The Polarization Paradox and The Republicans Are the Problem Thesis

Last month, I published with Dietram Scheufele "The Polarization Paradox: Why Hyperpartisanship Promotes Conservatism and Undermines Liberalism."  We detail in the article how liberals have become more like conservatives in their political strategies, adopting a win-at-all-costs commitment to policy debates and elections.


In doing so, liberals have built their own message machine comprised of think tanks, media watchdogs, mega-donor networks, and purposively designed echo chambers that rally strong partisans while demonizing the other side. The "paradox" is that as the party of progressive government, hyperpartisanship has backfired, putting at risk Democrats' electoral chances and policy ambitions.  

As we conclude, instead of going to war against the Right, following the election, liberals would better serve their social and political objectives by waging a war on polarization.

Though we focus our attention on the liberal movement, our analysis and recommendations share much in common with those offered by Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein in their recent book It’s Even Worse Than It Looks: How the American Constitutional System Collided with the New Politics of Extremism.   In an article this month in Democracy Journal, the two succintly lay out their thesis and then focus on paths forward. 

Over at The Breakthrough, I have a new Public Square column up discussing Mann and Ornstein's recommendations in the context of our own analysis.

Check out the column....

3D printing might save your life one day. It's transforming medicine and health care.

What can 3D printing do for medicine? The "sky is the limit," says Northwell Health researcher Dr. Todd Goldstein.

Northwell Health
Sponsored by Northwell Health
  • Medical professionals are currently using 3D printers to create prosthetics and patient-specific organ models that doctors can use to prepare for surgery.
  • Eventually, scientists hope to print patient-specific organs that can be transplanted safely into the human body.
  • Northwell Health, New York State's largest health care provider, is pioneering 3D printing in medicine in three key ways.
Keep reading Show less

Greenland loses 4 trillion pounds of ice in one day

Normally, the landscape in this photo would be a white ice sheet.

Surprising Science
  • Climate scientists say that Greenland is experiencing ice losses that are unusually early and heavy.
  • Two main weather factors are fueling the losses: a high-pressure system and the resulting low cloud cover.
  • Greenland is a major contributor to sea-level rise.
Keep reading Show less

Has a black hole made of sound confirmed Hawking radiation?

One of Stephen Hawking's predictions seems to have been borne out in a man-made "black hole".

Image source: NASA/JPL-Caltech
Surprising Science
  • Stephen Hawking predicted virtual particles splitting in two from the gravitational pull of black holes.
  • Black holes, he also said, would eventually evaporate due to the absorption of negatively charged virtual particles.
  • A scientist has built a black hole analogue based on sound instead of light.
Keep reading Show less

Permafrost is melting 70 years earlier than expected in Arctic Canada

It's a "canary in the coalmine," said one climate scientist.


MARK RALSTON/Contributor
Surprising Science
  • A team of researchers discovered that permafrost in Northern Canada is melting at unusually fast rates.
  • This could causes dangerous and costly erosion, and it's likely speeding up climate change because thawing permafrost releases heat-trapping gasses into the atmosphere.
  • This week, Canada's House of Commons declared a national climate emergency.
Keep reading Show less