It’s not just Democrat vs. Republican, or liberal vs. conservative.
It’s the 1 percent vs. the 99 percent, rural vs. urban, white men against the world. Climate doubters clash with believers. Bathrooms have become battlefields, borders are battle lines. Sex and race, faith and ethnicity … the melting pot seems to be boiling over.
On Nov. 8, Americans will elect a president to lead a nation riven by economic, social and ideological differences.
Is America still one nation, indivisible, or has it become a Divided America?
In the course of this year, The Associated Press will seek answers to that question. Divided America will unfold in text, video, graphics and visual and immersive interactive journalism; some pieces will include data on communities across the United States, offering clients opportunities to produce their own local stories.
The first stories, slugged DIVIDED AMERICA and DIVIDED AMERICA-ANXIOUS CHRISTIANS, listed below, moved on June 2 for use after 12:01 a.m. Thursday, June 9. Stories slugged DIVIDED AMERICA-AVERAGE ISN’T TYPICAL and DIVIDED AMERICA-THE REFUGEE RIFT will move June 3 also for use after 12:01 a.m. Thursday, June 9.
In subsequent installments we will explore a number of other topics such as the influence of Hispanic and millennial voters, the urban/rural divide and the role of media in shaping our divided electorate.
Here is a link to the promo video for the project: http://bit.ly/1TUJiLo
Americans agree on this much: They are disgusted with politics. They look toward Washington and see a broken federal government, a place where politicians seem more interested in self-preservation than in We the People. Things don’t seem much better in state capitals. This spring, AP journalists fanned out across the country and interviewed dozens of Americans about the state of their nation. This is what they found: Americans still believe in America, that experiment in democracy where the rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are or should be inviolable. There’s something at the core of America they long for, even if it’s hard to define and seems distant in 2016. By Jay Reeves and Robin McDowell. SENT: 1,570 words, photos, video, interactive. An abridged version will also move.
Video will be available at 1 a.m. Thursday, June 9.
LOCALIZATION OPPORTUNITY: The video package includes interviews with people across the U.S. answering four questions; the subjects were shot from the chest up against a solid backdrop, with the person dead center looking straight into the camera. Clients may want to produce their own videos with local residents.
These are the questions:
What do you expect from your government?
Is America great now? Was it ever great? If so, what made it great?
If there was one thing you could change about the country, what would it be?
How do you define greatness?
DIVIDED AMERICA-AVERAGE ISN’T TYPICAL
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — In cities and towns across the country, a disturbing pattern has emerged: The economic averages that reflect America’s recovery from the Great Recession don’t capture the experience of many typical people in typical communities. That’s because wealth is flowing disproportionately to the rich, skewing the data we use to measure economic health, resulting in an economy on paper that most Americans don’t recognize in real life. Take Memphis, for example, dozens of FedEx jets are still massed at the airport here. Beale Street, the heart of the music district, still hums with tourists most weekends. Yet the empty storefronts occupying its moribund downtown and the cash-advance shops strewn near its suburban highways reveal a struggling city at odds with those national averages. That disconnect is fueling much of the frustration and anxiety that have propelled the insurgent presidential campaigns of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders. By Christopher S. Rugaber. UPCOMING: 1,500 words, photos, video, interactive. An abridged version of 800 words will also move.
Video will be available at 1 a.m. Wednesday, June 15.
LOCALIZATION OPPORTUNITY: A spreadsheet with data for the 100 largest U.S. metro areas will be distributed in advance for local news outlets to compare their areas with national averages. The data will be available June 3, 2016.
DIVIDED AMERICA-ANXIOUS CHRISTIANS
BENTON, Ky. — Evangelical, conservative Christians feel under siege. Steadily, over decades, they sense that they have been pushed to the margins of American life, attacked for their most deeply held beliefs. For these Christians, the 1960s ban on prayer in public schools is still a fresh wound, and every legal challenge to a public nativity scene or Ten Commandments display is another shove to the sidelines. Religious conservatives could once count on their neighbors to at least share their view of marriage. Those days are gone. Now, many evangelicals say liberals want to seal their cultural victory by silencing the church. Liberals say this is paranoia. But evangelicals see evidence of the threat every time hostilities erupt when a baker, a government clerk, leaders of religious charities or schools assert the right to disavow same-sex unions. By Rachel Zoll. SENT: 2,510 words, photos, videos, interactive. An abridged version also moved.
Video will be available at 1 a.m. Monday, June 13.
DIVIDED AMERICA-CHRISTIANS Q&A – White evangelicals are anxious about the gulf between them and other Americans over marriage and other moral issues. SENT: 720 words.
DIVIDED AMERICA-THE REFUGEE RIFT
MISSOULA, Mont. — This election year’s heated rhetoric over immigration has found a home on the range, and discouraging words abound. What started as a clash over a single issue — whether to welcome a small number of refugees to a peaceful corner of western Montana — soon erupted into a larger feud over Islam, big government and the idea that Americans should “take care of our own” before worrying about newcomers. Demonstrators took to the streets carrying signs with wildly divergent views: “Rise Above Fear, Refugees Welcome” versus “No Jobs, No Housing, No Free Anything.” Neighboring counties — and in some cases, neighbors — locked horns. The local spectacle is a reflection of the national debate, and of the deep fissures — economic, social and ideological — that have been exposed in a no-holds-barred presidential campaign. By National Writer Sharon Cohen. UPCOMING: 2,670 words, photos, video, interactive. An abridged version will also move.
Video will be available at 1 a.m. Tuesday, June 14.
DIVIDED AMERICA-REFUGEE Q&A – Debate over bringing refugees to Montana raises fears of terrorism, spurs calls for tolerance. Here are some questions and answers about what a local pastor called “one incarnation of the larger divide in the country.” UPCOMING: 830 words, photos.
LOCALIZATION OPPORTUNITY: State-by-state breakdown of Syrian refugees. The data will be available June 3, 2016.