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Loud voices, Latino shifts and 2024

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The politics of possibility? 

Not this year.

On Election Day 2022, Americans are unhappy with the present, pessimistic about the future and not fully enamored with either political party. Their anxious, angry mood helps explain why campaign appeals have mostly turned not on aspirational promises – on exploring space or ending poverty, say – but on ominous warnings about the dangers of supporting the other side. 

The polarization that has marked U.S. politics for a generation has become more toxic, even more than during the era of antiwar protests and political assassinations in the 1960s. Not only do the two parties offer contrasting views on policy and conflicting visions for the country. Some candidates are even refusing to commit to accept the elections’ outcomes.

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“Probably not since even the Civil War (has there been) such a dire situation for our democracy as we are in the current day,” said John Mark Hansen, a political scientist at the University of Chicago. “What does it say about us as voters and us as a people that we’re focused on inflation, and we’re focused on jobs, or we’re focused on those kinds of issues as opposed to being focused on things that matter to us broadly as citizens?”

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