New Trends in Political Communication: Nations are Increasingly Polarized

Dr. Louis Perron
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One trend I am currently observing is that, in many countries, politics has become increasingly polarized. Geographic area, gender, age and education are the main drivers of this polarization. The zeitgeist for many voters and politicians alike is to “like” what they agree with, but not really to expose themselves to the other side’s arguments. Whether it’s about climate change, gender equality or the refugee crisis, I’m hearing very few nuanced voices. Social Media and the way we consume and digest political information has a lot to do with that. Things that in other circumstances were just totally okay are all of a sudden perceived as a huge scandal. Of course, social media has become part of every campaign nowadays and it’s a great tool to communicate with your core supporters. But campaigners should remember this: Nobody changes his or her mind on social media. I also think that the current environment might actually be an opportunity for the right candidate or party at some point in time. Sooner or later, there will again be a political demand for balance, nuance, compromise and cooperation. In other words, there will be a demand by voters for their politicians to get things done and solve their problems instead of expressing them. But this will only happen once the cost of polarization will become too high.

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