Nov 23, 2017

10 big things: America's polarized politics

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser / Axios

See our 10 indicators of America's polarized politics.

Donald Trump was a symptom, not the cause, of our cancerous politics — and the disease is metastasizing. Signs of it spreading are everywhere: in politics, in media and in business.

Without the calming influences in those spheres, there are no checks on the forces reshaping the national discourse. People talk about how they are worried that what's happening now will be normalized. They've got it backwards. This is now normal. And it will only get worse.

The cable news channel you watch is now a statement of your politics. Once a bipartisan issue, feelings about Russia are now a marker of right vs. left. Thirty million people even believe it's acceptable to hold neo-Nazi views. Jump into our political polarization stream for the stark indicators of our polarized politics.

Go deeper

Trump hits back at Mattis: "I gave him a new life"

President Trump speaks at the White House. Photo: Doug Mills - Pool/Getty Images

President Trump unloaded on his former defense secretary via Twitter on Wednesday, hours after James Mattis condemned him for making a "mockery of our Constitution" in his response to mass protests in the wake of George Floyd's killing.

What he's saying: "Probably the only thing Barack Obama & I have in common is that we both had the honor of firing Jim Mattis, the world’s most overrated General. I asked for his letter of resignation, & felt great about it. His nickname was 'Chaos', which I didn’t like, & changed it to 'Mad Dog'"

Obama praises young protesters, urges mayors to pursue police reforms

Former President Barack Obama called on all mayors to review their use-of-force policies and commit to policing reform in a virtual town hall Wednesday hosted by the Obama Foundation's My Brothers Keepers Alliance.

Why it matters: Obama has addressed the killing of George Floyd and the nationwide protests that followed on social media and in a Medium post, but this was his first time speaking about the past week's events on camera. His voice will add weight to the growing pressure on local, state and federal officials to pursue policing reforms.

James Mattis condemns Trump as a threat to the Constitution

Mattis on Fox in Septemnber 2019 in New York City. Photo: Steven Ferdman/Getty Images

Former Secretary of Defense James Mattis condemned President Trump for making a "mockery of our Constitution" in a statement to The Atlantic on Wednesday, saying he was "appalled" at the president's response to mass protests in the wake of George Floyd's killing.

Why it matters: Trump’s former defense secretary had refrained from publicly criticizing his former boss since resigning in 2018.