What divides political parties? More than ever, it’s race and ethnicity

By | September 10, 2023

Dan Balz writes:

In a polarized United States, what divides Democrats and Republicans the most isn’t gender or education or income or religion. It is the issue of race, whether in regard to the backgrounds of the voters who make up the two parties’ coalitions, or the conflicting agendas and priorities each side advocates in the pursuit of power.

That reality is brought home in a report produced by the American Political Science Association (APSA) in partnership with the organization Protect Democracy. The findings on race are not necessarily new, but sometimes the obvious isn’t always obvious.

The overall report, the first such from APSA in 70 years, is an effort to contribute to an ongoing discussion about how to repair the country’s broken politics. But a chapter that looks specifically at the demographic sources of division brings home the degree to which the political parties, as they have sorted themselves over recent decades, now have as the most fundamental cleavage race and ethnicity.

“Religion, economic concerns, and factors like education, age, and gender also divide us politically, but the reality is that as America becomes more diverse, it is also becoming more racially divided in the electoral arena,” Zoltan Hajnal of the University of California at San Diego writes in one chapter in the report. [Continue reading…]

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