This alienates people. I am much less likely to have a conversation with someone who is calling me stupid than I am with people whom I know that regardless of our views, we can walk away from the discussion with respect for one another. Time and time again, I have seen aggressive comments change the discussion from one of passion and curiosity to one of anger and stubbornness. The topic inevitably mutates from the original issues to the negative, aggressive way in which the person is expressing their views.
This is incredibly damaging not just for the nation, but also for the global community. We will never fix any of the world's problems by hating people who disagree with us; we have to learn how to discuss issues in a productive and civil manner. When you attack someone verbally, they buckle down and fight back, becoming unreceptive to your message. However, when you approach somebody with the mindset of learning, compassion, and openness, they are much more likely to respond in kind. When they are relaxed and open, they are ready to learn, and the world will never change until we educate one another--whether it be in politics, education, racism, or how to hold a rational and effective conversation.
There is a practice in aikido that we do at the beginning of every class in which the teacher and students bow to one another and say (in Japanese), "please teach." This acknowledges that we are all learning from one another--even the teacher learns--and that we all have something to teach, even if it is our first time on the mat and we are not instructing. What if we all went into our conversations with that mindset? Think of how different our interactions would be. I think they would be better. I think the world would be better.
So, my challenge to you (and me) is when people start using name-calling to attack people of differing views, take a step back and try to figure out the basis for their beliefs and approach them with compassion and respect. I've learned that there are many people whom you can't reason with, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't try; however, sometimes it's better just to exit the conversation--especially now that it is election season.
Onegaishimasu (please teach),