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Thread: Will America Break Up?

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    Default Re: Will America Break Up?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ryan Ruck View Post
    MMCO,
    Hope you don't mind but I moved your post and mine to their own thread.

    http://www.transasianaxis.com/showth...fficers-Killed

    There's just too much information on this incident to cram into this thread.
    Nope. Not a problem.

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    Default Re: Will America Break Up?

    Glenn Beck just said what a lot of us have known for a while, America is in a Cold Civil War. Just found it interesting a national radio host would come out and say that.

    Talking about a recent poll about how many see the opposite party as a threat.

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    Default Re: Will America Break Up?

    I think a lot of people are saying it.

    Trouble is, I'm not so keen on listening to Beck now after the Bundy thing. He was so dead set on doing things, or having them happen in HIS way that he couldn't back off and see Bundy's side of this issue.

    The fact is that what led to the American Civil War was the North and South went in two different directions on belief systems. The north was industrialized. The south was more agrarian. Different cultures. Different ideas on taxes. Different ideas on what changes should be made to the infrastructure. Different political idealism. Slavery was the trigger issue, but not the cause. It was one thing out of many things. I'll point out that while the Northern states abolished slavery, one state at a time, the Irish and Scots who were forced to come to America, the Chinese who came here because America's "new slavery pool". A pool of workers who needed jobs to support families, and while they certainly were not "slaves" per se, they were forced to work in horrible conditions, long hours without food, water or rest and were many times indentured servants to the company owners.

    Throughout all of the pre-war years there were small battles building in the states over their rights versus those of the Federal Government. There were major social and economic differences. There were those who wanted to abolish slavery (the Federalists) and those who wanted to keep the status quo (mostly southern states).

    Now compare then to now.

    We have two segments of the population who have vastly different idealism's, different social statuses, different economic statuses, clearly drawn lines of politics; but no clearly drawn state lines defining who they are, or where they live. To an extent there are few states that have clearly drawn lines of opposition to the Federal governments overreaching power. A few states flounder back and forth over the line. The clearest lines are Texas and Arizon - with a few others having more vaguely, fuzzy lines of commitment.

    The people in the states are on both sides of the equation. And yet, there are lines drawn there.

    So a "cold civil war" is almost certainly a truthful statement. But, there are no battle lines because frankly they would include the entire country.

    No one knows who is on their side, or who is against them. No one knows how to stand up to the opposition (without violence) and most people are relatively ambivalent about whether or not they will fight someone else. Most won't. A few will.

    The real "enemy" then becomes the Federal Government in the minds of many because it is the pure embodiment of all that is wrong with the country. Unemployment is high, the dollar value low, the government is overbearing, forceful, threatening, dangerous, accusatory, unemotional about whom they accuse, inefficient, overspending and corrupt.

    While I certainly believe in America, the ideal of America (how we were brought up to view America) and the people of this country (there's good in everyone) Congress and the Presidency have become corrupt and mistrusting of the people, and both branches of government are distrusted by the people of this country... including a very LARGE majority of those on the same "side" of the president himself. He is viewed as cowardly, wrong, even evil at times, as a Marxist bent on the destruction of America....

    So who is going to be doing the "shooting" if it goes hot?
    Libertatem Prius!


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    Default Re: Will America Break Up?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ryan Ruck View Post
    Glenn Beck just said what a lot of us have known for a while, America is in a Cold Civil War. Just found it interesting a national radio host would come out and say that.

    Talking about a recent poll about how many see the opposite party as a threat.
    We've never been closer to a real and hot Civil War since the 1850's, and then as now the very Union is at stake.
    "God's an old hand at miracles, he brings us from nonexistence to life. And surely he will resurrect all human flesh on the last day in the twinkling of an eye. But who can comprehend this? For God is this: he creates the new and renews the old. Glory be to him in all things!" Archpriest Avvakum

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    Default Re: Will America Break Up?

    I found the poll Beck was referencing. It was done by Pew.

    This was a very in depth study so this is VERYy long. It's worth the time taking to read it all. I think this may have been one of the most in depth studies I've seen that really shows how divided we are.



    Political Polarization in the American Public

    How Increasing Ideological Uniformity and Partisan Antipathy Affect Politics, Compromise and Everyday Life

    June 12, 2014

    Republicans and Democrats are more divided along ideological lines – and partisan antipathy is deeper and more extensive – than at any point in the last two decades. These trends manifest themselves in myriad ways, both in politics and in everyday life. And a new survey of 10,000 adults nationwide finds that these divisions are greatest among those who are the most engaged and active in the political process.



    The overall share of Americans who express consistently conservative or consistently liberal opinions has doubled over the past two decades from 10% to 21%. And ideological thinking is now much more closely aligned with partisanship than in the past. As a result, ideological overlap between the two parties has diminished: Today, 92% of Republicans are to the right of the median Democrat, and 94% of Democrats are to the left of the median Republican.

    Partisan animosity has increased substantially over the same period. In each party, the share with a highly negative view of the opposing party has more than doubled since 1994. Most of these intense partisans believe the opposing party’s policies “are so misguided that they threaten the nation’s well-being.”



    “Ideological silos” are now common on both the left and right. People with down-the-line ideological positions – especially conservatives – are more likely than others to say that most of their close friends share their political views. Liberals and conservatives disagree over where they want to live, the kind of people they want to live around and even whom they would welcome into their families.

    And at a time of increasing gridlock on Capitol Hill, many on both the left and the right think the outcome of political negotiations between Obama and Republican leaders should be that their side gets more of what it wants.

    These sentiments are not shared by all – or even most – Americans. The majority do not have uniformly conservative or liberal views. Most do not see either party as a threat to the nation. And more believe their representatives in government should meet halfway to resolve contentious disputes rather than hold out for more of what they want.

    Yet many of those in the center remain on the edges of the political playing field, relatively distant and disengaged, while the most ideologically oriented and politically rancorous Americans make their voices heard through greater participation in every stage of the political process.

    The rise of ideological uniformity has been much more pronounced among those who are the most politically active. Today, almost four-in-ten (38%) politically engaged Democrats are consistent liberals, up from just 8% in 1994. The change among Republicans since then appears less dramatic – 33% express consistently conservative views, up from 23% in the midst of the 1994 “Republican Revolution.” But a decade ago, just 10% of politically engaged Republicans had across-the-board conservative attitudes.



    On measure after measure – whether primary voting, writing letters to officials, volunteering for or donating to a campaign – the most politically polarized are more actively involved in politics, amplifying the voices that are the least willing to see the parties meet each other halfway.

    These are among the findings of the largest study of U.S. political attitudes ever undertaken by the Pew Research Center. Data are drawn from a national telephone survey of 10,013 adults, conducted from January through March of this year, and an ongoing series of follow-up surveys. This rich dataset, coupled with trends and insights from two decades of Pew Research Center polling, reveals a complex picture of partisan polarization and how it manifests itself in political behaviors, policy debates, election dynamics and everyday life.



    To chart the progression of ideological thinking, responses to 10 political values questions asked on multiple Pew Research surveys since 1994 have been combined to create a measure of ideological consistency. Over the past twenty years, the number of Americans in the “tails” of this ideological distribution has doubled from 10% to 21%. Meanwhile, the center has shrunk: 39% currently take a roughly equal number of liberal and conservative positions. That is down from about half (49%) of the public in surveys conducted in 1994 and 2004.

    And this shift represents both Democrats moving to the left and Republicans moving to the right, with less and less overlap between the parties. Today, 92% of Republicans are to the right of the median (middle) Democrat, compared with 64% twenty years ago. And 94% of Democrats are to the left of the median Republican, up from 70% in 1994.



    More Negative Views of the Opposing Party


    Beyond the rise in ideological consistency, another major element in polarization has been the growing contempt that many Republicans and Democrats have for the opposing party. To be sure, disliking the other party is nothing new in politics. But today, these sentiments are broader and deeper than in the recent past.

    In 1994, hardly a time of amicable partisan relations, a majority of Republicans had unfavorable impressions of the Democratic Party, but just 17% had very unfavorable opinions. Similarly, while most Democrats viewed the GOP unfavorably, just 16% had very unfavorable views. Since then, highly negative views have more than doubled: 43% of Republicans and 38% of Democrats now view the opposite party in strongly negative terms.



    Even these numbers tell only part of the story. Those who have a very unfavorable impression of each party were asked: “Would you say the party’s policies are so misguided that they threaten the nation’s well-being, or wouldn’t you go that far?” Most who were asked the question said yes, they would go that far. Among all Democrats, 27% say the GOP is a threat to the well-being of the country. That figure is even higher among Republicans, 36% of whom think Democratic policies threaten the nation.

    Politics Gets Personal

    Liberals and conservatives share a passion for politics. They are far more likely than those with more mixed ideological views to discuss politics on a weekly or daily basis. But for many, particularly on the right, those conversations may not include much in the way of opposing opinions.



    Nearly two-thirds (63%) of consistent conservatives and about half (49%) of consistent liberals say most of their close friends share their political views. Among those with mixed ideological values, just 25% say the same. People on the right and left also are more likely to say it is important to them to live in a place where most people share their political views, though again, that desire is more widespread on the right (50%) than on the left (35%).

    And while few Americans overall go so far as to voice disappointment with the prospect of a family member marrying a Democrat (8%) or a Republican (9%), that sentiment is not uncommon on the left or the right. Three-out-of-ten (30%) consistent conservatives say they would be unhappy if an immediate family member married a Democrat and about a quarter (23%) of across-the-board liberals say the same about the prospect of a Republican in-law.

    To be sure, there are areas of consensus. Most Americans, regardless of their ideological preferences, value communities in which they would live close to extended family and high-quality schools. But far more liberals than conservatives think it is important that a community have racial and ethnic diversity (76% vs. 20%). At the same time, conservatives are more likely than liberals to attach importance to living in a place where many people share their religious faith (57% vs. 17% of liberals).



    And the differences between right and left go beyond disagreements over politics, friends and neighbors. If they could choose anywhere to live, three-quarters of consistent conservatives prefer a community where “the houses are larger and farther apart, but schools, stores, and restaurants are several miles away.” The preferences of consistent liberals are almost the exact inverse, with 77% saying they’d chose to live where “the houses are smaller and closer to each other, but schools, stores, and restaurants are within walking distance.”

    Polarization’s Consequences

    When they look at a political system in which little seems to get done, most Americans in the center of the electorate think that Obama and Republican leaders should simply meet each other halfway in addressing the issues facing the nation.



    Yet an equitable deal is in the eye of the beholder, as both liberals and conservatives define the optimal political outcome as one in which their side gets more of what it wants. A majority of consistent conservatives (57%) say the ideal agreement between President Obama and congressional Republicans is one in which GOP leaders hold out for more of their goals. Consistent liberals take the opposite view: Their preferred terms (favored by 62%) end up closer to Obama’s position than the GOP’s.

    Polarization in Red and Blue

    The signs of political polarization are evident on both ends of the political spectrum, though the trajectory, nature and extent differ from left to right.

    With Barack Obama in the White House, partisan antipathy is more pronounced among Republicans, especially consistently conservative Republicans. Overall, more Republicans than Democrats see the opposing party’s policies as a threat and the differences are even greater when ideology is taken into account. Fully 66% of consistently conservative Republicans think the Democrats’ policies threaten the nation’s well-being. By comparison, half (50%) of consistently liberal Democrats say Republican policies jeopardize the nation’s well-being. Conservatives also exhibit more partisan behavior in their personal lives; they are the most likely to have friends and prefer communities of like-minded people.

    However, there is as much ideological uniformity on the left as the right. The share of Democrats holding consistently liberal views has grown steadily over the past 20 years, quadrupling from 5% in 1994 to 23% today. Social issues like homosexuality and immigration that once drove deep divides within the Democratic Party are now areas of relative consensus. And Democrats have become more uniformly critical of business and more supportive of government.



    Changes in ideological consistency on the right have followed a different course. In 1994, during the “Republican Revolution,” 13% of Republicans were consistent conservatives. That figure fell to 6% a decade later during George W. Bush’s presidency, before rebounding to 20% today. This increase has come despite more moderate views among Republicans on issues like homosexuality and immigration, as GOP thinking on issues related to government and the economy has veered sharply to the right.

    About the Study

    This is the first report of a multi-part series based on a national survey of 10,013 adults nationwide, conducted January 23-March 16, 2014 by the Pew Research Center. The survey, funded in part through grants from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and supported by the generosity of Don C. and Jeane M. Bertsch, is aimed at understanding the nature and scope of political polarization in the American public, and how it interrelates with government, society and people’s personal lives.

    The second report, coming in a few weeks, is the new Pew Research Center Political Typology. The typology – the sixth such study since 1987 – looks beyond Red vs. Blue divisions to gain a clearer understanding of the dynamic nature of the “center” of the American electorate, and the internal divides on both the left and the right.

    Later, the project will explore the various factors that contribute to political polarization, or stem from it. A September report will examine how political polarization is linked to people’s information environments: Their news sources, social media habits and interpersonal communication networks. Other reports will look at how political polarization relates to where people live, to their political environments, to how they view themselves and others around them, to their socioeconomic circumstances, to generational changes and to broader sociological and psychological personality traits.

    The current report is divided into five parts: The first two focus on measuring the nature and scope of political polarization, emphasizing the difference between growing ideological consistency and rising partisan antipathy. The third looks closely at how polarization manifests itself in people’s personal lives. The fourth looks at the relationship between polarization and practical policymaking, and the fifth digs deeper into how political participation both amplifies and reflects polarization.

    About the Data

    The data in this report are based on two independent survey administrations with the same randomly selected, nationally representative group of respondents. The first is the center’s largest survey on domestic politics to date: the 2014 Political Polarization and Typology Survey, a national telephone survey of 10,013 adults, on landlines and cell phones, from January through March of this year. The second involved impaneling a subset of these respondents into the newly created American Trends Panel and following up with them via a survey conducted by web and telephone. The two surveys are described separately, in further detail, in the About the Surveys section of the report.

    Section 1: Growing Ideological Consistency

    A decade ago, the public was less ideologically consistent than it is today. In 2004, only about one-in-ten Americans were uniformly liberal or conservative across most values. Today, the share who are ideologically consistent has doubled: 21% express either consistently liberal or conservative opinions across a range of issues – the size and scope of government, the environment, foreign policy and many others.

    The new survey finds that as ideological consistency has become more common, it has become increasingly aligned with partisanship. Looking at 10 political values questions tracked since 1994, more Democrats now give uniformly liberal responses, and more Republicans give uniformly conservative responses than at any point in the last 20 years.

    Political Polarization, 1994-2014

    The interactive below illustrates the shift since 1994, using data from five Pew Research Center surveys. In addition to viewing results both for the total population and by party, they can be filtered on just the share of Americans (about one-third of the public) who are most politically active.



    To be sure, those with across-the-board liberal or conservative views remain in the minority; most Americans continue to express at least some mix of liberal and conservative attitudes. Yet those who express ideologically consistent views have disproportionate influence on the political process: They are more likely than those with mixed views to vote regularly and far more likely to donate to political campaigns and contact elected officials.

    Moreover, consistent liberals and conservatives approach the give-and-take of politics very differently than do those with mixed ideological views. Ideologically consistent Americans generally believe the other side – not their own – should do the giving. Those in the middle, by contrast, think both sides should give ground.

    As Partisans Move Further Apart, the Middle Shrinks

    In 2012, the Pew Research Center updated its 25-year study of the public’s political values, finding that the partisan gap in opinions on more than 40 separate political values had nearly doubled over the previous quarter century. The new study investigates whether there is greater ideological consistency than in the past; that is, whether more people now have straight-line liberal or conservative attitudes across a range of issues, from homosexuality and immigration to foreign policy, the environment, economic policy and the role of government.

