A Persuasive (And Scary) Analysis

Kevin Drum has published a lengthy, very thoughtful and well-documented article in Mother Jones, investigating the sources of America’s anger.

As he points out, Americans aren’t indiscriminately angry: we’re angry about politics–and “way, way angrier” than we used to be. The question, of course, is: what accounts for the degree of animus that characterizes today’s partisan divide?

Drum points to survey research showing that partisan ire is significantly higher than in the past. He then– meticulously–examines the “usual suspects”–the villains identified by the chattering classes as likely causes. Spoiler alert: he finds them wanting.

I’ve been spending considerable time digging into the source of our collective rage, and the answer to this question is trickier than most people think. For starters, any good answer has to fit the timeline of when our national temper tantrum began—roughly around the year 2000. The answer also has to be true: That is, it needs to be a genuine change from past behavior—maybe an inflection point or a sudden acceleration. Once you put those two things together, the number of candidates plummets.

Drum goes through both those “usual suspects” and the data, eliminating conspiracy theories (as Hofstadter in particular made clear in his Paranoid Style in American Politics, a “fondness for conspiracy theories has pervaded American culture from the very beginning.”) and providing several examples equivalent to the nutty QAnon beliefs with which we are familiar.

He also deconstructs the effects of social media, despite acknowledging many of the concerns about it.

Social media can’t be the main explanation for a trend that started 20 years ago. When you’re faced with trying to account for a sudden new eruption on the political scene like Donald Trump, it’s easy to think that the explanation must be something shiny and new, and social media is the obvious candidate. This is doubly true for someone whose meteoric rise was fueled by his deranged Twitter account. But the evidence simply doesn’t back that up.

Drum even considers the possibility that our national anger has been triggered by reality– by things in the country getting worse: manufacturing jobs disappearing, middle-class incomes stagnating–and for conservatives, the steady liberalization of cultural norms. But as he points out, with examples–contrary to conventional wisdom, a lot of things have gotten better, not worse. Even racism has declined.

So–if the “usual suspects” aren’t the cause, what is? Why has American trust in government plummeted and hostility toward political opponents skyrocketed?

To find an answer, then, we need to look for things that (a) are politically salient and (b) have changed dramatically over the past two to three decades. The most obvious one is Fox News.

When it debuted in 1996, Fox News was an afterthought in Republican politics. But after switching to a more hardline conservatism in the late ’90s it quickly attracted viewership from more than a third of all Republicans by the early 2000s. And as anyone who’s watched Fox knows, its fundamental message is rage at what liberals are doing to our country. Over the years the specific message has changed with the times—from terrorism to open borders to Benghazi to Christian cake bakers to critical race theory—but it’s always about what liberal politicians are doing to cripple America, usually with a large dose of thinly veiled racism to give it emotional heft. If you listen to this on a daily basis, is it any wonder that your trust in government would plummet? And on the flip side, if you’re a progressive watching what conservatives are doing in response to Fox News, is it any wonder that your trust in government might plummet as well?

The anger generated by Fox has demonstrable political consequences.

Rage toward Democrats means more votes for Republicans. As far back as 2007 researchers learned that the mere presence of Fox News on a cable system increased Republican vote share by nearly 1 percent. A more recent study estimates that a minuscule 150 seconds per week of watching Fox News can increase the Republican vote share. In a study of real-life impact, researchers found that this means the mere existence of Fox News on a cable system induced somewhere between 3 and 8 percent of non-Republicans to vote for the Republican Party in the 2000 presidential election.

Finally, Drum notes that the political effects of Fox News have been magnified by religion–more specifically, its decline.

 This decline has been felt acutely by Republicans in particular. White evangelicals may have been the political stars of the Reagan era, but since their peak during the ’90s, Republicans have watched despondently as the reach and influence of conservative Christians has fallen even within their own party….

