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Latest Narrative Analysis News Summary

May 1-15, 2024 Threat Scan

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Current Threat Level: High Threat Level 6

Vital Signs of Democracy Scan Results – May 1-15, 2024

Current Threat Level: High Threat Level 6



The Vital Signs of Democracy threat level declined one level to a High Threat Level 6. There was just enough good news in some news categories to offset the high threat levels remaining in our justice system news, the media’s dysfunctional coverage of the 2024 election and America’s role in the world.


Justice system news remained very challenged. Judge Eileen Cannon delayed the security documents trial in Florida indefinitely because of procedural problems she herself created. Jack Smiths only recourse now is to seek her removal from the case for aiding and abetting Trump in delaying the trial. We will see if that happens.


That leaves the election interference case presently going on in New York as the only case where Trump will be brought before a jury before the election. At the moment, legal experts are saying the government still has not proved beyond a doubt that Trump paid hush money to Stormy Daniels because of the 2016 election. The defense only needs to convince one juror for the judge to declare a mistrial.   


The other disturbing display taking placed at the New York trial is the Speaker of the House, Mike Johnson, Matt Gaetz and other Trump supporters showing up to claim the charges against Trump are not legit even though they were vetted through the normal grand jury process. Having leaders in Congress suggest to voters that the Justice Department is persecuting Trump for no legitimate reason is a very dangerous claim to make against our democratic institutions. They are literally reading scripts that Trump wrote for them. This is what the MAGA Republican party has become.


The other news category impacted by the New York trial is The Cultural Impact of Cable, Social Media News Feeds and Technology on Democracy. As we head into the heart of the 2024 election cycle it is vital that voters have access to accurate information about what is emerging. When we looked at the New York trial coverage through our narrative analysis lens, we saw cable news networks literally telling three different stories. Fox News is falsely claiming Trump is being persecuted, CNN is allowing MAGA and Democrat pundits to promote disinformation unchallenged by the facts, and MSNBC seems more focused on making fun of Trumps lawyers attempts to defend him.


Our democracy cannot survive if the voters are not receiving factual information with which they can make their decisions. And the main social media news platforms continue to be of no help as they openly allow disinformation and lies to be promoted on their platforms to boost their bottom lines. Check out our two “hidden stories” in this scan for more detail on this development.


The final news category showing a high threat level in this scan is America's Influence in the World. Even though the delay in military funding for Ukraine was finally resolved, Russia used the pause in operations to organize a new level of attacks. At the moment Ukrainian forces are falling back for the first time in a while. Russia seems to be content to sacrifice large numbers of their troops to gain ground against Ukrainian forces.


In addition, The Biden administration still seems confused about what to do about transferring military weapons and ammunition to Israel. On the one hand, they are claiming they are holding up military aid IF Israel continues its attack in Rafah and on the other they are openly approving military aid in Congress. The strength of the pro-Palestine movement in America is growing among young voters in battleground states. If the administration’s current confusion continues it could impact young voters in a negative way it could impact President Biden chances of winning re-election.



As we turn into the heart of the 2024 election season, we are identifying more clearly the messaging being used by the three parties still in contention, MAGA Republicans, Biden Democrats and RFK independents.


The MAGA messaging promotes Trumps more autocratic view of Make America Great Again with him at the center of it. It basically breaks down to “”its never been worse than it is now” and “President Biden is too old and incompetent to be president again.” The Biden Democrats are still leading with pro-abortion as their key issue while attempting to point out the potential harm of policies that would be enacted if Trump is elected again. RFK is more opaque. He continues to promote misinformation about Covid and conspiracy theories concerning the Federal government, but it is still unclear how those stories would translate into policies if he was elected president. He remains a potential “spoiler” but there are differing opinions on whose candidacy he would impact more, Trump or Biden.


We are independents at Vital Signs of Democracy. We’re not crazy with either of the main parties attempts to protect our democracy. In the coming weeks we will be suggesting “messaging” based on our continuing narrative analysis that would promote the importance of maintaining our democracy with voter groups whose enthusiasm seems to be in question. Stay tuned for that.


Other Narratives Worth Considering in This Scan Concerning Our Democracy

  • Biden and Trump agree to 2 presidential debates, in June and in September

  • Arizona Gov. Hobbs signs repeal of near-total abortion ban from 1864

  • Democrats probe Trump’s request for campaign cash from Big Oil

  • Deportations, detention camps, troops on the street: Trump spells out migrant plan

  • Catastrophic moment': Russia advances on key city in Ukraine

Individual Narrative Analysis – May 1-15, 2024

Overall threat level is High Threat Level 6


Individual News Categories Threat Ratings


Voting, Elections and State Legislatures

High Threat Level 5


The threat level rating concerning Voting Rights, Elections and State Legislatures declined two threat levels to a High Threat Level 5  primarily because President Biden and Trump have agreed to debate each other twice before the election. This will give the electorate a chance to see the latest versions of these two men's leadership and intentions for America.


