What I’m thinking about this week is a focus group led by Peter Hart, the veteran Democratic pollster, Tuesday night, in Charlotte, N.C., still a toss-up state. Present were a dozen late-decider voters, three Democrats, six Republicans and three independents....
Raise your hand, said Mr. Hart, if you like both candidates. No one did. Raise your hand if you like one candidate. No one did. Raise if you don’t like either. All 12 did.
When asked to describe the America they want, they wrote things like “a solid education system,” “no longer at war,” “people have joy in their work,” “leading the world in everything, including morals,” “equal opportunity and reward based on work,” “people haven’t lost their homes” and “a culture that improves us as a people.”
Many of their hopes were communal, societal, not individual. A great instructive lesson for conservatives this year is that Margaret Thatcher’s individualist vision, expressed with the words “There’s no such thing as society,” has given way, or rather shifted weight. The individual is key and crucial, but everyone is worried about our society and culture now; they see the nation as a shared entity with shared problems....
Is America off track? They all nodded. A woman said you can’t pray in schools anymore. By this she seemed to mean that religious practice, which among other things offers guidelines and guardrails, is no longer officially sanctioned or encouraged. A man ruminated that things seemed to go off track after 9/11 and “never quite recovered.”
You are late-deciding voters, said Mr. Hart. Some of you have switched around, some are still undecided. Where are you now?
One was leaning toward Mr. Trump. Another was too, “because of Supreme Court decisions.” A woman said she thought she’d go Trump. “Discard the candidate, look at the platform.”
Another was pretty close to decided for Hillary: “I so much wanted Trump,” but “he doesn’t know when to shut up.” “I don’t love Clinton—I don’t trust her."
Another, leaning toward Mr. Trump, said “It’s hard.”
Another was still undecided: “I wanted to like Trump. . . . It’s embarrassing how he acts.”
One had come down for Hillary as the “lesser of two evils.”
Another said “I’ve always been Democratic,” and allowed that Mrs. Clinton has “leadership skills.” But there’s the email story: “She lies—makes you wonder.”
Another had broken for Hillary: “Trump’s ego is what kills me.” Of Mrs. Clinton, in contrast: “She knows what she’s doing.”
Here is Noonan's conclusion:
Watching the next day, online, I couldn’t stop thinking of what we all know. Oh, how the two big parties have let these good people down.
To cite to the advice of that Nobel Prize Winner I like so much, it is going to be up to us. To all of us together, and to each one of us, individually. That's right. We need to go ahead and internalize the message, and take responsibility, and make it our own. That's what we're supposed to do: