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The partisan divide is getting worse

How bad is the partisan division in this country?

Roughly half or more Republicans and Democrats believe members of the other party are more "closed-minded" and "unpatriotic" than other Americans, according to a new survey by Pew Research Center. Nearly two-thirds of Republicans see others as unpatriotic, while only 23 percent of Democrats feel that way.

The survey, which was conducted in early September and before Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced plans to pursue an impeachment inquiry against President Trump, revealed a growing animosity that has festered since Pew last conducted a similar survey three years ago.

Compared to the 2016 survey, the share of partisan Americans who believe the other side is closed-minded or immoral has spiked, with double-digit increases in the percentage of Republicans who believed Democrats were "more closed-minded" and Democrats who said Republicans were "more immoral" than other Americans.

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"When people are unaware that convictions can seem principled while actually being blind, they are helpless in the face of the conviction machine," writes Michael Patrick Lynch.

‘Always sticking to your convictions’ sounds like a good thing – but it isn’t

Lynch is a professor of philosophy at the University of Connecticut.

There is nothing wrong with strong opinions. They are healthy in a democracy – an apathetic electorate is an ineffective electorate.

But a curious fact about American society's supercharged political culture is that even the most humble debates (think: Which fried chicken sandwiches are best?) turn a tweet into matters of conviction.

The result is that many of us come to see criticism as intolerable and disagreement with our opinions as a mark of moral inferiority.

That's a problem not just because it can lead to incivility; it's a problem because it can lead to dogmatism, and when it comes to matters like climate change or immigration, even violent fanaticism.

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Geoff Pallay

Geoff Pallay works out of his South Carolina home to be closer to his two children, including 5-year-old Cameron.

Meet the reformer: Geoff Pallay, a political encyclopedia wizard

Geoff Pallay is the editor in chief of Ballotpedia, a nonprofit and nonpartisan online political encyclopedia created a dozen years ago to provide a comprehensive chronicling of federal, state and local politics, elections, and public policy. He was hired in 2010 as a staff writer covering state legislatures and has had the top newsroom job since 2015. Originally from New Jersey, Pallay, 35, lives in Charleston, S.C., with his wife, Megan, and their two children. His answers have been lightly edited for clarity and length.

What's the tweet-length description of your organization?

We preserve and expand knowledge about politics by providing objective information about federal, state and local politics.

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Big Picture
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Not news to many: Our polarized view of media brands is only intensifying

Nike has Colin Kaepernick. Smith & Wesson has guns. Trump Hotels has, well, President Trump.

Not surprisingly, each of these companies is among the most politically polarizing brands of the moment. But the best way to make such a list, it turns out, is to be in the news business.

Of the 15 most polarizing brands of 2019, the dozen not mentioned above are from a single industry — the mainstream media — according to a recent survey by Morning Consult, a brand development and news company. The rankings were determined by measuring the difference in favorability of more than 3,700 brands among self-identified Republicans and Democrats.

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