Americans Hate One Another. Impeachment Isn’t Helping… How ‘do us a favor’ led to inquiry

Americans Hate One Another. Impeachment Isn’t Helping…

Americans’ views on impeachment are neatly split along partisan lines. The latest polling averages, tracked by the website FiveThirtyEight, show that 84 percent of Democrats now support impeachment, close to the highest level since at least August 2018, when the site started collecting polls on the issue. By contrast, only 11 percent of Republicans support impeachment, a number that has stayed fairly consistent over the past year and a half. This gulf in Democrats’ and Republicans’ views is more than just partisanship, however. It’s the latest evidence that political tribalism has taken over nearly every part of American life.

According to a growing body of political-science research, Americans largely no longer feel a shared sense of national identity. Democrats and Republicans see their political opponents as enemies with totally incomprehensible beliefs and lifestyles. On impeachment, members of the two parties see things radically differently, not just because they have dissimilar political opinions, but because they have entirely divergent views on how to approach life. The vicious impeachment fight ahead may further exacerbate polarization in America, leaving Republicans, Democrats, and everyone in between feeling even more suspicious of one another.

When I asked Michele Margolis, a political scientist at the University of Pennsylvania and the author of the 2018 book From Politics to the Pews, how much of an effect impeachment would have on the country’s polarization, she didn’t hesitate: “Huge!” American democracy functions only when each side is able to recognize the other as legitimate and accept the outcome when it loses. Over the past two decades in particular, that mutual respect has been significantly undermined, in part because Americans have so thoroughly sorted themselves into their respective political camps. “We’re now in a world where we really don’t have to talk to people who don’t think and look like us politically,” she said. But “it’s important to interact with people who don’t look like you [and] don’t think like you. That’s how we recognize the other side as people, and tolerate them and their political views.”

How ‘do us a favor’ led to inquiry

WASHINGTON (AP) — The words from one president to another, somewhat casual in tone, were not casual at all in meaning: “I would like you to do us a favor, though.”

Those words have now prompted deployment of the ultimate political weapon, an impeachment process enshrined in the Constitution as a means other than the ballot to remove a presidentfrom office.

When history writes the story, the seemingly innocent request from President Donald Trump to his Ukrainian counterpart will show their infamous July 25 phone call had a lot behind it, at least implicitly.

It had the weight of U.S. military power behind it. The dangling jewel of a White House meeting if things turned out right. And the prospect that Ukraine’s very future could be in the balance, as a country aspiring to join the West while feeling threatened by an aggressive Russia to the east.

Dancing to the edge of legality and maybe over it, Trump asked the Ukrainians to investigate his own political rivals at home and interference in the 2016 U.S. election.

 

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