Political pundits on the left, right and center have declared that America is in the midst of “a cold civil war” among the residents of our red and blue regions. “The greatest threat to democracy,” wrote U.S. Naval War College professor Tom Nichols in August, is “we, the people.” Yet while pundits focus on divisions rending our political class — the politicians, activists, donors and ideologues who occupy the commanding heights of American politics and academia — they overlook ample data illuminating substantial common ground among Americans.
Contrary to claims from commentators across the political spectrum, America is not really divided into walled-off red and blue strongholds. A comparison of congressional districts by University of Maryland researchers found that majorities in supposedly “red” districts hold views in opposition to majorities in “blue” districts on fewer than 4 percent of the political issues put before them. Large portions of citizens in districts that commentators claim are solidly partisan, in other words, have substantial agreement on most of the important matters of public policy.
Read the full op-ed at Governing here.