Saturday 24 June 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

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.

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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