With Most States Under One Party’s Control, America Grows More Divided

It is the first time in more than a century that all but one state legislature is dominated by a single party, and lawmakers have pushed in opposite directions.

Comments: 264

  1. Time to end the two party system. But who will bell the cat?

  2. Clearly we need citizen oversight of our elected representatives since the order of the day is simply be extreme. I'll let everyone use their imagination as to how this began and where this will all end up if people don't start holding elected officials accountable. Extreme positions should be removed from the table. If compromise is not part of the considerations the issue should be on a ballot for voter's to decide, not extreme party hacks that ignore voters.

  3. I just came back from Ireland, and at the Airport in Dublin struck up a conversation with an Irishman. When we got around to discussing the current state of affairs in America he wondered why we could not just listen to one another instead of shouting at each other with differing views. Indeed. He and I had different viewpoints on somethings the same on others. We found common ground and had a very nice chat, departing as friends before boarding our respective flights.

  4. It is very simple. On the Internet with their anonymous selves unchained, people feel free to say anything, no matter how vile. They view every issue through a single polarized lens, never admitting that the challenges are complex and each side has valid arguments. They yell past each other and the anger sets and hardens as it does in stupid, televised pseudo-discussions that consist mainly of pre-scripted points. People would not act this way or vilify each other when speaking face to face. More unintended consequences from a technology that so facilitates our modern lives but is tearing society apart.

  5. @Chuck Burton Agree and well put!

  6. Interestingly, the University of Alabama aggressively pursues high achieving Illinois high school students. I know several students who took up the Tides’ generous offer. No doubt, these great students will give a nice bump to the university’s ranking. Perhaps home-grown high achieving students are less available in Alabama. But people of a more conspiratorial bent might speculate that this is stealth operation. But whether it makes Illinois more red or Alabama more blue remains to be seen.

  7. @PK What would be interesting would be seeing where these kids decide to live and work after college. I'm betting it won't be Chicago.

  8. @James. I'd take that bet. Plenty of problems, but Chicago is a great town. A lot more opportunities than Tuscaloosa, I bet.

  9. @Concerned Citizen Illinois is far from wealthy.

  10. Illinois lawmakers “have moved sharply to the left, deeming abortion a fundamental right for women no matter what the Supreme Court might decide, raising the minimum wage, taking steps to legalize recreational marijuana and introducing a graduated income tax”. So in other words the left wants bodily autonomy for women equal to mens’, a fairer pay for honest work, to stop making it a crime to use a drug that’s no more harmful/dangerous than alcohol (already a legal drug), and to tax wealth more equitably. I think what’s happened is more Americans have started to stand up for themselves, and some Americans (Republicans, by and large) really, really don’t like that.

  11. If Chicago is their indication of political success, Illinois is doomed.

  12. @LWib “left wants bodily autonomy for women equal to mens” When men can conceive and become pregnant, then we’ll talk about “equal to men”

  13. @Rose M Chicago is the greatest city on the planet...no, it’s not perfect but neither is the Mona Lisa.

  14. The steering wheel came off, the tires are flat the brakes don't work and we argue about which side of an egg to open. Guess we had better learn Chinese, or start to wake up to the fact that we the citizens are being manipulated by the Political/Media/Industrial/Complex to believe things instead of knowing and understanding things.

  15. @William D Trainor A picture always all ways is worth a thousand words! Thank You for capturing our current broke-beyond-repair state and status.

  16. Solving a problem means changing the status quo. Changing the status quo means upsetting those who profit from the status quo. Until we get rid of lobbyists and sever the connection between money and politics, government at the national and state levels will remain hopelessly compromised. Almost no one in D.C. is actually focused on solving problems; their priority is pleasing their base and the special interests who bankroll them.

  17. @Henry - and, more to your point, the reason our federal elected officials' priority is "pleasing their base and the special interests who bankroll them" is to stay in office at all cost. That is the bottom line.

  18. still haven't seen a good argument for why bicameral legislature is needed at the state level.

  19. Nebraska is unicameral, and while it’s not perfect, it does make one wonder why two houses are needed elsewhere.

  20. Illinois did put marijuana on the ballot. It passed by an overwhelming majority.

  21. Fortunately we have a leader in the White House who will lead us to the promised land of reconciliation. He's a deal maker, right?

  22. Which state legislatures are dominated by which parties? Assuming the legislatures accurately reflect the political leanings of their constituents, how many Electoral College votes would be associated with each party?

  23. You present statistics that show what we all knew. America is dividing itself along state lines, and it will continue to do so increasing the level of division. I am a liberal Democrat close to retirement. In all likelihood I will move, but never to a red state. I would not be able to deal with the absence of diversity; the unwillingness to accept all cultures, religions and sexual attitudes; and the limitation on personal freedoms. The impact of selective polarization on politics is immense. Red states, always smaller, become redder. Blue states become more blue. The gap between the presidential popular vote and the electoral college vote will increase, ultimately to the point where the system explodes. States will not only discuss secession but will take measures to do so. We are on a path of destruction with no apparent chance of unification.

  24. @Disillusioned Thank you for this comment. I am in the same boat. I will leave Georgia when I retire. I recently purchased a new home in a small town on Puget Sound which awaits my arrival. Managing a property from across the country is a hassle, but it has given me peace of mind knowing that I will escape this backwards state sooner than later. I am fortunate - not everyone who would like to leave has that luxury.

  25. @Disillusioned - Laws that restrict citizens' rights will be overturned by the Supreme Court, where partisanship does not reign.

  26. @Disillusioned The population flows are hidden currently by gerrymandered voting districts. Each year, hundreds of thousands of "blue"-minded people flee the high taxes they supported for school districts and nice towns to retire or re-settle in more independently-minded "red" states. One only has to look at how many people from NJ, NY, CT move to FL, GA, or the Carolinas each year to recognize this trend. In the west, the influx of fleeing Californians changes the shade of voting districts in AZ, NV, and TX yearly. The backlash comes when the new arrivals want to raise taxes and impose social change, which the traditional locals do not want.

  27. Add Florida to your list. The GOP stranglehold here ignores state-wide citizen votes and now, adding insult to injury, just raised the percentage needed to pass a citizen referendum. Naughty citizens! Your article left out the GOP efforts, past and present, to tinker with district lines and the census ... which was a major factor in this situation of less representative government and more oligarchy (as Harvard research termed it). Please note that the instances you cite of items passed by Democratic state legislatures ARE things generally favored by the public at large.

  28. @D. Lebedeff Then why are liberal Northeasterners flocking to Florida ? If they hated the policies of the state they wouldn't care to go.

  29. @D. Lebedeff I lost hope for my home state these last midterms. I had realistic expectations on how Mr. Gillum would fare, but how ANYBODY could stomach voting for Rick Scott for any position in government ever again makes me furious.

  30. @Cathy. Uhm, mostly because for four months per year it is far warmer in Fl than the North East, but not oppressively so. Coincidentally/ having nothing to do with winter vacation plans, Floridians overwhelmingly voted for, approved, amendment 4 to restore voting rights to the formerly incarcerated. Despite gubernatorial efforts to thwart that will of the (Floridian) people, amendment 4 (plus an influx of displaced Puerto Ricans) will ultimately result in shifting Fl to blue. Though to be clear, even Fl itself is geographically divided. Mostly blue toward the south, red to the north. Southern half of Fl (Disney to the Keys) is by far the more popular vacation destination. Northern Fl, not so much.

  31. It’s strange to not mention gerrymandering and it’s consequences within this piece. Also “far to the left” policies are all popular and more centrist views. If there’s an overwhelming popular approval of the decision and policies, we should call it what it is and stop calling it far left, progressive, or radical. Ignoring this sets a smaller, misinformed context.

  32. @Colin Connors Thank you and others who are stating this. In far too much of their political reporting, the Times paints centrist views as akin to the views of Maduro. As we get closer to 2020, this is really disturbing.

  33. Besides, there is no far left.

  34. @Colin Connors "It’s strange to not mention gerrymandering and it’s consequences within this piece" Couldn't agree more. In MA, this is the most divisive tool used by the government to erode the middle ground. Just take a look at recarved district in Boston that pushed new US reprepsenative Ayanna Pressley to victory. Not only does it virtually assure a person of color will be elected in that district going forward, but dilutes the percentage of people of color in the surrounding districts and weakens the likelihood of a diverse representative body

  35. An important counter example, unmentioned in this article, is NC. In 2016 it elected a Democrat as governor but the legislature held a veto-poof majority. In 2018, enough Democrats won to eliminate the veto-proof majority. And, this is the residence of the so-called Michelangelo of gerrymandering who did his dirty work after the 2010 census.

  36. @Fearrington Bob Well, yeah, sort of. More accurately, note that Republicans effectively gerrymandered North Carolina legislative districts to where Democrats would have to receive about 70% of the vote to win the legislature back. The good news is that Phil Berger and the rest of his Klan are so extreme, that might just happen in 2020. But, bottom line, North Carolina is not a democracy, period.

