Last week’s PIPA survey has gotten quite a bit of play in the press. In short, red and blue America live in different worlds. Red America (that is, over three-fourths of President Bush’s supporters in this election) sees a world where Saddam Hussein was the shadowy figure behind al Qaeda and 9/11, where somewhere in the crannies of Tikrit there sits a yet-undiscovered stash of weapons of mass destruction, and where most of the world cheers our efforts in Iraq. Blue America believes the opposite on all counts.
When it comes to what people believe about their candidates, majorities of the President’s supporters misperceive his foreign policy positions, while majorities of Kerry’s supporters perceive his positions accurately, weeks before an election where foreign policy is supposedly the biggest issue on the table.
But the survey respondents who give me the most hope for democracy are the 18-Percenters. Eighteen percent of Bush supporters still believe Iraq had WMD or a major WMD program even though they know that the Duelfer report concluded otherwise.
Hans Blix. David Kay. The Senate Intelligence Committee. Charles Duelfer. Either invisible to faith-based America, or simply wrong.
So this is what it comes down to. We march to the polls a week from today armed with completely different truths, answering completely different realities. How are we supposed to build a democracy together? And what could possibly be done about this divide?