The priorities that have traditionally shaped American national character – patriotism, religious faith, family, community involvement – are no longer as important to most Americans. The Wall Street Journal reported this trend in a viral poll, but the sentiment is believable even without the stark statistics. This poll was conducted in 1989, 2019, and now in 2023, and the only value to go up in importance? Money. Our guest explains that there is necessary context for the reported numbers due to methodology, but the overall trend is undeniable: we are becoming an increasingly selfish country. And what is to blame? Perhaps it is the echo chamber of social media, the decline of serious education, or anti-Western propaganda from our adversaries beginning to define our own national message. In any case, the country is unhealthy. But entirely fixable, and worth fixing.
Patrick Ruffini is a pollster and co-founder of Echelon Insights, a polling and analytics firm. Ruffini began his career working for President George W. Bush, including roles at the Republican National Committee, his re-election campaign, and in his Administration. From 2005 to 2006, he was the lead digital strategist for the RNC. He is the Author of Party of the People: Inside the Multiracial Populist Coalition Remaking the GOP (coming November 2023).