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‘Exhausted majority’ trudges to midterms

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 blame-minded 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 told his 14 million listeners on Monday.

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.

FOR THE LEXICON

“Operation Faithful Patriot.”

That is President Trump’s new name for a U.S. military operation which will deploy some 5,000 troops to the southern border as the “caravan” that originated in Honduras approaches.

“Please go back, you will not be admitted into the United States unless you go through the legal process. This is an invasion of our Country and our Military is waiting for you!” Mr. Trump said in a tweet Monday.

A DWINDLING TRUST

A new midterm elections survey has arrived from one source that may have some unique insight. The cybersecurity and privacy firm ExpressVPN has gauged the trust factor among Americans as the big day approaches. Who do they look to when it comes to finding “accurate and unbiased information” on the election?

The survey found that 28 percent of the respondents said they trust news media, 6 percent trust social media and 6 percent said they trust the political candidates themselves.

And?

“60 percent said they don’t trust any of these sources,” the poll analysis said.

THE STAKES, ONE WEEK OUT

The countdown is truly on for the midterm elections, and the drama has ramped up considerably. President Obama has already deemed next Tuesday to be “the most important election of our lifetimes.”

But wait, there’s more. The New York Post made a casual count of the phrase in public discourse to find that Hillary Clinton, MSNBC host Joe Scarborough, Mother Jones columnist David Corn, Sen. Cory Booker and Democratic National chairman Tom Perez all said the same thing.

Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna McDaniel is more about practicality than drama when it comes to the midterms, and the status of such battleground states as Arizona, Missouri and Florida.

“It is squeaky tight. And there’s three things that I think factor into it. One is, we’re getting closer to the election so voters are paying more attention and looking at what the parties and the candidates have to offer. The second is the RNC has had the largest midterm field program we’ve ever put in place, contacting over 60 million voters. We’ve been in many of these states for over two years building infrastructure to turn out our vote. Third, and most important, is President Trump. He has been on the road tirelessly campaigning in many of these states, helping to energize our voters and giving them the contrast as to what’s at stake,” Mrs. McDaniel told Fox News.

“All of these factors have tightened these races, giving Republicans edges not just in those states but also Tennessee and Indiana, West Virginia, North Dakota. I feel very good about the Senate right now especially,” she said.

POLL DU JOUR

85 percent of Americans say that electronic voting machines should print a paper backup of the ballot; 84 percent of Republicans and 87 percent of Democrats agree.

76 percent overall say all voters should be required to show a government-issued photo ID to vote; 91 percent of Republicans and 63 percent of Democrats agree.

69 percent overall say those convicted of felonies should be able to vote after serving their sentences; 55 percent of Republicans and 82 percent of Democrats agree.

65 percent overall say all “eligible citizens” be automatically registered to vote; 48 percent of Republicans and 78 percent of Democrats agree.

34 percent overall say all elections should be conducted by mail; 26 percent of Republicans and 40 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: A Pew Research Center poll of 10,683 U.S. adults conducted Sept. 24- Oct. 7 and released Monday.

Kindly follow Jennifer Harper on Twitter at @HarperBulletin.

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