Axios Finish Line

An analog clock with only two symbols instead of twelve: the symbols read 'AM' and 'PM'.

Welcome to the debut edition of Finish Line, coming your way Monday-Thursday evenings.

๐Ÿ’ก What we're up to: The news too often is deflating and ephemeral. So we want to help end your day with a focus on larger trends, life hacks and wise lessons that matter beyond the moment.

  • Weโ€™ll bring you insights from our conversations with CEOs, inventors, investors and educators โ€” leaders at all levels โ€” offering up healthy, helpful ideas to sleep on. Please give us unvarnished feedback โ€” and suggestions!

Smart Brevityโ„ข count: 424 words ... 1ยฝ min.

1 big thing: You're not nuts

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Think about it: Most people you meet in everyday life โ€” at work, in the neighborhood โ€” are decent and normal. Even nice. But hit Twitter or watch the news, and you'd think we were all nuts and nasty.ย 

  • Why it matters: The rising power and prominence of the nation's loudest, meanest voices obscures what most of us personally experience: Most people are sane and generous โ€” and too busy to tweet.ย 

Reality check: It turns out, you're right. We dug into the data and found that, in fact, most Americans are friendly, donate time or money, and would help you shovel your snow. They are busy, normal and mostly silent.

  • These aren't the people with big Twitter followings or cable-news contracts โ€” and they don't try to pick fights at school board meetings.
  • So the people who get the clicks and the coverage distort our true reality.ย 

Three stats we find reassuring:

  1. ย 75% of people in the U.S. never tweet.
  2. On an average weeknight in January, just 1% of U.S. adults watched primetime Fox News (2.2 million). 0.5% tuned into MSNBC (1.15 million).
  3. Nearly three times more Americans (56%) donated to charities during the pandemic than typically give money to politicians and parties (21%).

The bottom line: Every current trend suggests politics will get more toxic before it normalizes. But the silent majority gives us hope beyond the nuttiness.

๐Ÿ“ˆ Stat worth sharing

Reproduced from Gallup. Chart: Axios Visuals
Reproduced from Gallup. Chart: Axios Visuals

Independents would be the biggest party:

  • In Gallup's 2021 polling, 29% of Americans identified as Democrats ... 27% as Republicans ... and 42% as independents.

๐Ÿ”ฎ Ask us anything

We'd love to include you in our nightly conversation. Ask us anything about trends, health or confusing topics in the news. We'll share our own thinking โ€” or get you an answer from outside experts.

  • Just reply to this email, or drop us a line at [email protected].
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