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Laurel Harbridge-Yong, Ph.D., Assoc. Professor, Dept. of Political Science, Northwestern University

  • Winnetka Community House 620 Lincoln Ave Winnetka, IL 60093 United States (map)

The Polarization of Politics in America: Empirical Patterns and Moral Challenges

Dr. Laurel Harbridge-Yong, Associate Professor in the Dept. of Political Science at Northwestern University, will speak on the topic, The Polarization of Politics in America: Empirical Patterns and Moral Challenges. In recent decades, our elected officials have grown further apart, and this ideological gap is further exacerbated by contentious partisan competition that provides few incentives to work together.  The same situation is true of voters, whose views of politics are increasingly shaped by partisan social identities and animosity toward the opposing party.  In this talk, Dr. Harbridge-Yong discusses the patterns surrounding polarization of our elected officials and the mass public, and what these changes mean for democratic norms (including compromise, trust in government, and perceived legitimacy of laws). She also considers how moral commitments impede compromise and civility in politics.

Dr. Harbridge-Yong’s primary areas of research and teaching include the United States Congress, public opinion, congressional elections, political parties, and public policy.  Her recent research explores the relationship between institutional arrangements, representation and policy formation in the context of increasing and intensifying partisan polarization. This includes a book on bipartisan agreement and how the structure of the roll call agenda has changed over time, affecting both issue attention and legislative responsiveness. Other research projects focus on the politics of the federal budget and on public preferences for bipartisan cooperation. She received her Ph.D. from Stanford University.

Mikhail Antoshin returns as our guest pianist.