New Survey Shows Exactly Why the Two-Party System Is Failing America

Jan. 16, 2010 ÒPresident Obama had called on the two former Presidents to help with the situation in Haiti. During their public remarks in the Rose Garden, President Clinton had said about President Bush, ÔIÕve already figured out how I can get him to do some things that he didnÕt sign on for.Õ Later, back in the Oval, President Bush is jokingly asking President Clinton what were those things he had in mind.Ó (Official White House photo by Pete Souza) This official White House photograph is being made available only for publication by news organizations and/or for personal use printing by the subject(s) of the photograph. The photograph may not be manipulated in any way and may not be used in commercial or political materials, advertisements, emails, products, promotions that in any way suggests approval or endorsement of the President, the First Family, or the White House.By Carey Wedler

Republicans’ and Democrats’ views of each other are more vitriolic than they have been in nearly a quarter century, a new in-depth survey by the Pew Research Center released last week concluded.

“For the first time in surveys dating to 1992, majorities in both parties express not just unfavorable but very unfavorable views of the other party,” the researchers noted [emphasis added]. “And today, sizable shares of both Democrats and Republicans say the other party stirs feelings of not just frustration, but fear and anger.”

According to the survey of 4,385 randomly selected Americans, “more than half of Democrats (55%) say the Republican Party makes them ‘afraid,’ while 49% of Republicans say the same about the Democratic Party.”

Further, “nearly half of Democrats (47%) and Republicans (46%) say the other party makes them feel angry,” and in both parties, 87% “have at least one of these negative feelings about the other party – frustration, fear or anger.”

Unsurprisingly, the more rigid one’s ideology and loyalty to party, the more powerful their disdain for those who subscribe to opposing beliefs. Additionally, the more “politically engaged” participants were, the more intense their negative feelings. For example, “58% of both Democrats and Republicans who are highly politically engaged are angered by the other party; fewer than half of those who are less engaged say the same.”

The blinders of partisanship also appear to heighten perceived differences between the left and right. “More politically engaged Republicans and Democrats also are more likely than the less engaged to see large differences between the policies of the two parties and to say the other party has almost no good ideas,” the researchers noted.

The increased animosity among the “politically engaged” aptly demonstrates the power of the “divide and conquer” tactics those in power employ to keep Americans at each other’s throats — as opposed to the throats of politicians and institutions.

While many Americans are aware of these deep, growing divisions in the United States, the Pew survey results highlight how quickly these shifts have occurred. In 1964, “the share of both parties with cold feelings toward the opposing party” was at 30%. By 1984, it had reached 45%. In 2004 it had spiked to 60%, and by 2012, “nearly 80% of Democrats and Republicans alike gave the other party a cold rating.”

The researchers also explain that while unfavorable views have risen, so have deeply unfavorable views: “in 2000 only about a quarter of both Democrats (23%) and Republicans (26%) had a very unfavorable view of the other party; by 2012 that had risen to more than four-in-ten.”

The Pew findings reinforce the results of a political paper, “All Politics is National: The Rise of Negative Partisanship and the Nationalization of U.S. House and Senate Elections in the 21st Century,” published last year by two researchers at Emory University. Alan Abramowitz and Steven Webster found that “regardless of the strength of their attachment to their own party, the more voters dislike the opposing party, the greater the probability that they will vote consistently for their own party’s candidates.”

In other words, a voter’s dislike of others is a greater driving force in politics than their affinity for their own party. As the Pew survey found, “those who associate three or more negative traits with people in the opposing party (as 37% of Democrats and 44% of Republicans do) participate in politics at the highest rates.”

Even as fear and anger continue to mount, however, voters expressing these emotions are less than satisfied with their own parties. Though “substantial majorities of both Democrats (73%) and Republicans (64%) say their parties make them feel hopeful,” few go so far as to feel proud or enthusiastic.

“Only about a quarter of Democrats (26%) and a similar share of Republicans (23%) say their party makes them feel enthusiastic. Roughly a quarter of Democrats (26%) also say their party makes them feel proud, while fewer Republicans (16%) say the same about their party.”

While the Pew findings indicate two-party bias is still very much the fabric of American politics, the lack of enthusiasm so many Americans harbor for the ruling parties is a sign of evolving views. In 2016, disdain for both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump has pushed many voters to consider other options, including Jill Stein of the Green Party and Gary Johnson of the Libertarian Party.

Until this long-term shift overtakes a majority of the population, however, negativity, fear, and self-righteousness continue to dominate the American political consciousness. According to the survey, “most partisans say that, when it comes to how Democrats and Republicans should address the most important issues facing the county, their party should get more out of the deal.” [emphasis added]

For all the perceived differences between the left and right, the Pew findings reveal just how much they have in common — most notably, their sense of entitlement to power and control of policy, and of course, their deep and growing animosity toward each other.

This article (New Survey Shows Exactly Why the Two-Party System Is Failing America) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Carey Wedler and Anti-Media Radio airs weeknights at 11 pm Eastern/8 pm Pacific. If you spot a typo, please email the error and name of the article at

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16 Comments on "New Survey Shows Exactly Why the Two-Party System Is Failing America"

  1. John Stewart | July 2, 2016 at 9:16 pm | Reply

    Political parties are failing everywhere. This is not democracy. Democracy is when you have elected representatives come together to deal with issues, and EVERYONE GETS A VOTE THAT COUNTS EVERY TIME. When you have political parties, and one party has a majority, the other parties may as well stay home because their votes don’t count. This is NOT DEMOCRACY. And it gets worse when members of a party are told how they are to vote. Again: Not Democracy. Why do we put up with this? The whole system is outdated and needs a complete revamp.

