Is the Modern Age of Politics one of "Post-Persuasion"
Are Americans and our politics experiencing a post-persuasion age?
In recent interviews with PBS for a Frontline special on Donald Trump’s rise to the presidency and political prominence, Steve Bannon gave thorough interviews about his life, background, and world views, and also added comments as to how Trump and his behavior have shaped American politics.
During one of the interviews, Bannon claims the United States is experiencing a “post-persuasion” age of politics. He explains this means the goal isn’t to pursue voters, but rather a turnout and ground game. Bannon continues to say this is the reason Obama destroyed Clinton in 2008.
The question at hand then is if Bannon is correct? Are Americans and our politics experiencing a post-persuasion age?
Polarization is nothing new in United States politics. Hell, even after the Civil War, Andrew Johnson spoke in Indianapolis and a riot between supporters and opponents broke out and one person was shot.
America has remained divided over:
You can even look at the political maps from the 2016 and 2020 presidential elections. You’ll notice that red areas became redder and blue areas became bluer. In 2020, Biden carried 2/3 of Mecklenburg County by 5-6 points above Clinton. Pinellas County in Florida, Tarrant County in Texas, and even Maricopa County in Arizona all flipped. In many ways, however, urban and liberal centers went further left and rural areas went further right.
Keep in mind that ticket splitting occurs. This is how Susan Collins, Roy Cooper winning North Carolina Governor, and even Thilis winning Senate occurred.
So, are we past-persuasion?