Confessions of a Pro-Life Catholic Democrat

One year after the most divisive elections in at least 50 years, there is little evidence that distrust and animosity laid bare by that bitter contest -- and its horrific aftermath on Jan. 6 -- are going anywhere. Americans remain divided over longstanding culture war issues like abortion and climate change and more recent issues such as the best policy response to the ongoing pandemic. But for an increasing number of Americans today, party affiliation is connected to more than policy preferences. It is a moralized social identity where members on each side view those on the other side with contempt. Americans are pushed by the culture to make a binary choice -- Democrat or Republican -- and then conform themselves to every belief of their party. This is not tribalism but sectarianism. It determines not only how we vote but where we live, who we marry and how we worship.

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