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Darmok
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25 Apr 2020, 12:07 am

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25 Apr 2020, 10:02 am

New Poll Shows a Hidden Danger for Trump: Double Haters

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During the last weeks of the 2016 presidential campaign, Donald Trump’s data team was obsessed with a particular subset of voters: those who disliked both Trump and Hillary Clinton. As I reported in my book about the race, Devil’s Bargain, Trump’s analysts nicknamed this group “double haters.” They comprised about 3% to 5% of the 15 million voters the campaign believed were persuadable, but they were vexing because their intentions were difficult to discern. While their voting history indicated they would likely cast a ballot, many refused to answer pollsters’ questions or declared themselves undecided.

That is, until the final days of the campaign.

On October 28, then-FBI Director James Comey announced his intention to reopen the investigation into Clinton’s disputed emails. Immediately, the double haters made up their minds and started moving en masse toward Trump. “What we saw is that it gave them a reason to vote against her instead of voting for him,” Matt Oczkowski, a Trump campaign data scientist, said at the time. “They were finally able to admit that to pollsters without feeling any guilt.”
The Clinton campaign was also tracking double haters and, to its horror, saw the same thing. “We saw those fickle, Republican-leaning voters that we’d been successfully attracting off and on throughout the general election revert back to Trump at the end,” Brian Fallon, a top Clinton official, said then. The shift to Trump proved decisive.

Earlier this week, an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll found Joe Biden leading Trump 49 percent to 42 percent among registered voters—roughly the margin by which Clinton led Trump in 2016, once it was clear she’d be the Democratic nominee. NBC News shared data with me from the poll on voters who had negative opinions of both Trump and Biden: the new double haters. These voters were clear in their preference. Biden was winning them 60 percent to 10 percent.

The usual caveats apply: The election is months away; one poll doesn’t prove anything; the presidential race is hardly front and center in the news these days. On the other hand, it’s hardly a positive sign for Trump, and there are a number of reasons to think the disparity in support is real.

John Anzalone, who was a pollster for Clinton’s 2016 campaign and now polls for Biden’s campaign, says that last election, the widespread expectation that Clinton would win caused many people to stay home or cast a protest vote for Jill Stein or Gary Johnson. The fact of Trump’s presidency, he believes, will change that. “You’re always going to have double haters because we’re a divided nation,” says Anzalone. “But it’s different this time because they’re not going to stay home or go third party with so much at stake, and a Trump presidency isn’t theoretical anymore.”
Biden also has other advantages Clinton didn’t have. Sexism won’t be a problem for him, as it was for her. He’s perceived as a moderate. He hasn’t been the focus of decades of right-wing attacks, as Clinton was. And Trump’s attacks against him over his son Hunter Biden’s work in Ukraine haven’t resonated with Democratic and independent voters, who don’t find Trump to be a credible messenger. As one Democrat put it, double haters dislike Biden because he’s a Democrat—but unlike with Clinton, they don’t also think he’s the devil.

Trump’s allies have been eager to change this for more than a year, and the fact that they haven’t succeeded is the main reason why some in his campaign are itching to attack Biden as weak on China. Trump advisers I’ve spoken to say they have every expectation that they’ll eventually succeed in sowing doubts among the type of voters who now say they’ll hold their nose and vote for Biden. If so, that would turn the race for double haters into the kind of back-and-forth pendulum swing it was in 2016.

But Trump’s shaky handling of the coronavirus pandemic and his slippage in recent polls don’t suggest a turnaround is coming anytime soon. If Biden maintains a 50-point lead among double haters heading into the fall, Trump is probably toast. Even seeing that big a margin in April, a Republican close to the campaign told me, “is pretty concerning and frankly shocking.”


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26 Apr 2020, 3:25 am

GOOD!! !



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27 Apr 2020, 6:45 pm

Trump to Sideline Fauci and Birx, Pivot to Economic Message in Press Briefings: Report

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President Trump hasn’t been paying close attention to the advice of his public-health officials. According to the New York Times, Trump is a rare sight at the coronavirus task force meetings that precede the White House daily briefings — which could explain why the president touted injections of disinfectant as a possible coronavirus treatment on Friday.

