Are foreign countries causing political extremism? This article from the NY Times seems to suggest so. We have discussed this idea in class a lot, and the Times seems to present a rationale for the political polarization that we have seen in recent years. The article explains how a small town in Alabama called Courtland that once had been a lively manufacturing location has essentially had the life taken out of it due to increasing imports from China. It goes on to introduce two residents, a mother and a daughter, who support Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump respectively. Both believe that these politicians are what America needs to be able to fight back pressures from Chinese imports. The essence of the article can be summed up in one quote, that “exposure to import competition is bad for centrists … We’ve known that political polarization and income inequality track each other, but that pattern is simply a correlation. We’ve now found a mechanism for how economic changes create further political divisions.”Do you think this could be a reason why Sanders and Trump, both more polarized candidates, have seen a good degree of success in this election?
Here's the article