Polarizing politics: How divided is our nation?

Politics

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Following the President’s State of the Union address and impeachment acquittal along party lines, some believe the nation is more divided than ever.

Experts said politics aren’t as polarized as we may think. What can sometimes happen is those with extreme views tend to be the loudest voices in the room, drowning out that middle ground.

As President Donald Trump gave his State of the Union address it was clear Democrats didn’t share the same enthusiasm as their Republican counterparts.

“It should be about the country, it shouldn’t be about Democrat or Republican,” said Kim Barnes, a Savannah voter.

Barnes is worried about American democracy and her feelings about the president’s acquittal are strong.

“If a Democrat had done the same thing, tried to hold American money, public money in exchange for a favor,” said Barnes. “I would say that they should be impeached.”

The current political climate seems to have put people at odds, but Savannah State University Assistant Political Science Professor Bruce Mallard thinks its more about perception.

“It seems like the more rigid, the more eager they are to talk about their position,” said Mallard, adding, “And the more we assume they are in great numbers and the majority of voters and that kind of thing.”

Still, Mallard said the impeachment trial and reaction to Republican Senator Mitt Romney’s vote against President Trump is concerning.

“He’s already under attack, people are saying he should be drummed out of the Republican party, which is sad because what they are saying is you don’t have a right to your own opinion,” said Mallard.

However, Don Faulk does think the acquittal was the right decision. He points to the president’s success on the economic front.

“I don’t think the reasons were big enough to be impeached,” said Faulk. “I would say there’s a lot of us that just really want the country to work and like that there is good economic change, but we also find ourselves in the middle ground.”

Mallard said nowadays, people tend to identify themselves not by a political party, but an affiliation to a person or philosophy, which makes it harder to meet in the middle.

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