Why 2014 Is Already a Year of National Unity! And Why Politicians Don't Care!


Forget Duck Dynasty, belief in evolution, whether the Cowboys really are (or ever were) "America's Team," and other divisive issues.

The simple fact is that across a broad variety of topics—including access to abortion, pot legalization, homosexuality, and the threat of big government—Americans are in super-strong agreement. Isn't it about time we recognize that?

I've got a new column up at Time.com that explores that topic and suggests why despite such agreement the GOP and Democrats—and their minions on cable news—seem so polarized.

Here's a snippet:

The apparently massive and unbridgeable gulfs between Republicans and Democrats, men and women, gays and straights, secularists and believers, rich and poor, and coastal elites and heartland Americans are belied by data that substantial and growing majorities of folks actually agree on a wide variety of important social and policy issues and attitudes….

In works such as Culture War?: The Myth of a Polarized America (2004) and Disconnect: The Breakdown of Representation in American Politics (2010), Stanford political scientist Morris P. Fiorina explains that the mechanisms for selecting candidates and party platforms reward special-interest groups that tend to have very narrow and unrepresentative views. "A polarized political class makes the citizenry appear polarized, writes Fiorina, "but it is only that – an appearance." In short, we are faced with political choices that don't represent our actual attitudes toward politics. The same holds true for cable news, too, where many talkers are former or future party apparatchiks or pulled from archly ideological publications.

The "bulk of the American citizenry," Fiorina cheekily suggests, "is somewhat in the position of the unfortunate citizens of some third-world countries who try to stay out of the crossfire while Maoist guerillas and right-wing death squads shoot at each other." That's a pretty good description of channel surfing between Rachel Maddow and Sean Hannity or flipping between a White House presser and a John Boehner speech, isn't it?

Read the whole thing.


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  1. OT: Anyone know the polite way to say “We are both in our 40s, we have two houses full of stuff, give us fucking cash”?

    1. there is no polite way to demand cash. you can say “no gifts”

    2. Ask for food or restaurant gift cards.

      1. I was wondering if we could just register for gift cards.

        1. Register at Macy’s. They’ll give you the retail sale price in cash if you return.

          1. Confirm with them, though. I did it 7 years ago…

            1. Confirm that Macy’s is still in business, too.

              1. There’s one down the block from my office. They were open today.

    3. Sell tickets.

    4. robc, did we miss a romantic announcement or is this a really late Christmas problem?

      1. You missed it.

        I announced it in some thread that wasnt an AM or PM links, but had to do with marriage indirectly.

        1. I think the announcement was on maybe the Monday before Christmas.

          The engagement occurred on 12/19.

          1. She’s not a ‘Dawg, I hope.

            1. Of course not, that is a non-starter.

              She was born in Columbus, GA, but thats the militaries fault. She is a KY girl, definately.

              And a ‘Topper.

              1. Okay, then I will offer my congratulations without reservation.

              2. My wife was born in Columbus, too. But she is more of an Astroglide girl.

                1. Whoa, I’ve heard of the Hilltoppers, but not the Astroglides. What college has that for a mascot?

              3. So you’re a bottom then?

        2. Congratulations!!

          1. Re: above

            Romantic? Is there some connection between romance and marriage?

            1. Well, temporarily. Sometimes.

            2. I am still a girl, you know.

              1. There are no libertarian women. I know better than to believe you.

            3. Congratulations!

              Also, may I suggest that you tell everyone you are having a traditional Italian wedding and will be accepting cash in a large pillowcase in lieu of gifts.

              1. Or have large Italian men empty their pockets as they leave.

        3. Congratulations, man!

    5. Try this:

      “Our household is already well-stocked, but we would really appreciate any contributions toward our honeymoon trip to [insert poshy resort here].”

      Of course, the downside is that you will have to go on a trip to a poshy resort. Life sucks that way sometimes.

      1. [insert poshy resort here]

        I recommend this one: http://www.grandwailea.com

        My biggest mistake was staying there for the first part of the vacation. It made the Westin Maui look like dog shit afterward.

