According to the Reuters survey, 58 percent Americans say they “don’t identify with what America has become.” While Republicans and Independents are the most likely to agree with this statement, even 45 percent of Democrats share this feeling.
More than half of Americans, 53 percent, say they “feel like a stranger” in their own country. A minority of Americans feel “comfortable as myself” in the country.
There are no doubt lots of reasons underlying this feelings. Demographically, Americans holding these views tend to be white, older, live in the South and have less than a college education. Politically, they are cordoned off as the white working class. While they rarely attract much attention from the political class, they still represent an enormous block of voters.
Their numbers may be declining relative to the entire population, but they are still the largest single block of voters. In many critical swing states like Ohio, Florida, and North Carolina, they represent a significant base of voters that can determine the outcome of elections.
The reasons for their alienation are both cultural and economic. The economic anxiety sparked by the financial crisis in 2007-8 has likely pushed them further away from the mainstream political parties. This isn’t solely a phenomenon on the right, as the resurgent popularity of explicitly socialist policies on the left attest.