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Marley Majette

Pd.4 AP NSL
November 8th, 2015

Political Ideology DBQ


Political ideology is a coherent set of beliefs about politics, public policy, and public
purpose, not to be confused with the political parties that may represent a certain ideology. In
recent years there has been debate over the changing political ideologies and what effect it has on
the nation; the ultimate question being, to what extent, if at all, are ideological differences a
problem in the United States? Some Americans may say it is a minor problem and even
unimportant, however there are others who disagree with that statement. Ideological differences
are a major problem in the United States because it causes the weakening of the American dream
which in turn, causes a divide between Americans due to Americans slowly becoming selfsegregated.
Unity is something that one could think of one they think of the American people.
Everyone may also have their own interpretations of what glues the American people together.
However what we can conclude is that allowing the American people to go through a
categorization process of being split, labeled, and placed in groups, only weakens the values of
America. This process has its own negative effects that further hinder the nation. The American
values and beliefs can be represented and addressed through the discussion of fundamental and
key issues. In Beyond Red vs. Blue: The Political Typology a poll conducted by Pew Research,
a reliable and unbiased source, readers can see that groups such as the Hard-pressed Democrats,
Libertarians, and Disaffecteds are the groups who disagree the most on issues because their data
is split 50-50 (Document 6). This is not to say that the other groups are in perfect agreement on
all of the key issues that Pew Research has defined. However the point to be made is by
categorizing the American people the glue dissolves, whatever that means to someone, and when
the glue dissolves the unity that the people once had is obliterated. This split of the American
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people will lead to them becoming distracted from the nations values and of course weaken the
United States as a whole. The poll shows the readers that the ideological groups have their own
internal disagreements. This polarization caused by the differences of political ideologies is one
cause to why the American value and belief system is weakening and the morals of the some
American people is causing the rest of the population to suffer as a whole.
Americans are slowly allowing this polarization to weaken the nation and what the
people stand for. Splitting the American people up due to where they differ on political
ideologies does nothing but take away from the values that represent America. Barack Obama
once said at the 2004 Democratic National Convention Keynote Address, Now even as we
speak, there are those who are preparing to divide us, the spin masters and negative peddlers who
embrace the politics of anything goes theres not a liberal America and a conservative
America; theres the United States of America (Document 4). Obama addresses fellow
democratic party members during the Keynote address at the Democratic national convention
and speaks to them on how Americans are allowing people to meddle with the goals and values
of America such as egalitarianism and liberty. Obama felt as though the people were allowing
themselves to be split into groups and categorized as if they had different goals, when in actuality
liberal or conservative, black or white, blue state or red state, Latino or Asian America they are
really all the same. They all in the end participate in politics of hope not cynicism. When it
comes to the people who are splitting, grouping, and labeling the American people Moris Fiorina
also believes that media is a key component of how divided Americans are on fundamental
issues. Fiorina a respected author and political scientist says, Small groups of liberal and
conservative activists who act as if they are at war with one another have left most Americans in
a position...of some third world countries who try to stay out of the crossfire (Document 2).

These ideological groups are creating more problems and issues which affect other Americans
who are not apart of this so called war. They are again, similar to what Obama said in the
previous document, losing sight of what is important. These people who participate in these
liberal and conservative groups are allowing themselves to be split, categorized, and labeled
which has a negative effect on the citizens who stay out of it. To further add to the categorization,
the American people take it upon themselves to self- segregate.
Self- segregation, which can also be referred to as auto segregation is, the separation of a
religious or ethnic group from the rest of society in a state by the group itself. The term selfsegregation can also be associated as a form of social exclusion. According to Bill Bishop, author
of The Big Sort, Americans chose to live in increasingly crowded areas with, people who live,
think and vote like we do (Document 3). This change was no accident due to the liberty that
Americans have to choose areas, neighborhoods, and communities that are most compatible with
our lifestyle and beliefs. By choosing to live in areas where we are surrounding by only our
beliefs there are certain consequences. According to Bishop they include, living with these
consequences of self-segregation which has made our country so polarized, ideologically inbred,
that people dont know and cant understand those who live just a few miles away (Document
3). Voluntary social exclusion is what one may correlate self-segregation with, which can be
linked to why people are so ideologically inbred. Citizens of their community are only
immersed with people who believe in their same beliefs and agree on the same topics that they
agree with. In a graphic comic by David Horsey published in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, the
illustrator shows the differences between Red States and Blue States through a series of images
(Document 5). These images depicted generalizations of citizens who live in the Red States and
those who live in Blue states. The red states are typically associated with staunch conservative

