Out of Scope

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Written by

Hirsch Leatherwood

Out of Scope

The Summer of Our Discontent

Plus: Panda Diplomacy and the Big Mac Economy

Banner Image: Axios

Happy Monday! For this edition of Out of Scope, we react to Semafor’s latest research on Gen-Z’s dour political disposition. But first, stories from last week with some staying power...


  • The summer’s hottest accessory isn’t a designer bag. It’s a paper one from your favorite fast food chain. According to a LendingTree survey, 78% of respondents said they now view fast food as "a luxury" because of price hikes. Big Macs and Whoppers have graduated from an affordable convenience to a splurge.

  • As climate change pushes payout costs up as housing prices soar, more and more Americans are forgoing home insurance. Quantifiable impact on talking animal spokespeople remains TBD.

  • In the world of publishing, expect the unexpected. As legacy media finds new ways to drive revenue and relevance, fashion magazine Elle announced plans to build a residential project in Miami and bring luxurious living off the page.

💡ON OUR MINDS: The Summer Of Our Discontent

  • The vibes are off. Last week, a survey published by Semafor showed that voters under 30 strongly feel that politicians are corrupt and that the United States is profoundly headed in the wrong direction. 

  • 64% backed the statement that “America is in decline;” 51% agreed to some extent that the U.S.’s political system “doesn’t work for people like me;” and 49% agreed to some extent that elections don’t represent people like them.

  • This sour mood is further complicated by the ongoing “vibecession,” as reported by Axios this morning. Although the economy remains strong on paper, Americans are just not feeling it.

  • These sentiments aren’t a great sign in an election year. In an already uninteresting campaign season, Americans are less engaged and enthusiastic about the race. 

  • To weather the bad vibes, institutions, candidates, and incumbents nationwide face the challenge of messaging optimism and positivity as conditions stagnate.


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