Some consider it to be climate change.
Others think it is immigration.
A few even point to the battle for the legalization of marijuana.
However, political polarization is the single-most prevalent issue of our time.
Merriam-Webster defines polarization as the “division between two opposites,” and that’s exactly the issue.
We, as a nation, need to realize that our political affiliation does not make us opposites of one another.
Some may think and vote conservatively and others liberal, but the fact of the matter is we are all Americans. We are not “opposite.” In the end, we have more in common than we have divisions.
We all have an equal amount of stake in the game.
According to the Pew Research Center, as of 2014, 92 percent of Republicans are to the right of the median Democrat and 94 percent of Democrats are to the left of the median Republican.
In the era of President Donald Trump, the distance between right and left is only going to grow further.
Take Florida’s current gubernatorial race as a prime example of the far-left and far-right indoctrinated mindsets.
Andrew Gillum (D) seems to be putting the majority of his campaign focus on falling in line with topics important to the national Democratic Party.
Gillum is spreading a message of things like abolishing Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), because they sound good to the average left-leaning voter, though, if elected, his role as governor of Florida will have little to do with the management or abolishment of a federal agency.
Ron DeSantis (R) is more concerned with trying to be like Trump and telling his children bedtime stories of “building the wall” in campaign commercials than he is reaching out to centrist voters.
Where is the middle ground candidate? Where is our level-headed option for governor?
They are certainly not on the ballot for either of the major parties.
Hating people who do not think like us is not the answer.
Voting the party line is not the answer.
Political polarization is not the answer.
What is the answer when going to the ballot box in November, however, is voting your conscience. Put political parties aside and research into every single candidate and their platforms, so that you can make an educated decision.
Voting the party line further perpetuates the ongoing power struggle between right and left that lead us to a politically polarized nation.
Those caught in the middle, with little support and suffering from broken campaign promises — that’s America.
And we deserve better.
Jesse Stokes is a junior majoring in political science.