When Americans turn on the television to watch cable news, they mostly see talking heads from the right and the left arguing and fighting about political issues that seem to divide us. But there is a new study that shows this right versus left fight that plays out on television isn’t representative of wider American culture.
A new initiative called More in Common has dedicated itself to understanding and researching the question of political polarization. They have recently released the results of a study that have dubbed “The Hidden Tribes of American.” In this study, they came to the conclusion that 67% of American are what they call the “Exhausted Majority.” This group of people are not only displeased at the state of American politic but also want people to try harder to find the common ground they share.
The co-founder of More in Common, Tim Dixon, has recently said that a majority of people in the country feel as if they are not being heard, which in turn creates a sense of anxiety. They are also imbued with a sense of unease about the current political divisions. But Dixon argues that this group of people far outnumber the louder, more hateful voices filling up political debates. This “Exhausted Majority” are also exhausted and upset over the arguments that occur between their friends and family.
Dixon points to the Kavanaugh hearings in order to show how large this “Exhausted Majority” is. More in Common has done research that shows that 70% of people in America blamed both parties for the contentious hearings.
Dixon assigns a fair amount of blame to the current political divisions to the media. Research of the divisions in other country shows that political tensions, of course, exist in other places, but Dixon points out that those in other countries have a harder time identifying who their political enemies would be. The partisan nature of cable news has created a us versus them narrative, mostly because this narrative makes them money.
Social media also erases the “Exhausted Majority.” Most people only follow those who reinforce their view points and who share their same opinions. And if one expresses a view different from their chosen side, then they often face backlash.
The positive results of the study show that most Americans are proud and grateful to be an American, which is something they can count on having in common. More in Common also points to the fact that when people are able to talk at length about their beliefs, they were able to understand and make sense of those beliefs more.