What can be done about the deepening polarization in America?
June 6th, 2012
03:22 PM ET

What can be done about the deepening polarization in America?

By CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The polarization of America is like a cancer that is slowly killing us. And like many forms of cancer, there appears to be no cure.

We are more severely divided now than at any time in the last 25 years according to a new pew study.

And it's not the usual suspects of race, education level, income, gender and religion. Political differences are what's ripping the country apart.

This political divide peaked during the last decade - during the presidencies of George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

The Pew survey finds Democrats and Republicans are most divided on the social safety net for the poor with a 41-point gap between the two parties.

Other issues with huge divisions include: the environment, labor unions, equal opportunity and "government scope and performance."

This deepening polarization is something we see among voters and of course among our so-called leaders in Washington. The government is paralyzed - unable to get over their political differences in order to work together and address the people's business that desperately needs doing.

Perhaps the most serious consequence of partisanship is our skyrocketing national debt - now closing in on $16 trillion.

The Congressional Budget Office says that unless Congress does something about government spending and/or taxes, the federal debt is set to double by the middle of the next decade and will reach twice the size of the whole U.S. economy by 2037. We are committing economic suicide.

But don't expect Washington to do anything about it. There's an election in November.

Here’s my question to you: What can be done about the deepening polarization in America?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

It starts with the people taking an honest look at how they have voted and how it stacks up to what they really believe. The politicians participated in thousands of lost lives, lost liberties, and lost treasure of our country's post-9/11 policies. They participated in the unemployment and the mountains of debt left by our economic policies. The worst part is they will not stop because they keep getting elected because we keep voting for them. If any sort of change is to come from this polarization, it has to start with us.

With 24/7 "news" cycles, modern media fuel this divisiveness. It's not newsworthy if we all get along, as we Americans mostly do. There is no political street rioting as we see in many countries. Except for the very fringes in our society, there's a "live and let live" attitude in the US.

Paul in Ontario:
Two party systems inevitably lead to polarization. The Canadian parliament contains five different parties so there is a lot of wheeling and dealing...and co-operation.

Bill in New Mexico:
Very little. I believe this polarization will only worsen as America's economic health decays. The inability of Congress to work together reflects the attitudes and desires of the voter. Short of government failure, there is no end in sight.

Absolutely nothing. With Fox "News", the Rush Limbaughs, the Sarah Palins and political pundits like yourself constantly fanning the flames of divisiveness, hatred and bigotry, the divide is deepening. There is nothing anyone can say or do.

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soundoff (180 Responses)
  1. Julia, Fayetteville, NC

    I can hardly wait until Romney is President. Everyone says he has the answer to everyone's problems and that includes polarization because the reason for polarization is the Republicans will do nothing that might look like Obama has just one good idea and they have announced they plan to ensure he is "one term President". So let's wait and see what the Republicans do.....which brings up another problem......where are the Democrats who are NOT Republicans. They all sing the same song. The President can't depend on any Democrat. Polarization will melt when Romney finally get what he wants – to be President of the United States but he knows a lot about polarization, so let's just wait. We only have a few more months.

    June 6, 2012 at 1:10 pm |
  2. Pete in Georgia

    Not a whole lot, unfortunately.
    Since the 1980's tons of very clever liberal politicians along with the main stream media have helped build an entire generation of Americans who believe TO THEIR CORE that they are ENTITLED to a standard of living among the best......................just for having an address in America. They have grown to hate wealth, corporations, and people who succeed above the norm. They think jobs should magically appear from thin air. They have zero concept of the free enterprise system and the liberal left wants and loves it that way. The more subservient the better.
    Naturally the "producing class" of Americans have had enough of this lunacy. They refuse to gon on being insulted by this socialistic garbage. They see our once great country being destroyed...................by the day.
    End result : Polarization.

    June 6, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
  3. Elizabeth From Toronto

    Nothing. Polarization has always existed in the U.S. and the first time it reared its head was with the Civil War. Now economics and technology are forcing Americans to address polarization again. This time the fall out will be more difficult to get pass because they are other countries in the world that have been watching and will take advantage of any opportunity to manage Americans!. Watch for Americans to become buyers and not sellers, fighting each other instead of people outside its borders. Things are not bad enough in America when it gets really bad maybe some Politician or an ordinary Americans will see what's happening and push the need to not be so insular, but be more knowledgeable about world issues.

    June 6, 2012 at 1:20 pm |

    I wish I had an answer to that question.
    As a studant of history it seems that the last time so few had so much and so many had very little a Civil war broke out.

    Every civilization was taken to it's knees by extreme riches held by a few and abject poverty of the masses.
    I hope that our government can see and fix this before its too late

    June 6, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
  5. Bob in Ohio

    The two party system created and continues to cultivate polarization purely for money and power. Both parties are controlled by BIG MONEY and BIG MONEY gets bigger by keeping the middle and lower classes at odds with each other. Polarization will never end.

    June 6, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
  6. Bizz, Quarryville Pennsylvania

    Well for one thing Congress can stop acting like politicians whose only purpose is to defeat a president and start acting like leaders who want to help our country and is willing to work together for that cause. But I'm afraid it might be too late for that to happen, because of one or two reasons. First reason, is Congress is controlled by special interest groups who do not allow Congress to do the work of the people. The second reason is Congress is full of people who only think of their own personal gains and fulfilling one party's philosophy. These people take their pledge to one man Glover Nordquist more seriously than the oath they take when entering office.

    June 6, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
  7. Amy ( fiverrules ) - somewhere in Illinois

    After seeing the WI weeping "democracy is dead" video – I think EDUCATION in critical thinking would solve a lot of the issues. Gasp! That guy could represent a teacher. Let’s overlook the facts that he was bemoaning that losing an election means democracy is dead or Obama out spent Mcain 2 to 1, what did that guy lose? Jack guys like you are complicit, why didn't anyone ask him to list all the things HE personally loss with a confirmation of previous results? Instead, depending on your current views, we see a testament to the delusions of the left or a rally cry for the sake of the nation posted over and over and have discussions over the polarization but not about the substance of the differing points of views.

    June 6, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
  8. jk in MN

    Overturn Citizen's United for starters and have a legitimate and strong 3rd party. It also may come down to the Supreme Court not overturn Congress defining when free speech causes harm, there will be consequences to the spewer of the speech. I hope it doesn't take another tragedy the scope of 9/11 to bring unity again. The sad part of 9/11 is the GOP used the tragedy to further divide the country in the next election cycles in order to win. It would be better for both sides to come together to solve the countries' problems – unemployment, decaying infrastruture, alternative energy sources. That would take the country understanding that unchecked greed by the 1% is bad for that country and contributing to the problem.

    June 6, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
  9. JM from DFW

    Multiple Choice:

    1) One Nation under the Republican Party
    2) One Nation under the Democratic Party
    3) One Nation under God (with Liberty and Justice for all)

    It's all about relationships. When we stop serving each other we become self serving.

    Reducing the quality of life for one group, while increasing the quality of life for the other will lead to polarization.
    The time has come for the people of our nation to take action and replace our congressional leaders, who are only interested in their agenda.

    June 6, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
  10. Greg in Arkansas

    A good start would be if the news media would report the TRUTH instead of trying to present BOTH sides of an issue.

    Politicians lie (imagine that) to get elected and NO one in the news industry calls them on it. We have Truth in Advertising laws yet politicians get a pass when it comes to facts.

    Most people are unable to understand the complexities of government workings, financial dealings, environmental regulations and get "whipped " into a frenzy with political rhetoric and usually, unknowingly vote against their own best interests.
    Unless the media stops giving politicians free air time to push their lies and half-truths, we can expect this polarization to morph into a fued like the one between the Hatfields and McCoys.....and that lasted over 28 years......God help us.

    June 6, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
  11. Tom Bulger, Canandaigua, NY

    "Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts." (Senator Moynihan)

    Like Canada, the United States needs to refuse FOX a broadcast license for "news" programming. It is difficult enough to function in a democracy with all the misinformation available on the web. We certainly don't need to have a propaganda machine masquerading as a news channel. The government protects us from false advertising regarding inconsequential things, but in the matter of providing the electorate with factual information any bull can fly. Hello.

    June 6, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
  12. Bill of New Mexico

    Very little. I believe this polarization will only worsen as America's economic health decays.

    The inability of Congress to work together reflects the attitudes and desires of the voter.

