polarization inside the political system essay

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Polarization in the Political Program

On Tuesday, November 18, 1995, in what has been regarded as

the many years movement biggest nonevent, the federal government close all

non-essential providers due to the fact that was, for all intents and

purposes, a game of countrywide chicken involving the House Speaker and

the Chief executive. And, in a estimated expense of 200 , 000, 000 dollars a day

this dubious struggle of dueling egos would not come inexpensive (Bradsher

1995, p. 16). So why do political figures find it almost congenitally

not possible to interact personally? What is it about politics and power that appear

to always put them for odds with good government? Indeed, is an

effective, well run government even conceivable given the present

adversarial relationship among our two main politics parties? This

would appear that the physical exercise of electrical power for its individual sake, and a

competitive condition in which one side must always oppose the other

on any kind of issue, is incompatible while using cooperation and compromise

necessary for the federal government to function. Since the United States becomes

more extreme in its beliefs generally speaking, group polarization and

competition, which will requires a mutual exclusivity of goal achievement

will certainly lead to more showdown situations in which the objective of good

government gives way to political posturing and power-mongering.

In this paper I will examine recent personal behavior in terms of two

elements: Group tendencies with an emphasis on polarization, and

competition. Nevertheless , one should remember that these two factors

will be interrelated. Group polarization is likely to exacerbate inter-group

competition by driving any two groups who have initially don’t agree farther

apart within their respective sights. In turn, a competitive scenario in

which one aspect must lose in order for the other to win (and

political conditions are usually competitive), can codify the

differences between groups leading to further extremism by all those

seeking power inside the group and therefore, to further group


In the over example, both the main combatants, Bill Clinton

and Newt Gingrich, were virtually forced to consider uncompromising

disparate views because of the extremely nature of authority within their

respective political groupings. Group polarization refers to the tendency

of groups to gravitate for the extreme of whatever opinion the group

stocks (Baron & Graziano, 1991, p. 498-99). Therefore , in case the extreme

is seen as an appealing characteristic, those who exhibit serious

philosophy will gain authority through referent electricity. In other words

they will have got characteristics that other group members appreciate and

seek to emulate (p. 434). Unfortunately, this kind of circle of polarization

and specialist can lead to a bizarre type of one-upsmanship in which

each group member seeks to gain power and approval if it is more

extreme than the others. The end result can be extremism inside the pursuit of

power without any regard to the functionality or reasonableness

from the beliefs showcased. Since the direction of polarization is

currently in opposite guidelines in our two party system, it is almost

difficult to find a prevalent ground together. In addition , the

competitive nature with the two get together system frequently eliminates even

the potential of compromise since failure generally leads to a

devastating loss in power.

If both victory and extremism are necessary to retain power

in the group, of course, if, as Alfie Kohn (1986) stated in his book Simply no

Tournament: The Case Against Competition, competition is mutually

unique goal achievement (one aspect must shed in order for the other

to win), then bargain and co-operation are not possible (p. 136). This

is especially therefore if the competitors are dedicated to maintaining power for

all costs. That power is definitely an end by itself is made clear by the the latest

shutdown from the government. That served simply no logical goal. Beyond

charging a lot of money, completely no visible effect other than as a electricity

have difficulty between two political heavyweights. According to David Kipnis

(1976, cited in Baron & Graziano, 1991), one of the unwanted side effects

of power is, in fact , is a tendency to consider it as the own end, and to

ignore the probability of disastrous results from the dangerous use of

power (p. 433). Consequently , it would seem that (at least in this case)

govt policy is established and integrated, not with consider to its

performance as authorities policy, nevertheless only to find its worth

as being a tool intended for accumulating and maintaining power.

Another of Kipniss unwanted effects of electrical power is the trend to

use it for selfish purposes (p. 433). In governmental policies this can be viewed as

the predilection toward making assertions for temporary political

gain that are either non-sensical or contrary to earlier positions

held by candidates themselves. While it’s not always the use of

actual electric power, it is an try to gain personal office (and therefore

power) without regard for the real really worth or significance of a plan

once and for all government.

