Heading for National Divorce?

Plus: What Europe's election results tell us about immigration.

1. So Far Apart

It’s increasingly feeling like blue America and red America are two completely different countries. (Pew Research Center)

A new Pew Research Center survey on the big cultural differences between Trump and Biden supporters:

Chart: Pew Research Center

Some highlights:

  • 27% of Trump supporters believe slavery's legacy affects black people today; 79% of Biden supporters think it does.

  • 90% of Trump supporters say gender is determined by sex at birth; 59% of Biden supporters believe gender can differ from sex at birth.

  • 57% of Biden supporters think same-sex marriage legalization is good for society; only 11% of Trump supporters agree.

  • 63% of Trump supporters support deporting all undocumented immigrants; a mere 11% of Biden supporters agree.

Big picture: Left and right are increasingly divided not just in how they vote, but also in what they watch and buy.

  • Truck and boat owners are much more likely to support Trump, while electric vehicle owners lean Biden, per an Ipsos poll in May.

  • A recent NBC News poll found that Trump and Biden voters get their news from very different sources.

  • A 2020 Axios analysis uncovered a significant split in TV viewing habits between Trump country and liberal coastal cities.

It’s gotten to the point where some Americans, including members of Congress, have called for a “national divorce.”

  • According to an Axios-Ipsos poll from last year, 1 in 5 Americans favor a national divorce.

Bubba’s Two Cents

There’s no denying political polarization is up. But in my view, partisan and sensational media makes the problem seem worse than it is. Despite all the hype about national divorce, surveys show Americans still agree on many core values.

2. Going to the Well Too Many Times

Small-dollar donations were a fundraising gold mine just a few years ago, but that’s changed for both parties. (NOTUS)

A new analysis by NOTUS, a nonpartisan publication recently launched by the Allbritton Journalism Institute:

  • Republican National Committee: Down from $39M in small-dollar donations in 2020 to $14M in 2024.

  • National Republican Congressional Committee: Donations dropped from $13.4M in 2020 to $7.2M in 2024.

  • Donations to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee declined from $14.8M in 2022 to $11M in 2024.

  • Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee donations fell from $11.6M in 2022 to $9.8M in 2024.

Why it’s happening: Part of the problem is rising costs of living leaving less money in some donors’ pockets, but perhaps the biggest issue is fundraisers have gone to the same well too many times.

GOP digital strategist John Hall: “The overarching problem we have is that we have done nothing to build a donor ecosystem and done nothing to foster that ecosystem. A lot of vendors are taking advantage of the few donors we have, and it’s resulting in less and less fundraising over time.”

Bubba’s Two Cents

I see plenty of parallels between the small-dollar donor problem and sensational news media. Both target highly engaged groups with provocative, emotional content (with donors it’s a flood of increasingly desperate and alarming texts, with news consumers it’s increasingly desperate and alarming headlines). The problem is this type of content a) gets old real quick and b) isn’t appealing to groups outside of the ones being targeted. As political strategist (and my friend) Eric Wilson said in April, the key to solving this problem is innovation. As he put it, “We haven't really unleashed the power of the internet for fundraising. We're just bringing old direct mail tactics online. The way forward is more like Substack, Patreon, and OnlyFans.”

3. A Gender Ideology Trend

As our culture pushes for more inclusivity of transgender people, Americans are growing more resistant to gender ideology. (Pew Research Center)

Chart: Pew Research Center

In September 2017, 53% said gender was determined by sex at birth, per Pew Research Center.

  • 56% said the same in June 2021.

  • 60% in May 2022.

  • 65% in April 2024.

More: 56% of voters are uncomfortable with the use of gender-neutral pronouns such as "they/them.”

  • Voters are split on the impact of more people identifying as LGBT and the legalization of same-sex marriage.

  • Roughly one-third say both trends are good for society and about the same percentage say both trends are bad.

  • A new Los Angeles Times-NORC survey found 66% of U.S. adults oppose letting transgender athletes compete on girls’ sports teams.

Bubba’s Two Cents

What we have here is a trend that’s cutting against the institutional momentum of the transgender rights movement. There are reasons for why this is happening that are beyond the scope of this post. But I think a good data point for context is that support for same-sex marriage has climbed for years and currently sits at around 70%, according to Gallup.

4. This Says It All About Trump’s Conviction

A new YouGov poll captures a revealing shift in whether GOP voters think a convicted felon should be able to run for president. (The Hill)

GOP voters in April vs. GOP voters after Donald Trump was convicted on 34 felony charges in his hush money trial:

  • April: Only 17% of GOP voters said a convicted felon should be allowed to run.

  • June: 58% said the same.

  • 74% of Republicans are now willing to vote for a convicted felon, up from 49%.

Reacting to his May 30 conviction, Trump called the verdict a “disgrace,” said the trial was “rigged” and vowed to “fight to the end.”

Trump to reporters: “The real verdict is going to be Nov. 5 by the people, and they know what happened here and everybody knows what happened here.”

Bubba’s Two Cents

There are two ways to look at these survey results:

1) Republicans, who are generally more supportive of law and order, are being hypocritical about Trump’s conviction for political reasons.

2) Republicans genuinely view Trump’s conviction as politically motivated and unjustified.

For what it’s worth, a number of mainstream legal experts and Trump critics have criticized the way the trial and verdict went down.

5. Keep An Eye on This

Recent election results in Europe are a sign that the issues raised by anti-immigration and nationalist parties aren’t going away. (AP)

France: On Sunday, France’s anti-immigration National Rally party, led by Marine Le Pen, secured over 30% of the vote in the European elections, defeating President Emmanuel Macron's pro-European centrist Renew party, which got around 15%.

  • To the shock of his supporters, Macron responded to the crushing defeat by dissolving the national parliament and calling for new elections.

Germany: The center-right won comfortably, while the right-wing AfD came in second, pushing Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s Socialists to third place.

Hungary: The hard-right Fidesz party, led by Viktor Orbán, is expected to win.

Netherlands: The right-wing Party for Freedom, led by Geert Wilders, is expected to tie for first in terms of EU Parliament seats.

Overall: 720 members were elected to serve in the European Parliament for five years, influencing decisions on immigration, climate, and more.

  • With their recent wins, hard-right parties could represent the second-largest bloc in the EU Parliament.

Associated Press reporter Raf Casert: “For decades, the European Union, which has its roots in the defeat of Nazi Germany and fascist Italy, confined the hard right to the political fringes. With its strong showing in these elections, the far right could now become a major player in policies ranging from migration to security and climate.”

Back at home: The U.S. is obviously going through its own immigration-skeptical moment, with the level of migration into the country ranking near the top of voter concerns.

Bubba’s Two Cents

It’s becoming clearer and clearer that ignoring the public’s feelings about immigration or trying to deflect concerns by labeling them racist only empowers the “far-right.”

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