Political debate is getting uglier and polarization in politics is widening. American research shows that in 2012, less than half of voters absolutely rejected (“from the bottom of my heart”) the candidate of the opposing party and would under no circumstances vote for him/her. By 2016, that figured had risen to 70%.
One cause of this widening rift could be the anger amplified by on-line echo chambers. News that incites anger bombards us daily and people are getting angry with greater frequency. Venting on-line has become a common reaction.
Typically, people express their views in settings where their opinions are validated by others. It is a vicious circle because both the message and the emotion are reinforced. Anger breeds anger, and people become chronically angrier over time. Chronic anger in turn diminishes rational choice and reduces the ability to compromise.
How can we take the anger out of political discourse?