What was most startling about Tucker Carlson’s current journey to Russia wasn’t his obsequious interview with Vladimir Putin however his gushing days afterward over how fantastic a spot Moscow is. However then once more, he was a particular visitor of the nation that invented Potemkin villages (even when the unique story is doubtful), and ensuring he noticed solely good things should have been simple.

Think about, for instance, that you simply introduced individuals to New York and made positive that every one they noticed was the Higher East Aspect close to the Metropolitan Museum of Artwork. They’d come away with the impression that New York is a really clear, spiffy-looking metropolis.

The reality is that whereas elements of Moscow supply a small elite an opulent way of life, Russia as a complete is greater than a bit ramshackle. Round a fifth of houses don’t even have indoor toilets. For a lot of Russians, life is poor, nasty, brutish and quick: Life expectancy is considerably decrease than in america, despite the fact that America’s life expectancy has fallen and lags that of other advanced countries.

Anyway, whereas praising Moscow, Carlson trashed American cities, particularly New York, the place, he mentioned, “you’ll be able to’t use your subway” as a result of “it’s too harmful.” Little question, there are some New Yorkers afraid to take the subway. By some means, nonetheless, there have been round 1.7 billion riders every year earlier than the pandemic — sure, I take the subway on a regular basis — and ridership, although nonetheless depressed by the rise of working from dwelling, has been recovering quickly.

It’s potential, after all, that Carlson has by no means ridden the New York subway, or at the least not because the days when New York had about six times as many homicides every year because it does these days. On this he may be like Donald Trump, who in all probability hasn’t flown business in many years, declaring the opposite day that America’s airports — which have annoyingly lengthy traces at safety however have much more facilities than they used to — make us appear to be a “third world nation.”

Oh, and whereas New York’s subway stations don’t have chandeliers like Moscow’s and typically do have rats, the system does its job and, as I’ve written, performs a hugely positive role within the lifetime of town.

However right-wingers appear immovable of their conviction that New York is an city hellscape — solely 22 percent of Republicans take into account it a secure place to reside in or go to — although it’s one of many safest cities in America.

Extra usually, there’s a hanging disconnect between People’ perceptions about crime the place they reside — comparatively few, from both get together, take into account it a significant issue — and their far more pessimistic evaluation of the nation as a complete. This disconnect exists for each events however is way wider for Republicans:

That is a part of a broader phenomenon. America has change into a rustic by which, for many individuals, particularly however not solely on the political proper, believing is seeing. Perceptions on points from immigration to crime to the state of the economic system are pushed by political positions somewhat than the opposite means round.

To take a topic I’ve clearly spent a whole lot of time on: In the course of the Biden years, most measures of shopper sentiment have been a lot decrease than you may need anticipated, given commonplace measures of the economic system’s efficiency. That is nonetheless true, despite the fact that sentiment has risen substantially over the previous few months. There’s virtually a complete style of study dedicated to arguing that persons are really proper to really feel dangerous concerning the economic system due to one thing or different.

So right here’s a professional tip: Ignore anybody who says that People are down on the economic system with out noting that the truth is that Republicans are down on the economic system.

I wrote about this last week, however let me make the purpose once more utilizing barely totally different knowledge and graphics. The broadly cited Michigan survey of customers gives knowledge on sentiment damaged down by partisan affiliation, though it has been a daily month-to-month function solely since 2017. I want to concentrate on the present financial situations index, since individuals may legitimately have totally different expectations, relying on who’s in cost. So right here’s what this index appears to be like like, utilizing three-month transferring averages to cancel among the statistical noise:

Democrats seem to really feel that the economic system now’s about nearly as good because it was in late 2019, which is what you may count on, on condition that the unemployment charge is about the identical and inflation solely barely increased. Republicans, nonetheless, have gone from euphoria concerning the economic system beneath Donald Trump to a really jaundiced view beneath President Biden.

What about independents? By no means thoughts: For probably the most half, they lean towards one get together or the opposite and behave like partisans.

Now, this comparability doesn’t show that detrimental perceptions of the economic system are all about partisanship — perhaps issues actually are considerably dangerous and Democratic partisanship is holding the numbers up — though Democrats don’t appear to expertise the form of temper swings when the White Home adjustments palms that Republicans do. However on the very least, any dialogue of financial sentiment that doesn’t take partisanship into consideration is lacking a key a part of the story.

As I wrote final week, the believing-is-seeing nature of public opinion could imply that perceptions of the economic system, and maybe crime, gained’t matter very a lot for this 12 months’s election: People who consider that issues are horrible in all probability wouldn’t have voted Democratic, it doesn’t matter what. However to take an extended view: How are we going to perform as a rustic when massive numbers of individuals simply see a special actuality from the remainder of us?

Dictators lie about their economies.

Information reporting on the economic system has change into more negative.

Who believes within the great-replacement concept?

By a large margin, Trump voters say that 2023 was OK or higher for them personally however dangerous or horrible for the country.

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