The oldest form of polarization
Think about this for a minute: this map shows that half of all the people in the United States live in the areas shaded in blue.
There's a lot of talk about "polarization" these days. But one of the oldest and most enduring forms of polarization --- everywhere in the world --- is that between the city mice and the country mice.
Paul Rosenberg has an interesting analysis of the latest polarization polling from Pew that's well worth reading. This struck me as particularly important:
But not only are Republicans and consistent conservatives more negative about the other side, objective reality gives them less reason. Despite right-wing fears, today’s Democratic Party is not that different from the Democratic Party of 20 years ago — or even earlier. This is particularly evident by looking at how the 90 percent Democrat level of liberalism has barely moved a whisper since the 1960s in the House, according to Poole’s DW-Nominate score. In the Senate, 90 percent of Democrats are actually more conservative than they were in the early 1960s. So on both counts, Republicans have no objective reason to be so much more negative toward Democrats.
The reverse is not the case, however. In both chambers, the 90 percent Republicans are substantially more conservative than they were in the 1960s and ’70s — in the House, dramatically so. Thus, Republicans are over-responding to an increased Democratic liberalism that’s mostly all in their heads, while Democrats are under-responding to an increase in Republican conservatism to levels without historical precedent — at least not without going back well before the Great Recession.
Regardless of how the voters answer the questions in Washington polarization is clearly driven by conservatives. It just isn't a matter of dispute: