Hi all, I’m back blogging here at the NS again, after a long break. Ready to get back to it. Thanks, John, for keeping the fire burning.
David French, over at National Review, has some pretty dark views about whether the partisan divide will ever be bridged, given the polarization of the political populace. He makes some nice observations that polarization yields the view that one’s opposition is less open-minded, intelligent, honest, or even hard working than the average American. (He leaves out the fact that polarization is both the result and cause of the divide, which is that it’s too often that we only talk to and read our own side…).
His argument that we can’t overcome polarization is on the basis of what he sees as who would need to be the leader for it. Namely, the new president, Mr. Trump. The Donald has alienated folks given the way he’s campaigned (and given the inaugural), so folks don’t trust him. But even if he were to soften his tone and recognized his political opponents as more than craven losers, French doesn’t think it’d make things better.
…if Trump stopped tweeting, spoke only in the most measured tones, and relentlessly reached out to black and Latino voters while also governing as a conservative, many millions of leftists and their media supporters would still howl in fury at his political program. You would relentlessly hear that Trump was somehow worse now than when he insulted his opponents, because that was only talk, while his policies represent actions.
We can either adopt some change to improve things or leave things as they (unfortunately) are. The change won’t fix everything, nor would any fix be quick. Therefore, the fix isn’t worth it.