Global Studies Capstone

Over the last five years, the political sphere in the United States has become increasingly polarized. My Capstone project aims to explore the causes, extent, and negative effects of this divide. I examined the global roots of polarization, the effect of the media on polarization, how psychological factors contribute to polarization, and much more. 

Excerpts From The Extent and Exacerbation of Political Polarization in the United States

"Sinking into an 'us versus them' mentality that the American two-party system facilitates is counterproductive to dialogue. Instead, conversations around politics should be focused on the sharing of ideas, understanding different perspectives, and finding common ground."

"Political differences are not a result of a moral divide; rather, they are a manifestation of the way different viewpoints and core attitudes present themselves as Americans work towards their goals."

"Different virtues influence the way we discuss and think about political issues; overlooking these differences in conversation can make divisions seem deeper than they actually are and lead to the belief that the country as a whole is suffering from a moral divide. It is important to acknowledge that differences in core beliefs will always exist and to consider how the presentation of these beliefs affects the ability to find common ground."

Political Polarization: Fast Facts

  • During the 2008 election cycle, only 32% of Republicans and 37% of Democrats had a “very unfavorable” view of the opposite party. These numbers climbed to 46% and 43% in the 2014 election cycle and 58% and 55% in the 2016 election cycle respectively.

  • 45% of Republicans and 41% of Democrats saw the opposing party as a threat to the well-being of the United States.

  • Around 80% of both Biden and Trump supporters believe that those who support the other candidate have fundamentally different core values.

Op-Ed: Why a Republican Identity Crisis Hurts Everyone

For my second Global Studies product, I decided to write an op-ed on the divisions within the GOP following Donald Trump's defeat in the presidential election. Although my opinion is informed by the research I have conducted on political polarization, this article is a more personal take than my capstone paper.

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Political Discourse Club Reflection

For the majority of this project, I have focused on the “big picture” of polarization. The connections between different disciplines such as global trade, the media, and the American political system have been the most personally engaging aspects of the capstone. It is equally important, however, to examine individual perspectives on the nation’s growing political divide. As such, on Wednesday, April 28, I hosted a Political Discourse Club meeting on political polarization.