A chief example of this kind of behavior show up in the generally

divergent political ezces taken by Governor Pete Pat of

California. Now I should qualify my own politics position.

While I do tend to lean towards the Democratic side of the political

spectrum (this is undoubtedly what brought Pete Wilson to my interest

inside the first place), I take a look at Governor Pat because he is a

primary example of the two polarization and pandering in the competitive

pursuit of power. Accordingly, Let me try to hold my personal biases

in check.

In any case, selfish, power searching for behavior is reflected in

Wilsons lately abandoned plan for President. Although this individual

consistently ruled out working for Director during his second

gubernatorial campaign, immediately after he was re-elected he

declared that he was creating a committee to explore the opportunity.

And, in fact , he did make a great abortive work for the Republican

nomination. In both cases (presidential and gubernatorial elections)

he justified his seemingly contrary positions when it comes to his

duty towards the people(No Creator 1995). This kind of begs problem, was this

the duty that was contrary, or was it Wilsons political

dreams. In either case it seems clear that his decision was

hardly based upon principles of good government. Whether or not Wilson

thought he had a greater duty towards the nation as a whole (and Im being

charitable here), he might consider that ahead of he went for

governor the second time. It might appear more likely that the

greater electricity inherent inside the presidency was your determining force

lurking behind Wilsons decision. Ironically, Wilsons lust pertaining to potential

power could cause him to lose the power he actually features. Since his

decision to run for Chief executive was resoundingly unpopular with

Californians, and since he may be perceived as struggling to compete in

nation-wide politics due to his withdrawal through the presidential race

his political power may be fatally impaired. This behavior displays not

only a disregard for good government, yet also a peculiar inability

to delay gratification. There is absolutely no reason that Pete Wilson couldnt

have operate for Director after his second term as Chief excutive had ended.

His selfish quest for power due to its own sake was so absolute it

inhibited him from seeing the very.. political facts that offered him

power in the first place.

In his make an attempt to gain power, Wilson was able to change his

ezce on virtually every issue he had ever came across. From

immigration to affirmative actions from taxes cuts to abortion rights

this individual has thrown 180 degrees (Thurm, 1995). The point this is not his

inconsistency, but rather the simple fact that it is unlikely that

considerations of effective govt would allow these types of

shots. And, although people may possibly dismiss this behavior as merely the

political game playing that all applicants engage in, is it doesn’t

pervasiveness of this behavior towards the exclusion of any governmental

considerations that make it unpleasant as well as intriguing.

Polarization is also apparent with this example. Seeing that Pete Pat

showed not any inherent dedication toward a certain ideology, it really is

entirely likely that had the Republican party been drifting towards a

centrist position rather than an extreme right-wing position, Pat

would have accordingly recently been more moderate in his politics

pronouncements. The polarization towards a long is what induced him

to make these kinds of radical changes in his philosophy. It is, of course

difficult to ascertain to what level political intransigence is a

conscious strategy, or a great unconscious motivation toward power, but the

result is the same political leadership that is not good

(or even relevant) to great government.

The role of competition within our political product is an innately

contradictory one. We recognize the fact that politicians need to compete

ruthlessly to find office applying whatever tactics are necessary to win.

We in that case, somehow, anticipate them to totally change their very own behavior once

they are really elected. At that time we anticipate cooperation, compromise

and a statesmanlike attitude. Alfie Kohn (1986) points out that the

expectation is completely unrealistic (p. 135). This individual also declares that

Depriving adversaries of people, of looks, of their

subjectivity, can be described as strategy we all automatically take up in order to win

(p. 139). Quite simply, the very characteristics of competition requires that

we treat people as hostile objects rather than as humans. It is

therefore , not likely, once an election is now over and the means of

government should begin, that politicians will be able to

forgive and forget in order to carry on with the organization at hand.