    The Democrats complain of the Republicans not willing to work with Democrats–but, the Republicans would not vote for them if any Republicans did work or compromise. Ask Senator Lugar about what happens if you work with the other party. When Senator Lugar lost his election, the Republican voters specifically stated that Senator Lugar's willingness to work with Democrats was not desired–sooo, the Republican voters voted a Republican in for their candidate who promised never to give in, never to work with the Democrats.

    When George W. Bush was doing all of his actions hated by the Democrats, did the Democratic voters want the Democrats to work with George W. Bush? Nope!

    I hate to spread gloom and doom, but I think this polarization will only worsen as the American economy and debt itself deterorates as well as the many other polarizing issues increasing. The voter does not want their party to give in on principle to the other party. The frustration of watching Congress and the national government become more ineffective, polarizes the voter even more.

    This polarization is increasing faster because this polarization is feeding on itself as well.

    Short of government failure, there is no end in sight.

    June 6, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
  13. Paul, Parry Sound, Ontario

    Two party systems inevitably lead to polarization. The Canadian parliament contains five different parties so there is a lot of wheeling and dealing...and co-operation.

    June 6, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
  14. Rich (Framingham, MA)

    Jack –

    If CNN were serious about lessening the polarization in America, instead of Wolf having on a liberal and a conservative every night to debate an issue, there wouild be three people on. The third one would be an independent and would represent a more centrist viewpoint. You did say that independent voters are the key to the election, didn't you?

    June 6, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
  15. Boomer in Mo

    It will only happen when most Americans can tell the difference between fact and opinion. Since No Child Left Behind is destroying our youths' ability to think for themselves and do anything but vomit out memorized "facts" and are not encouraged to do any independent search or learning, that will not happen in my lifetime. When you have politicians running around calling members of the other party communists you can pretty well predict the country will be frozen and die a fast death as other countries move ahead.

    June 6, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
  16. 1grasshopper

    Either produce more jobs so people won't have time to think about"them or us"or legalize marijuana show they will mainly stay at home and not care about what each side represents, does or states.

    June 6, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
  17. Ed from Texas

    Simple, exterminate the people I don't agree with.

    June 6, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
  18. Andre R. Newcomb

    "I wish that for just one time you could walk in my shoes - then you'ld know what a drag it is to see you."

    June 6, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
  19. Brando

    Nothing. It's the name of the game. Always have, always will. 😉

    June 6, 2012 at 1:59 pm |
  20. calaurore9

    A statesman leader. One who can operate above the petty wrangling and see the big picture. Simpson-Bowles was a wonderful start. What happened? Pandering to the polarizing Pelosi and Reid, will never change the landscape. When "Yerp" craters, we will pay the price.

    Carol in Northampton, Mass.

    June 6, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
  21. Ken in Pinon Hills, California

    Our leaders in government like Boehner, Cantor, McConnell, Kyl, and the Republican’s in Congress, are grinding their teeth in their sleep over Obama. It seems our potpourri of race, religion, gender gives them rashes too.
    No, has become the first word in the dictionary for them and also the last word until he is gone. In the meantime the country is screwed.

    June 6, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
  22. Doug Ericson

    I think the gig is up. Polarization isn't as big a problem as the debt and corruption. I think the USA will have to declare bankruptcy within the next two years. What happens after that I don't know. Thats my short answer. My long answer got erased while I was looking up the spelling of irrelevant. When I want to spell check a word I just type it into the search box, and the computer automaticallly spells it out correctly. I did that, but the go back button wouldn't work. Eventually I erased my long version trying to get back to the comment form. Something about a broken down car in the desert and crooked politicians, all of the politicians being crooked, without a single exception being available. Oh well. Doug. Pepperell, MA.

    June 6, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
  23. jeff from florida

    Sorry Jack, that ship has sailed. In case you hadn't noticed, it gets worse every election year. It's so bad now, that I actually get a kick out of people who go against their best interests, just so they they can hold the party line.

    June 6, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
  24. Richard Texas

    Other then come up with a viable third party there is nothing you can do. Each person has a choice of 2 options only. Either republican or democrat. The only way to get around this is to offer another party that might actually have a chance at winning an election. With only 2 political choices and neither having been a stellar example of success with the economy, we are doomed to relive the same fate every 4 years. Pure disappointment.

    June 6, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
  25. James - Alexandria, VA

    Revolution is the only option now Jack. No one will ever learn until it erupts at home.

    June 6, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
  26. Donna, Port Huron, MI

    Vote! Need to vote out these obstinate, self serving people. We don't need radicals, we need common (or uncommon) sensible representatives that will do what is best FOR THE PEOPLE, not their party. So sick of the drama.

    June 6, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
  27. Loren, Chicago

    How about people start listening to each other and accepting that there might be some truth in what we all say? For example, I am tired of hearing that I have to be accepting of a "gay" lifestyle. I accept that gays have a right to live their lives and also to receive protection under the law. But why does a word that for over two thousand years meant a recognized relationship between a man and a woman suddenly have to accomodate everyone who wants to have protection of the law? Civil union should be enough, but they want more, without regard to what it means to others. That in a nutshell is why we are where we are, everyone wants their cake and to be able to eat it, too. Sometimes cake is just the dregs at the bottom of the oven and sometimes it has frosting and we have to decide what the right price is and agree on it, even if it means gving up a little to get what really matters.

    June 6, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
  28. Karl in Flint, MI

    It’s too late to do anything about it. The haters have been bought and paid for by big money touting gay marriage, birth control, abortion and women’s and minorities rights and refuse to look at the obvious disastrous economic and other issues in a rational light. Thanks to Super PACS, FOX, Rush, et al, the majority of the GOP has gone over the right hand cliff. Dems are now and have always been a balanced 38% moderate to 38% liberal. The former similarly balanced GOP is now 25% moderate and 68% conservative. This will not reverse itself in the near future. If the GOP billions buys control of Congress and the White House, the brainwashed haters will find they have been screwed, too. Grover and the Kochs will show them no more mercy then the rest of us. I guess that may be the only satisfaction we Dems will have left should it happen.

    June 6, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
  29. lou

    Eliminate cable 'news' that don't really report any real news, but instead just fan the flames of viewers' stereotypes of the other party. No Fox or MSNBC, the national enquirer networks. I'll check in for local news nightly, and the first half of an hour at CNN to get national headlines, but once you cut to 'expert' yackers giving their opinions about politics, I switch to Scooby Doo.

    June 6, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
  30. Evinia Bruce

    Absolutely nothing !!!..with Fox "news" ... the Rush Limbaughs .. the Sarah Palins and political pundits like yourself ..constantly fanning the flames of divisieness,hatred and and bigotry..the successful dumbing down of the American population ... [just look at the world-wide statistics in education ].....the huge .obcene amounts of money involved in brainwashing the lazy,,uninquiring electorate ..willing to believe any garbage passed off as "facts"..the divide is deepening and deepening .. ..the more outreageous the position taken the more ":followers" hop on board .
    ..Racism in the US has always been alive and thriving but some what muted and subtle .now with President Obama in office .. they can no longer contain themselves . and especially ..the so-called" Christian "right and there unbridled bigotry ...there is nothing anyone can do or say that will change their closed minds .....and it is UGLY! BC Canada .
    .p.s. Jack .. since you are constantly putting President Obama in the most negative light ..SO!! are you saying you would have preferred bomb-bomb-Iran -McCain and your very favorite person in the world i-can- see- Russia – Sarah Palin???.

    June 6, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
  31. Tom in Desoto, TX

    Many people view themselves as a Republican or Democrat based on parental influences growing up. Politics was never discussed openly in our family. It would be logical to assess your family’s needs and desires and vote accordingly. I don’t believe most do. To me, education, roads, clean air and water are priorities. I served in Vietnam and have seen military waste, it’s only gotten worse. I know we have to have an armed force but not the bloated behemoth that suffocates over 300 million health and well being for years to come. Spending on our military is seven times that of the next country, that being China. Just a waving of a flag and a picture of some actor playing a hero doesn’t warrant blatant foolishness.

    June 6, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
  32. James - Not Believing In The USA ANYMORE

    Nothing. I for one have come to the forgone conclusion that I DO NOT believe in this nation and its citizens anymore. America is fat, lazy and stupid and Congress and all of Wisconsin are a prime example of it. Huff and puff and almost blow the house down in America's new motto.

    June 6, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
  33. Jim, Denver CO

    First and foremost... reverse Citizens United. Get the money and influence of money out of the political system. Elections should be publically funded. But again, I'll take my rose colored glasses off now.

    June 6, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
  34. John from Alabama

    Jack: There is nothing that can be done with the polarization of America until the people have had enough the bull an vote them out of office. Compromise is not a bad word, and moving forward for the majority of people is a good thing. Just saying no for the sake of saying no is stupid. President Obama has a jobs bill, and the Senate just tried to get aTransportation Bill passed which would hire over 3 million people in construction and solve our decaying bridge and road network. My way or the highway is the wrong philophy. People want answers to problems like social security, tax loopholes, the rich getting richer, and the middle class getting smaller and smaller. If your not part of the solution you are the problem.

    June 6, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
  35. Gary in San Jose, California

    At this point, unfortunately, it will probably take a crisis of epic proportions to bring us all together and remind us we're not Democrats or Republicans but Americans.

    June 6, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
  36. Debbie

    May be the news media polarization of every word spoken by politistions for the medias five minute of fame!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    June 6, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
  37. Larry from Georgetown, Tx

    Fire everyone in Congress and then tell the next group that either have term limits and work for America or get out. WE the people really need to become fed up with Washington and send them a real message with the power of our vote. We live in Texas and I'll vote against any incumbent which mainly means I'll vote Democrat.

    June 6, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
  38. Larry from Georgetown, Tx

    Send all of them to Afghanistan for a tour of duty and the day before they get back extend their stay for another 50 years.

    June 6, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
  39. Stan Smart

    With 24/7 "news" cycles; modern media ("mainstream" or not) fuel this divisiveness. It's not newsworthy if we all get along, as we Americans mostly do. There is no political street rioting as we see in many countries. Except for the VERY fringes in our society there's a "live and let live" attitude in the US.

    June 6, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
  40. Barbara from NC

    Turn off the TV.

    June 6, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
  41. ken from connecticut

    If we all turn to the God of the bible through Jesus and the cross and follow Him, we will all be united. The further this country gets from God and His Word and His ways, then this country deserves what it gets. Lord have mercy on us!

    June 6, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
  42. Russ in PA

    Nothing. You're seeing the result of politicians attempting since the 1800's to circumvent the Constitution, and run the lives of ordinary citizens. Look at the Progressive Era in particular. The fact that so many people believe that "democracy" is the answer just shows you how successful elites have been at dumbing down the population.

    Ron Paul in 2012...

    June 6, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
  43. Mel - Houston

    Hopefully, some time soon they will go back and read the Bible. It says love thy neighbor as thy self. Of course the Republicans, the pious being that they are rarely have to do that. When they do they read from the redacted version of the Bible. Passages like the one mentioned above are blacked out.

    June 6, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
  44. Gurgyl

    Nation is experiencing jealousy, bias, racial feeling, evil now than ever before. Just drive these out. Pray god. We will be fine. Nation needs prayer now....

    June 6, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
  45. Michael "C" Lorton, Virginia

    Jack: The world is in a terrible crisis--and polarization is not only resident to America. I wish I had the answer-but with our current leadership-–which is permanently "bi-polar"--I don't see an immediate light at the end of the tunnel especially when all we keep doing is adding more tunnel!

    June 6, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
  46. Mr. Walker in Richmond, VA

    The polarization is a direct result of the media. Firstly, the right wing media has gone off the deep end with misinformation, fear mongering and race baiting. They have created an angry and sometimes violent Republican voter base, all based on intentionally misleading messages. Secondly, the "real" media does an absolutely horrible job in correcting the misinformation, they give credibility to it by standing on the sidelines and pretending that they don't see it, even though they know better. Canada has laws preventing news networks from lying on TV, we need that. (FYI, FOX NEWS is not allowed in Canada, even though they've tried.)

    June 6, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
  47. Jenna Roseville CA

    What can be done about the deepening polarization in America?

    Nothing when one party refuses to play nice.

    I think that we need to switch to a 3 party system verses a 2 party system.

    We don't need Democrats and Republicans.

    We need:

    Conservative Party
    Moderate Party
    Progressive Party

    And we need to make voting manditory so that every American can be vetted at state expense. That way states can no longer purge voters illegally just to win elections. And we can vote by mail to save money.

    Roseville CA

    June 6, 2012 at 3:01 pm |
  48. Cliff Glass - Rego Park, New York

    The same as was done when slavery was abolished and civil rights and womens rights were recognized and protected. Accept the controversy, ignore the hatred, and keep moving forward with the hope that the next generation is more enlightened and accepting. We have no other choice.

    June 6, 2012 at 3:03 pm |
  49. David, in hot and sunny Tampa

    Win the lottery, move someplace decent. Otherwise, grin and bear it, live with it till the current crop of nuts get displaced.

    June 6, 2012 at 3:03 pm |
  50. glv25

    It starts with the people taking an honest look at how they have voted and how it stacks up to what they really believe. The politicians, pundits, and partisans can play "Who can yell the loudest?" all they want. It's a cover up to the fact that they participated in thousands of lost lives, lost liberties, and lost treasure of our country's post 9/11 policies. They participated in the unemployment and the mountains of debt left by our economic policies. The worst part is they will not stop because they keep getting elected because we keep voting for them. If any sort of change is to come from this polarization, it has to start with us.

    June 6, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
  51. Brian From Fountain Colorado

    Polarization is happening because America does not have a defined culture to it. It is a melting pot of every ethical background that gives it not true definition, which is the root of the political problem.

    June 6, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
  52. Josh from New Orleans

    Nothing can be done, its the Republicans and conservatives who would rather see our country fall from grace than compromise with a black president.

    June 6, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
  53. Sarah/Dumfries,VA

    Its all because of those arrogant,ignorant,uncivilized ,Racist Republican TeaParty & i know as well as every sensible &GOD fearing person that the world will be better without them

    June 6, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
  54. CS Hunter-Bell

    Beyond any doubt! It is the usual suspects ... period. Ostrich immitations are not going to solve any problems.
    When people begin to believe it, they will be able to see it. Then maybe something can be done to improve the situation.
    Personally I say ... " it ain't gonna happen".

    June 6, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
  55. DaleW in MA

    Take the money out of politics. I know it'll be hard for you corporate media outlets to give up the every 2 year windfall, but airtime should be fair and free to a certain extent.
    Take the tax advantage away from all these religious fringe groups. Those clowns protesting military funerals should be taxed into oblivion since 'open season' on them might be unethical. The Tea Party should indeed be steeped in boiling water since they're corporate backed parrots, they're an insult to the real folks who did the deed back in the 1700s.

    June 6, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
  56. James in San Diego

    Simple. Split it into two countries.

    June 6, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
  57. Danny

    When China drops the dollar for its trade with Japan, I'm sure they will all be happy friends again. Because if that happens, America will crumble...

    June 6, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
  58. glv25

    Any sort of change that is to come in regards to polarization starts with us. The politicians, pundits, and partisans can play "Who can yell the loudest?" all they want. Has it really lead us to a conservative or liberal utopia? Making the other side look as bad as possible, I suppose is a great way to win an election. Has it yielded any great results as we survey the lost lives, liberties, and treasure of our post 9/11 policies or the mountains of debt and undemployed of our economic policies? Polarization is a great business to be in, but if it's national success you're looking for, you are buying in to the wrong game. Lansdale, PA

    June 6, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
  59. Willy in Las Vegas

    as long as both sides of the political argument vilify each other in the most vicious and in many cases slanderous and untrue ways, I see NO hope.

    one thing that might help would be to strengthen the laws against libel and slander. when some group or individual puts out completely untrue statements they can NOT prove about someone, they should be subject to severe civil or even criminal penalties.

    June 6, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
  60. david from herndon, va

    People need to man up and accept that their beliefs might be wrong. There are knowable facts out there, but they're distorted by dishonest journalists and molded by those with money and power.

    Turn off Fox news once in awhile and read a book. Educate yourself, then go out and vote. Demand better candidates. Petition, protest, march - whatever it takes.

    We regular folks are getting screwed over and have been for at least 40 years now. Challenge the status quo, or be prepared to work into your 80s and 90s with almost no hope of a dignified end.

    June 6, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
  61. Gary H. Boyd

    Good for you Jack - you've identified the problem - polarization. But it's not "growing" polariozation, it's "complete and total" polarization already. The country's never been so divided and any hope of it regaining any measure of compatibility is zero and none. We're just plain screwed pal.

    Gary in Scottsdale, Arizona

    June 6, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
  62. Paul in NC

    The polarization of our country has increased in direct proportion to the ascendence of talk radio and Fox News. They are outlets for misinformation, distortion and fabricated so-called news that feeds the onerous ideology of radical conservatism. As the radicals move ever further right people who previouly were moderates have to move left just to preserve their own sanity. What can be done about it ? Unless we repeal the first amendment and censor the bigots and the hate mongers, nothing. So stay tuned for the sequel; Civil War II.

