The new silent majority: People who don't tweet
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
Most people you meet in everyday life — at work, in the neighborhood — are decent and normal. Even nice. But hit Twitter or watch the news, and you'd think we were all nuts and nasty.
Why it matters: The rising power and prominence of the nation's loudest, meanest voices obscures what most of us personally experience: Most people are sane and generous — and too busy to tweet.
Reality check: It turns out, you're right. We dug into the data and found that, in fact, most Americans are friendly, donate time or money, and would help you shovel your snow. They are busy, normal and mostly silent.
- These aren't the people with big Twitter followings or cable-news contracts — and they don't try to pick fights at school board meetings.
- So the people who get the clicks and the coverage distort our true reality.
Three stats we find reassuring:
- 75% of people in the U.S. never tweet.
- On an average weeknight in January, just 1% of U.S. adults watched primetime Fox News (2.2 million). 0.5% tuned into MSNBC (1.15 million).
- Nearly three times more Americans (56%) donated to charities during the pandemic than typically give money to politicians and parties (21%).
📊 One chart worth sharing: As polarized as America seems, Independents — who are somewhere in the middle — would be the biggest party.
- In Gallup's 2021 polling, 29% of Americans identified as Democrats … 27% as Republicans … and 42% as independents.
The bottom line: Every current trend suggests politics will get more toxic before it normalizes. But the silent majority gives us hope beyond the nuttiness.
🏁 Editor's note: This article was first written for the launch edition of Axios Finish Line, which is part of the Axios Daily Essentials newsletter package.
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