Again, in the recent government shutdown we can see this kind of

same sort of problems. House Presenter Newt Gingrich, whose

competitive politics relationship with Bill Clinton has been

rancorous at best, blamed his own (Gingrichs) handling of the budget

negotiations that resulted in the shutdown, in the poor treatment

during an airline flight that he plus the President were on (Turque &

Thomas, 1995, p. 28). One can understand this issue from both sides. Upon

the one palm, shabby treatment on an airplane flight can be hardly a

reason to close the U. T. government. However, if the shabby

treatment occurred, was it an intelligent thing for the Director to do in

mild of the fragile negotiations that were going on during the time? In

both cases, it seems that all concerned were, in effect, blinded by

their competitive hostility.

They both presumably desired to run the us government well (we

presume thats for what reason they ran for business office in the initially place), but

they couldnt overcome their particular hostility very long to run this at all.

If the Presenter is to be assumed (although this individual has seeing that tried to

retract his statements), the whole episode come not by a

legitimate disagreement about how precisely to control well, but from the

competitive desire to dominate govt. Indeed, when ever one examines

the eventual give up that was reached, there will be simply no

significant difference in the positions of the two parties. If this is

therefore , why was it essential to waste vast amounts shutting straight down

the us government and then beginning it up once again a few times later? What is

more, this entire useless instance will be reenacted in mid-December.

Anybody can only expect that Clinton and Gingrich avoid vacationing together

until an agreement is come to. Although people incessantly complain

about government and about the ineffectiveness of politicians, they

almost never examine what causes these problems. While there is of

attention paid out to advertising campaign finance change, lobbying change, PAC

reform, plus the peddling of influence, we all never appear to realize

that, most of the time, politicians are merely offering us what they

believe we want. If they are weak and dominated simply by polls, arent they

really looking for the will from the people to be able to comply

with it? If they are extremist and uncompromising in their personal

ezces, arent they simply reflecting the extremism frequent in our

country today? If politicians compromise, we all call all of them weak, and if

they dont we call these people extremist. Whenever we are miserable with our

government, perhaps it is because all of us expect the folks who run that to

do the impossible. They need to reflect the need of a large, disparate

electorate, however be completely consistent in their ideology.

However , whenever we look at political behavior in terms of our own

polarized, partisan thinking, and if we could find a way to either

reduce the competitive nature of campaigns, or reconcile pre-election

hostility with post-election statesmanship, in that case we may discover a way to

elect politicians on the basis of how they will control rather than just how

they will run. It could be tempting to dismiss all this as only the way

politics is definitely or say that competition is usually human nature, or possibly

feel that these actions are essentially harmless. But consider

these two illustrations. It has been speculated that Leader Lyndon W.

Johnson was reluctant to get out of the Vietnam war as they didnt

want to be appreciated as the first American President to shed a battle.

If this sounds true, it means that thousands of people, both American and

Thai, died to be able to protect 1 mans position. In Oklahoma

City, a federal building was bombed in 1994, eliminating hundreds of men

ladies, and children. The claimed perpetrators had been a group of serious

right wing, constitutionalists who were apparently trying to turn

frustration with the federal government into wide open revolution.

I do not really think these kinds of examples happen to be aberrations or flukes, tend to be

instead, indicative of strength defects inside our political system. If

we are unaware of the dangers of extremism and competition, we might

ultimately, be damaged by all of them.


Baron, B. M., & Graziano, W. G. (1991). Social Psychology. Fortification Worth

TX. Holt, Rinehart, and Winston.

Bradsher, T. (1995, The fall of 18). Country may be losing money with

government closed. The newest York Instances, pp. of sixteen

Kohn, A. (1986). No Contest: The situation Against Competition. Boston

Houghton Mifflin.

Zero Author. (1995, March 24). internet What Wilson reports about

going into race. San Jose Mercury News On-line.

Talk about: http://www.sjmercury.com/wilson/wil324s.htm

Thurm, S. (1995, August 29). internet Wilsons announcement even more

of an ad: California chief of the servants kicks off travel for GOP presidential

nomination. San Jose Mercury News Online.

Address: http://www.sjmercury.com/wilson/wil829.htm

Turgue, W., Thomas, Elizabeth. (1995, The fall of 27). Absent the moment.

Newsweek, pp. 26-29.

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