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3 historians on American political divisiveness — and how to heal it

By February 6, 2020September 8th, 2020No Comments

PBS Newshour

The partisan results of President Trump’s Senate impeachment trial reinforced the political divisions characterizing current American politics. How does this moment compare with the past? Judy Woodruff sits down with the University of New Hampshire’s Ellen Fitzpatrick, presidential historian Michael Beschloss and Carolyn Lukensmeyer of the National Institute for Civil Discourse to discuss.

Judy Woodruff:

Carolyn Lukensmeyer, as somebody who looks at political discourse, political debate, what does this moment say, do you think, about our political — about the body politic?

Carolyn Lukensmeyer:

Well, I think what we have seen, Judy, over the last really more than four years, but intensely in the last three or four, is that what started out as hyperpartisanship in Congress is now like a virus that has gone across the country.

And we have now embedded it, as Michael said, in one of the traditions of our democracy that was intended to bring everyone together. So, the potential for this becoming even worse during what we all expect to be a quite vicious 2020 campaign is of high concern, in terms of how we can, as Americans, deal with the differences that are now so writ large.