We’ve seen the impact of this increasingly powerful combination over the past several months, climaxing in the insurrection of January 6. But the insurrection itself was merely the most dramatic moment of a long campaign—and the campaign continues. How, we wonder, can so many people believe what Trump says about election fraud? How can they be willing to jettison democracy in favor of a demagogue? The answer comes into focus when you look at the past couple of decades. Thanks to Fox News, conservative trust in government is so low that Republican partisans can easily believe Democrats have cheated on a mass scale, and white evangelicals in particular are willing to fight with the spirit of someone literally facing Armageddon.

I think he’s right–and I have no idea what we can do about it.


  1. What to do about FOX News?
    First, speak up against the lies and distortions.
    Second, follow the money and act. Go after those who feed the monster… the advertisers. Hit them where their lack of morality resides, their pocketbooks, and hammer hard and relentlessly.
    Want to be an advertiser on FOX? It is really going to cost you, Bubba.

  2. You see, the problem with political propaganda is it solidifies the ego into believing it’s right. It has that built-in confirmation bias. You should hate liberals because _______. You’re right not to believe the Democrats because _______.

    It doesn’t hurt when the politicians play the roles they’re supposed to play for their on air announcers.

    It’s almost as if it is staged. 😉

    Truth-seekers and truth-tellers are not welcome in this show.

    Maybe the fiasco in Afghanistan will finally wake enough people up. Maybe?

  3. I’ll have to read the full article at a later time but to dismiss Facebook (social media) as a major accelerant of misinformation and our anger/discord is journalistic malpractice in my opinion. Also, AM talk radio, with Rush Limbaugh at the top of the dung heap, was fomenting rage for profit long before FAUX NEWZ established a foothold on millions of TV’s.

  4. For me, the source of my animosity is the apparent total loss of humanitarianism and rational thinking within the entire Republican party. It can be traced to the base of hatred, racism, bigotry, sexism, the “money lenders in the temple”, total disregard for their individual Oaths of Office to uphold democracy, Rule of Law, to support both the Constitution of their home state, the Constitution of the UNITED States of America and the blatant ability to spread lies for donations and votes.

    An old adage, “The squeaky wheel gets the grease.” points to Trump and his minions loud voices screaming their accusations of “fake news” at all who evidence support of humanitarianism in government as well as our daily lives. Another old adage, “Speak softly, but carry a big stick.” points to President Joe Biden’s rational speeches as he ignores the “sticks and stones” thrown at him and the Democratic party by Trump’s Republican party. Humanitarianism and rational thinking in action is working its way back into our government at the top.

    Rational thinking and reporting needs to be brought back by the media who blame Joe for all that has gone wrong in Afghanistan; this puts them on the side of the Taliban. They have reported there are 300,000 Afghan people who have helped Americans and allies over the 20 years and Joe is expected to find, document them with Visas and evacuate all 300,000 of them. He cannot change thousands of years of religious mindset of the entire county of Afghanistan and surrounding countries in the middle east. THEY did not fight for themselves and we have now supplied the Taliban with military bases and equipment they could not afford. Lack of humanitarianism and rational thought is now the Law of the Land in Afghanistan and Joe and this country cannot save them from themselves.

  5. Ok…maybe. But Fox News is hardly the first bitterly partisan political rag in our history. The question then circles back around to what conditions allowed Fox to gain such a foothold and spread so easily. Like Trump, Fox is more of a symptom than the disease itself. The symptoms can be deadly, though.

  6. Athough not a panacea, re-instituting the Fairness Doctrine would go a long way to combating the effects of Fox News. It is also time to force social media to abandon it’s Wild West image and don the grey flannel suit if hopes to escape regulation. Both of these would improve the landscape, but as you continually point out, the level of civic knowledge in the populus is so bad, maybe these would be “too little, too late.”

  7. Once I got to “…even racism has declined,” I knew the answer.
    Todd, it IS staged. when miles ran the show, he literally declared what his people would cover, and how.
    Let us not forget, as we look at the rancid legacy of GWB, in light of Afghanistan, that Roger Ailes got his big start in the GWB administration.
    Thinking a bit further, however, there has been the venal impact of the Alex Jones types, and the now deceased druggy who declared Trump “Our guy!” in the 2010’s. Rather, happily, I can’t recall his offal name.