    June 6, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
  63. James - Not believing in the USA anymore

    Nothing can be done and you should know that by now. I have come to the forgone conclusion that this country is not worth my efforts anymore so I refuse to believe in the USA and its citizens. Only revolution will correct this problem, not money, politicians, occupy movements, tea party losers, words or prayers can save this country. So stop asking questions that you know the answers to.

    June 6, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
  64. Dave, Orlando, FL

    Absolutely nothing. We are too stupid to look around us, and too stupid to listen to our best presidents’ farewell addresses. We didn’t listen to Washington who warned us to mind our own business, and we wound up embroiled in the biggest wars in history. We didn’t listen to Eisenhower when he warned us to be wary of the military-industrial complex, and now we squander countless billions on needless weaponry. And we did not listen to what Lincoln said when he told us that a house divided can not stand. We are now divided by the big money interests and we are being conquered. We, as a nation, are toast. If only we were smarter than this. But now I must go to my grave not knowing how my grandchildren will fare and being impotent to help them in any way.

    June 6, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
  65. Michael Bindner, Alexandria VA

    There is not much to do about reactionaries who take their cues from FoxNews but to simply outlast them. Their participation in the process is not a permanent thing, as they tend to be older.

    June 6, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
  66. Gigi Oregon

    It's really simple and it's easy as grade school math. When everyone pays an equal tax, Churches and ministers pay taxes, we no longer make war our number one priority, our elected officails go to jail for taking or making bribes (lobbyist/ing, banks must be truthful in lending and limits on bonuses, education is restored as part of the America dream, our country provides health care instead of entitlements to big business/corporations etc. I could go on but to make it short we are producing a lot of garbage in government and not much for the growth of the United States. It's just a lot of busy work to make the elite rich and dominate the world power # 1 status. When you look at a few of the problems it make the USA look mighty shallow. In my humble opinion.

    June 6, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
  67. Richard Oak Harbor, Wa

    Political polarization entered the critical stage in 2010 when the Supreme Court determined that corporations could spend unlimited amounts of money to influence the outcome of elections.

    Hello!!!!! Like the guy said last night in Wisconsin: "Democracy is dead", only the arguing remains.

    June 6, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
  68. Renee, Illinois

    As long as political fearmongering proves useful in winning elections, nothing. As long people believe political ads filled with lies because it feeds their own prejudices, nothing. The truth is out there but not enough people are listening. They say those who forget history are doomed to repeat it. Most Americans today have no idea how closely our current situation mirrors the end of the Roman empire. As long as we enable our corrupt leaders, on both sides, we are dooming ourselves.

    June 6, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
  69. Dan from New York

    People are not going to change easily. The demographic movement toward a more diverse populous will eventually change some of the right-wing resolve against compromise. However, I believe things are going to get much worse before they get better. Short of a huge natural disaster such as a massive famine or the outbreak of a disease, I don't see compassion or empathy anywhere on the horizon. One side or the other is going to be on fire with rage after this next election. Those of us in the middle need to brace ourselves. Down the line, I think a new fiscally conservative/socially liberal faction will rise to take up the real values the Republican Party has lost. This will be a more demographically diverse group, who are eager for fiscal responsibility. But I think it's going to take another couple of Presidential election cycles before we get there. Let's hope the country survives until we are willing once again initiate a reasonable give-and-take national dialogue.

    June 6, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
  70. Daniel from Indianapolis, in

    It can no longer be ignored our two party system has failed us.we have a sorry excuse for a president (yes I am black) and mitt "wall street" Romney. America had not learned their lesson from dubya and want to elect Willard. Sad Day in America when this is the best choices

    June 6, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
  71. Mack from Michigan

    It'll take a tragedy to bring the country together Jack. A full economic meltdown, or a full blown attack on our country would remind us that we all live here and have common ground we can all stand on. The liberal Pandering and the greed of the already wealthy have brought us emotionally to a budding civil war, and it'll take something near tragic as that to bring us back to our senses

    June 6, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
  72. Thinkforyourself, OK

    We are not as polarized as you think, Jack. The MAJORITY in the country are CENTER RIGHT. However the Media, Hollywood, School Systems, etc are in the pocket of Progressive Marxists. They get more attention and media coverage than the true majority. One example is that the media would have you believe that 25% of our population is either gay, lesbian, transgendered or bisexual. it is more like 2%.
    As a person on the conservative side, I CAN NOT morally compromise anymore with Communism, Marxist Socialism, etc. The Left is just too evil.

    June 6, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
  73. Sandstone

    "The Tembo and the Punda, will alway's try and get along I suppose, but it's not really wise to hand feed either, as your friend!"

    June 6, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
  74. Randy

    Nothing. The politicians use the government to transfer public money into their friends (donors) pockets and in return their friends make them or a close family member very rich. If you look at low level criminals and high level criminals side by side you'll find that race, sexual preference, religion, and any other issue takes a back seat to the crime and the "profits". The middle class and poor are only there to pay the bill when the bill comes due. The polarization is just part of a divide and conquer strategy that both sides are using against the American people.

    June 6, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
  75. Peter, Tarrytown, N.Y

    It's all about power and control, Jack.
    All our lives we have been conditioned to accept the explanations of those with power. Our parents, our teachers, our clergy, our politicians, often these explanations are contradictory. At some point in our growth we decide to accept a particular set of explanations. They feel good to us or make us feel good. We call them our beliefs.
    We reject out of hand anything that doesn't support or reinforce our beliefs.
    Too many will blindly follow whoever says "Support me. I have all the answers. I am one of you. We are special. We must educate(suppress) the unbelievers."

    I know what I believe.
    I believe what I know.
    The truth is was I want it to be.
    I know it's the truth because....
    I saw it on TV,
    I heard it on the radio,
    I read it in a blog.
    I've never allowed facts to shape my opinion

    June 6, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
  76. Jack - Lancaster, Ohio

    Mr. Cafferty:

    I would use the term "poll"erization. I am glad you did not use a reference to "society" or "culture" in piece because part of the problem is the dilution of the American...those things. I think the solution will be tough, like de polarizing some electronic circuit. That requires sparks and shorting the thing to ground. I think some mentioned other ways above regarding social disputes. Rots o ruck !

    June 6, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
  77. David Doherty

    I hate to say it Jack, but if you and the rest of the talking heads would start pushing for term limits, or at least start a anti-incumbent campaign we might be able to turn this ship around. This is the only thing that can save us.
    Dave from NH.

    June 6, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
  78. Phyllis G. Williams

    What can be done about the deepening polarization in America?

    "Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will
    give you rest...unto your souls"
    "All things are delivered unto Me of My Father" (Matthew 11: 27-29)
    ""I..beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called...
    endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace" (Ephesians 4: -3)

    June 6, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
  79. Anthony from Swedesboro

    It reminds me of the Senator McCarthy era when he divided the country with bombast about Communist infiltrating the government. Now the republicans claim that the rich aren't rich enough and won't hire until taxes are lowered for them and Government stops regulating them. Since that they bought the Supreme Court, the rich have full reign over our democracy. The real divide in this country is between the haves, the have-nots, and the have- nots who don't have a clue they're being fleeced. You know, those who are a used car salesman's dream.

    June 6, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
  80. andy Lynn, MA

    Total war! Let the Democrats and Republicans kill each other off. Then we independents can fix what the two parties have screwed up/destroyed.After more than 200 years of existance I sincerely belive that "Taxation WITH representation" isn't so hot either.

    June 6, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
  81. Michael, from Smiths, Alabama

    Four words: Disband the Tea Party. They're nothing but a bunch of measly, mealy-mouthed cry-babies who stomp and scream when they don't get their way.

    June 6, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
  82. Stefan (Oakland)

    Term limits. One of the major problems is the fact that while people overall have disapproval of Congress they tend to vote to keep their own representative in Congress. Terms limits will force the American people to choose someone different to represent them after a period of time as opposed to continuously reelecting the same nut jobs that exacerbate the polarization. This country needs fresh ideas and new people to keep up with the times and most importantly, people who will work together.

    June 6, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
  83. Jacquie- Chesterfield Va

    While I'm not saying I necessarily approve of "earmarks" that have become such a hot topic in the last few years, there is something to be said about their ability to aid compromise. Someone may not love a bill, but if there's something there to make them happy, they're more willing to consider it.

