General Question

thegodfather's avatar

Will the United States ever again be generally unified politically?

Asked by thegodfather (745points) September 23rd, 2008

With so many close presidential elections (2000, 2004, and apparently again in 2008) have been decided over wildly differing platforms, I wonder if this apparent discord will ever be resolved. Is it possible that Americans could reject the two parties in power and favor some non-Republican/non-Democratic one? Can unity occur in Congress and among the people even with bipartisan politics on the table? Will we forever have this liberal/conservative distinction in our society?

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20 Answers

augustlan's avatar

I foresee a widening of the divide, with an eventual revolution leading to splitting the country into 2 distinct entities. I hope it doesn’t come to that, though.

willbrawn's avatar

easy answer no

willbrawn's avatar

@augustian i second that thought. If any big changes with this nation, i could see it splitting. After all what nations have remained the same after hundreds of years?

trumi's avatar

We will always have differing views. Some people will be more conservative, some more liberal. That is what makes America great.

I hate the party system, and I hope some day it is abolished. We should not vote based on a brand name, we should vote based on the candidates views, opinions, and ability to govern.

The next step in the US political party system is the introduction of a third party. We will have a liberal party, a moderate party, and a conservative party. Then one of them will die out, and we’ll be back to two. Or (hopefully) 3 parties turns into 4, 5, 6, and soon we all can make up our own minds for a change!

Each party grows, shifts, and adjusts, and therefore will never unify. In 20 years (we hope), homosexuality will be as accepted as race is today, and we might even get rid of the death penalty altogether. Then, we will find new things to disagree about.

I hope that there is never a single party. That would be bad for citizens, and for politicians. See, we citizens like to have a choice. That’s kind of the point of democracy… And the politicians like the two party system, because they get to distract the voters with detest for the other party, which lets them get away with things like the War in Iraq.

So, while I fully support Barack Obama for President, and often support the Democratic Party, I do not approve of the system.

@august; While that is an interesting idea, it would never happen. Major cities and areas of big populations are usually more liberal, and rural areas are often more conservative. And even if you could divide the nation like that, you would be left with an East Coast Country, a West Coast Country, and a Middle Country. Wouldn’t work.

lefteh's avatar

Complete political unification leads to totalitarianism.

I don’t want the U.S. to be unified politically.

marinelife's avatar

Since the current level of incivility and total polarization is not that long-lived, I do not think that it is necessarily a predictor of anything.

I believe Civil War or secession is extremely unlikely.

I think the opportunity for a third party is there.

I also think unification of views is unlikely.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

“Ever again” is hard to say. I don’t see it happening any time in the near future, though. People are different, which is precisely why there are different parties in the first place. When anyone holds such strong beliefs, especially personal core values, they don’t back down. There will always be a divide. And yes, I think the labels will always be there. People need labels to make sense of things, it’s how the human race has always been and I don’t see why it would change now. (Would be nice if it did, but it won’t.)

I can see what augustian and Marina are saying. I can easily see both things happening, actually. I don’t necessarily think another Civil War is likely, but I do think it’s very possible. As for a third party? I think that’s very likely, actually. But, once that happens and people realize it’s yet another party that will change absolutely nothing, then… The road to Civil War will be paved that much more.

I don’t think either suggestion will happen any time in the near future, however. People will begrudgingly trudge on, through the mess, complaining the entire time that nothing is changing. It will be many, many years before most people will realize if they want things to actually change, it is up to them to do something about it.

laureth's avatar

If some states were all-red or all-blue, it would be easier for a schism to occur (like North v South during the Civil War). However, it’s not so clear cut. When the individual votes are looked at, most states are some shade of purple. It’s not as easy to split when people, though polarized from house to house, are so homogenized.

However, like others here, I am not sure it will come to that. Before we are Demmicans and Republicrats (or Greens, or Libertarians…), we are Americans. Besides, I’m not sure I’d want to live in some regions after this “theoretical split.” I’ve read A Handmaid’s Tale. No way!

augustlan's avatar

If the split did occur, my husband and I would live in opposite areas. So here’s hoping it doesn’t happen, at least not any time soon.

SpatzieLover's avatar

I think it will be.

But, here’s how I see it as happening…a strong minded candidate (maybe a prez already in offce) will take on a VP of the opposite party (probably the person will be moderate in their opinions, but will be a popular choice).

If done correctly, it will secure their votes to secure the White House.

So it won’t happen this election. I could see it occurring in 2012, though.

I’m just crossing my fingers this election won’t take days or weeks to determine the outcome.

thegodfather's avatar–2008

This interview between Stewart and former British PM Tony Blair demonstrates what I guess I mean by “unity” in the U.S. While they both disagree, probably completely disagree, with what the other would consider politically correct, they demonstrate an amazing candid quality in their discussion/interview. For this moment, you didn’t see Stewart belittling Blair, and you didn’t see either of them insult the other. What you do see is them give some important consideration to politics in general. If the rhetoric were more like this, I wonder if the country would progress better, but as it is, I fear that a lot of how Americans talk to one another is combative, at least when they speak of who to vote for in the elections or how the current Senate/White House is doing.

