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Political Hyperpolarization

Hyperpolarization has caused policy paralysis and a sharp divide between Democrats and Republicans. Hyperpolarization led to the attempted domestic coup on January 6, the contested election results, the nomination of Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett, and countless other politically controversial events.

Hyperpolarization is terrible for democracy. If two political groups can’t agree on policy or compromise on a policy for the benefit of their constituents, the country will crumble; millions would suffer as a result of incoherent politicians. Voters would also be misinformed, and a politician could get elected because of their popularity, rather than their merits.

Trump’s presidency displayed an unhealthy amount of hyperpolarization. Most recently, the attempted domestic coup on January 6. Although many Republican members of Congress condemned the actions of Trump, the political climate created the conditions that led to the coup. Trump was able to effectively claim that the election was rigged against him, despite being certified many times. Several high-ranking Republicans agreed with Trump and his base blindly supports anything he says.

There is an extreme disconnect between Trump supporters, and the Republican base as a whole, and reality.

In 2019, the government was shut down for 35 days, making it the longest shutdown in the history of the United States, because Republicans and Democrats could not agree on a budget plan. Neither side offered any compromise until weeks into the shutdown, which led to nearly 400,000 workers being furloughed, and thousands more being forced to go to work without the certainty of payment. The shutdown cultivated after a dispute between border funds should be allocated, hyperpolarization presented itself by a lack of dialogue and compromise between the two parties. The actual policy of building a border wall on the US-Mexican border was far-right on the political spectrum:

Republicans and Democrats are moving increasingly away from centrist’s views. Republicans and Democrats also have extreme differences in the economic theories that the United States should use. Some congressional Democrats are advocating for an agenda that even the moderates of the party don’t support, this leaves no political middle ground between Republicans and Democrats. On the other side of the aisle, Donald Trump has transformed the GOP into a far-right cult.

One of the causes of political hyperpolarization is two-party politics. George Washington warned against the creation of two dominant political groups because of the fear of hyperpolarization. There is no reason to appeal to moderate values. Bad presidents are elected because they are the lesser of two evils. Even if a third party candidate aligns with your politics, you cannot vote for them because third-party candidate are never going to win.

America should adopt a system of ranked voting. Voters will rank the candidates in order from best to worst.

  1. Candidate 1

  2. Candidate 2

N. Candidate N

If candidate 1 does not get enough votes to win, your ballot now goes to candidate 2. This process repeats until a candidate gets at least fifty percent of the votes. This means that the president will always be someone who the popular vote aligns with.

In a ranked voting system, voters can vote for the candidate that they believe is best fit to rule the nation, without giving away their vote for a candidate that doesn’t align with their politics. Politicians are forced to create sensible policies to attract garner votes.


Aryan Kumar

Edgemont High School Sophomore - New York

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