    June 6, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
  84. Frank Poynton from Los Angeles

    The deepening polarization is producing a lot of hot air, thats for sure. It's just a theory but perhaps all that hot air is responsible for the relatively quick melting of the polar ice caps. In keeping with that theory the solution is to tell everybody to SHUT UP!......Nah, that won't work......Hey I've just come up with a brilliant business idea!!! I am going to open up a Zamboni Dealership in Washington, D.C.!!! The sooner politicians begin smoothing over their icy rhetoric the better.

    June 6, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
  85. Dan from Stewartstown PA

    Well Jack, there's a fat chance of it happening, but if Lobbying and Campaign Finance laws are corrected so that every day citizens have as much clout as do special interests, then we might be able to straighten out this mess. If not, then with limitless money comes limitless power. We have all heard that ultimate power corupts ultimately. If we can't stop that, then I don't like our chances.

    June 6, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
  86. Mr. D

    I guess the old saying "when in doubt, do nothing." is a credo of Congress. They seem to be especially good at that. It looks like we need a third party mediator to step in and end the impass. Maybe we should take it to the United Nations. I can already here the laughing, but it certainly isn't funny.

    June 6, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
  87. Jerry Jacksonville, Fl.

    Money and greed have divided this country, most of the politicians in washington are greedy and have sold their souls to the highest bidder. It dosen't matter that we elect them they are not in it to help the American people but to line their pockets with money from the lobbyist and use their position to obtain wealth and influence and to hell with the people.

    June 6, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
  88. Bob in Kansas City

    Congress passes legislation favorable to one group or another, the "carried interest" special treatment in the tax code is a good example, who benefits from it the most?-those that wouldn't miss it if taxed as ordinary income so there you are....So what can be done re polarization?....uhh, not much as long as money is "free speech", the more you donate the more you're heard.

    June 6, 2012 at 4:34 pm |
  89. Lee Williams, Lecanto, Florida

    We're a young country and I believe there is a very good chance that our divide will continue to deepen and the time may come that we are the Shiites and the Sunnis of America. Right now a neighbor and I, with a 10 year history of friendship, are barely speaking following some name calling over Republican and Democratic politics.

    When Mitch McConnell said his only job for his current 4 year term was to defeat Barac Obama he should have been fired. When he campaigned for his re-election he didn't tell his constituents to give him another term so he could do nothing. If they can't produce and perform they should be fired, like any other non-productive worker.

    One last hope is that our supreme court justices no longer hold lifetime jobs. After their Citizens United decision they need a house cleaning as well. It's going to takea lot of screaming, scounting, marching and praying to save us from ourselves.

    vernment is going to have to be forced to respond to our needs. We need some new good rules

    June 6, 2012 at 4:34 pm |
  90. Jim Charlotte NC

    The American public is so arrogant that no one can do anything to change their mind. As long as people like Limbaugh keep filling their heads with the idea that they are right and everyone else is wrong there is no compromise.

    June 6, 2012 at 4:34 pm |
  91. Ron WPAFB

    Politics like Religion should only be heard at events a person chooses to go to! Instead it is all over the airways and on every channel. Everyone has an opinion, Jack, you know, just like that have something else! I have done what I can, I'm not hurting and can live my life out. I give up on politicians and one better never show his/ her treasonous face at my door! When I leave here we are retired. If a republican is ever stupid enough to test me, well, it'll be a big mistake!

    June 6, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
  92. Dan from Stewartstown PA

    As long as it remains legal for people like Grover Norquist to have our elected representatives sign pledges forbiding them to perform their duties as members of the House and Senate, then there's not much chance of anything stopping the currently deepening polarization between the parties.

    June 6, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
  93. Jim


    I have to hand it to you. That's one of the funniest questions you've ever come out with. That's like a skunk asking what can be done about the persistent stench. What can be done about political polarization in the U.S.? Easy, get rid of pundits and pot stirrers like YOU.

    Reno, Nevada

    June 6, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
  94. Larry in Houston

    What can be done about the deepening polarization in America?
    Answer : The government IS paralyzed – NOT ONLY unable to get over their political differences in order to work together and address the people's business that desperately needs doing, BUT the National DEBT is what IS Paralyzing Us !!

    The federal debt is going to end up doubling by the middle of the next decade and will reach twice the size of the whole U.S. economy by 2037. We are MORE THAN committing economic suicide !! The GDP and our whole monetary system cannot sustain it !! Whomever our next president is come november, will have a lot on his plate. I'm glad I got out of the stock market when it was over 13,000 – I told my wife that I was waiting on where it once was, ( around 14,000) but she told me that it would never get that high again. I'm glad I listened to her.
    Vote – Democrat – 2012

    June 6, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
  95. Peter, Tarrytown, N.Y

    Too few people actually get unbiased news. What they mostly get is commentary from pundants.. It's Bush's fault. It's Obama's fault. It's the Bilbe thumping religious rigth's fault. It's the lazy innercity minorites fault. It's the tea Party's fault It's your fault. What is says to me is NO ONE is willing to accept their part in our mess. We believe everything we hear from what ever news source we favor. If we hear something that doesn't support our political position or contradicts our religious believe we scream,rant and profane. Most have no idea what we as citizen can actually do. If you believe a politician has your interest in mind you're delusional.
    Call, write, e-mail your senator and congress person EVERY DAY. make it clear "do the business of the people or get voted out." Then follow through at election time..

    June 6, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
  96. Sandra from Texas

    I can think of a few things to get us started: first, campaigns should be about the qualifications of the individual running for office, not a purchased misinformation advertising campaign against the other person. Second, get rid of the media stations that preach hate and mistrust, or at least require that they not be able to call themselves "news". Third, and this will be the hardest, we as a people are going to have to quit being so self-centered and self-righteous. Compromise is the only thing that will save this country and we should be demanding compromise from our representatives.

    June 6, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
  97. Mike in Minneapolis

    The best thing would be to have individual states decide how to govern themselves. I live in a state that values education and women's health. Let those states who don't stand on their own. Once they realize that the states that give the least to the federal government take the most, they will see what they are missing.

    June 6, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
  98. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    We have unqualified people making decisions for themselves and not for the good of the Country. For instance, if you needed brain surgery you wouldn't look for a foot doctor. With that said, what we have in Washington are elected officials who have no credentials in economics and we're asking them to fix the deficit which is way above their pay grade so this creates a lot of the polarization in Washington. The way to fix it is, throw the bums out and hire qualified economist.

    June 6, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
  99. A Southern Lady - North Carolina

    Citizens United must be repealed by the Supreme Court. Tea Partiers elected in 2010 by the Republican Party must be sent home and replaced by true legislators who do not sign pledges to the likes of Gordon Norquist, who do not focus totally on defeating the Democratic president but who truly want to work for the good of the country and the people who elected them and who pay their salaries. Karl Rove and his like must not have the millions of dollars available to gain the unbrideled power to buy elections, reasonable behavior must return to the legislative branch and Fox News should not, as in Canada, have the right to own a television station whos aim is propaganda for the Republican party. I fear for my county if things do not change. Is there a top Republican with enough intelligence, influence, guts and love of country to take the necessary steps to set things right. I truly hope so.

    June 6, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
  100. Kevin in CA

    Improving the economic conditions would help the situation a lot.

    June 6, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
  101. Greg Turman


    The majority in this country is non black & non Hispanic, yet the majority of the un employed are blacks and Hispanics.
    Until we get job creation, there will be class war fare and polarization.
    Job creation and tax revenues come from corporate profits.
    Gregory Turman

    June 6, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
  102. Conor, Chicago

    Our polarization comes from fear. The right fears an overbearing government that holds too much power over the economy and individual rights. So right wing media stirs up fear about anything that could be contrued as something that might have ever happened once in the Soviet Union. The Left fears corporate domination of our government rendering our democracy moot. They fear that with politicians being bought and paid for by coporate interests the concerns of our society will be ignored in the name of profit. So, if anyone gives any more to a politician it's evidence of corporate control over our government.

    What do you fear more? Do you fear an elected government that taxes corrporations and citizens to redistribute the wealth and do its best to provide an equitable society at the potential cost of paying more in taxes than you'd like and maybe not having as many economic choices as you'd like? Or do you fear an elected government that concerns its self first with the economic interests of it's financial backers, the good of soceity being a passing and secondary consideration, all so everyone can pay a little less in taxes and maybe have a few more economic choices because the government simply doesn't offer those services anymore? My guess is the answer to these questiosn is 50-50...so we are doomed...

    June 6, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
  103. j.torrey1@hotmail.com

    Unless we the voters show up at the primaries as well as the extremists to vote very little.

    June 6, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
  104. Mark, Oklahoma City, OK

    It's very simple, Jack, the Liberals are free to move to which ever of the Poles they choose...North or South. It makes no difference to me.

