by Dagny Taggart, The Organic Prepper:
As the 2020 election approaches and calls to impeach President Trump intensify, conflict and division continue to escalate in the United States.
A new poll confirms what many of us have known for quite some time: tension in the US is increasing, and the likely outcome is civil war.
Most Americans agree that we are becoming more divided.
Before we look at what the poll (which was conducted by the Georgetown Institute of Politics and Public Service) revealed, here is a bit of background:
The Georgetown Institute of Politics and Public Service (GU Politics) Battleground Poll is a national bipartisan survey measuring political opinion and civility among registered voters in the United States.
Initiated in June 1991, and housed at GU Politics since April 2019, the Battleground Polls have gained widespread media recognition as reliable bellwethers of national opinion and voters’ intentions.
The Battleground data projected the outcome of the 1992, 1996, and 2004 presidential race more precisely than any other similar effort in the country, including those of the major TV networks and national newspapers. In addition, Battleground Polls have consistently been major predictors of what is going to happen in approaching Congressional elections. (source)
To see the questionnaire, charts, tables, and analysis, click here.
According to the poll, a majority of Americans believe political, racial, and class divisions are getting worse. “This includes three-quarters or more of men and women; urban, suburban, and rural voters; approximately 7-in-10 or more voters in every age cohort; white, black, and Latinx voters; and nearly two-thirds of voters of all-partisan stripes,” a press release explains.
When voters were asked to rate divisions in America on a scale of 0-100, with 100 being the “edge of a civil war,” the mean response was 67.23.
Significant contradictions within the electorate were exposed by the poll:
Voters broadly agree with the premise that our political culture has become too uncivil and lacks a focus on solutions, and that common ground and compromise should be the goal for political leaders—while at the same time, equal numbers want leaders to “stand up to the other side” and stand up to “powerful special interests.”
These criticisms are not necessarily mutually exclusive, of course, but they do suggest a more complex and nuanced perspective on American politics, and one which goes beyond frustration over a decline in civility alone.
Voters also seem to disagree on the source of the incivility. Majorities of Republicans say Democratic political leaders, social media, large newspapers, CNN, and MSNBC are very responsible for our political division. Meanwhile, majorities of Democrats say Republican political leaders, social media, Fox News, wealthy special interests, and President Trump are very responsible. Independents single out just two actors as very responsible for divisive political discourse – social media and President Trump. (source)
People are troubled by how politicians are behaving.
The majority of those polled (88% agree, 71% of those strongly agree) are concerned and frustrated about the uncivil and rude behavior of many politicians. This concern was shared across the board, but especially so among women, Democrats, and African Americans.
Respondents also largely agreed (84%) that behavior that used to be seen as unacceptable is now accepted as normal behavior.
Politicians are not the only ones who are behaving badly, of course. If you read the comments on websites or social media, you know what I am talking about. Disagreements rapidly escalate into heated arguments. Name-calling and threats are not uncommon.
But when public figures behave badly – arguing and calling each other names on social media as if they are schoolchildren on a playground – it makes me wonder: how much are their actions influencing and empowering others to be obnoxious and rude to each other? Ultimately, we are all responsible for our own actions, of course, but is it too much to ask politicians and other public figures to speak in a respectful and polite manner?
Phrased another way: what happened to grace and class? Civil discourse appears to be a lost art, unfortunately.
Last year, in an article called Uncivil Behavior Is Praised Now and This Is How Civil Wars Start, Daisy wrote,
There’s something brewing in America since the last election and that is a complete lack of civility on all sides of the political spectrum. Uncivil behavior isn’t just widely accepted – it’s praised and cheered on. Hatred of one another is becoming the norm and this is how civil wars begin.
Aren’t we – the people – better humans than most politicians? As a non-voting libertarian, I see anyone who chooses politics as a career as an inherently unethical and immoral person. The reasons I believe this are beyond the scope of this article, but paying close attention to current events and politics for nearly 20 years led me to this conclusion (Daisy’s article Are We Really Free? Maybe It’s Time for a Personal Declaration of Independence aligns with my views).
Just because those who are “in charge” sling mud at each other doesn’t mean the rest of us have to. In fact, it would be in all of our best interests to try to get along, because the government thrives on civil unrest and division – it gives them “reasons” to take away more of our rights – including those covered by the First and Second Amendments (remember, the Second protects the First).