Pew Poll: America Is Becoming a Nation of Political Enemies

Eric Zuesse

“A threat to the nation’s well-being” — that’s what 36% of Republicans think of Democrats, and what 27% of Democrats think of Republicans.

Furthermore, “Today, 92% of Republicans are to the right of the median Democrat, and 94% of Democrats are to the left of the median Republican.”

This is not Blacks hating Whites. It’s not Whites hating Blacks. It’s not any ethnic antagonism or fear. It’s purely ideological.

It’s like Nazis hating Jews, or Jews hating Nazis. It’s like Jews hating Palestinians, or Palestinians hating Jews.

It’s like Christians hating Muslims, or Muslims hating Christians.

And it shuts down dialog, which is the best solution to ideological conflicts, and which is not possible at all in international or interethnic conflicts, where the differences transcend mere differences of opinion.

Today, Pew looked further into these same poll-results, and they found “islands of agreement amid [a] sea of polarization.”

In this latest analysis, on June 26th, they write: “Take, for example, the question of whether the U.S. government should collect telecommunications data as part of its anti-terrorism efforts. Opposition to such practices is highest at both ends of the political spectrum: 69% of Steadfast Conservatives, 61% of Business Conservatives and 58% of Solid Liberals say they disapprove of government data collection.” Almost throughout the political spectrum, then, Americans are strongly opposed to the Obama Administration on that. However, some groups of liberals support the Administration on this matter, simply because the President is (at least nominally) a “Democrat.” That shows how terribly difficult it will be to move this nation toward a workable consensus on issues.

Although the hatred of Democrats by Republicans is somewhat stronger than the hatred of Republicans by Democrats, the hostility on both sides is strong, and it cannot come down on either side if there is not developed a common and widely shared base of ideological agreement in this country. That is the only hope.

These findings will be of interest to both Parties.

If this country is still a democracy — if it’s even possible for democracy to function with such sharp ideological hostilities — then maybe there will be able to exist some common ground on which the country can come together and overcome America’s slide into governmental dysfunction.


Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010,  and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.




This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.
  • kimyo

    always with the red v blue? one might think a historian would be excited to write about the end of the two party system, rather than try one word game after another in the hopes of resuscitating its lifeless corpse.

    today’s cross-party hatred is the intended result, it didn’t arise accidentally.

    step back from your binary worldview, and absorb the words of the master:

    ‘”I have solved this political dilemma in a very direct way: I don’t vote. On Election Day, I stay home. I firmly believe that if you vote, you have no right to complain. Now, some people like to twist that
    around. They say, ‘If you don’t vote, you have no right to complain,’ but where’s the logic in that? If you vote, and you elect dishonest, incompetent politicians, and they get into office and screw everything up, you are responsible for what they have done. You voted them in. You caused the problem. You have no right to complain. I, on the other hand, who did not vote — who did not even leave the house on Election Day — am in no way responsible for that these politicians have done and have every right to complain about the mess that you created.”

    the democratic party isn’t going to be restored to some dreamy long ago splendor. just like voting team red, a team blue vote is a vote for monsanto and fracking and tbtf and full on domestic spying.

  • Josey Montana

    It only worked when American meant “blood kin” of the mainly British-American colonists, plus a few fairly compatible groups such as French Huguenots, German Pietists, Northern European Lutherans and the like.

    Today, it is a motley hodge-podge of unrelated, yet meanly competitive, squabbling nationalities, to use TR’s phrase.

    Years ago, shortly after b-school, I asked, “The only thing most people in America have in common is their love of the almighty buck. What happens when it goes away?”

    Well here we are. There is nothing to hold us together and why would there be when any flotsam and jetsam can wander in and make an enforceable claim on my private property?

  • Carl_Herman

    You had it right before, Eric, that “plutocrat” and “fascist” are the labels of the current party in power, but that is no change from previous “leadership” of the other party.

