Think The Country’s So Divided? Not So Much As The Last Time Around.
Now that the Constitutional law experts in the GOP have realized that their argument about not impeaching a former President has no basis in truth or legal precedent at all, they’re falling back on an even more compassionate narrative, namely, that what we need to do now is to bring the country together, it’s time to ‘heal.’
Actually, this healing cliché was stolen by the GOP from Joe, who started talking about ‘healing’ the country and closing the political divide even before he became Number 46.
Yesterday one of the readers of this column sent me a nice, detailed, and thoughtful critique because she also believes that the country is very divided and that I should be writing more about how to bring us together rather than what’s keeping us apart.
What’s her proof that the country is so divided? The fact that 50% of us believe, or at least say we believe that the 2020 election was stolen from Trump. And if half the country isn’t willing to accept the idea that our democracy and our voting process doesn’t work, then we must be a divided country, right?
With all due respect to this reader and to other readers who may feel the same way, I continue to be amazed at how liberal opinion-makers and liberal pundits can engage in discussions about the current political situation while wearing such narrational blinders at the same time.
If you want to use how the general public feels about the outcome of a Presidential election as your ‘proof’ for our divided state of affairs, you might go back to the previous election — the 2016 election — and start your discussion right there. Because it turns out that after Trump was elected, it wasn’t half of America who didn’t believe that it was a fair and honest electoral result. It was sixty percent who said they wouldn’t accept what happened at the polls.
That’s right. In 2016, six out of ten Americans said that Trump won the election because he colluded with the Russians and stole the vote. And the good news for Hillary is that, as opposed to Donald Trump, she didn’t have to dig into her own pocket or the pocket of the Clinton Foundation to pay lawyers to promote this idea.
The taxpayers paid for the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 campaign in the form of Robert Mueller who ultimately found squat. Yea, yea, so a bunch of Russians put phony election ads on Facebook and other internet sites. Meanwhile, I’m still waiting for the first example of a vote for Hillary ending up being scored for Trump.
And if you think that Hillary has stopped kvetching about how the election was stolen from her, you happen to be wrong. She continues to make that claim every time she opens her mouth. But Hillary’s not dividing the country, right?
The difference between how the country was ‘divided’ after 2016 versus how it’s ‘divided’ today reflects how Donald Trump used social media over the last four years to promote his brand. But Trump’s marketing scheme hasn’t just been successful among his devoted fans. It’s been bought into by the ‘fake news’ media and their messaging contingent as well. Take a look at Ezra Klein’s book, Why We’re Polarized, described by another important liberal noisemaker, MSNBC’s Chris Hayes, as ‘brilliant and wide-ranging.’
What has Klein brought to the table to prove how ‘polarized’ (a synonym for divided) we are? The fact that voters often decide about how they are going to vote by whom they want to vote against, rather than whom they want to vote for. Boy, that’s a new one. Never heard that one before.
As far as I’m concerned, the only thing keeping us apart is that some of us watch and believe FOX every night, and some of us watch and believe CNN and MS-NBC. Frankly, I think we need to give ourselves a healthy dose of pessimistic reality-checking every time we turn on the TV.
Unless, of course, you watch TV news the way I watch TV news, which is to help me fall asleep.