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The Great American Divide Continues

graphic for blog
America is a highly polarized nation with deep splits along party lines as well as divisions within each party that threaten to tear the country apart.

It’s no great secret that America is a highly polarized nation. Many times, the split is along party lines, but there are also divisions within each party that threaten to tear the country apart. This schism within parties has resulted in an inability to effectively govern, and the world is noticing.

In the Democratic Party, you have the moderates battling the progressives over the direction their members should take. Moderates want a traditional approach, with social programs and infrastructure taking the lead while Progressives are demanding more aggressive action when it comes to battling Climate Change, which is the key issue on their agenda.

On the other side of the aisle are the Republicans, who find themselves divided into three factions. First, there are the old-school Conservatives who still believe bipartisan legislation is possible under certain circumstances. Then there are the hardliners of the Freedom Caucus, who will only agree to possible legislation if specific demands are met. And finally, there is the MAGA wing that only wants to prevent anything from happening until Donald Trump is reinstated in the Oval Office.

Each side also has individual members who have stymied the legislative process. Former football coach turned professional obstructionist, Tommy Tuberville has defied even members of his own party by single-handedly blocking any military promotions until his demand to restrict reproductive rights is met.

On the Democratic side, the not-soon-enough-to-be-retired Joe Manchin has caused unnecessary delays as he forced watered-down versions of the Infrastructure Law and Economic Recovery Act through Congress over his demand that certain emissions standards be weakened to appease his coal miner constituents. Rather than offer to retrain miners to work in developing cleaner alternatives, he is cow-towing to the coal mining executives who have largely financed his congressional tenure.

As the 2024 presidential election draws closer, Republicans are generally united in returning Donald Trump to the White House despite his continuing rhetoric that he will be an authoritarian ruler, ignoring the will of others in his party if his needs aren’t met.

Meanwhile, Democrats are ambivalent in their support of President Biden’s re-election bid. While many cite his age, others are worried he won’t have the backing of the voters when it comes to defeating Trump. Recent polls have shown that to be a legitimate concern, but these same polls had Hillary Clinton winning in 2016, so they can’t be taken as being accurate.

There are many issues causing the great American divide that threatens to tear the very fabric of our democracy to shreds.

The Wars in Israel and Ukraine

While no American soldiers are actively engaged in the wars in Ukraine or the battle between Hamas and Israel, at least not in an official capacity, there is still intense debate over our contributions to both conflicts. In Ukraine, the American government has spent or proposed $75 billion in arms and other assistance.

Under an arrangement with President Obama, Israel receives $3.8 billion in annual military assistance. President Biden is proposing an additional $2 billion to aid in their current war with Hamas.

While there was near-unanimous support for funding the effort to thwart Russian aggression in Ukraine at the outset, hardliners on the far right are now opposing any further attempt to prevent the absorption of Ukraine into Russia, as it was during the days of the former Soviet Union.

Meanwhile, conservative Republicans, even their Minority Leader in the Senate, who was once derided as being “Moscow Mitch” for his apparent support for Vladimir Putin, have pledged to support further aid to Ukraine. They view Ukraine as Putin’s first step in reclaiming nations that were once part of the Soviet Union. If he is allowed to go unchallenged, Putin would feel emboldened to attempt to annex these other countries.

The hardliners on the right, mainly comprised of supporters of Donald Trump, are starting to erect roadblocks to further Ukrainian aid. They have refused to support funding to keep the government operating if it includes such aid. They have demanded that any future funding also include specific anti-immigration measures. And they believe Trump’s boast that, if re-elected, he would immediately end the war in Ukraine, presumably by capitulating to Putin’s demands.

Regarding the situation in Israel, there was a strong show of bipartisan support following the heinous, unprovoked attacks by Hamas on October 7th. This rare show of unity quickly unraveled as Israel launched a retaliatory campaign against Hamas with innocent Palestinian civilians left caught in the crossfire. This has led to intraparty squabbles and a sharp rise in both anti-Semitic and anti-Muslim attacks.

Again, Republicans on the far right are attempting to tie any aid to Israel to enhanced border security and even funding for Donald Trump’s boondoggle of a border wall. They have threatened to oppose any such assistance to Israel that doesn’t include these provisions.

And the beat goes on.

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