But according to two reports on Sunday, the most publicly known doctors leading the federal COVID-19 response, Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx, will be sidelined in the coming weeks. The White House confirmed to Axios that the two will stay on “but take a back seat to the forward-looking, ‘what’s next’ message.”

ome form of these changes could aid Trump in several of his election-year pursuits. White House officials have advised the president that his current onscreen approach to the crisis may be hurting his standing among seniors: Recent polling has shown Joe Biden up in swing states and among voters over 65, a key demographic for Trump’s path to reelection. By decreasing his screen time — and avoiding potential repeats of Friday’s disastrous bleach bomb — advisers hope the president may be able to emulate Biden’s low-profile success. (“For the first time, I feel like he gets it that these aren’t helping him,” a source who spoke to Trump on Friday told Axios.) Pivoting to the economy will also put Trump on friendlier territory than his new ventures into public health; the robust economy during the administration’s first three years has been a fall-back rally message.

However, the prioritization of an economy-first response is a clear sign that the administration is prepared to abandon public-health expertise beyond just the onscreen presence of Birx and Fauci. And there may be more shake-ups on the way: The Wall Street Journal and Politico report that White House officials are considering replacing Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar.


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28 Apr 2020, 8:10 pm

Former Democratic Nominee Hillary Clinton Endorses Joe Biden

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Hillary Clinton has officially thrown her support behind Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential race against President Trump, who defeated Clinton in 2016.

The 2016 Democratic nominee and former secretary of state announced the endorsement in an online town hall with Biden on Tuesday afternoon to discuss the impact of COVID-19 on women. It's the latest high-profile endorsement racked up by the former vice president, following House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Monday.

"Just think of what a difference it would make right now if we had a president who not only listened to the science, put facts over fiction, but brought us together, showed the kind of compassion and caring that we need from our president, and which Joe Biden has been exemplifying throughout his entire life," Clinton said.

"Think about what a difference it would make if we had a real president, not just one who played one on TV," she added, criticizing the Republican opponent who defeated her in 2016.

However, for all her remaining goodwill among Democrats, Clinton remains a polarizing figure, with many blaming her numerous political missteps and moderate voting record for failing to inspire a more robust turnout in the 2016 race.

Still, Clinton's endorsement could help consolidate Democrats around Biden, who faces many of the same criticisms weathered by Clinton in her White House pursuit. Biden considered running against Clinton in 2016, but decided against it in the wake of his son's death from cancer.

In introducing Clinton in the Tuesday town hall, Biden called his former Senate and White House colleague "my friend, the former senator, former secretary of state, and the woman who should be president."

Also on Tuesday, a number of top Sanders supporters announced the formation of a super PAC to energize progressive support for Biden. Sanders and Clinton had a particularly rancorous primary battle in 2016, the wounds of which never completely healed.

Sanders has swiftly and vocally come around to support Biden since dropping out as his main challenger in the primary, a sharp contrast to how the party remained fractured four years ago.


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29 Apr 2020, 12:44 am

SMiLes; 'The Disinfectant Virus King' Has met His Match.
The Rest of Nature of course Without Words That Does NOT 'buy' Lies.

Obviously, New York City has Greatest 'Herd Immunity'; So far, if there
is even such a Thing With this Virus; as only Research Will answer that for sure.

If It does; Around Twenty Percent; as Anti-Body Tests Show is obviously the
Highest Percentage in the Country; by Clear Math of the Highest Concentration of the Virus Infections.

Sixty to Seventy Percent infected by A Virus of a Population Without Vaccines Means Herd Immunity.

Until then the Virus Stalks Human as Easy Prey When Humans Come Close together as Social Animals Do;

Close to 60,000 Deaths in 60 Days With The Stream of Numbers Still coming in the United States.

Take away the Social Distancing and BOOM some places go BOOM With the Virus too.

Ignorance isn't gonna Beat Mother Nature;

And That's A Fact; Unless it wears Human Words.

Every Virus Just Hopes for 'A Real Fool Like' Trump as Leader of a Country
to Anthropomorphize the Resilient of Nature, at least, Against Lies of 'Clowns' With No Love In Their Souls.

We Get What We Vote For; And Some folks Just Are Not Capable of Seeing Through Deepest Shallow Lies;
Or Again, Just Plain Vanilla Ignorance.

