I wrote a review for Liberal Currents of Ezra Klein’s latest book Why We’re Polarized.

Klein sees the election as a culmination of our social psychology mixing with a media landscape designed to outrage, in a political system that incentivizes Republicans to become more extreme. We are hard-wired to protect our identities from external threats, and contemporary political parties have become strong proxies for the groups to which we belong. The media and politicians tap into our psychology that makes us react more strongly to threats and antagonism than to positivity. And the American political system was designed centuries ago to represent geography more than popularity in a way that makes Republican electoral success tied more to extreme stances than winning over swing voters. All of this, according to Klein, leads to “a legitimacy crisis that could threaten the very foundation of our political system.” The book’s claim that political parties now stand in for identities, in a way that leads to more polarization than was common in the 20th century, is convincing. However, Klein leaves important social factors unanalyzed, and there is reason to believe he is presenting current trends as more inevitable than they in fact are.

Check it out.