    The graphic below shows the extent to which members of both parties have become more ideologically consistent and, as a result, further from one another. When responses to 10 questions are scaled together to create a measure of ideological consistency, the median (middle) Republican is now more conservative than nearly all Democrats (94%), and the median Democrat is more liberal than 92% of Republicans.



    In 1994, the overlap was much greater than it is today. Twenty years ago, the median Democrat was to the left of 64% of Republicans, while the median Republican was to the right of 70% of Democrats. Put differently, in 1994 23% of Republicans were more liberal than the median Democrat; while 17% of Democrats were more conservative than the median Republican. Today, those numbers are just 4% and 5%, respectively.



    As partisans have moved to the left and the right, the share of Americans with mixed views has declined. Across the 10 ideological values questions in the scale, 39% of Americans currently take a roughly equal number of liberal and conservative positions. That is down from nearly half (49%) of the public in surveys conducted in 1994 and 2004. As noted, the proportion of Americans who are now more uniformly ideological has doubled over the last decade: About one-in-five Americans (21%) are now either consistently liberal (12%) or consistently conservative (9%) in their political values, up from just one-in-ten in 2004 (11%) and 1994 (10%).



    This translates into a growing number of Republicans and Democrats who are on completely opposite sides of the ideological spectrum, making it harder to find common ground in policy debates. The share of Democrats who hold consistently liberal positions has quadrupled over the course of the last 20 years, growing from just 5% in 1994 to 13% in 2004 to 23% today. And more Republicans are consistently conservative than in the past (20% today, up from 6% in 2004 and 13% in 1994), even as the country as a whole has shifted slightly to the left on the 10 item scale.



    Is Polarization Asymmetrical?

    The ideological consolidation nationwide has happened on both the left and the right of the political spectrum, but the long-term shift among Democrats stands out as particularly noteworthy. The share of Democrats who are liberal on all or most value dimensions has nearly doubled from just 30% in 1994 to 56% today. The share who are consistently liberal has quadrupled from just 5% to 23% over the past 20 years.

    In absolute terms, the ideological shift among Republicans has been more modest, in 1994, 45% of Republicans were right-of-center, with 13% consistently conservative. Those figures are up to 53% and 20% today.

    But there are two key considerations to keep in mind before concluding that the liberals are driving ideological polarization. First, 1994 was a relative high point in conservative political thinking among Republicans. In fact, between 1994 and 2004 the average Republican moved substantially toward the center ideologically, as concern about the deficit, government waste and abuses of social safety net that characterized the “Contract with America” era faded in the first term of the Bush administration.

    But since 2004, Republicans have veered sharply back to the right on all of these dimensions, and the GOP ideological shift over the past decade has matched, if not exceeded, the rate at which Democrats have become more liberal.

    A second consideration is that the nation as a whole has moved slightly to the left over the past 20 years, mostly because of a broad societal shift toward acceptance of homosexuality and more positive views of immigrants. Twenty years ago, these two issues created significant cleavages within the Democratic Party, as many otherwise liberal Democrats expressed more conservative values in these realms. But today, as divisions over these issues have diminished on the left, they have emerged on the right, with a subset of otherwise conservative Republicans expressing more liberal values on these social issues.

    However, on economic issues and the role of government, Republicans and Democrats are both substantially more consolidated than in the past: 37% of Republicans are consistently conservative and 36% of Democrats are consistently liberal on a five-item subset of the scale restricted to just the items about economic policy and the size of government. In 1994, those proportions were 23% and 21%, respectively.

    Political Engagement Increasingly Linked to Polarization

    In today’s political environment, party (and partisan leaning) predicts ideological consistency more than ever before, and this is particularly the case among the politically attentive. Among Americans who keep up with politics and government and who regularly vote, fully 99% of Republicans are now more conservative than the median Democrat, while 98% of Democrats are more liberal than the median Republican. While engaged partisans have always been ideologically divided, there was more overlap in the recent past; just 10 years ago these numbers were 88% and 84%, respectively.



    Today, almost four-in-ten (38%) politically engaged Democrats are consistent liberals, up from only 8% in 1994 and 20% in 2004. And the rise is also evident on the right: 33% of politically engaged Republicans are consistent conservatives, up from 23% in 1994, and just 10% in 2004.

    Within both parties, 70% of the politically engaged now take positions that are mostly or consistently in line with the ideological bent of their party. By comparison, the equivalent positions were held by 58% of Republicans and 35% of Democrats in 1994 and 40% of Republicans and 59% of Democrats in 2004.



    Engaged citizens have always tended to be more ideologically oriented, but the correlation has increased in recent years, particularly among Democrats. Today, 70% of highly engaged Democrats are mostly or consistently liberal in their views, compared with about half (49%) of less engaged Democrats (the other half are either ideologically mixed or conservative). Twenty years ago, there was far less of an engagement gap in ideological thinking, as 35% of highly engaged and 28% of less engaged Democrats were left of center.

    The shift in ideology among Republicans is more complex. Between 1994 and 2004 Republicans actually became less ideologically oriented, as support for government programs and more positive views about the effectiveness of government grew during George W. Bush’s first term. But over the past decade, the GOP has moved solidly to the right – particularly those who are more politically engaged. Today, 70% of highly engaged Republicans are either consistently or mostly conservative, up from 40% in 2004. By comparison, just 38% of less engaged Republicans are right of center (the majority offer a mix of liberal and conservative views).

    Polarization among Elected Officials

    This movement among the public, and particularly the engaged public, tracks with increasingly polarized voting patterns in Congress, though to a far lesser extent. As many congressional scholars have documented, Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill are now further apart from one another than at any point in modern history, and that rising polarization among elected officials is asymmetrical, with much of the widening gap between the two parties attributable to a rightward shift among Republicans. As a result, using a widely accepted metric of ideological positioning, there is now no overlap between the two parties; in the last full session of Congress (the 112th Congress, which ran from 2011-12), every Republican senator and representative was more conservative than the most conservative Democrat (or, putting it another way, every Democrat was more liberal than the most liberal Republican).

    But this was not always the case. Forty years ago, in the 93rd Congress (1973-74), fully 240 representatives and 29 senators were in between the most liberal Republican and most conservative Democrat in their respective chambers. Twenty years ago (the 103rd Congress from 1993-94) had nine representatives and three senators in between the most liberal Republican and most conservative Democrat in their respective chambers. Today, there is no overlap. And while by this measure the pace of change may appear to have slowed in the past 20 years, the ideological distance between members of the two parties has continued to grow steadily over this period.

    Growing Partisan Polarization Spans Domains

    The growth in partisan polarization is evident across a range of political values, as nearly all of the traditional gaps between Republicans and Democrats have widened. The results of the current survey echo the findings in the 2012 values study.

    The current survey tracks trends on a different set of questions going back to 1994, with parallel conclusions: Partisan divides have deepened across most core political domains, including on nearly every measure in the ideological consistency scale.

    For instance, while Democrats have always been more supportive than Republicans of the social safety net, the partisan divide on these questions has increased substantially over the last 20 years. Two-thirds of Republicans (66%) believe that “poor people today have it easy because they can get government benefits without doing anything in return;” just 25% say “poor people have hard lives because government benefits don’t go far enough to help them live decently.” Among Democrats, just 28% believe the poor have it easy. The partisan gap on this measure is now 38 points, up from 19 points in 1994 and 26 points in 2004.

    Similarly, in 1994, there was a relatively narrow 10-point partisan gap in views on environmental regulation. Today, the gap is 35 points, as the proportion of Republicans who say that “stricter environmental laws and regulations cost too many jobs and hurt the economy” has grown from 39% in 1994 to 59%, while Democratic opinion has shifted slightly in the other direction.



    And although immigration attitudes have shifted in a liberal direction among both Democrats and Republicans, a partisan gap has emerged where none was evident 20 years ago. In 1994, 64% of Republicans and 62% of Democrats viewed immigrants as a burden on the country; today 46% of Republicans but just 27% of Democrats say this.

    For nine of the 10 items in the ideological consistency scale, the partisan gap has grown wider over the last 20 years. The sole exception is in views of homosexuality: Both Democrats and Republicans have become more liberal on this question over the years, as fewer now say that “homosexuality should be discouraged (rather than accepted) by society.” However, the current 21-point partisan gap on this question is only slightly wider than the 16 point gap in 1994.

    Ideological Self-Placement and Ideological Consistency

    Where people fall on the scale of ideological consistency discussed throughout this report is strongly correlated with how people describe themselves. But for some, how they see their own ideology doesn’t align with their expressed political values.




    In recent years, Americans have consistently been far more likely to self-identify as conservative than as liberal – by a 36% to 23% margin in the current survey.

    Fully 84% of those who are consistently conservative in their ideological positions call themselves conservative, as does a smaller majority (61%) of those who are “mostly conservative” on the scale.

    But those who express consistently or mostly liberal values, are less likely to embrace the “liberal” label. About six-in-ten (62%) consistent liberals say they are liberal, with 31% saying they are moderate, and a handful (6%) calling themselves conservative. And among those who are mostly liberal on the ideological consistency scale, more (44%) say they are moderate than say they are liberal (32%).

    While the plurality (42%) of those who are ideologically mixed label themselves as moderate, the remainder are more likely to say they are conservative (33%) than liberal (19%).


    Section 2: Growing Partisan Antipathy



    There is nothing new about Republicans disliking the Democratic Party or, conversely, Democrats not liking the GOP. But the level of antipathy that members of each party feel toward the opposing party has surged over the past two decades. Not only do greater numbers of those in both parties have negative views of the other side, those negative views are increasingly intense. And today, many go so far as to say that the opposing party’s policies threaten the nation’s well-being.

    Though negative ratings of the other party were common 20 years ago, relatively few Republicans and Democrats had deeply negative opinions. In 1994, when the GOP captured the House and Senate after a bitter midterm campaign, about two-thirds (68%) of Republicans and Republican leaners had an unfavorable opinion of the Democratic Party, but just 17% had a very unfavorable opinion. At the same time, though a majority of Democrats and Democratic leaners (57%) viewed the GOP unfavorably, just 16% had a very unfavorable view. Today, negative ratings have risen overall (about eight-in-ten of both Republicans and Democrats rate the other party unfavorably), but deeply negative views have more than doubled: 38% of Democrats and 43% of Republicans now view the opposite party in strongly negative terms. The rise in negative views of the opposing party is also seen in “feeling thermometer” ratings in the American National Election Studies, as partisans now give “cooler” ratings to the opposing party than they did in the past.

    The survey finds that this strong dislike verges on alarm for many. In both political parties, most of those who view the other party very unfavorably say that the other side’s policies “are so misguided that they threaten the nation’s well-being.” Overall, 36% of Republicans and Republican leaners say that Democratic policies threaten the nation, while 27% of Democrats and Democratic leaners view GOP policies in equally stark terms.

    This kind of hostility toward the opposing party is strongly related to political participation and activism. For example, 54% of Republicans and 46% of Democrats who have made campaign donations in the past two years describe the other political party as a threat to the nation. In other words, those who arguably have the greatest impact on politics are most likely to have strongly negative feelings toward the opposing party.

    And among members of both parties, intense dislike of the political opposition – like ideological polarization – is strongly linked to other views and behaviors as well, such as how willing people are to support compromise in Washington, and how they view personal interactions with people from the other political party.

    The growing partisan antipathy detailed here is one major aspect of political polarization. Another is ideological polarization – the growing share of Americans who hold consistently liberal or conservative views across a wide range of issues. These trends are connected, but not identical, and both ideological consistency and partisan antipathy individually are important elements of the broader polarized landscape.

    Ideology and Partisan Antipathy Increasingly Intertwined



    Twenty years ago, fewer Americans were consistently liberal or conservative in their views about politics and society and even those who were ideologically oriented did not express the animosity toward the other side that is common today. In 1994 – hardly a moment of goodwill and compromise in American politics – just 23% of consistent liberals expressed a very unfavorable view of the Republican Party. And just 28% of consistent conservatives saw the Democratic Party in equally negative terms.

    But today, the majority of ideologically-oriented Americans hold deeply negative views of the other side. This is particularly true on the right, as 72% of consistent conservatives have a very unfavorable opinion of the Democratic Party. Consistent liberals do not feel as negatively toward the GOP; nonetheless, 53% of consistent liberals have very unfavorable impressions of the GOP, more than double the share that did so two decades ago.

    A Deep-Seated Dislike, Bordering on Sense of Alarm



    At a time of historically low levels of trust in government and other national institutions, expressing a “very unfavorable” opinion of the opposing political party may not seem like a signal of intense hostility. However, when given the chance to express even stronger criticism, most who hold highly negative views of the opposing party do so.

    After expressing a very unfavorable view of one or the other party, respondents were asked: “Would you say the party’s policies are so misguided that they threaten the nation’s well-being, or wouldn’t you go that far?” The question was intentionally designed to suggest that this was a high bar; nevertheless, the vast majority of those who were asked the question agreed. Among all Democrats and Democratic leaners, 27% go so far as to say the GOP is a threat to the well-being of the country. Among all Republicans and Republican leaners, more than a third (36%) say Democratic policies threaten the nation.

    Republican Antipathy toward Obama

    While there are plenty on both the left and the right who express these levels of antipathy toward the other side, there is substantially more anger among conservatives than among liberals. At the most extreme, two-thirds (66%) of consistently conservative Republicans see the Democratic Party as a threat to the nation’s well-being, compared with the half (50%) of consistently liberal Democrats who say the same about the Republican Party. And this concern reaches well beyond the right wing of the Republican Party, as nearly half (46%) of mostly conservative Republicans see the Democratic Party as a threat to the nation’s well-being; by contrast, 22% of mostly liberal Democrats see the GOP as a threat.

    At least in part, the strongly negative views Republicans have of the Democratic Party reflect their deep-seated dislike of Barack Obama. In the current survey, just 12% of Republicans and Republican leaners say they approve of the job Obama is doing in office, while 84% disapprove, including 71% who very strongly disapprove.

    This impassioned Republican discontent has persisted from the early days of Obama’s presidency, yet it is only the latest instance of a longer pattern in how the public assesses its presidents. There has been a steadily growing level of partisan division over presidential performance over the past 60 years, and it is driven almost entirely by broader disapproval from the opposition party, not by greater loyalty among the president’s party. And in that regard, the phenomenon is not limited to Republicans. At a comparable point in George W. Bush’s presidency eight years ago, Democratic disapproval of Bush’s job performance was on par with Republicans’ ratings of Obama today; in April 2006, 87% of Democrats and Democratic leaners disapproved of Bush’s job performance, and 75% very strongly disapproved.

    Modern presidents, from Dwight Eisenhower through Barack Obama, have generally enjoyed a job approval rating of around 80% from their own partisan base. The exceptions are the lower ratings Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford and George W. Bush received from within their parties in their difficult final years in office, and the distinct lack of enthusiasm Democrats expressed for Jimmy Carter through most his presidency. Obama’s job approval rating among Democrats (on average, 81% approval over the course of his presidency so far) has been roughly the same as Republicans’ ratings for two of the party’s icons – Ronald Reagan in the 1980s and (83%) and Eisenhower in the 1950s (88%).




    By comparison, the views of people in the opposing party have become steadily more negative. From 1953-1960, an average of nearly half (49%) of Democrats said they approved of the job Republican president Dwight Eisenhower was doing in office. Over the course of Reagan’s presidency, nearly a third (31%) of Democrats approved of his job performance. Just over a quarter (27%) of Republicans offered a positive assessment of Bill Clinton between 1993 and 2000. But the two most recent presidents have not received even this minimal support. George W. Bush’s job ratings among Democrats were relatively strong in the post-9/11 period, but in the last five years of his presidency, only 12% of Democrats, on average, approved of his job performance. That is similar to Obama’s ratings among Republicans (14% on average) over the course of his presidency.

