Fellow Talks

The US Electorate: Shifting Majorities, Polarization, and the 2014 Elections

Tuesday, October 21, 2014
an image
Image credit: 
Steve Gladfelter, Stanford Visual Arts

Morris Fiorina, a senior fellow at Hoover, discusses US politics, polarization, and the 2014 midterm elections. He explains that, although we seem to be in an era of indecision and unstable majorities, the United States is not experiencing greater party polarization; rather, it is experiencing greater party sorting, meaning fewer liberal conservatives and conservative liberals in the Republican and Democratic Parties, respectively.  This is partly driven by greater polarization in political elites, although the majority of the population remains constant. Using historical examples as evidence, Fiorina argues that much of this indecision and instability is due to large societal changes, such as economic transformations, globalization, and mass immigration.  If history is any indicator, we are about halfway through our current era of instability.