Continental Divide

The Disappearing Center
Engaged Citizens, Polarization, and American Democracy
Alan I. Abramowitz
Yale University Press, $35, 194 pp.

Among elected officials, journalists, and average citizens, intensifying partisan polarization is thought to be one of the dominant political trends of our times. Yet it has proved remarkably controversial among political scientists.

Some dimensions of polarization are not in question. For the first time in modern history (and maybe ever), there is no ideological overlap between the two major parties. According to the standard political-science index, the most conservative Democratic...

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About the Author

William Galston is Ezra Zilkha Chair and Senior Fellow in Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution. He is the author of Liberal Purposes and Liberal Pluralism, both published by Cambridge University Press. Galston served as deputy assistant for domestic policy under President Bill Clinton, 1993–95.