Kevin Drum looks at election demographics and concludes that Democrats are in a long-term pickle:
To put this more simply, recent evidence suggests that Democrats don’t just have a problem with the white working class anymore, but, increasingly, a problem with the working class, period. Unfortunately, this inevitably brings us around to the tedious—but important—question of whether liberals need to move toward the center on social issues.
Needless to say, the progressive wing of the party is massively resistant to this idea. During the election, my Twitter feed was jam packed with quixotic ideas for expanding the Democratic map: eliminating the Electoral College; admitting Washington DC and Puerto Rico as states; packing the Supreme Court; etc. This is all pie-in-the-sky stuff, a desperate attempt to propose anything other than the obvious: embracing social policies that appeal to more people, especially those without college degrees. That’s Politics 101. I don’t know how this is all going to turn out, but I’ll bet it’s going to be a helluva fight.
Feel free to argue with Kevin’s conclusion but let’s just assume he’s right and Democrats need to embrace more appealing social policies, whatever that means. Here’s my first question: how do we find working-class voters who will listen? As I’ve argued before, there’s a major swath of rural voters who are lost to any form of persuasion because they are in a Fox/Facebook bubble. The same may be true for the voters identified in the pieces Kevin quotes in his post, which are white, latino and asian working-class male voters in cities as well as rural areas. Normally, one would talk message before talking how to deliver that message, but I think the smart move in the current political climate is to understand these voters’ media diet first, then talk about messaging. If COVID has taught us anything, it’s that voters beliefs about the Republican Party can withstand a heavy onslaught of reality and remain unchanged.
My second question is what it means to move to the center on social policy. My view is that it’s easy to say and hard to do, because two of the biggest social issues, guns and abortion, are almost completely black-and-white for those who are moved by them. If you say that abortions should be “safe, legal and rare” (which makes me want to puke, frankly) you’ve done nothing to appease a single-issue anti-choice voter. Similarly, saying that you’re for reasonable limits on gun ownership does absolutely nothing to appease someone for whom any limit on gun ownership is too much. Abortion, gun control, LGBTQ (especially trans) rights and a host of other social issues don’t really have a “center” from the perspective of the voters who care about them.
It may well be that there’s a group of male working-class voters who could be swayed by changes in messaging. But I also think Democrats need to do a hell of a lot more research on how to reach those voters before we just accept that moderating our message is the way to do it. And, if we find these voters are unreachable, we need to come up with other strategies to find reachable voters. I see people despairing because 67% of voters turned out in 2020 and Democrats didn’t cruise to victory. My take is that we have another third of the population to work on if we can’t convince working-class males to vote our way.
Agree. The first objective is to win elections, not to seek a particular demographic or social mix.
Dems need to point out that in the Bible, god loves him the abortion. That anti-abortion is anti-bible. Hell, god gives instructions for Rabbi’s on how to induce an abortion. A number of pregnant woman were executed in the bible (no waiting for them to give birth) because god didn’t view the fetus as a child. Christ knew full well that abortions were common and he gave zero talks against that practice. Christ knew full well about the teachings on how to have a woman have an abortion and never said a word against that practice.
Four Seasons Total Landscaping mistermix
@Cermet: If God existed, he’d be the world’s greatest abortionist since he terminates ~1/3 of all pregnancies. Some nutcase would have shot him in a church lobby long ago.
Joe Biden got 57% of the vote for people making under 50k a year. How is this having a “problem” with the working class?
Beyond message, I think it’s the decision-making process itself. Getting as many people as possible to solve problems at the local level gives them not only more control over their own lives but also an understanding in the choices that have to be made to create viable public policy. The message that is transmitted from DC or Tallahassee or wherever may be “here’s an answer to your problem,” but the message that’s heard is “I’m telling you what to do.” I freely admit that I don’t know how to make such a grass-roots effort work, but I don’t see any way around it.
