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BC-Divided America-ADVISORY

August 3, 2016


It’s not just Democrat vs. Republican, or liberal vs. conservative.

It’s the 1 percent vs. the 99 percent, rural vs. urban, white men against the world. Climate doubters clash with believers. Bathrooms have become battlefields, borders are battle lines. Sex and race, faith and ethnicity ... the melting pot seems to be boiling over.

On Nov. 8, Americans will elect a president to lead a nation riven by economic, social and ideological differences.

Is America still one nation, indivisible, or has it become a Divided America?

In the course of this year, The Associated Press will seek answers to that question. Divided America will unfold in text, video, graphics and visual and immersive interactive journalism; some pieces will include data on communities across the United States, offering clients opportunities to produce their own local stories.

The stories produced so far are below, along with three new stories, WHAT UNITES US, VIEW FROM ABROAD and EL VOTO LATINO. Reruns of stories are available at http://apexchange.com, from the Service Desk at 800-838-4616, or your local AP bureau.

This advisory will be updated with new content when it becomes available.

Here is a link to the promo video for the project: http://bit.ly/1TUJiLo

For questions about the project, contact Brian Carovillano at bcarovillano@ap.org or the AP’s Nerve Center at nervecentermanagers@ap.org.



SOUTH BOSTON, Va. — Outside a flag-making factory here, a summer of discontent is brewing in a nation showing innumerable divides. Workers feel it in here, too — that gulf between rich and poor and left and right. Yet, as giant rolls of nylon take shape as perhaps the most unifying American symbol, the flagmakers sound far more similar than different. Whether for Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump, when asked if there are things that unite Americans, they instantly say yes. Gesturing to their handiwork, they invoke what it stands for: freedom, opportunity and pride. And across the fractured U.S., opinion surveys and interviews find unity on all kinds of issues, from Americans’ views of other nations and their religiosity to their love of dogs. By National Writer Matt Sedensky. SENT: 2,100 words, photos. With graphic, video, abridged version.



The rest of the world may think Americans eat a lot of burgers, have huge shopping malls and are ruled by an arrogant government. But they’re also seen from afar as generous tippers, friendly, uncomplicated, rich and the standard bearers of freedom, equality, creativity and technological power. Here’s what The Associated Press found when it asked ordinary people about their views of America. By Vijay Joshi. UPCOMING: 2,000 words by 12:01 a.m., photos.



LAS VEGAS — It’s a persistent paradox in American politics: Many Hispanic families have an immense personal stake in what happens on Election Day, but despite population numbers that should mean political power, Hispanics often can’t vote, aren’t registered to vote, or simply choose to sit out. Enter Donald Trump, and the question that could make or break the election in key states. By inflaming the anti-immigrant sentiments of white, working-class men, has the Republican nominee jolted awake another group — the now 27.3 million eligible Hispanic voters long labeled the sleeping giant of U.S. elections? By Sergio Bustos and Nicholas Riccardi. UPCOMING: 2,200 words, moving in advance for 12:01 a.m. Monday, Aug. 8, photos, video, graphic.



NEW YORK — As Americans struggle to make sense of senseless deaths, Staten Islanders have the dubious distinction of being a step ahead. Since Eric Garner’s death during his arrest in July 2014, they have confronted a measure of the anger, pain and alienation that the nation now shares. In this island borough, police and the policed have had to coexist. The highly publicized deaths of black men in encounters with police across the country, and now the sniper killing of five Dallas officers, have focused new attention on the chasm between police and minorities. Years of tension have left people wary in both the policing community and in minority neighborhoods, with many yearning for one another’s respect. But it’s not simple to change the way people see each other. By National Writer Adam Geller, SENT: 3,000 words, abridged version, photos, video.



A woman sleeps in her car, waiting to receive free dental care at a clinic in rural Virginia. Another peers though a fence at the Mexican border to see the grandmother she left behind 18 years before, when she was brought to the United States as a toddler. Health care and immigration are two of the most contentious issues of this most contentious election year, but they are not merely grist for politics and politicians. Americans like these women are dealing with them in nearly every moment of their everyday lives. A team of AP photographers across the country set out to record those moments. Each set out to capture a single, intimate image to illustrate the human side of immigration, the economy, the environment, gun rights, social values like abortion, gay rights and conservative Christian beliefs, and race. Each offers a personal story that illuminates the campaign’s headlines. SENT: 200 words of text plus photo gallery, interactive.



LOGAN, W.Va. — There are places like this across America — poor and getting poorer, feeling left behind while the rest got richer. But nowhere has the plummet of the white working class been as merciless as here in central Appalachia. And nowhere have the cross-currents of desperation and boiling resentment that have devoured a presidential race been on such glaring display. The mines are idle, there are no jobs, families are fleeing, drug abuse is rampant. Even cremations are up at the funeral home down the street, because people can’t afford caskets anymore. For many, Donald Trump is their last chance. If this great disrupter can’t make it right, they say, it’s all over. By Claire Galofaro. SENT: 2,000 words, abridged version, photos.



