Jill Lepore says the Kavanaugh hearings were a dress rehearsal for impeachmentHistorians in the News
Excerpts from an interview with Jill Lepore
"The Blasey Ford-Brett Kavanaugh divide was in some ways a dress rehearsal for an impeachment conversation, right? Where people just sorted themselves out into their conservative and liberal camps and you could just follow that who you sort of believed, which I think, I assume would map pretty well on to the likely response to any possible impeachment proceedings.
"And that political division between conservatives and liberals, who are asked to believe in fundamentally different values and not asked to think about what one another's values are and what the shared values are, was built by some very cynical political consultants in the 1970s and 1980s who wanted to get voters to the polls using emotionally charged, life-or-death issues that were constitutionally weak.
"So this sort of abortion-guns schism of the 70s and 80s. Either, if you're a conservative, abortion is murder and guns are freedom. If you're a liberal, abortion is freedom and guns are murder. And it's all life, it's all the death of freedom. And [they sorted people out very calculatedly for decades. And just when they were done with their work, social media more or less emerged.
"And now all that is done by automation, really. We're in a political machine of a new generation of machines, where we are sorted. Polarization is done automatically and it's very difficult to get out of that machine."
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