I think the main problem is getting out the vote not the message. In 2020 there were 57,000 newly registered Democrats in Philadelphia. The difference in Democratic votes between 2016 and 2020 was 12,000 more Democratic votes at the polls in Philadelphia. Where was the rest of the new voters?
Kevin Drum can get lost in the forest sometimes. We are not moving to the center on LBTGQ rights, because it is a question of basic equality. It is not a progressive value, it is a democratic value. We are not moving to the center on reproductive rights. We can and will continue persuasion and will make inroads. Our continuing work on economic issues will build our base. When we can get $15 an hour into their pockets, they might not worry so much about that gay person having a wedding.
Thank you for a dose of common sense! It annoys the hell out of me when people say we need a better message to appeal to working class voters. What the hell does that mean? Democrats are ALREADY on the right side of issues that affect the working class. Democrats are already on the right side of policies and programs. So what are we supposed to do? Run of office on racist dog whistles and other hatemongering? The fact is that Republican voters for the most part don’t vote on issues. They vote for the hatemongering. That hate mongering is primarily directed at Democrats with a sidedish of bigoted dogwhistles. When it comes to policies programs and legislation, the white working class voters is in alignment with Democrats. If white working class voters voted on issues they’d be Democratic voters already. Yiu you are correct The message does not need to change except maybe to me more bluntly anti-Republican The medium needs to change. The communication route needs to change. I wish that Democratic tacticians and advisors realized this.
Drum’s “move to center on social issues” means nothing more than turning a blind eye towards police abuse and corruption. He’s a middle aged white guy living a comfortable life with good health insurance working for a non profit living in California. Same-sex marriage is the law of the land. Single issue abortion voters aren’t going to vote for the Democratic Party under any circumstances.
Drum wants black people to shut the fuck up about the fact that they can be murdered by the police without suffering any consequences. Plain and simple. Which is easy for him to say, being a middle aged white guy from Orange County, California.
Fuck The Police.
When Kevin says “working class” he means “men.” There are way more women than men in the economically based “working class” demographic. He’s a very decent chap and I doubt he even knows that’s really what he’s talking about.
Four Seasons Total Landscaping mistermix
I wonder who’s going to do the research to figure out how to reach those voters. It’s just hard for an institution that is used to using well-trodden pathways for communication to fund research into how they can change. The institutional habit is to just pound more money into what’s worked in the past.
Did Drum bother to talk to any Latino, Asian, and white *women* working-class voters? Or are we ONCE AGAIN going by the presumption that the only voters whose opinions matter are male? Jesus.
Pass a new Voting Rights Act. Make voting a right and not a privilege in this nation and you don’t have to read the tea leaves of what will appeal to some male white, working class, single issue, gun humping, Fox News bubble inhabiting, rural American. Then we can move on from these “culture war” issues and into the issues that will actually affect most peoples’ lives to whit: health care, child care, education, saving the freakin’ planet.
@Red Cedar: Yeah, Biden won voters who made under $100K. Drum’s analysis doesn’t make any sense. I think the real divide is between urban/suburban voters and rural voters.
Getting non-voters motivated to vote is probably good in the long run, but as we saw in Texas this year, that doesn’t mean they are going to vote Democratic.
There are problems with Democratic messaging (the whole “defund the police” thing) but the bigger problem is with disinformation being spread through social media and traditional media (Fox, OANN, etc.)
yes, COVID has proven media diet is key to reaching some segments of the electorate and I also grant that it has become cliched in a “What’s The Matter With Kansas?” way to harp on economic issues, but as a member of a powerful labor union, I have to say that the persuadable issues remain economic. It is an old critique of the post-Clinton (Bill) Democratic Party, but it still carries weight to say that voters vote their hearts on three major types of issues: social issues, economic issues and foreign policy. The Democrats surrendered to the GOP on economic & foreign policy, so of course the blue collar hard hat vote went for the one thing that continued to differentiate the two parties. I think this is their only real path to future victories, which is to say a robust economic populism and an outward, unapologetic fighting spirit, in the vein of FDR who once said of the nation’s bankers “I welcome their hatred.” Biden making noises about healing and bringing the nation together, like Obama did 12 years ago, just gives McConnell and his wrecking crew all the more incentive not to work with him on anything, to make him fail in bringing the two sides together by simply not cooperating. Since neither he nor any other Democrat not nick-named AOC will actually call them villains in public in front of a microphone, the cycle of abuse continues.
