Opinion

Over the years, the United States has become increasingly divided.

This can be seen in part by the way the major media outlets in the country strive every day to undermine the image of President Trump and leave out of their coverage the major events and achievements of his administration.

According to recent research by the PEW Research Center, the media today has led to a widening gap in American public opinion between those who believe that the media has moved away from the professional ethics and those who defend the current news agenda.

In an opinion column in the Wall Street Journal, Executive Editor Gerald F. Seib said that divisions in both the population and the political system have “widened and hardened.”

Seib noted, the two political parties that have represented conservative and liberal interests in the country, as well as those who are sympathetic to bipartisan politics respectively, have gone to extremes possibly in the aftermath of the country’s last financial crisis.

“For those on both the left and right it generated deep new skepticism about whether the country’s financial and political establishments really are interested in conducting the country’s affairs for the benefit of all,” Seib said.

“The opinion of the left, represented by Obama, was not up to the task at hand. (…) And what we’re seeing on the center-right was almost the parallel response: that the standard supply-side growth message that was the orthodoxy of the center-right was also not up to the mark,” according to Oren Cass, a conservative academic at the Manhattan Institute and director of domestic policy for Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign.

As the columnist points out, the liberal left aimed to build a much larger government recovery program, resulting in even more liberal policies with more ambitious proposals like those of Democrats Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren or Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

“The trauma turned some of the rank and file on both sides against economic globalization and the financial community, particularly because the economic dislocation in the United States coincided with the disturbing rise of China as a competing economic power,” wrote the executive editor of the Wall Street Journal.

As he notes in his column, the nation’s current divisions also had a foreign root after American unrest and discontent began to intensify due to the conflict in Afghanistan and Iraq.

“The resulting war weariness deepened skepticism about the elites who defended the conflicts. That helped pave the way for Trump to win the nomination of a Republican Party whose leaders started, and for the most part, had been strong advocates of longstanding conflict,” Seib said.

William Galtson, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, who is quoted by the columnist, said: “I remember how amazed I was at how [Trump] came out swinging against the Iraq war. … I think that made him stronger among ordinary people, including veterans who thought he was telling the truth that neither politicians nor generals would say.”

However, Seib says that much of the division that exists among Americans today lies in the broader cultural pressures that have built up around the political system.

“Many in the country’s largely conservative heartland have rebelled against what they see as the steady demise of traditional American values and social structures.”

“Meanwhile, their opposite numbers on the largely liberal shores have crusaded over with increasing intensity because for what they see as overdue gender, racial and economic parity,” Seib said.

Seib wrote in his column that in the meantime, cultural tensions have increased with the great debates on race relations and immigration: “In this new decade, the country had just finished a period of rapid growth in the population of undocumented immigrants, which rose an estimate 30% over the previous 10 years.”

He also noted that the phenomenon altered the dynamics of communities where they were not accustomed to major changes, claiming that it occurred just when the workforce was facing an “erosion of stable, long-term employment in traditional industries.

This caused an increase in anti-immigrant sentiment, generating economic and cultural unrest, since many of them also have criminal records. However, the left has inserted into the collective imagination the idea that antipathy toward immigrants caused a generalized racist malaise, according to Seib.

As Galtson points out, as the first African-American president, Obama promoted the idea of progressivism hand in hand with a proposal on health care that by then seemed somewhat innovative, prompting the other leaders on the left and at the same time producing discomfort in the opinion of those on the right, who criticized him for his increasingly less moderate and more left-wing stances.

Seib notes that many of them fundamentally questioned his speeches, such as when he said during a campaign that the economic decline in the Rust Belt region had forced the people there to “cling to guns or religion or dislike people who are not like them.”

As for President Trump’s arrival, the executive editor said he “encouraged those on the populist right, who thought they finally had a president who understood their grievances, but enraged those who thought he broke social and political norms and used anger and division as political tools for his own benefit.”

Categories: Opinion