    Not only have partisans become more uniform in their disapproval of presidents from the other party, they are also more inclined to express deeply negative personal evaluations of the men holding the office. Most Republicans (78%) have an unfavorable opinion of Obama, and 45% rate him very unfavorably. Those ratings represent an improvement in GOP views of Obama. In the midst of the government shutdown and debt limit negotiations last October, 88% viewed him unfavorably, with 62% saying their opinion was very unfavorable.



    But this is not unique to Republican views of Obama. Democratic views of George W. Bush reached similar territory during his second term, as the war in Iraq became a partisan dividing line compounded by reactions to other aspects of Bush’s presidency, including his handling of Hurricane Katrina. By April 2008, nearly nine-in-ten Democrats had unfavorable views of Bush – 66% viewed him very unfavorably.

    By contrast, this level of deeply negative personal evaluations from the opposing side wasn’t as evident during Bill Clinton’s presidency. Even as clear majorities of Republicans expressed unfavorable opinions of Bill Clinton during his time in office, the proportion saying their opinion was very unfavorable peaked at 47%.

    Antipathy and Engagement

    Holding deeply negative views of the opposite party and its leaders is correlated with political participation, and this is particularly true among Republicans in the current context. Republicans who hold a very unfavorable opinion of the Democratic Party are 18 points more likely than those whose opinion is mostly unfavorable to say they always vote. They are also almost twice as likely to have made a donation to a campaign or candidate (23% vs. 12%). Importantly, how Republicans view their own political party has little association with their participation in these ways. Those who hold very favorable views of the GOP are no more or less likely to be politically active than those with less favorable views.




    The same pattern exists when it comes to Democratic campaign donors. Democrats with a very unfavorable opinion of the GOP are substantially more likely than those who feel only mostly unfavorably to have made a donation in the past two years (22% vs. 14%). But there are no differences in self-reported donations among Democrats who have a very favorable opinion of their own party and those who have a mostly favorable view. Yet when it comes to voting among Democrats, strong views of both political parties tend to matter. Democrats who view the GOP very unfavorably are 12 points more likely to always vote than those who only mostly dislike the Republican Party. But those who feel very positively about their own party are also 12 points more likely to always vote than those who are only mostly positive.

    As we show elsewhere, both partisan animosity and ideological consistency are linked to higher levels of political participation, and in fact the effect is compounded among those who think both in ideological and partisan terms. And both also affect how Americans view negotiations and compromise in Washington and even how people interact with those around them. As partisan antipathy and ideological consistency have grown, each contributes substantially to a more polarized political environment in elections, in Washington and in society more generally.

    Section 3: Political Polarization and Personal Life



    Liberals and conservatives are divided over more than just politics. Those on the opposite ends of the ideological spectrum disagree about everything from the type of community in which they prefer to live to the type of people they would welcome into their families.

    It is an enduring stereotype – conservatives prefer suburban McMansions while liberals like urban enclaves – but one that is grounded in reality. Given the choice, three-quarters (75%) of consistent conservatives say they would opt to live in a community where “the houses are larger and farther apart, but schools, stores and restaurants are several miles away,” and just 22% say they’d choose to live where “the houses are smaller and closer to each other, but schools, stores and restaurants are within walking distance.” The preferences of consistent liberals are almost the exact inverse, with 77% preferring the smaller house closer to amenities, and just 21% opting for more square footage farther away.

    Americans overall are divided almost evenly in this preference, with 49% preferring the larger houses and 48% preferring the more convenient locations.

    Liberals and conservatives don’t disagree on all community preferences. For example, large majorities of both groups attach great importance to living near family and high-quality public schools.

    Yet their differences are striking: liberals would rather live in cities, while conservatives prefer rural areas and small towns; liberals are more likely to say racial and ethnic diversity is important in a community; conservatives emphasize shared religious faith. And while 73% of consistent liberals say it’s important to them to live near art museums and theaters, just 23% of consistent conservatives agree – one of their lowest priorities of eight community characteristics tested.

    This section explores these and other key ways in which political polarization is linked to people’s personal lives and day-to-day interactions. As Republicans and Democrats are growing further apart, increasingly polarized along ideological lines and with greater antipathy toward the opposing party, divides in the political sphere also permeate the everyday lives of Americans.

    Consistent conservatives and liberals do share one habit that distinguishes them from other Americans: They spend a lot of time talking about politics and government. This is part of a pattern of more intense political engagement among those at either end of the ideological spectrum.

    Yet conservatives and liberals also are most likely to confine political conversations to those who share their views. Fully half of consistent conservatives (50%) and 35% of consistent liberals say it is important to them to live in a place where most people share their political views – the highest shares of any of the ideological groups. If people living in “deep red” or “deep blue” America feel like they inhabit distinctly different worlds, it is in part because they seek out different types of communities, both geographic and social.



    The Ideal Community: Different for Liberals than for Conservatives

    When it comes to the type of community they’d like to live in, liberals are drawn toward city life while conservatives prefer small towns and rural areas. Given the choice to live anywhere in the U.S., 41% of consistent conservatives would want to live in a rural area, and an additional 35% would choose a small town. Fewer consistent conservatives (20%) would prefer living in the suburbs and just 4% want to live in a city.

    In a near mirror image, 46% of consistent liberals would choose to live in a city, and 21% would choose the suburbs; far fewer would pick a rural area (11%) or a small town (20%).



    The preferences of less ideological Americans are more varied. Notably, the suburbs do not have a great deal of appeal for any ideological segment. And across age, gender and other demographic categories, there is no group that expresses a clear preference for living in the suburbs.

    An analysis of the data finds that where liberals and conservatives actually live reflects their community preferences, with liberals about twice as likely as conservatives to live in urban areas, while conservatives are more concentrated in rural areas.

    Later reports in this Pew Research Center series will dive more deeply into how political views are related to where people live. This is a topic covered extensively by Craig Gilbert of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, in a four-part series entitled “Dividing Lines.”

    What’s Important in a Community?

    Despite their differing community preferences, liberals and conservatives generally share a desire to be close to family, good schools and the outdoors. However, when it comes to the ethnic, religious or political makeup of a community, there are clear ideological divides.

    Substantial majorities across all ideological groups place importance on living near extended family, though consistent liberals are a bit less likely than others to say this.



    Likewise, large majorities say “high-quality public schools” are important to decisions about where to live. Reflecting their stage of life, people age 55 and older are less likely than younger people to value good schools. To control for this lifecycle difference (and because older Americans tend to be more conservative ideologically), the analysis here is based only on those under 55.

    Within this cohort, an emphasis on high-quality schools is slightly lower among conservatives than liberals. But across all ideological groups, this ranks as the top community priority of the eight items tested.

    Having access to the outdoors for hiking, camping and fishing also is a widely valued community attribute. However, there is an ideological split in the importance placed on access to another type of leisure activity: art museums and theaters. More than three times as many consistent liberals (73%) as consistent conservatives (23%) rate proximity to museums and galleries as important. There also is a wide gap among people with mostly liberal (59%) and mostly conservative (31%) views.



    There are similarly deep ideological divides in the importance placed on racial and ethnic diversity and living near those who share one’s religious faith. Majorities of consistent liberals (76%) and those who are mostly liberal (58%) say living somewhere with a mix of people from different racial and ethnic backgrounds would be important to them; far fewer conservatives (20% of consistent conservatives, 32% of mostly conservatives) say this. (This ideological pattern is nearly identical when the analysis is limited to non-Hispanic whites.)

    At the same time, conservatives place more importance on living in a place where many people share their religious faith. A majority (57%) of consistent conservatives say this is important to them, compared with just 17% of consistent liberals.

    Marrying Across Party Lines

    While Republicans and Democrats hold increasingly negative views of the opposing party, expressions of deep dislike on a more personal level are less common. But they do exist, and as with dislike of the opposing party, personal antipathy is most concentrated among those who hold ideologically consistent views.

    Most Americans are comfortable with political diversity in their households. Just 9% of the public say they would be unhappy if an immediate family member were to marry a Republican, and about the same percentage (8%) would be unhappy about the prospect of a Democrat marrying into their immediate family. Roughly equal percentages of Democrats (15%) and Republicans (17%) say they would be unhappy welcoming someone from the other party into their family.



    This discomfort is most prevalent among those who are the most ideological in their thinking. Three-in-ten (30%) consistent conservatives say they’d be unhappy if a family member married a Democrat, while 23% of consistent liberals say they’d be unhappy if a Republican were to marry into the family. Yet even at the ends of the ideological spectrum, active expressions of unhappiness about marrying a Republican or a Democrat are the minority position.

    Beyond the partisan affiliations of potential family members, the importance of other characteristics also differs for liberals and conservatives. Roughly half of Americans (49%) say they would be unhappy if a family member were to marry someone who doesn’t believe in God.

    This rises to 73% among consistent conservatives, along with 58% of those who are mostly conservative. Liberals are much less likely to be unhappy with a non-believer marrying into their families: 24% of consistent liberals and 41% of those who are mostly liberal say they would be unhappy.



    Only 9% of Americans say they would be unhappy with a family member’s marriage to a born-again Christian. But this sentiment triples to 27% among consistent liberals. Consistent liberals are as likely to say they’d be unhappy with a family member’s marriage to a non-believer (24%) as a born-again Christian (27%).

    Just 11% of Americans say they would be unhappy at the prospect of a family member marrying someone of a different race, and only 7% say the same about a marriage to someone born and raised outside of the U.S. But both of these sentiments are more common on the right than on the left.



    About a quarter (23%) of consistent conservatives, along with 19% of those who are mostly conservative, say they’d be unhappy with a family member’s marriage to someone of a different race. Most conservatives (77%) say it wouldn’t matter or they would be happy about this. By comparison, just 1% of consistent liberals and 4% of those who are mostly liberal say they would be unhappy if a relative marries someone of a different race.

    Reaction to a gun owner joining the family exposes a somewhat greater ideological divide. Nationwide, 19% of Americans say they would be unhappy if someone in their immediate family married a gun owner, while 17% say they would be happy (most say it wouldn’t matter to them).

    Most consistent liberals agree that it wouldn’t matter to them, but 31% say it would make them unhappy if someone in their immediate family married a gun owner while just 5% would be happy about it. Gun ownership draws far greater enthusiasm among consistent conservatives, 49% of whom would be happy to welcome a new gun-owning family member, and just 1% would be unhappy about it. For more on gun policy views, see Section 4.

    While the divides over whether a prospective in-law hasn’t attended college are comparatively small, liberals are somewhat likelier than conservatives to say they’d be unhappy with this (17% of consistent liberals would be unhappy, compared with 8% of consistent conservatives).

    Consistent Liberals, Conservatives Talk Politics More Often

    Most Americans don’t talk about politics all that frequently: 58% of the public discusses government and politics a few times a month or less, while 42% discuss politics more often.

    On average, Republicans talk about politics more frequently than Democrats (49% vs. 39% talk a few times a week or more), but discussions about politics are considerably more common among those with ideologically consistent views, on both the left and the right.



    About seven-in-ten (69%) consistent conservatives and six-in-ten (59%) consistent liberals talk about politics a few times a week or more; that compares with just 32% of those who are ideologically mixed. And while those who are mostly liberal in their views are no more likely to talk about politics than the ideologically mixed (just 34% do so at least a few times a week), those with mostly conservative positions are (48%).

    The Ideological Echo Chamber

    Not only do people who are ideologically consistent talk about politics more frequently than others, but they are also more likely to say their friends share their political views. This is particularly the case among consistent conservatives.

    Just 35% of Americans say “most of my close friends share my views on government and politics,” while about as many (39%) say “some of my friends share my views, but many do not.” About a quarter (26%) say: “I don’t really know what most of my close friends think about government and politics.”



    But among consistent conservatives, roughly twice as many say most of their close friends share their views as say many of their friends do not (63% vs. 30%). And among the mostly conservative, more also say their friends share their views (44% vs. 36%).

    Though consistent liberals are less likely than consistent conservatives to say most of their close friends share their political views, this is still the plurality opinion among this group: 49% say most of their friends share their views, while 39% say many of their friends do not share their views. Among both those who are ideologically mixed and those who are mostly liberal, just a quarter (25%) say most of their friends share their political views.

    Dislike the Party, Avoid the People

    These indicators suggest that there is a tendency on the left and the right to associate primarily with like-minded people, to the point of actively avoiding those who disagree. Not surprisingly, this tendency is also tightly entwined with the growing level of partisan antipathy. In both political parties, those with strongly negative views of the other side are more likely to be those who seek out compatible viewpoints.



    Roughly half (52%) of Republicans with a very unfavorable view of the Democratic Party say most of their friends share their political views, compared with 36% of Republicans with less antipathy for the Democratic Party. And the same pattern exists among Democrats. The more polarized Republicans and Democrats are also substantially more likely to say they prefer living in a community where most people share their political views.

    Not only do many of these polarized partisans gravitate toward like-minded people, but a significant share express a fairly strong aversion to people who disagree with them. Overall, 17% of Republicans say they would be unhappy if someone in their immediate family married a Democrat. But that aversion is three-times higher among Republicans who view the Democratic Party very negatively (29%) than among those with less negative views (10%).

    Similarly, Democrats with a very unfavorable view of the Republican Party are four times as likely as those with a mostly unfavorable view to say they would be unhappy if someone in their family married a Republican (28% vs. 7%).

    Polarized Views of Cable News

    Public perceptions of two major news sources – MSNBC and the Fox News Channel (FNC) – are deeply divided along ideological lines. And what stands apart the most are the negative views among those on the other side of the ideological spectrum.

    Notably, both of these news channels are viewed more favorably than unfavorably in the public at large, reflecting the fact that both receive generally favorable, or at least neutral, marks from people with mixed ideological views. In that regard, while consistent conservatives overwhelmingly express a positive view of the Fox News Channel (74% favorable), that is a more uniform expression of the generally favorable view found among the general public. By contrast, the strongly negative reaction to Fox News from consistent liberals – fully 73% view FNC unfavorably and just 8% favorably – stands starkly apart.



    The same pattern arises in views of MSNBC. Consistent conservatives are far-and-away the most likely to have an opinion of MSNBC, and it is overwhelmingly negative: 71% unfavorable and just 10% favorable. This stands in contrast to the positive balance of opinion from the public at large.

    One thing that differs when it comes to MSNBC is that it does not draw the same uniformly positive reviews from consistent liberals that FNC does from consistent conservatives. While nearly half (45%) of consistent liberals view MSNBC favorably, that’s not much better than how MSNBC rates among those with mixed ideological views (38%). Nearly half of consistent liberals offer no opinion of MSNBC. By contrast, the vast majority of consistent conservatives offer an opinion of Fox News, with 74% favorable and just 5% unfavorable.

    The Pew Research Center will dive much more deeply into the topic of media sources and polarization in a report later this year, exploring the relationship between actual media use and political polarization.


    Section 4: Political Compromise and Divisive Policy Debates

    The nation’s increasing ideological polarization makes political compromise more difficult, in part because those at opposite ends of the ideological spectrum see less benefit in meeting the other side halfway.

    A logical point of compromise for most Americans is splitting things down the middle. But a significant minority – and a substantial share of the active and engaged electorate – see things differently, saying their side should get more of what it wants in political negotiations.




    However, while they may be less amenable to political compromise, people on the left and the right are not necessarily more extreme in their policy views. To be sure, many Americans who have consistently liberal or conservative views support far-reaching policies on issues like gun control, abortion, health care or immigration. But in many cases they are no more likely to express these opinions than are those who hold a mixture of conservative and liberal views.

    The survey includes several questions about proposals that are on the periphery of current policy debates, such as whether to launch a national effort to deport all unauthorized immigrants and whether to eliminate all restrictions on gun ownership and abortion. Sizable minorities of those who hold mixed ideological views support many of these proposals. This belies the popular conception of the center as largely made up of “moderates,” in contrast to the “extremists” on the left and right.

    ‘50/50’ Agreements Preferred by Public

    When Americans look at the political battles between President Obama and Republicans in Congress, they tend to say both sides should meet in the middle. For roughly half of Americans (49%) the preferred outcome is to split the difference at exactly 50/50 — each getting about half of what they want.