I am convinced at this point that 90% of being anti-abortion is simply about having the rhetorical ability to call Democrats “babykillers.” Certainly, no Republican in my lifetime has ever proposed any policy that would actually help a woman to avoid an unplanned pregnancy or even to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term without it being at best a serious financial burden and at worst ruining the mother’s life if not killing her outright. Almost without exception, the red states with the legislatures that are most rabidly anti-choice are also the ones with the highest levels of teen pregnancy AND the highest levels of infant mortality.
Four Seasons Total Landscaping mistermix
In his defense, he was quoting stories in two different major newspapers making the argument. He’s stating an opinion that has a hell of a lot of currency in the Democratic Party — I didn’t mean to pick on him specifically. But I agree with you that working-class males get a hell of a lot more attention in these stories than working-class females, or the working-class young, for that matter.
If moving to the center on social policies means taking civil rights away from groups of people, I say no. I say the Democratic position on “social” issues should be a calm, assured assumption that people have the right to vote, marry, buy houses, organize, etc. Our messaging should be around financial issues–the right to health care without bankruptcy, the right to complete an education free of crippling debt, the right to schools for our children that are free of violence and don’t depend on candy sales to provide teachers and textbooks. And forget the “center” part anyway — those are things all Americans want and deserve. Just work toward those things, and communicate about those efforts, and quit being afraid. Republicans support the most horrific positions without caring what decent people think of them!
ETA: Or what planetjanet said at #7 above.
@Red Cedar: And DJT won the >$100k vote 54-42%. MAGA Nation may be lots of things, but poor it is not.
According to non-partisan polling Democrats are squarely in the center already. How about the corporate press stop with the “both sides” BS?
The voters are already there. Georgia demonstrated that, and hopefully will enforce that demonstration on Jan. 5. In an election that saw the largest turnout in years, one third of the voters still did not show up. Figure out how to turn them out and you win more elections.
Biden gained blue color voters in suburbs. All data points to a rural/urban division. People have been saying that this is the coming realignment for a long time. It is why Atlanta is shifting Georgia blue.
Major Major Major Major
This is like the canonical example of sounding like you’re moving to the center without doing it. I’ve never understood why it makes people want to puke–it does not represent a single policy difference. Voters respond well to sounding moderate, even if it doesn’t modify your “abortion on demand in every shopping mall” policies. Nothing Democrats ever do will appease a single-issue anti-abortion voter, but those aren’t the voters we need.
ETA: same thing goes for criminal justice reform. DEFUND THE POLICE is maybe a bad way to go about discussing it. republicans let their members talk about republican policies however the hell they want–and it works, they get elected, and pass the party policies anyway.
Politics is gross!
Most of the anti Dem working class men I consult with vote R to settle grievances. Lot of the young’s got their copy of Atlas Shrugged at the prescribed age of 13ish. Call themselves libertarians. Boils down to I got mine, anyone can do it unless they are lazy. Dems want to tax me to give all my money to the lazy. Also too the usual racist stuff. I don’t see ever getting them to change.
Safe, legal and rare is a very centrist reasonable position. The idea that Democrats make abortions unecessary and Repuglicans make them illegal is convincing. When people bring up their anti-abortion views i point out how bad the maternal healthcare is/was (I haven’t checked the stats recently) in the states that make abortion and access to birth control difficult. So many women die in childbirth. Why kill more with illegal abortions.
