Analysis & Comment

Opinion | How Identity Politics Took Over the Republican Party

Produced by ‘The Ezra Klein Show’

One problem with the conversation around political polarization is that it can imply that polarization is a static, singular thing. That our divisions are fixed and unchanging. But that’s not how it is at all. The dimensions of conflict change, and they change quickly. In the Obama era, Republicans mobilized against government spending and deficits but didn’t think much about election administration. Now, a trillion-dollar infrastructure package has passed the Senate with bipartisan support, but the divisions over democracy and voting access are deep.

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Lilliana Mason is one of the political scientists I’ve learned the most from in recent years. Her 2018 book, “Uncivil Agreement: How Politics Became Our Identity,” is, in my view, one of the most important political books of the last decade. But it’s been a tumultuous three and a half years since it was published. And Mason has continued to pump out important new work on political identity, how support for Donald Trump differs from that of other Republicans, when Democrats and Republicans believe political violence is justifiable and even necessary, and much more. And so I wanted to have Mason on the show to discuss how her thinking has changed in recent years and, in particular, which identities and interests she thinks are at the center of our political collisions today.

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(A full transcript of the episode will be available midday on the Times website.)

“The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld and Rogé Karma; fact-checking by Michelle Harris; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Jeff Geld; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Special thanks to Kristin Lin.

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