  8. Started in 2000, not hardly. It started with the Republican god Reagan who said “government is not the solution, government is the problem”. He was one of the worst POTUS’s in history. “Fortunately” for him 45 came along.

  9. Many I know do not own televisions.

    I’ve read that FaceBook is a main source of news for many, yet FB is increasingly not trusted, and some have pronounced it dead.

    On-line broadcasters that were founded on the concept of journalistic freedom have been captured by deep-pocketed corporations, betrayed their principles, and are now abandoned by their viewers.

    It is a Darwinian process.

  10. Yes to the Fairness Doctrine, but the real problem is the greed and right wing authoritarianism of a transplanted Australian, Rupert, who is taking advantage of the freedoms given by our Constitution to subvert it.

  11. Personally, I trace the animus back to Newt Gingrich and GOPAC. Newt used his pac as a training center and breeding ground for hate speech with lessons like, “It’s okay to call Democrats traitors.” He also taught his newly recruited candidates to follow the script. That’s where Frank Luntz and Roger Ailes came in. Luntz used focus groups to find effective and rude sound bites and Roger made sure everyone at FOX used those sound bites every hour of every day.

    It didn’t hurt that Americans like their answers to be easy.

  12. Dr. Stan,

    Correct. Then, in 2000, the Supreme Court “decided” to stop counting votes in Florida. Then the GWB fiasco gave us John Roberts and Sam Alito. That was enough to couple with the other Bush’s fetid appointment, Clarence Thomas and Reagan’s Antonin Scalia to give us Citizens United v. FEC. This “decision” allowed the naked corruption of money driving politics until we have at least one party totally beholden to the distinct minority of sponsors.

    Why shouldn’t people be angry when they see their majority vote overturned by politically directed courts? Why shouldn’t they be pissed off when they see some foreign wretch like Rupert Murdoch drive a highly sponsored disinformation network? Roger Files? He was merely the diseased mind that made Fox work for the disenfranchised, aggrieved white people. And here we are.

    One wonders why the aggrieved white female isn’t so adamant in their hate for the “other”. Oh. Did we notice that most of the forces driving hate and divisiveness are Republican? And let us please stop labeling these terrible, un-patriotic morons “conservatives”? They are NOT conservative. They are radical ideologues who feed on confirmation bias. The marriage between Fox and the GOP is total and complete. If that stinking romance isn’t destroyed soon, our democracy soon will be.

  13. In terms of the current dilemma and tragedy in Afghanistan and the Blame game, Lawrence O’Donnell put it well last night: “The Pentagon has never been able to end a war successfully, not in Viet Nam, not in Afghanistan.”
    I agree with all who have offered thoughtful opinions today.
    And I will never give up hope, and gratitude to all who are working for peace and justice and truth.

  14. Part of a letter in today’s Minneapolis Star Tribune about Afghanistan struck me about where we are today in the US: “You cannot stop a people, like the American patriots in 1776, the Viet Cong in 1965, or the Taliban, who are committed to their cause.”

    “Their” commitment stares us in the face – a majority of state legislatures, the Federalist Society, ALEC, Fox News, guns, no abortion, individual “liberty”, etc. “We” have little shared commitment…

  15. Since Joe McCarthy the GOP has tried to label the Democratic Party as Liberals, Socialists and Communists, which to the GOP was one in the same.

    I constantly see posts on Face Book from some of my Reactionary “Friends” that post Memes about Biden-Harris being Socialists and by extension godless Communists.

    As some have pointed out here there has been a cast of characters that have pulled the GOP deeper into the abyss. Today, the most Reactionary-Right Wing-bible thumper’s can be elected in red districts. They have no programs or plans, it is all about the social-cultural wars.

    The social-cultural warriors lament the loss of the “Old America” meaning White Male Authoritarian rules. Thus, we get MAGA.

