Fairmont State University professor reacts to political polarization, impeachment

FAIRMONT, W.Va. – Assistant Professor of Political Science and Law at Fairmont State University, Dr. Greg Noone says many factors have led to the politically polarized environment today.

On Talkline, Noone says his students want facts and most of their parents get news from sites that confirm their beliefs. Noone says the result is students are left searching for facts from the internet and alternative media outlets.

Noone says past political practices have resulted in an environment of tribalisim.

“The system at-large is broken and it’s broken because of gerrymandering, it’s broken because of unlimited money,”Noone said,”That’s what’s creating this hyper-partisanship.”

Noone says in 1994 when the Republicans won the House of Representatives then speaker Newt Gingrich ended the practice of families relocating to Washington D.C. with elected leaders. He says those family relationships, outside the halls of Congress, helped keep debate civil. Shortly after, he says the Clinton impeachment drove another wedge between the two parties.

Noone also says the internet has played a major role in pitting one side against the other.

“The confluence of these events has led to it,”Noone said,”Between Bill Clinton, Newt Gingrich and the internet it’s really the beginning of all this.”

He says most people aren’t willing to listen to the opposiing view in many cases.

“So, it’s an echo chamber of validation that goes on and it entrenches people more into their positions,”Noone said,”Unfortunately, a lot of these positions are not based on fact, they’re based on their gut, how they feel.”

Noone also speculated why Nancy Pelosi is holding the articles of impeachment.

“There was a poll that 71 percent of Americans want to see a trial with witnesses and I think that’s what they’re hanging their hat on,”Noone said,”That they can get those couple of Republican senators to side with Democrats for a trial with witnesses, otherwise Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnel has already sinaled that he will not be impartial.”

Noone says in the U.S. Senate it takes just 51 votes to establish rules for the trial, while 67 votes are needed for a conviction.

Noone mentioned Republican Senators Gardener from Colorado, Collins from Maine, McSally from Arizona and Murkowski from Alaska are potential targets for the Democrats.