Millions of voters who put Donald Trump into the White House have no time in their daily lives to know what’s happening in his administration.
The first week of President Trump has been one for the record books. Even for Trump supporters, those who pay attention to news would prefer he start behaving like an adult, stop lying, and grow a thicker skin than a 2-week old onion.
Yet we’re discovering that having a post-truth president is not one of America’s biggest problems. Millions watched his administration lie its way through the first week, yet it made no difference. Now that we’re all – finally – paying attention to how people ingest information, another problem is showing its face: there are millions of people in America who don’t read or watch news… they literally don’t know what’s happening in government, yet they do vote.
It’s entertaining for media focus on “alternative facts”. It’s easy to blame the existence of President Trump on right-wingers who live inside the right-wing media bubble. But liberals forget that there are millions of people in America who absorb so little government-related information that they don’t have an information bubble at all. As The Guardian reported, many people are convinced Donald Trump is doing a great job, primarily because they don’t get any news – either due to total distrust of media and therefore don’t seek it, or because their daily lives leave no time to do so.
Facts, News Are Unaffordable For Most Americans
News is a product for the affluent. Facts come with a luxury tax: leisure time.
The higher your income, the more leisure time you can afford. If a person is working 2 part-time jobs just to pay the bills, it’s no surprise they don’t – or cannot – afford the luxury tax put on the product that’s causing a reality split in America: being well-informed.
To POLITUSIC, the most important factoid that came out of 2016 was that 69% of Americans have less than $1000 in a savings account, and 34% have no savings whatsoever. It’s not a giant leap of empathy to understand how living in such circumstances would decrease the priority of reading the news – as well as the desire to believe Trump’s campaign promises. Savings – a safety net – is one of the most significant determining factors of decision making.
As the economy continues to move away from manufacturing and head-of-household jobs require higher education, only Americans who earn a “good income” – and who actually get two days off each week – have the time to sit down to read a newspaper or watch a Sunday show. Being well-informed is a product that we buy with our time. For many Americans, getting a weekend off is a major perk of a great job, and time is becoming an ever-more expensive commodity. “The Educated Elite” that disgusts Trump’s voter base doesn’t understand that.
Most people who can’t afford facts brush them off; almost as a way to protect their pride: “I don’t care… the media can’t be trusted… I let my wife watch the news and tell me what’s happening…” In the same way no parent wants to admit to their children they can’t afford to buy a toy, we don’t want to admit that after work we’re too damn tired to keep our brains running long enough to read a newspaper.
Insofar as the media and liberals are concerned, the challenge is not merely getting facts to hardliners who live in their own alt-right reality peppered with conspiracy theories. The added challenge is finding a way for all Americans to afford facts. Yelling at people to pay attention doesn’t work. Chastising people who don’t know the details of Trump’s latest executive order doesn’t work. You have to help them get more time in their lives.
Americans do care about government. Most of us are simply too poor to afford attention…
… and Steve Bannon knows it.