NEWS AND OPINION:
Amid red states, blue states, social strife and political polarization, one analyst now suggests that the United States jettison the “united” part and become a couple of separate nations. This extreme measure likely would disappoint millions of people around the planet who still perceive America as the shining beacon of yore, truly a “united” United States. Plenty of Americans would weep over the thought as well. But it’s out there.
“Divided we stand. The country is hopelessly split. So why not make it official and break up?” writes journalist Sasha Issenberg for New York Magazine.
“The midterm results have shown that Democrats have become even more a party of cities and upscale suburbs whose votes are inefficiently packed into dense geographies, Republicans one of exurbs and rural areas overrepresented in the Senate,” he wrote, later adding that “policy wonks across the spectrum are starting to rethink the federal compact altogether, allowing local governments to capture previously unforeseen responsibilities.”
Mr. Issenberg’s article is complex, lengthy and rife with research — and has emerged as the most-read story at the magazine. He mentions “secession fantasies” and offers a theoretical trajectory about how a split-up America would function in a chilly section titled “Dividing the assets.” It is a snapshot of what the nation would look like cleaved into not two but three regions: the Blue Federation, the Red Federation and the Neutral Federation.
The theory works on paper, the reality is another thing, perhaps.
“It is easier to imagine breaking up the United States than figuring out how to make it work — whether through bold new policies or merely a functioning version of consensus politics. The seeming inelasticity of our system of governance also guarantees a security and predictability that we take for granted,” says Mr. Issenberg, who also tweets that he regards the idea as “a not-entirely-implausible scenario for amicable separation.”
AND ABOUT THAT POLITICAL GRIDLOCK
The public appears to be shrugging off partisan combat.
“Most Americans think that neither Democratic congressional leaders nor President Trump will be successful in getting their policies passed into law during the next two years. And after years of growing political divisions in Congress and the nation, the public expects little improvement in relations between Republicans and Democrats in Washington in the coming year. Most expect partisan relations will get worse or stay the same. Just 9 percent expect that partisan relations will improve,” says a new Pew Research Center poll.
“Majorities want to see efforts at cooperation from Trump and Democratic leaders in Congress. But a larger majority says Trump should cooperate with Democratic leaders,” the poll said.
Overall, 84 percent felt that the president should cooperate either “a great deal” (39 percent) or a “fair amount” (45 percent) with Democratic leaders, while 64 percent placed the burden on Democrats. Meanwhile, only a quarter of Republicans agreed that the president should try to make peace a great deal, 52 percent said Mr. Trump should try a fair amount and 22 percent said he should not make much effort.
GRIM REALITY OF CARAVAN LIFE
“Exhausted after a harrowing journey, members of Central American migrant caravans now face a new threat: open hostility from some Mexicans on the U.S. border,” writes Reuters reporter Lizbeth Diaz, reporting from Tijuana, Mexico, where shelters for the incoming visitors already are filled to capacity.
Local residents threw stones and shouted at the caravan migrants, who shouted back — “a confrontation that belied Tijuana’s reputation as a freewheeling, tolerant city,” Ms. Diaz says, adding that the new arrivals were “stunned” by the hostility.
“We are not criminals. Why treat us like this, if everywhere we have traveled in Mexico they treated us well? Think about the children who are here, please,” the migrants called out to their critics.
The journey has another reality for the estimated 11,500 caravan hopefuls.
“As we have said repeatedly, being a member of a caravan doesn’t give you any special rights to enter the country. If they arrive at a port of entry, they will have to wait in line in keeping with the lawful processes at our ports of entry. If they attempt to enter illegally, they will have violated U.S. criminal law and, in accordance with the president’s proclamation and the interim final rule, they would be ineligible for asylum,” Katie Waldman, a spokeswoman for the Department of Homeland Security, told Fox News.
“Let them close whatever they want to close, but we are going to get through anyway,” one migrant woman told The Associated Press.
Ready for a straightforward Fox News interview with President Trump? You are in luck. He will sit down for an exclusive interview with anchor Chris Wallace, to air on “Fox News Sunday.” On the table: midterm election results, acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker, CNN’s lawsuit against the White House, reports that Mr. Trump may issue written answers to the special counsel Robert Mueller and Saudi Arabia’s role in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Check your local viewing time.
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POLL DU JOUR
• 79 percent of Americans say it’s important that political news “presents a variety of different views”; 74 percent of Republicans, 81 percent of independents and 83 percent of Democrats agree.
• 69 percent say it’s important that political news be presented by “likable anchors and contributors”; 63 percent of Republicans, 68 percent of independents and 76 percent of Democrats agree.
• 56 percent say it’s important that political news “present views similar” to their own; 57 percent of Republicans, 44 percent of independents and 62 percent of Democrats agree.
• 51 percent say it’s important that political news be”entertaining”; 47 percent of Republicans, 45 percent of independents and 59 percent of Democrats agree.
Source: A Morning Consult/Hollywood Reporter survey of 2,202 U.S. adults conducted Nov. 6-7.
• Kindly follow Jennifer Harper on Twitter @HarperBulletin