The 1950s question that is a key predictor of Trump/GOP supporters

The 1950s question that is a key predictor of Trump/GOP supporters

Imagine waking up every morning and thinking, “If only it were 1952, things would be swell.”

Welcome to the world view of some two-thirds of Republicans. A new Public Religion Research Institute poll released Thursday added a twist to the right track/wrong track question, asking respondents whether they agreed with a clarifying follow-up: “Since the 1950’s, American culture and way of life has mostly changed for the worse.”

Two-thirds of Republicans agreed with that statement, while 50% of independents did, and 30% of Democrats did. The only other group that was more nostalgic about the ’50s than Republicans was white evangelicals, 71% of whom longed for a return to last century. 

“This 1950s question has been a key predictor of support for Trump/Republicans over the years,” tweeted Natalie Jackson, research director of PRRI.

Overall, 74% of Americans said the country is going in the wrong direction, including 93% of Republicans, 76% of independents, and 53% of Democrats—majorities among all partisan groups.

But it appears that some two-thirds of that discontent isn’t about charting a new or different path forward for the country. Rather, it’s at least partially driven by a desire to turn back the clock to a different era—one in which women were still effectively confined to the home, abortion was banned, a Catholic and a person of color had yet to be elected president, segregation was still rampant, landmark civil rights and voting rights laws hadn’t been enacted yet, and LGBTQ Americans still lived in fear of losing their friends, family, and livelihoods if anyone uncovered their secret.

As veteran journalist John Harwood noted, “Two-thirds of Republicans believe America’s culture and way of life were better in the 1950s—a concise explanation for this political moment.”

Donald Trump and his MAGA allies came close to overthrowing our democracy on January 6, and they will try again if they win in 2022. The best thing you can do is to help get out the Democratic vote for the midterms, and we need everyone to do what they can. Click here to find all the volunteer opportunities available.

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The 2022 midterms are just around the corner, and you sent us a ton of fantastic questions for this week’s episode of The Downballot. Among the many topics we cover: which states are likely to report results slowly—and how will those results change over time; the House districts that look like key bellwethers for how the night might go, and which might offer surprises; why and how Democrats make the hard decisions on which races to triage; the top legislative chambers to keep an eye on; and plenty more!

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