America is a divided nation, perhaps more so today than at any other time in recent history. This claim is echoed so frequently nowadays by political commentators, pundits, politicians, and reporters that it probably no longer even sounds all that remarkable. But it is, and we need to recognize it as such, because hyperpartisanship among voters poses a very serious and very real threat to our democracy.
By all accounts, the 2016 presidential race was bitterly contentious. According to a Monmouth University poll from back in September, most voters (70%) think this past year’s election brought out the worst in people. Moreover, 7% of voters say they even lost or ended a friendship because of the election (although this may not be an unusually high percentage compared to previous elections).
Of course, rancor and animosity are not new in American politics. But they certainly appear to have gotten worse in recent years.