(WASHINGTON POST) Ana Swanson — There’s a lot of disgust in America with politicians’ inability to get things done. In the race to win the Republican presidential nomination, that disgust has so far benefited outsider candidates. Non-career politicians Donald Trump, Carly Fiorina and Ben Carson have all promised to ride in and fix Washington.
But new research by Nolan McCarty, a professor at Princeton University, and other political scientists suggests this disgust — and America’s political dysfunction — won’t be that easy to fix. Working with political scientist Boris Shor and economist John Voorheis, McCarty has released a new study that shows that the growing ideological gap between the Republican and Democratic parties — a common obstacle to getting anything done in Washington — is not just due to politicians’ incompetence or their unwillingness to work together. It’s due, at least in part, to a deeper, structural problem: the widening gap between the rich and poor.
McCarty says he shares some of the disgust that Americans feel about polarized politics and gridlock in Washington. “But I think it’s important for readers and voters to understand . . . that these problems are not just simply because career politicians are acting in bad faith or, as Donald Trump would say, they’re stupid losers. They’re really deep structural problems,” he says.