THE SOURCE: “‘The Big Sort’ That Wasn’t: A Skeptical Re-examination” by Samuel J. Abrams and Morris P. Fiorina, in PS: Political Science and Politics, April 2012.
Are more and more Americans clustering together in neighborhoods with people who share their lifestyle and beliefs, increasingly blind to those unlike themselves? Yes, said journalist Bill Bishop, and he put a name to the phenomenon with the title of his much discussed 2008 book The Big Sort. The trend, he argued, is helping to spread mutual incomprehension and political polarization in America.
Bishop is all wet, contend political scientists Samuel J. Abrams of Sarah Lawrence College and Morris P. Fiorina of the Hoover Institution and Stanford University. “Geographic political segregation is lower than a generation ago,” they say. (Think about it: Are Mississippi and Massachusetts more different from each other than they were in 1950, or more alike?)
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