Americans Are Doing OK, But America Is Going to Hell

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.

I don’t suppose I really have a lot to say about this, but perhaps we can file it under the widespread belief that “America is going to hell but things are OK in my neck of the woods.”

It’s from the AP/Times Square Alliance poll, which is primarily interested in whether you plan to watch the Times Square ball drop on New Year’s Eve. However, they also asked how things went in 2015. Answer: Personally, more people thought it was better than 2014 than thought it was worse. But for the country, way more people thought it was worse than 2014.

This dynamic—I’m doing OK but the rest of the country is going to hell—is so widespread that it’s hard not to blame the media for it. Is that fair? Or is it just something about human nature? In either case, it’s kind of crazy. Not only was 2015 as good or better than 2014 for a huge majority, but optimism was high too: an even bigger majority thought 2016 would be better yet. But for America as a whole, far more people thought 2015 was worse than thought it was better. It’s hard for me to think of any important metric by which 2015 was worse than 2014, but apparently mass shootings and terrorist attacks weighed heavily on everyone. Those were, by far, the news stories that everyone rated the most important.

So how was your 2015?


Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend