America Is Deeply Divided ... Right?
AMERICA IS DIVIDED
It doesn't take a political genius or a uniquely insightful person to point out the political divisions in America today.
In some ways, America is deeply divided by powerful emotions.
And in other ways, she's widely divided across a whole host of issues, like:
- the role of government
- federal spending
- entitlement programs
- free speech
- censorship on social media
This list could go on and on and on, but you get the idea.
For those of you who listen to our talk show or read these weekly columns (and you'd be very wise to do both!), you probably know what I think about each of the issues listed above. And you almost certainly have an opinion on each issue yourself.
And at the same time, you also know that others think and feel completely the opposite about these issues than you or I do.
The divisions are deep. The divisions are wide. The divisions are real.
BUT ARE THESE DIVISIONS REALLY ANYTHING NEW?
Yet, in another way, I believe that Americans are not as divided as we may think. Or perhaps more accurately, we are not any more divided today than we were at other points in American history.
When I was a student learning about The American Revolution, I had this image in my mind that everyone had had enough of King George and British rule. I had it in my mind that everyone almost collectively stood together and yelled, in unison, "Enough!"
But that's not what happened. In fact, historians will tell you that Americans were divided into three distinct groups (all roughly the same size) during the revolution.
Historians tell us that about one-third of the colonists desired independence, another third remained loyal to the King, and the remaining third pretty much didn't want to get involved either way.
Sounds familiar, doesn't it?
AND ARE THESE DIVISIONS AS BIG AS WE REALLY THINK?
Let me encourage you to consider the possibility that the separations we have in America are not as insurmountable as they may at first appear on the surface. Sure, there are some folks who eagerly desire to fundamentally transform America from a free market economy into a socialist economy. There are some who desire to see religion eliminated, free speech abolished, and guns outlawed.
But they are part of a small minority.
Sure, they are growing both in numbers and in radical ideas, but these individuals occupy the fringes of the American political spectrum.
Now, I do not want to be misunderstood here. These individuals represent ideas that are dangerous to liberty, prosperity, and human rights. But unless you live in Portland or Seattle or San Francisco or other pockets occupied by the Radical Left in America today, these individuals are in the radical fringe.
Yes, they may be loud.
And, yes, the politicians they elect may fully embrace their radical ideas. (This, by the way, should be of great concern to lovers of America all across the fruited plain.)
But the ideas are not as popular as we may think.
DON'T CONFUSE DEMOCRATS WITH RADICAL LEFTISTS
I routinely have conversations with self-identified liberals or Democrats with whom I am able to find agreement. Sometimes a lot of agreement.
No, I'm not compromising my principles.
I'm just asking questions and listening to their responses.
When I do, I hear some truly remarkable things.
There was the self-described "liberal Democrat" who once told me, "Todd, I could never support a conservative Republican, but I could support you." (This, by the way, was because we got past the labels, political personalities, and identity politics. I have no doubt she would say the same thing about you, fellow conservative, if she had taken the time to get to know you.)
There was the young, liberal man who lost a bet with his Trump-supporting friends (long story for another day!) who, after sharing a few conversations with me, said something to the effect of, "I am rethinking my entire political philosophy and worldview now."
There was the twenty-something hippie who is now the thirty-something parent who is actively rethinking political choices s/he made just 5-1/2 months ago.
These are just a few examples and many more exist. In fact, I wonder how many more real-life examples we could add to this list if we really wanted to do so.
THE DEMOCRAT PARTY IS GOOD AT WINNING THESE FOLKS OVER
If what I said above is really true, why is the Democrat Party so successful?
That, my friend, is precisely the question we need to properly answer at three levels.
First, Democrats are phenomenal at messaging. They do a tremendous job of coming up with talking points and converting those talking points into effective soundbites. They then are able to use these soundbites, with the help of their friends in the media, to almost subconsciously win over many busy, preoccupied average American voters.
It's a game of repetition and hammering home the Democrats preferred way of framing an issue for maximum political benefit. And it works. I sometimes don't really know how because, after all, the Democrat talking points are an inch deep and a mile wide. But it is effective.
Second, Democrats are masters of engaging in identity politics. Now, let me be clear: I'm not suggesting Republican politicians don't engage in this behavior because they certainly do. And I have just as much problem when they do it, I should add.
But Democrats, again with the help of the complicit media, are masters of it.
How does this help them? Simple. They divide Americans, pit us against one another, tell the larger group they represent them, and then go to war.
For example, they blame the one-percenters for America's deficit and tell the middle class they are just trying to get the ultra-wealthy to pay their "fair share" in taxes. That's hardly what's going on in reality, but it appeals to so many people.
Third, Democrats know how to attract voters to their party by effectively appealing to the single-issue voter. Some voters may be conservative in just about every way except one issue, yet many will still vote Democrat because one single issue is so very important to them. This is how Democrats win some Union Democrats and pro-choice voters over, for example.
WE NEED MORE EFFECTIVE CONSERVATIVE AMBASSADORS
The solution to this problem is us. We are the missing piece to fixing this puzzle plaguing America today.
There are many conservatives out there who just don't know that's what they are yet. And how will they know if we don't help them understand?
I was at an Indiana Right to Life meeting recently and had the privilege of listening to Senator Marsha Blackburn speak. She asked the audience this question: "According to polls, what is the most trusted source of news? It's not CNN or MSNBC or NBC or Fox or OANN or Newsmax. It's Y-O-U: you!"
And she's right. Many people are looking for others they know and trust to help navigate these crazy times in which we live. That's where you and I come in.
We must be knowledgeable, yes, but we must also be effective at communicating and persuading. I'll have more to say about these things in the weeks to come, but suffice it to say that you and I can have an incredible impact on our circle of friends - even larger than we have today - if we take the time to get better at understanding and communicating truth.
It is for this reason that I remain very optimistic about the future of America. Yes, we face serious problems and dangerous ideas, and we don't have much room for error, but I sincerely believe most Americans have never been more open to being persuaded than they are today.
Conservative, not bitter.
Todd Huff is a conservative, not bitter, political and cultural commentator, talk show host, podcaster, and columnist. He is also the founder of Conservative, Not Bitter University (CNBU). For more information about Todd, CNBU, or his daily talk show, visit toddhuffshow.com or download the podcast wherever you listen to podcasts.