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A Politically Polarized America

By Katy Sunderland

When real estate mogul and reality television star Donald Trump announced he was running for president, many people thought it was a joke. However, as he gained more and more followers, those same people started sweating bullets. From making jokes about women on their periods to suggesting a wall between the US and Mexico to sharing a quote made famous by Mussolini, Donald Trump has managed to offend almost every demographic outside of white supremacists (which explains the KKK support he has received).

The dislike of Donald Trump does not end with the general public, the Republican party as a whole is in a panic trying to stop the “Make America Great Again” candidate. Ultra-conservative House Speaker Paul Ryan even condemned Trump, and many Republican politicians have said that Trump as President would be bad for the party.

Despite all of this, Trump has managed to be the Republican front-runner in the presidential race.

On the other end of the political spectrum is Senator Bernie Sanders. Sanders has massive support among the working class and young people tired of money-grabbing politicians, and he has held his own against opponent Hillary Clinton despite all expectations. His strong social media following is a great example of his grassroots support, and his success in the New Hampshire primaries proved him a serious contender. But while he is not as wildly offensive as Trump, Sanders still represents a political extreme. A self-proclaimed socialist, Bernie Sanders represents the far left just as Trump represents the far right. Both politicians were not taken seriously at the beginning of the presidential race, but are now enjoying huge followings.

In 2013, an argument over ObamaCare shutdown the U.S. government. It was not the first time such a thing had happened, and probably won’t be the last, but it certainly drew attention to the conflict between an equally stubborn Democratic President and Republican House of Representatives. Imagine the same situation but with a Republican President that most Republicans in the House do not support. Imagine the situation again with a self-declared socialist President and a conservative-leaning Congress. Personal feelings about either candidate aside, would anything ever be accomplished? Even now, Congress claims they will shut down whomever Obama nominates as Supreme Court Justice, and Obama is by no means a radical. How many times would the government shutdown over the far-leftist policies of Sanders or the radically conservative policies of Trump?

The amount of support both Trump and Sanders boast is disconcerting for the future of America. True, many support these candidates because they represent an alternative to professional politicians with their fake smiles, perfect hair, and perfectly moderate views, but they also represent two polar opposites of the political spectrum. That means significantly large voting groups of people in America hold polar opposite views. Progress is most often made through compromise, but if too many people choose to support extreme left or extreme right leaders then compromise will be near impossible and so will progress. Sometimes reaching across the table is the only way to move forward, and that goes equally for the right and the left.

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