While Americans are divided on many issues, there’s at least one they can agree on: They are angry.

Whether the topic is abortion or gas prices, polls show American voters are just plain outraged over perceived transgressions committed by their opponents. This is regardless of political party, age, race or gender.

This is a good thing – if democracy is judged solely by voter turnout, which is expected to break records this year. But it’s not – if solving problems matters too.

As Robert Stevens, an Indiana University political science professor, explains, heated debate is a sign of a healthy, functioning democracy. Increased social polarization is not – and the only beneficiaries are “those politicians who are able to use it most skillfully,” he writes.

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Howard Manly

Race + Equity Editor

Thousands of demonstrators gather in Washington, D.C., to support women’s rights on Oct. 8, 2022. Roberto Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images

American voters are angry – that is a good thing for voter turnout, bad thing for democracy

Steven Webster, Indiana University

Americans voters are angry about everything from abortion to inflation. While anger is good for voter turnout, it’s ultimately bad for solving problems in a democracy.

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The Conversation Quiz 🧠

Here’s the first question of this week’s edition:

Which of the following recently became available over the counter in the U.S.?

  1. A. Caffeinated eye drops
  2. B. Rocket launchers
  3. C. Hair plugs
  4. D. Hearing aids

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