The Effect:

What Coming Next;

Actions Or Lack of Actions Brings Consequences; Do or Do Not; Karma, No Escape.

i don't Put Anything past Ignorance; just because It's Literally Impossible for some folks to see it;

Same With Deepest Shallow Lies. If Trump Is Re-Elected It's Only A Reflection of what This Country is Becoming.


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29 Apr 2020, 1:14 am

aghogday wrote:
SMiLes; 'The Disinfectant Virus King' Has met His Match.
The Rest of Nature of course Without Words That Does NOT 'buy' Lies.

Obviously, New York City has Greatest 'Herd Immunity'; So far, if there
is even such a Thing With this Virus; as only Research Will answer that for sure.

If It does; Around Twenty Percent; as Anti-Body Tests Show is obviously the
Highest Percentage in the Country; by Clear Math of the Highest Concentration of the Virus Infections.

Sixty to Seventy Percent infected by A Virus of a Population Without Vaccines Means Herd Immunity.

Until then the Virus Stalks Human as Easy Prey When Humans Come Close together as Social Animals Do;

Close to 60,000 Deaths in 60 Days With The Stream of Numbers Still coming in the United States.

Take away the Social Distancing and BOOM some places go BOOM With the Virus too.

Ignorance isn't gonna Beat Mother Nature;

And That's A Fact; Unless it wears Human Words.

Every Virus Just Hopes for 'A Real Fool Like' Trump as Leader of a Country
to Anthropomorphize the Resilient of Nature, at least, Against Lies of 'Clowns' With No Love In Their Souls.

We Get What We Vote For; And Some folks Just Are Not Capable of Seeing Through Deepest Shallow Lies;
Or Again, Just Plain Vanilla Ignorance.

The Effect:

What Coming Next;

Actions Or Lack of Actions Brings Consequences; Do or Do Not; Karma, No Escape.

i don't Put Anything past Ignorance; just because It's Literally Impossible for some folks to see it;

Same With Deepest Shallow Lies. If Trump Is Re-Elected It's Only A Reflection of what This Country is Becoming.

This is perhaps your most easily readable long post in many years. :)

*Herd immunity* seems to be a misnomer, as people can get infected again ??

It seems analogous to saying people have *herd immunity* to the flu virus.

Maybe *herd resistance* is a better term.


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29 Apr 2020, 12:21 pm

TheRobotLives wrote:
aghogday wrote:
SMiLes; 'The Disinfectant Virus King' Has met His Match.
The Rest of Nature of course Without Words That Does NOT 'buy' Lies.

Obviously, New York City has Greatest 'Herd Immunity'; So far, if there
is even such a Thing With this Virus; as only Research Will answer that for sure.

If It does; Around Twenty Percent; as Anti-Body Tests Show is obviously the
Highest Percentage in the Country; by Clear Math of the Highest Concentration of the Virus Infections.

Sixty to Seventy Percent infected by A Virus of a Population Without Vaccines Means Herd Immunity.

Until then the Virus Stalks Human as Easy Prey When Humans Come Close together as Social Animals Do;

Close to 60,000 Deaths in 60 Days With The Stream of Numbers Still coming in the United States.

Take away the Social Distancing and BOOM some places go BOOM With the Virus too.

Ignorance isn't gonna Beat Mother Nature;

And That's A Fact; Unless it wears Human Words.

Every Virus Just Hopes for 'A Real Fool Like' Trump as Leader of a Country
to Anthropomorphize the Resilient of Nature, at least, Against Lies of 'Clowns' With No Love In Their Souls.

We Get What We Vote For; And Some folks Just Are Not Capable of Seeing Through Deepest Shallow Lies;
Or Again, Just Plain Vanilla Ignorance.

The Effect:

What Coming Next;

Actions Or Lack of Actions Brings Consequences; Do or Do Not; Karma, No Escape.

i don't Put Anything past Ignorance; just because It's Literally Impossible for some folks to see it;

Same With Deepest Shallow Lies. If Trump Is Re-Elected It's Only A Reflection of what This Country is Becoming.

This is perhaps your most easily readable long post in many years. :)

*Herd immunity* seems to be a misnomer, as people can get infected again ??

It seems analogous to saying people have *herd immunity* to the flu virus.

Maybe *herd resistance* is a better term.


