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An Electorate Held Together by a Thinnest of Threads

An Electorate Held Together by a Thinnest of Threads

Frank Luntz – 60 Minutes Focus Group

I think this is quite good.

Frank Luntz had a focus group on 60 Minutes, focusing on the anger in the electorate.

The anger went in every direction — at the candidate, society and each other.

It’s one of the best focus groups I’ve seen. I think Luntz’s observation that there’s just a thin thread keeping us together, and it could be broken, is right.

The full transcript is here.


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Sorry, say again? I couldn’t hear you over the chants of “Racist! Sexist! Homophobe!”… something about reconciliation with the people that would send us to the camps?

Frank Luntz traces the toxic political atmosphere back to the 2000 presidential election. Al Gore won the popular vote, but after six weeks and a Supreme Court decision — George W. Bush became president.

Frank Luntz: And in that six weeks, we came from being Democrats and Republicans to being outraged, to believing that the other side is trying to steal the election. And when the election was over, there was no coming together. There was no honeymoon. And from that point on, the goal has been to delegitimize. Not to respect and– and at least to listen to, but to delegitimize the opposition.

Utter rubbish. Luntz is trying to make it sound mysterious, mystical, arbitrary, nonsensical … You’d never know from his selective memory that the Dems tried to use a Democrat-dominated state Supreme Court to rewrite election law during the election is some manner to favor their guy. This is the sort of thing which would make even a banana republic look like a bunch of amateurs. Then when the Dem’s filthy maneuver failed, they spent the next four years braying that Bush was the President “by selection, not election!” Well, of course—that became inevitable as soon as the Democrats tried to throw the election into the Courts.

That was the clue-by-four that whacked dumb ol’ me in the head and made me realize that the Democrats are a filthy shit party made up of filthy shit (abbreviated FS from here) people, and nobody but a FS should ever consider voting for them for any office.

There’s no thread—thin or otherwise—connecting me with these FSs except geographic propinquity, and I’m too lazy to move to someplace else which speaks English. Singapore, maybe. Of course, my collection of American flags would be useless there. Hell, it’s getting that they’re pretty useless here. I have some historical Communist and Fascist flags too, but I never anticipated having occasion to use them.

I don’t have the patience to read the rest. Besides, people who are far too expensive to ignore have told me to watch my blood pressure.

    tom swift in reply to tom swift. | November 7, 2016 at 4:36 am

    Oh good, my faithful “down thumb” guy has finally shown up.

    I hate it when he’s late; I start fretting that maybe he’s sick, or perhaps incarcerated.

    I think you misread Luntz comments, but I think he is misguided otherwise.

    We all know like 2000, may even more, that both sides have an army of lawyers waiting to file suits. This will not be over on Election night.

    Yackums in reply to tom swift. | November 7, 2016 at 7:54 am

    The fact that half the country went apeshit because the guy who won the popular vote lost the Electoral College points to the real culprit for our predicament: All of us, ladies and gentlemen. Yes, it’s our fault – and to some degree our parents’ and grandparents’ fault. For not adequately transmitting to the next generation the purpose, the mission, the history, the ideals of the United States of America. Most Americans under 70 have no concept of the reason we even have the Electoral College. I also assign some blame to the drafters and ratifiers of the 17th Amendment that instituted popular election of Senators. When the citizenry has more energy invested in a faraway central government than it is local government, we have a problem.

    spartan in reply to tom swift. | November 7, 2016 at 8:39 am

    No Tom, Luntz is correct.
    This used to be a participation game only played by the Left (see their contempt for Nixon since the 1950’s). Various factions of the Right started playing this game after Bill Clinton’s was elected POTUS in 1992, because he garnered less than 50% of the actual vote.
    2000 was the proverbial free-for-all, with the Left claiming W stole the election and taunted W with “Hail to the Thief”. They put W through 8 years of Hell.

