Cliff’s Take: The Battle for the Soul of America

Despite Partisan Division, America Agrees on the Importance of This Time

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  • Clifford Young President, US, Public Affairs
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It is only 60 days until the election, and the first absentee ballots are going out today. The tension is only going to continue to build over the next two months; amplification is the operative word. And life, and our data, bring into clear relief our polar world—Red, Blue; Good, Bad; Rich, Poor; Black, White. We are divided as a nation. Perhaps our only unity is in our agreement of disunity. What did Thomas Paine say? —"these are the times that try (our) souls…” 

I detail below the most relevant polling of the week:

  • The Battle for the Soul of America. What started as a theme at the Conventions a few weeks ago has been seized as an organizing concept around the 2020 election. A supermajority of Americans agree—that the battle for our collective soul has begun. Look at the partisan alignment here. Feel the intensity. Does our soul have a red tinge or a blue one? It depends on the frame.
Graphic 1


  • And the System is Broken. Americans no longer believe that the establishment can solve anything—red and blue Americans agree. Such alienation predates Trump and the pandemic, and will probably post-date them as well. But if the public doesn’t trust its leaders, who will save the soul of the nation?
Graphic 2


  • And Chaos is in the Air. Many Americans are taking things into their own hands by protesting and demanding change. But don’t misinterpret the signals, remember Maslow’s hierarchy of needs! Americans – red and blue – prefer safety and stability. Taking language from the Republican National Convention, large majorities believe there is "chaos in inner cities." Republicans more so; Democrats less so—but still a majority of Americans. For me, the instability issue is the true wild card this year. Be forewarned.
Graphic 3


  • COVID Partisanship. So much for unity, America remains a polarized place. The pandemic is both an amplifier and is amplified. Look at the data below. Republicans are more hopeful about our COVID-19 world. Democrats have little faith in the Federal Government. Two worlds; two Americas.
Graphic 4


  • Tribal-Led Economic Outlooks. The economy is making baby-step progress. But, in today’s America, we see the economy through two very different window frames—one red; the other blue. Look at the data! Republicans are optimistic; Democrats pessimistic. The economic is political; the political is economic. Sounds like “the chicken or the egg problem” to me. This is our America today.
Graphic 5


Let’s prepare ourselves—the “battle for the soul of America” has begun. Will our soul be redder or bluer this November? We will see.

For a synthesis of the above in audio format, please listen to my conversation with Tim Farley and POTUS Radio on Sirius XM here. Have a great Labor Day weekend, as always, be healthy and be sane.


For more information, please contact:

Clifford Young
President, U.S.
Public Affairs
+1 202 420-2016
[email protected]

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The author(s)

  • Clifford Young President, US, Public Affairs