Widening the Gap (Article)

Widening the Gap (Article)

A Story by Ibrahim Hoti

A look at the polar opposites of the global political sphere.


When, at the start of the 1960s, the Civil Rights Movement had moved into top gear, the main divide on the issue existed between southern and northern states. Meanwhile, most lobbies in both the Democratic and Republican parties supported the civil rights movement, or stood against it, based on what part of the country they were from. However, in 1965, when the Republican party openly stood against the civil rights bill, a gap was created between both parties, that only really widened, with time. This trend was only strengthened through the next 4 decades, where administrations on both sides kept on drifting away from the once universal center, to either the distinct left or right wings.


When 2009 came around, the arrival of a first African American, divided an already distant political sphere, and 8 years of constant clashes in Washington would follow, with the Democratic president trying to push America towards a greater welfare state and more openly liberal reforms. This didn't sit well with many conservative voters, and thus didn't sit well with the voice of the conservative Americans, the Republican Party. However, the split did not only widen on the right side, but also did on the left wing, as the rapid growth of minority populations meant anti-immigration policy, that was a major focus point of the Republican Party, pushed ever growing Hispanic, African-American and Middle Eastern populations, even further away from the Republican Party. These major shifts are perhaps best shown in a number of blowouts modern elections and referendums see these days. A prime example is the most recent American General Election in 2012. In that general election, the increasingly conservative Republican Party played a massive role in pushing minorities towards the Democratic side, as Barrack Obama, the Democratic Candidate, enjoyed the votes of 81.5% of ethnic/racial minorities, 72.05% of the votes of religious minorities, and 76% of the votes of sexual orientation minorities. On the other hand, every single demographic group for white men gave the majority of their votes to the Republican Party. With the further widening of popular ideologies in both major American political parties, it leaves one to speculate on just how many demographic blowouts will occur in the upcoming election and future ones. The election in 2016, however, could represent more than just a further widening of the gap, as it could also see a dramatic shift in the history and future of the US, depending on which side the majority of US voters decide to jump over to. So far, predictions for large demographic blowouts seem to be correct, as Donald Trump, the presidential candidate for the Republican Party, is predicted to get 69% of the uneducated white vote, while he seems to hold 60% of the white male vote, in total. On the other hand, Trump also has a 75% disapproval rating from all Hispanic people, in the US (a statistic which could hurt Trump, or any future Republican candidate, considering the rapid growth of America’s Hispanic population.

Considering some of Trump’s more extreme policies, against Hispanics and Muslims, it’s not hard to see how the Republican Party and, indeed, America are at a crossroads or political divide and key demographics. If right-wing policy lines move even further to the side, there’s no telling what will happen in the future, with mass violence already peaking between both sides. However, as I earlier said, the Conservatives aren’t the only side moving further away from the center, with the “failed” election run of the democratic Bernie Sanders sparking new life into an already restless democratic socialist movement (which also holds demographics centered in the youth), and helping the successful democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton, move her own talking points further along the divide. The “Bernie or Bust” movement could potentially just be a sign or more extreme things to come, if even more socialist ideas become mainstays in democratic policy.

This same gap has lately been widened in not only the America, but nearly every country in the world, as in England, after it seemed like the Labour party, the Lib Dems and the Conservatives were becoming more streamlined, in terms of general policy, UKIP came up and into the public eye, with a huge and damagingly detrimental victory in the UK’s EU leaving Referendum. This referendum also acted as another solid example of demographic blowouts as 75% of UK voters, under 24, voted to stay in the EU, while 61% of UK voters, above the age of 65, voted to leave the EU. There’s no doubt this had a fair bit to do with the far right ideas of the newly prominent UK Independence Party, while the new more hard-line left wing leader of the Labour party has had a distinct impact on the votes of the youth. Still, it's also true that just like in America, this divide has existed very strongly before, in the 1980s, with the stringent and very capitalist Margaret Thatcher, who weakened the welfare state and did a lot to concentrate wealth in hands of big business private employers. It's true to say that this modern divide isn't too far from those original lines, where places like Scotland and Ireland stand on the other side of the conservative divide. Meanwhile, in other countries around the world, the rise in prominence of new far right-wing parties (like the Golden Dawn and the JUI), have split the global political scene even more and on an even wider scale, that paints a worrying picture of how unstable the world could become, if it continues moving on in this direction. 

© 2016 Ibrahim Hoti

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Added on July 29, 2016
Last Updated on August 3, 2016


Ibrahim Hoti
Ibrahim Hoti

Islamabad, South Asia, Pakistan

"We are here, not because we are law-breakers; we are here in our efforts to become law-makers."- Emmeline Pankhurst. "Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler."- Albert Ei.. more..