No, but it is undoubtedly more prevalent in the past 20 years. I would lift the quote directly from the book
, but I don't have it with me, but it was something like, when discussing Bush's Social Security reform, he thought the big hurdle would be getting the democrats on board. Under his father, the president had a list of 25-40 democratic senators and reps that would vote republican if courted, but that list dwindled down to around 8-10 during the first W. term (and even lower in the second, but Edwards didn't have any solid figures). There is no doubt that polarization has never been THIS bad.
| i'd say the best catalyst for polarization in the modern era would be the congressional reforms around the early 1970's - with purging the "southern democrats" with more conservative viewpoints from the party, stemming from vietnam/civil rights fallout. not to mention the democrats subverting the committee chairmen power they held by strengthening subcommittees, which in turn increased polarization by overpoliticizing the composition of those (sub)committees. by leaving the democrats comprised of "northern" liberals, and letting the southern conservative democrats defect to the GOP, i'd say that aligned the current liberal-democrat and conservative-republican divide.|
This is what I was getting at in my post earlier.