The 2018 elections marked a notable increase in the influence of ideological media over both major American parties. Conservative media sources, led by Fox News Channel, further solidified their power within the Republican Party, maintaining their traditional role of informing and mobilizing Republican voters while extending their reach to become densely integrated with Republican elites, especially President Trump. At the same time, deep antipathy to the Trump presidency among Democratic voters produced a surge in popular demand for overtly liberal media programming and information about the 2018 elections, leading to extensive citizen engagement (especially online) and record grassroots fundraising totals for Democratic candidates. The events of 2018 thus furthered two important long-term trends – the ideological polarization of the parties and the nationalization of American elections – that continue to define our contemporary political era.
About the authors
Matt Grossmann is Director of the Institute for Public Policy and Social Research and Associate Professor of Political Science at Michigan State University. He is the author of The Not-So-Special Interests and Artists of the Possible and co-author of Asymmetric Politics. He is also a Senior Fellow at the Niskanen Center, a contributor at FiveThirtyEight, and (while on sabbatical) currently a visiting scholar at MIT and Harvard.
David A. Hopkins is Associate Professor of Political Science at Boston College. He is the author of Red Fighting Blue: How Geography and Electoral Rules Polarize American Politics (2017) and the co-author of Asymmetric Politics: Ideological Republicans and Group Interest Democrats (2016) and Presidential Elections: Strategies and Structures of American Politics, 14th edition (2016). His analysis of current events has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, and Vox, and he blogs about American politics at honestgraft.com.
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