    The Left won with Obama in 2008 and reelection in 2012. Instead of working with all sides, any criticism of Obama was deemed “racist”. I am not sure how criticizing one’s poor policies make one a racist, but reasonable explanations have not been the domain of the Left. That does not stop many on the Right from getting personal over Obama. After all, there has to be payback for 8 years of Hell.

    There is a lot of anger and confusion in 2016. Here in Red State GA, there is not a lot of enthusiasm for either candidate. The folks with Obama/Biden bumper stickers on their cars have not added Clinton to the bumper. They also have not taken off their “Feel the Bern” stickers. There are not many Clinton yard signs at all. Again, the Obama/Biden yard signs (and Bernie 16 yard signs) have not been replaced with Hillary signs. Although there are more Trump yard signs and bumper stickers than Hillary, they are not nearly as numerous as Romney in 2012 (about 1/3) and way below McCain/Palin in 2008 (about 1/10th)

    I can tell you I see this lack of enthusiasm in my recent trips to Northern Virginia and New England. I am also hearing anecdotes of life-long Democrats/Liberals who are voting for Trump in deep blue states.

    I am of the opinion that Trump will win this election but he will not attain Obama-like total votes.

    However, if Trump loses, are you going to claim the election was stolen/rigged and take to the streets with your musket (Joe Walsh reference) and partake in civil disobedience?
    I think it is safe to say the Left will partake in civil disobedience (and more) if Trump wins.

      JusticeDelivered in reply to spartan. | November 7, 2016 at 11:09 am

      It has been pretty clear that riots are mostly cover to loot, because some people feel they deserve the good life without doing a lick of work.

      “However, if Trump loses, are you going to claim the election was stolen/rigged and take to the streets with your musket (Joe Walsh reference) and partake in civil disobedience?”

      Al Gore would have been President if there had been no Brooks Brothers “riot” to stop the Democrats from recounting ballots behind closed doors in secret.

      If Trump loses due to election fraud, do you want us to simply roll over? Surely not. So I don’t understand why you chose to make that statement.

      Can you set me straight?

      And oh god. I just looked at the Wiki page on this incident. I was on the ground in Florida 2000, though not part of this particular instance. But the wiki entry would make Winston Smith proud.

Other than a couple of nothing lines about the loser telling his/her followers to get behind the new president, I don’t believe there is any thread at all. A good example is the dingbat who said that funding to the military should be cut and used for social programs! She is the type that has no concept of being conquered or overrun by people who would kill her in a NY minute! I was surprised Luntz played the
Trump audio from his billy bush bit. Of course, that is disgusting but has anyone heard hillary tear into a secret service person using the F word and other words that are much worse than “Pussy”! Lucky for her no. I didn’t hear Luntz mention one single program or policy of either candidate and maybe that is the area that there could be some agreement on. School choice or obamacare could be an initial level of agreement, but going for the lowest of the low in the campaign puts everyone in their anger and disgust mode immediately. I think this is one of Luntz’s worst groups and it’s because of the anger inducing questions he asked.

Subotai Bahadur | November 6, 2016 at 11:31 pm

A good case can be made that we are not one nation; sharing a language, history, and culture, but rather several mutually hostile nations inside the same borders. There probably not enough common threads for this to be settled by electoral politics. There are three other possible solutions. None of them are pleasant.

legacyrepublican | November 7, 2016 at 12:44 am

My sons and I visited the Holocaust Museum in Terre Haute this summer.

The one word that the museum stands for is “forgiveness.” That word doesn’t seem to exist in our politics anymore.

Words like “deplorable” and “irredeemable” are the words of this election. That means there is civil war.

Personally, when it comes to words, I think Frank Luntz is one of the worst things that has happened to political dialogue. He treats words like they are magic and if you say the right words, you win.


I really miss President Reagan.

    Very well stated; especially about forgiveness, the name-calling, and Reagan.

