Republican Hyper- partisanship 

Opposition to almost everything Obama did in his final two years seemed to be example of hyper partisanship

Political scientists have documented how the spirited disagreements that used to characterize our political system have turned to rancor and disdain. Democrats and Republicans alike are far more likely today than they were only a few decades ago to say their rivals are not just wrong but stupid, selfish, and close-minded

This statistic is particularly telling: In 1960, only 5 percent of Republicans and 4 percent of Democrats said they would be displeased if their son or daughter married somebody with the opposing party affiliation. In 2010, 49 percent of Republicans said they would be unhappy if their son or daughter married a Democrat, and 33 percent of Democrats said they’d be unhappy if their son or daughter married a Republican

Political sociologist Seymour Martin Lipset puts it this way in his 1959 classic Political Man: "A stable democracy requires the manifestation of conflict or cleavage so that there will be struggle over ruling positions, challenges to parties in power, and shifts of parties in office.” But he added that the system must permit “the peaceful 'play' of power,” and “the adherence by the 'outs' to the decisions made by the ‘ins.’”

If the “ins” fail to recognize the rights of the “outs,” Lipset concluded, “there can be no democracy."

In 1967, Lipset, along with Stein Rokkan, edited a volume entitled Party Systems and Voter Alignments: Cross-National Perspectives, in which they noted that political conflicts come in many varieties. They conceptualized them along a spectrum from most tractable — that is to say, workable and manageable — to least tractable.

At the tractable end of the spectrum, they placed a politics of pure economic materialism: They include conflicts over allocation of resources — disputes between producers and buyers, workers and employers, tenants and owners, and so on. These “can be solved through rational bargaining and the establishment of universalistic rules of allocation.”

At the intractable end are what Lipset and Rokkan call “Ideological oppositions.” These are all-consuming, 24-hour disputes “incompatible with other ties within the community.” In this kind of conflict, each side strives to “protect the movement against impurities and the seeds of compromise."

This is the kind of politics that leads to democratic breakdown and violence.


December 5th 2023 Senate confirms more than 400 military promotions after @SenTuberville (R-AL) dropped his months long blockade of the nominations, which he held up in protest of the Pentagon's abortion policies. Link: Party factions, abortion, Congress partisanship The powers of the  Senate  

Example: 13th December 2023 -The Republican-led US House of Representatives has formally backed an impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden.

Lawmakers voted 221 to 212 - entirely along party lines - on Wednesday to authorise a resolution that accuses the president of bribery, corruption and influence-peddling off his "brand".

Impeachment was once rare, but since Clinton every president has faced calls for impeachment and Trump faced a trial  now Biden is being investigated. More evidence of partisanship- Polarisation is dividing America State by State 

Is Congress the broken Branch? 

Trump supporters storm US Capitol, interrupting Congress’ certification of Biden’s victory

The politics of fear and paranoia 

Example. Partisan Voting: House votes to hold Attorney General Merrick Garland in contempt over Biden audio The Republican-controlled House narrowly voted Wednesday 12th June 2024 to hold Attorney General Merrick Garland in contempt of Congress. This is part of the Republican attack on the justice system which they view as unfairly targeting Donald Trump.

The vote was 216-207, with one Republican, Rep. David Joyce of Ohio, joining all Democrats in voting no. Seven Democrats and one Republican didn't vote. Another  indicator of the rising partisanship in Washington, and how that partisanship has increasingly been aimed at the nation’s top law enforcement officials.

Wednesday’s vote is largely symbolic, in that it urges federal prosecutors to investigate and file criminal charges against the attorney general, but that is extremely unlikely to happen.