Divided Politics, Divided Nation: Hyperconflict in the Trump Era

Divided Politics, Divided Nation: Hyperconflict in the Trump Era

by Darrell M. West

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Why are Americans so angry with each other?

The United States is caught in a partisan hyperconflict that divides politicians, communities—and even families. Politicians from the president to state and local office-holders play to strongly-held beliefs and sometimes even pour fuel on the resulting inferno. This polarization has become so intense that many people no longer trust anyone from a differing perspective.

Drawing on his personal story of growing up as a fundamentalist Christian on a dairy farm in rural Ohio, then as an academic in the heart of the liberal East Coast establishment, Darrell West analyzes the economic, cultural, and political aspects of polarization. He takes advantage of his experiences inside both conservative and liberal camps to explain the views of each side and offer insights into why each is angry with the other.

West argues that societal tensions have metastasized into a dangerous tribalism that seriously threatens U.S. democracy. Unless people can bridge these divisions and forge a new path forward, it will be impossible to work together, maintain a functioning democracy, and solve the country's pressing policy problems.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780815736929
Publisher: Brookings Institution Press
Publication date: 03/26/2019
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 234
Sales rank: 1,115,453
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

Darrell M. West is vice president of the Governance Studies program at the Brookings Institution and taught for many years at Brown University. He is the author of The Future of Work: Robots, AI, and Automation; Megachange: Economic Disruption, Political Upheaval, and Social Strife in the 21st Century; and Billionaires: Reflections on the Upper Crust.

Table of Contents


Preface: Upheaval

1. Mistrust:

The Reagan Revolution

The Clinton Period

Bush and the War on Terror

The Obama Years

Shock and Awe under Trump

2. Economic Frustrations:

The Decline of Agriculture

Lost Manufacturing Jobs

Wage Stagnation and Inequality

A Rise in Public Anger

3. The Decline of Opportunity

Growing Up Poor

Advancement through Education

Obstacles for the Current Generation

Destruction of the American Dream

4. Identity Politics

Conservative Tribalism

Liberal Tribalism

Power Tribalism

Mistrusting Other Tribes

5. Religious Tensions



Religious Exemptions

6. The Backlash against

Globalization and Immigration

Opening Borders

Cross-Cultural Tensions

Tough Enforcement


7. Undue Influence

Overt Corruption

College Admissions


8. Overcoming Hyperconflict

Widespread Polarization

Diverging Identities

Mistrust and Intolerance

Opponents as Enemies

Political Sorting

The Decline of Facts

Reconciling Differences

Take a Conservative or Liberal to Lunch




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