    I gave you a thumbs up despite disagreeing with you about Luntz. He is a wordsmith. I find him to be quite a good one. My favorite usage by Luntz is when he correctly used the term Democrat Party instead of the wrongly phrased Democratic Party. After all, there is nothing Democratic about that political party

    “The one word that the museum stands for is “forgiveness.” That word doesn’t seem to exist in our politics anymore. Words like “deplorable” and “irredeemable” are the words of this election. That means there is civil war.”

    All true, except I don’t see a civil war coming. If Hillary wins, I predict the Left will come at us with this:

    Left: “Yes, we cheated and won. But no hard feelings, please? Let’s all just play by the rules from here on out”

    Luntz is simply setting that narrative up. It’s like a cheater at the poker table getting caught and then appealing to our civility to let him leave the room with the winnings he stole from us.

    And we will let him. Because we are Conservatives and one thing you can always count on with us is that we will cave. But at least we are respectable. There’s that…

    “Same time next week Bob! We’ll bring more money!”

One of our candidates has lived in the White House for eight years and, upon leaving, was ordered to return the furniture that moved out with her. Her husband, the President of the US for eight years, was disbarred for committing perjury while in office. Quite a pair we have here.

Hillary has managed to live up to everybody’s low expectation throughout her term as Secretary of State. Her very first effort was the ‘reset’ with Russia; how did that go?

Then she bravely faced fire in Bosnia with her daughter and some other little kids. Shear courage, that woman. Her next big move was to take out Gaddafi, but was unable to install a replacement. As part of this ignominious showing, she lost her ambassador and four security personnel. OK, bad stuff happens; but she was warned over 600 times that security needed to be enhanced, but she ignored those warnings. Worse, she actually lied to all of us about what happened in Benghazi.

As we sought to discover what went wrong in Libya, we discovered instead that Hillary was subverting the historical record of her actions as Secretary of State and hiding the interactions between her public office and her ‘charity’.

The FBI investigated just enough to show that Hillary had posted classified information on her private server in violation of the law and that she lied once again to the American public when she denied posting classified information.

Held together? Really? Now that I’m irredeemable and deplorable? Really?

If we are a divided nation (and we are), which party has divided us? Which party focuses on the differences – black white, straight / gay, male / female, rich / poor? You can’t spend decades splitting people into groups for political gain and then claim you don’t understand why we are divided – unless you are a progressive.

As the liberals have spent time delegitimizing institutions, it is no surprise that the public does not have the same respect as they once did.

Once you say W is a selected not elected, then the election process is damaged.

Over a billion dollars spent on political ads by Hillary and we still don’t know what her accomplishments are.

    Barry in reply to Neo. | November 7, 2016 at 7:58 pm

    Sure we do. Her biggest accomplishment is the murder of 4 Americans in Libya. It’s all downhill from there.

Of course we’re divided. We’ve had generations of “education” that tells us America was stolen from American Indians, built on the backs of African Slaves and has been nothing but a force of imperialism that takes from others and forces our will upon the world. No question that there exist a kernel of truth with the argument that America’s history has stains of wrong; the treatment of Native Americans, Slavery, Jim Crowe Laws and so on. But America has been unique in that we’ve always thrown our dirty laundry into the street and allowed whomever wanted to pilfer through it at will.

We have lost or are losing what little shared culture we once had and our “groups” have become based on ethnicity, religion, education or socioeconomic status. The shared belief of a good America has been weened from our collective thoughts over the years and can be see by the POTUS telling us on May 15, 2013 that it’s “cliche” to consider America the “greatest nation on earth” or on May 25, 2016 when the POTUS delivers a speech of alleged “reconciliation” at Hiroshima and advises us that our “shared humanity” is the binding force even if we can’t “eliminate the evil” that man does. What shared humanity, that we’re all human? Is that a binding enough when we’ve all be divided into subgroups within our own nation and yet we’re asked to covet our “shared humanity” with the rest of the world? How magical it is to minimize the American ideal and people while embracing some grand view that we’re all bound by humanity forgetting that evil exist and seeks to do harm to us simply because we are American’s, even if we refuse to collectively see ourselves as such.

