The rise of America's nationalized political culture
Help us celebrate MSNBC's first 25 years by joining us every day for 25 days as our anchors, hosts, and correspondents share their thoughts on where we've been. President Bill Clinton had a 24 point lead over Bob Dole. This wasn't really news.
There was nothing Dole could do about it. The economy was growing, the country was at peace and the Clinton White House and Republican Congress stood as effective checks on each other. The electorate was defined by a mix of both contentment and apathy.
Election Night was not long. Clinton won 379 electoral votes. Less than 95 million people voted in the last election, a drop of almost 10 million from the last election in 1992.
Four years after his surprise victory, Donald Trump is facing voters. He was impeached and survived because of a Senate acquittal. There is a outbreak of a disease.
Summer months are defined by widespread street protests. There is violence as well. Politics consumes the culture.
Joe Biden emerges as the victor after Election Night. The 1996 and 2020 elections are the bookend of MSNBC's first quarter-century. Our country has changed dramatically in that time, and that they could not possibly have played out more differently speaks to that.
What made this transformation possible? The rise of a nationalized political culture can be attributed to the combination of cable news and social media. The story of the last generation is of Americans deciding which side to support and which side to oppose.
Just as voter participation has risen, split ticket voting has continued to decline. Americans are taking their cue from the national level and working their way down from there."