Chicago Tribune (Sunday) - - EDITORIALS -

Of all the up­heavals in Amer­i­can civic life — the dis­rup­tive pres­i­dency of Don­ald J. Trump, the paral­y­sis of the in­sti­tu­tions of gov­ern­ment, the un­der­min­ing of es­tab­lished po­lit­i­cal cus­toms, the coars­en­ing of pub­lic di­a­logue, the diminu­tion of the role of Congress — one has gone vir­tu­ally un­no­ticed, and it may be the fun­da­men­tal prob­lem be­set­ting pol­i­tics in the United States: For the first time in Amer­i­can his­tory, both ma­jor po­lit­i­cal par­ties — the or­ga­niz­ing in­sti­tu­tions of Amer­i­can pub­lic life — are riven with divi­sion, dis­sent and dis­il­lu­sion. …

Never be­fore have both par­ties suf­fered at the same time the sort of ma­jor fis­sures that hob­ble the par­ties to­day, with a war rag­ing be­tween the GOP es­tab­lish­ment and the Trump in­sur­gency among the Repub­li­cans and with a death strug­gle be­tween mod­er­ates and pro­gres­sives in the Demo­cratic Party, par­tic­u­larly among the nearly two dozen pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates and over the is­sue of im­peach­ing Mr. Trump. …

The re­sult is a po­lit­i­cal cri­sis in the United States that en­dan­gers all in­sti­tu­tions in Amer­i­can life.

The only pos­si­ble com­par­i­son is when north­ern and south­ern Democrats split in the 1950s, prin­ci­pally over racial in­te­gra­tion, a fis­sure that over­lapped briefly with the Repub­li­can split of 1964 and be­yond be­tween the con­ser­va­tive wing of the party iden­ti­fied with Sen. Barry Gold­wa­ter of Ari­zona and the mod­er­ate-to-lib­eral wing iden­ti­fied with Gov. Nel­son A. Rock­e­feller of New York.

David Shrib­man,

The Globe and Mail, Toronto

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