The most eye-popping figure in the latest Fox News poll is that 56 percent of those surveyed say President Trump is tearing the country apart.
Another 33 percent say he is drawing the country together.
Not surprisingly, there’s a dramatic partisan split in those numbers: Some 68 percent of Republicans say the president is drawing the country together, while 93 percent of Democrats (and 59 percent of independents) say he is tearing the country apart.
But I want to pose a deeper question: Is this entirely Trump’s fault, or is it also…ours?
Let’s look at recent history. Barack Obama campaigned on changing the tone in Washington, and many supporters thought his election would usher in a new era of racial healing. He failed on both counts.
George W. Bush explicitly ran as “a uniter, not a divider.” But after Iraq and Katrina, he was viewed as a very divisive president.
Bill Clinton promoted the notion of “third way” policies that rejected “the brain-dead politics of both parties.” He wound up getting impeached on a largely party-line vote.
So if four straight presidents have found themselves at the center of a hyperpartisan divide, maybe it’s not entirely their fault.
Both parties, aided by gerrymandered districts, have moved further to the right and left, shrinking the number of moderates in Congress.
The media have become increasingly partisan, as some outlets largely or completely cater to those who agree with their politics.
Social media have become more polarized as…