Iraq is sorted into (at least) three communities identified by politics, ethnicity, religion, and geography. With the disappearance of the political center in America, might the same be in store for us? Here, unfortunately, is evidence from a Pew poll reported in the Washington Post.
Consider this stunning statistic: In 1994, 23 percent of Republicans in the Pew values continuum were more liberal than the average Democrat, while 17 percent of Democrats were more conservative than the average GOP-er. Today, just 4 percent of Republicans are to the left of the median Democrat, and just 5 percent of Democrats are to the right of the average Republican.
All of this partisan sorting — coupled with the sort of self-sorting into neighborhoods and communities it has created or aided — has led partisans to increasingly see the other side as an ill-tempered alien: strange, impossible to understand and with malice on its mind.