Trends

Most Oppose Bathroom Laws Limiting Transgender Rights

A new Public Religion Research Institute poll finds that 53% of Americans oppose laws requiring transgender people to use bathrooms that correspond to their sex at birth, while 39% favor such laws.

Significant partisan divisions remain, the survey found. While 65% of Democrats and 57% of independents oppose laws limiting transgender bathroom rights, 59% of Republicans support the laws.

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.”