was Republicans who keep getting us into deep debt, on a state and national level, through this governing by LIES.

I am not a partisan, in the sense that I think the Democrats in California are going off the deep end themselves with no checks and balances (related to overdevelopment), but the Republican party in California isn't getting it together to counter because they're so lost in the party of lies for power thing and really don't care about anything else.

I think most people on either side just want a well=functioning democracy with a fiscally responsible government. But Republicans have long since given up on the idea of fiscal responsibility, and at some point, began to believe the lies they had crafted and turned it into a religion (to replace the one they claim to believe in -- ironic since the Bible warns against worshiping money and thus erring from the faith).

There may be divisiveness on both sides, but there is no equivalency in why.

It may be too late, but there is a contingent trying to rehabilitate the Republican party. At this point, my biggest problem is how hard it is to trust anyone who calls themself a Republican.

Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jan 22, 2020 at 11:32 pm

I am laughing. My interpretation is that the State Department and all of their minions all over the globe are busy making deals to sell arms, oil, anything that sells. And they want to run their business with no interference. That means moving industry to foreign countries, that means taking over small countries and using their people and property to produce products for American companies.

Mr. Schiff's congressional district has a huge population of people from former Russian countries. And he does promotional videos for their charities. He is the Russian connection. And all of your legislators who were talking about DT being impeached the day he was elected are the ones who are first generation Americans who are concerned that funds will not be provide to their countries.

Right now Tesla is busy setting up a facility in China. We now have coal mined in Utah and moving in trains down to Richmond to be shipped to China. Oakland is fighting off being used as a coal shipping facility. You all are pointing to global warming but this state is busy doing otherwise. You all argue about technology being transferred but the major companies and universities are busy doing that. There are the expressions of intent but the actions do not match up.

It is Jerry Brown who shut down the redevelopment funds for the city of Oakland. If you look at the state of CA today you can not point to fiscal responsibility. There is a total disconnect between what the governor is promising and what he can deliver.

Posted by Zhao Lin
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jan 23, 2020 at 9:46 am

Everyone is entitled to an opinion regardless of the polarization factors.

Today it is essentially a pro-deadbeat/giveaway mindset VS a selfish/self-serving mentality.

Just say NO to the Sanders/Warren types & NO to the POTUS45/McConnell factions.

In China, it is more of a socialist-capitalistic driven dictatorship and those who are able to profit and succeed from this economic-political model
simply move abroad where the political climate is not as demanding.

It is a win-win in that some individual get wealthy & so does the country.

Procuring cheap labor and offering below market priced manufactured goods is the key to economic success.

Unfortunately the US has lost this battle due to trade unions, labor laws and whatnot.

In China, there will always be the haves and the have-nots. The haves move to America while the have-nots remain in China and work on the various assembly lines.

Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jan 23, 2020 at 10:10 am

WOW - what a cheery outlook. So Nike is making millions on it's shoes but the shoes are made by slave labor in an Asian foreign country in huge sweatshops. And the Dole Company based in Westlake Village - SOCAL is busy growing bananas in Guatemala - as it has for a century. They have the pineapples in Hawaii which are only a tourist item now, and the sugar cane is now grown in an Asian Country. Cuba used to be the sugar cane growing location for the American Fruit Company based in New Orleans until the Bay of Pigs event. That did not work out well. These companies had huge shipping lines at major ports - NY, Baltimore, New Orleans, San Francisco, etc. all of these ports have declined with resulting loss of jobs. What a cheery picture. You can talk about Technology all you want but people still do need to eat and wear clothes, and live in houses. And people all over the world are in-fighting within their countries for a "better life" that they see on their computers.

Posted by both
a resident of Esther Clark Park
on Jan 23, 2020 at 5:41 pm

Dole fruit?!? Russian immigrants in Orange County?!? What ON EARTH (if that) are you talking about?

There are Italians in SF. Irish, too. Native Americans everywhere. Mongolians! Oceanians! Africans! Europeans! Asians! Just can't find any Antarcticans!

What in blue blazes are you prattling on about? Bay of Pigs? Harbors? Wearing clothes? Nike?

Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jan 24, 2020 at 11:00 am

The topic of this stream is globalization relative to the USA and the state of CA and the companies that are headquartered here, as well as the response above regarding a China evaluation of our status. There is an evolution over time as to the change in the USA / CA business base.

If you check out the SFC they have a series that goes into the history of the city. The major business activities in the past have been centered on the bay area with the port system bringing in major products from other hemispheric locations. The last owners of Filoli - a National Trust property were the owners of the Matson lines which were the major method of transportation. A major business in the bay was sugar coming in from HA. That method of shipping is no longer used and sugar cane on the islands is being redirected to other countries. And the SF port is diminished in the process. The major port now is in Oakland.

Likewise the ports in Baltimore and New Orleans are diminished by lack of huge corporate activity in other countries - or change in method of transport - which is now by carrier ships. As a Pacific center we are directly in the transition point for these activities. We have transitioned to technology but still have an agricultural base as we are one of the major growing areas - or used to be.

You either understand global economy or you don't. And the topic today in the news is relative to the global economy and how the US is participating in that activity.

Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jan 24, 2020 at 11:09 pm

Reading the going in position there is no mention of the European Union which is staggering under a number of internal problems which include member nations which are becoming frustrated with having a central location dictate to them what their economy is, how many immigrants from Africa they are suppose to absorb, many other items. That is the reason that the British are exiting the EU. A major issue is oil that is now going to be bought from Russia through Ukraine pipelines. Russia and the Ukraine now have a five year contract for management of the pipeline going to Europe. Count Burisma as a player in that operation. The economy of Europe is going through a big change right now. Germany is going to buy oil from Russia so that is changing up how they all relate to each other. We have no control over the EU organization as it deals with it's member nation issues.

Posted by “ permanent Republican Majority” still trying to destroy democracy
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 25, 2020 at 9:28 am

Um, the topic here is how the US politics are so much more polarized than other countries. This is what you get when one side (the minority side) tries to nail the balance of democracy to one side, effectively outright destroying democracy, destroying the founding principles of our democratic republic, destroying the honing forces of competition by their own admission (“Permanent Republican majority” and “drown the government in a bathtub”… so it is weak and vulnerable to the Russians’ manipulations.)

The Republicans have become the Party of Lies and the Party of Corruption. Party over Country (watch for it, their latest Modus operandi, from the big corrupt one holding their leashes, is to accuse others of what they are most guilty of doing themselves.).

We get Lindsey Graham whining about Republicans being investigated when they get softballs compared to what they do to anyone who challenges their corrupt schemes to destroy democracy and remain in power. [Portion removed.]

I am not laughing, I am mourning the death of a once great political party of Lincoln and Eisenhower, and how Important it was to our nation and democratic republic.

When the current band of corrupt lapdogs lets the potus get away with this, they will be embolden him forever to do that and worse, and will be tarred by it themselves. Except they will be tarring the Republican Party forever as the liars and corrupt cheats whose successful efforts to destroy our democratic form of government handed the Russians the keys to world dominance without their having to fire a shot. They are laughing with you.

Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jan 25, 2020 at 11:17 am

[Post removed.]

Posted by bothsiderism
a resident of Esther Clark Park
on Jan 25, 2020 at 11:50 am

[Portion removed.]

Trump is extorting foreign governments to cheat in our election for his personal gain, and the republicans are all too scared to defend the Constitution and speak against Trump.

So rant about Dole bananas and Matson Lines. Deflect to blaming the Democratic Party for the ten year California economic boom and it's side effects.

Never offer solutions.

" mourning the death of a once great political party of Lincoln and Eisenhower, and how Important it was to our nation and democratic republic"

Teddy R. Hell, even Bob Dole. Geez, these spineless republican wimps make John McCain look like he belongs up on Rushmore.

Defend the Constitution, call witnesses and evidence in Trump's extortion trial.

Posted by bothsiderism
a resident of Esther Clark Park
on Jan 25, 2020 at 11:54 am

[Post removed.]

Posted by Hypocracy 101
a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 26, 2020 at 2:57 pm

[Post removed.]

Posted by "Permanent Republican Majority" still trying to destroy democracy
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 27, 2020 at 12:07 am

Aside from The Big Lie -- a tactic the impeachment lawyers are already using and the potus uses every day -- another common tactic brought to us specially by the potus but used by seemingly every Republican today, is that if they are in the wrong or guilty of something, to accuse a political rival of what they (the Republicans) are guilty of.

