Supposedly 2016 is the Year of the Angry Voter. To hear the pundits tell it, Americans are just furious.
Well, call me smug or out of touch, but I think it's mainly a fad. TV talking heads say they're supposed to be bitter, so suggestible people persuade themselves that they are. In interviews, people say that the "American Dream" has stagnated, and they're fearful about terrorism and crime.
Except that crime rates have decreased so much that the statistics can be hard to believe. Writing in Washington Monthly, Mike Males points out that in 1990 "nearly 500 (Los Angeles) teenagers died from gunfire and 730 were arrested for murder." In 2015, the numbers were 57 gun deaths and 65 homicide busts. This in a sprawling metropolis of 10 million.
Meanwhile, student test scores are up, dropout rates way down, and teenagers are having far fewer kids out of wedlock. College enrollments are rising. Not only in L.A. but across the country. One of my pet theories has always been that Rush Limbaugh fans get all steamed up because they're stuck in traffic, but maybe not.