    Americans registered to either of the two leading parties do not hate each other beyond the extent they’ve been manipulated by propaganda. The framing of the poll question you cite is an excellent example of poisonous propaganda because the facts should draw people to see US government terrorism, violations of Civil Rights, and War Criminality. 95% of Americans are not hateful given reasonable information. This is a big deal.

    The point of alternative media is to bring ALL Americans together (and all global citizens) to recognize the damning central facts that prove criminality of both parties’ “leaders” (and corporate media), empower citizen voices for those facts, and provide a vision beyond the criminal duopoly.

  • “Furthermore, “Today, 92% of Republicans are to the right of the median Democrat, and 94% of Democrats are to the left of the median Republican.””

    But…would you agree that the median of BOTH have slid drastically to the right, and the real left isn’t really represented and has virtually zero power? Maybe Bernie Sanders and that’s it. Maybe Elizabeth Warren. So 2 out of 500+ ? And don’t count Obama in there, he’s not even CLOSE to “left”.

    Here’s a good way to put it: I bet 100% of today’s Democrats are to the RIGHT of the median Democrat from the 1960’s.

    Today’s Democrats are probably to the right of the median REPUBLICAN from the 1960’s!!!

    (note: anyone ever notice you have to go back in and edit your comment because it SCHMOOSHES everything together the first time you submit a comment? that’s discus, probably)

    • cettel

      Yes. Obama has done that. It’s the inevitable result when the President or Prime Minister of Premier, who is of the “leftist” or “liberal” or ” progressive” party, adopts proposals (such as “Romneycare”) from the opposite Party, thereby inviting the opposite Party to claim ALL of the ideological territory to the “right” of that, as being mainstream (which, of course, they will eagerly do), and as the only contestable area henceforth being whatever remains to the “left” of that. The national leader has thus now defined what was previously conservative as being instead liberal; he has moved the political center to the right, so that what was previously “conservative” is now mainstream or “moderate,” and so that the “liberals” now can operate in, and argue for, only policies that are well to the left of the PREVIOUS center. Everything has been moved to the right under Obama. He is a curse to the Democratic Party, because the members of his Party in the Congress (or Parliament) are thenceforward required to publicly defend what they had previously attacked as being too conservative — that’s NOW the new “normal.” It normalizes conservatism. That’s what Obama has done. Any Democrat who criticizes him will lose support from Democrats and win no support from Republicans who will be eager to grab all the voters to his right and so knock him out of office, because that Democratic incumbent is now “an extreme left-winger.”
      Thus, Obama is forcing Congress to the right. I think he’ll feel ecstatic if Republicans win control of both houses of Congress this year, as virtually everyone projects. He’ll then get to sign lots of conservative legislation. Congressional Republicans will pass, and offer for his signature, a few bills that are intentionally so right-wing as to be vetoed by him in order for him to maintain his pretense of having been a “Democrat,” but he’ll sign all the others “reluctantly,” out of “compromise” with John Boehner and Mitch McConnell — and this nation will then be even more unambiguously fascist than it is today.
      I think that then the former-President Obama will be handsomely rewarded by America’s aristocracy — perhaps even more so than Clinton was for his having deregulated Wall Street.
      What do you think?

  • DonnaDiva

    As historian Jeff Sharlet put it, it is “paternalistic and naive” to assume that all disagreements can be resolved through dialog.

    Coming from pro-choice activism I can tell you that the people on the other side of the issue will never accept that women are full human beings who should have control over our own bodies. We were lectured for years by the likes of you to try and discuss things calmly and to accept “sensible compromises” with the anti-repro rights movement. How’d that work out, Eric? We have clinics closing all over the country and are back to arguing over whether women should have access to BIRTH CONTROL or not.

    One more thing: That I think people who deny climate change, think evolution is a “lie from the pit of hell”, believe in such a thing as “legitimate rape”, etc., are a threat to the country does not mean that I hate them. I wish them no personal harm whatsoever. The only negative thing I want them to experience is disappointment. They, OTOH, are actively trying to harm others, both legislatively and through intimidation. Your false equivalence isn’t helping.