On Wednesday, writing for The Atlantic, Anne Applebaum outlined one of the key problems in the American political system: entrenched ideological divides in access to information.
"American politics, Polish politics, French politics, Italian politics, Ukrainian politics, all derived from their own history, economics, and culture, now have this in common: In each of these countries, deep informational divides separate one part of the electorate from the rest," wrote Applebaum. "Some voters live in a so-called populist bubble, where they hear nationalist and xenophobic messages, learn to distrust fact-based media and evidence-based science, and become receptive to conspiracy theories and suspicious of democratic institutions. Others read and hear completely different media, respect different authorities, and search for a different sort of news. Whatever the advantages of these other bubbles, their rules render the people in them incapable of understanding or speaking with those outside of them."
One demonstration of this problem, Applebaum wrote, was when longtime GOP strategists Sarah Longwell and Bill Kristol launched Republican Voters Against Trump, and it "immediately ran into the information wall" because GOP voters hadn't heard any of the negative facts about Trump in their messaging. "Nor was it because they were only watching Fox News. On the contrary, they were getting news from social media, from alerts on their phone, from devices of all kinds. They were getting too much news, in fact. As a result, all reporting about Trump — the crush of scandals and corruption — is, Longwell said, 'so omnipresent, so daily, that it becomes white noise to people.'"
Ultimately, wrote Applebaum, the solution they discovered that did reach Trump voters was to deliver the message through familiar voices.
"Instead of just creating professional campaign videos (though they have made one or two of those), they began soliciting and disseminating homemade clips," she wrote. "Hundreds of people have contributed clips, and many have already been posted. Among them are people who describe themselves as lifelong Republicans, as evangelical Christians, or as veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan. The videos are unscripted: The people in them give their own reasons for feeling disillusioned or angered by an administration they believe has betrayed them and their conservative ideals, and they explains their views in their own words."
In addition to this strategy, wrote Applebaum, using humor and jokes to make light of Trump, and appealing to a sense of American pride and patriotism, has turned some Republicans off of the president.
"Unless Biden makes an effort to talk with his opponents, he could end up much like the candidate in the Polish wheat field, with only the facts and 49 percent of the public on his side," concluded Applebaum. "Biden’s campaign may represent the last chance to bridge the gaps that divide us. If Trump wins another term, then we can be certain that no one will even try."
You can read more here.