So let's look at various states. You can say with confidence that Texas people are different than South Dakota people are different than Vermont people. Amongst themselves, democracy scales. They understand their traditions and themselves and their particular form of self-rule. BTW, if you want my opinion, it is that American democracy and its system is best about enabling self-rule. The whole thing goes to shit after a tipping point of identity politics begins and it becomes about how best to rule *them*. Social media has accelerated the process of making Americans intimately familiar with the dysfunctions going on elsewhere, so we sustain a politics of outrage about stuff that happens 1000 miles away. Even this question begs the question. But my point here is that what's perfect for Iowa makes no sense for Florida, and the problem is that our political system pretends that it can - so it forces national debate into a bullshit seminar where some old duffer from Vermont pretends like he can rule justly over people in Arizona. Yeah right. He'll say six different things about guns to try and triangulate. So who wins? The person who looks 'presidential'. The person who can cobble together majorities, not about common interests facing the nation - because nobody actually knows what those are...
So let me say this, and it's so obvious. The Democratic view of Republicans is a crafted together set of stereotypes and charicatures that are particular to no state. The same is true the other way around. Politics makes enemies of people not of bad policy because the actual federal government is not responsive to actual municipalities where people live. Every presidential election since I've been alive has had the question of "is this candidate pro-choice or pro-life'? And what has really changed about abortion policy? Nothing.
So basically about 8 years ago I abandoned politics and started looking at society, and in particular what happens to nationalism when confidence in democratic institutions fails. So nothing of election dysfunctions, or media stuff, surprises me. People are expecting that media and politics will change other people, that is because they have grown political muscles whereas their social muscles have atrophied. They have either forgotten or rather ruthlessly accepted that policy makes law and law coerces people by force. They would rather vote their preferred reality into existence than to be convincing on merit. And the candidates they are selecting reflect that authoritarian premise.
Our federal elections are not about good government, it is about which factions capture the power of the US Government. Everybody is saying "it should be my kind of people" and they're all wrong.