ATLANTA — Hillary Clinton may be closer than ever to shattering what she famously called “the highest, hardest glass ceiling,” but women in the U.S. remain significantly underrepresented at all levels of elected office. Although women comprise half the population, they serve as mayors of 19 percent of all cities with a population of 30,000 or greater and represent just a quarter of all state lawmakers. Just 12 percent of governors are women, and they comprise just one in five seats in Congress. While the election of a female president would be unprecedented in the U.S., at least 52 other countries around the world already had a female leader. By Christina A. Cassidy. SENT: 1,500 words, abridged version, photos.


LOCALIZATION OPPORTUNITY: The following spreadsheets will be made available ahead of the story’s release date: The number and percentage of women currently serving in each state legislature; all women who have served in the U.S. House of Representatives for each state; all women who have served in the U.S. Senate for each state; All women who have served as governor for each state; all current city mayors nationwide who are women.

WOMEN IN OFFICE-GLANCE — Various groupings of female representation in the states. This will include states with the highest and lowest percentage of women in their legislatures, and states that have never elected a woman to Congress, the U.S. senator or as governor. SENT: 280 words.



ROCKY FORD, Colo. — From where Peggy Sheahan stands, deep in rural Colorado, the last eight years were abysmal. The county where she is steadily losing population, middle-class jobs have vanished, crime is up as heroin use rises. In Denver, 175 miles to the northwest, things are going better for Andrea Pacheco. Thanks to the Supreme Court, the 36-year-old could finally marry her partner, Jen Winters. After months navigating Denver’s superheated housing market, they snapped up a bungalow at the edge of town. It is no coincidence that Sheahan backs Donald Trump, while Pacheco supports Hillary Clinton. Town and country represent not just the poles of the nation’s two political parties, but different economic realities that are transforming the 2016 presidential election. By Nicholas Riccardi. SENT: 2,200 words, abridged version, photos, video, graphic.



JEFFERSON CITY, Missouri — As Virginia’s only Latino state lawmaker, Alfonso Lopez made it his first order of business to push for a law granting in-state college tuition to immigrants living in the U.S. illegally since childhood. The bill failed. Again and again. “If we had a more diverse (legislature) and more Latinos in the House of Delegates,” he says, “I don’t think it would be as difficult.” But truly diverse legislatures are rarity across the United States. While minorities have made some political gains, they remain severely underrepresented in Congress and nearly every state legislature, according to an analysis of demographic data by The Associated Press. The lack of political representation can carry real-life consequences. When the people elected don’t look, think, talk or act like the people they represent, it can deepen divisions that naturally exist in the U.S. By David Lieb. SENT: 2,500 words, abridged version, photos, interactive.


DIVIDED AMERICA-MINORITY REDISTRICTING — Momentum appears to be building to pare back the role of partisan politics in the way districts are drawn. SENT: 800 words.

DIVIDED AMERICA-MISSING MINORITIES-REDISTRICTING GLANCE — A state-by-state glance looking at how legislative redistricting is done. SENT: 2,500 words.

LOCALIZATION OPPORTUNITY: AP has shared in advance a spreadsheet detailing the minority population and legislative representation in each state, including numbers for state legislatures and congressional delegations, and another that shows the racial breakdown for each state legislative district.



NEW YORK — Meet Peggy Albrecht and John Dearth. Albrecht is a freelance writer and comedian from Los Angeles who loves Bernie Sanders. Dearth, a retiree from Carmel, Indiana, grew up a Democrat but flipped with Ronald Reagan. He’s a Trump guy. They live in the same country, but as far as their news consumption goes, they might as well live on different planets. The growth in partisan media over the past two decades has enabled Americans to retreat into tribes of like-minded people who get news filtered through particular world views. Fox News Channel and Talking Points Memo thrive, with audiences that rarely intersect. What’s big news in one world is ignored in another. Conspiracy theories sprout, anger abounds and the truth becomes ever more elusive. By David Bauder. SENT: 2,000 words, abridged version, photos.



NEW YORK — In a country born of a bloody revolution of musket fire, guns have been a part of the American story from the very start. But how we view those weapons — whether symbols of strength, guarantors of freedom or political pawns — has shifted. Crushing losses suffered in a gunman’s assault on a nightclub in Florida seem unlikely to bring any semblance of unity on the issue. Indeed, commentary on the massacre bares anew the limitless divisions on the topic, shaped by geography, gender, race and age. By National Writer Matt Sedensky. SENT: 1,200 words, photos, graphic.



