I asked both Barber and Pope of Brigham Young what their thoughts on American politics are now that Trump has been in office eight months.
Pope argued in an email that there has been too much emphasis on polarization and not enough on partisanship.
While elites — elected officials and party activists — are ideologically polarized, the best the general public “can manage is a kind of tribal partisanship that does not really reflect the content of the elite discussion,” Pope wrote:
Citizens pick a team, but they don’t naturally think like the team leadership does. And when Trump tells Republicans to think in a new way, lots of people happily adopt that new position because they were never that committed to the old ideas anyway. They’re just committed to the label.
–Thomas B. Edsall, Trump Says Jump. His Supporters Ask, How High?