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How Conservatives Can Fight the Rabid Partisanship Plaguing America

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You never voted on it. You never gave society your consent. Yet somehow every decision you make has political ramifications, from the fast food you buy to the ice cream you eat, the sports you watch, the movies you enjoy, the words you use, and even the decision to fly your country's flag. Our institutions, similarly, are becoming increasingly partisan, typically with a left-wing bias, including our media, entertainment, universities, and even our scientific establishments. More alarmingly, polling data and social science studies reflect rapidly growing animosity toward those with differing political viewpoints.

While extreme partisanship is a problem on both ends of the political spectrum, a recent poll indicates that those on the left exhibit significantly less tolerance of alternative views than conservatives. A poll from the Survey Center on American Life found that Democrats are twice as likely as Republicans to end a friendship over politics. Similar sentiments were expressed in a 2018 Axios survey, which found that 41% of Democrats would be at least somewhat disappointed if a family member married someone from a different political party, compared to 26% of Republicans. A microcosm of such attitudes was articulated in a Virginia Heffernan op-ed, in which Heffernan agonized over how to interpret an "act of aggressive niceness" in which her Trump-loving neighbors, without asking, shoveled her snow-covered driveway. Heffernan weaved an intricate web that stunningly compared her neighbor's act of kindness to those of polite Nazis, charitable members of Hezb'allah, and the January 6, 2021 rioters.

In Heffernan's mind, support for Trump must also mean support for the January 6 Capitol breach; therefore, all Trump voters must be violent insurrectionists. No attempt is made to find common ground or even to understand why her neighbors support Trump. Before we judge Heffernan too harshly, consider the rhetoric that has continually been used to describe Trump-supporters: basket of deplorables, white supremacists, science-deniers, Nazis, and fascists, to name a few. Such insults are not unique to the Trump era: during the 2012 election, then–GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney was compared to........

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