How The 1990s Paved The Way For Today's Political Divide

Oct 4, 2018

With guest host Todd Zwilich.

The political divide in our country might be stark, but it’s not a recent phenomenon.

How did we get here?

Political correspondent Steve Kornacki has a theory. In his new book, The Red and the Blue: The 1990s and the Birth of Political Tribalism, he traces the origin story back several decades, to when Bill Clinton and Newt Gingrich climbed to the top of their respective parties.

Kornacki told Parade:

The 1990s were the decade that made “red and blue America” a thing, and it’s the same thing that made our politics what it is today. I think a lot of people’s memories of the ’90s are nostalgic. The economy was pretty strong, there was good TV and movies, yet our politics were changing quickly and dramatically. If you had said “red America and blue America” at the start of the decade, those terms would have had no meaning. By the end of the decade, the map that emerges from the 2000 election is the story of a country where there are deep and sharp divisions already emerging.

We’ll discuss what the ’90s can tell us about our current moment, and what elements of American life are contributing to political polarization.

*Show produced by Avery Kleinman, text by Kathryn Fink*.


Steve Kornacki, Author, “The Red and the Blue: The 1990s and the Birth of Political Tribalism”; National Political Correspondent, MSNBC and NBC News National Political Correspondent; @stevekornacki

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