Some have called our “Me & Us First” politics as nationalism but I prefer to apply the label ‘tribalism’. In this COVID-19 environment, racial lines, regional preferences, current events and heavy political advertising, are not shaping public opinion as much as the identity of a specific community and the resonance of a leader to that community. Communities are built on religious and ethnic values, family preferences, housing patterns, and health habits. Their political choices have always been shaped by those cultural traits. With the economic fallout and the growing disparities in jobs and education, politics will become a complex mix of leadership styles that symbolize communities along with the body language, word choice, and facial expressions that resonate specific communities. Policy positions and biographical details will be less relevant as they are filtered through the lens of each group.
As we wove our way down Route 15 through rural Virginia on Sunday, I can honestly say that I was unable to “see” past the hundreds of “Trump /Pence” signs posted on well-kept green lawns. I failed to recognize the rural folks and not to be ignored sentiments behind those signs.
Those are the voices who spoke loudly last night!