    Scientific proof does not mean anything as the government and deep state are trying to control you. So you have crowds of yahoos and yo-yos fiercely resisting children and teachers wearing masks in schools, egged on by GOP elected officials.

    Did you hear Governor Abbott of Texas has Covid-19??

    There is this too: Health officials in Texas said they have asked the federal government for five mortuary trucks, as Covid cases, hospitalizations and deaths continue to rise in the state.

    A fourth wave of infections in the US, driven by the Delta variant, has overwhelmingly hospitalized and killed the unvaccinated.

    Covid-19 deaths in Texas have tripled in the last two weeks, growing to 89 a day, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

    Even so, the Republican governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, has been locked in a high-profile legal battle to block mask mandates.

    Abbott won a legal victory on Monday, when the entirely Republican state supreme court ruled in his favor on a temporary measure to block mask mandates. Two local cases are moving forward.

    “Local mask mandates are illegal under GA-38,” the office of the Texas attorney general, Ken Paxton, tweeted after the ruling was released. “Let this ruling serve as a reminder to all [independent school districts] and local officials that the governor’s order stands.”

  16. The fact is the Republicans are planners and followers. They have been planning how to move the country further and further right for decades. And because Republicans are followers it works. Getting Democrats to follow a plan is like hearding cats. The collapse of the middle class was the result of American Corporatism. How many of you have read and remember the book The Ugly American? Our foreign policy and aid has actuarlly been corporate aid. You may remember in the story that we were helping a third world country build a dam. In this country there were barely any roads that were paved, people lived in a barter economy, so very littel of the population could benefit from the electricity. Except for an American corporation wanted to build a factory there to take advantage of cheap labor they could get. And of course the construction equipment had to be bought from Caterpillar and the turbines designed by GE, and the engineers hired from another American engineering company, and many of the construction workers as well.

    Meanwhile there was a verey successful American chicken farmer in the country trying to help the natives. He had seen their scrwany chickens that laid 3 eggs a week and didn’t have much meat on them. he thought if he could bring in 10,000 Rhoad Island Red Chickens and had gotten the farmers to crossbred them with their chickens they would be getting 7 eggs a week, bigger eggs and meatier chickens to eat for very little labor, and this would free up energy for people to develop their country’s ecconomy. But the state department wasn’t interested, because they were interested in helping our coporations, not helping to build up the internal economy of the third world nation.

    If we had worked to help countries grow their internal economies instead of helping corporations find cheap labor, the story of the last 70 years would be much different. The national economies around the world could have built up internally, much as China’s did, but hopefully without the political violence. And our economy would not have been hit with the problems of American corporations’ labor moving overseas. Labor would not have lost power so quickly and unions might have become an American institution. But then Corporatism is part of the Republican/reactionary agenda, and sadly the democratic agenda through Neoliberalism for way to many years.

    The founding fathers were very resistant to corporations. Early in US history corporations were made for a specific purpose and had to justify annually the continued existance. And when their purpose (things like building canals) was completed they were dissolved. The colonists experience with corporations was with entities like The East Indian Company which tried to ake every advantage. So the issue, the plotting the plan was and is right wing, which is pretty much synonomous with conservative rich to take more and more of the money and power.

  17. And to add – I’ve been reading a lot of upside down history lately. Howard Zinn, Isabel Wilkerson (The Warmth of Many Suns, Caste), Nancy Isenberg (white Trash), Eldridge Cleaver (Soul on Ice). This prompted me to try to look at Capitalism from upside down. At first it was confusing, but then I realized that the “Right Side up” view, which could also be called the Capitalist view or View from the Top was that each person is supported to the extent the top recognizes their value to the system. And in pure Capitalism “the system” is by definition that which brings the most money to the top. So the upside down, or bottom view is that Capitalism Gives those at the bottom, in whom the system sees no value, nothing, and from their up the ladder of success the system gives each rung only as much as is necessary to extract as much value from – I started to write individual, but actually I should say – that cog in the machine. Pure unfettered Capitalism is evil, it is a cancer upon society. That statement is not to push for Pure unfettered Socialism. It seems to have worked amazingly well in indgienous societies, but these societies limit their competition to games and to minor skirmishes between tribes, which and be deadly and destructive, but are almost never an anihilation. The other thing that is different in indigneous culture is that difference is honored and respected, and is considered something that give the differnt individual something special to offer the community. Sheila came and talked to my church and talked abour the struggle between individual freedom
    and belonging to community, because belween community , Western culture, wants to limit our identies, not giving much respect to difference. All of this makes an interesting social fabric with the often surpising interactions between the warp and the weave, with everything interconnected, as in Shiva’s Cosmic Dance. Hows that for mixing metaphors!

