Frank Luntz Concerned with Election Year Mood

By Curtis M. Hendel

Frank Luntz is a pollster that is highly regarded in his profession.  He uses unique methods to read what the mood of potential voters is and why they feel the way they feel.  He has a very strong ability to get to the pulse of the American people.

Mr. Luntz was on 60 Minutes the evening of November 6th, two days before the election.  In a recent focus group he started to ask questions and was stunned at what was coming to him.  By the reaction to Donald Trump he felt that somehow he had picked a pro Hillary group and expected to get the opposite reaction to her name.  He didn’t.  He received roughly the same reaction to Hillary Clinton.  His assessment was that all Americans are unhappy with the political process right now.

The other thing he noticed is that members of his group no longer were cordial to each other.  They interrupted others while they spoke and constantly argued with other members of the group.  The people also were not voting for their candidate, they were voting against the other candidate.

Election 2016 seems to be the climax to years of hatred building up between the two political parties mixed with terrible race relations and a dash of class warfare.  For the last eight years we have been told that the police are bad, the military is bad, the military mission is bad, and everyone has the responsibility to be offended by the tiniest of shots against their group, no matter what group that is.

The worst of this is that the hatred of a candidate, and we have two that are easy to hate, brings about the hatred of their supporters.  Those who support Hillary Clinton seem to be the ones most willing to inflict property damage against Trump signs and Trump supporters.  Even in Southwest Minnesota we had a Trump display stolen several times.

People on both sides of the aisle have learned to yell, not discuss.  A segment of the population are willing to talk about things but others refuse to believe that their candidate has any flaws what so ever.  This leads to arguments which, in turn, lead to more anger.

There could be several reasons for this trend.  One is the political atmosphere right now.  This entire election has been about slamming one another, from the primaries to the general election.  The actual issues have struggled to sneak into light, most of it has been negative.

We also have reality TV where conflict sells advertising.  People are cast so that conflict will certainly arise on the set.  Add to this the hatred spewed over social media and you have a toxic situation.  Keyboard warriors and trolls rule the day on the internet and the crazier the better.  Conflict brings attention.

Our nation was forged on two parties so that one would never have complete control.  The founders were wise enough to know, even two centuries later, that too much power on one side would lead our great nation down a terrible path.

We need to be Americans again.  We need to have that national pride and stubborn resilience that we had in the days following 9-11.  We don’t need another tragedy like that, but we could certainly use a shot of that good old American spirit to bring us back together as a people.  The future of our nation depends on it.