Growing up under polarized political institutions may lead young people to generalize from partisan distrust to social distrust. Americans are sorting themselves into social silos, seldom interacting with unlike-minded others, leading to less moderation and more radicalization. This may be due in part to social media, though recent research on the effect of social media has reached mixed conclusions on this question. But the effect is clear: In 2017, around 70% of Democrats said that Donald Trump voters couldn't be trusted, and around 70% of Republicans said the same of Hillary Clinton voters...Some measures can help. When people witness better enforcement of the law—including the protection of clearly defined property rights and less manifest nepotism and favoritism at high levels of government—social trust can rise. The U.S. can also do more to break up patterns of ethnic segregation, including cracking down on inequitable mortgage lending and adopting school vouchers, which give parents more freedom to choose where their children are educated.But political leaders have an especially important role to play. Some research connects having a largely symbolic monarch with higher social trust, perhaps because having a widely recognized and respected nonpartisan leader gives diverse people something in common. American presidents can’t play that role, and in general American elites are heavily polarized on both sides; they disagree with and dislike one another, and arguably pass those attitudes along to the rest of us.If our leaders can defuse this hostility, rather than creating the impression that we’re on the brink of civil war, Americans may find it easier to develop clear expectations and norms for how people should behave, rather than anticipating that their fellow citizens will deceive or oppress them.
I’m just average, common too
I’m just like him, the same as you
I’m everybody’s brother and son
I ain’t different from anyone