Political polarization is harming America’s health

On May 15, President Trump attempted to kill not just two, but three birds with one tweet, simultaneously denouncing the Media and the Mueller investigation, and crowing about his approval ratings. “Can you believe that with all of the made up, unsourced stories I get from the Fake News Media, together with the $10,000,000 Russian Witch Hunt (there is no Collusion), I now have my best Poll Numbers in a year,” he wrote. “Much of the Media may be corrupt, but the People truly get it!”

At just 45 percent, Trump’s approval rating is the second-lowest of any American president at this point of his tenure since World War II. This headline figure, however, masks a remarkable degree of disagreement in how Republicans and Democrats view the president’s sixteen months in office. While 90 percent of Republicans approve of Trump’s performance, just 8 percent of Democrats agree.

In some ways, this is not surprising. Most would agree that Trump is a polarizing figure, and the polarization of American politics is not a new phenomenon. What is new in recent years, and has accelerated in the Trump era, is the degree to which members of the major political parties despise one another. As a physician, I have become alarmed by this development, as it is putting America’s health at risk.

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