Not a perfect example of what I mean, but a good one that had me thinking a little bit more about what was discussed, which I think is productive rather than destructive. Media’s take on the elections? I’d say it’s almost entirely destructive, playing the game, and biased depending on the new outlet’s main political bias.

Are these attitudes in American politics possible on a general scale? Or are we forever resigned to political ideologues bashing each other in order to win converts/votes?

cwilbur's avatar

Was it ever politically unified in the first place?

sundayBastard's avatar

Sure! Unified with Canada and mexico.

Bri_L's avatar


sundayBastard's avatar

The new money is going to be the Amero (Just like the Euro). It’s true. All countries are doing this. It’s ok, because by time this starts to take place everyone will be begging for it. You do not honestly believe that economies(by collapsing the dollar you give birth of the Amero) and wars are not planned many many many years in advance do you?

thegodfather's avatar


At least it was unified enough when the country was formed to make a nation. Obviously I don’t mean total unity, there will always be differences of political opinion, I just mean unified in a general sense, that Americans have a unified ethic for taking the nation forward or whatnot. See my comment above for one example on Hulu of what I’m getting at. Though the two were obviously politically opposed, they were able to candidly discuss important topics in a manner that I didn’t take as offensive to either side. It was more of a dialogue than a debate, which in my mind means that they both were unified in wanting a similar outcome, though they might disagree on how to strategically achieve that outcome.

I don’t think Americans on the whole are united either strategically or for a similar outcome, but that’s just me.

Examples of the past where there was general unity in outcome or in elections (examples that I hope aren’t too problematic for the discussion), I would say include post-WWII, westward expansion (manifest destiny), 1804 election of Jefferson, 1808 election of James Madison, 1816 election of James Madison, 1820 election of James Monroe, more recently: 1988 election of G. Bush, 1984 reelection of R. Reagan, 1972 reelection of R. Nixon, etc.

cwilbur's avatar

I think that if you poked at any of those examples you named, you’d find that the politics only looked unified from a distance. There were many people who were dissatisfied with Reagan and later with Bush, for instance; a lot of the reason Reagan won a second term was because he had such an easy act to follow and because Walter Mondale was the best the Democrats could come up with.

dalepetrie's avatar

Our nation has never been “unified”. The whole point of a Democracy is majority rule with minority representation…our very system of governance is built around the idea that there will be dissent. Consider the following:

- There’s a reason we still fight over the Bill of Rights and ask “what were the founding fathers’ actual intentions?” It’s because they didn’t have a concensus…they left these things up to time and history to sort out, because in some cases there were very bitter disagreements about some of these foundations of our Democracy…thus they were left “open to interpretation”.

- Even in the biggest landslide Presidential election in history, Ronald Reagan’s 1984 rout of Walter Mondale where Reagan got 525 electoral votes and Mondale got 13 (and yes, I’m proud to be a Minnesotan, thank you very much), the actual vote totals were 58.8% for Reagan, 40.6% for Mondale. Only 9.1% of voters would have had to have voted differently for this to be a tie.

- Even in the closest race in modern history, Gore vs. Bush, the “winner” only got 47.9% of the vote, that’s only 7.3% more than Mondale got! And yet, Bush got 258 more electoral votes!

- Even in our very first election in 1789, when George Washington ran unapposed, he only got 1/2 of the electoral votes that were cast!

- In 1964, Lyndon Johnson got 61.05% of the popular vote, the HIGHEST percentage any Presidential candidate has EVER gotten of the popular vote (and even so, Goldwater still got 4 times as many electoral votes as Mondale would 20 years later), so even at the MOST unified we’ve ever been, 39% of the people dissented.

We’re not unified, never have been, never will be. Every single election has produced a winner with between 40 and 60 percent support (Lincoln only got 39.65% in 1860), meaning that in every single election, if just 10% of people changed their minds, the election would have gone the other way.

sundayBastard's avatar

Remember, at one time George Washington was considered a terrorist.

thegodfather's avatar

I don’t mean uniformity of thought. Unity can occur without uniformity. But anyway, it’s my fault for framing the question wrong. It’s become a semantics thing, and that’s always unfortunate, but a necessary difficulty of discussion and understanding one another. I’ve had some meaningful discussions with other students about this sort of thing, and many of the points that have already been made are showing up here, which I think is great. I thought I’d present an important question that has proven very useful and engaging in past discussions here for Flutherites, just to see how different your responses might be from my previous discussions. It’s always good to get feedback to check one’s own ideas, in my opinion.

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