Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Governing Is Much Harder Than Winning

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Governing Is Much Harder Than Winning

Article excerpt

America is so deeply divided today that voters backing Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton don't just live on different continents from each other.

They live on different planets.

If current trends continue, and Clinton becomes the next president, she will find that governing this fractured country is a much harder job than winning the election.

Polls consistently show sharp splits along critical fault lines: race and gender, education and geography, ideology and party. But those fissures did not open this year. They've been widening for decades, fueled by tectonic shifts in the American political landscape.

Voters are sorting themselves into like-minded communities, listening to media outlets that reinforce their preconceptions, and growing more hostile to others who don't share their views.

The latest ABC News tracking poll gives Clinton a nine-point lead, but the horse race is less interesting than the internal breakdowns. Take race. Trump's margin among white voters is four points; Clinton's lead among non-whites is 54 points. Or gender. Women favor Clinton by 20 percent; men back her by only three points. Or education. Voters without college degrees split almost evenly; college graduates support Clinton by 25 points.

These divisions play into longer-running trends, one of which is the ideological polarization between the parties. Over the last generation, two noble tribes in American politics have become virtually extinct: progressive Republicans, mainly from the Northeast and Upper Midwest, and conservative Southern Democrats. Without their balance and ballast, America is approaching a European model, with a liberal party called the Democrats and a conservative party called the Republicans.

That polarization has been aggravated by escalating partisan animosity. …

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