If you had to name 5 (or 10 if you want) political topics Americans in general care the most about, what would they be? Not topics you personally care about the most, but ones you think decide elections the most.
Also, be as precise as possible, instead of generic “foreign affairs” or “economy”, say exactly what, taxes, salaries, pension, social security and so on.
fear/hatred of the government
fear/hatred of women
fear/hatred of homosexuals (a lot more of this is fear of women than people cop to)
fear/hatred of people with darker skin
fear/hatred of educated people and science
I’m not an American, but I’m 110% sure that those are extremely inflated as topics, even though not american, I did saw thousands and thousands of topics on different forums, I watch american shows and series, movies,etc. my whole life and these two topics mainly appear in only 2 scenarios, either in scenarios with sjw’s or with satirical representations of hillbillies. Not even once have I seen someone who truly “hates women”, other than perhaps violent husbands which exist in every country in the world, only time I’ve seen anyone even use that, hate for women, in a sentence is when talking about extremist feminists.
As for the gays, you couldn’t possibly be further from the truth, America is world’s leading LGBT rights promoter, no tv shows show anything even remotely resembling homophobia unless it’s shown in an anti-homophobia way (as mentioned, satirical depictions of hillbillies), many shows openly promote lgbt stuff, some even force it (all couples in Walking dead are either gay or at least interracial), the most negative thing TV shows can say about gays is “it’s not my sort of thing, but I respect it”, anything else is considered homophobia.
It’s borderline forbidden to say anything that is not positive towards lgbt topics, god forbid (figure of speech) you mention that gays shouldn’t marry or even worse if you mention how lgbt was officially classified up to mid 90’s by western medical organizations themselves, particularly by that same organization that became famous few days ago for bashing “toxic masculinity”. In many countries of the world people by a majority don’t support lgbt rights, not because they are told so by a “evil dictatorship government who is not friendly to us government”, but because that’s just how people grow up, being lgbt is frowned up on. On the other hand in America it’s the exact opposite, there it is frowned upon to not be pro-gay.
In no particular order:
Guns - stop trying to take them away.
Abortion - and other perceived “women” issues including domestic violence, public safety, and employment.
Taxes - I (we) pay too much and those people / entities don’t pay enough.
Social safety net - “Those people” don’t deserve it but “my people” earned it.
Immigration - Come one, come all vs we are full except for the few that can jump through the hoops
I’ll add Gallup’s “Most Important Problem” tracker, which has been running for a while. Answers from December (numbers indicate percentages):
[li]The government/Poor leadership 19[/li][li]Immigration 16 [/li]
[li]Unifying the country 8 [/li]
[li]Race relations/Racism 7[/li][li]Poverty/Hunger/Homelessness 6[/li]
While no economic problems* made the top 5, all economic problems combined got 14% of the “votes,” putting them behind “immigration” in the third spot. “Economy in general” got only 3%, though.
*Hey, don’t ask me why Gallup doesn’t put “Poverty/Hunger/Homelessness” under “economic problems.”
It’s worth pointing out that Gallup is asking people “What do you think is the most important problem facing the country today?” – for a single choice – not to make a list of their top 5 problems. I would imagine that a hefty number of Americans have abortion or guns in their top 5 issues, even though the former got less than 1% and the latter 3% of respondents naming it the most important.
I think that your consumption of American entertainment may be skewing your understanding of the views here on homosexuality.
Yes, there have been a lot of changes on the subject here in the U.S. over the past couple of decades, and homosexuality is much more accepted than it was in the past (particularly among younger generations). And, yes, compared to many other countries (particularly non-Western countries), things are a lot better here for LGBT people.
(For the record, as a mostly-straight male American, I think that these changes, and full equality for people of all genders and sexual orientations, are a very good thing.)
Between the legalization of same-sex marriage, and and the more-frequent portrayal of LGBT characters in entertainment, one might reach the conclusion that it’s a settled topic in American culture. Unfortunately, for some people, it’s not.
While it’s become a minority view (especially over the past decade), there’s still a significant number of Americans (particularly older, and conservative Christian) who still strongly feel that homosexuality is wrong and sinful. As per this Washington Post article, as of 2017 there were still about 20% of Americans who feel that same-sex relations between consenting adults should not be legal. (Note: that’s not just feeling that same-sex marriage should be illegal, but same-sex relations, period.) The same article shows that over 70% of Republicans still feel that sexual relations between two people of the same sex are “always wrong.”
Similarly, Americans who feel this way are likely the same people who have fought against laws regarding transgendered people and public restroom use (insisting that transgendered people must use the restrooms corresponding to their birth genders).
U.S. society’s views on (and laws regarding) LGBT rights have changed very rapidly in the past few years, and the speed of that changed has caused the people who still oppose LGBT rights to feel highly threatened. They believe that these changes are a sign that our society has become even more sinful, and many of them are still trying to fight back in whatever way they can to oppose these changes.
Of course you aren’t going to get people to admit to any of the things I list. Doesn’t mean they are not primary motivators. I would say fear is a better descriptor than hate. And although it is not, currently, considered polite to speak forthrightly about your feelings about any of these things, people’s minds don’t change just because it is so obviously wrong and unfair to think the way they think. They just shut up about it at least to strangers.
I’ve met plenty of men who despise women, and plenty of people who fear and hate homosexuals – it is mainly but not exclusively men who feel threatened by them.
Abortions (Think they should be banned vs think the right to have them should be more protected) Guns (Think they should be banned vs think the right to have them should be more protected) Immigration (This is a recent one. It knocked Health Care out of the top five.) Taxes (grumble grumble grumble) Trump (I’m not talking about just his politics. I’m talking about the deep passions people feel either for him or against him.)
I always notice that Global Warming, Climate Change, etc. never seems to be high or even appear on these lists even though the UN, Al Gore, IPCC, University professors, Environmentalists and many others have been shouting from the roof tops about this for decades.
I don’t consider a lot of these topics to be political issues, because they have a clear solution, even if many people are simply wrong about the solution. Since we have a two-party system, a lot of the policy issues end up being political issues because every voter has to decide for themselves which of the bad policies of one party they will tolerate before either jumping ship to the other candidate or throwing their vote away by not voting or going third party.
The only actual, dyed-in-the-wool political issue in America currently IMO is immigration. How many people to let in and how to prioritize enforcement against people who come in illegally does not have an easy answer.
Health care and gun control have easy solutions that the rest of the developed world has hit upon, (even if for me I do not have the political will to support gun control since I’d rather tackle what I’d consider more pressing issues.)
Tax policy and climate change could be political issues, since in theory you could have tradeoffs that help or hurt some people or countries more than others, but the way the Republicans have framed these issues, namely, that tax cuts increase tax revenue, and that global warming simply does not exist, turns them from political issues into questions with clear answers.