Democrats need better messaging to counter all that hate radio and tv. Maybe billboards? Republicans are trying to kill Social Security for heavens sake. Obama Care has turned into a good thing. They have done nothing for infrastructure. For crying out loud, do Repuglicans love the 10% tax deduction for 3 martini lunches and more tax deductions for the super rich?
I have spent most of my life trying to ignore RWNJs, now I try to confront them every time I hear them (when I don’t feel threatened and sometimes when I do). Conspiracy theories? Yeah, just like Pizzagate, Death Panels, and weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
I miss Kay also.
Almost always this message is said by a white guy, and it means to throw the icky women’s issues under the bus, and to soft pedal the civil rights issues so as not to offend the white men so much. I think we need to learn to sell our message better, not to give up on our message altogether. I think we have a winning message that too many of those people don’t hear.
Four Seasons Total Landscaping mistermix
@Major Major Major Major:
It represents an acceptance of the view that there’s something wrong with having more abortions. I know young women for whom abortion was safe, legal, and certainly not rare, and they are better for it. We don’t need to pass judgment on abortion in that way if we really believe it’s a necessary medical procedure, especially since most abortions nowadays involve just taking a pill
There are women who get abortions who did all the “right” things and their contraception failed. The “rare” just galls me because it from the viewpoint that rarity is desired, when what’s desired is the autonomy to control reproduction, no matter how it happens.
matt the semi-reasonable
The only real way to reach out the voters Dum wants the Democrats to reach out to is to embrace white male identity politics. Run only white, male candidates in those places where you want to attract those voters. And keep nonwhite, nonmale politicians out of the national leadership.
Seems like a tough lift for the Dems.
Shawn in Showme
The Democrats have an economy problem. In the 21st century, most of the middle class jobs being produced are in IT but Computer Science is like the 11th most popular major. Computer programming is friggin hard and will never be that popular with the masses given the anti-intellectual underpinnings of American culture. Fighting for $15 an hour for fast food jobs is nice but you can’t raise on family on that in most cities.
We don’t have an economic answer for the masses of Americans. And we’re not going to win a culture war with Republicans who simply sell golden tickets to an idyllic past that never was. The entrepreneurial immigrants who come over here and create family businesses are not clamoring for abortions and gay marriage. They want tax breaks.
Marcus H. Johnson
That narrative was always a cover up for racism
Replying to @marcushjohnson
But they informed us that it was “Economic Anxiety.” The plight of the forgotten working man was what they told us.
The Civil Liberal
So many people think election results always tell us something about Democrats. People know KFC is bad for them yet they still eat there all the time. It tells us nothing about Whole Foods.
4:58 PM · Dec 21, 2020·Twitter for iPhone
Major Major Major Major
@Four Seasons Total Landscaping mistermix: I would certainly prefer it if unwanted pregnancies were rare.
Again, this doesn’t represent a single policy concession, and used to be the mainstream Democratic phrasing, which didn’t affect our policies at the time either. Tim Kaine liked to say it, you really think a Hillary administration would have been squishy on abortion? Obama said it, no?
One of the issues that we are dealing with is machismo. There is a significant chunk of the male population (white and Hispanic, especially) that votes with their testosterone – which is why Trump was able to get them to vote for him, he was able to offer a version of a ‘tough guy’, one that kicked and hated all the right people, that they could support. That Trump is the polar opposite of tough is irrelevant – he portrayed that character, and these guys ate it up.
I’m not sure how to break the machismo types, but policy is hardly relevant to them – they want someone who will dominate and bully others (especially women).
Solve that – and we will finally break the Republican Party.
@Major Major Major Major:
I had always assumed that the rare part of “safe, legal, and rare” referred to stuff like comprehensive sex education and easy (and ideally free) access to contraception. Of course, I’m also old enough to remember poor Jocelyn Elders getting hounded out of her job as Bill’s Surgeon General because of a single speech suggesting that maybe we should tell kids that there’s nothing wrong with masturbation.
@Red Cedar: Exactly. Drum is conflating working class with college education. They are different animals. Please do not tell me that a college educated social worker is not working class. Those without a college degree include a lot of police and firefighters and tradesmen who own their own businesses and making good money by paying their workers minimal wages.
