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Negative Partisanship Increasing Reasons


Partisanship describes one’s devotion to a particular political party or movement, often based on the similarity of beliefs. This devotion can be both a positive and a negative force, informing one’s voting decisions in various ways. The problem arises when one’s vote is informed not by an agreement on policy, but by shared distaste for the opposing party. The prevalence of negative partisanship leads to polarization in American politics and is detrimental to the social climate, government work, and the electoral system. This paper explores the reasons for increasing partisanship and aims to offer solutions to the growing problem.

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  • Why is negative partisanship being perpetuated?
  1. The rise in importance of political views in daily life
  2. Increasing dissatisfaction of the masses
  3. Idealization and demonization of political figures
  • How negative partisanship is perpetuated
  1. Escalation by the media
  2. Political fearmongering
  • How negative partisanship affects the social and political climate
  1. Polarization of opposing parties
  2. Misrepresentation
  3. The increase in party loyalty
  • Methods of decreasing political polarization and negative partisanship
  1. Re-define the norms of acceptable political and debate behavior to enforce a more civil approach from politicians
  2. Restrict mass media and news outlets from spreading inflammatory information


The rise in negative partisanship in recent years due to the increasing dissatisfaction of people has been drastically perpetuated by mass media and political outrage. This trend resulted in further polarization of both the Democratic and the Republican parties, and the weakening of the democratic foundation of the country. Both negative partisanship and polarization are harmful to American society and should be counteracted by using various approaches.

Works Cited

Abramowitz, Alan I., and Steven W. Webster. “Negative Partisanship: Why Americans Dislike Parties But Behave Like Rabid Partisans.” Political Psychology, vol. 39, 2018, pp. 119–135.

Abramowitz, Alan I., and Steven Webster. “The Rise of Negative Partisanship and the Nationalization of U.S. Elections in the 21st Century.” Electoral Studies, vol. 41, 2016, pp. 12–22.

Cook, Charlie. “The Power of ‘Negative Partisanship.’The Cook Political Report, 2019.

Oscarsson, Henrik and Holmberg, Sören. Research Handbook on Political Partisanship. Edward Elgar Publishing, 2020.

Persily, Nathaniel, editor. Solutions to Political Polarization in America. Cambridge University Press, 2015.

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