Wednesday 25 January 2017

Ruth Dudley Edwards: Rose-tinted glasses in US exchanged for polarised lenses

With just a week to go to the elections, the American electorate is deeply divided, writes Ruth Dudley Edwards

Published 24/10/2010 | 05:00

I'M just back from California, and can report that reporters and commentators aren't exaggerating when they say -- with just over a week to go to the US elections -- that the electorate is alarmingly polarised.

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The night before I left London, I had dinner with a nice, intelligent, thoughtful bookish couple visiting from Tennessee. I've known them for a few years and we've never had an argument about politics, but this time it was unavoidable. I couldn't agree with them that most of President Obama's critics are racists and that supporters of the Tea Party movement -- a powerful lobby within the Republican Party -- are, by definition, loons, morons or bigots.

When it emerged that I thought Ronald Reagan had been a fine president and they thought him an idiot, we gave up. I think we feared someone would mention Jimmy Carter and the ensuing disagreement as to whether he was a fool or a saint might lead to a rift.

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