  18. Look at Afghanistan as a microcosm!

    Do we consider pure and unfettered freedom the panacea? Freedom for anyone to believe anything and promote anything? Freedom without parameters? Democracies always decay into authoritarianism! Historically that’s been the case. And, considering the divisiveness here and in other democracies across the globe, the answer probably is going to be a form of authoritarian government.

    TMI or way too much information overloads any sort of common sense! If a person can choose left or right, up or down, black or white, it’s fairly simple. But if you’re trying to select from 50 shades of Gray, or as in a democratic society, thousands of shades of gray, you’re going to have an issue! And it’s going to be divisive!

    20 years ago as mentioned in the article, there still was an explosion of information because of 9/11. 9/11 was the turbocharging effect, but it actually started with desert storm! That’s when the news organizations were everywhere 24 hours a day. And it’s only been magnified
    exponentially every decade or so since then. And multiplied exponentially I mean the amount of Fringe organizations that claimed and do claim to be purveyors of the news. But they are actually purveyors of conspiracies and deception. The only way to reel anything back is to eliminate this sort of thing, and the only way to do that is to limit certain freedoms that are allowed in the constitution. And, I will venture to say, and say without a doubt, an authoritarian form of government will be here eventually. And, more than likely, religion will be one of the first casualties of that government.

  19. I can’t help but think that hitting media where it hurts – their pocketbooks – might turn out to be a factor for change. Why not insist that all companies post their advertising budgets, listing to what entities they have paid for ads and how much – and make that public? Those of us who support NPR can make it a point to support businesses who also do so – and those who hate Fox can make every attempt to stay away from supporting those. But it’s got to be widely distributed – I heard years ago that Staples was related to the Koch brothers (don’t remember exactly how) – but I’ve not set foot in a Staples since, and am not shy about relating that to my friends. I don’t want to WATCH Fox News to figure out who advertises with them – just give me the list so I can make my own!

  20. Anne, It’s “The Warmth of Other Suns,” but I like how you refer to these readings as “upside down history.” It’s history as NOT told by the victors, for the children of those victors. “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee” is a similar one.
    Yes, Peggy, Newt G., and St. Reagan, with his “You can have it all,” response to Jerry Brown’s “smaller is better,” and Carter’s quiet wisdom, fueled the American hubris. Newt’s “Contract For America” was, as has been stated before really a “Contract On America.” And, hey everybody, guess what “news” show has Newt on the air again!

  21. Our anger results from the alternate cognitive universe out there that nullifies our intelligence and worth as human beings. All our lives we believed in and observed the benefits of vaccination. Now we are confronted by many who deny our reality. I wouldn’t argue that Fox News is responsible for creating this alternative universe of fact. The inevitable National Inquirerization of journalism has been very financially rewarding for the cynical Murdoch tabloid family. What to do about it? Work like hell to encourage critical thinking in our schools which means beating back Republican attempts to stop teaching certain subjects to our children . We must also stop supporting the disingenuous school choice philosophy that has resulted in more religious schools treating critical thinking as the devil’s work.

  22. Don’t really have anything meaningful to add to the Fox News or Facebook discussion/dilemma Just a note to those above who advocate for the reinstitution of the Fairness Doctrine. Sorry for being a little pedantic.

