Reagan, Sanders, and AOC: Regime Cleavage and Neoteric Progressivism

Hardening regime cleavage

Our national two-party political system is marked by uniquely American radicalization. I’ve spent the last year and a half studying national affective political polarization, and come to the singular conclusion that we’re all in trouble. Our electorate is currently radicalized to an almost unprecedented degree; even our social lives are now affected by political divide. One recent study indicates that Americans are less likely to spend time together in cross-partisan families, estimating that we lost 34 million hours of conversation in 2016 alone.

Lessons from Sanders’ campaign[s]

So — what does any of this have to do with Senator Sanders’ two failed presidential bids, or AOC’s burgeoning neoteric left-wing progressivism?

Neoteric progressivism and AOC

Politico recently ran an article accusing Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) of breaking with Sanders’ political approach. Alex Thompson and Holly Otterbein point to AOC’s seeming reluctance to endorse Justice Democrats-backed incumbent primary challengers, turnover of top aides in the representative’s congressional office, and cooperation with Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi as evidence of this split.



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Nick Shereikis

Nick Shereikis

Hi! I’m Nick. I‘m interested in mental health, political polarization/rhetoric, and Manchester United — and I write sometimes. Learn more at