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When Voters Become Fans

Today’s deepening political polarization calls into question longstanding assumptions about how electoral politics works. Far from exhibiting hardwired preferences and ambitions, many voters seem to be more like ardent World Cup spectators, viewing victory over the other side as an end in itself.

ITHACA – The state of global politics has economists, political scientists, and political philosophers floundering. We are witnessing a level of polarization rarely seen. From Turkey, Brazil, and the Philippines to Sri Lanka, India, and the United States, the center has not held, because people have either veered left or clustered around figures on the far right.