There was a time, not that long ago, that we seemed to be one collective nation that wanted to be the shining example for all. Today, I fear, we’re groups that need to show our individuality and address every alleged grievance against one another instead of searching for the best of who and what we are.

    davod in reply to WillS68. | November 7, 2016 at 9:16 am

    I read somewhere the other day that the majority of university students think the USA is the only country that had slavery.


I watched this last night and thought it was spectacular. There is a lot of anger and confusion out there. I don’t think this will end well.

You covered my thoughts as I watched the segment. Thank you for posting this.

MaggotAtBroadAndWall | November 7, 2016 at 8:59 am

Lots of folks have been talking about how we are on the cusp of a revolution. Angelo Codevilla was the first one I recall back in 2010 with his essay about how the “Ruling Class” interests are no longer aligned with the “Country Class”. After that, Jimmy Carter’s pollster Pat Caddell has said a couple of times that the country is in a “pre-revolutionary mood”. The most insightful one, I believe, was written by James Piereson in 2012. Piereson says we’ve had three revolutions already: The American Revolution; The Civil War; and The New Deal. The period between each was about 80ish years, give or take a few. We are in the sweet spot timing wise. After each, the relationship between the government and the people changed radically, and after each the intellectuals, academics, civil leaders, op-ed opinions shapers etc. accepted the new paradigm. The vast majority of the population did, too.–X–The-fourth-revolution-7395

And here we are. Polls consistently show that between 60%-70% of the country think we are on the “wrong track”. Democrats came within a whisker of nominating Bernie, a man who had never been a Democrat until he ran for president and who actually ran his campaign on the need for a “political revolution”. Republicans actually nominated the host of Celebrity Apprentice to be their candidate. A man who had never won an election to any office before, did not re-register as a Republican until 2009, but who talked about upending the system: ending illegal immigration, enforcing immigration laws, restoring law and order, and renegotiating NATO and trade deals to benefit Americans.

The first two revolutions – The American Revolution and the Civil War – were accompanied by violence and bloodshed. The third, The New Deal, had little violence, but the politicians took advantage of extreme economic hardship to impose the New Deal and permanently change the relationship between government and the people. Our ancestors accepted it (by re-electing FDR to four terms and re-electing a Congress dominated by Democrats). So I doubt we will have a major revolution until we get some sort of shock to the system that stokes violence or creates extreme economic hardship.

But given the “wrong track” numbers and the fact that the Republicans gave us an outsider who wants to blow up conservative orthodoxy and change the system in the process, and Democrats came close to nominating a guy fomenting revolution, it seems like the country is ready for its fourth revolution. All that’s lacking is a shock to the system to justify it.

But the thing is, it is not just happening here. A significant minority of Europeans are abandoning the traditional parties that have dominated European politics since WWII.

I am certain the system is indeed ‘rigged.’ I’m even more sure the rigging is 90+% on the left, with the legacy media acting to hide it. Should they succeed in stealing this election as they did in 2012, Luntz’s thread will be cut in a nanosecond.

Frank Luntz: “Al Gore won the popular vote, but – ”

This is how stupid people like Luntz are.

If popular vote determined the winner, both campaigns would have had entirely different game plans. For example, they would have spent most their time and energy in high population centers. Rural folk wouldn’t have ever even seen them.

So Al Gore didn’t “win” the popular vote, as the popular vote wasn’t even in play. Its like saying that the Packers “won” 3rd down conversions, even though the score says they lost the game 20-17.

Because if 3rd down conversions were how football games were decided, the play calls for 3rd and 5 would be COMPLETELY different than we see today.

Its the same with elections. So anyone who brings up the “he won the popular vote but lost the election” cannard is an idiot who shouldn’t be taken seriously.

    RodFC in reply to Fen. | November 7, 2016 at 1:51 pm

    We don’t really know that Gore won the popular vote.
    All we know is that Gore managed to steal more votes in California and
    Chicago then Bush managed to steal in Texas.