It’s a troublesome story playing out across America in the 10 years since the housing bubble peaked and then burst in a ruinous crash: As real estate has climbed back, homeowners are thriving while renters are struggling. For many longtime homeowners, times are good. They’re enjoying the benefits of growing equity and reduced mortgage payments from ultra-low rates. But for America’s growing class of renters, surging costs, stagnant pay and rising home values have made it next to impossible to save enough to buy. By Josh Boak. SENT: 1,700 words, abridged version, photos, video, interactive.

This story package includes video and an interactive visualization, as well as localized data for which editors have received an explanatory email.

For questions about the story’s findings and reporting, contact AP Economics Reporter Josh Boak at jboak@ap.org.

For questions about the data, contact AP Data Journalist Meghan Hoyer at mhoyer@ap.org.



Americans agree on this much: They are disgusted with politics. They look toward Washington and see a broken federal government, a place where politicians seem more interested in self-preservation than in We the People. Things don’t seem much better in state capitals. This spring, AP journalists fanned out across the country and interviewed dozens of Americans about the state of their nation. This is what they found: Americans still believe in America, that experiment in democracy where the rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are or should be inviolable. There’s something at the core of America they long for, even if it’s hard to define and seems distant in 2016. By Jay Reeves and Robin McDowell. SENT: 1,570 words, abridged version, photos, video, interactive.

LOCALIZATION OPPORTUNITY: The video package includes interviews with people across the U.S. answering four questions; the subjects were shot from the chest up against a solid backdrop, with the person dead center looking straight into the camera. Clients may want to produce their own videos with local residents.

These are the questions:

What do you expect from your government?

Is America great now? Was it ever great? If so, what made it great?

If there was one thing you could change about the country, what would it be?

How do you define greatness?



MEMPHIS, Tenn. — In cities and towns across the country, a disturbing pattern has emerged: The economic averages that reflect America’s recovery from the Great Recession don’t capture the experience of many typical people in typical communities. That’s because wealth is flowing disproportionately to the rich, skewing the data we use to measure economic health, resulting in an economy on paper that most Americans don’t recognize in real life. Take Memphis, for example, dozens of FedEx jets are still massed at the airport here. Beale Street, the heart of the music district, still hums with tourists most weekends. Yet the empty storefronts occupying its moribund downtown and the cash-advance shops strewn near its suburban highways reveal a struggling city at odds with those national averages. That disconnect is fueling much of the frustration and anxiety that have propelled the insurgent presidential campaigns of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders. By Christopher S. Rugaber. SENT: 1,500 words, abridged version, photos, video, interactive.

LOCALIZATION OPPORTUNITY: A spreadsheet with data for the 100 largest U.S. metro areas was distributed in advance for local news outlets to compare their areas with national averages. The data was made available June 3.



BENTON, Ky. — Evangelical, conservative Christians feel under siege. Steadily, over decades, they sense that they have been pushed to the margins of American life, attacked for their most deeply held beliefs. For these Christians, the 1960s ban on prayer in public schools is still a fresh wound, and every legal challenge to a public nativity scene or Ten Commandments display is another shove to the sidelines. Religious conservatives could once count on their neighbors to at least share their view of marriage. Those days are gone. Now, many evangelicals say liberals want to seal their cultural victory by silencing the church. Liberals say this is paranoia. But evangelicals see evidence of the threat every time hostilities erupt when a baker, a government clerk, leaders of religious charities or schools assert the right to disavow same-sex unions. By Rachel Zoll. SENT: 2,510 words, abridged version, photos, videos, interactive.


DIVIDED AMERICA-CHRISTIANS Q&A — White evangelicals are anxious about the gulf between them and other Americans over marriage and other moral issues. SENT: 720 words.



MISSOULA, Mont. — This election year’s heated rhetoric over immigration has found a home on the range, and discouraging words abound. What started as a clash over a single issue — whether to welcome a small number of refugees to a peaceful corner of western Montana — soon erupted into a larger feud over Islam, big government and the idea that Americans should “take care of our own” before worrying about newcomers. Demonstrators took to the streets carrying signs with wildly divergent views: “Rise Above Fear, Refugees Welcome” versus “No Jobs, No Housing, No Free Anything.” Neighboring counties — and in some cases, neighbors — locked horns. The local spectacle is a reflection of the national debate, and of the deep fissures — economic, social and ideological — that have been exposed in a no-holds-barred presidential campaign. By National Writer Sharon Cohen. SENT: 2,670 words, abridged version, photos, video, interactive.


DIVIDED AMERICA-REFUGEE Q&A — Debate over bringing refugees to Montana raises fears of terrorism, spurs calls for tolerance. Here are some questions and answers about what a local pastor called “one incarnation of the larger divide in the country.” SENT: 830 words, photos.

LOCALIZATION OPPORTUNITY: State-by-state breakdown of Syrian refugees. The data was made available June 2 and is outlined in DIVIDED AMERICA-REFUGEE DATA, ADVISORY.

The AP

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