        1. We are considering this

          1. It’s hard to argue with that…

            1. What? Youre not going to Somalia? Youre not a true Liberarian, then.

              Also, ask for more orphans. Or monocles.

    6. I asked for cash at my wedding. Most people still bought us shit because that was just too radical a concept.

      1. no. apparently the radical concept is believing that gifts are up to the giver *shrugs*

        1. The registry thing is just weird. Seems worse than asking for cash. If you are going to tell people exactly what to buy for you, why not just ask for cash?

    7. You can avoid gifts by eloping and not telling anyone. But I never did figure out how to get cash after the fact.

    8. I don’t know. I attempted to do that when I got married, but it didn’t seem to work too well.

    9. Don’t do what my brother-in-law did, which was not register for anything in hopes he’d get cash…so instead he got a lot of crap like glass doves.

    10. Also, congratulations on finding partnership.

      1. Don’t suppose you are going to compromise your libertarian principles by getting a license, are you?

  2. They want people to vote on the culture war because it keeps them from voting on other issues like how horrible the political class is. The Democrats have long been masters at this. Lets not talk about the slowest recovery in American history or the impending national tragedy known as Obamacare, lets talk about whether Mitt Romney hates women or how the federal government is the only thing that prevents abortions from being considered murder.

    Most Americans agree that things can’t continue the way they are and the federal government is a menace that needs to be tamed. The last thing the political class wants is for them to take any action on that belief.

    1. It’s like we’re on fire and debating the color of our shoes rather than putting out the fire.

      1. BTW, black is the New Black….pass it on.

        1. I thought gay was the new black.

        2. half black is the new black

        3. Netflix would disagree.

  3. Weak sauce, El Jacket. Not overwhelming agreement about….much of anything…except for TEH ABORSHUN being “legal”.

    And these are pretty specific categories of things. I think the important area of “broad consensus” (not really “consensus”) is The People’s? desire for massive, overarching interference involvement of government, at all levels, in citizen’s lives. The majority of people want it – and we’re getting it, good an hard. Beneath all that, there is real and vociferous disagreement about the specifics.

    So – nice try, but I don’t think you’ve made much of a case. And, in any event, we’re fucked by what REALLY matters – the statists are winning….

    Have a nice day.

    1. And even the abortion one is a bit of a stretch. Yeah, it’s true that (only?) about 20% of people want abortion illegal with no rape exception, but once you reduce the question to the questions and restrictions actually debated or passed, the question is unsurprisingly very even. (And it’s certainly not evidence of people getting “more socially liberal,” unlike the very convincing evidence on gays or drugs.)

      If you want to make the point that the abortion restrictions actually being debated and passed are pretty small beer, and the sturm und drang isn’t completely warranted, that’s fair. But it’s not like only 20% of people support, say, laws that change limits from 28 weeks to 24 weeks.

    2. You are right, but I still like to see a little optimism from time to time. We aren’t going to fix the world just by being right. We’re probably not going to fix the world at all, so might as well enjoy what you can.

  4. If you want a picture of the future Winston, imagine a gay guy with free health care puffing on a joint forever.

    1. I think I know that dude.

    2. I think by “free” you mean “subsidized.”

  5. Duck Dynasty announces branded guns.

    In other news, several members of A&E’s management team had to be coaxed back in from window ledges.

    1. If A&E gets a dime of the proceeds, I don’t want it.

    2. My local radio this morning described the line of guns as “military style rifles.”

      Well shit, no wonder our Middle East wars are taking so damn long, our infantry only have 9 variations of hunting shotguns and a single .22 rifle and pistol.

      1. Yeah, I’ve never seen the show, and could predict with a fair amount of accuracy what kind of weapons they’d likely be, even prior to hearing they were teaming up with Mossberg.

  6. Americans are united in their belief that other Americans have entirely too much freedom.

  7. 2014 is going to be just as f—ed up as 2013 was, and 2015 and 2016 will be even more f—ed up.

  8. I like to pretend people in the real world don’t actually give a shit about stuff the “intelligentsia” are willing to fight to the death over, but I’m pretty sure I’m just whistling past the graveyard.

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