Op-Ed: Gen Z’s pragmatic politics could be a key to ending polarization
The generation that’s starting college today knows nothing of Trump. He isn’t even on their radar screen, despite the fact that young people are more racially and ethnically diverse than any other generation, and many have no memory of a time when the country was not in the grips of racial tension (and in many cases, is not even in the grips of racial tension). But to most Gen Zers, a white man in the White House would be like a tornado, a black man in the Oval Office would be like a wall, and a female president would be like a woman.
As it turns out, all of those fears are wildly overblown: The biggest barriers to unity between the parties, a president and a general election, haven’t changed at all. It’s the media and the media’s policies, Trump’s own words and actions, that have generated so many new divides, despite how they’ve helped us become a more divided country.
As we enter a new presidential campaign period, the biggest change is the way in which the media and the political class respond to Trump. The “opinion poll” that gets most of the credit for the Democratic electoral defeat was a “YouGov” poll conducted in the week before the election in 2016. That poll showed that a whopping 53 percent of voters believed the media was “too liberal or too conservative,” up from 41 percent who said so a month before the election.
The “opinion poll,” of course, was skewed. Its respondents were almost certainly better-educated and more liberal than the general population. For example, Pew Research Center’s study found that 53 percent of college graduates think the media is too liberal.
What’s more, a 2016 Pew poll found that 62 percent of white voters surveyed believed the media was “too conservative,” more than three and a half times the percentage who thought it was too liberal. As Pew noted, “A growing divide between the media and partisans has emerged, with Republicans feeling more anger toward the media and Democrats feeling more resentment toward the media.”
So what’s the difference between the media and partisans? The answer is that partisans don’t have any faith in their media. They distrust the media. They’ve grown so tired of the media’s constant anti-Trump and anti-Republican biases that they feel they have nothing to lose