I used to joke that if medical science ever invented a pill that cured sociopathy, the GOP would cease to exist within five years.
@Hunter Gathers: I read that column last night. Drum didn’t say one thing about black voters.
I think Drum is fishing for clicks here.
When uniform, sensible, national standards for voting are enabled, lots of these “problems” will go away.
How we get there is an exercise for the reader, but the first waypoint is the Senate races in Georgia.
I don’t think this is about reaching white male working class voters who are largely unreachable.
This is about reaching working class voters of color in vast swaths of this country from southern CA to the Rio Grande valley to Florida. And I don’t think that means talking about guns and abortion. Not at all. What it means is getting into the sources of media that is reaching those people from radio to TV to social media and being there on a daily basis the other 3.8 years that aren’t election years. It means buying radio stations so they aren’t all owned by clear channel with right wing daily hosts in every language. That sort of thing.
If all Dems do is drop in every 4 years and buy radio ads where high-priced consultants tell them to they are going to continue to fail. You have to be there with your message every damn day of the year because the other side sure is.
None of this has to do with guns or abortion or other evangelical culture war issues. It has to do with getting your actual message out.
I don’t understand how admitting DC and Puerto Rico as states is “pie in the sky”. All it takes is the Democrats to take control of the Senate and put that shit into the reconciliation instructions. It doesn’t take a supermajority, it doesn’t even require a change in the rules.
I’d like to see Kevin Drum apply his lead poisoning thesis to older white MAGA voters. It’s the most logical reason why so many of my 50-something peers have turned into MAGA sociopaths
Major Major Major Major
@Kent: Wouldn’t lead poisoning have shown up much earlier in life? It mostly came from slums and leaded gasoline, after all.
I also don’t know if I’d call it a ‘theory’ any more, there have been some pretty decisive analyses lately, including an intervention/control one.
The problem with this attitude is that the Republicans will just move further right and win the voters who vote their emotions on these issues.
The left moving the goalposts before their most recent objectives have been achieved is frustrating, but I think it needs to be treated as a given. There will always be new youngs coming up, frustrated by the hypocrisy of the world around them. There will always be things which were once an outrage that are now completely normal (and the youngs will say ‘but of course, only monsters would think otherwise).
On the police, better messaging by centrists would be, “Policing is a local issue. Look at your town/city/county’s budget and see how much they spend on policing. Compare it to what is spent on schools, social services, paving the roads and sidewalks. If you think the police are getting too much money, vote for your local politicians who agree with you on that.” Then pivot to asset forfeiture, because everybody hates that shit, even most Republicans and certainly the libertarians. The cops just put that money right in their pockets, without any oversight. We’ve gotten to the point where more money is taken in asset forfeiture than in burglaries. What is the harm in talking about this when somebody whines about “defunding the police,” instead of immediately surrendering to their bullshit emotional blackmail?
And another thing we need to remember….
The campaign against Democrats and democratic policies is relentless on FB and Fox News and on AM radio. It’s hard to counter that with just a few weeks of ads in the fall every 2-4 years.
(As much as I hate the idea) Bazillionaires on our side should be funding ads on these outlets where the “poorly educated” get their information all the time. First, it will get their management to tone down the attacks (“why piss off people who are giving us money?”), and second it will help counteract the toxic programming and memes before they can metastasize further, and third it will make the pre-election ads more effective because our team will have more information on what works and what doesn’t. We can’t cede the field to the opposing team for 3+ quarters and then hope to charge to overwhelming victory in the 4th…
@Major Major Major Major: Isn’t it pretty much a given that abortion rates go down under Democratic administrations and up under Republicans? I don’t know what the stats are under Dump, but I think that was the dynamic between Reagan-Bush to Clinton to W to ‘Obama.
Anti-abortion voters don’t actually give a shit about abortions. They just want consequences for sex. And they want to feel morally superior to cover up their misogyny and racism.