  37. Presidents and real leaders bring nations together which is why we are seeing this divide. We have neither!

  38. @Is_the_audit_over_yet sorry, Obama tried this, and was both more compromising and a more gifted orator than most. We saw how that worked out. Instead of accepting the olive branch, Republicans swore from day one to oppose every single this he did, labeling their own health Care plan as "Armageddon" because a Democrat brought it forward for a vote. "Our only goal is to make Obama fail" we're McConnell's words. Then when Obama was leaving office and counseling Trump, he said "My goal is to make him succeed, because if he succeeds the nation succeeds." I'm sick and tired of people pretending "both sides cause polarization". That is a bald faced lie.

  39. In North Carolina, we are getting a reprieve (somewhat). Republicans lost their supermajority in the NC House but still have one in the NC Senate. Before this year, the best way for our democratic governor to correct misguided legislation was through the courts.

  40. The United States should be far more advanced than it is, at this point. President Carter promoted solar energy. Norway and Sweden and Denmark and Switzerland are leaving us in the dust. The culprits for our primitivism are noted in the book 'Who Stole the American Dream?' by Hedrick Smith, and the American voters who installed the oligarch Reagan in the White House are also to blame for the dire situation we are in today.

  41. @Eugene Debs Feature, not bug, of capitalists run wild. In decent countries like you mentioned, capitalists are tightly controlled.

  42. @Eugene Debs Norway funds its fantastic infrastructure and social programs with the oil you buy! The environmental irony is that this extremely green country runs on black crude.

  43. @Eugene Debs Although the Nordic countries are taking in more immigrants than ever - they remain more homogeneous in population make-up than the USA. It's easier to get things done when the culture feels like it's on the same page.

  44. These Democrats are not left wing, they are centrist. They are passing measures which maximize choice and stability within a capitalist system. They are not advocating or endorsing that the working class throw off the useless managerial, administrative, and corporate classes and take the fruits of their own labor. If you're going to decry partisanship, decry the Fox News partisanship that has driven the right wing into a reactionary frenzy.

  45. @EWM You've got it. Division was sown with the advent of talk radio and fox. There was a recent discussion of Murdoch singlehandedly altering the history's of Australia, the UK and now the US. I don't think that is an exaggeration.

  46. Is this our new strategy? Redefining words? Semantic games? I don’t like it when the right does it, and I don’t like it when the left does it, either.

  47. @Mssr. Pleure What are you talking about, "semantic games?" The left wing historically are those who support the interest of the laboring classes over those of the ownership classes. If your definition of "left wing" is just legal weed and gun control, it is you who have misused the term. Wrongly applying words like "left wing" to contemporary Democratic Party-led policymaking is certainly popular, and is frequently done by the Times with enthusiasm. Just because the American Overton window is further right than the rest of the world's does not mean that our "relative" left is actually Left. Perhaps read more about historical movements to redress systematic inequality, and this will become more apparent to you.

  48. Granted there is division, but more important look at what the States pass into law. Blue States, raising the minimum wage to $15, and liberal pro choice laws like Illinois. Then those Red States like AL, GA, and MS, its strict anti abortion laws all the way. I live in one of those Red States, GA, and education is horrible, the Governor is trying to introduce bible study in public schools and we have one of the strictest abortion laws. Beyond me why these Republicans keep getting voted in, makes no sense whatsoever.

  49. @cherrylog754. The pathetic voter participation rates, combined with 2010 gerrymandering, and focus on presidential cults of personality are probably the major culprits. It would be interesting to see how many people can name their state representatives.

  50. @cherrylog754 In addition to the other excellent replies to your post, we dare not forget that social media attacks from other parts of the world are working with great persistence and exacting scientific analysis to drive the wedge deeper between us in the hopes that our democracy and our country will falter and fail.

  51. @Concerned Citizen You protest/complain about the statement that Democrats work to increase minimum wage yet Republican would bring back child labor if they could get it passed. Too boot, they oppose any minimum wage increase or minimum wage in general. In a previous post complained about the ACA (aka, "Obamacare"), yet prior to ACA the health care system was even more broken and dysfunctional. Are you a troll? You appear to be complaining about any effort to improve the live of other or your own.

  52. It feels like the crazies just keep getting crazier on both sides. Too many have picked a "team" and don't bother to think for through the issues for themselves. It no longer matters what is right, wrong, or what is best for the nation, what matters is the team winning. It really makes me angry that there are so few adults in politics and the media.

  53. @Michael G You go ahead and believe the false equivalency of the "both sides" argument. It is precisely what the autocratic police state wants you to think.

  54. Only in this twisted world today could a fair minimum wage, legalized weed, and a fairer tax system been seen as a different side of the same coin as chemically castrating a prisoner at his own expense and using the power of the state to tell a woman what she can or can’t do with her own body. The Democrats are pushing through long-supported measures to improve peoples lives. The GOP is trying to make America more like the world described in the Old Testament. The two are not alike.

  55. @X - (D)s policies tend to support this: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all (people) are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." (R)s? Not so much. Forward to the 18th century! MAGA!

  56. @X The message of the Old Testament is to look after the widow, the orphan and the stranger, honest weights and measures, corners of the field, and every 50 years wealth redistribution. Try reading it.

  57. @X: The Red states are no longer part of my country. Next time there is a tornado in Kansas, flash flood in Iowa or drought in Texas, spare me the sad stories. My wallet (and the millions I gained in the stock market) are not for people who live there.

  58. Get CNN and FOX out of the political theater and you will have civility. Most politicians are actors in front of a camera. They are acting to make money for their rich lifestyle in their million dollar houses.

  59. How much does gerrymandering have to do with all of this?

  60. @Chris. It has a lot to do with it.

  61. @Chris: And much does money have to do with this? The uber wealthy, directing enormous sums at buying the best propagandists to convince a significant portion of the electorate that those different than they are the enemy.

  62. So some states are moving forward and some backward. What will be the straw that brakes the camels back? I can't believe we can not learn from history!! I thought we where a county of leaders, turns out people want to believe that 100 years ago was great. Women could not vote, minorities where second class and religion ruled the masses. I just can not comprehend the delusion that we where better off back in the day.

  63. @oscar jr - I think it's ok that some states move backward while others move forward. We don't need any straws to "break" the camel's back. People are flexible. The progressive states will forge ahead, and the regressive states will lose. Businesses and people want to be where the action is. The progressive states will grow and thrive. The regressive states' populations will dwindle. We will be fine.

  64. @writer The progressive states may end up just fine but it takes all states to be the United States. I am troubled by the fact that in the less progressive states the minority will not be represented at all. Not all peoples have the resources to move.

  65. How is preventing the murder of a baby, which is what conservatives believe happens with abortion, a step backward? It sounds like the barbarians proposing unfettered abortions are a few centuries out of step.

  66. I don't get it. This is a representative democracy, and the article is talking about elected representatives. Why doesn't it mention the voters who elected the president, the governors, the senators, the representatives? The voters are the ones responsible, and yet all the articles focus only on the elected officials. Unless you're willing to say that the voters can't be trusted to elect their representatives, and that democracy doesn't work, then you must admit that what we're seeing is a reflection of the voters in the country... which means that things are unlikely to change until the voters of this country change, or we agree our democracy doesn't work. So maybe it's time to quit blaming the politicians for being what they are, and keep asking why people voted for them, and what do the people need that led them to vote for these politicians? Articles simply attacking "the other side" won't bring about useful change.

  67. @Lloyd - might it not simply be the case that your political system is more than a little broken? It is the FPP electoral system which encourages such extreme polarisation. A two party system is not serving America well.

  68. Travel America by car. Get out. Meet people. Talk with them with empathy; seek first to understand, and not to be understood. The Country is more divided than at any time since the Civil War, especially in the split between the Coastal Cities and Inner America. Rural vs. urban. Our legislatures simply reflect that division.

  69. This article points to the distinct possibility of portions of the country going their separate ways in the coming years. Perhaps there will be a great sorting out followed by political division into separate nation-states with free movement of goods, services, capital, and people as in the European Union. I cannot imagine this country will remain as one by mid-century let alone the tricentennial.

  70. I support Vermont splitting off and joining Canada. It has been discussed. Likely will never happen, but I will never set foot in Red State America again.

  71. @Lucien Dhooge. I harbor the same concerns. I think the “United” part of the United States will be gone, possibly even in this century. The chasms between the different factions will become too great to overcome and there is zero evidence of any leadership or ideas that can close the gap. There are too many people, the differences too great, and there is too much corporate and special interest money finding its way into the offshore accounts of our elected “representatives” for America to ever have the kind of government the founding fathers intended. The geography will remain, but the former United States seems likely to become a group of independent nation-states bound by trade alliances, a couple of oceans and a highway system. The foundation for this started nearly a century ago, and there is no turning back. A wannabe tyrant like Mr. Trump has made it more obvious and maybe accelerated the process, but the United States is fading fast. It won’t happen quickly. Some states will secede, others will join together, and this will no longer be a nation. On the upside, one will all be able to move to a country that espouses all one’s favored beliefs, and maybe without ever leaving the “state” one lives in.

  72. @Lucien Dhooge I've been advocating this solution for a long time: let's create the American Union based on a common currency, the dollar. We are already partly there, e.g., marijuana is still illegal federally but legal and thriving, business-wise, in many states. Women's reproductive rights seem to headed in the same direction. Several states, most notably California, have won many lawsuits against the despicable Trump regime by invoking the 10th Amendment which defines and upholds states' rights. We are not "E Pluribus Unum" anymore and have not been for the past three decades. We have been engaged in a Second Civil War, mostly of words, but people have lost their lives in this war, make no mistake. "When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands with another..." We are there. We cannot stand each other, so let's just get on with it: formally dissolve the Union now while there is still a chance to do it peacefully without the bloodshed and carnage that will ensue if we go to real war with each other again.

