When discussing my work over the years, I have often told people, “When I’m talking with a group of citizens, if I close my eyes and listen, I often find it impossible to tell whether the person speaking is a Republican or a Democrat, the region of the country they’re from, or their income or education.” I’m sure you’ve read those very words in this space before. Often this comment is met with polite skepticism. At a time when we are constantly reminded of the divisions facing our society, it’s understandable that people wonder, “How can this be?” Last month, I conducted two focus groups on similar topics in two very different areas of the country – one suburban and strongly Republican, the other an urban Democratic stronghold. As I listened, I again found it difficult to tell people apart across the divides. But, to steal a phrase from Reading Rainbow, you don’t have to take my word for it.
I’ve put together some sample quotes, one from each group, on different issues discussed in both groups. I invite you to read them, and decide for yourself which ones you think are the Red voices, and which are the Blue.
Once you finish, use the comment function on this post to discuss your results. I’m interested to hear what you think.