    As several posters here have pointed out in the past, the Fairness Doctrine was a policy adopted by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in 1949 that applied only to the holders of Federal broadcast licenses that allowed them to broadcast over the airways regulated by the U.S. Government. In 1969, the US Supreme Court found the Fairness Doctrine constitutional largely due to the scarcity of over-the-airwaves broadcast frequencies available. The Fairness Doctrine policy was eliminated by the FCC in 1987 and the rule authorizing it in 2011. BTW & FWIW: Interestingly, the FCC so-called “Equal Time” rule requiring radio and TV broadcast stations to give “equal time” to opposing viewpoints is still in effect.

    Obviously, in 1949 when the FCC adopted the Fairness Doctrine there were not yet any cable news networks as cable TV as we know it today didn’t yet exist. But even if cable news networks had existed in 1949, and up until it was eliminated in 1987, the Fairness Doctrine policy only applied to over-the-air (now legacy) radio and TV broadcasters. The NBC’s, ABC’s, CBS’s plus all of the local broadcast stations.

    The reason the FCC could not now adopt and impose a Fairness Doctrine policy/rule on the cable news networks such as CNN, FOX, MSNBC, OAN, etc. is that they don’t use the federally regulated airwaves to broadcast; hence they don’t require a FCC issued broadcast license. Ergo, the FCC has no legal basis for imposing regulations or limitations on what they can put out over cable TV.

    The bottom line is that while it wouldn’t hurt for the FCC to reinstitute the Fairness Doctrine for the legacy over-the-airwaves broadcast TV and radio stations and networks, it would do nothing to deal with the “Faux” News problem. Also, virtually no one gets their TV programming via an antenna over the airwaves these days.

  23. Have we ever had objective, balanced journalism? Fox would claim that other media outlets have always leaned to the left. If all of their journalists, stuck to the facts to support conservative ideas, I might watch them. The fact that they give their viewers disinformation is appalling. It sounds often like a soap opera, and I would say the same of MSNBC and CNN. I don’t watch any of them. I stick to NPR and PBS and yes, I know they tend to lean left. But at least PBS speaks with both GOP and Democrats in Congress and offers both challenging questions.

    I miss the days of Walter Cronkite. I like to think he and other media outlets presented the facts and stayed out of drama. I am certain that they did not create divisiveness. When JFK was asassinated, the whole country mourned.But even so there are lots of theories about who actually master minded his asassination. Walter Cronkite worked in journalism before there was a 24 hour news cycle that promotes obsession in its viewers.

    Will it take another terrorist attack like 9/11 to make us unite again? God, Ihope not.

    Our divisiveness and the GOP’s governors unwillingness to implement CDC guidelines, has led to thousands of needless hospitalizations and deaths in our country from COVID 19 and the delta variant. And now, they don’t seem to care if children get infected at school. Fox has contributed to this with misinformation.

    I don’t think any of us should minimize the destructive impact that social media has had upon our capacity to engage in civil debate. We have all sequestered into silos of like minded people. Facebook needs more staff/technology that can remove destructive disinformation.

    Republicans tend to believe “Father knows best”. They tend to be more loyal to a leader they believe can protect our country and keep us from moving forward too fast on controversial issues i.e. gay rights, abortion, campaign finance reform etc. I sense that they like change even less than progressives do.

    I wonder what happens when conservatives and democrats debate on a blog like this one? Is there such a blog? Is there such a conversation on Facebook or Twitter that helps people create effective compromise around a war of words, that pushes us out of our silos?

    Please let me know if there is such a group on Facebook or a blog like this.
    We humans make everything so darn complicated. The teachings of wise leaders and spiritual sages are simple, straightforward. The truth and spiritual truths are simple. They are also very difficult to carry out in our lives because we are so addicted to so many things and so unwilling to face the pain of the truth.

  24. Rafael Behr in The Guardian today about the UK – us, too?

    “It is a crisis of democratic self-esteem, which becomes self-fulfilling. Without confidence that ours is a system worth cherishing, we become more vulnerable to the corrosive claim that it is a sham. That view is seductive because it seems to explain all manner of disappointments, and is paralysing because it obstructs creative thinking about reform and discourages participation. It is also wrong. Our disappointments are relative, and remediable, compared with the plight of those who do not have the luxury of taking democracy for granted.”

