Ben Carson Denounces Partisanship

“We’ve become Republicans and Democrats instead of Americans."

On Saturday, July 18, 2015 in Ames, Iowa (at the Family Leadership Summit)
Sources: C-Span, Twitter summary of the Summit 

The Context: Ben Carson reflects on the issue of partisanship following questions about military size and action, a topic that rarely produces bipartisan agreement. In his view, recent downsizing of the Navy and Air Force has made it “seem like we are trying to destroy ourselves" and demonstrates weakness to countries like Iran. Along the same lines, Carson joined many other conservatives in criticizing President Obama’s Iran Nuclear Deal and posited that “a third grader could come up with a better negotiation.” When asked who is responsible for these seemingly backward policies, Carson suggests Washington’s partisanship problem is “symptomatic of what’s happened in our country.” He elaborates: when “stupid things are proposed, we get behind the stupid person based on what our party is” instead of viewing the facts in front of us. Later in the appearance, Carson comments that "a house divided cannot stand."

Whether we consider our political differences "diversity" or "division," typical election results show us which states vote for candidates of each party. During election season the news media will refamiliarize Americans with our differences represented as stark divisions between red states and blue states. The story these maps will not tell is that of how politically diverse we really are. More specifically, they will not tell us the extent to which Americans vote consistently along party lines, even within regions that are always represented as “blue” or “red.” There will only be one winner in a presidential election, and that winner will belong to a specific political party, but Americans cast several votes. Whether the majority of voters choose a "blue" candidate or a "red" candidate does not describe whether we are willing to "get behind a stupid person" because of party affiliation. Finally, we asked

Beyond "Red and Blue," how "Purple" are our states? In other words, how diverse are our votes for federal office?