  73. Perhaps a president for life, like in China is the answer. It is better than gridlock.

  74. @Pepperman We'd get bored.

  75. @Pepperman And would you be able to find a person you would like for "president for life?" The thought of Trump as president for life makes me almost stop breathing in its horror.

  76. This is how Federalism works. I think it's great. You can choose to live in a state that represents your values. It's a win for everyone.

  77. @Jackie Sounds good. But millions are born into a state and are subject to their situation, for example a terrible school system. Then have no money to leave. There are reasons for federal laws. At least for the goal of equal opportunity.

  78. @jackie, “Federalism is the mixed or compound mode of government, combining a general government (the central or "federal" government) with regional governments (provincial, state, cantonal, territorial or other sub-unit governments) in a single political system. Its distinctive feature, exemplified in the founding example of modern federalism by the United States under the Constitution of 1787, is a relationship of parity between the two levels of government established.[1] It can thus be defined as a form of government in which there is a division of powers between two levels of government of equal status.” The operative word here is “single” political system where the rule of law is applied equally between the two levels of government. A basic understanding of American style federalism belies your simplistic statement that “values” are primary, no, laws are primary and while values inform law you don’t get to avoid them by moving to another state. You may think states rights should override the federal government but we had that argument in the 1860s and the civil rights era. You already know who won that argument, so moving to another state won’t change anything. Sorry

  79. @Jackie Federalism was discussed a long time ago; it did not work. We are a united country; we fought a Civil War to keep that status. Individual States did not declare war on Japan and Germany, nor did each State have its own Draft. We now have a voluntary military, highly trained; however, each State does not set individual guidelines for the national military. The EPA addresses clean air and water nationally. The right to register to vote is the law in all States. The National Park System is how we administer public lands. The Internal Revenue Service provides funding for maintaining standards which apply to all States. We have an Inter-State Highway system; you can use it, or travel on side-roads and back roads, none of which will take you from NYC to SF. Same applies to airports and the TSA.

  80. The radicalization of factions underscores the inherent weakness of democracy. Democracy seeks to let the people govern themselves, but people don't always agree on how to govern. There will always be tensions and disagreements with some people resorting to intrigues (like voter suppression and gerrymandering districts) to gain the upper hand. Add to that the growing weaponization of of media (especially twitter, facebook, Fox, right-wing radio) to distort the truth, mislead the public, and you get a roiling boil of people's emotions - hatred and demonetization of the other party. America is one of the most violent nations on earth. We kill more people with guns, have more mass killings, incarcerate more people, deny healthcare to more people, condemn more people to poverty and deny more people equal rights than any other developed country. Is it any wonder our representatives behave with hostility to one another? As our lives have become more frenzied to stay financially afloat, so has desperation grown and anger risen. Along with an authoritarian fool to the presidency.

  81. @JABarry - "democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.…" - Churchill

  82. I agree. Down with liberal democracy!

  83. When your side pushes through a one-sided, uncompromising agenda, it’s a lamentable sign of unfettered extremism poisoning the body politic and a threat to civil liberties. When my side pushes through a one-sided, uncompromising agenda, it’s a laudable fidelity to democratic virtue and implementing the will of the people.

  84. @Hapax Who wins the popular vote though? I think we know what people want.

  85. @Corbin Right, and also numerous polls which show majorities favoring the progressive side. I know the arguments for/against majority rule, but also feel that if this country is based on the life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness for all, and the system shouldn't be structured to give the vast majority of resources to a very small group of people.

  86. "Banning gay conversion therapy." Given that the Supreme Court legalized same sex marriage in all states in 2014, such a ban seems as much about common sense as it does about the pursuit of a liberal agenda.

  87. @Mike Edwards Somehow, the right of the individual to choose, exercised in conjunction with his or her therapist, and not circumscribed by the state, doesn't seem so absolute anymore, does it?

  88. @Mike Edwards- -eventually Alabama will challenge the USSC rulings and demand their individual rights as a state. The USSC will concede these rights to the states and that's one end of it.

  89. So listening to the voters is characterized as “moving sharply to the left?”

  90. @Pigenfrafyn The problem is some folk felt left out of the whole society.

  91. @Alecfinn - If "some folk" don't like the Constitution of the USA, they should consider moving somewhere else, as it is not going away.

  92. ...or sharply to the right in Alabama. I don’t understand your point.

  93. This will be the new nornal (and will get worse) until Americans can relearn to compromise with one another. Somehow that word has become dirty.

  94. @Matt The word is money. And greed is the driving force.

  95. @Matt - Just curious, Matt. When in history did Americans "compromise with one another"? Nothing new here, we're a combative species that's been at each other's throats since Adam was a pup.

  96. There is no hope of a return to civil discourse. The radical progressive left is comprosed entirely of ideologues who are not swayed by facts, or the Constitution of the United States. It is impossible to reason, or compromise, with ideologues. The only solution is the complete eradication of the progressive left via the ballot box. And that is what is happening.

  97. Could say the same about the radical conservative right.

  98. @Objectivist Since only a small fraction of the US population supports right wing policies, how will that work? More gerrymandering? Russian intervention? Remember Trump lost the popular vote, to the worst democratic candidate probably ever. Dream on.

  99. @Objectivist Progressives could say the same about the Conservatives. This country used to use (Oh my G-d) compromise as a tool of Government as well as civility that seems to have stopped and that's a real shame. I do have hope...

  100. This is exactly how America should work. The feds should simply provide national security, and leave the states to create the atmosphere they want. Then, everyone can go to a place they prefer, which will raise the level of happiness for everyone.

  101. @JP Ummm that's has not been proven to be true. The Federal Government had to step in when it was impossible to establish laws and guidelines that were in line with our Constitution and Bill of Rights. That covers a lot of ground.

  102. @JP Agreed - the number one function of the federal gov't in 'defense' - it was not to create a nanny state.

  103. @Cathy - "…the number one function of the federal gov't (is) 'defense…" Oh, I get it! You mean how we had to "defend" ourselves against those heinous attacks from the (partial list): Cherokee, Seminoles (3 times), Winnebagos (not the RVs), Apaches, Mormons, Haitians, Koreans, Cubans, Vietnamese, Laotians, Cambodians, Grenadans, Libyans, Panamanians, Somalians, Afghans, Iraqis, Pakistanis… blah and blah? “Washington is the great necropolis of a nation so furiously dedicated to peace that it is almost never not at war to ensure ultimate peace for all time.” - - "The Golden Years", Gore Vidal

  104. False equivalency means that fascism and autocracy is ignored while progressive ideas are called 'socialism'. America is a joke.

  105. @Mogwai Truth!

  106. @Mogwai False equivalency means communism and totalitarianism is ignored while constitutional ideas are called "fascism'. America is a joke. See how that works?

  107. I fear you don't understand the true definition of fascism, that's not what we're experiencing here, furthermore, many of the ideas of the so-called lefts ideas are socialism, nothing more

  108. atlas is about to shrug.

  109. @mike I agree but I wonder which Atlas will shrug. The biggest problem with that myth was there really needed to be at least two Atlases otherwise the world would have been dropped, and that wouldn't have been good. I truly believe they all need to work together to keep things simple fair and steady so we can live in a modicum of civility. As time goes on I tend to think that is unlikely but I have hope and I tend to be optimistic.

  110. When we have senators like Rand Paul (R) from Kentucky standing up and saying, "...well we need to do something about our Southern borders...," REALLY....is this the most intelligent, enlightened thing he has to say, and does he have any suggestions or movement to sit down with experts and SOLVE the problem? True leaders have ideas and the fortitude with which to deal with reality. The Congressional men and women that need to step aside know who they are and the strong-willed (and minded) who are willing to work for the best of all people need to get down to business.

  111. @bacrofton Congress needs to gett off there rears and do their job - protect America. Stop illegal immigration; enforce rules for immigration.

  112. @bacrofton One doesn't see Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer & Co. taking the lead on the immigration debate at all. We are seeing record numbers of migrant illegally cross - many with communicable diseases. Where are the Democrats who control the House on these issues? It would be great if they'd chime in.

  113. @bacrofton I heard an interview last night with some Republican from North Dakota who said the Mueller Report was of little interest to his constituents. They were more worried about border security! What border? The one with Canada?? Well, maybe North Dakotans are seeking asylum in Canada. That I could see. Seriously doubt immigration from Central America is affecting them.

  114. Gated communities, but at the state level. People can move where they want to live, work, and raise families according to their own values. I travel a lot, and it seems to me that people actually seem happier if they are in the "correct" state for the values they hold dear for themselves. It is odd to think that "separate but equal" on the state level is an ideal sought by most Americans in the 21st century, but that is the way it is. The more interesting question becomes how this plays out in 25-50 years, when no ethnicity will have a majority in this country.

  115. @James We should find some Yugoslavians to ask how multi-religious, multi-cultural nation who have nothing but contempt for one another tends to work out in the long run. Snark aside, the future looks very grim indeed for the US unless cooler heads can prevail and bring the temperature down. This won’t end with 45’s tenure. Trump isn't the cause of the current divide, but rather a symptom of a much deeper and more serious ailment.