I don't Know if You've Heard; but Scientists Are Not Sure if Humans Even Get Immune to the Covid19 Disease
From Recovery of the Disease through the Anti-Bodies They Retain; And Yes, Herd Resistance is a better Term;
Particularly, in this case; although of Course There are Some Diseases that Do Provide Actual Immunity
Amongst the Members of 'the Herd', Once they Recover and Keep the Antibodies Like Measles. But
Of Course Chicken Pox Presents the Issue of Shingles; in that Way, it Really Never Goes away as
An Illness Just waiting to reappear a bit 'Modified'; as 'Trump' Better Hope 'this one' doesn't
Mutate into a 'Real Monster Killer'; the rest of us of course too; i don't even wanna really say it; but
perhaps Something that starts to Kill all the Pets; It Will Find a Breeding Ground to change if it does.

And Yes, There is Potential of that too; So far Cats and Dogs too; minimally now; but that's How Change Starts.

Like A Trump Snowball too; Collecting Tar, Instead of 'Happy Stars'; But i Digress in that Mud Pie.

One thing For Sure; All The Trump Lies in the World Ain't Gonna Change the Reality of Nature: Change.

And all the Money, Power, Status, And Bleached Blonde will Not Save His Last Breath; the only Real Gift of Nature to Us.

He Has No Love; Void
He Lives of that Within;
So His Fear of Death
Drives All He Does;
Love is Forever Now
For those who Truly Experience Essence of Love;
Just in case folks wonder why he does all the Dark He does.... and others too....

No Light Within.... Nothing to Reflect but Desperation of Dark to continue to 'See'..
In Other Words Living Death.

i truly Pity Him
And All those
Relative to the Oldest Human Darkness; the void within...

Yes; i can and will sympathize too; Just A ReTiReD Devil too... Fresh Out of Hell.

It Helps me see 'Dead People' Wherever i go; Smiles, not hard for me to be a Zombie Detective;

Yet, i only Study 'them' now.

Sympathy For 'The Devil'; Words of Myths And Whatever Other Works of Art
Do their Best to Cover What Science Will Never Fully Measure; Human Emotions and Senses;
Even Basic Human Consciousness Is Far Beyond the Understanding of Science; And Always Will be
As the Scientific Method cannot Measure What it Will Never Be able to 'See': Forever Change Now.

Yet in someways at Least some of us get to visit More of Human Existence; Others, Beyond the Imagination of Others.

Only Art Will come close to Measure What's Really Real Within; In This Way Poetry 'Trumps' Science for what is most real:

What Lives or
Does Not Within;
What Actually Breathes, Sees, and Hears; or Does Not Without Organs of Eyes and Ears...

Like iMaGiNaTioN And Creativity of Course beyond any Measure of 'Trumps' As Well.


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07 May 2020, 11:10 am

Donald Trump Leads Joe Biden By Two Points Across Six Battleground States

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President Donald Trump is leading Joe Biden by two points in six battlegrounds states, a new poll has found.

The latest survey by Change Research and CNBC revealed that 47 percent of likely voters in Arizona, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin would back the commander-in-chief if an election were held the same day.

By comparison, 45 percent told pollsters they would opt for former Vice President Biden. A further 4 percent said they would back a third-party candidate while 3 percent were unsure who they would back in November.

When the hypothetical ballot was whittled down to a simple head-to-head between Trump and Biden, the president had a three-point lead among battleground state voters.

President Trump's lead over the presumptive Democratic nominee in key swing states came in spite of disapproval over his handling of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Forty-eight percent of those polled said they either "strongly" or "somewhat" approved of the commander-in-chief's handling of the COVID-19 outbreak, compared to 52 percent who disapproved.

But his approval rating on the issue was still better than that of Congress, with seven-in-ten of the swing state voters telling pollsters they disapproved of Congress' reaction to the pandemic.

Asked who they believed President Trump favored most with his economic responses to the pandemic, half of voters told pollsters that the policies favored the wealthy and big corporations.

A little more than one-in-five (21 percent) said Trump's bailouts favored the middle class and small businesses, while roughly a quarter (24 percent) said they favored both groups equally.

Giving an overall rating of the U.S. economy, 24 percent said it was in either an "excellent" or "good" state. The remaining 76 percent rated it as "not so good" or "poor."