    This view holds across party lines. While some Democrats would prefer to see Obama get more of what he wants in negotiations with Republicans, 46% of Democrats and Democratic-leaners say the ideal outcome is 50/50. Exactly half of Republicans and Republican-leaners agree that splitting the difference is the right end result.



    But those who see the world through more ideological lenses have a very different perspective. Only about a third (34%) of consistent liberals think of the ideal point as halfway between Obama and the Republicans. Instead, most (62%) think that any deal between the two sides should be closer to Obama’s position than the GOP’s position. And not by just a little bit: On average, consistent liberals say Obama should get two-thirds of what he wants, meeting congressional Republicans only one-third of the way. And 16% of consistent liberals think Obama should obtain 90% or more of what he wants in these deals.

    Those on the right also are reluctant to see their side give ground. On average, consistent conservatives say that ideally, congressional Republicans should get 66% of what they want, while Obama should get just 34% of what he wants. Nearly a quarter (22%) of consistent conservatives think that Republicans should get 90% or more of what they seek.

    Compromise in Principle vs. Compromise in Practice

    In principle, most Americans want their political leaders to compromise. A 56% majority prefers political leaders who “are willing to compromise,” while 39% prefer leaders who “stick to their positions.” And this preference has a decidedly ideological tilt: Consistent liberals overwhelmingly prefer leaders who compromise (by an 82% to 14% margin), while consistent conservatives voice a preference for leaders who stick to their positions, by a 63% to 32% margin.



    Despite liberals’ stated preference for compromise, however, they are about as likely as conservatives to want political agreements that favor their side. Although 82% of consistent liberals prefer leaders who compromise, 62% say the optimal deal between Obama and the GOP should be closer to what Obama wants. Among consistent conservatives, there is less of a contrast: 57% say that when Republicans and Obama need to strike a deal, Republicans should get more of what they want. That’s in line with the 63% majority who say they prefer leaders who stick to their positions.

    The Ideological “Center” Is Not Necessarily “Moderate”

    The survey includes questions on a number of current policy proposals, relating to immigration, health care, abortion, gun control and other issues. Those on both sides of these issues were asked follow-up questions intended to test how far they would go in support of a policy position.

    There is a tendency to assume that people at either end of the ideological scale are most likely to hold more extreme political views, yet this often is a flawed assumption. Many Americans may hold liberal or conservative values, yet do not consistently express very liberal or conservative opinions on issues. Conversely, being in the center of the ideological spectrum means only that a person has a mix of liberal and conservative values, not that they take moderate positions on all issues.

    Gun Control

    Take gun control as an example. In this survey, we update our long-standing trend on whether it is more important to protect gun rights or control gun ownership. Overall, 49% prioritize gun rights and 48% say it is more important to control gun ownership; these views are little changed from a year ago.

    And to capture more detail on how far people are willing to go on this issue, each of these groups was asked a follow-up question. Those who favor gun rights were asked if there should be some restrictions – or no restrictions – on gun ownership. Those who prioritize gun control were asked if most people should be allowed to own guns within limits, or if only law enforcement personnel should be allowed to own guns. Overall, most Americans expressed what might be considered a “moderate” view: They either prioritize gun rights but with some limits, or they prioritize gun control but support gun ownership with some limits. Smaller numbers take more unyielding positions: 11% support no restrictions on gun ownership, while about as many (12%) favor, in effect, a ban on personal gun ownership.



    Opinions on the threshold gun control question are deeply divided along ideological lines: 96% of consistent conservatives say it is more important to protect gun rights, while 81% of consistent liberals say it is more important to control gun ownership.

    Compared with this near-unanimity on general priorities, all-or-nothing proposals on guns attract relatively modest support from the right and left. Consistent conservatives are most likely to favor complete freedom to own guns. Still, that is the minority view: 60% favor gun rights but with some limits on gun ownership, while 34% say there should be no limits at all.

    And on the other side, just 16% of consistent liberals say that only law enforcement officials should have guns; 64% say they support gun control but that most people should still be able to own guns, within limits.

    Notably, about one-in-five (22%) of those with ideologically mixed views supports one of these positions. Their views are divided: 13% favor a virtual ban on people owning guns, while 9% would place no limits on gun ownership. Thus, those in the center ideologically are no less likely than those on the left, and only somewhat less likely than those on the right, to hold all-or-nothing views about gun ownership.

    Immigration: Beyond Path to Citizenship

    The congressional debate on immigration reform has centered on whether a “path to citizenship” for unauthorized immigrants in the U.S. should be included in legislation. Public opinion on this issue is lopsided, with 76% saying immigrants in the U.S. illegally should be eligible for citizenship if they meet certain requirements, while just 23% are opposed.

    Yet the issue remains contentious, at least in part because opposition goes significantly beyond the view that unauthorized immigrants should simply be denied an opportunity to become citizens. Most of those who oppose a path to citizenship – 17% out of the 23% – say there should be a national law enforcement effort to deport all immigrants who are living in the U.S. illegally.



    Support for deportation of all unauthorized immigrants is relatively high among consistent conservatives, 41% of whom take this position. But it draws support elsewhere as well: 28% of mostly conservative Americans take this view, as do 19% of those who show neither a conservative nor a liberal leaning.

    On the other side of the issue, those who back a path to citizenship were asked if unauthorized immigrants who meet certain conditions should be eligible for citizenship right away or only after a period of time. Most Americans (54%) think eligibility should come only after a period of time, while a much smaller share (20%) believes that unauthorized immigrants who meet the requirements should be eligible for citizenship right away.

    As with views of deportation, opinions about immediate eligibility are strongly associated with ideology; 45% of consistent liberals favor immediate citizenship. But many others hold this view too, including 18% of those who have virtually no ideological predisposition, and 7% of consistent conservatives.

    All told, 37% of non-ideological Americans support drastic changes in America’s immigration policies: 19% favor deportation of all unauthorized immigrants and 18% support immediate citizenship if conditions are met. That’s only slightly lower than the share of consistent liberals and consistent conservatives who favor such major changes (46% and 47%, respectively).

    Most Favor Middle Ground on Abortion

    Abortion remains one of the most divisive issues in American politics: The current survey finds 51% saying it should be legal in all or most cases, while 43% say it should be illegal in all or most cases, a balance of opinion little changed over the past decade or more.

    Yet abortion also is an issue on which the public generally supports a middle-ground approach. Most of those who support legal abortion say there should be some restrictions on abortion (31% of the public answers this way); just 19% say there should be no restrictions at all on abortion. Similarly, among abortion opponents, twice as many say abortion should be allowed “in some situations” as say it should “never be allowed” (28% of the public vs. 14%).



    Consistent liberals are far more likely than other groups to say there should be no restrictions on abortion. In fact, those who favor legal abortion (88%) are evenly divided (44%-43%) over whether there are some situations in which abortion should be restricted or there should be no restrictions on abortion.

    By comparison, only about one-in-five (21%) consistent conservatives support a total ban on abortions. In part, this reflects the fact that conservatives are less likely to oppose legal abortion than liberals are to support it (73% vs. 88%). Yet even among consistent conservatives who oppose abortion, most say it should be allowed in some situations; 51% of consistent conservatives oppose abortion, but say it should be allowed in some circumstances, more than double the share who thinks it should never be permitted.

    While opinions about abortion are correlated with ideology, many Americans who are not ideologically aligned still express unyielding views on this issue. Among those who hold a mixture of liberal and conservative opinions, 31% see the issue in black-or-white terms (14% say it should never be allowed, 16% say it should face no restrictions at all).

    Conflicted Views of NSA Surveillance

    The government’s surveillance program is an unusual issue in that it divides members of both parties. The current survey finds that 54% of Americans disapprove of the government’s collection of telephone and internet data as part of anti-terrorism efforts, while 41% approve. But most of those who disapprove (38% of all Americans) say the National Security Agency should be allowed to collect some limited information. Similarly, most who approve of the program (26% of all Americans) think there should still be some limits on what the NSA collects.



    Still, a minority of Americans – 30% overall – view the surveillance issue in essentially all-or-nothing terms. Fifteen percent not only approve of the program, but say “the NSA should be allowed to collect whatever data it needs.” And an identical 15% take the opposite view, not only disapproving of the program, but saying “the NSA should be prevented from collecting anydata about U.S. citizens.”

    Three-quarters of consistent conservatives (75%), as well as 53% of consistent liberals, disapprove of the government’s surveillance program. Yet conservatives and liberals are not any more likely than others to view the issue of government surveillance in stark terms. Among consistent liberals, as many say the NSA program should be prevented from collecting any data about U.S. citizens as say it should be able to collect whatever it feels it needs (12% and 13%, respectively.) Nearly a quarter (24%) of consistent conservatives want to shut down the program, while 7% say it should be unfettered.

    And these views aren’t limited to the ideologically oriented. Those with mixed ideological views are about as likely to have a relatively sweeping preference about government surveillance: 16% say, in effect, there should be no limits on the NSA’s data-collection program; 14% think it should not be able to collect any data on U.S. citizens.

    Government’s Role in Health Care

    The idea of a single-payer health care system – in which the government pays for all health care costs – has long been a dream of many liberals. But when Congress took up health care reform in 2009, Democrats united behind a market-based proposal – what became the Affordable Care Act – which was seen as more politically feasible.

    The current survey finds that government involvement in the health care system continues to draw extensive liberal support: Fully 89% of consistent liberals say it is the responsibility of the federal government to make sure all Americans have health care coverage. And roughly half – 54% – think health insurance “should be provided through a single national health insurance system run by the government.”



    Overall, the public is divided over how far the government should go in providing health care. About half (47%) say the government has a responsibility to make sure all Americans have health care coverage, while 50% say that is not the responsibility of the federal government.

    Those who believe the government does have a responsibility to ensure health coverage were asked if health insurance should be provided through a mix of private insurance companies and the government, or if the government alone should provide insurance. The single-payer option was supported by 21%, while about as many (23%) favor a mix of public and private insurance.

    On the other side of the issue, while half say it isn’t the government’s responsibility to make sure all have health care coverage, relatively few want the government to get out of the health care system entirely. Rather, 43% say it’s not the government’s responsibility to ensure health care coverage for all, but believe the government should “continue programs like Medicare and Medicaid for seniors and the very poor.” Only 6% of Americans go so far as to say the government “should not be involved in providing health insurance at all.”

    Even among consistent conservatives, there is minimal support for the government having absolutely no role in providing health care. Three-quarters of consistent conservatives (75%) say the government should continue Medicare and Medicaid while just 20% think the government should not be involved in providing health insurance.

    Social Security: Wide Opposition to Benefit Cuts

    The public, particularly younger Americans, are deeply skeptical about their chances for ever receiving full Social Security benefits when they retire. Among the overall public, just 14% expect that Social Security will have sufficient resources to provide the current level of benefits; 39% say there will be enough money to provide reduced benefits and 43% think that, when they retire, the program will be unable to provide any benefits.

    Despite the bleak public perceptions about the future of Social Security, most Americans (67%) say that benefits cuts should not be an option when thinking about Social Security’s long-term future. Just 31% say some reductions for future retirees need to be considered.

    When the majority who oppose benefits cuts is asked if the program should be expanded, or kept as it is, most support the status quo. Nearly four-in-ten Americans (37%) say benefits should remain as they are, yet roughly a quarter (27%) favor Social Security covering “more people with greater benefits.”

    Among those who say benefits reductions should be considered, very few (just 6% of the public overall) think Social Security should be phased out as a government program. Far more (24% of the public) think benefits should be maintained but at a reduced level.



    There is substantial agreement across the ideological spectrum on the question of whether benefit reductions should be considered: Majorities in every group, including 59% of consistent conservatives, say they should not. Support for expanded benefits is nearly as high among those with mixed ideological views (29% favor) as it is among consistent liberals (31%).

    The prospect of phasing out Social Security draws little support. No more than about one-in-ten in any group favors phasing out Social Security as a government program.


    Section 5: Political Engagement and Activism




    Political engagement can take on many different forms, including voting, contributing money to a candidate or political group, working or volunteering for a campaign, attending a campaign event or contacting an elected official. But on every measure of engagement, political participation is strongly related to ideology and partisan antipathy; those who hold consistently liberal or conservative views, and who hold strongly negative views of the other political party, are far more likely to participate in the political process than the rest of the nation.

    This results in a consistent “U-shaped” pattern, with higher levels of engagement on the right and left of the ideological spectrum, and lower levels in the center. But the shape of the curve varies across different types of participation. For example, when it comes to voting, the peak is much higher on the right than on the left: 78% of those who are consistently conservative say they always vote, compared with 58% of consistent liberals. But on both sides, the propensity to vote falls among those whose ideological views are more mixed. At the center, just 39% of those who hold a mix of liberal and conservative values describe themselves as regular voters. That is half the rate of consistent conservatives.

    When it comes to who makes political donations, these disparities are even more pronounced. Nationwide, 15% of adults report having made a donation to a candidate running for public office or to a group working to elect a candidate in the last two years. But donation rates are roughly double the national average among ideologically consistent liberals (31% have donated money) and conservatives (26%). Just 8% of those with mixed ideological views have donated to a candidate or campaign in the past two years.

    The fact that the peak donation rate is slightly higher on the left than on the right might be surprising, but this includes more small donations from liberals than conservatives. Just 4% of Americans say their contributions in the past two years have added up to $250 or more, including a roughly equal number of consistent liberals (7%) and consistent conservatives (8%).

    Regardless of the amount, there is an ideological skew in campaign donations: Put together, people on the ideological right and left are considerably more likely than those who are ideologically mixed to have made a campaign donation in the past two years (29% vs. 8%) or to have donated $250 or more (7% vs. 2%).

    This pattern is also evident across other types of political engagement, including contacting an elected official, attending a campaign event, and working or volunteering for a candidate or campaign. In each instance, people at the ideological left and right are more than twice as likely to be active participants in the political process compared with those who hold a roughly equal mix of liberal and conservative values.



    To be sure, there are many factors that correlate strongly with voting, engagement and political activism: Age, education and income are among the most prominent. Yet even after controlling for these and other demographic factors known to be associated with higher levels of participation, the relationship between ideological consistency and engagement persists.

    Partisan Antipathy and Political Engagement

    The current political landscape is marked not just by increased ideological uniformity, but also by growing political animosity, as partisans see the other side in starkly negative terms. Today, nearly all Democrats and Republicans – including those who only lean toward one or the other political party – view the other party unfavorably, with a steep increase in the share with very unfavorable views.



    Holding a strongly negative view of one’s political adversaries is also a substantial factor driving political engagement. Among both Republicans and Democrats, those who see the other side in very unfavorable terms are significantly more likely to be regular voters, to make campaign donations, and to participate in the political process in other ways.

    For example, among Republicans, 68% of those who have a very negative view of the Democratic Party say they always vote, compared with only half of those with a mostly negative opinion. Republicans who strongly dislike the Democratic Party are much more likely to have made a political donation in the past two years (23% vs. 12%), to have contacted an elected official (42% vs. 30%), or to have volunteered or worked for a campaign (9% vs. 5%).

    The same pattern holds among Democrats, though to a slightly lesser extent; 58% of Democrats who have a very unfavorable view of the Republican Party say they always vote, compared with 46% of those who have a mostly unfavorable view. And Democrats who strongly dislike the Republican Party are more likely to have made a political donation in the past two years (22% vs. 14%) to have attended a campaign event (20% vs. 14%) and to have volunteered or worked for a campaign (12% vs. 8%).

    Polarization and the Primaries

    All of these patterns hold when it comes to participating in party primaries as well. About four-in-ten (43%) Republicans who have a very unfavorable view of the Democratic Party say they always vote in primaries, compared with 27% of those with less negative views. The same is true on the Democratic side; those with deeply negative views are 12 points more likely to say they always participate in the primaries (33% vs. 21%).