  116. Not everyone can afford to move wherever they like. You and David Brooks have that wrong.

  117. @James - "Gated communities… according to their own values… the "correct" state for the values they hold dear… when no ethnicity will have a majority …" Not such thinly-disguised racist dog whistles, Jimbo. Maybe you'd be "happier" if you moved to a "gated community" in AL, GA, FL? BTW, what qualifies you to determine the "…ideal sought by most Americans…"? Curious minds want to know.

  118. Neither party will pass legislation to make things better for most people. Universal health care, not universal insurance, a $15 minimum wage tied to CPI and valued in 2016 dollars would be a start. End homelessness, a revamped education system that guarantees a job. Lots to do and no one is doing it. Instead we are distracted with Social Justice issues.

  119. @somsai Bernie/Liz

  120. @somsai those ARE social justice issues...

  121. Spot on! The biggest issues of the day, climate change, the mounting debt that could led to global depression, income inequality, continued gun violence, power and money influence in politics, and health care costs get no attention. Instead we are fighting over stupid stuff. This isn’t going to change until the Republican Party in its current state is reformed or eliminated. Not that the other party is perfect but it’s the only one trying.

  122. The way I see the divide is the on the far right they need to stop abortion because birth numbers are dropping in the US and corporations need low pay, non thinking workers to fill their companies, they need guns out there for the unthinking workers to form an army to protect them when the next civil war starts, they need politicians that follow the narrative that they are good and everyone else is bad so they can start their weird far right utopia. The far left on the other hand has many good ideas, except they will break us all when they will tax us to the point of going broke, and not all will see the benefits. They want drugs legalized, and cursing normalized, to be honest they look weak whether they are or not. There's no winning on this as we are a multi generational country with all kinds of races, nationalities, and mindsets. We are a melting pot of ideas that one party can't capture. I hope candidates see this and quit trying to shape one type of country.

  123. @Missy Everybody loves cursing, though. + 1 for the "Far Left".

  124. American politics dominated by the two majors parties must come to an end for divisiveness to improve. Forcing coalition negotiations would improve communications.

  125. Good. If you don't like your state, move to one which you do. Perhaps the best solution now is to move towards (back to) more states rights. The feds need to step back and do only what is outlined in the Constitution. That includes: printing money, securing the border, defense, treaties. Left social issues up to the individual states. The less laws the feds dream up, the better.

  126. @DPJ the jibber-jabbers in Congress would have to get jobs in the real world. They could never conform to the basic requirements of work

  127. But here's the problem: You see red states with blue cities, and you see blue states with big red rural areas. You see politicians who think a 52%-48% win is a winner-takes-all mandate. You see state legislatures that are ignoring nearly half of their constituents because of party politics. The ideological divide between the red and blue -- not just the states, but the voters within the states -- is massive, bigger than anything I've seen in my lifetime. The last time the divide was this large, as I was teaching my students the other day, was when the Union and the Confederate States went to war. America doesn't seem to realize it's already at war -- the Uncivil War. Civility has fallen victim to hate. You see it on the streets. You see it on TV. You see it in social media. This current American government cannot work together to accomplish anything for the good of the people. Everything is partisan posturing designed to push its core voters more firmly into the red or the blue come the next election. There is no winning this war. Everybody is a loser, because the country loses its drive and its dignity, its fairness and its faith, its compassion and its coordination. When nobody works together, the country falls apart. And that's exactly what is happening right now. No, a Democratic win in 2020 won't fix things, because it's going to harden the red base. It may be shrinking, but it's steadfast. And it will make sure the USA stays divided. Maybe permanently.

  128. The republican base is already hardened. You mentioned conservative Democrats. This source of votes was the reason Trump won. However, I think polarization will take place in the Democratic Party as well. So far the level of cultish tribalism hasn’t quite reach the level of intensity that is present on the Republican side. However I believe that the desire to reciprocate against intransigence has driven this polarized environment

  129. @Jeff New York is a prime example - the blue democrat voters in NYC, Albany, Buffalo, etc have controlled the state for years, recently getting rid of the republican leadership in the state assembly and senate. This has given the dems and Gov. Cuomo total power over the state, despite the fact that almost the rest of the entire state is red! They now have no voice in their state government!

  130. @David Our government needs to function as it was intended, with compromise that everyone must live with instead of the whiplash we've been experiencing. It would also be appropriate to acknowledge that each state and local government is different and their needs and desires differ. States rights are an important part of the union. Their elected officials must be attentive to the needs and desires of their residents (all their residents, including their minorities) and what works in CA may not work in MS.

  131. Democracy at work - constant revolution -driven by The People -- Wonderful, absolutely unique in the world. Be proud.

  132. When that becomes a reality again I will celebrate.

  133. In Pennsylvania the Governor and House are Democratic whilst the Senate is Republican.

  134. A woman's body; a woman's choice. That's all folks.

  135. @sbobolia Father should have equal say. It's only right.

  136. @Hoot Gibson - Yes, their right and obligation is to provide financial support. Now, if there were only a way to force them to do so.

  137. sbobolia, The unborn have rights too. Their rights should trump those of the woman. Thank goodness there are women legislators in many states who see it this way. And more women and men agree. I am a woman who fully agrees.

  138. Personally I will have absolutely nothing to do with ANY 45 supporter. Not ever. Not allowed on my property or in my sphere on any level. That goes for the “reformed” as well. I do not care who you are. Permanent ban for me. Fortunately, where I am there are not many. If you can support that, then there is something wrong with you. Period.

  139. @kas In real life I have never seen a red MAGA hat nor met an actual Trump supporter. They must exist somewhere but I'm certain it's a somewhere I'd never want to be.

  140. Three cheers for tolerance.

  141. kas, I do not think you have to worry about coming into contact with too many Republicans. Your state, Vermont, is one of the bluest states in the nation with very few Republicans. Your senator, Bernie Sanders, a socialist, is very popular. I have the opposite problem in Manhattan as a Republican. I come across mostly liberal Democrats with very little in common. I do seek out my own kind but it is not always easy.

  142. This is governing by special interests not by the electorate. Whittling away at democracy happens when there is less interest to seek out, let alone understand facts about social and economic issues; and, become disinterested (or disengaged) to participate in the political process as an informed voter. This scenario enables special interests (with knowledge, money and access) to empower their ideological counterparts in state houses and senates to advance their goals.

  143. The Information Age has much to do with this but also it is our sped up living, more choice, more everything all the time. The rise of the strong man is what is new also. People have too much on their plates so to speak, they in turn don’t want to think about government and governing. They want a trump or Putin or Erdogan making sure that all is running smoothly. The lazy mans politics. You can see why a family in some cornfields of Iowa can not relate to a gay married couple in Seattle. Or transgender child. They want Andy of Mayberry or hee haw or Lawrence welk. For that matter, how about cloning the Eisenhower era. Before rock and roll. Yes it will only get more divided. And the strong men will only get stronger. Then one day, Bang! It will all change. End of Days? Or morning in America? How about end of mourning in America. Live, breathe. Eat work play. Get on with the living and get involved.

  144. Well, let's look at the macro picture here, almost full employment, almost everyone I know not only making money but making tons of it, real estate prices through the roof and stock market valuations at all time highs, some people will never be happy......

  145. @There I wouldn't sacrifice my rights and those of my fellow citizens whose rights are curbed by their gender identity, sexual orientation, race, religion, health status, etc., for all the money in the world, and I am so sad to see people who would. Besides, the improving economy you mention was well advanced in its improvements long before the current administration, so yes, we can have prosperity AND equal rights for all, or so I believe.

  146. @There “Almost full employment”—the “almost” referring to those who have given up trying and who have dropped out of the labor force. I wonder how many they would be?

  147. The Constitution gives political parties no role in government, yet we permit then to impose parliamentary rules that magnify their power. George Washington warned us against political parties. In his farewell address, Washington said, “the alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism.”

  148. One party wants to legislate by Old Testament law. The very opposite of a modern society. It is depressing beyond words.

  149. My state has been a one-party state for some time. The Democrats are vilified as bad, the taxaholic Republicans good. So, any voice to counter the bleating and screeching emitting from the GOP is nonexistent. In years past the state was not as politically toxic as it is today as there were governors and other elected state officials that were those "cursed" Democrats. Yet the people allow, almost beg it would appear, to be subjected to high taxes and legislation based on personal beliefs, at times religious beliefs, of individual legislator, some who have difficulty in ethical behavior. But, we get the government we ask for.

  150. Don't equate GOP & DEM as two sides. Dems are working for people, making their lives better and putting education & health ahead of the fake emergencies. GOP is working to control the population towards 2nd class citizenry and focused on appeasing a religion - which is same as ISIS, just the religion they support is diff.

  151. Putin is dancing and singing. It's all coming together, according to plan.

  152. Forget the Federal Government - state's rights is the way forward. Dry up Federal funds and let states form like-minded coalitions where funds can also be shared. Give the GOP what they want and stop federal funding for most things. Let the "Bible belt" states become the 3rd world country they so desire to become.

  153. @Geno One problem with this type of thinking is that even in "Bible Belt" and super red states, such as Missouri where I am from, there are people in big cities who are democratic and want the same things as liberals in blue states or bigger cities. I don't think that isolating the problem will help anyone in the long run.

