By Lee Drutman, Five Thirty Eight
To anyone following American politics, it’s not exactly news that Democrats and Republicans don’t like each other. Take what happened in the presidential debate last week. President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden did little to conceal their disdain of one another. And although the debate marked a low point in our national discourse, it was a crystallization of a long-developing trend: loathing the opposing party.
This is hardly a new trend; in fact, it’s increasingly common among American voters. However, this level of hatred — which political scientists call “negative partisanship” — has reached levels that are not just bad for democracy, but are potentially destructive. And extreme partisan animosity is a prelude to democratic collapse.