A similar number (71 percent) told pollsters they thought the economy was either "probably" or "definitely" in the midst of a recession.

Asked what they thought of President Trump's general performance in the White House, 49 percent said they approved of the job he was doing while 51 percent disapproved.

Change Research pollsters surveyed 3,544 likely voters across the six battleground states between May 1 and May 3. The poll's margin of error is 1.6 percentage points.


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07 May 2020, 12:50 pm

Change Research is rated “C” by FiveThirtyEight and usually leans slightly towards the Democrats, an average of 1.1%.

Not sure about the survey design because an outlying state could distort the picture, but apparently all of the states are close contests. As far as I can tell they haven’t broken it down in public but they do say Biden is projected to win the Electoral College in their poll, which is odd!

https://www.changeresearch.com/post/sta ... und-wave-4



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17 May 2020, 9:17 pm

Justin Amash will not launch third-party bid for president

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Michigan Rep. Justin Amash has announced that he will not run for president as a third party candidate.

"After much reflection, I've concluded that circumstances don't lend themselves to my success as a candidate for president this year, and therefore I will not be a candidate," he tweeted Saturday.

Amash announced last month that he was exploring a presidential run as a Libertarian Party candidate.
In a series of tweets on Saturday, Amash said the decision to drop out was "difficult," but that he "believes a candidate from outside the old parties, offering a vision of government grounded in liberty and equality, can break through in the right environment."

"Polarization is near an all-time high. Electoral success requires an audience willing to consider alternatives, but both social media and traditional media are dominated by voices strongly averse to the political risks posed by a viable third candidate," he added.

The Libertarian Party, he added, "is well positioned to become a major and consistent contender to win elections at all levels of government."

"I remain invested in helping the party realize these possibilities and look forward to the successes ahead," he said.
The Republican-turned-independent said in early April he was looking "closely" at a bid, after he stopped actively campaigning for his House seat in February while he considered jumping into the presidential race.
He was facing a tough reelection in Michigan's 3rd District. National Republicans were eager to defeat him, and several Republicans have been running for the seat.

Amash was first elected to represent Michigan's 3rd Congressional District in the 2010 tea party wave.
The Michigan congressman is the son of a Syrian immigrant mother and a Palestinian refugee father. Before entering Congress, he worked as a lawyer for his family's business and served a term from 2008-2010 in the Michigan state house.
Over the years, Amash has been consistently willing to take controversial votes according to his view of limited government, often being one of the only House members to vote against legislation with broad bipartisan support, such as an anti-lynching bill in February.

In 2015, Amash was one of the founding members of the House Freedom Caucus, an influential group of hardline conservatives that clashed with House Republican leadership and pushed for a more open legislative process and curtailed federal spending.

He came into the national spotlight last May when he announced his support for impeaching President Donald Trump over the findings in former special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. He was the first and only House Republican to support impeachment, eventually voting for both articles of impeachment against the President as an independent late last year.

Amash has repeatedly told reporters he would only run for president if he believes there is a path to victory. In March 2019, he told CNN he never stops thinking about possibilities like running for president "because there is a big problem with the current two-party system we have, and someone has to shake it up."


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18 May 2020, 2:46 am

In the same way some were shocked at the election result in 2016, it feels like there are a lot of Trump fans this time around who would be left absolutely stunned if he didn't romp to victory very easily



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18 May 2020, 7:16 am

The Teflon Campaign

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It was congresswoman Pat Schroeder, Democrat from Colorado, who labeled Ronald Reagan the “Teflon” president in a fit of exasperation in August 1983. What frustrated Schroeder was that nothing “stuck” to Reagan — not the recession, not his misadventures in Lebanon, not his seeming detachment from his own administration. Reagan’s job approval had plunged to a low of 35 percent at the beginning of that year, but his numbers were rising and his personal favorability remained high. “He is just the master of ceremonies at someone else’s dinner,” she said.

Ironically, the one thing that did stick to Reagan was Schroeder’s nickname. The phrase was so catchy that writers applied it to mobsters (“Teflon Don” John Gotti) and to Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump. Teflon presidents, gangsters, candidates — we have had them all. What we have not experienced until now is a Teflon campaign.