How are Democrats going to fight to win back Republican-dominated state legislatures, so that gerrymandering and voter suppression become rare? It’s fine to turn out that remaining 33%. It doesn’t help if they end up not being able to vote because they have to stand in line for 23 hours on a Tuesday at the one polling station in their city of 3 million people. It’s not just about messaging. The Republicans elected this cycle are going to do everything in their power to make it more difficult for those that they regard as the Democratic base to vote in the future. They will have the backing of the Supreme Court. How can we shine a spotlight on what they are doing and make voting easier for everyone in the US, not just the perceived Republican base?
Enhanced Voting Techniques
So Trump was defeated despite being an incumbent during a national crises and this is really a disaster for the Democrats? It has to be said again; if Trump merely had pretended to do his job with the Pandemic Trump would have strolled to a re-election. That whole election came down to one issue, Trump’s fuck with the pandemic.
There is nothing wrong or incorrect with the Dem idea that abortions should be safe, legal and rare. Exactly like access to a hospital should be available, inexpensive and also rare – both these needs should be rare because we have good health care for all our needs. That all said, the bible thumpers need to be told point blank and over and over again that the bible supports abortion; but Dems want to make it rare by providing access to the tools (birth control) and knowledge that enable it to be rare.
If there’s one universal constant, it’s that there’s always a constituency for the “well what if we tried being just a little more bigoted?” pitch.
Enhanced Voting Techniques
@Felanius Kootea: And also this, if the GOP is doing everything they can to limit voting to a specific group, then the demographics aren’t on their side.
@Jeffery: How many existing voters died between 2016 and 2020?
Shawn in Showme
Agree with your take about this being a free market battle that needs to be waged 24/7. But even if you achieve parity in the marketplace, offering “progressive” policies to cultural conservatives, which many working class families of color are, doesn’t necessarily translate into victory in off-year elections.
To paraphrase Join Steinbeck, Americans vote against their interests because they do not see themselves as an exploited proletariat but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires.
@Laura: I remember reading somewhere that it doesn’t matter what the Democrats message is if the intended target is hearing about it second-hand from Fox News, Newsmax, or OANN. They’ll never know what that message was because the packaged garbage actually received will be the opposite of what was said.
you want to get rural voters to listen once again, then sue the ever loving fuck out of Rupert Murdoch and his media empire for broadcasting lies 24/7. Once you turn off that media spigot of untruths, the rest will follow. The ONLY reason they continue to have the American Conservatives in their corner is that they are feeding their addicts the sweet sweet drug of personal exoneration, allowing them to continue in this ill-conceived emotional adolescence that nothing is ever their fault and that their way of life is the best one.
you shut that shit down and put these folks into informational rehab.
@Hildebrand: Agree 1000%.
I have no idea what this means. Who is this other part of the working class?
Also, I don’t know that “the working class” is all that important, or even exists as in some (arbitrary and artificial) old days. The notion of the working class as a group to be pandered to is as stupid as the notion of “heartland America,” which is largely a synonym for angry, stupid white people.
This is just pundit bullshit. In the 1950s, this was largely “Uppity Negroes are asking for too much.”
Today, it’s “I get upset when I have to think about non-binary people.”
Le Comte de Monte Cristo, fka Edmund Dantes
Were I to guess, where things go off the rails with people who are working class black, brown, female and gay male are
1. The the depth and extent of the hurt feelings over pronouns (they don’t view life through the lens of a sophomore in her first critical feminist theory class);
2. That #MeToo (cancel culture leaves no room for mistakes, old cultural practices, redemption or attitude improvements);
3. The pretense that homelessness is somehow some noble status, and that the aggressive panhandler who shits on the sidewalk in front of your tacqueria shouldn’t be run off after being beaten to within an inch of his life (working people in minority communities put forth great sacrifices for their piece of a dream, and having some SF Bay homeless advocate lecture about all the empathy and understanding diminishes that sacrifice and labor).
