How Biden can make us hate each other a little bit less

The WAshington Post - Opinion by

E.J. Dionne Jr.

Dec. 20, 2020 at 9:00 a.m. EST

When John Lynch was governor of New Hampshire, his approval ratings were often stratospheric — hitting 73 percent in one 2008 poll. Lynch, a Democrat, joked at the time that his wife tried to make sure his head didn’t get too big by observing: “73 is a C. What’s so great about that?”

President-elect Joe Biden would love to earn that kind of C. There is an obsession in our deeply polarized country with how we might come together. Many of the popular remedies are of a touchy-feely sort: Listen to each other better, spend time with people we disagree with, read those whose views differ from our own. All are virtuous activities, but our polarization is about more than sentiments. And as a practical matter, a president operating in a climate of exceptional partisan mistrust — especially one confronting a Republican Party that resisted even acknowledging that he won the election — can never achieve what Lynch did.

Nonetheless, Biden does have a chance to persuade some of the persuadable and lower the political temperature at least a few degrees.

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