  154. @Geno "Brain drains" will start to happen in blue cities in red states. It can't start soon enough, in my opinion. Let all of the rural voters and right-wing state legislatures see what life is like when their young people are gone.

  155. @Geno - Preposterous! Without their own currencies, states would become wastelands as their economies dry up.

  156. And then there's New Jersey, whose Democratic Governor (not the one I voted for in the primary, but the one with the money and the machine) is constantly at odds with the President of the State Senate (and his well-heeled cronies), and very little has been accomplished. We can't even pass legislation legalizing marijuana, which should be a slam-dunk in a blue state in 2019. Meanwhile, we citizens endure the highest property taxes in the U.S., a deteriorating mass transit system, etc. etc. I'm beginning to think my husband's jaded attitude about politics and voting is spot-on: "I vote for the candidate who'll steal from me less."

  157. Is there anyone else out there who thinks that the United States should split into 2 countries? I'd like to move forward at a faster pace towards an empathetic human race where everything isn't determined by the value of a company and their stocks. Where all men and woman are created equal and remain equal throughout their lives. Where antiquated religious values don't dictate where they think we need to be.

  158. @Peter Lampke I'd prefer to see our government function as its supposed to, with compromise that everyone must live with instead of the whip lash we've been experiencing. It would also be appropriate to acknowledge that each state is different and their needs and desires differ. States rights are an important part of the union. Their elected officials must be attentive to the needs and desires of their residents, when they are not people choose to stay or leave.

  159. @Peter Lampke - i think it's either Scandinavia or New Zealand for what you want...But hasn't it always been thus?

  160. The last time we tried that, more than 600,000 people died. Be careful what you wish for.

  161. When a rural voter is for, and who benefits from expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act and if asked, is against Obamacare, that speaks volumes on the current partisanship permeating our nation. As long as a Democrat or Liberal proposed it, a Republican or Conservative will vote against it even it is not in their best interest. That's how dysfunctional and divisive we've become.

  162. I believe this is called "Constitutional Republic" at work. Why should the people of one state bend to the moral conviction or lack thereof of another state. Our government was set up to leave the bulk of law making to the individual states. The federal government has become much too intrusive in the affairs of the states.

  163. The Federal government tends to accumulate power during times of national threat. This has been the case most especially since WW2, and doesn’t seem likely to change as the world grows smaller and the US no longer enjoys the benefits of the post-WW2 primacy. Like Roseanna said ‘It’s always something.’

  164. It’s a start. The solution is the end of political parties and authoritarianism whether it be one or the other. The states are now mirroring their federal brethren. Eventually the parties will be ripped apart by centrifugal forces and we can return to local people leading the lives they want.

  165. Interesting, if troubling, article. A minor quibble - Minnesota is not the only state legislature with split partisan control. In Alaska, the House of Representatives is once again led by bipartisan Majority coalition (including the entire Democratic caucus,) while the Alaska State Senate is Republican.

  166. Former Republican Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner was a complete incompetent who attempted to use his office to destroy state government by cutting state funding and refusing to generate more state revenue to fund services. Rauner wasn't successful because the checks and balances of the Democratic state legislature worked against him, which resulted in no laws passed and nothing accomplished for four long years. The newly elected and more diverse Democratic state legislature have had to work very hard this session to pass legislation to make up for those lost four years and to fix the lack of revenue to fund services. So let's set the record straight: it isn't that Illinois Democrats are using their unbridled power to pass all sorts of progressive legislation because they are in the majority, but they are just doing their job to provide the necessary public services and funding that were sorely neglected under a Republican governor.

  167. Imagine a country populated by citizens of many different cultures. A media that constantly points out their differences and stokes the fire of divisiveness between them. Let’s throw in a economic system based on greed, that works for one percent of the population and exploits anyone still standing. Add in easy access to firearms and drugs, an unfair justice system that punishes those in despair. The one per cent also profits from the prisons and the people’s medical illnesses. The United States is not a melting pot but rather a powder keg, that goes off daily.

  168. Our Founding Fathers struggle with diversity and that is one reason that the tenth amendments deals with States' Rights (i.e., one of the original Bill of Rights). I realize that many associated the Tenth Amendment with holding back civil rights and segregation. However, perhaps there is some wisdom in the Tenth Amendment that applies to today. For example: many people believe the unborn have rights and therefore abortion is morally wrong. To other people abortion is a women's right. Perhaps the tenth Amendment is the answer. If a women in Alabama wants an abortion she could travel to Illinois and have the abortion. I am sure the cost of the trip and medical procedure would be picked up by some charity. We are not talking about slavery here. There is no reason the people of Illinois or the people of Alabama should impose there value system on each other.

  169. @Rod So, essentially, "someone else will pick the tab for those negatively affected."

  170. @Rod Money is not the only reason women should not be expected to have to travel to get needed medical care. Beyond basic human rights, women have other responsibilities and limitations to traveling and taking several days off for a procedure that they should be able to get locally - jobs, families, etc. That solution is untenable, unfair, and frankly, anti-woman.

  171. retired federal attorney F/70 I see Blue States withdrawing from forever Red states that have captured the Senate in ways that our founders could not have imagined. Becoming self-sufficient entities anchored in CA's sixth-largest economy in the world and New York's finance center. Leaving to the sizzling hot and flooded Red States the $4T+ debt attributable to the 2017 tax cut for the one percent and Citizens United beneficiaries. How do we do this? Blue states enact laws saying that in-state residents shall pay income taxes only to the state, as the provider of essential services, and shall not pay federal income tax. The alliance of Blue states refuses to do any debt-service for Treasury bonds and bars Red states from enforcing current tax law against its residents. SS and Medicare are replaced by Blue state alliance programs. Republicans stole all current and future wealth so Red states can service that debt. An alliance not unlike the EU, likely to include Canada and Mexico, becomes the new finance and trade model for Blue state governments + residents + businesses. Use Canada's federal courts to escape "I like beer" SCOTUS? Every citizen sees clearly the stark contrast in principles of governance as our divide is cemented. All self-select by ideology which half will be their home base and their family's future. Blue states become like Canada--POGGs--Peace/Order/Good Government. Red states become Hungary? Federalism is reinvented to save democracy.

  172. Compromise and working together for the common good is completely lost today. Connecticut is in the same boat with the Democrats controlling state government. When a state is run for the sole benefit of State employees and their salary and benefits something is wrong. No compromise or both sides giving a little. Does anyone think this will end well? Yesterday United Technologies announced they are buying Raytheon Corporation and moving the new Corporate office from Farmington, Ct. to Boston. Who replaces those salaries and the benefits to the state tax base?

  173. It would be interesting to see how removing big money and lobbyists from politics would change the landscape.

  174. @ThinkingCdn Remember the looks exchanged by President Obama and Justice Roberts when Citizens United was ruled constitutional. Ending Citizens United would help keep elections safer from corruption.

  175. Diversity and hybrid strength are invigorating. American citizens should have the power to decide in what kind of America they want to live. American diversity is it's strength. And history has shown that when encountered by an outside treat we all unite to protect the USA.

  176. False.equivalence much? Let’s not forget the part of this story where one party has made gerrymandering a part of its election strategy.

  177. Hi. Given the threat to liberty posed by the far left, I propose dividing the nation into 50 separate states while disbanding Washington, D.C.

  178. National defense and interstate commerce are just two reasons that is a non-starter.

  179. Unfortunately, once again, the New York Times fails to put a map in the article so we can see exactly which state is which. Incidentally, I echo the thought of Peter that we should split into two countries !

  180. The Alabama legislature, where the Religious Right rules the social agenda, has the stain of Lot on its hands. The harshest laws against women's right to chose enacted by men who make it legal to cause their daughters to suffer.

  181. ladps89, Illinois has blood on its hands since it passed the most progressive abortion laws in their state. I think there were quite a few men who voted for these laws. The losers are the unborn. This is a terrible pity.

  182. What Mr. Williams did not include in his article was IL Gov. Pritzker's "immediate change" of signing into law a little-noticed provision that repeals a 2019 law intended to curb end-of-career salary spikes that some school districts tend to award retiring employees as a goodbye gift of sorts—a gift that taxpayers statewide have to pay for via pensions. Presently, the Teacher’s Retirement System is short $75 BILLION of what it needs to pay promised pensions. The prior law was capped at a maximum of 3 percent a year. Under the new law, the cap is raised back to the prior level of 6 percent. That means a person’s eventual pension can be raised more than 24 percent if they get the 6 percent each of their last four years of work and the raises compound. And yet law makers are mystified why IL residents are fleeing the state by the thousands every year.

  183. @Marge Keller Taxpayers flee states. It's the unspoken truth about blue states.