  25. Thank you for bringing this article to our attention, Sheila. Like most of your posts, this one spurs thought and discussion among your readers.

    I am sorry to say that I am in the camp that thinks this is too simplistic. Some voting correlations miss a lot, although I am willing to accept Fox News as a major contributor.

    I think dismissing social media as a cause, ignores its probably role as an amplifier. Similarly, deciding that this began in 1996, misses much. Dr. Stan points to Reagan, the man who started his campaign in Philadelphia (let’s kill two Jewboys and a Ni**er), Mississippi, the man who banned the air traffic controllers from ever working in the industry FOR LIFE, while quietly acting on their safety demands that he refused to negotiate. Peggy points even earlier to GOPAC and Newt. Monotonous goes back to McCarthy.

    It has been a long time coming, but maybe Fox News was the match that lit the forest fire after years of global warming. I will add another dimension, which ties into something Lester touched on. After Reagan, Democrats were cowed, or to use the phrase from Tom Wolfe, the Republicans Mau-Maued the Democrats. They were so fearful, falling over each other to be more conservative and spit on Sister Souljah.

    I came across on old set of comic strips where a man woke up after being in a coma for 20 years. He was delighted to finally see a President who declared the era of big government over, ended welfare as we knew it, and balanced the federal budget. “Yup,” the man said, “that Bill Clinton is the best Republican President that we have ever had”.

    Back to fragmentation, the Republicans have also excelled at two political virtues: building large coalitions and keeping everyone in, even racists and rapists. Democrats never could unite labor, environment, racial justice, gay rights, women’s rights, etc. and are quick to throw anyone under the bus at the mere hint that some group is upset.

    Another aspect goes back to Fromm’s Escape from Freedom – life is too complex to deal with and we are asked to make more and more decisions. Answers that are simple, neat – and wrong, have great appeal. Scientists love nuance, as do true liberals (actually anyone outside of the extremes), but today, that leaves nuanced Democrats versus “It’s their fault” Republicans

    Penultimate thought – I agree with Theresa. Our best weapon, if we want to be true to civil liberties, is the pocketbook. It has the best possibility of success since the funders are only looking to profits. Yes, some ideological billionaires will provide funding, and droves of the true believers will send their life savings to a Trump, but the big corporations that provide the bulk of the funding for Fox News will watch their bottom line.

    Last thought – lots of good ideas today – didn’t mention everyone, but this was a very lively day on the blog.

  26. The Fairness Doctrine does not now apply to Cable TV but it would if the Congress made it so. Cable TV has a LOT to do with interstate commerce as well as the quality of information voters receive. If Congress wants to, it can find its way into regulating the rules by which Cable News operates.

    I would expect Cable News to file suit against any such legislation, but let them. They are doing their best to jeopardize public health and safety and that should be against the law. If they have their way, COVID will infect so many of us that schools and businesses must close again and many more will die – all unnecessarily. The anti-vaxxers and anti-maskers are threats to our lives, our public health and economic health, and as a result, a threat to our democracy too. Those are reasons enough to put them on a regulatory leash, and it can’t come soon enough.

  27. I am way behind on reading your blogs this week. No excuses, but I am just now reading this one and I have not read most of the comments on this subject as I usually do. (If I find several who agree with me, I usually do not comment–it’s already been said.) I feel that I am more angry about politics now is because I am seeing how deadlocked politics have become. Angry about how 1 senator can block any legislation or discussion of legislation. Angry about how things that the majority of Americans want to happen are not happening because of the way our government is hogtied by legislators that have way too much power and by things like the filibuster. By gerrymandering and our inability to fix it. By the constant threats (at least they seem constant right now) to our constitution. I am digressing. All my anger about the government not doing things that need to be done come back to the fact that legislators who would do the things I want to see done cannot move forward. Thanks for letting me vent.

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