I come from Pennsylvania, whose political map has been described as Philadelphia at one end, Pittsburgh at the other, and Arkansas in between.
Lately, that’s also been a rough portrait of the U.S. as a whole, a schizophrenic Jekyll/Hyde that’s about to be tested once again this November.
This morning an analyst on CNBC recited the common wisdom – that Democrats are vulnerable in a number of states, stretching their resources, while Republicans are sitting on mountains of cash surrounded by gloating Supreme court conservatives and ferocious billionaires; so they are bound to take over the Senate as well as the House this fall.
It could all be true – especially in red states armed with gerrymandered districts and racist, anti-minority, anti-democracy voter suppression laws cloaked as anti-vote-fraud measures.
The only vote frauds in sight are the voter suppression laws themselves, which in a perfect world would be punished as treason.
But wait a minute. This week results of the latest (January) Pew Research Center poll were crisply summed up by Charles M. Blow in the Times, and those sentiments seem to hint at a different story. If voters are speaking the truth to pollsters, the nation may no longer be so easy to mislead as Republicans are assuming. To wit:
Asked which party is more willing to work with the other party, 52% of respondents said the Democrats. Only 27% said Republicans.
Which party is more concerned “with needs of people like me”? Again, 52% said Democratic, 32% said Republican.
Which party governs in a more honest and ethical way? 41% Democratic, 31% Republican.
Do Republicans outscore Democrats on anything? Oh, yes:
Which party is more extreme in its positions? Republican 54%, Democratic 35%. Which is more influenced by Lobbyists? Republican 47%, Democratic 30%.
Underscoring the voters’ disgust, the most recent Gallup poll asked them what should be done to fix Congress, and the most popular answer was to throw the rascals out — fire every one of them. Another favored choice: term limits.
What should be done about the Supreme Court? It’s a good thing nobody asked.
As folk wisdom has always advised, hope for the best but plan for the worst.
We’ll soon see how folk wisdom fares — after running a gauntlet of three more months of lying, smearing TV ads — when next the folk go to the polls.