  184. @AACNY Not necessarily true in the case of Illinois. Tax payers are fleeing IL because of exactly what this new government slid under the radar to not get detected. With a $75 BILLION pension hole already on the books, this new cap will add $70 million alone in the first year and then another $60 million in the next year, conservatively. I don't know about you, but if my backside shrunk as fast as my paycheck, I would look like Twiggy by Labor Day. Not every IL worker receives a yearly bonus or bump in pay. I haven't received a raise in three years yet my yearly income has decreased by 20% because of rising costs such as property taxes, water and gas bills, insurance and health care premiums and don't even get me started with the cost of medications. If our elected officials would demonstrate more fiscal restraint and responsibility rather than once again "giving the store away", I would not feel as if the overall burden of these pension disasters are on my financial back. After awhile, a person just cannot afford to live in a state in which more and more money is taken from their paycheck on a yearly basis. I'm not looking to "profit and prosper" I'm just looking to tread water to keep my drowning. "Taxpayers flee states. It's the unspoken truth about blue states." Those cute little glib sentences are a great sound byte but they are much more complex and complicated than people want to realize or understand. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Much appreciated.

  185. It’s an interesting time. We originally created routine competitive election so we don’t be need to mount armed insurrections and have coups and civil wars. I don’t see a good faith loyalty to the system by either side here. Both parties are irredeemably corrupt. Both parties, if unchecked, will lead to global doom. The far-left and far-right are synonymous. The political spectrum is actually a ring. Extreme left and right are simply dictatorship by elite cadres. To some of us, it sounds nice because imagine that we ourselves are destined for power and esteem in the new dictatorship. Pack your suitcase, honey! This is a pathetic weasel logic that justifies destroying the distributed powers and popular vote that are enshrined in our Constitution. The Constitution is the only thing that makes us special. Both parties would love to destroy it. The people in the center should unite against the power hungry neocons and neolibs.

  186. All this thanks to the Democrats and their divide for votes tactics.

  187. There are two dozen Democrats running for President. None of them agree with any other Democrat candidate about most policy issues. The only two things that they all have in common is they all hate Trump and each believes that they can do the job of President better than any other Democrat.

  188. Illinois is a unique case among states. While possessing strong Democratic majorities in the General Assembly, the last governor was a Republican. He literally wrecked our states finances by preventing (with the radical GOP legislative minority) a state budget for two years. The state’s credit rating plunged to junk status. Voters woke up in 2018 and elected the new governor, a Democrat, who has spent his time cleaning up just predecessor’s messes. In short, Illinois had to act quickly to fix a lot of problems. One other thing — the prior GOP governor was a rich businessman who asserted his expertise would help save Illinois. Instead, he was completely incompetent. Sound like someone else?

  189. All the more reason we should split into two different countries. Would be nice if we could accomplish a partition as India and Pakistan did, but hopefully without all the drama and bloodshed.

  190. Most Americans want elected officials to find middle ground, aka negotiate, in BI-partisan mannerisms. This concept became impossible when the Republican party began its rhetoric of "we dont compromise on principle". Which really translates into "if we don't get our way- obstruct!" It is the GOP's immature, petty, party before country nonsense that has been promoting distention and division. They're self serving actions make them the enemy to American democracy. They're continued attacks on IC, media and long time allies are methods for them to do as they please regardless of laws or norms our always been great country is known for.

  191. One question: If Blue States are correct and Red States incorrect with respect to their policies, then why are Red States GAINING population relative to the Blue States? People are migrating from Blue States to Red States.

  192. @DennisG retired federal attorney F.70 Sources for that statement please? Wharton and Pew Trust both show data that poor and less educated tend to stay, Red or Blue states. Conversely, higher the education level the more migration to blue States, especially among those under age 40.

  193. And hopefully they are bringing their blue-state values with them.

  194. @n.c.fl Every ten years we have Congressional reapportionment. Texas and other Red States have been gaining representatives - with 435 seats, this is a zero-sum game. California was gaining, too - but that has stalled; in fact, they may LOSE a seat after 2020 - that has never happened before. Texas is set to gain another 3 or 4 seats next time - possibly more.

  195. Underscoring that this is not the 'united' states, but separate countries and the division needs to be permanent. Nations break apart all the time - what purpose keeping this one 'united' when it simply is not? High time to move on, let it go - the United Democratic States of North America, and whatever the other one is - who cares, really.

  196. I did a search on how many times the the words "men" and "white" appear in this article and came up with "zero." How can responsible journalists continue to ignore the elephant in the room? How many women and people of color are in Illinois' legislature vs. Alabama's? Or in the all the states in question? Clearly that is the foundational issue here. This isn't about "left" or "right," "conservative" or "liberal." This is about whether the people of a state have moved on from the white supremacy and male supremacy on which this country was founded.

  197. Mr. Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore Founding Father, once said that democracy needs 60~70% of total population to be middle class citizen to function. Otherwise, it is just popularism at work which could be chaotic at times. The division between states implies that the educational and economical conditions of each state are quite different, resulting polarized point of view.

  198. We have an increasingly diverse country and we need a flexible political system to accommodate it. The devolution of power to the states is a way of accommodating diversity while maintaining stability. If you don't like the way things are where you live, you can move. Devolution helps in another way. A key learning of the Trump era is there is far too much power vested in the presidency. Reducing the role of the federal government in favor of the states reduces the opportunity for widespread abuse. For progressive minded people this means the dream of national reform is less likely. It is a price worth paying.

  199. @Charles M Martin "Reducing the role of the federal government in favor of the states reduces the opportunity for widespread abuse." History has repeatedly shown it is the other way around.

  200. @Charles M Martin Was that your thought during the last administration?

  201. @Charles M Martin, it's just ridiculous to think people could move if they don't like their state. Most people cannot do that easily. Living in a state where the Civil War still hangs heavy, I have no confidence that states will do the right thing. Our U. S. Constitution guarantees every American's rights, and states have no business mucking around with them. If there is a problem with Trump exercising too much power, the solution is to bounce him out of office.

  202. The GOP strategy is ultimately beggar thy neighbor. Getting felons to leave red states for blue, getting welfare recipients to leave red states for blue, driving minirities away, curbing voting rights - the net effect will be GOP domination of enough states to always control the senate and to win the EC with a minority of the vote.

  203. At one time, long ago, compromise in governance was both admired and expected. Newt Gingrich and Fox changed all that. Compromise is now seen as a sign of weakness and will not be tolerated. It is perpetuated daily by the radio gasbags and the evening on-air personalities at Fox. The current environment is what they created. We all live with the consequences; government driven by radio and TV ratings.

  204. Illinois is a quarter trillion in debt. Yet the government unions still control the democrat party there. And the pension deals are still sweet. The main goal of the law makers in IL have is to fund the government workers pay and pensions. The rest of what they do is window dressing. The democrats control the government workers in the states and nation. And that is a big problem. If you are a government worker the best way to get a raise is to get someone elected that will give you that raise. 96% of DC voted for Clinton. It is ridiculously obvious why.....money. It is always money.

  205. Yep it’s all about money. Which is why states with predominantly Republican voters should start paying their share for things like defense. For far too long they have coasted on the overwhelming contributions of the blue state economic engines.

  206. And if the Right doesn't get the job done of fully splitting America in two, the Left will be more than happy to oblige.

  207. Re: Minnesota: The reason the GOP was able to maintain a senate majority here was only because of a "Trump effect" similar to the effect in Wisconsin and Michigan. As we see the Trump effect floundering in those states, it should here as well. It seems there is a good chance that Minnesota Democrats will win both state houses in 2020 and our divided legislature will end.

  208. Hopefully, radicalization will oscillate back to mediation: otherwise, our reason for being a nation will dissolve. Personally, I am an advocate of supporting both the displaced to get back on their feet and the unable (mostly disabled) to a healthy life. But I am strongly against socialism as it is fundamentally inefficient and in many ways unfair too. To get to this middleground, I understand the need of the pendulum to tug at both sides. However some things are unforgivable. Anyone who votes to force a woman to term after being raped and then giving custody rights to the rapist is truly evil.

  209. This is exactly what Putin wanted and got; a divisive USA. Get with it people, Trump is the puppet Putin chose and Trump is doing exactly what Putin has wanted him for; to divide this country and (Europe for that matter) and for Russian (and China) to lead the world order. This is real, this is happening before our eyes and everything else is a distraction from the truth.

  210. @Peggy Please stop blaming things on Putin. The politcal divisions in the US are exactly what our entrenched party leaders wanted and got. Our democratic process has been distorted by the righteous end members of every social issue, and the industrialization of the campaign process. "Get out the vote" was just one step away from "motivate the base". Time to look in the mirror to recognize our own failings (as it always is).

  211. The Founders opposed parties and factions. Not only can we now see why but we can appreciate their deep fount of wisdom as well.

  212. The average annual pension for a retired Illinois teacher in fiscal year 2018 was $55,796. When you consider that Illinois educators do not pay into or collect Social Security for their teaching years, the TRS benefit cannot qualify as “too generous.” Not only are TRS benefits many times the sole source of revenue for retired teachers, but TRS benefits stimulate local economies across Illinois. The pensions and benefits paid annually to retired teachers living in Illinois create $6.4 billion in economic activity, including more than 44,088 full–time jobs that mean more than $1.85 billion in wages for non-teachers. TRS benefits are not responsible for the majority of the unfunded liability at TRS. TRS actuarial reports show that 66 percent of the unfunded liability over the last 15 years was caused by contributions from state government that failed to meet the “full funding” levels set by actuaries. For instance, between FY 2008 and FY 2018, the state’s total contributions were $10.2 billion short of the actuarial requirement.

  213. The Constitution binds us together. Unfortunately, some state legislatures have been passing legislation that is unconstitutional. The Supreme Court will strike down those laws.