    Similarly, most consistent conservatives (54%) say they always vote in primaries, higher than the 34% of consistent liberals who say the same. But both of these groups are far more likely to vote than are people with a roughly even mix of liberal and conservative views, just 18% of whom say they always vote in primaries.

    Ideology and Antipathy Add Up



    To be sure, those who are ideologically consistent – on both ends of the spectrum – tend to have a deeper dislike of the opposing party than those who are less ideological. But even after controlling for ideology, antipathy toward the other party remains a strong predictor of participation in political activities. And those who are both ideologically consistent and have a very negative view of the other party are even more likely to be engaged. Fully 83% of Republicans in this category say they always vote, compared with 70% of consistently conservative Republicans who say they have a mostly unfavorable view of the Democratic Party. Democrats who are consistently liberal and have a very negative opinion of the Republican Party are 19 percentage points more likely to say they always vote than consistently liberal Democrats who have a less negative view of the GOP.

    More Politically Engaged, But Not a Majority

    Because political participation and activism are so much higher among the more ideologically polarized elements of the population, these voices are over-represented in the political process. Even so, they do not make up the majority of voters, donors or campaign activists.

    Nationwide, 21% are either consistently liberal or consistently conservative in their political values. But these people make up a larger share of the electorate – 28% of people who say they always vote and 34% of those who always vote in primaries.

    This pattern is even stronger at higher levels of activism. Consistent liberals and conservatives make up 41% of the people who have made a campaign donation over the past two years – double their presence in the public at large.



    Yet even here, those with ideological viewpoints are not the only participants in the process, as most campaign donors express mixed views or only mostly liberal or conservative views.

    In short, while the left and the right may speak louder in the political process, they do not necessarily drown out other elements of the public entirely. And this may be one reason why, even in lower-turnout primaries, the more ideological candidates do not always carry the day.


    For Further Reading

    This study draws upon a rich set of existing research on the topics of political polarization and ideological consistency in the American public, from both academics and political journalists. The books and articles listed below (by no means a comprehensive list) address many of the aspects of polarization discussed in this report and may be a good starting point for those looking to dive deeper into the topic.

    In addition, The Washington Post’s Monkey Cage blog series about political polarization, which ran earlier this year, is a useful primer on the topic. It includes entries from several of the authors below, as well as many other scholars on the topic. See the bottom of the last piece in the series for links to the full list of entries.

    Some Further Reading

    Abramowitz, Alan I. 2013. The Polarized Public?: Why American Government Is So Dysfunctional.

    Bishop, Bill. 2008. The Big Sort: Why the Clustering of Like-Minded America Is Tearing Us Apart.

    Broockman, David. 2014. “Approaches to Studying Representation” Working Paper, University of California, Berkeley.

    Fiorina, Morris P., Samuel J. Abrams and Jeremy C. Pope. 2011. Culture War? The Myth of a Polarized America. Third edition.

    Gilbert, Craig. 2014. “Dividing Lines.” Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

    Hetherington, Marc J. 2009. “Review Article: Putting Polarization in Perspective.” British Journal of Political Science.

    Iyengar, Shanto, Gaurav Sood and Yphtach Lelkes. 2012. “Affect, Not Ideology: A Social Identity Perspective on Polarization.” Public Opinion Quarterly.

    McCarty, Nolan, Keith T. Poole, and Howard Rosenthal. 2006. Polarized America: The Dance of Ideology and Unequal Riches. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.

    Pietro S. Nivola and David W. Brady (eds.). 2006. Red and Blue Nation?: Characteristics and Causes of America’s Polarized Politics. Washington, DC: Brookings.

    Prior, Markus. 2013. “Media and Political Polarization.” Annual Review of Political Science.


    Appendix A: The Ideological Consistency Scale

    Throughout this report we utilize a scale composed of 10 questions asked on Pew Research Center surveys going back to 1994 to gauge the extent to which people offer mostly liberal or mostly conservative views across a range of political value dimensions. In short, while there is no ex-ante reason for people’s views on diverse issues such as the social safety net, homosexuality and military strength to correlate, these views have a traditional “left/right” association, and the scale measures this growing correlation over time.



    The individual questions in the scale are shown here. The topline shows the long term trends on these items, and Section 1 tracks the partisan divides on each question since 1994.

    Individual questions were recoded as follows: “-1” for a liberal response, “+1” for a conservative response, “0” for other (don’t know/refused/volunteered) responses. As a result, scores on the full scale range from -10 (liberal responses to all 10 questions) to +10 (conservative responses to all 10 questions). For analytical purposes, respondents are grouped into one of five categories, which are used throughout the report, as follows:


    • Consistently conservative (+7 to +10)
    • Mostly conservative (+3 to +6)
    • Mixed (-2 to +2)
    • Mostly liberal (-6 to -3)
    • Consistently liberal (-10 to -7)


    To put these figures in perspective, a respondent offering five liberal and five conservative views, or six of one and four of the other, would be considered as having “mixed” ideological views. Someone offering seven conservative and three liberal responses, or eight and two, would be considered “mostly conservative.” And any respondents offering nine conservative and one liberal response, or all ten conservative, would be considered “consistently conservative.” Since some people do not answer every question, other combinations are possible.

    The graphics in the ideological consistency section and the engagement section use the full set of points on the scale (note that graphics in the ideological consistency section are smoothed by showing the average of two consecutive points on the scale).



    Any ideological index has its limitations because defining what it means to be liberal and conservative is inherently controversial. As we have illustrated elsewhere, American political thinking is multidimensional, and any effort to “flatten” ideology to a single left/right dimension may miss this rich texture.

    But our purpose here is to study the concept of ideological “consistency” – or the share of Americans who hold liberal or conservative views across a range of values dimensions; this is also sometimes referred to as “ideological constraint” or “ideological sorting” by political scientists and other researchers.

    Because the focus is on change over time, we are limited to a set of questions that were invented 20 years ago, and this creates imperfections. For example, the elements of the index do not cover more recent value divides, such as surveillance or terrorism.

    In addition, while the range of the scale (from -10, all liberal responses, to +10, all conservative responses) remains the same throughout the period of study, the “center” of the American public does shift. For instance, in 2014 the mean on the scale is -0.6, slightly to the left; in 1994 the mean score was slightly to the right (+0.6). To a large extent, this shift reflects an overall societal shift to the left on two issues: homosexuality and immigration.

    This overall shift does not necessarily mean that the average American is more liberal than conservative because the mean is now less than zero. But it does mean that people on the liberal end of the scale are now somewhat closer to the center of the scale than are those at the conservative end. As a result, the relative sizes of the “consistently liberal” and “consistently conservative” groups are not strictly comparable. That is, because of the scale’s construction, we would not definitively conclude that there are more consistent liberals (12%) than consistent conservatives (9%) today. Yet the changes over time—e.g., the overall increase in the proportion who are consistently liberal or conservative—and the differences in attitudes and behaviors across groups, are robust even when alternative definitions that account for the scaling differences are used.


    Appendix B: Why We Include Leaners With Partisans

    Throughout this report, the analysis of partisan attitudes combines both those who identify with and those who lean toward the parties. In many respects, those who lean toward the parties—even if they identify as independent—have attitudes and behaviors that are very similar to those of partisans. That most leaners are “closet partisans” has been observed by many political scientists (see here and here for a few recent examples of this discussion). And we have remarked on this in prior Pew Research Center studies, including in our 2012 Values poll—see the end of section one of the Values report for a discussion.

    And this pattern is again evident when it comes to the two dimensions of polarization discussed in this report: ideological consistency and partisan acrimony.



    On the first, discussed here, leaners’ ideological positions largely overlap those of partisans. And as Republicans have become more conservative, and Democrats more liberal, leaners have moved along with them.

    Over the last two decades, Republican leaners have been, on average, just slightly less conservative than Republicans overall. For instance, today, 57% of Republican identifiers and 47% of Republican leaners are consistently or mostly conservative. By contrast, just 5% of Democratic leaners are mostly or consistently conservative (see Appendix A for a discussion of the ideological consistency scale).



    The positions of those who identify as Democrats and those who lean toward the Democratic Party are nearly identical over this time period: 57% of Democrats and 54% of Democratic leaners are consistently or mostly liberal today. When the two groups did diverge in 2004, Democratic leaners were somewhat more likely than Democrats to be to the left of center.

    And the dislike of the opposing party discussed here is almost as acute among leaners as partisans. Today, nearly as many Republican leaners (40%) as Republicans (46%) express very unfavorable opinions of the Democratic Party, and the steep growth in deeply negative views is seen in both groups.

    On the left, Democratic leaners are somewhat less likely than Democratic identifiers to hold strongly negative views of Republicans (42% of Democrats and 30% of Democratic leaners have a very unfavorable opinion of the GOP). Still, the overall growth in antipathy is just as pronounced among leaners as among Democrats.



    Overall, it would have been possible to combine these two groups of “leaners” into a single “independent” category to contrast with Republicans and Democrats (that line is plotted in the middle of the above graphics). But combining these two dramatically different groups would be misleading; these are two groups that have little in common with each other, and far more in common with self-identified partisans.


    About the Surveys

    The data in this report are based on two independent survey administrations with the same randomly selected, nationally representative group of respondents. The first is the center’s largest survey on domestic politics to date: the 2014 Political Polarization and Typology Survey, a telephone survey of just over 10,000 Americans. The second involved impaneling a subset of these respondents into the newly created American Trends Panel and following up with them via a survey conducted by web and telephone. The two surveys are described separately, in further detail, in the section that follows.

    Overview of Telephone Survey Methodology

    Most of the analysis in this report is based on telephone interviews conducted January 23-March 16, 2014 among a randomly selected national sample of 10,013 adults, 18 years of age or older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia (5010 respondents were interviewed on a landline, and 5003 were interviewed on a cellphone, including 2,649 who had no landline telephone). The survey was conducted under the direction of Abt SRBI. A combination of landline and cellphone random digit dial samples were used; both samples were provided by Survey Sampling International. Interviews were conducted in English and Spanish. Respondents in the landline sample were selected by randomly asking for the youngest adult male or female who was at home at the time of the call. Interviews in the cell sample were conducted with the person who answered the phone, if that person was an adult 18 years of age or older. For detailed information about our survey methodology, see http://people-press.org/methodology/.

    Data collection was divided equally into three phases (A, B, and C) with independent samples, non-overlapping interview dates and separate weighting. The questionnaire for each phase contained a core set of measures of political attitudes and values, political engagement and demographic characteristics, along with a set of unique questions about issues, lifestyle, media use and other topics covered in this series of reports. Additionally, most respondents to the survey were invited to join the newly created Pew Research Center’s American Trends Panel, described below.

    The combined landline and cellphone sample is weighted using an iterative technique that matches gender, age, education, race, Hispanic origin and nativity and region to parameters from the 2012 Census Bureau’s American Community Survey and population density to parameters from the 2010 U.S. Census. The sample also is weighted to match current patterns of telephone status (landline only, cellphone only, or both landline and cellphone), based on extrapolations from the 2013 National Health Interview Survey. The weighting procedure accounts for the fact that respondents with both landline and cellphones have a greater probability of being included in the combined sample and adjusts for household size among respondents with a landline phone. Sampling errors and statistical tests of significance take into account the effect of weighting.

    The following table shows the unweighted sample sizes and the error attributable to sampling that would be expected at the 95% level of confidence for different groups in the survey:



    Sample sizes and sampling errors for other subgroups are available upon request.

    In addition to sampling error, one should bear in mind that question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of opinion polls.

    Telephone Survey Methodology in Detail

    Sample Design

    A combination of landline and cellphone random digit dial samples were used; both samples were provided by Survey Sampling International. Landline and cellphone numbers were sampled to yield an equal number of landline and cellphone interviews.

    The design of the landline sample ensures representation of both listed and unlisted numbers (including those not yet listed) by using random digit dialing. This method uses random generation of the last two digits of telephone numbers selected on the basis of the area code, telephone exchange and bank number. A bank is defined as 100 contiguous telephone numbers, for example 800-555-1200 to 800-555-1299. The telephone exchanges are selected to be proportionally stratified by county and by telephone exchange within the county. That is, the number of telephone numbers randomly sampled from within a given county is proportional to that county’s share of telephone numbers in the U.S. Only banks of telephone numbers containing one or more listed residential numbers are selected.

    The cellphone sample is drawn through systematic sampling from dedicated wireless banks of 1,000 contiguous numbers and shared service banks with no directory-listed landline numbers (to ensure that the cellphone sample does not include banks that are also included in the landline sample). The sample is designed to be representative, both geographically and by large and small wireless carriers.

    Both the landline and cell samples are released for interviewing in replicates, which are small random samples of each larger sample. Using replicates to control the release of telephone numbers ensures that the complete call procedures are followed for all numbers dialed. The use of replicates also improves the overall representativeness of the survey by helping to ensure that the regional distribution of numbers called is appropriate.

    Respondent Selection

    Respondents in the landline sample were selected by randomly asking for the youngest male or female, 18 years of age or older who was at home at the time of the call (for half of the households interviewers ask to speak with the youngest male first, and for the other half the youngest female). If there is no eligible person of the requested gender at home, interviewers ask to speak with the youngest adult of the opposite gender now at home. This method of selecting respondents within households improves participation among young people, who are often more difficult to interview than older people because of their lifestyles, but this method is not a random sampling of members of the household.

    Unlike a landline phone, a cellphone is assumed in Pew Research polls to be a personal device. Interviewers ask if the person who answers the cellphone is 18 years of age or older to determine if the person is eligible to complete the survey; interviewers also confirm that the person is not driving and is in a safe place. For those in the cell sample, no effort is made to give other household members a chance to be interviewed. Although some people share cellphones, it is still uncertain whether the benefits of sampling among the users of a shared cellphone outweigh the disadvantages.

    Interviewing

    Interviewing was conducted under the direction of Abt SRBI. Interviews were conducted in English and Spanish. Data collection was divided equally into three phases (A, B and C) with independent samples, non-overlapping interview dates and separate weighting. The questionnaire for each phase contained a core set of measures of political attitudes and values, political engagement and demographic characteristics, along with a set of unique questions about issues, lifestyle, media use and other topics covered in this series of reports.

    As many as seven attempts were made to complete an interview at every sampled landline and cellphone number. Calls were staggered over times of day and days of the week (including at least one daytime call) to maximize the chances of making contact with a potential respondent. An effort was made to recontact most interview breakoffs or refusals to attempt to convert them to completed interviews. People reached on cellphones were offered $5 compensation for the minutes used to complete the survey. Additionally, most respondents to the survey were invited to join the newly created Pew Research Center’s American Trends Panel (see below).

    Overall, the response rate was 11.2% for the landline sample and 9.8% for the cell sample. The response rate is the percentage of known or assumed residential households for which a completed interview was obtained, and is computed using the American Association for Public Opinion Research’s method for Response Rate 3 (RR3) as outlined in their Standard Definitions.

    Weighting

    The landline sample is first weighted by household size to account for the fact that people in larger households have a lower probability of being selected. In addition, the combined landline and cellphone sample is weighted to adjust for the overlap of the landline and cell frames (since people with both a landline and cellphone have a greater probability of being included in the sample), including the relative size of each frame and each sample.

    The sample is then weighted to population parameters using an iterative technique that matches gender, age, education, race, Hispanic origin and nativity, region, population density and telephone usage. The population parameters for gender, age, education, race/ethnicity and region are from the Census Bureau’s 2012 American Community Survey (ACS) one-year estimates, and the parameter for population density is from the 2010 U.S. Census. The parameter for telephone usage (landline only, cellphone only, both landline and cellphone) is based on extrapolations from the 2013 National Health Interview Survey. The specific weighting parameters are: gender by age, gender by education, age by education, race/ethnicity (including Hispanic origin and nativity), region, density and telephone usage; non-Hispanic whites are also balanced on age, education and region. The weighting procedure simultaneously balances the distributions of all weighting parameters. The final weights are trimmed to prevent individual cases from having a disproportionate influence on the final results.

