MEET THE EXHAUSTED MAJORITY
Even talk-radio kingpin Rush Limbaugh has declared that he’s just about had it with the current political discourse — which seems to have mutated into a ceaseless negative force fueled by anxious politicians and a blameminded press.
“I have to admit, folks, that they’re starting to wear me out. They’re starting is to wear me out with the politicizing of virtually everything that happens in this country. The drive-by media and the Democrat Party are politicizing everything so that everything that happens is the fault of some Republican somewhere or some conservative somewhere. I don’t want to hear it any more. I have to. Don’t misunderstand. But I’m getting fed up with it,” Mr. Limbaugh recently told his 14 million listeners.
He is not alone. There is a name for this phenomenon. A group of researchers have now identified what they called the “exhausted majority” — who are just that: Exhausted.
“In talking to everyday Americans, we have found a large segment of the population whose voices are rarely heard above the shouts of the partisan tribes. These are people who believe that Americans have more in common than that which divides them. While they differ on important issues, they feel exhausted by the division in the United States,” writes a lengthy and complex new study from More In Common, a nonprofit research group seeking to find commonalities among assorted populations.
“In the era of social media and partisan news outlets, America’s differences have become dangerously tribal, fueled by a culture of outrage and taking offense. For the combatants, the other side can no longer be tolerated, and no price is too high to defeat them. These tensions are poisoning personal relationships, consuming our politics and putting our democracy in peril,” said the study — also noting that the nation’s political make-up is much more complicated than “the binary split between liberals and conservatives often depicted in the national conversation.”
That may be true. But the drama was afoot even before Mr. Trump was elected. At the time, psychologists publicly declared that Democrats were suffering from “election stress” and ”post-election stress.” The American Psychological Association even identified “toxic election syndrome.”
In recent months, that stress appears to have taken on a more aggressive form. Strategists who believe that Democrats absolutely must win the midterm elections continue to organize perfectly timed political distractions which often blame Mr. Trump and Republicans for many unsavory things.
Mr. Limbaugh does not believe this could prove an unproductive strategy in the long run.
“My gut is there are millions of Americans, who once this stuff starts, they tune it out. They’re fed up with being blamed. They’re fed up with the people they love and support being blamed. They’re fed up with their country being blamed. So they just tune it out,” he said. “Doomsday Clock” since 1947 — a symbolic timepiece that suggests how close the world is to destruction from all sorts of things. It now stands at two minutes to midnight, matching a record set in 1953 when both the U.S. and Soviet Union were testing nuclear weapons.
“The peril grows and in no way diminishes,” says Mr. Brown.