Sharp political divide, rising hostility propel heavy voter turnout at polls

THE WASHINGTON TIMES:

Americans stormed the polls Tuesday to send an angry message, driven by a sharp political divide that fuels hostility toward the other side.

The heavy turnout from New Jersey to Nevada, coming on the heels of record-setting early voting in many states, proved just how consequential Americans viewed the midterm contest.

“I’m here to make a statement,” said Democrat voter James Wood, who voted a party-line ticket hoping the message would get to President Trump.

“It’s important for Democrats to push back against the hate,” said Mr. Wood, a county government employee who cast his ballot on Maryland’s conservative Eastern Shore.

Others pushed back from the other side.

“I don’t trust the Democrats, especially after that stunt they pulled with [Supreme Court Justice Brett M.] Kavanaugh. All these threats they make, I honestly think some of them are evil people,” said retiree Varney Prejean, who cast his ballot for Republican Rep. Steve Scalise in Louisiana’s 1st Congressional District.

Studies show the feeling of disdain for the other side is definitely rising, said Michael G. Miller, political science professor at Barnard College.

He said that’s likely propelling voters to the polls.

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