    Weighting cannot eliminate every source of nonresponse bias. Nonetheless, properly-conducted public opinion polls have a good record of obtaining unbiased samples.

    Sampling Error

    Sampling error results from collecting data from some, rather than all, members of the population. The 2014 Political Polarization and Typology Survey of 10,013 adults had a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 1.1 percentage points with a 95% confidence interval. This means that in 95 out of every 100 samples of the same size and type, the results we obtain would vary by no more than plus or minus 1.1 percentage points from the result we would get if we could interview every member of the population. Thus, the chances are very high (95 out of 100) that any sample we draw will be within 1.1 points of the true population value. The margins of error reported and statistical tests of significance are adjusted to account for the survey’s design effect, a measure of how much efficiency is lost from the weighting procedures.

    Many of the findings in this report are based on parts of the sample, such as the interviews in a single phase of the study (approximate sample size 3,333) or on subgroups such as Democrats or women. The sampling error for these will be larger than for the total sample. Sampling error for frequently-cited subgroups and for the individual phases are reported above.

    The American Trends Panel Survey

    The American Trends Panel (ATP), created by the Pew Research Center and first introduced in this report, is a nationally representative panel of randomly selected U.S. adults living in households. Respondents who self-identify as internet users (representing 89% of U.S. adults) participate in the panel via monthly self-administered Web surveys, and those who do not use the internet participate via telephone or mail. The panel is being managed by Abt SRBI.

    Data in this report are drawn from the first wave of the panel, conducted March 19-April 29, 2014 among 3,308 respondents (2,901 by Web and 407 by phone). The margin of sampling error for the full sample of 3,308 respondents is plus or minus 2.2 percentage points.

    All current members of the American Trends Panel were originally recruited from the 2014 Political Polarization and Typology Survey, a large (n=10,013) national landline and cellphone random digit dial (RDD) survey conducted January 23rd to March 16th, 2014, in English and Spanish. At the end of that survey, respondents were invited to join the panel. The invitation was extended to all respondents who use the internet (from any location) and a random subsample of respondents who do not use the internet.1

    Of the 10,013 adults interviewed, 9,809 were invited to take part in the panel. A total of 5,338 agreed to participate and provided either a mailing address or an email address to which a welcome packet, a monetary incentive and future survey invitations could be sent. Panelists also receive a small monetary incentive after participating in each wave of the survey.

    The ATP data were weighted in a multi-step process that begins with a base weight incorporating the respondents’ original survey selection probability and the fact that some panelists were subsampled for invitation to the panel. Next, an adjustment was made for the fact that the propensity to join the panel varied across different groups in the sample. The final step in the weighting uses an iterative technique that matches gender, age, education, race, Hispanic origin, telephone service, population density and region to parameters from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2012 American Community Survey. It also adjusts for party affiliation using an average of the three most recent Pew Research Center general public telephone surveys, and for internet use using as a parameter a measure from the 2014 Survey of Political Polarization. Sampling errors and statistical tests of significance take into account the effect of weighting.

    The Web component of the first wave had a response rate of 61% (2,901 responses among 4,753 Web-based individuals enrolled in the panel); the telephone component had a response rate of 70% (407 responses among 585 non-Web individuals enrolled in the panel). Taking account of the response rate for the 2014 Survey of Political Polarization (10.6%), the cumulative response rate for the first ATP wave is 3.6%.

    Key Shareable Findings

    Republicans and Democrats are more divided along ideological lines – and partisan acrimony is deeper and more extensive – than at any point in recent history. And these trends manifest themselves in myriad ways, both in politics and everyday life.

    Growing Ideological Consistency
    As ideological consistency has become more common it is also increasingly aligned with partisanship.




    Growing Partisan Antipathy

    The level of antipathy that Republicans and Democrats feel toward the opposing party has surged over the past two decades.






    Political Polarization and Personal Life

    Those on the opposite ends of the ideological spectrum disagree about everything from the type of community in which they prefer to live to the type of people they would welcome into their families.





    Political Compromise and Divisive Policy Debates

    The nation’s increasing ideological polarization makes political compromise more difficult, in part because those at opposite ends of the ideological spectrum see less benefit in meeting the other side halfway.




    Political Engagement and Activism

    Those who hold consistently liberal or conservative views, and who hold strongly negative views of the other political party, are far more likely to participate in the political process than the rest of the nation.



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    Default Re: Will America Break Up?

    Here's a couple articles on the study.



    Polarization Is Dividing American Society, Not Just Politics

    June 12, 2014

    It is common for Americans to lament the polarization and dysfunction of Washington, but Congress might be doing a better job of representing the public than voters care to admit.

    According to a new study from Pew Research, Republicans and Democrats in Congress aren’t the only partisans who deeply distrust people from the other side of the aisle. Liberals and conservatives prefer to associate with and live near their fellow partisans. They would be unhappy if their children married someone with a different political viewpoint. The result isn’t just polarized politics, but a divided society where liberals and conservatives increasingly keep apart.

    Although the ideological difference between primary and general election voters in each party is modest, the Pew study found that the most ideological voters were the most energized and the likeliest to participate in primaries, a tendency on display in the defeat of Eric Cantor in the Virginia Republican primary on Tuesday.

    The study is not the first to suggest that American politics are sorting along ideological lines. But it is based on a survey of 10,000 Americans, roughly 10 times the size of the average political poll. Respondents were asked novel questions about lifestyle, not just policy preferences.

    Partisanship and ideology didn’t neatly line up for much of the 20th century, but the voters of both parties have now become more ideologically homogeneous than ever before. Among politically engaged voters (those who almost always vote), the sorting of liberals and conservatives into the two parties is complete: 99 percent of politically engaged Republicans are more conservative than the median Democrat, while 98 percent of engaged Democrats are more liberal than the median Republican. That’s up from 88 and 84 percent, respectively, in 2004.

    Because the two parties have now relitigated the same cultural and economic issues for several elections in a row, voters have learned what each party stands for and have found their way into the appropriate camps, thus ending the political upheaval that followed the collapse of the post-Civil War party system, when Republicans lost their hold on the North and then Democrats lost their grip on the South.

    The result is an electorate that’s more likely to demand ideologically consistent candidates — like the Virginia voters who threw out Mr. Cantor — and partisans who are less likely to support the other party in national elections. It makes it harder to forge bipartisan legislation that commands the broad support necessary to overcome a filibuster or pass both halves of Congress. If the Democrats have an advantage in national elections, it will be harder for the G.O.P. to change its policies, and there might be fewer voters open to persuasion.

    The rise in the number of self-identified independents has done little to stem the trend toward ideological and partisan polarization. Most independents lean toward a political party and exhibit viewpoints that are very similar to those of self-identified partisans, even on questions like ideological consistency.
    Continue reading the main story

    What is more clearly illuminated here is the extent to which partisan and ideological animosity is dividing American society.

    Twenty-seven percent of Democrats and 36 percent of Republicans see the other party as a threat to the nation’s well-being. Consistent liberals and consistent conservatives, those who hold nearly uniform liberal or conservative beliefs, are even more alarmed: 50 percent of consistent liberals and 66 percent of consistent conservatives see the other party as a threat to the nation.

    The animosity is so deep that many would be unhappy if a close relative married someone of a different political persuasion: 23 percent of consistent liberals would be unhappy if an immediate family member married a conservative, and 30 percent of consistent conservatives would be unhappy if a close relative married a Democrat.

    Other marital preferences indirectly uphold the partisan divide. Twenty-seven percent of consistent liberals would be unhappy if an immediate family member married a born-again Christian. Conversely, 23 percent of conservatives would be unhappy if a close relative married someone of a different race, compared to 1 percent of consistent liberals.

    The survey shows that liberals and conservatives have self-segregating preferences, with many explicitly preferring to live around people with similar political views, and others expressing preferences that indirectly lead them toward communities dominated by their fellow partisans.

    Twenty-eight percent of Americans say it’s important to live in a place where most people share their political views, including 50 percent of voters with consistently conservative beliefs and 35 percent of consistent liberals.

    Nonpartisan lifestyle preferences indirectly reinforce the partisan divide. Consistently liberal Americans want to live in walkable communities with smaller homes by a huge 77-21 margin, while three-quarters of consistently conservative Americans would rather live in communities with larger homes, but where schools and other amenities are miles away. Just 4 percent of consistent conservatives say they’d prefer to live in a city, compared with 46 percent of consistent liberals.

    Religion and diversity also factor into living choices. Fifty-seven percent of consistent conservatives say it’s important to live in a place where many share their religious faith, compared with just 17 percent of consistent liberals; 76 percent of consistent liberals say it’s important to live in an area with a mix of people from different racial or ethnic backgrounds, compared with 20 percent of consistent conservatives.

    The poll does not prove that Americans are acting on these lifestyle preferences. But the results are highly consistent with the growing geographic polarization of America, where urban areas vote overwhelmingly Democratic, and rural and exurban areas, like Mr. Cantor’s district, vote overwhelmingly for Republicans.

    The urban-rural divide is at the heart of the polarization of Congress. There would be many more competitive districts if Democrats and Republicans were fairly evenly dispersed across the country, as they were for most of the middle of the 20th century.

    But geographic polarization means that there are few areas where it is even possible to draw a district full of persuadable voters.

    The tendency for liberals and conservatives to self-segregate most likely reinforces the ideological and partisan divide, as voters silo themselves into echo chambers where dissenting opinions are rare. Consistent liberals and consistent conservatives now make up 20 percent of the electorate, up from just 7 percent a decade ago.

    Voters, then, are not simply sorting into the appropriate political party; they are gradually adopting more consistently liberal or conservative viewpoints.

    These more ideological voters are also disproportionately influential. They are the most energized voters and the likeliest to contribute to political campaigns. They are less likely to support compromise. And they’re the likeliest to participate in primaries, like Tuesday’s contest in Virginia.




    Americans Increasingly See Opposing Party As 'Threat' To Nation

    June 12, 2014

    More than one-third of Republicans and just over a quarter of Democrats see the other party as a “threat to the nation’s well-being,” reflecting a widening partisan division in the country that has congealed into animosity and distrust.

    Through two decades of political battling across the presidencies of Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, the ideological divisions among Americans have deepened. The percentage of Americans who hold consistently liberal or conservative views has sharply increased, and the antipathy between the two groups has shot upward.

    Among those with a high level of political engagement – consistently voting in elections and following government and politics carefully – nearly half say they would go so far as to describe the other side as a threat to the country.

    Although a majority of Americans do not hold such consistent ideological views, those who do have a disproportionate influence on elections. They engage much more in politics, vote more consistently, especially in primaries, and give much more money to candidates.

    They also increasingly live cut off from adherents of the opposite party, choosing friends and picking places to live that reinforce their political outlooks.

    Those findings come from an unusually extensive survey of more than 10,000 adults conducted by the Pew Research Center.

    The results show how the partisan divisions that have gridlocked Congress reflect an increasingly deep and often bitter division at the grass roots. And although Americans overall express frustration with Congress and say they want to see lawmakers compromise more, the most politically engaged on both sides define a successful compromise as a deal in which their side gets most of what it wants.

    A decade ago, only about 10% Americans held consistent liberal or conservative views across a broad range of issues on which Pew has repeatedly polled. The issues include the role of government, attitudes toward the poor and racial and ethnic minorities, environmental policies and the use of military force overseas.

    Today, that share has doubled, to 20%. An additional 40% of Americans hold mostly consistent views.

    As the number of ideologically consistent people has increased, they have become more clearly sorted by party: Many more Democrats are consistently liberal and more Republicans consistently conservative.

    As a result, the two parties are more ideologically separate than they have been for decades, with less and less overlap between their backers. That’s true even though Pew included people who identify as independents in its survey. The vast majority of self-described independents, this survey and others show, lean toward one party or the other, and their views are nearly indistinguishable from those who openly espouse a partisan affiliation.

    Overall, 34% of the adults surveyed held consistent or mostly consistent liberal views and 27% held consistent or mostly consistent conservative opinions. That contrasts somewhat with Americans' self-descriptions of their ideologies. When asked, 23% of those surveyed called themselves liberal and 36% conservative. The reason for the disparity is largely that more than one-third of those who hold consistently or mostly liberal views self-identify as moderates.

    Personal preferences beyond politics reinforce those divisions. More than three-quarters of consistently liberal Americans say they would prefer to live in a place where houses are “smaller and closer together, but schools, stores and restaurants are within walking distance.” A similar percentage of consistent conservatives say they would prefer a place where “houses are larger and farther apart, but schools, stores and restaurants are several miles away.”

    Reality bears out those preferences: The survey showed what election results have demonstrated, that Democrats are an urban party while Republicans dominate in rural areas.

    Liberals, regardless of their race, say that ethnic and racial diversity in their neighborhoods are important to them. They also express a strong preference for living in a place that has museums and theaters. Conservatives express little interest in either of those factors in a neighborhood, but more than half say it is important to them to live in a place where many share their religious faith.

    Just under 4 in 10 Americans held mixed views in the survey. Their views are not necessarily more moderate than the ideologically consistent voters. Instead, what stands out about them is their relative disengagement from politics. They’re less likely to register to vote, don’t show up at the polls as frequently even when they do register, and don’t pay as much attention to politics and government.

    By contrast, those with the greatest ideological consistency report talking about politics much more often than other Americans.

    They mostly seem to have those conversations with like-minded people. Among consistent conservatives, more than 6 in 10 say most of their close friends share their political views. About half of consistent liberals say the same.

    That’s no accident. The most politically engaged voters on both sides increasingly hold deeply unfavorable views of the other side. The level of antipathy has increased markedly over two decades, and dislike of the other side has become a major motivator for political engagement.

    Just under 4 in 10 Democrats and just over 4 in 10 Republicans report holding “very unfavorable” views of the other party, a level that has more than doubled since the early years of Clinton’s tenure. The dislike deepens among the most ideological, with nearly three-quarters of consistent conservatives saying they hold a “very unfavorable” view of the Democrats and just over half of consistent liberals saying the same about the GOP.

    Among those with very unfavorable views of the other side, more than one-third say it is important to them to live in “a place where most people share my political views.” Just about 3 in 10 in both groups say they would be unhappy if someone in their families married a person from the other party.

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    Jindal Says Rebellion Brewing Against Washington

    June 22, 2014

    Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal on Saturday night accused President Barack Obama and other Democrats of waging wars against religious liberty and education and said that a rebellion is brewing in the U.S. with people ready for "a hostile takeover" of the nation's capital.

    Jindal spoke at the annual conference hosted by the Faith and Freedom Coalition, a group led by longtime Christian activist Ralph Reed. Organizers said more than 1,000 evangelical leaders attended the three-day gathering. Republican officials across the political spectrum concede that evangelical voters continue to play a critical role in GOP politics.

    "I can sense right now a rebellion brewing amongst these United States," Jindal said, "where people are ready for a hostile takeover of Washington, D.C., to preserve the American Dream for our children and grandchildren."

    The governor said there was a "silent war" on religious liberty being fought in the U.S. — a country that he said was built on that liberty.

    "I am tired of the left. They say they're for tolerance, they say they respect diversity. The reality is this: They respect everybody unless you happen to disagree with them," he said. "The left is trying to silence us and I'm tired of it, I won't take it anymore."

    Earlier this week, Jindal signed an executive order to block the use of tests tied to Common Core education standards in his state, a position favored by tea party supporters and conservatives. He said he would continue to fight against the administration's attempts to implement Common Core.

    "The federal government has no role, no right and no place dictating standards in our local schools across these 50 states of the United States of America," Jindal said.

    Jindal used humor in criticizing the Obama administration on several fronts, referencing the Bergdahl prisoner exchange and the deadly attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya.

