This story is unavailable.

I wonder two things about the so-called “toxic political climate” that inclines Americans to consider emigrating. One, something about the wording seems amiss. To resort to the student’s trick of consulting a dictionary, is our atmosphere really “very bad, unpleasant, or harmful” (one definition of “toxic”)? Or is it only, to simplify somewhat, the prospect that the other party’s candidate might win that drives some of us to distraction? Increasing polarization and partisanship, among elected representatives and in the electorate, might indeed be harmful, but those whose polarized, exaggerated views lead them to consider leaving are, in a sense, part of the problem, and they’d be taking it with them when they go. Two, the research that you advise elsewhere in your text is likely to reveal that political contention isn’t unique to America. In fact, in countries with multiple parties rather than just two and with a parliamentary system rather than a directly elected president, the situation is in some ways more complex, and the dissent sometimes just as vociferous if not more so.

Show your support

Clapping shows how much you appreciated John E. Branch Jr.’s story.