The trick is for Team D to put forth as its greatest principle is that hard work is valued and rewarded, and to keep the knit-cap, hackey sack “outsized empathy for all feelings of deep hurt” crew far away from any position of messaging or power.
Shawn in Showme
@Enhanced Voting Techniques:
Exactly. So all Republicans have to do is present a candidate that can manage to at least feign empathy and they’ll win the next presidential election. This is a problem.
@Cermet: The problem with the “rare” part is that Democrats think this means universal health care and fact-based sex education. What it actually does is give Republicans room to demand restrictions on abortions, both patients (wait times, ultrasound exams, counseling sessions, specific procedures and no late term procedures) and providers (requiring admitting privileges and unnecessary equipment and personnel).
It also concedes the moral high ground to the anti-abortion crowd. This is the fatal flaw for Dems. Republicanism was founded by abolitionists. They kept their claim to the moral high ground, despite their long slide into degeneracy and corruption. This is what we have to fight.
Major Major Major Major
@sdhays: Yeah, but we aren’t trying to get anti-abortion voters, we’re trying to get voters who like Democratic policies but not leftish phrasing.
As Feathers touches on above, we also have to be willing to let party members in more conservative districts triangulate against people like AOC. She can say Defund The Police if that works for her, Joe Biden can say “lol we aren’t gonna defund the police” if that works for him, that was how 2020 went. We need to tolerate the same pushback among congressional candidates etc.
“I don’t want abortion on demand in shopping malls, I just want it to be safe, legal, rare, and accessible to all who want it.” No policy differences at all. Republicans have mastered this and it hasn’t watered down their policies.
Kevin’s post immediately before the one cited is:
The Discraceful Root of the Black-White Unemployment Gap
and in it he goes on to say:
So, move to the center on social programs, but create a giant social program to improve black education and the perception of educated blacks. A tough road to how.
@WereBear: By European standards, Democrats are already a Center Right party. Moving to the “center” then means becoming a right wing party. Not a good idea.
@Enhanced Voting Techniques: There wasn’t a pandemic during the Democratic wave election in 2018 — a midterm election where it is often predicted that Democrats do not turn out. People, especially women voters, were fed up with Trump then. Why didn’t Trump win strong majorities in both houses if merely not showing indifference to the lives of the people of the nation was the bar?
I think there were too many variables in this last election to be able to accurately read its outcomes in relation to the ones before it — people afraid to go to the polls because of COVID being the main one. But to blithely state that Trump would have won in a cakewalk with out his monstrous response to COVID I think its needlessly defeatist.
Those 7 million extra votes that Biden won by did not come out of nowhere. Voter suppression (in FL and TX mainly) was all that stopped him from a major blowout. But sure, Dem messaging is flawed. How can we be more like the party we are running against?
Question: does a pardon cover military court-martials? Asking for a friend who’s last name begins with F.
@Four Seasons Total Landscaping mistermix: Maybe, but I think any surgical intervention should be rare, and abortions are a last resort so of course they should be rare. Plan B harldy counts as an abortion, it’s more like unpleasant birth control, and probably anyone one who uses it wants it to be rare. Probably anyone who has an abortion wants it to be a rare experience.
West of the Rockies
Threading the needle of appealing to racist, homophobic, ignorant yokels while championing LGBTQ+ and BLM issues sounds well nigh impossible. And I am not abandoning that second pair.
Major Major Major Major
Results from Arizona to NYC show that Democrats lost ground, sometimes a lot, in many heavily black and Latino districts, even as they gained in the whiter suburbs etc. This can be inferred from direct returns and doesn’t require any poll parsing.
I would say that’s, oh, 60%. It is absolutely huge. Evangelicalism is centered on self-righteous cruelty, an obsession that they are the only good people, the only ones God loves, and everyone else is bad and deserve all the abuse evangelicals enjoy dispensing. But there’s another 30% that is punishing sluts. As my mother quoted the evangelical attitude she grew up with, “You play, you pay.” They believe women should be punished for having sex. It is a moral ideal that evangelical women sign onto even more ferociously than evangelical men, and results like what increases or decreases pregnancies or recreational sex are irrelevant.
