Publication Year



Negative Partisanship, Polarization, Political Parties, Cohesion


American Politics


Predictability has long been a defining characteristic of stable democracies, especially that of the United States. Elections at state and national levels are expected to involve candidates who eventually dominate the polls by garnering popular support and partaking in the political and cultural norms that help to bolster their support and display their qualification for office. At the end of campaigns, votes tend to produce candidates or representatives that parties can agree on, and despite disagreements both the masses and political elites concede to whomever the victor of state and national elections may be. The unexpected twists and turns of the 2016 election seem at odds with the historical predictability of American democracy, and intimate that there are political changes brewing that are worth investigating. One of the factors that can help us understand these changes is how voters feel about current issues in American politics and the political representatives that champion those issues. The interplay between the masses and political elites is important to understanding how this current election has brought about such tension between political parties.

Department 1 Awarding Honors Status

Political Science

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License