15 reasons why American politics has become an apocalyptic mess

5. Two Cultures

Americans used to inhabit a world of shared social mores, even if millions of people were coerced into accepting them. Now voters now live in two barely overlapping moral worlds: Secular Metropolitan America and Biblical Traditional America. And that separation is enhanced by the isolating force of modern media. Americans can spend most of their waking hours enveloped in one journalistic gestalt or another, staring at one cable show/website version of reality or the other. It makes political differences harder to bridge.

6. Congressional Ignorance

For a host of reasons — the collapse of Congress’ committee system, the frantic pace of media coverage, the increasing complexity of legislation, the rise of massive, catch-all “continuing resolutions,” the time spent on raising campaign cash — for all of those reasons and others, a shocking number of lawmakers have no idea what they are debating, denouncing or voting on. “An amazing percentage of people here are intellectually lazy or distracted or ignorant or all three,” one senator told me, anonymously…

14. Apocalypse America

Win-win is a cool idea — for social media and much of business life. But America’s public and entertainment culture wants a narrative of total victory, crushing blows, winner-take-all contests and paranoid, apocalyptic sagas. White House aides talk about “breaking the will” of the tea party, and they glory in each new poll that shows the GOP’s public approval is plummeting toward single digits. (Yet how can you celebrate a prostrate GOP if the worldwide economy is in shambles?) We live in a time when ultimate fighting trumps boxing; football trumps baseball; talent contests trump variety shows; “The Walking Dead” is the new “Friends.” No wonder Washington is the way it is. The biters are everywhere.

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