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How U.S. Politics Was Hijacked by Partisans

June 5 (Bloomberg) -- Power has devolved to the people. And the people hate it. In his book “Disconnect: The Breakdown of Representation in American Politics,” Stanford University political scientist Morris Fiorina considers this “the great irony” of American politics: that the more Americans participate in their political system, the angrier and more disillusioned they become. We have met the enemy, and it is us. Or at least some of us.

American politics is vastly more open to the masses than it was a few generations ago. Party nominees are chosen by voters in primaries rather than by party leaders in backrooms. C-SPAN cameras unflinchingly record committee hearings. Polling gives politicians detailed information about the preferences of constituents. Voice votes have fallen in favor of roll calls, permitting voters to see how their representatives stand on almost every bill and amendment. The explosion of online media has given political junkies access to more and better political news. Countless activist groups have emerged to channel the passions and frustrations of Americans into sophisticated, effective political action.