Sample of Relevant News Articles


Who is Winning the Culture War?

High Threat Level 6


The threat rating for the Winning the Culture War factor declines one threat level to a  High Threat Level 6 even though American  University's response to student pro-Palestinian demonstrations was generally over the top. We got to see the latest version of a law enforcement response at some campuses dressed in full body armor and brandishing automatic weapons as they threw students to the ground for exercising their rights to free speech. The only saving grace in the situation was that  few of the institutions of higher learning choose to negotiate with students instead and required no heavy handed police response as we saw in New York.


Sample of Relevant News Articles


A Woman’s Right to Choose

High Threat Level 6


The threat level rating for a Women's Right to Choose declined one threat level to a High Threat Level 6  primarily because Arizona repealed the oppressive abortion law of 1864 that a judge had reinstated. 


Sample of Relevant News Articles


The Effectiveness of Our Justice System

Extremely High Threat Level 9


The threat rating for the Effectiveness of Our Justice System decreased one threat level to an Extremely High Threat Level 9 even though the dangers the MAGA majority on the Supreme Court represent to democracy in America continued. Also, Justices Thomas, Alito and Kavanagh complained of the criticism directed their way because of them openly supporting delaying Trumps main trials until after the election. You can't write this stuff. 


Sample of Relevant News Articles,the%20Nov.%205%20U.S.%20election.,ongoing%20criminal%20trial%20in%20Manhattan


The Independence of Our System of Checks and Balances

Moderate Threat Level 4


The threat rating for the Independence of Our System of Checks and Balances remained the same at a Moderate Threat Level 4 primarily because Trump ally Steve Bannon lost his appeal to stay out of prison and may finally be put in jail for failing to respond to a congressional summons.  


Sample of Relevant News Articles


The Impact of Cable News, Social Media News Feeds and Technology on Democracy in America

Very High Threat Level 8


The threat rating for the Impact of Cable News and Social Media on Democracy in America remained at a Very High Threat Level 8 primarily because cable news networks are presenting three different versions of the facts to their viewers. Fox News continues to lie about Trumps activities, CNN is giving MAGA supporters a platform to promote their fake news and MSNBC seems to be taking a sensational approach to covering Trumps hush money trial. All three of these approaches do not help voters make up their minds. They are designed to maximize profits for the networks. The publics distrust of America's news media is a sign we are sliding into an oligarchy. 


Sample of Relevant News Articles,divided%20as%20the%20watching%20nation.


Mitigating Climate Change

High Threat Level 6


The threat level on Mitigating Climate Change remained the same at High Threat Level 6 primarily because the transactional relationship between Trump and his MAGA allies and big oil companies was revealed for all to see. For their contribution of 1 billion dollars he would reverse all the Biden climate change measures. This is what an oligarchy looks like. Everything can be openly bought and sold.  

Sample of Relevant News Articles


US Economy, Immigration and Economic Disparity 

High Threat Level 6


The threat level for the US Economy, Immigration and Economic Disparity factor decreased a threat level to High Threat Level 6 primarily because of the revealing of the devastating impact of Trumps mass deportation of illegal immigrants would cause to the US economy. Voters can't say they haven't been warned.

Sample of Relevant News Articles


Gun Reform

High Threat Level 6


​The threat level rating for Gun Reform remained the same at a High Threat Level 6 primarily because states even blue ones cannot seem to pass laws forbidding the sale of assault weapons. 

Sample of Relevant News Articles,are%20sticking%20to%20their%20guns.


American Influence in World

Very High Threat Level 8


The threat level rating for American Influence in the World increased one threat level to Very High Level Threat 8 primarily because Russia appears to be making gains in their invasion of the Ukraine. The Ukrainian military is learning what Hitlers Nazi's and Napoleon learned from fighting the  Russians. They are willing to throw as many bodies as it requires to over come their enemies. The war has lasted a lot longer than anyone thought, but at this point that is not good news for Ukrainians who are running out of soldiers and military supplies. In addition, the Biden administration's position on sending military aid to Israel still is not clear. On the one hand, we claim we will not send weapons for Israeli campaigns of genocide against the citizens of Gaza, yet continue to announce billions of dollars of continuing aid to the Israelis military. If President Biden does not get clear on not supporting Israeli aggression he could lose young voters in the 2024 election campaign.


Sample of Relevant News Articles,push%20into%20the%20country's%20northeast.

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