What makes political distrust such a problem?

Professor explores the increasing polarization in Washington and beyond


The polarization in Congress that contributes to its dysfunction has spread in recent years to the voting public, says political science professor Thomas Rudolph.

Republicans and Democrats “simply do not like each other to an unprecedented degree.” That was one striking conclusion of Illinois political science professor Thomas Rudolph  and co-author Marc Hetherington in their 2015 book “Why Washington Won’t Work.” Animosity like that on display in the current campaign has grown dramatically in recent years, say the authors – even while Americans’ views on the issues remain relatively moderate overall. So it’s about feelings much more than ideology: The opposing candidate is not just wrong, but often “cannot be trusted.” Rudolph spoke with New Bureau social sciences editor Craig Chamberlain about what it means.

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