“The one word that the museum stands for is “forgiveness.” That word doesn’t seem to exist in our politics anymore. Words like “deplorable” and “irredeemable” are the words of this election. That means there is civil war.”

All true, except I don’t see a civil war coming. If Hillary wins, I predict the Left will come at us with this:

Left: “Yes, we cheated and won. But no hard feelings, please? Let’s all just by the rules from here on out”

Luntz is simply setting that narrative up. It’s like a cheater at the poker table getting caught and then appealing to our civility to let him leave the room with the winnings he stole from us.

And we will let him. Because we are Conservatives and one that you can always count on with us is that we will cave. We at least we are respectable. There’s that…

A good indication of our nation’s future can be seen at the universities around the country. Do these people remind you of the people who climbed into covered wagons and went West to a new and better life? Think for just one minute of the hardships that faced them. Indians, famine, thirst, medical problems, dental problems, navigation problems, births, and the physical toll on their minds and bodies. Then think of the “Safe spaces” and “Trigger warnings” that we have today for the fragile souls that are in our university system! No, my friends, there is no one who can take the WH and turn this around. We are a different people today and we will never be the same again. The work ethic and personal responsibility that was required of our forefathers are long gone. I don’t have a clue what the new America will look like but it breaks my heart to think that hillary will be the one who pushes us over the edge that obama brought us to.

I’m still interested in the staff at Legal Insurrection doing analysis on where the line in the sand is. I agree with and support your blog’s main premise: “rising up against an established authority… in conformity with or permitted by law”

But, considering the 2nd Amendment was put in place to provide a final remedy when efforts such as yours fail, I’m curious to know what the harbinger is.

Your neighbors being taken away in the night? The Treasury and DOD joining the IRS in the persecution of conservatives? An Executive Order with limits on gun ownership thats a subtle gun ban? At what point do you advise we mount up?

Or is there one? Is your philosophy to fight under the rules of law but then surrender if that fails?

    Henry Hawkins in reply to Fen. | November 7, 2016 at 1:56 pm

    The LI contributors don’t operate as a single mass, far from it. You’ll get as many opinions as there are contributors.

      Henry: “The LI contributors don’t operate as a single mass, far from it. You’ll get as many opinions as there are contributors.”

      Cool, that’s even better.

      Because it seems like people are afraid to even discuss it. We talk talk talk about the 2nd ensuring a final defense against the tyranny of the state, but we never draw a line in sand. Even a hypothetical one.

      I believe that there is no line. I believe that most of us are afraid we wouldn’t look “respectable” if we made a fuss while the collar was fitted around our neck.

        Henry Hawkins in reply to Fen. | November 7, 2016 at 9:05 pm

        I give the American people far more credit. The majority of those who would fight haven’t reached their rope’s end as yet, but there are limits. Wars are almost always fought with a small minority of the given sides. Same with revolutions. 5% fight, and the rest support, oppose, or watch. I’d expect some event blows up and becomes a final straw, and revolution grows from there. I also believe that it wouldn’t be necessary to fight, that incumbent politicians would fold like GOPe leadership once they realized this bunch of crazies would actually fight.

    Ragspierre in reply to Fen. | November 7, 2016 at 2:14 pm

    There is a great, powerful tool that people like Henry David Thoreau gave us, and it’s oddly very American in the bargain.

    Civil disobedience, when popularly supported, has never failed to bring off its purposes. And it does not even require majority support…especially initially. A relatively small cadre of really dedicated people can bring it off, as history tells us.

    Maybe someone could make an argument that there is a moral path to armed rebellion that does not pass through civil disobedience, but I don’t see one.

      “has never failed”

      Tea Party.

      The calm civil respectful grass roots organization that everyone now slams Trump supporters for not being.

      They were slimed as racists. Marginalized. Betrayed by the GOPe who even funded their opponents.

      Which is why Trump was the appropriate response.

      “When politeness and orderliness is met with contempt and betrayal, expect the response to be less polite, less orderly” – Glenn Reynolds.

