The election of Gov. Glenn Youngkin wasn’t a triumph for Republicans; it was a victory for moderates of both parties.
The nature of our current, hyper-polarized media environment has skewed most national conversations about a variety of political issues.
Media outlets pander to their audiences of Republicans or Democrats respectively: Less and less the twain shall meet. As a result, there is an impression that the U.S. is comprised of half very far-right social conservatives and half militant progressives further left than Jane Fonda.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
When Americans map their actual views on social issues, most people are somewhere in the middle on most issues, while feeling perhaps a little more strongly about one or two.
The outliers, those with strong opinions about seemingly everything- who incidentally tend to be more likely to respond in polls- get all the attention, but the vast moderate majority is the iceberg beneath that merest tip.
Twitter and other social media platforms certainly don’t help. The medium, by its very nature, tends to filter the most polarizing, the most incendiary and irritating content to the surface while new baby pictures, updates about job searches and vacation snaps settle to the bottom like so much meaningless silt.
Unless media companies can get a bunch of ad clicks out of it, ideally provoking a viral response that will send ad revenues through the roof, all the remaining content is worthless- aside from its resell value to other advertisers, of course.
The most extreme views, the most shocking assertions and constant call-outs, cancelation attempts and pile-ons have turned social media platforms into places fewer and fewer people want to go. What isn’t negative, polarizing, or predicting the imminent doom of democracy, humankind and the planet, is advertisement after advertisement.
It certainly is all very interesting; it has made for a sort of daytime drama/reality television show/made for tv movie most of us would like to tune turn off but can’t. Whether all this is ultimately healthy for society- to know what the most extreme among us is thinking at all times- and also what bots, trolls, hostile…