“The Astounding Political Divide Over What it Means to Be ‘American’ ” Chris Cillizza, The Washington Post, 6 March 2017

“The county-by-county map of the 2016 election results tells the story of just how divided we are. What that map also shows is how little red and blue America interact with one another. Living near people who disagree with you politically is just something that no longer happens regularly in this country. Increasingly, Democratic America and Republican America don't talk to each other”

President Trump's executive order banning visitors from six Muslim states from entering the country lands in an America deeply divided on what it means to be American. A AP-NORC poll that suggests there are really two Americas right now: a Republican one and a Democratic one. Consider: 1) Nearly six in 10 Republicans (57%) think that “a culture grounded in Christian religious beliefs” is important to our American identity. Just 29% of Democrats say the same. 2) 46% of Republicans say that “a culture established by the country’s early European immigrants” is an important part of what makes us Americans, while just 25% of Democrats agree. 3) Two-thirds of Democrats cite the “mixing of cultures and values from around the world” as fundamentally American. Just a third of Republicans (35 percent) feel that way. “Democrats are more likely than Republicans to consider the nation’s diversity and the ability of people to immigrate to the US as important, while Republicans are more inclined to cite the importance of the use of English and sharing a culture, preferably based on Christian beliefs and European customs”, read a memo on the poll's results. What the numbers suggest is that not only are Democrats and Republicans living in two different countries —socially, culturally and politically — but they also don't even agree on what the country should be. Partisanship now extends not just to whom you vote for and why but also what you think the US is and should be. What's both fascinating and deeply problematic is that neither side has enough people to declare victory over the other.

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“The Astounding Political Divide Over What it Means to Be ‘American’ ” Chris Cillizza, The Washington Post, 6 March 2017


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