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A new measure of the bleak, alarming partisan divide in America

David Gergen: Poll found that Americans see politics as most important trigger for starting a friendship. He says it's disconcerting that most Americans feel like the government is rigged against them. Gergen says politics has by now become deeply intertwined with culture, and vice versa. But when overlaid with other patterns in U.S. politics, the potential repercussions become alarming, he says.Gergen: Partisans view each other with hostility and skepticism, but independents are less stark in their views of the parties, less stark than those of the opposing party, but there's a less-frustrated pool of independents in the middle of the political space, Gergen writes. The poll was elevated in a segment on “Meet the Press”

More than a third of both independents and Republicans say taking up arms against the government might soon be necessary. This isn’t simply a weird offshoot of one poll, of course, it’s not unheard of among Democrats. This is in part a reflection of the concerted effort by Donald Trump to elevate concerns about our election systems to downplay his loss in 2020.