My family, friends and neighbors are divided about politics. Neither side is listening. Both sides think the other side is acting in bad faith. Most fit the people on the other side into a neat box with a negative label.
In my conversations with those who voted for Trump, which is a large majority of Iowans, they do not sound like "radical right-wing racists" or "members of a cult" who "voted for dictatorship".
Instead, they would frame their agenda in terms of support for small business, law and order, rural life, religious freedom, care for the unborn, a free economy, and a strong America. They are concerned about a "left-wing agenda" that would defund the police, open our borders (without limits), increase taxes, establish socialism, take away various rights and shut down our schools, churches and small businesses.
In my conversations with those who voted for Joe Biden, they do not sound like "radical leftists" or "socialists" who want to do any of these things. They remind me that it was Biden not Bernie Sanders at the top of the ticket.
Instead, they would frame their agenda in terms of racial justice, comprehensive immigration reform, a more progressive tax system, health care for all, and balancing various rights with responsibilities that protect the common good.
Neither side has communicated its core message. Both sides allow the extremes on the other side to define what they believe. Trust is at an all-time low because no one is listening to anything except sound bites.