    June 6, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
  105. Sandstone

    "Polarised?? What would you say, Jack. if your apartment (personal) fire alarm talks in Italian, and you don't understand a word it was saying?? Finally found out, it just needed a new battery."

    June 6, 2012 at 5:10 pm |
  106. Pete, NJ

    Just two words would fix most of the problems and get us on the right track. TERM LIMITS! When their jobs are no longer secure, they might start thinking about somebody other than themselves.

    June 6, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
  107. phil o

    Sounds like the situation that existed before the civil war! Hmmmmm!

    June 6, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
  108. vicky

    Overthrow the Government – it's corrupt.

    June 6, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
  109. Ron Balouville CT

    Jack the only way we can get back on track is get rid of the party system and adopt the british parlementory system. the republicans and dems all act worse than 2 year olds playing in the sand box... Fire em all!!!

    June 6, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
  110. Sandstone

    "As I just stated, Jack. You have to try and speak the same language, at least invest more in education, to at least get them talking on the same page!"

    June 6, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
  111. Martha Campbell

    Unfortunately not much. It is the rich vs. the rest of us . We need a strong third party...and I'm not talking "tea party". I mean a legitimate third party to bring the dems and the GOP to their knees and make them see that we are all one country and stop the divisions between the parties. I'm so very tired of the do-nothing government and all the fighting.

    Jamestown, PA

    June 6, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
  112. Thinkforyourself, OK

    I forgot to say what can be done about it. Outside of a Major Christian Revival, absolutely nothing.

    June 6, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
  113. Peggy

    Well, as soon as the rest of the country agree with me and support my position, which is of course the correct and only way to see things, there will be no movement! Geez Jack, I thought you knew this!!!

    June 6, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
  114. Tim

    What can be done is we can start listening to someone, such as Ron Paul, that isn't having his or her strings pulled by the political establishment. I mean really, do we honestly think there are only two ways to approach any possible issue? Either the Republican way or the Democrats way? We need a new way and new ideas. Nothing will change as long as we keep electing the same type of people.

    June 6, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
  115. Zachary, Ames IA

    The first is easy, scrub congress and start over with a brand new crew. The second is more difficult. We, the media, congress and politicians all need to stop demonizing the competition because that only serves to drive us farther apart. Some old fashioned respect and cooperation is what we really need right now.

    June 6, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
  116. John in CA

    Somehow energize the moderate "silent majority" to stand up to the
    radical Obama left and the Tea Party right. A charismatic candidate,
    maybe a third party? Seriously, this country hasn't been this divided
    since the Civil War.

    June 6, 2012 at 5:24 pm |

    It's too late. Our culture has lost its way.
    The perfect storm is here.....

    June 6, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
  118. marcy from margate, florida

    We need to get QE3 and QE4, then declare bankruptcy
    get a new currency, a new congress and start all over again.

    June 6, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
  119. Bobby Wong

    Here is way to change this. The media and schools need to run poll repeatedly and in different forms that ask 'Would you vote for a president who compromise?" or "would you vote for a politician who signs pledge that hinders compromise?" Let the poll shock the politicians and get them to believe that polarization isn't firing up their base. The way that we do poll is helping the politician to polarize an issue. We need to tip the politicians.

    June 6, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
  120. E N, Virginia

    It's easy Jack, the complete removal of potical parties from the government is the best option. The Father of Our Country, Washington himself, warned us in his Farewell Address of the dangers of political parties. As America becomes more divided, we see more than ever now, he was right.

    June 6, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
  121. Dolores Surprise AZ

    For one thing, each republican in the house and senate could be issued a copy of Websters dictionary so that they could learn the definition of the word ,COMPROMISE.

    June 6, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
  122. Jake

    The republicans should become sane again. They should stop talking about contraception and do what people elected them to do: fix the economy.

    June 6, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
  123. Bob Russell

    The simple solution, eliminate the two part system. No more Republicans or Democrats. No more partisan politics.

    June 6, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
  124. Jonah

    Jack, the only way to pay off that multi-trillion dollar debt everyone seems so worried about is for Congress to work together. But then what? How do we pay off the debt? We buy back the Treasuries and we're debt free. But, then what does my Grandma (and 10's of millions like her) do to supplant her Social Security when she stops getting her monthly interest from the money she loaned the government? Play the stock market? We need to be in debt. Find another problem that's real. Shouldn't be too hard.

    June 6, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
  125. Frank in Toronto

    Maybe we need to change to a dictatorship that way we wouldn't need to worry about false promises and money recklessy spent to buy votes. We have a few to choose from as more dicators become available.

    June 6, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
  126. John, Mt. Vernon, IN

    Nothing can be done about the polarization in this country, Jack. Both parties have tried their best to poison the idea of working together. Look at the man that beat Dick Lugar that said the only definition of Bi-Partisanship should be the Democrats following the Republicans. I've said it many times. The American Government and all involved can be compared to entitled three year olds yelling at each other.

    June 6, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
  127. raymond roy

    What is needed is a third political party. One that has not only a presidential candidate, but one that runs candidates for both the house and the senate. Then and only then will the either-or problem that we now have be eliminated.

    June 6, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
  128. Cheryl Lake Tahoe

    Roll all the public entitlement plans into one that everyone shares equally. See how fast Social Security and Medicare get fixed when Congress can no longer design a separate plan for themselves or exempt themselves from what they impose on us.

    June 6, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
  129. Ed Moore

    Term Limits is the answer..........

    June 6, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
  130. Steve Wylie

    Maybe it sounds naive, but since Obama and Romney are basically the same candidate, how about they work together making Congress do something, anything, responsible instead of campaign against each other? They could set an example our country needs and whoever shows best can have the presidency. Same guy, either way.

    June 6, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
  131. PiedType

    The report also says more and more Dems and GOP are leaving their parties to become independents. If the trend continues, both extremes/parties will die and we'll have one giant party of independents. Which might not be a bad idea, except they'll soon start dividing into liberal and conservative wings ...

    Susan R

    June 6, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
  132. Gary, Iowa

    Look at history – in 1993 W.J. Clinton came into office and on close votes RAISED TAXES on those making over $250,000. What followed was the best peace time economic time since Ike's time. The Democrats paid for it at
    the polls, but it is Clinton who gets the credit – NOT next and his ilk. The fact one side has pledged alligance to
    Grover (and not Mr. Cleveland) – that will nver happen again. They had 4 to 1 in cuts to taxes and passed. Cut
    and cut until it hurts – well good luck.

    June 6, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
  133. Jim Naples Florida

    Jack, how about putting a halt to the ton of political spin and misinformation that is being put out there as "truth"; how about we do a fact check with muscle? Why don't we make politicians pay for the BS they spin out there that pits neighbor against neighbor; brother against brother and sister against sister that has absolutely no basis in fact. They can do this without any fear of retribution but, in the meantime, they are destroying this country of ours. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! Hit them where it hurts.. their pocket books.

    June 6, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
  134. Paul from New Jersey

    Not much Jack, as long as cable news networks remain so highly regarded in many american households.

    June 6, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
  135. jspurr01

    The only option is Nuclear: Abolish the Political Party System.

    June 6, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
  136. Mark J. Engler

    We are not polarized, just perceived that way by the media and those who profit from polarization. Rather, we are victims of the redistribution of wealth into an oligarchical, bellicose and secretive world order that is not the responsibility of those with power, but of all of us. We must remain united, United States of America, and united with the rest of the world, because we all want the same thing: peace and happiness, above all else, above wealth, above power, and above arguments and the feeling of being "correct," "accurate," or "right."

    June 6, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
  137. D Sher

    You cannot eliminate polarisation but you can do something to reduce its effects. Draw constituency boundaries in a neutral way instead of drawing them to guarantee the incumbents re-election. The lack of guaranteed re-election might be enough to shock some of them into some sense of reality.

    June 6, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
  138. Arthur, Toronto, On.

    Everyone is corrupt, bought and paid for in the political sphere equals polirized!

    June 6, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
  139. Cam

    There needs to be a leader who is willing to cross partisan lines just as in the days of Clinton or Reagan. It doesn't have to be a republican or democrat specifically, only someone who is willing to do what is right rather than what is politically convenient. Reagan and Tip O'Neill were great friends and got things done because of it. Even though they may have publicly disagreed, they compromised and set an example...what example is the current president showing with the speaker? It is sad to say that a teenager such as myself is one of the few who realizes that someone needs to admit it when he or she is wrong.