That is both a tactic of diversion (which gets used alone or in combination) a and tactic of deflecting scrutiny by aggressively accusing others of what the accuser is guilty of. The potus has been doing this since the elections, and Republicans did this quite deftly during the scotus confirmation hearing.

It's become so common, whenever a Republicans levels a charge against Democrats or political opponents, the first question should be how does that charge apply to the Republicans and the potus? The potus uses charges of what he is guilty of against others as a way of getting away with things over and over again.

For example, over the course of the hearings, I heard a Republican say that Democrats think if they repeat something enough, it becomes true. This was a core modus operandi of the Republican party for decades, and it only fell apart when they tried to make it translate to war overseas (Iraq) -- that's what the analysis said went wrong, the leadership (Republicans) believed and said things that were utterly disconnected from reality. They were just used to getting away with it stateside. Anything that was repeated in the hearing by Democrats is an entirely different situation -- Democrats NEED to restate FACTS since Republicans can be counted on to LIE so much, and ignore a rock solid case. We already know the Republicans are impervious to truth and putting our nation first. The Democrats were making a record that will be hard for Republicans to ever justify in the future. (I only wish Democrats were better at speaking, they use irony too much when they should be thinking of direct and quotable.)

I hear Republicans accusing anyone who makes a good point against them of just taking direction from some Democratic Party line, when that kind of lockstep, ideological worship-politicians-like-they-are-God has been the xclusive domain of the Republicans.

Everything Republicans accuse anyone of, especially the potus, should be looked at from this standpoint - what are they trying to deflect, how are they far more guilty? From potus's bringing past Bill Clinton accusers to a debate, when he was hiding hush payments to two women including a porn star, to accusations of Democratic motives or behavior that is demonstrably the domain of Republicans themselves, Republicans have been using this tactic every day and the media just let them get away with it. (Given the long years in which the Republicans were just out to get Bill Clinton and the best they could do was entrap him despite having rabid partisan neoconservatives in the office of special council, etc, the Democrats have been constrained saints by comparison -- the accusations of partisanship are really shocking given the Republicans' conniving partisanship of the last 50 years.

I don't know what the Republicans are thinking now in not doing the right thing - do they think if they let this potus get away with this that he won't do something worse tomorrow and tar them all with it for all time? Or do they figure once we are forever a Ru$$ian puppet, it won't matter? Are they so blinded by the quest for partisan power that they have lost any sense of loyalty to our country in the face of the potus's obsequiousness to the Ru$$ians?

It was a terrible mistake for Democrats not to impeach him over the lying, too, and to not put the lying on trial. Let Mike Bloomberg be the nominee if they were worried about campaigns of senators, and keep the LYING of the whole Republican party and the potus and the horrendous damage it is doing to our democracy, nation, national security, essential civil service workforce, and our reputation and standing in the world, and even our citizens' ability to trust their own government, front and center. I don't know why the easily manipulated ego that has made our potus so vulnerable to made up bogus conspiracy theories and the damage to our own nation because of it wasn't also a part of the articles.

Posted by "Permanent Republican Majority" still trying to destory democracy
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 27, 2020 at 12:16 am

I mean -- Democrats still haven't caught on to the tactic of the Republicans accusing others of what they (Republicans) are most guilty. It was painful to watch Kavanaugh basically describing Republican behavior in the Clinton years and blaming Democrats for being anything like that. Sickening.

Again, the cause of the divide is no mystery. My friends remember me railing about just exactly what has happened since Reagan was President. This is nothing new in the history of humankind. Concentrations of wealth lead to absolute power, absolute power corrupts absolutely, the response is inevitable and violent sudden course correction to the other extreme. Hence the greater divide. It will not be healed so long as Republicans continue to be intent on destroying our government and lying to give the pretense of participating in democracy while actually trying to destroy our democratic republic.

The beauty of our democratic republic was checks and balances to keep anyone from making us vulnerable to such power grabs. And here the Republicans have relentless been trying to destroy our democratic Republican for 50 years and are only now successful at really crushing the strength of our constitution. Given how long they've been at it, I think it shows how strong our form of government is. But it couldn't survive being sabotaged from the inside by Republicans forever, especially after the Russians took note of how Republicans weakened our government.

