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Partisan Violence in the U.S. / Lilliana Mason

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Basically what has happened is that the parties have changed. The makeup of the parties has changed from what it was in the past. What happened was that the civil rights legislation of the 1960s turned away a lot of Southern, White Democrats, who used to make up the core element of the Democratic Party. And they hated the Republican Party so much, because of memories of the Civil War, that it essentially took a generation for those people to become Republican. And so it was gradually happening over decades that people started to vote Republican, until their kids started to identify as Republican. And during that process, another thing that happened was that the Christian right became politically active, and saw an opportunity in the Republican Party, and the Republican Party saw an opportunity in this group of voters who meet every week and does what you tell them to do, and started catering to them. And the end product was where we are now, it turned the Republican Party majority white, largely evangelical, much more rural, much more conservative in every way, much higher levels of hostile sexism, much higher level of racial resentment than Democrats. Those are just empirically raised results, we ask people that in a survey and they tell us this. And this has left the Democratic party as the only place that does not want to pull the country backwards. The Democrats therefore have a much harder coalition, a much more diverse coalition of voters. It's not as unified. We have two very qualitatively different parties. And the dangerous part of that is that the Republican Party is unified in an attempt to go back to a time when we had much less gender and racial equality, and they want to achieve this by largely abandoning the norms of democracy.

Chuck talks to Lilliana Mason about her books "Radical American Partisanship," and "Uncivil Agreement" on partisan political violence in the U.S.


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Lilliana Mason

Lilliana Mason is an SNF Agora Institute Associate Professor of Political Science at Johns Hopkins University.

Lilliana Mason faculty profile at JHU


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