    June 6, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
  140. Paul

    when one side says its my way or nothing, nothing will get done

    June 6, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
  141. Paul. Pennsylvania

    The only thing we can do is grab a lawn chair, a cold beverage and watch our country implode.

    June 6, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
  142. Julian Sanchez

    Polarization? there is an old saying, those who seek to trade freedom for security will find the government will give them neither. During the past 10 years from both presidents we have been putting in place policies Europe followed during decades. What has happened to them? People want bigger government, yet we live in a time where we dont even need to read history... history is happening. Governments with big safety nets, huge public services, big governments are failing. Greece, Spain, Venezuela, Ireland. The last two president have followed socialistic tendencies that do not work. Why do people not think with their brains rather than their hearts. Britain all gun ban in the 90's, crime spiked, Europe taxing companies, companies leaving, greece public sectors are not even wanted by private industries for how ineffective they are. The country is ripping itself apart because we have forgotten that besides math history and science, the most important subject is to remember the past. What has worked and what has not worked. How can people enjoy the current parties when the current government is putting in place policies that Europe just recently got bit in the read for employing for decades?

    We are becoming a socialistic society , which around the world at this second are failing. Venezuela one of the wealthiest nations in South America reduced to Slums, Greece, Italy. What more proof do people need to realize any candidate who promises you free public services, and is against gun rights is the worst candidate. If they dont work around the world what would they work here?

    June 6, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
  143. Ginger

    Term limits might take care of that. Politicians wouldn't have as much of their personal skin in the game and could see their way to compromise. Term limits may also solve some of the campaign shinanigans with super pacs having less influence.

    June 6, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
  144. Tom

    Heard some pastors talking the other day. Agreed that "."we are closer to civil war feelings than anytime since our civil war in the 1800s" Makes one think and wonder...

    June 6, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
  145. JoAnna

    Maybe do away with both parties, it seems as if the parties are more important then the people of this country, they can't work together.

    June 6, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
  146. Scott


    The media is responsible for fueling the current polarization. Each radical wing of both parties tries to out shock the other. I am so sick of this cancer attacking our nation I am now numb too it – a sure sign that our democracy is in peril! I am an active duty Soldier getting ready to deploy again, this time to Afghanistan. I am afraid of what I will return to. Maybe the media can help – just start reporting our politicians follishness and embarass them to do the right thing. Compromise always works. No one can or has the right to "have it all." I get along well with my fellow Soldiers and guess what, we can disagree but still actually get things done! Maybe the Congress should take our example! We need help now.

    June 6, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
  147. Eric Herman

    Jack, we desperately need to embrace a new style of "pro consensus" discussions, meaning politicians, pundits and rest of us identify points of agreement as a way to frame debates then with that as context, we move on to tackle the differences. I realize that sounds like hoping for rain in the Sahara, but until we identify commonalities on social and economic issues, we are doomed to drive down the same divisive ruts that are crippling this great nation. Whatever happened to the concept of the "loyal opposition" ... ? You don't have to be a genius to see it's been scuttled by the concept that the guy on the other side of the discussion is un-American or somehow evil. As divided as we may seem, when you break it down, we all want the same things. That's where our important discussions should begin.

    June 6, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
  148. Michael in Albuquerque, NM

    The establishment has always sought to divide us against each other, using fear, to make us easier to exploit and control. The media spreads the fear through propaganda and news. But, the reality is that the man on the street is not concerned with the divisions of politics. We are annoyed with the constant complaining, and will have nothing to do with it. That explains the low voter turn out. Imagine the viewership you could have if media would cut the crap.

    June 6, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
  149. Jim Charlotte NC

    Jack, you failed to mention the Media. With people like Limbaugh and Maher poisoning the minds of people how can you not think this is a major cause.

    June 6, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
  150. Steve

    Very simple: vote out the Republicans, and replace the right-wing political hacks on the Supreme Court who have enshrined in the constitution the principle that government is for sale. Jack, you should have the guts to put the blame where it is due, even though CNN tries very hard to be nonpartisan. Suppose you were in Germany in 1937. Would you say the government is "polarized" because someparties wanted to kill all the jews and others didn't? Would you be neutral then too? Which party tried to shut down the government over an extension of the debt ceiling?

    June 6, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
  151. Lori

    First, stop calling people you disagree with socialists, communists, fascists, terrorists, apologists, or the reincarnation of Hitler. Second, stop saying we're turning into Russia, China, or Germany – as long as we have triple decker bacon burgers, this is still America. Third, stop equating intractability with principles and start giving as much as you take. Lastly, have a loftier goal than just defeating the guy in office. OK, you got me, that advice is for one side.

    June 6, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
  152. Anthony from Denver

    nothing; each side of the aisle has demonized the other. The Republicans portray the democrats as radical socialist that want to bankrupt the country. The Democrats portray the Republicans as heartless exploitative beings. as long as each side is convinced that the other is the enemy, I don't expect the polarization to end.

    June 6, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
  153. Gary Delaney

    To reduce the debt, let alone stop it from increasing, we need to curb our spending first. The biggest waste out there is the military contracts that are not subject to bid, and are often needless spending. Second, is the incentives for corporations to bring jobs back to the states. Too much is being sent over seas, then we buy the products being sent back to us. Good grief, talk about a catch-22.

    Thanks Bill.

    June 6, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
  154. Brad, Portland, OR

    Let's ask some questions, shall we.

    Would Jesus be in favor of a safety net for the poor, or against it?

    Which party favors the safety net, and which party doesn't?

    Which party claims to do everything in Jesus' name, including making laws that apply to all of us, regardless of religion, and which party keeps religion as a personal matter?

    June 6, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
  155. Chrissie

    Easy–all liberals, independents, those who dare think for themselves just have to vote for the candidates with the (R) after his or her name. Then we'll all be united . . . NOT!

    June 6, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
  156. Mark J. Engler

    Despite the perception of polarization, secrecy, and redistribution of wealth into the hands of a few, there is at the same time a new world order that will undermine all other self-destructive processes. It is a world order predicted by all the great spiritual leaders of human history, and all the world leaders and vast majority of humans who seek peace, happiness, and transparency. Music and art are the common religions of this order, and it is manifesting itself everywhere. One only has to look, to seek, to find...

    June 6, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
  157. Jill Rahrig Bourdon

    A real good start is for all Americans to get behind, support, pass the word, have serious conversations with their U.S. Senators and Representatives regarding the 12 points to the Make Congress Work! plan. This was construct by a dedicated body of Republicans, Democrats and Independents. It is a grassroots effort with the two main statementsof -Not Left, Not Right, Forward and Stop Fighting, Start Fixing. Go to nolabels.org and lets roll! Lets get the congressional people we employ to do their job!

    June 6, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
  158. angela maine

    JACK, first america has to admit this war agianst Aphganistan and Iraq was a business deal gone bust.ALL THE
    BIG BUSINESSMEN,OIL TYCOONS,REALISTATE TYCOONS,PHARMACUETICAL TYCOONS, ALL YOUR FRANCHISE TYCOONS , wALL STREETERS, BRAINWASHED THEMSELVES AND THEIR INVESTERS,that going to war with the entire region of the Middle East ,were going to make ZILLIONS OF DOLLARS?? how??? Islam is not afraid of us.........Republican party never got over the civil war we had, they sank their money and sank the money people gave them into going after SADDAM and still lost BILLIONS UPON BILLIONS........THEY ALL MADE A FOOL OUT OF THEMSELVES........NOW THEY BLAME all the people for getting government assistance and now we are the reason for this financial crises in this country??????????they hate abortion,WHY? 90% OF ALL CHILDREN WHO GET PUT IN FOSTER HOMES OR SOME "christian group homes end up raped and abused and murdered!!!!!

    June 6, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
  159. Susan

    Do away with a partisan system all together. Let each candidate for office run on their own beliefs so they don't feel obligated to go along with things such as a refusal to compromise on issues even when they know it's what is best for the country. Perhaps our politicians may show that they actually have some compassion for the American people not just their own political gains or financial gains.

    June 6, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
  160. Cal in CA

    As long as we let the billionaires use our media to set the common people against each other, it will sadly never end. As long as the masses stay polarized against each other, the corporations quietly ship our jobs overseas, cut our wages, pollute our air and water and do whatever else they damn well please to us and the planet.

    June 6, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
  161. Tammy

    Let some of us REGULAR folks run the place for a while! We have to live in the real world so we know how it works. We have to live within our means.......we have no other choice. Most people managing their day to day lives don't care whether the last decision they made was left or right. And, belive it or not, some times they have to make a decision that involves compromise. Lately, the compromise has been our standard of living.

