The Most Divisive Force in the United States: Partisan Politics | Teen Ink

The Most Divisive Force in the United States: Partisan Politics

May 20, 2021
By 21NoaLin BRONZE, Manchester, Connecticut
21NoaLin BRONZE, Manchester, Connecticut
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

Democracy, the hallmark of politics in the United States. The democrats and republicans engage in ideological warfare in order to ensure the United States runs as smoothly as possible. The fact is that I am not a biased or overly opinionated person when it comes to politics. I am one to be found talking about football and watching the Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving rather than arguing with my family about who the best presidential candidate is. It wasn’t until this year that the divisiveness of partisan politics became obvious to me.

In a year full of political turmoil, the division could not be more clear: two parties of so-called Americans arguing like elementary school kids in regards to the most pressing issues in the United States. This is no way to handle acute topics such as immigration, gun control, national security, and education. 

As the 2020 presidential election grew near, the political division in the United States was amplified, and people in every corner of the United States witnessed it happen. I myself had to watch numerous heated arguments in regards to politics, and items such as surgical masks become political statements. Unfortunately, there is not a single remedy to the numerous problems contributing to the political divide. A psychological effect is wreaking havoc in political circles across the country. Something we are all guilty of, known to psychologists as the backfire effect, or belief perseverance is rampant. According to Cynthia Vinney and Thoughtco,  belief perseverance is the tendency for humans to hold on to beliefs despite information that disproves their belief. As you can imagine, this phenomenon wreaks havoc in the political arena as politicians from both sides of the aisle feed information to their supporters who then block out any and all contradicting information. The scary part is this is only the beginning of the formation of a political rift. 

At this stage, another psychological concept called a confirmation bias comes into play. Confirmation biases are the tendency to seek out information that supports what one already believes. A confirmation bias compounds belief perseverance as more information is provided, therefore somebody's beliefs are more likely to persevere. 

On top of the incredibly problematic confirmation bias, personal politics are widening the political rift. Personal politics relates to the fact that members of each party look at one another as inferior. Politicians and their followers alike have taken a more personal approach to politics. No longer do people dislike ideas, they dislike the people. A study done by the Pew Research Center, it concluded that more voters affiliated with one particular party view the opposing party as closed-minded, immoral, unintelligent, and lazy. This is detrimental to politics in the United States. Taking a personal stance against the people on the other side of the aisle versus the ideas on the other side of the aisle makes it immensely more difficult to form bipartisan agreements that our country could benefit greatly from. If we as a country and a community can move away from personal politics and grapple solely with differences in ideas we will be able to put the united back into the United States. 

It is incredibly important that as a country, as a community, and as Americans we put aside our political differences and work together to reduce the political divide, in an effort to unite the country and ensure that our children and grandchildren grow up in a United States they can be proud of. I challenge you to broaden your political horizons. An excellent place to start is to read a book penned by a politician from the opposite party, if reading about politics sounds painful try listening to a podcast, or watching a news channel that is affiliated with the opposite party. While reading, listening, or watching keep in mind we all have belief perseverance and confirmation biases, make a concerted effort to get past those, and work towards a brighter, more united future.

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This article has 1 comment.

on Jun. 9 2021 at 2:23 pm
ArthurTruth0716 SILVER, Irvine, California
7 articles 0 photos 3 comments
Hey there, I have just read your article. I find the main claim you argued to be very similar to the claim I argued in my newly published article “'Associative Politics': People Are Blindly Following Partisan Parties That They Have Lost the Ability to Reason". I especially agree with the portion of your article in which you talked about confirmation bias and how it influences individuals' political opinions. Would you mind giving my article a read and tell me what you think of it? I am interested and glad to further discuss this topic with you. Thank you!