The Mindless Middle

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Newsweek: The operative theory about America’s political situation holds that the fringe of each party is poorly informed, and the middle possesses the wisdom, but our numbers on how Americans score on the country's citizenship test show it’s actually the extremes that are engaged—and thus, up on their facts—while the middle is relatively ill informed.

More than lacking knowledge, a lot of Americans, particularly in the middle, have completely tuned out. And given how little they know, it will be hard to get them back. Here’s the most telling number: Americans who vote regularly in elections tested above average—68 percent passed—but among the one in 10 who told us they weren’t interested in exercising their franchise, just 26 percent would qualify to be citizens of their own country.

It’s scary enough that so many Americans don’t know how the system is supposed to work, since that ignorance facilitates cynicism. But when so much of the problem stems from an apathetic middle, it makes it far harder to build the consensus necessary to move America forward as the challenges mount.

Read more here.

And click here to take the test yourself and check your knowledge of the U.S. citizenship test.
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