  214. @Andy Hain Except the right has been working for decades to stack the court with hard right "conservatives" while the left has basically let them because they try to play fair. The current Supreme Court is not interested in supporting any kind of modern or realistic interpretation of the Constitution.

  215. @Andy Hain The Constitution also places limits on federal power. The fun is finding the boundaries. And both the national and state Constitutions delineate individual liberties (although lawmakers at both levels are always eager to reduce those).

  216. @Susi - It is equally obvious that Justices do not always argue or vote the way they were "supposed to." That's the problem with trying to "assure" the votes of life-time appointees who wake up to a new day every day.

  217. Yes, it is tense and there's been least common language since a long time. The media play a substantial role in that, throwing nasty baits all over, left and right, top and bottom. Since the liberal media dominate the information landscape, plainly visible to whoever tries to objectively look through this matter, they have an out-sized role in creating this issue. But then, little wonder they choose to 'innocently' report on this issue from the 'catch the thief' perspective. NYT, a prime example of many things wrong with the media today, cannot be considered anything else but either the beacon of truth or fake news. More likely the latter.

  218. Are you serious? FOX NEWS and other right wing media set the standard for outrageous lies, misinformation and vitriol. The NYT and Washington Post maybe liberal media but part of that perspective is adherence to fact based reporting. They may fail on occasion but not do not intentionally distort reality which is part and parcel of the FOX’s mission statement.

  219. @ss "Since the liberal media dominate the information landscape" This is disingenuous. Everyone knows Fox News wins it's cable slot.

  220. How much did Faux News show of the story about Elaine Chow’s Department prioritizing pet projects for Mitch McConnell’s voters? That’s right - none of it. It doesn’t fit the Faux News Agenda and Corrupt-Lican voters are too ignorant to watch or read fact-based news.

  221. I didn’t see any mention of Alaska. While technically there is a Republican governor and more Republicans voted into both the House and the Senate, some of the House Republicans decided to form a coalition with the Democrats this session, giving them the majority power. Make of that what you will.

  222. So long as Democrats continue to aid, abett, and advance the interests of illegal aliens over the best interests of American citizens, they will not get my vote. Hopefully, millions of my fellow citizens will follow suit.

  223. Hopefully those areas that are under Democratic part control will realize it’s in our best interests to leave this current union and establish a new compact. We can’t be paying for everybody’s needs for ever.

  224. @William Mansfield Too late. Lincoln decided, at a cost of 600,000 young men, that one in, in forever. That decision looks different in retrospect for you, no?

  225. Partisan gerrymandering after the 2010 census helped create the Republican stranglehold on Southern states. Now we reap the unforeseen consequences. The "respectable" Republican Party to which power was given to has been hijacked by Trumpists antithetical to its traditional policies and values. In prior times, both the Republican and Democratic parties had rightist, leftish, and centrist factions, and compromise could be reached where the spectrums intersected With the demise of the Republican Party and its succession by the Trump Party, though, I don't have much hope for well-intended compromise. It's Trump'sway or no way. I am thinking (hoping?) that, in the South in particular, the Democratic Party that does continue to have a conservative/moderate faction can lead the way back and break the stranglehold of the Trumpists.

  226. The following excerpt of the article is telling: "Democrats ... won control of six new legislative chambers, meaning that they now dominate both chambers in 18 states. But Republicans continue to control the majority of state legislatures, with 29." Democrats have, by and large, been asleep at the switch when it comes to state-level politics. This got esp. bad during the Obama presidency, when the Democratic Party lost at least 1,000 state legislative seats nationwide. But it has been bad in certain key states for quite some time. There are legislative chambers in Harrisburg, PA, Columbus, OH and Lansing, MI in which the Republicans have held a continuous majority for more than 30 years, even while Democrats have done well in those states at the presidential level (dominating in PA and MI until 2016). The Democrats have been the minority party in the FL state legislature for, I think, the last 20 years. The two most historically important swing states at the national level have been FL and OH - and these are two states in which the Democratic Party is routinely described as disorganized, inept, and near-broke. It's no wonder that the party has consistently underperformed there at the state level. Why did the Democratic Party let it come to this? Why hasn't it focused anywhere near enough on party building on a state-by-state basis? Esp. in an era of a divided D.C., the states are where the action's going to be - and the Democrats have A LOT of catching up to do.

  227. Could this shard divide which causes 1 party rule have anything to do with gerrymandering and voter suppression? Until those 2 practices are stopped, a reliable census procedure enacted and voter integrity such as paper ballots instituted, the control of state legislatures by one party may not reflect the will of the people. This is about power and money. There is little ideology to blame when the integrity and structure of the entire democratic process of voting is addressed in every state. Then we need to turn to our federal elections. Today Mitch McConnell is the poster boy of possible abuse of power and conflict of interest in his home state of Kentucky. An examination of the role of money in buying state projects for voter support look very serious. Their is no GOP agenda in Kentucky for Mitch. Just Mitch buying his position and power with the help of his wife.

  228. Time to revisit the wisdom of Lincoln: "We shall nobly save, or meanly lose, the last best hope of earth. ....The way is plain, peaceful, generous, just -- a way which, if followed, the world will forever applaud, and God must forever bless."

  229. Record voter turnout in 2018 midterm elections. An estimated 113 million people participated in the 2018 midterm elections, making this the first midterm in history to exceed over 100 million votes, with --49 percent-- of eligible voters participating in the election.Nov 7, 2018 The other 51 % were watching the "Kardshians" and sports. That is the division.

  230. We have a divide in the United States. It is fueled by lies and ginning up xenophobic hate by one political faction for short term electoral advantage. They do it because their party agenda is not something that even their own voters actually want, and they cannot win elections without pushing fear and hate. Fear the foreign, hate the "other" and never mind the hand tightening around your own throat as they choke you with pollution, empty your pockets, and steal the future from our children

  231. Break the gerrymander and there will be only 4-5 red states left. Then the US moves on to fulfill it's potential and people will finally enjoy their rights and liberties.

  232. Hard to believe that America could be more divided with most of our states under one party control. The last time our democracy was so terribly divided was when the Southern States rebelled and the Confederate States of America (CSA) fought the Union and lost the Civil War from 1861-65. Will our republic be still more divided as we head into the 2020 Elections with an unfit president at our helm?

  233. This is what happens when you nationalize politics to this degree. Collaboration happened in the past when representatives were still largely concerned with their actual constituents. That's why you had so many Republicans with Democrat-looking policy leanings and vice versa. Now we're seeing people cleaving to national issues rather than local ones. This is entirely the media's fault.

  234. “With Most States Under One Party’s Control, America Grows More Divided” More accurate headline that reflects the content here: “With Most States Under One Party’s Control, America’s STATE LEGISLATORS GROW more divided.” I’m willing to bet that the average constituent of any state legislator doesn’t know what bills their legislator supports or not—it requires constant tracking. Some, but few constits do that. (Right now, for example, included on the NYS legislators’ table is the CCPA- Climate and Community Protection Act.) I bet I could walk my block and find maybe just one or two people who are following the CCPA progress or lack of, as the legislative “year” draws to a close. This swooping headline alone suggests that all American state constituents are informed and actively polarizing against each other. Not accurate. We need precision in our press, now more than ever. I suggest the journalist walk the streets and roads across the country and find out what the average person knows about their state legislators’ sponsoring and or blocking of bills. That would be a useful next step to follow up on this article; if we’re trying to assess the level of division in our country. And...maybe it would encourage people to be more informed.

  235. When some blue states want to secede, who will howl the loudest? Fox news and red state Republicans. Why? They know who pays the highest taxes for their bulk of their services. Let's start making some noise about leaving and see what happens.

  236. @CarolSon It is estimated that 40% of illegal immigrants reside in Calfornia. Few will shed a tear.

  237. California is thriving.

  238. @AACNY California is the world's 5th or 6th largest economy. You need them more than they need you.

  239. We are in the midst of the equivalent of a Second Civil War that roughly follows the lines of the Old Confederacy where the major issue is still slavery. This time it is the sexual enslavement of women through draconian anti-abortion legislation. We have the equivalent of Jefferson Davis in The White House with the looming threat aided and abetted by a Republican Senate under the control of border-state Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of the very "nullification" (via packing the Supreme Court) of our Constitutional democracy. Only the House and the voters who are now all enfranchised (except for repressive Republican Jim Crow-like efforts to suppress the vote) stand in the way of a Trump autocracy. And with the Democrats in a state of political paralysis about defending the Constitution and beginning an impeachment inquiry into Donald Trump, we are on the very cusp bringing to life the fictional Gilead of the "Handmaid's Tale."

  240. All is not sweetness & light here in Oregon. Landlords & other rentiers are well represented in state Democratic policies written into law. Many poor Oregonians are paying 50% of income in rent & the current cap at 10% annual increase doesn't cut it. A 10% raise in rent for these people could mean being turned out into the streets. The even worse news is that Republicans would compound these problems exponentially. Their solution is to turn the state into another Texas, upending our hallowed environmental paradise with unrestricted access & practice for business & industry. And BTW many "conservatives" in Oregon are contemplating moving to that state out of outrage over liberal policy. Bon voyage.

  241. @Apple Jack Texas is nothing like Oregon. Hope they enjoy the weather.

