Party Polarization and Social Policies in the United States (1936-2016)

Wednesday, 18 July 2018: 08:45
Oral Presentation
Camila VIDAL, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande, Brazil
This paper dedicates itself to the study of party polarization regarding social policies in the United States between 1936-2016. Through the use of national platforms, this study aims to empirically verify the supposedly polarization between the two main political parties in this country and the Republican Party conservative ascendance. As a methodological tool chosen, it aims, also and as a consequence of it, to contribute to new research methods in the study of political parties and conservative rise. In this research, the Republican and Democratic national platforms were used as an indicative of party ideological portrait. As such, through the creation of categories such as abortion, homosexuality, civil rights movement, and others; and scales of gradation built through informational programs such as SPSS and NVivo, the political positioning of these two parties were measured and compared seeking to verify ideological approximations and distances as well as conservative ascendance and/or decline. The results show us that, indeed, there is a party polarization in recent period when referring to social policies caused, mainly, by a sharp conservative rise by the Republican party that began in the 1970s. Result of an exhaustive work of reading, interpreting and coding 42 documents that embrace almost a century of history, this paper contributes to a greater comprehension of a recent political and social phenomena of great importance for Sociology and Political Science that provides empirical evidence of what now seems to be a fact throughout the globe: the rise of new right wing parties and the ascendance of conservative thought in old ones.