    "Are we witnessing right now the most radically, extremely liberal, ideological president of our entire lifetime right here in the United States of America, or are we witnessing the most incompetent president of the United States of America in the history of our lifetimes? You know, it is a difficult question," he said. "I've thought long and hard about it. Here's the only answer I've come up with, and I'm going to quote Secretary Clinton: 'What difference does it make?'"

    The conference featured most of the well-known Republicans considering a 2016 presidential run, including Gov. Chris Christie, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul. Jindal is expected to announce after the November midterm elections whether or not he will launch a presidential bid.

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    "The federal government has no role, no right and no place dictating standards in our local schools across these 50 states of the United States of America," Jindal said.
    Libertatem Prius!


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    America: ‘If we go down, we’re taking the whole world with us’

    June 24, 2014 by kristalklear

    By Pepe Escobar


    Let’s cut to the chase. As in chasing that Zara outdoor summer collection, complete with state of the art assault rifles, brand new white Nike sneakers and brand new, unlimited mileage white Toyotas crossing the Syrian-Iraqi desert; the Badass Jihadis in Black.


    Once upon a (very recent) time, the US government used to help only “good terrorists” (in Syria), instead of “bad terrorists”. That was an echo of a (less recent) time when it was supporting only “good Taliban” and not “bad Taliban”.


    So what happens when Brookings Institution so-called “experts” start blabbering that the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS) is

    really the baddest jihadi outfit on the planet (after all they were cast out of al-Qaeda)? Are they so badass that by warped newspeak logic they’re now the new normal?


    Since late last year, according to US government newspeak, the “good terrorists” in Syria are the al-Qaeda spinoff gang of Jabhat al-Nusra and (disgraced) Prince Bandar bin Sultan, aka Bandar Bush, the Islamic Front (essentially a Jabhat al-Nusra multiple outlet). And yet both Jabhat and ISIS had pledged allegiance to Ayman “the doctor” al-Zawahiri, the perennial gift that keeps on giving al-Qaeda capo.


    That still leaves the question of what Men in Black ISIS, the catwalk-conscious beheading stormtroopers for a basket of hardcore tribal Sunnis and Ba’ath party “remnants” (remember Rummy in 2003?) are really up to.
    Libertatem Prius!


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    June 23, 2014
    Can we stop Obama's de facto coup?



    By Alan Keyes

    In my latest blog post, I discuss the poll in which a majority of Americans agreed with the view that the Bergdahl swap warrants Barack Obama's impeachment and removal from office. Outraged over the Bergdahl swap, many people have awakened to the need to deal with Obama's de facto coup d'état attempt, which they may finally have found the eyes to see. But as with a person startled from sleep, crying out and casting about in confusion, this momentary scramble to stave off suddenly-perceived danger is unlikely to be long-lasting or effective.

    Of course there's no shortage of folk willing to take advantage of it. Listening to the startled cry for help, they respond with offers to arrange and orchestrate the outcry, giving it form in terms of demonstrations, petitions, "pink slips to Congress," and other assorted projects. Such efforts may be useful in helping people to come fully awake. They are particularly helpful when they involve informing people in greater depth about what the nation is suffering, as a result of the attack on its Constitution, rights, and sovereignty, in this or that area of concern.

    But in the end, none of these manifestations of alarm constitutes the effective manifestation of political will needed to implement the constitutional provisions put in place to deal with such a time as this. As far as that's concerned, the only poll that matters is the one that will take place on Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2014. Because it will determine the composition of the new Congress that convenes in 2015, it has the potential to be more than just an expression of opinion or outrage. It could be an expression of effective political will.

    Tragically, many Americans seem no longer to believe in this possibility. This tragic lack of confidence is no accident. It has been fomented by, and serves the purposes of, the elitist faction forces seeking to discard constitutionally limited government. They don't care how loudly people decry what's happening. They are happy to encourage people to do so, so long as they don't remember and organize to make effective use of the opportunity the Constitution gives directly to the people themselves, to forge the instrument that can bring the march toward tyranny to a halt.

    The corrupted character of the present sham party system is part and parcel of this elitist faction ploy. Clamoring for accountability, people are misled to believe that they can only hold one party accountable by electing the other. But this leads to the notion that they must vote for some party label, regardless of the fact that the person wearing it is not bound to any particular the course of action that, above all, the country needs. In this respect, the GOP, in particular, has become an example of what Nancy Pelosi said about the Obamacare legislation: "We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what's in it." And if you don't like what you get, you can "hold their feet to the fire" in the next election.

    But when the next election rolls around, the "fire" is put out using the same argument. This results in a political process that leaves people devoid of representation because they can always be talked out of using their vote to achieve it. Hence, even though people vote, their vote never produces a result that corresponds to their conscientious sense of what the country requires.

    Is there no remedy for this ever deepening electoral anemia? The answer is actually simple: Voters must conscientiously decide what they think is most needful, and cast their vote accordingly, without regard to party propaganda. Perhaps just as importantly, they must make clear their political will in this regard before the election takes place. They must demand that candidates openly pledge themselves to give first priority to dealing with the one thing that is most needful, or else no vote for them will be forthcoming.

    This used to be the purpose of party platforms. But when tyranny threatens, the one thing most needed is to stop it before the nation is destroyed. We now face such a threat. Obama is its figurehead, but it involves the elitist faction leadership in both parties. So without regard to party or self-interested calculation, the ongoing attack on constitutional self-government must be stopped, or Americans will find themselves living without recourse in a country where they have no choice but to accept the dictates of power. The form of government that empowers their vote will be no more.

    The pledge to impeach mobilization is not about showing how people feel. It's about making clear what, as voters, they intend to do. It's about helping people come together in a way that concretely manifests their common determination to vote only for candidates who pledge to initiate and follow through on the constitutional process for calling Obama and all his cohorts and collaborators to account. As their number is seen to grow, candidates for national office in the midterm elections will feel the pressure – not as an abstract notion, but as a tangible opportunity to reap thousands of votes by the simple step of pledging to do what the survival of the nation's liberty requires.

    This is a way of registering voter intent before election day, empowered by 21st-century technology, that will help to assure that the principles of right, liberty, and self-government, which were discerned at our nation's founding in the 18th century, do not now succumb to a power-grubbing clique of old-fashioned would-be tyrants.
    Libertatem Prius!


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    La Raza Demands Amnesty Vote from New Maj. Leader Kevin McCarthy



    by Tony Lee 19 Jun 2014


    Moments after Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) was elected the new majority leader, La Raza and other Hispanic and Asian ethnic groups demanded a vote on amnesty.

    "The new Majority Leader can either schedule a House floor vote on workable immigration reform or he can kill the best chance in decades to fix the immigration system and miss a big opportunity to work with Latino, AAPI, and immigrant communities," they said in a Wednesday statement. "Our communities and our country need a response now."
    The Hispanic and Asian groups -- such as the Hispanic Federation, Labor Council of Latin American Citizens, Mi Familia Vota Education Fund, Voto Latino, and the National Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance -- noted that "McCarthy represents a largely farmworker district that is 35 percent Latino and 5 percent Asian American and Pacific Islander" and his election comes on the eve of the passage of the Senate's comprehensive amnesty bill that the Congressional Budget Office determined would lower the wages of American workers.
    “With his ascension up the House GOP leadership ladder, McCarthy now has an opportunity to lead his party’s conference toward a broad, pragmatic solution favored by a majority of voters across the U.S. and in his district," they wrote.
    McCarthy became the GOP's new majority leader after House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) was ousted in a June 10 primary because of his support for amnesty legislation, which a post-election poll proved.
    Libertatem Prius!


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    Special Report
    The Pitchforks Are Coming… For Us Plutocrats




    Memo: From Nick Hanauer
    To: My Fellow Zillionaires


    You probably don’t know me, but like you I am one of those .01%ers, a proud and unapologetic capitalist. I have founded, co-founded and funded more than 30 companies across a range of industries—from itsy-bitsy ones like the night club I started in my 20s to giant ones like Amazon.com, for which I was the first nonfamily investor. Then I founded aQuantive, an Internet advertising company that was sold to Microsoft in 2007 for $6.4 billion. In cash. My friends and I own a bank. I tell you all this to demonstrate that in many ways I’m no different from you. Like you, I have a broad perspective on business and capitalism. And also like you, I have been rewarded obscenely for my success, with a life that the other 99.99 percent of Americans can’t even imagine. Multiple homes, my own plane, etc., etc. You know what I’m talking about. In 1992, I was selling pillows made by my family’s business, Pacific Coast Feather Co., to retail stores across the country, and the Internet was a clunky novelty to which one hooked up with a loud squawk at 300 baud. But I saw pretty quickly, even back then, that many of my customers, the big department store chains, were already doomed. I knew that as soon as the Internet became fast and trustworthy enough—and that time wasn’t far off—people were going to shop online like crazy. Goodbye, Caldor. And Filene’s. And Borders. And on and on.


    Realizing that, seeing over the horizon a little faster than the next guy, was the strategic part of my success. The lucky part was that I had two friends, both immensely talented, who also saw a lot of potential in the web. One was a guy you’ve probably never heard of named Jeff Tauber, and the other was a fellow named Jeff Bezos. I was so excited by the potential of the web that I told both Jeffs that I wanted to invest in whatever they launched, big time. It just happened that the second Jeff—Bezos—called me back first to take up my investment offer. So I helped underwrite his tiny start-up bookseller. The other Jeff started a web department store called Cybershop, but at a time when trust in Internet sales was still low, it was too early for his high-end online idea; people just weren’t yet ready to buy expensive goods without personally checking them out (unlike a basic commodity like books, which don’t vary in quality—Bezos’ great insight). Cybershop didn’t make it, just another dot-com bust. Amazon did somewhat better. Now I own a very large yacht.


    But let’s speak frankly to each other. I’m not the smartest guy you’ve ever met, or the hardest-working. I was a mediocre student. I’m not technical at all—I can’t write a word of code. What sets me apart, I think, is a tolerance for risk and an intuition about what will happen in the future. Seeing where things are headed is the essence of entrepreneurship. And what do I see in our future now?

    I see pitchforks.


    At the same time that people like you and me are thriving beyond the dreams of any plutocrats in history, the rest of the country—the 99.99 percent—is lagging far behind. The divide between the haves and have-nots is getting worse really, really fast. In 1980, the top 1 percent controlled about 8 percent of U.S. national income. The bottom 50 percent shared about 18 percent. Today the top 1 percent share about 20 percent; the bottom 50 percent, just 12 percent.


    But the problem isn’t that we have inequality. Some inequality is intrinsic to any high-functioning capitalist economy. The problem is that inequality is at historically high levels and getting worse every day. Our country is rapidly becoming less a capitalist society and more a feudal society. Unless our policies change dramatically, the middle class will disappear, and we will be back to late 18th-century France. Before the revolution.


    And so I have a message for my fellow filthy rich, for all of us who live in our gated bubble worlds: Wake up, people. It won’t last.


    If we don’t do something to fix the glaring inequities in this economy, the pitchforks are going to come for us. No society can sustain this kind of rising inequality. In fact, there is no example in human history where wealth accumulated like this and the pitchforks didn’t eventually come out. You show me a highly unequal society, and I will show you a police state. Or an uprising. There are no counterexamples. None. It’s not if, it’s when.

    Many of us think we’re special because “this is America.” We think we’re immune to the same forces that started the Arab Spring—or the French and Russian revolutions, for that matter. I know you fellow .01%ers tend to dismiss this kind of argument; I’ve had many of you tell me to my face I’m completely bonkers. And yes, I know there are many of you who are convinced that because you saw a poor kid with an iPhone that one time, inequality is a fiction.

    Here’s what I say to you: You’re living in a dream world. What everyone wants to believe is that when things reach a tipping point and go from being merely crappy for the masses to dangerous and socially destabilizing, that we’re somehow going to know about that shift ahead of time. Any student of history knows that’s not the way it happens. Revolutions, like bankruptcies, come gradually, and then suddenly. One day, somebody sets himself on fire, then thousands of people are in the streets, and before you know it, the country is burning. And then there’s no time for us to get to the airport and jump on our Gulfstream Vs and fly to New Zealand. That’s the way it always happens. If inequality keeps rising as it has been, eventually it will happen. We will not be able to predict when, and it will be terrible—for everybody. But especially for us.
    ***
    The most ironic thing about rising inequality is how completely unnecessary and self-defeating it is. If we do something about it, if we adjust our policies in the way that, say, Franklin D. Roosevelt did during the Great Depression—so that we help the 99 percent and preempt the revolutionaries and crazies, the ones with the pitchforks—that will be the best thing possible for us rich folks, too. It’s not just that we’ll escape with our lives; it’s that we’ll most certainly get even richer.
    Libertatem Prius!


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    Martin Armstrong Warns Civil Unrest Is Rising Everywhere: “This Won’t End Pretty”

    Submitted by Martin Armstrong of Armstrong Economics,

    The greatest problem we have is misinformation. People simply do not comprehend why and how the economic policies of the post-war era are imploding. This whole agenda of socialism has sold a Utopian idea that the State is there for the people yet it is run by lawyers following their own self-interest. The pensions created for those in government drive the cost of government up exponentially with time. The political forces blame the rich and this merely creates a class warfare with no resolution for the future. Even confiscating all the wealth of the so-called rich will not sustain the system. Consequently, we just have to crash and burn and start all over again.
    The Guardian reported that some 50,000 people marched in London to protest against austerity. They cried: “Who is really responsible for the mess this country is in? Is it the Polish fruit pickers or the Nigerian nurses? Or is it the bankers who plunged it into economic disaster – or the tax avoiders? It is selective anger.”
    The exploitation by the bankers has been really a disaster. They have been their own worst enemy and in the end, they have become the symbol that inspires class warfare if not revolution. They are not the representatives of those who produce jobs. They are merely those who wanted to trade with other people’s money for free. When they win, it is their’s, but any losses are passed to the taxpayers. Bankers should be bankers – not hedge fund managers who keep 100% of the profits using other people’s savings.

    The repeal of Glass Steagall was the final straw that broke the back of the world economy. That was the single worst act that could have ever been done and we are now paying the price in spades. The collapse from 2007 has wiped out even the liquidity of the markets. The second worst act was the creation of the euro when the real goal was the federalization of Europe from the outset. That undermined the entire European banking system and has led to a serious undermining of the entire global economy.
    The solutions from politics will always be the same – grab more power. We are in a downward spiral of liberty and how far we go down this path to the future will be determined by the people and if they at least wise up and see this is not class warfare, it is the people against government. This is why I say career politicians are dangerous for they can be bought way too easily as Clinton was to open the flood gates for the bankers.
    This is not going to end pretty. The question is when does society wake up? Just how high will this price be that we have to pay? They will blame the rich and the idiots will cheer – get them. What will happen when there is no more wealth to hunt? We end up with a communist state by default – no wealth, just career politicians who blame everyone but themselves.
    Libertatem Prius!


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    General: Border crisis threatens U.S. existence

    Posted by aurelius77 on
    America’s porous southern border and the recent surge in illegal immigration is more than just a “humanitarian crisis,” claims the top U.S. general in charge of Central and South America, it’s a threat to the United States’ very existence.


    Marine Corps Gen. John Kelly is commander of the U.S. Southern Command, or SOUTHCOM, charged with responsibility for the Caribbean Sea and all lands south of Mexico.


    Particularly in regards to the drug trade, murder rates and terrorist activity brewing in Central America, Kelly says, the waves of Latin Americans sweeping through Mexico and illegally into Texas presents a threat to the U.S. every bit as serious as Iran or North Korea.


    “In comparison to other global threats, the near collapse of societies in [this] hemisphere with the associated drug and [illegal immigrant] flow are frequently viewed to be of low importance,” Kelly said in an interview with Defense One. “Many argue these threats are not existential and do not challenge our national security. I disagree.”

    “Last year, we had to cancel more than 200 very effective engagement activities and numerous multilateral exercises,” Kelly said, explaining that a full 74 percent of “actionable illicit trafficking events” simply go unanswered, because he doesn’t have the funds or resources to do anything about it.