beliefs. In contrast the blue states are associated with solid liberal beliefs. These
generalizations about where people from either Red States or Blue States stand on kid sports as
an example. Red Americans believe kid sports goal is to kill the competition, whereas Blue
Americans care more about the childs feelings. (Document 5). Due to the fact that people chose
to live in areas most compatible with their beliefs and values, they are choosing to participate in
self segregation something that only adds to the issues that America faces due to the differences
in political ideologies. Their differences only cause the people to move farther and farther apart
in a geographical terms and ideologically and in turn cause this great division that Americans are
facing.
A great division among Americans is one of the effects of the divisions and differences in
political ideologies amongst the American people. Values such as egalitarianism and liberty are
what used to unify the American people however in recent years, a great divide has split the
population in all different directions and it looks as though there will be no way to reconvene.
James Q. Wilson author of American Politics and a believer in this statement suggests that,
an intense commitment to a candidate, a culture, or an ideology that sets people in one group
definitively apart from people in another rival group (Document 1). Highlighting the phrase on
ideologies, the reader can understand that by committing to a group that someone else isnt
committed will cause problems and hostility even between two people or the entire groups. This
is where problems arise due to animosity between groups. Out of this animosity, harsh
stereotypes about different groups created by another coin, for example, conservatives as racist
or radical. These are both broad, extreme, and possibly inaccurate stereotypes about an entire
group of people. But one can see from that example how divisions can arise between the
American people. Divisions can also occur between demographic groups. For example CNNs

Post Presidential Election Exit Poll conducted during the course of six presidential elections
shows the different demographic groups and then records how people from each group voted.
The majority of groups were lopsided or split in who they voted for. However that is not as
important as, but instead how generally in the Obama versus McCain election each group voted
practically almost differently than the latter group (Document 10). Due to the fact that everyone
voted almost differently, there was bound to be bickering and conflict between the decisions of
one person versus the decision of another person. Since everyone has been categorized and
labeled with a group and name, it is human nature to want to know why one person got
something different than the next person. However in politics where the decision of one group
can swing an election or change your life, people are going to be more aggressive in wanting an
answer and may even convince someone to change their beliefs to better suit their own needs.
This is just one way of how a divide can start between different groups of people, but this just
may be the most common. Divides among the people dont benefit those involved, and because
this is an effect of an ongoing problem, differences in political ideologies, the cause needs to be
addressed to fix the effect.
A major problem in the US at the moment is the difference in political ideologies.
Ideological differences are a present issue in the United States because it causes the weakening
of the American dream which in turn, causes a divide between Americans due to the people
slowly becoming self- segregated. A lack of unity is put in place between the American people
because of the grouping and labeling done to the American people. The unity that some may
correlate with the American people is obliterated by this categorization process. Americans are
slowly allowing this polarization to weaken the nation. Splitting the American people up due to
where they differ on political ideologies does nothing but take away from the values that

represent America. To further add to the categorization, the American people take it upon
themselves to self- segregate. Voluntary social exclusion is what one may correlate selfsegregation with, which can be linked to why people are so ideologically inbred. Their
differences only cause the people to move farther and farther apart in a geographical terms and
ideologically and in turn cause this great division that Americans are facing. Divides among the
people dont benefit those involved, and because this is an effect of an ongoing problem,
differences in political ideologies, the cause needs to be addressed to fix the effect.