Why Is Congress So Polarized? It’s the Institutions

Government shutdown led to Kevin McCarthy's removal, highlighting policy conflicts and institutional issues.

Debate over the national debt and the budget caused divisions, particularly on aid to Ukraine.

A last-minute deal avoided shutdown, but a faction in the Republican caucus ousted Speaker McCarthy. 

Policy conflict isn't just acrimony, external threats once fostered unity, but peace led to division.

The public agenda has shifted from international conflict to domestic political war over the years.

Partisan animosity in the two-party system undermines checks and balances, hindering effective governance.

The US two-party system resembles European multiparty systems but fuels political polarization.

Low-turnout primaries favor extreme positions, driven by ideologically motivated participants, intensifying antagonism.