Thursday, November 20, 2008

Electoral Polarization Continues Under Obama

Recommended post from Jay Cost on Real Clear Politics that provides quite a bit of statistics as well as historical analysis that I found very interesting, Electoral Polarization Continues Under Obama.

While as always I recommend reading the article in full, this part was especially thought provoking:

With these caveats down, what conclusions can we draw from this analysis? First, it is fair to say that this indicates that the political polarization we have seen in recent cycles cannot solely be chalked up to the personality of George W. Bush. Instead, it appears as though there might be a systemic cause, one that accounts for the elections of 2000, 2004, and 2008 displaying polarization regardless of who is on the ballot.

There's a second conclusion to draw. Pundits have been giving a lot of free advice to the President-elect, drawing heavily upon the experiences of exceptional presidents from years gone by. FDR and Lincoln seem to be the most widely referenced. If I were to suggest a previous Chief Executive the new President-elect should study closely, I'd recommend George W. Bush.

The essential job of the President is to be the leader of all the people. He is the only official we all select; accordingly, he's the only one who can claim to represent all of us. That poses a special challenge when the people are polarized, and this has been a problem for the 43rd President. Regardless of one's opinion of George W. Bush, it is fair to say that he has not governed with an eye to those who have strongly opposed him.

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