Between March 11, when the coronavirus prompted the NBA to suspend its season, and May 14, some 84,000 Americans died of coronavirus, more than 36 million lost their jobs, and Congress appropriated $3.6 trillion in new spending. It is not foolish to suppose that these world-shaking events would affect the presidential election. On the contrary: One would expect a dramatic swing toward either the incumbent or the challenger. But look at the polls. Not only has there been no big shift. There has been no shift.

On March 11, Joe Biden led Donald Trump by 7 points in the RealClearPolitics average. On May 14, he led Trump by 5 points. “Biden’s advantage,” says Harry Enten of CNN, “is the steadiest in a race with an incumbent running since at least 1944.” He has never been behind. His share of the vote has been impervious to external events.

Neither good nor bad news has an effect. Bernie Sanders ended his campaign on April 8 and endorsed Biden on April 13. Biden received no bump from this display of party unity. Tara Reade accused Biden of sexual assault on March 25, and Biden did not respond directly to the allegation until May 1. His margin over Trump did not shrink. It remained the same.

Why? The incidents of this election cycle are not the reason. Epidemics, depressions, and sex scandals have happened before. What is distinct are the candidates. One in particular.

If this race has been the steadiest in memory, it is because public opinion of the incumbent has been the most consistent in memory. “Trump’s approval rating has the least variation of any post-World War II president,” notes Geoffrey Skelley of FiveThirtyEight. Whatever is in the headlines matters less than one’s view of the president. And he is a subject on which most people’s views are ironclad.

When the crisis began, Trump’s approval rating was 44 percent in the RealClearPolitics average. On May 14, it is 46 percent. A social and economic calamity befell the country, and Trump’s approval ticked up. Not enough for him to win, necessarily. But enough to keep him in contention.

Americans feel more strongly about Trump, either for or against, than about any other candidate since polling began. His supporters give his approval ratings a floor, and his detractors give his ratings a ceiling. There is not a lot of room in between.

For years, Trump voters have said that they are willing to overlook his faults because they believe the stakes in his victory and success are so high. Heard from less often have been Trump’s opponents, who are so desperate to see him gone that they dismiss the failings and vulnerabilities of whoever happens to be challenging him at the moment.

Recently the feminist author Linda Hirshman wrote in the New York Times that she believes Tara Reade’s story but will vote for Joe Biden anyway. “Better to just own up to what you are doing,” she wrote. “Sacrificing Ms. Reade for the good of the many.” Hirshman is the mirror-image of the Trump supporter who, as the president once said, would not be bothered if he shot someone on Fifth Avenue. Intensifying tribalism makes this election a nonstick surface.

What gives Biden the upper hand is that there are more people who feel negatively than positively about Donald Trump. What gives Trump a chance is the uneven distribution of these people across the country. That was the case before coronavirus. It is still the case today.

Watching the numbers hardly budge over these past months, I have sometimes wondered what could move them. War? Spiritual revival? Space aliens? Don’t think so. Throw anything at it. Nothing adheres to this Teflon campaign.


Biscuitman wrote:
In the same way some were shocked at the election result in 2016, it feels like there are a lot of Trump fans this time around who would be left absolutely stunned if he didn't romp to victory very easily

It also feels like a lot of those same progressives who were so sure Trump was going to lose in ‘16 are panicked expecting him to win this time.

The polls are being ignored because of overcorrection from ‘16 and the widespread incorrect perception that the polls were massively wrong in ‘16. Again most of the final meta polling had Hillary winning the popular vote by 3 or 4 points. She won the popular vote by 2.9 percent.

Ignore the long term consistency of the polls at your own peril. Trump’s consistent lead before ‘16 primaries was ignored as was Biden’s consistent primary lead especially after the early Sanders primary wins. Lead by Sander’s lovable curmudgeon persona and AOC’s star power the next generation of socialists was poised to take power, and if you did not like it or expressed cynicism about the perceived inevitable, ok boomer.

There are legitimate reasons to doubt the current polling is a predictor of what will happen in November. The shock of the pandemic is turning into despair and anger. We can’t be sure who will vote and how they will vote but there are legitimate reasons to think it won’t change the fundamentals of the current situation.