    “I simply sit and watch it go by,” he continued. “And because of service cuts, I don’t expect to get any immediate relief, in terms of assets, to work with in this region of the world.”


    Worse yet, he continued, with smuggling routes wide open for business, it’s far more than cocaine or children seeking a better life getting a free pass across the border.


    “Clearly, criminal networks can move just about anything on these smuggling pipelines,” Kelly said in testimony before the House Armed Services Committee in February. “Terrorist organizations could seek to leverage those same smuggling routes to move operatives with intent to cause grave harm to our citizens or even quite easily bring weapons of mass destruction into the United States.

    As America’s top military eye on Central America, Kelly is also warning that the recent spike in illegal immigrants moving from countries like Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras across the U.S. border presents another level of threat. Those three countries, he noted, are all among the Top 5 nations worldwide in homicide rates, in part because of their rampant gang activity.


    “Although there are a number of other countries I work with in Latin America and the Caribbean that are going in the same direction,” Kelly told Defense One, “the so-called Northern Triangle (Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras) is far and away the worst off.”


    Since October, tens of thousands of migrants have made the dangerous journey north from Latin America to the United States border. Many are children, and statistics show the vast majority of the immigrants in the recent influx are unaccompanied minors who have traveled from Central America’s “Northern Triangle.”


    And between rampant drug trafficking and human trafficking of Central American youngsters, Kelly warned Congress, cartels and gangs that have already spread throughout the U.S. will only grow more dangerous.


    “Chairman, gone are the days of the ‘cocaine cowboys,’” Kelly testified. “Instead, we and our partners are confronted with cocaine corporations that have franchises all over the world, including 1,200 American cities, as well as criminal enterprises like the violent transnational gang Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13, that specialize in extortion and human trafficking.


    “The FBI has warned that MS-13 has a significant presence in California, North Carolina, New York, and northern Virginia, and is expanding into new areas of the United States, including Indian reservations in South Dakota,” he concluded.
    Full article: General: Border crisis threatens U.S. existence (WND)
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    Default Re: Will America Break Up?

    Dumping locations of illegals – coming to your town soon

    July 7, 2014 — bunkerville





    [COLOR=#]Rate This[/COLOR]


    Here is a handy dandy map that shows where the illegals are being resettled or proposed to be settled. Here are the symbols on the map for name of each location and what is happening there. The original interactive map is located over at Numbers USA -Not in my back yard. Credit goes to the link. Worth reading the comments over there.



    You can zoom in and out, and click and drag the map for a different view. (For a larger version of this map click here. You can see a full list of all the communities in the left column.)
    NumbersUSA is daily updating this interactive map to show which communities are under threat of the federal government moving large numbers of illegal aliens there from the border.
    NumbersUSA is providing its members actions they can take to help stop the government’s dispersal of illegal aliens in a way that usually means they never go back home. Because people living in communities across the Americas rarely see one of their neighbors ever returned after illegally entering the United States, most of the population in those countries believe crossing the border illegally will bring great rewards.
    Become more actively involved by clicking here to send messages to your three Members of Congress to block relocations in your state.
    If you have any information about additional communities being targets for relocation — or if you can correct or add to the information we already have on communities — please email it to Melanie Oubre at: moubre@numbersusa.com
    Update: For a list of State contacts: This list might prove helpful – Office of Refugee Resettlement –http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/orr/...s-key-contacts
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    Default Re: Will America Break Up?

    This is an alert.

    The place in CA where the buses were turned back....

    Look for big trouble.

    The city is going back on the "protest" thing.

    Riot police are showing up to stop the protesters.

    Buses are en route.

    That's all rumor right now, but watch for something to happen.
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    Default Re: Will America Break Up?

    here we go. Found something on the above/

    Report: Feds To Arrive In Murrieta In Riot Gear To Ensure Illegal Aliens Can Come In

    Posted on July 7, 2014 | 2 Comments
    Weasel Zippers
    So they’re going to start pushing around citizens protesting illegal aliens? Oh, that will go over well…
    Via Breitbart:
    HOUSTON, Texas–As illegal immigrants continue to spill across the U.S.-Mexico border, federal authorities are attempting to relocate the migrants from South Texas to housing facilities in states across the nation. One such facility is located in Murrieta, California, where a large group of protesters recently blocked a bus full of migrants from arriving. The protesters remain there, adamant that illegal immigrants don’t get dumped in their town. But soon the concerned citizens may be forced to step down–Breitbart Texas has learned that federal agents plan to arrive in Murrieta on Monday with riot gear to ensure that another busload makes it to the housing facility.
    Keep reading…




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    Default Re: Will America Break Up?

    SOURCE: Feds to Bring in Riot Squad Against Illegal Immigration Protesters



    by Kristin Tate 6 Jul 2014 13257 post a comment

    HOUSTON, Texas--As illegal immigrants continue to spill across the U.S.-Mexico border, federal authorities are attempting to relocate the migrants from South Texas to housing facilities in states across the nation. One such facility is located in Murrieta, California, where a large group of protesters recently blocked a bus full of migrants from arriving. The protesters remain there, adamant that illegal immigrants don't get dumped in their town. But soon the concerned citizens may be forced to step down--Breitbart Texas has learned that federal agents plan to arrive in Murrieta on Monday with riot gear to ensure that another busload makes it to the housing facility.

    Jeremy Oliver, a resident of Temecula, California--a town that neighbors Murrieta--told Breitbart Texas that local police officers warned the protesters that "it's going to get ugly."


    Oliver said, "The feds are pissed that they haven't been able to use this facility. Officers out there warned people that federal agents will be in Murrieta on Monday--they are going to get the next bus through no matter what. Riot gear and shields will be used to push the crowd back."


    John Henry, a Murrieta resident since 1991, was told the same thing by local officers.


    "We're being told that federal Marshals or ICE will be here in the next few days and that they are bringing riot gear," Henry said. "They're apparently going to be blocking off the street with concrete blockades so that no vehicles can get through. The River County Sheriff's Department showed up last night and brought a huge watch tower that shoots up into the air 35 feet."


    On Friday, six protesters were arrested in Murrieta. One was apprehended for crossing "the yellow tape that blocked protesters from the Border Patrol station entrance," according to USA Today.


    Henry expressed frustration at the fact that the illegal immigrants are being "rewarded" for breaking the law--after illegally crossing the border, they receive a slew of taxpayer subsidized benefits like housing, food, education, vocational training, and legal counsel. Most are then released onto U.S. soil.


    When U.S. citizens break the law, on the other hand, they pay the price. "If any one of us were to roll through a stop sign, we'd be pulled over and ticketed," Henry noted.
    On June 4th Breitbart Texas' Managing Director Brandon Darby broke the news that U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) would be relocating illegal immigrants from Texas to California. Within moments of that story being published, the official Twitter account of the San Diego CBP tweeted at Darby, insisting the report was “erroneous” and asking for it to be removed from the internet.


    Days later the San Diego CBP deleted the tweet from their official account. Subsequent reports, outlining plans to fly immigrants to Southern California, proved CBP had indeed planned the relocation all along.


    It is unclear how the border crisis will be handled moving forward, especially given that many U.S. citizens oppose the migrants being shipped by the hundreds to their communities.


    Follow Kristin Tate on Twitter @KristinBTate.
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    Default Re: Will America Break Up?

    oh oh

    Militia group heading to Texas border (‘Get back across the border or you will be shot.’)
    Brownsville Herald ^ | 7-6-2014

    Posted on 7/6/2014, 6:14:19 PM



    A group that identifies itself as a coalition of “Patriots” has put out a call for people to go to the Texas-Mexico border and help with a citizen militia operation called “Secure our Border - Laredo.”


    A spokeswoman for the group, Denice Freeman, said the operation is a call for civilian militia members — both armed and unarmed — to voluntarily guard private property in the Laredo area and other Texas locations where owners feel threatened by “drug cartels and from gangs, particularly the MS-13 gangs,” a Salvadoran-based gang that is considered among the most dangerous in this country by law enforcement.

    (Excerpt) Read more at brownsvilleherald.com ...



    Militia group heading to Texas border

    Staff Report | Posted
    A group that identifies itself as a coalition of “Patriots” has put out a call for people to go to the Texas-Mexico border and help with a citizen militia operation called “Secure our Border - Laredo.”


    A spokeswoman for the group, Denice Freeman, said the operation is a call for civilian militia members — both armed and unarmed — to voluntarily guard private property in the Laredo area and other Texas locations where owners feel threatened by “drug cartels and from gangs, particularly the MS-13 gangs,” a Salvadoran-based gang that is considered among the most dangerous in this country by law enforcement.


    Freeman said she expected militia members to become visible in border communities, including the Rio Grande Valley, in the coming weeks but she wanted to stress that the operation’s commander — Chris Davis — is warning members against using any violent means.


    “This is not a ‘go-in-guns-blazing’ kind of thing,” Freeman said. “This will be handled with the utmost professionalism and security and safety for everyone involved.”


    However, in a 21-minute Youtube video featuring a man who identifies himself as Cmdr. Chris Davis, the person said it’s time to secure the borders. “How?” he asked on the video. “You see an illegal. You point your gun dead at him, right between his eyes, and you say, ‘Get back across the border or you will be shot.’”


    Hidalgo County Sheriff Eddie Guerra said the self-appointed militia is not needed in the Rio Grande Valley.


    “We don’t need their services on our border. If we ever did I’m sure we have enough good people in Hidalgo County that I can call up,” Guerra said.
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    Default Re: Will America Break Up?

    Fed up: Anger rising across America




    By K.T. McFarland
    FoxNews.com




    FILE - In this Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013, file photo, the dome of the Capitol is reflected in a skylight of the Capitol Visitor's Center in Washington.(AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)





    Every Fourth of July we have a family dinner and take turns reading sections of the Declaration of Independence. When my kids were young they were thoroughly bored. When they were teenagers they rushed through the reading so they could ditch the family and see their friends, who weren’t subjected to such July 4th indignities. But my children are grown now, and this year brought their friends to our family dinner.

    We handed out slices of American Flag cake along with copies of the Declaration and commenced reading, going around the table. My children were apprehensive their friends would think their parents were too corny, and their friends looked on politely, but unenthusiastically. The first few lines were familiar to everyone: “When in the Course of human events”…and…. "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights..."
    We’re seeing the stirrings of a movement against Washington’s governing elite, an increasingly angry reaction to their abuse of power.
    Read beyond those first two paragraphs, though, and you get the long list of grievances the Colonials had against the King. Some of our readers this year were in the military, two were Special Forces guys, just back from some of the fiercest fighting in Afghanistan. The rest were recent college graduates, struggling to find jobs, get apartments they could afford, and payoff college loans.

    This year our reading of the Declaration clicked.

    As we went around the table, each person reading a few sentences of the Declaration, the momentum picked up. People started reading with enthusiasm, then gusto, and mounting passion as they got further down the list of grievances. They started banging the table as the abuses mounted, and finished by chanting all together the repeated phrase,“Free and Independent States”.

    It dawned on us that what happened in America in the 1770’s is like what’s happening all across the country today. We’re seeing the stirrings of a movement against Washington’s governing elite, an increasingly angry reaction to their abuse of power.

    For the first time in all the years of reading the Declaration, I felt how angry the Colonials were. It wasn’t just about paying taxes, or being able to vote for members of Parliament. It was about a far-away government dictating to people who lived very different lives. It was about a big government that took from the people but gave very little in return. It was about an arrogant elite, deaf to the repeated petitions of the people. It was about abuse of power.

    Think of what it must have been like for our forbearers. They had been carving out a life in the wilderness for over a hundred years, through their own determination, hard work and self-reliance.


    They had been self governing not by design, but by circumstance, since the King and his Parliament were an Ocean away. But when the King started handing down new laws and taxes and increasing his interference in areas of life the Colonials had been accustomed to think of as their domain, they petitioned for redress. The King refused, instead sending a mercenary army to keep order in the Colonies. The Colonials fought back, hoping it would get the King to address their grievances and give them the rights of freeborn Englishmen. It didn’t work.

    The Colonials had been pushed to the limit and realized the only option left to them was a clean break with the motherland. They sent delegates to Philadelphia to write a document listing their grievances with the King, laying out the case for why they had no choice but to demand independence. They insisted they had rights that no King could deny, because those rights came directly from the Creator. They signed, knowing it they were risking their lives and treasure. Here are some of their complaints, in language which sounds archaic, but with arguments which seem snatched from today’s headlines.

    “He has refused his Assent to Laws… He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing Importance. He has…exposed to all the Dangers of Invasion from without, and Convulsions within. He has obstructed the Administration of Justice…. He has erected a Multitude of new Offices… He has affected to…giving his Assent to Acts of pretended Legislation.”

    There is a new dissatisfaction blowing across the country. As it was in the 1770s, the movement is not coming from the seat of power or among those who make the laws. It’s coming from the "little people," who live outside the Beltway.


    You see it in opinion poll after opinion poll. The majority of people think their children’s lives will not be as good as theirs. Nearly half of all Americans are no longer proud of their country. Politicians have become a despised breed.


    If this trend continues, it’s hard to see how the country can continue to carry on as usual, trading off power between one Washington elite and the other.

    Why? Because the indictment is not against one party or even one president, it’s a loss of faith in the entire system, and it’s been building for a while.


    The current incumbent has accelerated that sense of alienation, with an administration that enforces only the laws it likes, ignoring the rest. But both Republicans and Democrats have been in on the game; they’re so busy fighting with each other over the spoils of office, that they ignore the rest of us except at election time when they want our votes.


    We are now governed by elites, some the second and third generation of elites, who have decided the rest of us aren’t smart enough to govern ourselves. They believe modern society has become so complicated that government needs to be in every nook and cranny of it, making the decisions for us, for our own good. They know what’s best for us.

    This growing dissatisfaction hasn’t reached a boiling point, but it shows no signs of simmering down. The signs are everywhere.


    It’s the fact that a majority of Americans say they’re independents, and no longer no longer identify either political party.


    It’s the libertarians who want to reclaim decision making for themselves. It’s the small government folks who see government as a great Leviathan gobbling up more and more of their treasure and freedoms.


    It’s the deficit hawks who worry we are enslaving our children and grandchildren to pay off this generation's debt.


    It’s a national movement that’s growing and the reason it’s such a threat to the governing elite, is that it’s increasingly young people who are attracted to it.

    And it’s now about any one issue. It’s about the breakdown of government. It’s about Washington’s failure to protect our borders, about Washington’s out of control spending, about Washington’s corruption and collusion with special interests. It’s about arrogant all-powerful government officials who answer to no one, and act outraged when anyone dares question them. It’s about a Washington elite that has turned the Declaration of Independence on its head and behaves as if the only rights Americans have are the ones they bestow on us. It’s about a pervasive attitude that America works to keep Washington elites in power, instead of Washington working for us.

    One of the most cogent sections of the Declaration is the recognition that it takes a lot for people to rebel and throw off tyrants. The founders human nature, “that Mankind are more disposed to suffer, while Evils are Sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the Forms to which they are accustomed.”

    No one knows where this 21st century, nascent political movement will go. Maybe it fizzles out because abuses of power are terrible but tolerable. Maybe Washington wises up and reverses direction. But maybe the Leviathan just gets too big to ignore and the people rise up, and vote them out of office, en masse.


    Americans are slow to anger, but once they do get angry, they are impossible to stop. Just ask King George III.


    Kathleen Troia "K.T." McFarland is a Fox News National Security Analyst and host of FoxNews.com's "DefCon 3." She served in national security posts in the Nixon, Ford and Reagan administrations. She was an aide to Dr. Henry Kissinger at the White House, and in 1984 Ms. McFarland wrote Secretary of Defense Weinberger's groundbreaking "Principles of War " speech. She received the Defense Department's highest civilian award for her work in the Reagan administration.
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