Separate polling from the Pew Research Centerhas found that Democrats and Republicans hold views of the other that are growing more negative, with GOP partisans especially likely to view Democrats as immoral and unpatriotic. While most Democrats in the Pew poll indicated that they would prefer their party to seek common ground with the other, most Republicans do not—attitudes that explain both the appeal to Democratic voters of former Vice President Joe Biden’s promise to seek bipartisan cooperation if elected, and the widespread skepticism among leaders in both parties that he’s likely to obtain it.
These underlying trends will endure whichever side wins control of the White House and Congress next year. The relentless geographic and demographic sorting of the parties means that the two coalitions more and more inhabit separate realities: Nationally, Clinton beat Trump in the 2016 popular vote by a little over two percentage points, but 60 percent of Americans lived in counties that were decided by 20 points or more, according to calculations by Bill Bishop, the author of The Big Sort. (That was up from just one-fourth of Americans living in such landslide counties in 1976 and half as recently as 2012.) It’s possible, maybe even likely, that this divide will widen in 2020, with diverse major metropolitan areas rejecting Trump by even larger margins than in 2016, while predominantly white, rural areas rally behind him more firmly.