Essay on Political Parties in the United States
The divided political factions within the United States pose several dangers within our outside certain groups and ordinary citizens. It can lead to group mentality against others who are not within the same factions such as Republicans and Democrats, using voter alienation in terms of location and work, and using times of crisis to uplift a faction similar to political groups in the past and currently.
Even though there are several political parties in the United States, Republicans and Democrats are the main polarizers. And these parties can often utilize a group-thinking mentality where members are surrounded by others who have similar beliefs to them often agreeing on the same things. There can be conflict within the group that can cause ostracization leading to being an out-group or even have conflict outside the group who are also the out-groups. Often, members and supporters can speak outwardly against the other party, leading to more tension such as at rallies or online with social media condemning the others parties’ opinions.
For example, in the in and out-group video, someone would feel empathy for an in-group member being harmed and would not harm someone else in the group and the opposite from members outside their group. An example would be during the first peek of the pandemic where Republicans were worried about the country’s economy but also their local economies during the business shutdowns and if you agreed, you were met with supportive rhetoric, and those who were not, were especially in some online spaces were met with insults.
Depending on the state, there are different concentrations of party members. Democratic members are often concentrated in the northeast and northwest while Republican Members are more concentrated in the Midwest and south. More specifically, there are more democrats in urban cities and more republicans in rural areas with suburbs being the mix of the two. The party is then able to alienate voters with speeches, commercials, and campaigns to their lives. This can be seen with campaigns run against the outside party called smear campaigns on social media and television.
This isolation creates more tension within the country which is dangerous due to the large divide impacting ordinary citizens. For example, bills may not be passed because of disagreeing and animosity exists in different spaces. This can be seen with the stimulus to spread to citizens but when it came down to voting, it was split between the leaders of the two parties. People within these groups are divided by a different means and it leads to conflict over issues such as funding and programs to different groups where one might get the short end of the stick in one stance. This can also be seen with how cities and rural areas are viewed in stereotypical lenses where the rural area might be viewed as uneducated and among other things and where a city is seen as better and more educated. This exists vice versa where leadership in urban areas typically on the west coast such as California or other major cities such as New York and Chicago which are democratic run are showing that the leadership is not doing a good job there and being a reason why there should be more support to Republicans.
Recently with the Keystone Pipeline, Republicans who were main supporters drew in more support with the promise for more jobs to ordinary citizens and economic gain which aligns with the party values. When it was shut down, there were critiques to the opposing party but also the administration. In the Don’t Be a Sucker, the Hungarian professor spoke of the speech a member of the Nazi party being the start of events. The member was speaking of wages and religion to isolate those who were only Christian but also those who may have worked in factories or are unemployed. This can often be used with patriotism and being an American who does certain work to support the country or those who want to support their country by working hard. This can be explained for Democratic speeches and rallies as well where leaders will target the urban population with city reform and targeting their life. Groupthink is dangerous especially in political settings where it will impact everyone leader, member, or opposing member where difference is not exactly welcomed with more tension created.
Times of crisis within the United States allow different parties to gain more support or get their party values out there. In the 1930s, the Nazi Party gained more support after unemployment hit due to the economic depression but also the frustration from the aftermath of World War I, allowed for the party to fulfill insecurities that the people had with the current government. This can be seen with recent events of the pandemic, unemployment crises, economic downline. Citizens who are members and supporters of different parties often become scared but also frustrated in the event of a crisis or even after a crisis. It can go back to in and out-groups to when someone speaks out, those who support it do not conflict with another and can insult the out-group or opposing group.
With the ongoing pandemic, republicans and democrats were able to gain supporters or gain traction with their existing supporters by discussing employment and economic gain for the local and national economy. The danger this invokes is a way of uses fear and frustration to overall gain and support for the party. In times where citizens are feeling the crisis and aftermath, they look to their leaders but fears and frustrations are utilized against but also for them. For example, someone might be nervous about the pandemic, the business shutdowns, and new regulations which may be impacting their job and livelihood, and this nervousness is used to push something by a party.
The polarization in modern United States politics leads to further tension and conflict which is ultimately dangerous to ordinary citizens but also the cooperation between leaders who are part of different parties. It is dangerous in that it can cause isolation, group-thinking, and utilization of fear and frustration during times of crisis.