11 July 2017

Building Trust and Consensus

A new Pew study shows that the percentage of Republicans who believe that higher education is a negative force in society has surged by 45% and become a majority of Republicans (58%). Just seven or eight years ago, Republicans and Democrats had almost identical views on the value of higher education and overwhelmingly thought that it was a positive force. 

The percentage of Republicans who see higher education as positive (36%) is only slightly higher than the percentage who see unions (33%) as positive, and on a positive minus negative basis, Republicans are more favorably inclined towards unions  (net -13 percentage points) than they are towards higher education (net -22 percentage points).

In contrast, 72% of Democrats see higher education as positive (net +53 percentage points), and 59% see unions as positive (net +37 percentage points).

Longer standing Republican distaste for the media continues, with just 10% of Republicans viewing the media as a positive force in society, while 85% see it as negative (net -75 percentage points). This compares to 44% of Democrats who see the media as a positive force (net -2 percentage points).

The GOP alienation from the media, higher education, and government generally, taken together is profound and troubling, even tough it is somewhat understandable as all three institutions are carried out by people who are, on average, more liberal than average these days.

How can you have a meaningful democracy when 30%-40% of the voters think that the institution that they are electing people to run (and indeed, that their party controlled at the time of the survey) is basically a negative force in the world and when they also feel that the primary sources of reliable information about the decisions that government is making are conspiring to make the world a worse place?

How can anyone reach common ground in policy discussions when there isn't even any source for the facts that has wide trust and support for those involved in those discussions?

How do you get tens of millions of people to step away from the brink of an insane fantasy world and return to the realm of a more rational, more normal world that is connected with reality?


1 comment:

Guy Tipton said...

Do you mean the Democrats giving up on Identity Politics?