We face a growing cultural divide in America that seems to get nastier every day. I call it buying the brand.
Politically, we have two camps that dominate politics, and who are polar opposites - the Democrats and the Republicans. One camp is going too far to the left, and the other is going too far to the right.
The result: increasing racial and religious differences between Democrats and Republicans that make it easier for voters to see their opponents as threatening, as "others."
Non-whites now account for 45 percent of Democratic voters on the national level, but only 11 percent of Republicans.
Along with increasing awareness of party differences, increasing negativism toward the opposing party has contributed significantly to the rise of party loyalty and straight ticket voting in recent years.
Liberal and conservatives have separated into completely different camps. Once you could find them in both. The differences between the parties have become so marked and clear that even Americans who seldom follow politics can tell them apart.
So they pick a side, and stick with it.
There's also evidence that voters are sticking with one party not because they're excited about it, but because they dislike, even fear, the other side.
That's what research by Emory University political scientists Alan Abramowitz and Steven Webster indicates, in any case.
Their conclusion: The trend is driven by what they call "negative partisanship."
In other words, fear and antipathy. Voters aren't so much trying to elect someone as block someone else from winning.
Time for me to walk on down ther road...