In 1787, James Madison wrote what is widely considered to be the most popular of the Federalist Papers: Federalist No. 10. Essay 10 was written in response to anti-federalist concerns that a unified republic spanning the entirety of the United States would result in the dominance of factions. In layman’s terms, anti-federalists worried that one group who made up the majority on a certain issue (those taking loans from a bank) could make laws to take advantage of the minority (the banks).
Federalist 10 makes the counterargument that there are so many issues with a majority and minority (abortion, tax rates, foreign policy) that hundreds of factions will be created, which effectively leads to the dissolution of factions altogether. This rather paradoxical solution has proven correct for over 200 years. US citizens have elected officials of differing opinions on every major political topic.
Unfortunately, it seems as though one political topic, or one individual, rather, has finally broken down the arguments presented in one of America’s most important founding documents. No matter your opinion on President Donald Trump, one word that can undoubtedly describe him is polarizing.
Previously unifying moments like the deaths of international terrorists have become as polarized as issues like abortion. In a 2011 poll, 85% of Americans said that they approved of the way Barack Obama handled the pursuit of Bin Laden. Conversely, a more recent poll showed a 47% approval for President Trump’s handling of Qasem Soleimani. Unsurprisingly, this percentage nearly mimics the percentage of people who voted for President Trump in 2016 (46.4%). This serves as a microcosm of the Trump presidency.
Every decision the President makes is good or bad based solely on the political leanings of the people you ask. Not only is the American public’s line of thinking severely lazy, but it will also prove to be extremely dangerous.
President Trump’s potential re-election will undoubtedly continue this exponential trend in partisanship, and based on the Democrats’ platform, I suspect the country will carry on in a similar fashion regardless of who the future president might be. I would implore Americans to take a step back and think of their leader as a human being rather than a Republican or Democrat, as the alternative would result in exactly what the anti-federalists had feared. A republic in which groupthink dominates and ideas are not critically thought upon inevitably ends in the slight majority’s oppression over nearly half the country.