  242. High rents reflect high housing demand. Build more housing.

  243. The ultimate in “States rights”. Okay by me if Alabama wants to be Alabama, but let’s also “states rights” the federal budget, shrinking it to minimal functions (military and perhaps social security) and return most of the taxing power to each state. You want it to look a certain way, great, but you pay for it.

  244. Fascinating to look at a map 30 years from now where conservative Republican states are mired in the unhealthy and the dead, weighted down by debt, receiving minimal federal aid (despite their massive needs) and employing people in dangerous or menial jobs . . . While Democratic states thrive but have to deal with over-population from the mass exodus coming their way from AL, MS, KY, TN, SC, GA, etc. - A mostly southern exodus increased by the dire heat and humidity of global warming.

  245. “Minnesota is showing the rest of the nation that Republicans and Democrats can still find compromise and work together to get things done,” citing spending increases for public education and efforts to fight opioid addiction.” Thank goodness for MN! I must be an anomaly because believing in finding a compromise & being willing to work together to get things done is what was drummed into me my entire life. No single party should be in absolute control of any one state for it proves to be a colossal waste of time & MONEY. What one party votes into the law the next party will undo when it’s their turn. It’s a revolving door of rancor, hate & reckless governing. Revenge seems to be a primary fuel used to garner such intense heat and disdain. Somewhere along the way, so many have stopped being Americans first. The notion that one party has all the answers and is right about everything, all the time, is a nice idea but in reality, no one ever gets everything they want – all the time. Effective governing cannot continue in this mindset. I am never completely satisfied with decisions made by either party all of the time. I do believe BOTH parties have much to offer. They just can’t seem to get out of their own way. This has to stop NOW. But how does one compromise on abortion, gun legislation, climate issues, and immigration issues? Perhaps more open dialogue and honest conversations need to occur. At least it’s a start instead of slamming doors in peoples’ faces.

  246. What you are asking for won’t happen until “good sportsmanship” is reintroduced into the mix. I believe Newt Gingrich introduced the “trash talk” and”in your face” aspects we are seeing now. It will be nearly impossible to go back until politicians learn to leave their egos at the door.

  247. @Jonathan Oh gosh, you are absolutely correct. Rude, disrespectful, and "trash talk" being accepted, tolerated and displayed like some kind of badge of honor is a HUGE reason why so much discord has been permitted. Perhaps the genie can't go back into that bottle. If so, smash that bottle and come up with something else. Leaving egos at the door should always be a no-brainer. Their job, their focus, their passion should be about their constituents - not themselves - regardless of the party. Should that be paramount? Thanks very much for your important view point.

  248. @Marge Keller Remove republicans period. We can not tolerate religious fascism coupled with xenophobia. The republicans desire to demonize anyone not white is a major threat to our society. It has to end. You don’t compromise with such people you defeat them or they destroy you. That is quite obvious with Trump and McConnell. Democrats must realize they are directly aiming at liberalism as their target and us. I have no doubt they would jail us and any deserters if they could. They are already doing it with immigrants fleeing violence. Why would they stop there.

  249. Minnesota and its voters should be applauded for attempting to continue a system of checks and balances at the state level. That this year's legislative session was messy and reached stalemates more often than compromise is a reflection of the extreme right agenda of the Republican party. As Gov. Walz indicated, the policies of Mississippi and Alabama do not match voters' intents in a state highly ranked for measures of quality of life and economic stability. The Republican party's obstruction in Minnesota managed to keep the contribution of the state to education funding lower than the challenges require, especially in closing the achievement gap between people of color and the majority white population. There are legitimate conflicts of values and philosophy among voters which need airing and representation and laws which should permit the maximum, not the minimum number of voters to live under their beliefs. As this article clearly points out, the extreme agenda of the Republicans in the red states in restricting reproductive freedom for women, suppressing voting rights for all except them and rubber stamping the national party's incoherent and cruel immigration policies only serves to make the agenda of their opponents more urgent in the states they control. Compromise and center is lost. Elect Democratic Women.

  250. The politics of "resentment" have become the determining power behind our current electoral system. It is easy and much quicker to motivate many voters using fear, hate, and anger. Compassion and reason often fall by the wayside when these "hot" buttons are pushed. "Resentment politics" determine the winning vote in red states. Any "us against them" issue can result in a voting block that will stick with a candidate regardless of that candidates fitness or total lack of fitness for office. Power/money have an overwhelming ability to corrupt. Those that want to gain or retain power often will go to any lengths toward this pursuit. This is how we have elected leaders like Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump. They both know how easy it is to manipulate their target voters. Simply push any one of the "hot buttons" and they have a lifetime follower. That button could be abortion, gun control, racism, homophobia, sexism, etc. The list is long. I know. I have lived my life in a deep red state. This trend is not new. It elected Richard Nixon and Donald Trump. Unfortunately, success insures that further "resentment politics" are ahead of us.

  251. @Big Mike Obama used identity politics as a campaign strategy to win re-election. It was no coincidence that his "Dear Colleague" letter was issued the same day he announced his re-election bid. It's democrats who have divided the country with their divisive identity politics. Even Democratic voters are sick of it; hence, Biden's appeal.

  252. @Big Mike The same desire for power and money also motivate the Democrats. Reed, Clinton, Biden,Pelosi and others who have benefited from their positions of power. Power is a obsession that knows no party affiliation. That is why the governments power needs to be restricted not a position of the Democrats.

  253. @Big Mike well said, and my heart goes out to you living in that deep red state!

  254. Partisanship and compromise have given way to Tribalism and war. We are experiencing electoral whiplash on both sides. At the federal level, it happened in 1992-93 with Clinton, 2009-10 with Obama, then 2017-18 with Trump. A useful blog post on this phenomenon: ourimperfectunion.blogspot.com.

  255. It seems that Democratic legislatures cover humane legislation: affordable healthcare, protection of women’s choices, and same sex marriage, for instance. Republican Legislatures seem to go the opposite direction, as in Alabama. The Democrats are promoting, Republicans are destroying human rights.

  256. This is what you get with gerrymandering. By all but guaranteeing the primary winner will win the general election, gerrymandering forces candidates to the extremes, both right and left. Before gerrymandering, the conventional Republican wisdom, as Nixon noted, was to run to the right in the primary, but run to the center in the general election. With gerrymandering, there is no need to run anywhere for the general election. The winner of the primary will win the general election. Ditto for Dems. Run to the left in the primary and stay there for the general election. With the conservatives on the Supreme Court poised to gut state anti-gerrymandering laws, the problem will only get worse. The graduates of the Federalist Society will create a second war between the states, all in the name of ideological purity. Is the Constitution a political suicide pact? Evidently, yes.

  257. @Garak Obviously they don’t care about the constitution. Much like the Bible they interpret it the way it suits them but ignore it when it doesn’t benefit them. Much like caring about the legality of immigrants but supporting Trump. Obviously legality isn’t really what they care about.

  258. Republicans have gone stark, raving nuts. The politicians in that party are solely responsible for creating the divisions in this country. No one in their right mind would be against sensible gun laws, taking care of our land, water and air, devoting money to educating our young, aiding the poor and elderly, protecting the rights of women, minorities, immigrants, etc. No matter, the demographics of this country are rapidly changing, and what we're seeing here is the last gasp of a tired, desperate, but ultimately irrelevant party.

  259. How can the "weaker" party have won millions more votes? It is a shrinking minority that supports GOP policies. They know it and are doing everything except use democracy or legal methods to hang on to power.

  260. @Justice The irony is they would have been fine if they simply had accepted Latinos and immigrants into their party. Their xenophobia is why they are shrinking and dangerous.

  261. Minnesota has a long history of bipartisan compromise and functional government. If you want to see what effective state & municipal government looks like, come visit the Twin Cities. You will find a healthy city with affordable housing, effective public education, and accessible public transit. It is the exact opposite of NYC’s pay-to-play system of bribes, favors, and oneupmanship. The NYtimes would benefit us all (and it’s hometown city) by digging a little deeper into what the MN legislature has done, including Walz, to continue this tradition of bipartisan governance rather than continuing to stoke red state vs. blue state antipathies and reporting on extreme positions regarding social issues.

  262. I wish articles like this substituted "Center" for "Left" to more accurately reflect international norms. The USA is a huge outlier amongst industrialized nations, and the Democrats would be considered Center Right or conservative in most European or Far East nations, given the degree to which their powerful establishment wing has been captured by corporate interests. The Republicans at both state and federal level appear to have no international point of reference, except for perhaps the Middle East mullahs for a similar fundamentalist and patriarchal social agenda, and former Soviet satellites where autocrats have attacked democratic and media institutions.

  263. There is a phrase in the US that is outdated. It was scratch an independent and you’ll find a republican. Things have changed and in general people are more socially liberal. So we have this cross current of conservatives who vote republicans for businesses, selfishness, greed, keeping their property rights as more important than individual liberal rights. What many people didn’t see coming because we live in blue or red states now is the retaliation from the religious right and the white supremacy movement gaining massive momentum under Trump. There is a played up sense of white victimhood and that they are the ones being discriminated against. This also plays into the religious martyr complex. So you are right. They are basically the American versions of fascists theocracy but highly perverted.

  264. @Mathias So property rights are not a fundamental individual right? That helps explain the current fascination with socialism.