    June 6, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
  162. Frank in Valparaiso Indiana

    Vote out the Republicans, the party is going way too extreme.

    June 6, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
  163. Katja in Bradenton, Florida

    What needs to be done is what you have always suggested, term limits. I also think that they should only get paid for the days they actually show up at the office and do something. Or just cut the morons' pay in half as they only do half (or less) of a job. With the money left over, the national debt could be paid.

    June 6, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
  164. Kevin Kirby

    Face it Jack, we are in a second civil war. Both sides demonize the other in order to appease their base. This is what gets them re-elected, not working for the better of all Americans. Radio talk host, internet bloggers and cable news show host all contribute to our polarization. What can be done. Speaking to one another again. When we start talking to each other and start finding common ground, we find that we can work together and that translates to the behavior of our politicians. Right now they are only feeding off the polarization that has griped the country and running their election/re-election off of it. In the mean time the country will stagnate.

    June 6, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
  165. life,

    until all racism and greed leave the heart of man ,there is no future in usa , gop want a civil war in this country cause they think they mansions will save them wrong. its not a white or black issue they are messing with people children lives and no mother good mother will stand for it . voting dont work thanks to the supreme court, kock, etc.no democracy any more so bring it on gop.....

    June 6, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
  166. James A.

    Start by slapping a restraining order on Grover Norquist, banning direct contact with elected lawmakers; and then charging him with sedition, and impeaching all lawmakers who have signed his pledge for breaching their oaths of office.

    June 6, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
  167. Brent, Alexandria VA

    What can be done? Fire everyone in congress and institute a maximum four year term for congress. Institute a popular vote for President; most votes elects the POTUS runner up becomes VP no matter what party affiliation. Racism is still a huge factor in this polarization and until we can get along with each other on that basic natural level, things won't change.

    June 6, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
  168. JKL

    Get the money out of politics.

    The Chaos Narrative is a strategy intended to keep us bickering with each other rather than see that we are being "had" by big money. These global corporate personages, disguised as American citizens despite multinational ownership, dominate our political scene by unlimited contributions to front money organizations and candidates, in addition to owning, directly or indirectly, the majority of the media.

    The corporate personages have evolved from opportunity seekers to opportunity creators, not for real people, but for themselves. Right now, real opportunity exists in 1) not paying taxes, 2) sucking up whatever taxes are paid by someone else, and 3) using the downstream economic breakdown to pit us against one another rather than the real bandit.

    If candidates did not accept any campaign contributions from anyone, they would not be beholden to their funders The currency of our democracy would shift from the dollar to the vote. The advantage of the chaos narrative just might end.

    June 6, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
  169. Chris

    Jack! Nothing. Those opposed to Obama are hell bent on seeing him fail. Do you understand the implications of taking an oath? They want to him to fail, that's why there is polarization. The 1st African -American President could not get the kids in congress to work together for the good of America, does that not sound like what will make any Republican's day? You get people to work together who want to work together, However, working together now will get something done, and Obama credited for it. That cannot happen. Remember the oath to make him a one term President. Was congress, I mean John Boerhner not elected to stall progress while Obama is President?

    June 6, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
  170. Cee.La

    Thats sorta funny......politicians have done a good job at subterfuge, they cloud real issues and answers with a dose of stupid and we gulp it greedily, they turn meaningful legislation into a hysterical conversation about death panels, abortion, rationed care as in Canada. etc......they are for one thing one day and against it the next, the SC has opened the door to unlimited funds further corrupting the system..... we have ALEC,[American Legislative Exchange Counsel] and Grover Norquist dictating policy, neither was elected by "we the people".........and we have a complicit media.... who care more about the Gotcha than the truth....In your spare time Jack....visit some of the FB pages of some of these politicians, they rae virtual hate sites.....just awful........but hey its freedom of speech, right?

    June 6, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
  171. Charles New Bedford MA

    Jack Political polarization s the fuel our corporate oligarchy runs on. Divide and rule. Play the little guys off against each other. Getting nothing done is actually seen as a good thing for some. The color of the absurd amounts of money paid CEOs etc doesn't seem to change no matter what the circumstances.

    June 6, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
  172. Bruce

    Getting rid of the Senate's 60 vote cloture rule would help break the logjam. The way it stands, regardless of who wins the Presidency, one party will block the other's agenda. A majority should be 51 in the Senate, not 60.

    June 6, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
  173. Brent, Alexandria VA

    Polarization solution? Send republicans to the south pole, send democrats to the north pole.

    June 6, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
  174. Joann Florienm Louisiana

    The old saying that the people get the government that they deserve is true, if we don't have the guts to get the ones that are screwing up, we do get what we get. what needs to be done is force the congress to start term limits, which won't happen, cause they will notet vote for that. It's too bad that the congress can't grow a set and do what's the best for this country instead of themselves, which is what they are getting paid for,

    June 6, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
  175. Ed in Florida

    Jack, It seems to me a good start would be dealing with the media that non stop 24 hours a day bad mouth either one party or the other convincing people what is right or wrong depending on the media souce they watch. What ever happened to the days of the 6 oclock and 11 oclock news and that was it. Its 24 seven media and growing everyday

    June 6, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
  176. Wilma Brooksville, Fla

    Term limits for congress. That way they would not have to worry about getting elected again. 6 years should do it. when they are done they return to the private sector with no pensions from the political job. They must wait for a year before they can run for another political office. That way they would become patriots instead of people who are deceived by their self importance

    June 6, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
  177. Gary Delaney from Delray Beach, FL

    To reduce the debt, let alone stop it from increasing, we need to curb our spending first. The biggest waste out there is the military contracts that are not subject to bid, and are often needless spending. Second, is the incentives for corporations to bring jobs back to the states. Too much is being sent over seas, then we buy the products being sent back to us. Good grief, talk about a catch-22.

    June 6, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
  178. David

    Simple – pass a law saying state and federally elected officials must perform active community service AFTER their term(s) expire. For every two years they're in office, make them sign on for a year of teaching, policing, fire fighting, etc. You'll end up getting statesmen back in our government rather than those who want to politicize, grand stand and legislate along party lines. If we had more people willing to do what's right for the citizens and fewer career politicians, maybe we could put away this political bickering and start searching for common ground, or common sense, approaches to our problems. When our leaders show they're interested in what's best for the Country, rather than what's best for the party, I believe everyone could find ideas that united us, rather than the petty arguments that divide us today.

    June 6, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
  179. marybeth, massachusetts


    We've been extremely polarized before, in the 1850's. The political parties couldn't compromise on an issue, and the country split, then we went to war with eachother for 4 years starting in 1861.

    At this point, I don't think there's a thing anyone in Congress can do simply because they don't want to do anything about it. They like it this way because they get paid a nice salary to throw tantrums like toddlers, blame others, and not have to do anything about the economic and social problems facing the country. We've been in challenging economic times before too, but at least when FDR was President, the Republicans were moderate and intelligent enough to put the needs of the country and the people first. That isn't the case today.

    I've seen the stats and the study on the polarization and wonder what happened to the "big tent" Republican party that I remember from 30+ years ago? Today their first priority is NOT the needs of the country nor of the people. They've sold their souls to Grover Norquist, to ever greedier corporations and the already super-wealthy, and to the religious nutcases who want to impose their religion on everyone else. The debt is a problem, but it was a problem when Bush II was in power. Where were these Republicans then? There was nary a peep from the Tea Party when Bush II went on a bender with the surplus he inherited from Clinton, giving massive tax cuts to the wealthy, de-regulation was the order of the day, and he started not one but TWO unfunded wars and signed Medicare Part D (also unfunded) into law. I remember Cheney stating that "deficits don't matter" and getting agreement from Republicans (and from some Democrats). Where was all of their hyper concern about the debt and deficit then? I see that it is okay so long as they are the ones in power, but as soon as a Democrat gets into power, then it is a problem. Republicans spent this country into debt, and are worse than spending like a drunken sailor on leave–a drunken sailor spends only his money, not everyone else's.

    Change can only start with us, the people, but we need help. Citizens United needs to be overturned and we need to get the money out of politics. Right now Citizens United means unlimited money goes into politics and we don't know who's contributing so we can't research what the agenda might be. Then we the people need to do our research and we need to vote out those who refuse to work with the other side, and that doesn't mean a my way or the highway mentality.

    June 6, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
  180. Adam

    Term Limits for the Senate and House. Force our representatives to actually represent, communicate, and work together for the people, instead of themselves.

    June 6, 2012 at 5:54 pm |