Growing Divide Among Political Parties

Kayla Blevins, Contributor

Throughout the past several hundred years, the United States has had two main political parties. The two parties that we know today previously worked together, known then as Democratic-Republican party. Since then, each party has moved further from one another on the political spectrum and have formed opposing views. The most widespread issue with these opposing views is the formation of political polarization. In 1994, many Americans were much closer together when considering opposing views, with very few people being “far right” or “far left”. In 2017, polarization was at the worst it had been, with a vast majority of people on the political spectrum being much further apart.

The political spectrum in 1994. (

When voting in any sort of election, the main issue that presents itself is voters choosing a candidate purely because of the letter next to their name. Rather than only voting for someone because of their political party, people should vote for the candidate that best represents their views, even if that means voting for the opposite party. If this were done, third parties would have an actual chance of winning. The United States has a long history of never allowing a third-party candidate to win an election. While Republicans and Democrats are automatically placed on the ballot, third parties must work even harder to earn votes to be places on the ballot. If voters chose the person who best represented their ideology, third parties would have a better chance of winning. 

When thinking about polarization and the causes, one cause will almost always come to mind – social media. In the early 1950s, the first political campaign ad was created. During the early campaign ads, many of them were just used to express their views and goals. Now, ads are used to compare one candidate’s views to another, and frequently attack their opponents. Misinformation is then spread, and it begins to infect each active voter. A lack of moderation on social media sites can easily be fixed, and can help influence viewers based on facts, rather than opinion. 

There is no doubt that the significance of someone’s political views has greatly increased over the past several years. Many people let political views divide them and tear apart friendships. This is a huge factor in the growing political polarization today. Even worse, when a member of someone’s political party makes a mistake, while the members of that party may give them a pass, the opposing members brutally attack them. As a democratic country, we cannot excuse people’s actions purely because they are a Democrat or Republican. Holding each party accountable will help close the growing gap in polarization.