Robert Samuelson argues in Newsweek that, despite the conventional wisdom to the contrary, Americans are not particularly divided on important issues at all.
One of today’s popular myths is that we’ve become a more “polarized” society. We’re said to be divided increasingly by politics (liberals vs. conservatives), social values (traditionalists vs. modernists), religion (fundamentalists vs. everyone else), race and ethnicity. What’s actually happened is that our political and media elites have become polarized, and they assume that this is true for everyone else. It isn’t.
This is an important distinction to be sure. But, of course, the vast majority of the population can hardly be polarized given that they’re so incredibly apathetic. Which means that opinion leaders matter.