America’s Great Political Divide

First Read: “So much happened during Donald Trump’s first weekend as president but don’t lose sight of the biggest political storyline over the last 72 hours: America’s continued divide. In fact, you could argue that the United States today is more politically divided than it was during the brass-knuckled 2016 campaign.”

“In his inaugural address on Friday, President Trump took aim at Washington’s political establishment (‘For too long, a small group in our nation’s capital has reaped the rewards of government while the people have borne the cost’), big cities across America (‘Mothers and children trapped in poverty in our inner cities; rusted-out factories scattered like tombstones…; and the crime and gangs and drugs that have stolen too many lives’), and globalization (‘From this moment on, it’s going to be America First’).”

“Then, 24 hours later, millions of women — as well as some men — protested against Trump across the country and throughout the world. It was Rural America vs. Urban America. Nationalism vs. Globalism. American Carnage vs. Women’s Power. And we have 1,457 days to go in Trump’s presidency.”

Americans Expect Nation’s Deep Divisions to Persist

A new Pew Research survey finds 86% of Americans describe the country as more politically divided today than in the past, while just 12% say the country is no more divided.

“The nature of the country’s political divisions is a rare point of partisan agreement: Comparable majorities of Democrats and Democratic leaners (88%) and Republicans and Republican leaners (84%) say the country is more divided these days than in the past.”

For members: Obama Leaves Behind a More Divided Country

How Polarization Makes ‘Normal’ Candidates Unacceptable

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America’s Democracy Has Become Illiberal

Fareed Zakaria: “Two decades ago, I wrote an essay in Foreign Affairs that described an unusual and worrying trend: the rise of illiberal democracy. Around the world, dictators were being deposed and elections were proliferating. But in many of the places where ballots were being counted, the rule of law, respect for minorities, freedom of the press and other such traditions were being ignored or abused.”

“Today, I worry that we might be watching the rise of illiberal democracy in the United States — something that should concern anyone, Republican or Democrat, Donald Trump supporter or critic.”

How the Bluest State Became Reddest

NBC News: “The American political landscape has changed a lot over the past 25 years but there is no more dramatic shift than the one that has pushed this state from deep blue to ruby red. In the 1992 presidential election, Democrat Bill Clinton won West Virginia by a solid 13 percentage points. In November, Republican President-elect Donald Trump captured the state in a walk — winning it by more than 40 percentage points. The forces behind that turnaround are complex. The decline of the coal industry and the changing demographics of the political parties explain part of it. But underneath that are the peaks and valleys of the Appalachian Mountains that make West Virginia what it is: picturesque, resource-rich and remote.”

Democracy Is Very Fragile

New York Times: “Support for autocratic alternatives is rising, too. Drawing on data from the European and World Values Surveys, the researchers found that the share of Americans who say that army rule would be a ‘good’ or ‘very good’ thing had risen to 1 in 6 in 2014, compared with 1 in 16 in 1995.”

“That trend is particularly strong among young people. For instance, in a previously published paper, the researchers calculated that 43 percent of older Americans believed it was illegitimate for the military to take over if the government were incompetent or failing to do its job, but only 19 percent of millennials agreed. The same generational divide showed up in Europe, where 53 percent of older people thought a military takeover would be illegitimate, while only 36 percent of millennials agreed.”

Trump’s Data Team Saw a Different America

Joshua Green: “Nobody saw it coming. Not the media. Certainly not Hillary Clinton. Not even Donald Trump’s team of data scientists, holed up in their San Antonio headquarters 1,800 miles from Trump Tower, were predicting this outcome. But the scientists picked up disturbances—like falling pressure before a hurricane—that others weren’t seeing. It was the beginning of the storm that would deliver Trump to the White House.”

“Trump’s numbers were different, because his analysts, like Trump himself, were forecasting a fundamentally different electorate than other pollsters and almost all of the media: older, whiter, more rural, more populist. And much angrier at what they perceive to be an overclass of entitled elites. In the next three weeks, Trump channeled this anger on the stump, at times seeming almost unhinged.”

Towns Experiencing Big Racial Changes Trend to Trump

A Wall Street Journal analysis of census data “shows that counties in a distinct cluster of Midwestern states—Iowa, Indiana, Wisconsin, Illinois and Minnesota—saw among the fastest influxes of nonwhite residents of anywhere in the U.S. between 2000 and 2015. Hundreds of cities long dominated by white residents got a burst of Latino newcomers who migrated from Central America or uprooted from California and Texas.”

“That shift helps explain the emergence of Republican presidential nominee Donald J. Trump as a political force, and signals that tensions over immigration will likely outlive his candidacy. Among GOP voters in this year’s presidential primaries, counties that diversified rapidly were more likely to vote for the New York businessman, the Journal’s analysis shows.”

Electoral Map Has a Growing Democratic Bias

“The presidential election map is undergoing a fundamental change, with shifts that will make it easier for Democrats to win not only in 2016 but also for years to come,” McClatchy reports.

“Driving the change are two demographic trends: The share of Hispanic and under-30 voters, who favor Democrats in big numbers, is growing significantly in states that in the last decade were decent bets to vote Republican.”

“Colorado, Nevada and Pennsylvania illustrate how the demographic changes are giving Hillary Clinton an electoral advantage Democrats are unlikely to lose anytime soon. Clinton leads in Pennsylvania and Colorado, which for years were regarded as swing states, and she has a polling edge in Nevada.”

New York City Has More People Than Eight States

Jason Kottke: “The population of NYC is equal to the combined populations of Vermont, Alaska, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, and West Virginia.”

“Put another way: 16 US Senators represent as many people in those states as a fraction of one of New York States’ Senators represent the population of NYC. A Senator from Wyoming represents 290,000 people while one from New York represents 9.8 million people…and in California, there are 19 million people per Senator. That gives a Wyoming resident 65 times the voting power of a California resident.”

Orange County Is Trending Blue

Orange County Register: “A surge in Democratic voter registration has cut Republicans’ advantage in Orange County to less than 6 percentage points and has doubled the number of Democratic cities over the past year. The Republican margin has been shrinking since 1990, when the GOP edge was 22 points. But in the past six months, the pace of change has been four times as fast as the 26-year average – due in part to the GOP’s controversial presidential nominee.”