American partisan identification has hit a new low, Gallup poll results published this week reveal. Fully 50 percent of U.S. adults now consider themselves political independents, while the Republican and Democratic Parties each get an even 25 percent of the remainder. Gallup also recently reported a record high of 62 percent of Americans agree both parties “do such a poor job representing the American people that a third party is needed.”
Conventional wisdom often holds these shifts are “dangerous to democracy.” But what if they’re literally dangerous? What if our two-party system is radicalizing people? What if it’s left some people feeling so unrepresented in their ostensibly representative government that they consider turning to violence?
To be clear, as much as I also want viable third parties, I’m not saying violence would be justified.