Sunday morning talking heads

The Sunday shows trade one storm for another this week, replacing coverage of Hurricane Kavanaugh with coverage of Hurricane Michael. The lead guest is Marco Rubio, who’ll be on “Meet the Press,” “Face the Nation,” and “State of the Union” to describe the devastation in Florida’s panhandle. A major surprise is that neither Gov. Rick Scott nor Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson are booked as I write this on Saturday despite the fact that they’re momentarily locked in a tight race for Nelson’s seat. Expect that to change by Sunday morning as they scramble for a little free media exposure. And expect Rubio to have harsh words for the Saudis when he’s inevitably asked about Jamal Khashoggi. If in fact there’s a bipartisan movement gathering in Congress to impose real penalties on the Kingdom, he might offer a clue.

So might Ben Sasse, who’s set for “Face the Nation” after Rubio. Sasse is on to promote his new book, “Them: Why We Hate Each Other — and How to Heal,” the thesis of which he summarized in an op-ed for the Journal. America’s political problems can’t be solved by politics, he says, because they’re not really driven by policy differences. They’re driven by people turning to political parties to provide the sense of community that other institutions are no longer around to provide:

Humans are social, relational beings. We want and need to be in tribes. In our time, however, all of the traditional tribes that have sustained humans for millennia are simultaneously in collapse. Family, enduring friendship, meaningful shared work, local communities of worship—all have grown ever thinner. We are creating thicker, more vehement tribes around our political differences, I believe, because there is a growing vacuum at the heart of our shared (or increasingly, not so shared) everyday lives.

Loneliness is everywhere in the U.S., across every sector of society. A survey of more than 20,000 American adults conducted earlier this year by the health insurer Cigna and the market research firm Ipsos found that a majority of us are lonely, based on responses to the UCLA Loneliness Scale. The highest scores were reported by the youngest adults, ages 18 to 22. The researchers describe it as a “loneliness epidemic.”

None of this should surprise us. Americans today have fewer shared projects than our parents and grandparents did, and we belong to fewer civic groups. Because we change jobs more often, we have fewer lasting work friendships. We delay marriage, have fewer children and live in larger homes, more separate from those of our neighbors. We move from place to place for relationships, economic opportunity and better weather—and we end up with economic opportunity and better weather.

Increasingly I have the sense that he’s not going to run for reelection. A book-length meditation on the idea that social problems can’t be solved by politics deepens my suspicion.

If none of that grabs you, Larry Kudlow will be on “This Week” and “Fox News Sunday” to talk trade war with China. And if you haven’t been introduced yet to Josh Hawley, Claire McCaskill’s Republican challenger in Missouri, now’s your chance. He’ll follow Rubio on “Meet the Press” to try to boost his name recognition with voters back home. The full line-up is at the AP.