Our own top concern goes missing: Fearlessly, we decided to take The Top Policy Issue Challenge.
It was a bit of a throwaway by our favorite blogger. In fairness, the project was capsuled as shown:
DRUM (1/24/20): Here’s a little weekend survey for you. I’m just curious about which things are most important to you in this election cycle. It’s limited to policy issues, so it doesn’t include things like “beat Trump” or “elect a woman.”Drum listed 27 policy issues from which survey-takers could choose. That said, the "thing [which is] most important to [us] in this election cycle" didn't appear on the list. It didn't even make his list of the two things which aren't policy issues!
The choices are presented in random order. You may select up to five.
What's most important to us in this depressing election cycle? It isn't exactly a policy issue, but it comes fairly close.
We're most concerned with the nation's increasing tribal schism, an artifact which can also be described as our "partisan divide." An unknown, highly talented young politician discussed a form of this massive cultural problem way back in The Summer of '04:
OBAMA (7/27/04): The pundits, the pundits like to slice-and-dice our country into Red States and Blue States; Red States for Republicans, Blue States for Democrats. But I’ve got news for them, too. We worship an awesome God in the Blue States, and we don’t like federal agents poking around in our libraries in the Red States. We coach Little League in the Blue States and yes, we’ve got some gay friends in the Red States. There are patriots who opposed the war in Iraq and there are patriots who supported the war in Iraq.Four years later, this unknown pol was himself the Democratic nominee. But on that first encounter, he was discussing a form of the most important problem we currently face.
We are one people, all of us pledging allegiance to the stars and stripes, all of us defending the United States of America. In the end, that’s what this election is about.
We don't see an obvious way out of this terrible problem. Obama blamed it on "the pundits," and to a certain extent he was right. It's hard to see a way out of this mess when major corporate interests are selling Pure Tribal Belief at our three cable news channels and all over the Internet.
Social media doesn't help. It helps us see how badly we within our floundering species have always needed guidance from capable "thought leaders." Absent them, the deluge!
Within our own liberal tribe, we can see the deceptions Over There, and we love to discuss them. On the other hand, we have a very hard time seeing the way we ourselves are being propagandized by the multimillionaire corporate hirelings who present as cable news stars.
For us, it's hard to see a way out of this mess as long as this highly profitable communication system remains in place. That said, this problem is almost never discussed, except in the form of complaints about what's being said by The Others.
Major experts keep telling us that this is simply the way our species' brain is wired. Throughout human history, this unfortunate wiring has led on to war, or so these experts have said.
These scholars may well be right! In the current context, these hard-wired impulses may have helped produce this troubling news report in this morning's Washington Post.
Hard-copy headline included:
Post-ABC poll: Trump's approval rating matches highest of his presidencyHow strange! In this one particular poll, the commander's approval rating has "significantly improved" since impeachment started in earnest!
President Trump’s approval rating has climbed to match the highest of his presidency, boosted by majority approval of his economic stewardship even as Americans remain deeply divided on whether the Senate should remove him from office, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll.
The Post-ABC poll finds 44 percent of Americans approve of Trump’s overall job performance and 51 percent disapprove. While views of Trump remain negative, Trump’s approval rating is significantly improved from his 38 percent mark in late October.
A 56 percent majority approves of Trump’s handling of the economy, up 10 percentage points from September and his strongest rating on his marquee issue since entering office. By contrast, 39 percent approve of Trump’s handling of his impeachment, while 50 percent disapprove.
The findings suggest the country’s strong economy and heightened support from men and independents are helping Trump weather an impeachment trial in which Democrats have argued Trump abused his presidential powers and obstructed a congressional investigation of his actions. Trump’s 44 percent approval mark is similar to other recent national polls, though other polls have shown Trump’s rating stable or increasing slightly.
It's true that this is just one poll. None of its numbers can be regarded as "accurate," though that's the way the jugglers and clowns treat every new poll out of Iowa as they kill time and entertain us on cable.
It's also true that 44 percent isn't a high approval rating as judged by traditional standards. That said, traditional standards and norms are almost certainly gone—and the commander's approval is bumping up even as we, Over Here in our own tents, feel most sure that his deviant behavior is being most fully exposed.
Why would Those numbers bump up at a juncture like this? Also, why does anyone approve of the commander at all?
As we enjoy the blandishments of our multimillionaire corporate stars, we liberals rarely ask such questions. When we do, we quickly provide memorized versions of our standard answers.
The mugging and clowning of our tribal stars can be quite entertaining! Along the way, we're rarely asked to wonder about this part of the Post's report:
The poll also finds a 57 percent majority of men approve of Trump, up 12 percentage points from October to the highest level of his presidency. By contrast, 33 percent of women approve of Trump’s performance, little changed from 31 percent in the fall. The 24-percentage-point gender gap in Trump’s approval rating is the largest in Post-ABC polls since he took office.None of those numbers can be regarded as "accurate." But why might the gender gap be so large? We liberals tend to have our standard answers and the cable stars we love rarely take us beyond them.
Drum listed 27 policy issues which may be "most important" to the individual reader. That said, nothing will change in those policy areas as long as this tribal division continues to widen and harden.
Everyone knows this, and nobody cares. Experts say we're wired that way as well. As always, they could be right. (Their credentials are in order.)
That said, the outcome of such divisions tends to take a common form. As our most astonishing talent from nowhere once said:
"...And the war came."
It's always easy to see what's going wrong Over There. It's harder to see the limitations within one's own harbor and tribe.
Our analysts cheered Ed Kilgore a few days ago as he noted a few of the flaws with some of our current tribal constructions. But we don't see a good way out of our current partisan mess, and we rarely see anyone describe this mess as our nation's growing ur-problem.
We scanned that List of 27 for our own current greatest concern. It isn't exactly a "policy issue," but then too, it wasn't included.