Is Today’s Hyper-Partisanship Truly a Historical Anomaly?

By: Gabrielle L. (’18)
Without doubt, the vicious polarization of the 2016 Presidential Campaign and the subsequent election of the Trump administration increased talk of today’s ‘historically-unparalleled’ political partisanship. In fact, in Barack Obama’s 2017 farewell address, he referred to his inability to reverse the 21st century hyper-partisan trend as “one of the few regrets” of his presidency; the challenges of today’s congressional gridlock are well acknowledged by both the government and public. Despite this, although modern Congress is often criticized for exhibiting a hyper-partisanship incomparable to any other time period in our nation’s history, political science metrics suggest that current congressional polarization actually marks a return to historical norms.