WEDNESDAY, JULY 6, 2022
Today we have sputtering parts: Yesterday, we stated a premise. We said we'd start to answer a question about this recent piece of bad news:
ZENGERLE (7/3/22): In May, CNN asked 1,007 American voters for their opinions on the country’s two major political parties. After four years of Trump in the White House, an insurrection and unsuccessful attempt to overturn a presidential election and now a Republican Party that can be fairly described as a cult of personality and is moving further right on many of the same social issues, 46 percent of those surveyed considered the G.O.P. to be “too extreme.” But 48 percent of them viewed the Democratic Party the same way.
It was only one survey. But in that one survey, 48 percent of respondents described the Democratic Party as being "too extreme."
That's where the really bad news comes in. Only 46 percent of respondents described the Trump-ruled GOP the same way!
To blue tribe voters, a survey result of that type may seem hard to believe. Yesterday, we suggested several possible explanations, even including the possibility that our own tribe's mistakes—our own unforced errors—have contributed to the way the Democratic Party is viewed.
We had some recent events in mind as possible illustrations. We were even thinking of citing some recent interviews with a major Democratic politician, in which she seemed to favor an unfettered right to abortion right up to, and right on through, the ninth month of pregnancy.
(For the record, we wouldn't be saying that some such position was "wrong." We'd merely be saying that such a position might help explain that recent survey result, a result which simply reflects the stated views of a wide range of respondents.)
As of this morning, we've finally decided to pull our sputtering jalopy to the side of the road for a time. We'd already been struck by something we saw on today's Morning Joe. After that, by a succession of news reports in today's New York Times.
We were struck by the way the framing of the national discourse continues to change before our eyes. Still, we hoped to force our jalopy onward—but then, we came upon this.
We came upon that (purported) letter to Slate—and good God, that whole thing is dumb! Still, that unparalleled dumbness is part of the fuel on which the new Slate frequently runs. And when Slate attempts to talk about policy, it will frequently huff like this.
We came upon that letter to Slate! Instantly, we pulled our car to the curb, smoke belching all around us.
The other tribe—the Trumpist red tribe—has provided a string of anthropology lessons over the past dozen years. (We're counting back to the time when Donald J. Trump, not yet a candidate, began to establish himself as king of the nation's birthers. He performed this task on Fox, with Greta van Susteren serving as his caddy)
We were very naive at that time. We found it hard to believe that so many people could be led to believe that Barack Obama had really been born in Kenya. Man [sic] is the rational animal!
That said, the capacity for crazy red tribe belief was just getting started. Since then, that tribe's crazy and/or unfounded belief has moved on to Pizzagate, then to the widespread belief that the last election was stolen.
Our own tribe's possible errors and oddnesses turn on matters of gender and race, the only topics we claim to care about at this time.
For completely obvious reasons, gender and race are deeply sensitive topics. For that reason, our own tribe's possible errors and perceived extremes may be quite hard to discuss.
At one time, we would have thought our own blue tribe would be sharper than it actually is. After pulling our car to the side of the road, we now acknowledge that that was always a type of impossible pipedream.
Why did 48 percent of respondents describe the Democratic Party as being too extreme? Was it because those respondents are racist? Was it because of our own tribe's emerging positions, including our unforced mistakes?
We may try to restart the jalopy tomorrow. That said, we've begun to realize that we should have junked the car as essentially useless a long, long time ago.
The car was new and shiny once. But that was a long time ago.
Tomorrow: Will the jalopy start?