To Curb Polarization, Everyone Must Accept a Possibility of Temporary Loss

Supporters of President-elect Trump face off against protesters near Trump Tower in New York City, November 20, 2016. (Mark Kauzlarich/Reuters)
Aversion to one-party rule is a valuable sentiment.

NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE E arly in 2016, the political scientists Christopher H. Achen and Larry M. Bartels published Democracy for Realists. There they argue that American elections are often decided not as informed referenda on ideas or on the performance of a governing party. Instead, feelings of group identity and belonging profoundly shape American elections. Many pundits and writers across the political spectrum found this a fascinating argument. Democracy for Realists won plaudits from Steven Pinker, Ezra Klein, Jamelle Bouie, and NR’s Kevin Williamson, among others.

In addition to this marquee argument, Achen and Bartels also conclude their book with a discussion of what they

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