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Is the US now a four-party system? Progressives split Democrats, and far-right divides Republicans

For several decades now, political scientists have been carefully documenting the disappearance of the “political middle” among the ranks of both the Democratic and Republican parties in Congress. 

The phenomenon, often referred to, with slight variation, as the “shrinking of the center,” is by no means specific to U.S. politics. But what the latest debt ceiling deal illustrates is that even as the schism between party lines deepens, political divisions within the two entrenched parties are perhaps just as significant as those across them, Northeastern political scientists say.   

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