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Jeremy Pope: How the U.S. Constitution Aggravates Party Polarization

Polarization is often discussed as a modern phenomenon, something that has happened in the past half-century. While no doubt true, this framing omits the constitutional underpinnings that exacerbate polarization and leave it entrenched in the specific way we see it now. The constitution framework ultimately creates a political environment where the ideological parties of our own day cannot meet the prerequisites set by the constitutional system. Power can be gained for a time—meaning an election cycle or two—but not in a sustained or sizable way. The resulting national politics is one where the parties may be ideologically coherent but are incapable of meeting the bar set by the Constitution.