Posted by "Permanent Republican majority" still trying to destroy democracy
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 28, 2020 at 9:18 am

Look at the news cycle. Constant drone of:

Republicans dismissing the overwhelming misdeeds of Trump (and themselves) by claiming any opposition to them is a partisan witch hunt.
Claiming the President had REASONS to investigate possible corruption of the Bidens (juxtaposing the two words “corruption” and “Biden” over and over again every day despite evidence to the contrary which rarely gets mentioned) or of debunked and dangerous conspiracy theories about Ukraine (rather than Russia) manipulating our elections, or of the Clintons (etc etc).

So, when Republicans answer their wrongdoings by diverting this way, why doesn’t the news media give Democrats the chance to say

It is Republicans who have a history of and current practice of going on purely partisan actual witchhunts against Democrats (Mitch McConnell whining after hearing incontrovertible evidence for the impeachment of Trump that he isn’t getting a chance to investigate Democrats), and
The media seems always to give favorable coverage to Republicans, never allowing balance: the point that Democrats, even those who may have been against Trump from the beginning, have strong and actual reasons to investigate his present and past corruption. Instead, always the media and politicians let the false charges remain against the Democrats, and never focus back on the actual, provable, dangerous corruption of the Republicans and their aspiring dictator, and the potus’s actual and voluminous corruption again and again is barely even mentioned.

For Republicans, it’s all about winning, with “winning” meaning destroying our democratic republic (“permanent Republican majority”), so of course there is a divide.

Posted by Much Ado Over Nothing
a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 28, 2020 at 10:05 am

If Bill Clinton got off (no pun intended) for his poor judgment as POTUS then there is really no reason for Donald Trump to be removed from office either.

These proceedings are strictly ones of partisan vindictiveness as no major crimes were committed by either Clinton or Trump.

We live in a petty country.

Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jan 28, 2020 at 10:56 am

We live in the State of California. That is a blue state. All of the media in Norcal - SFC, SJM are loaded with Anti-Trump sentiment. Letters to the editor need to have an anti-Trump comment to get printed. The LA Times takes a different approach and is focused on the Governor - not a fan. I read the comments above and have to shake my head. Saul Alinsky's Rules for Radicals is alive and well in CA. Check him out on Wikipedia. HRC was / is a great fan of his.

Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 28, 2020 at 11:11 am

Posted by Much Ado Over Nothing, a resident of Barron Park

>> If Bill Clinton got off (no pun intended) for his poor judgment as POTUS

One thing that the Republican Party made clear during the Clinton impeachment trial was that it wasn't about Clinton's -false testimony- regarding his sex life. It was about his sex life, described dramatically in graphic testimony. The absurdity of Newt Gingrinch, et al., attacking a fellow politician regarding his sex life overshadowed Clinton's lying about it. The only person I can recall who actually seemed genuinely upset about the -false testimony- was Tom Campbell, who came across like a boy scout, because he actually believed his bosses and took it all at face value. The Republicans at the time were perfectly clear about it-- they thought the sexual conduct would horrify the nation, and consequently, help consolidate their -power-, which was what it was really about. I guess they hadn't heard about the 60's, the 70's, and the 80's.

>> then there is really no reason for Donald Trump to be removed from office either.

>> These proceedings are strictly ones of partisan vindictiveness as no major crimes were committed by either Clinton or Trump.

You are very misguided about his. Trump is clearly guilty of "racketeering" -- specifically, making the Ukrainian government "an offer it can't refuse"-- a combination of bribery and extortion to gain the cooperation of a foreign government in manipulating the US Presidential election. And, obstruction of justice. Worse, Trump thinks he can do anything like this because he is President. You think that in some way compares to Bill Clinton lying about his sex life and asking others to do so also? Well, Trump is guilty of that 10 times over. But then, so are a lot of other politicians of both parties, as we must all have recognized by now.

Don't get me wrong-- I'm very in favor of expecting better behavior from our elected officials. But, to compare Trump's direct attacks on the US Constitution and the rule of law to Bill Clinton's sex scandals is frighteningly absurd.

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