This piece has me thinking. Why is the US's political situation so sclerotic? Why are we so polarized, and why is the polarization not changing?
I think one reason for this is relatively simple. We have (finally?) aligned our politics with some of the most fundamental cleavages in our polity. Politics matters now, ontologically.
If I think about "liberalism" as one thing (which I don't think is good to do), I would say it had a large commitment to avoiding this--to avoiding making politics THE core of peoples' identity, the fundamental fact of social structure, etc..
This is why "liberalism" (again, ugh, but a noble lie here) is often complained about, sort of starting with Marx's "Jewish Question" forward, as a duplicitous and immoral politics, that misses the point. It was kind of designed to be that.
This is not a criticism of "liberalism," btw--in one way from Locke forward, and in another from at least Constant, the idea that peoples' central lives could be led at some remove from politics strikes me as a good thing. (Could be b/c I am infected w/ "liberal" virus, tho.)
So understood "liberalism" is a deferral of politics--a means of diminishing it. But maybe that can only work in situations of broad egalitarianism. And this can change in two ways: (1) if prior egalitarian system disappears; (2) if broader expectations of egalitarianism appear.
Fair to say that both (1) and (2) have become more pressing over the past couple decades, yes? I think so at least.
Just some thoughts.