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20 May 2020, 6:51 pm

Biden Doesn’t Have to Worry About Progressives by Noah Rothman

Quote:
he fundamental proposition before Democratic primary voters in 2020 was not what America’s pundit class seems to have wanted it to be. Voters were not deciding what the Democratic Party would look like. They were not determining what the party’s value proposition would be. Nor were they rendering a verdict on the trajectory of its ideological evolution. Voters were asked to choose between two fundamentally distinct electoral strategies.

One approach, represented by Joe Biden, was to reconstitute as much of Barack Obama’s coalition as possible and take back the Obama-supporting states Donald Trump won in 2016. The other, to which Bernie Sanders subscribed, involved sacrificing that coalition in favor of a hypothetical one that would remake the electoral map. Voters resoundingly rejected that proposition, but the implications associated with that choice are far-reaching. If his strategy is to work, Biden will have to conduct a campaign that will be hard for the progressive wing of his party to stomach.

An analysis conducted by the political scientist John Sides and written up by John Halpin and Ruy Teixeira for the Washington Post frames the matter rather starkly. To be successful in November, Biden will need to target the 9 percent of voters—about 6 million Americans—who cast a ballot for Barack Obama in 2012 but were transformed into Trump voters by 2016.

When it comes to pocketbook issues, these voters certainly qualify as progressives—at least, in theory. A majority would support increasing taxes on incomes above than $600,000 annually, making college tuition a debt-free proposition, and creating a federal mandate guaranteeing Americans a job. The structural, organizational, and prudential impediments to realizing this wish list should reassure conservative voters that policies like these aren’t likely to materialize within a President Biden’s first 100 days (if ever).

Even more reassuring, this is, by and large, where these voters’ progressive sympathies end.

Fewer than half of Obama-Trump voters support Medicare-for-all. A plurality opposes family-based chain migration in favor of a more merit-based system. They believe the federal government should provide vouchers to families so they can opt out of the public-school system. These voters oppose reparations for slavery. They insist that there are only two genders. They oppose blanket firearm bans. Nearly eight-in-ten believe the federal government should promote “traditional family values.” A full 60 percent think the Ten Commandments should be displayed in public spaces like schools and courthouses.

Progressives would be mistaken for thinking that Biden would be pandering by courting this constituency. The progressive ascendancy within the Democratic Party seems likely in the long-run. There is, however, precious little evidence that this is a dominant faction within the party as it is currently constituted. For all the coverage of the Democratic “Squad,” the four freshmen congresswomen who captured the press’s attention after the 2018 elections were the survivors of what was otherwise a rout for the Democratic Party’s left flank. Biden’s victory only provides more evidence that the progressive program’s appeal is far narrower than this faction’s stranglehold on the nation’s center-left airwaves would lead you to believe.

Accordingly, progressives are in despair. At least, that’s the impression Politico’s Alex Thompson was left with after a recent survey of the landscape on the left. This faction is currently lobbying for a consolation prize in the form of a progressive vice-presidential pick—an effort that includes both incentives and veiled threats. But if Sides’ data is accurate, Biden would be foolish to acquiesce to their demands.

It could be argued that the left’s anguish is premature. Joe Biden has not campaigned on a vision that competes in a substantive way with what his progressive colleagues are offering. Their time will come soon enough. For now, though, the Democratic Party’s task is only to avoid scaring prospective Democratic voters—that means avoiding commitments to the radical reformation of American society. Such a project would be anxiety-producing enough in a time of tranquility, to say nothing of this present period of pandemic-induced anxiety and tumult.

This dynamic will generate a lot of frustration within the Democratic Party’s progressive wing, but progressives’ capacity to swallow their pride may mean the difference between a moral victory and a real one. By November, most within their ranks won’t find that a hard choice to make.


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Professionally Identified and joined WP August 26, 2013
DSM 5: Autism Spectrum Disorder, DSM IV: Aspergers Moderate Severity

My autism is not a superpower. It also isn’t some kind of god-forsaken, endless fountain of suffering inflicted on my family. It’s just part of who I am as a person. - Sara Luterman


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21 May 2020, 1:05 am

if biden foolishly chooses another white conservative guy, trump is gonna win a LANDSLIDE. the progressives will NOT vote for biden if he doesn't at least throw them a bone. they will stay home and let this country finish destroying itself.