        Ragspierre in reply to Fen. | November 7, 2016 at 3:12 pm

        You’re in full-tilt magic thinking mode today.

        The TEA party was never civil disobedience. It was never a homogeneous thing at all. Every rally I’ve attended was a free-for-all of various political interests, and highly divergent levels of sophistication.

        You simply have no idea what you’re talking about. Again.

          Rag: “The TEA party was never civil disobedience.”

          Never? Really? Guess someone should tell those Tea Party members in Washington and Connecticut who refused to abide by gun control laws they deemed unconstitutional….

          Want to know something odd about lawyers? They are very precise with language. Almost anal about it. Literally. 🙂 I gather that the Sally Struthers School of Law is less demanding?

          “You’re in full-tilt magic thinking mode today… It was never a homogeneous thing at all.”

          I never said it was. I didn’t comment on that either way. Hey, your insult about “magic thinking” is projection, isn’t it? I mean, I know I’m in your head now all the time and you must be having imaginary conversations with me, and your at your best when you knockdown points I never made, but #StrawmenLivesMatter.

          “Every rally I’ve attended was – ”

          Sure. Our resident Hillary enabler attended Tea Party rallies…

          Ragspierre in reply to Ragspierre. | November 7, 2016 at 7:18 pm

          You pathetic, lying little troll. I’m just going to let you play with yourself.

    inspectorudy in reply to Fen. | November 7, 2016 at 3:50 pm

    It will be done the way Hitler did did to the Jews. The leftist in power will do as obama has done and that is to divide the people by race, religion, gender, and class. Then our new leader will vilify one of those groups and make them out to be unAmerican or racist. The msm will, of course, be on their side and will televise nightly an example of the terrible group in question. Gradually they will be turned into the dregs of society and lose any power that they had. If they put up too much of a fight, there will be trumped up charges like the infamous video producer that caused Benghazi. We all know what happened to him! I am afraid all of us NRA members and the proConstitution followers will never be at the same place at the same time to actually create a fight like they did at Concord and Bunker Hill. It will be like boiling a frog by starting with cool water and then slowly raising it to a boil. There will be turncoats on Facebook and Twitter who will turn in anyone who seems a little too antigovernment. We already know that most of the federal union employees are Demorats so that battle is lost before it started. IRS, FBI, DHS, EPA, DoJ? Who ya gonna call?

      inspectorudy – one name: Rosa Parks. Or John Brown. Or Sam Houston. Etc. At some point, some individual(s) will just say ‘puck it … I’m not gonna take this any more.’ It may be a person unwilling to move to the back of the bus, it may be a Serbian nationalist killing a Grand Duke. It’s a spark falling into dry tinder. Lots of tinder today. Lots of sparky people, self included. I regard the left as somewhat lower lifeforms than corpse worms.

AlGore is a treasonous worthless POS.

There is no uniting with people who call you racist, sexist, homophobe when you disagree with them. There is no uniting with people who want to take away your way of life and change the American culture into a third world culture of corruption and crime.

hilldawg has been at war against conservative/republicans/USA values since Nixon. She just wasn’t visible enough at that time to make an impression on the larger population.
Come bubba getting elected she tried to impose healthcare. She got rocked badly by the good guys for all her secrecy and undoubtedly the payola she demanded. She’s been getting worse ever since and I can’t imagine how bad it’ll get if she’s elected.
Not to forget fdr threatening to overload the supreme court to force his policies regardless.
We should have a vote every year, everyone can participate even illegal aliens. We vote on all the Senators and Representatives, the bottom 20 reps and the bottom 10 senators lose their seats and get put into chains and are paraded around the country for a year. Eggs and rotten fruit to toss at them while they are on display would be encouraged.

    Barry in reply to 4fun. | November 7, 2016 at 8:08 pm

    “the bottom 20 reps and the bottom 10 senators ”

    Oh come on. 25%, or 100 and 25. Minimum. More is better.