Why We're Polarized

Why We're Polarized

Book - 2020
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""America's political system isn't broken. The truth is scarier: it's working exactly as designed. In this book, journalist Ezra Klein reveals how that system is polarizing us -- and how we are polarizing it -- with disastrous results. "The American political system -- which includes everyone from voters to journalists to the president -- is full of rational actors making rational decisions given the incentives they face," writes political analyst Ezra Klein. "We are a collection of functional parts whose efforts combine into a dysfunctional whole." In Why We're Polarized, Klein reveals the structural and psychological forces behind America's descent into division and dysfunction. Neither a polemic nor a lament, this book offers a clear framework for understanding everything from Trump's rise to the Democratic Party's leftward shift to the politicization of everyday culture. America is polarized, first and foremost, by identity. Everyone engaged in American politics is engaged, at some level, in identity politics. Over the past fifty years in America, our partisan identities have merged with our racial, religious, geographic, ideological, and cultural identities. These merged identities have attained a weight that is breaking much in our politics and tearing at the bonds that hold this country together. Klein shows how and why American politics polarized around identity in the twentieth century, and what that polarization did to the way we see the world and one another. And he traces the feedback loops between polarized political identities and polarized political institutions that are driving our system toward crisis. This is a revelatory book that will change how you look at politics, and perhaps at yourself."-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Avid Reader Press, 2020
Edition: First Avid Reader Press hardcover edition
ISBN: 9781476700328
Branch Call Number: 306.0973 KLEIN
Characteristics: xxiii, 312 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Alternative Title: Why we are polarized


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Nov 09, 2020

Groan. Another wannabe social psychologist who thinks statistical summaries, with a convoluted vocabulary, actually mean something, other than pain in the brain for the reader.
I got to page 46 of this item and gave up. The experience was too much like eating soggy cardboard.
A much better read is Anne Applebaum's , Twilight of Democracy.

Sep 15, 2020

As a PoliSci undergrad who has enjoyed following Ezra Klein on MSNBC I was prepared for a more challenging read than this turned out to be. Very well-written and meant for the person on the street. Well-researched with some key insights on how we can be less polarized.

Sep 01, 2020

In Why We’re Polarized, Ezra Klein draws on studies in psychology and history to explain how identity, a person’s sense of who they are and their need to belong to a group, has replaced policy and even economics as the motivating force in politics. He shows us the factors that created today’s them-versus-us politics. Discussion of issues is always confrontational; it’s more important to make the other team lose than to achieve a positive result for the nation. Fear-mongering is more effective than fact-based argument. The media gets sucked in by their need for reader engagement: the Trump car wreck draws more eyes than the long-term plan for infrastructure renewal. Overall, this book shows the value of applying academic research to one of the big questions on everyone’s mind. It’s readable and edifying and if nothing else, you’ll get a lot of interesting tidbits about how psychologists tease out the motivating factors behind our knee-jerk reactions.

Aug 27, 2020

Whatever your personal and political identities, you will find this book to provide an excellent explanation of how America’s political system has evolved into today’s state of continuous partisan tribal warfare. The author describes how personal identities such as race, religion, and culture have merged with our partisan identities; how more and more aspects of everyday life are becoming politicized; and how each of our political tribes now seems more intent on beating the other tribe than in working together to create legislation and government services that meet the needs of the American people.

Aug 11, 2020

Don't forget the rise of the alt-right anti-science brainwashing evangelical church. With leaders like Falwell jr leading the evangelical cult and supporting traitors like trump and elevating the rise of stupidity no wonder our country is such a mess. We need to start taxing churches since they are no longer wanting to keep out of politics!!!!!

Feb 20, 2020

This book is amazing. I've gained more understanding of modern American politics from this than decades of reading news.

I can't recommend this highly enough to everyone. It's simultaneously engaging, enraging, and edifying.

Jan 29, 2020

Conflict, fighting, makes for good media ( advertising) and the USA is media ( advertising) driven. We need to change the dialog to be about the issues not the personalities. That can happen.


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