    • Bill the Cat | July 3, 2016 at 9:36 am | Reply

      Yes, this “is NOT DEMOCRACY.”

      That’s *intended*, because the US *ISN’T* a Democracy — it’s a Representative Republic.

      I guess Self-Esteem 101 has replaced Civics in high school?

    • The U.S. is neither a d-word nor r-word lowest of the low type of government.
      We are a fascist state with a dictator at the helm.
      He can spy on everything you say or do.
      He can have your body searched before you board an airplane.
      He can have you imprisoned forever without charge and not even allow you to notify your relatives.
      He can have you killed as dead as Antonin Scalia is and many other people have been.
      We were promised that the U.S. would be a Limited Constitutional Republic except that the Limited part, the Constitutional part, and the Republic part does not exist. Only hackers are allowed to vote.
      When we dropped creator granted rights from the top, the people next, the Constitution next, the branches with Constitutional laws last, the dream and country died.

  2. cellaphaneman | July 3, 2016 at 7:04 am | Reply

    Wonder if the first queen (michael) is jealous of GW – the way the no-name potus is staring at him. Our taxes go towards keeping these idiot thieves in high fashion whilst the rest of us struggle to keep sending them money. The constitution is only a piece of paper and does not reflect anything those clowns have down.
    I’m sure they are telling each other who stole the most.

  3. The divide and conquer (divide and rule) strategy is a highly effective, time-tested method elites have used to subdue the masses throughout human history.
    The modern analogue of this geopolitical process of subdividing the power into more manageable sub-units, each holding contemptuous disdain for the another, is easily observable in user generated content such as this comment feature of AP, where emotional incivility revealing acceptance of the false left-right paradigm is common

    The reality is that members of the citizenry with even the most divergent of politics tend to have far greater consensus and potential coalition with each other than either “side” has with their intended leadership; despite the manipulative pandering and lip service heaped upon the masses, our privileged political class are ultimately lickspittle toadies to the Owners, with that relationship dominating over the the intention of a representative government.
    To quote Carlin: “Forget the politicians” “They don’t care about you at all…at all…at all.”

  4. Bill the Cat | July 3, 2016 at 9:34 am | Reply

    Actually, no. The “problem” would be if you *didn’t* detest and distrust Liberalism

    Need an examples? Look at Venezuela, The Clintons and The Obamas.

  5. Clarence Spangle | July 3, 2016 at 10:16 am | Reply

    The banksters need a war desperately right now. They’ve tried so hard in Syria and it just hasn’t worked. Now they’ve got crazy Trump actually saying we should stay out of the Middle East and focus on our own problems, and people are listening… What’s a self-respecting globalist financier to do?

    Without the US military killing people and breaking things, there is no future growth path for them. So they send their puppets like Kasich and Romney out to talk up the fight against “evil” and threaten Russia and China, hoping to fool those dumb white ‘Murkins one more time into sending their sons off to die for God and Country and Goldman Sachs.

  6. So all we need to end this present situation is to vote for the Green or Libertarian Party, like; who knew?

  7. Two, three, four, ad nauseum, it doesn’t matter, they’re all doomed to fail. There’s ONLY ONE party that’s fail proof: Yahweh’s.

    Anything that does not recognize Yahweh as sovereign and thus His immutable moral law as supreme is but a contemporary instance of man doing what is right in his own eyes, per Judges 21:25.Judges 21:25 is what
    today is commonly known as humanism and humanism is merely a contemporary form of Baalism. See blog article “Could YOU be a Disciple of Baal and Not Know It?” Click on my picture, then our website. Go to our Blog and search on title.

    • We tried, that. Having God (or at least people who claimed to be carrying out his wishes) in charge meant brutality, stupidity, venality and dictatorship. Say what you like about “humanism” it doesn’t equate disagreement with punishable crime.

  8. Louis Charles | July 3, 2016 at 4:06 pm | Reply

    Why don’t they survey those of us who can’t stand the smell of either of those two evil animals? Donkey or elephant turd is just as vile as the other.

  9. George Reichel | July 4, 2016 at 7:41 am | Reply

    The old left/right paradigm is dead.There is only one party and it represents big money.

    • I read all your comments, couldn’t agree more. This one strikes home the most, one party represents big money and I’ll add, Congress is growing fatter, collecting the money.

  10. It rests in humanistic reason opposed to Yahweh’s standards – Therefore on Yahweh’s time table, it will be brought down.

  11. Devon Shire | July 5, 2016 at 2:43 am | Reply

    What an absolute crock of manure. The animosity between parties is completely fake. Both parties are not in opposition, but are in fact exactly the same. They pretend to contest each other on a host of meaningless topics, but behind closed doors they are both run by the same 5 foreign banks. If there are actual members of Congress who think that their party is great and the other party is bad, they are absolute fools–duped the same as the American people are duped. All American politics is a scam.

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