EDIT – @patrick II:
Yes. Witness the war criminal navy SEAL Trump pardoned. We need to wait a month.
@Red Cedar: I think the issue is concern about the white working class. I think that we should not change one fucking policy to reach them. Marketing, maybe. But no on policy.
rural americans object to the end of old, straight, rich, white, men have all the power and making all the decisions. And they want all the other groups fucked over.
The abortion issue is about fucking over women, nothing else. So they know their place.
Electing Trump was about fucking over anyone that thought electing a black guy, or a women was a good idea. These people HATE Kamala Harris.
And THAT is what he means by “moving to the center”.
He means reestablishing social hierarchies.
I don’t think Democrats are up to the task. I know I’m not.
Major Major Major Major
@Omnes Omnibus: As this thread shows, we are also weirdly resistant to mere marketing changes.
You’ve got ant above suggesting that what a Mother fucking Jones columnist means is putting black women in their place.
As to the OP, 2020 was a bizarre election following no previous trends. Freaking out that Democrats – who won – are suddenly losing minority voters is very premature.
I believe Kay would often mention how having a continuing Democratic presence in extremist Right Wing (aka Repuglican) areas is useful. Also it help discuss the responsibilities of citizens and the reason for government, etc. And how those Right Wing extremists shouting freedom sound like irritating adolescents.
@Another Scott: You really need to be a front-pager here. So many times I read a post, have something to say, read through the comments, and then find that you’ve already said what I was thinking, only you said it better and more succinctly than I would have.
I’m not sure there is any way of reaching those folks without embracing racism, sexism, and homophobia—and if that’s correct, it is (or should be) a a non-starter. In which case the only answer may be to wait for the actuarial tables to do their thing.
@Citizen Alan: why is it a joke?
The Pod Save America guys have been talking about this a fair amount over the last few weeks. Suffice it to say that they think it’s more complicated, both in the basic analysis and the response, than Drum does.
And, of course, we still have to remember that much of what we think we know from 2020 is contradicted by 2018. There is, as the PSA folks have said, some question about whether the big factor in some of the shifts was that Trump was on the ballot.
Regardless, though, there isn’t one weird trick to improving how Dems do with these voters. As in Georgia, it’s a long slog, which requires a long-term commitment, particularly in states where it won’t seem to bear fruit for years.
(Almost) all of this is true of Britain and the Labour Party, with voices on the Right of the Party claiming that the only way Labour regains the seats it lost in the North due to Brexit (for which read racism and resentment) is if it drops all the (to paraphrase) “woke crap and identity politics” and embraces flag-waving anti-immigration nativism. They’re wrapping it up in an anti-Lefty narrative that is catnip to the souless careerists surrounding the current leadership and seem to be winning the policy argument at Party HQ if Starmer’s shpiel about a “progressive patriotism” and refusal to slap down openly White Supremacist arguments is any indication.
The FTF Guardian certainly seems to be betting on this rightward swing taking place as they’re already building up their narrative about Labour being a hostile environment for black and muslim members in time for the next elections. They do love them any wedge issue that will reduce the Labour vote and keep the Tories in office, as per their business plan.
@Major Major Major Major:
I have no idea what this means. Who is this other part of the working class?
Doesn’t really tell me anything. I don’t even assume that Latinos in NYC represent the same demographic or even ethnic groups as Latinos in Arizona, or that their issues are the same.
Lost ground in the presidential race? In Congressional contests?
Lost ground enough to change election results?
I’m not suggesting that Democrats should be complacent. But it seems that there is always a class of pundits insisting that Democrats are doing it wrong, even when they win elections.
Not picking on you in particular, but I go crazy when $15 an hour is proposed. That’s not the answer to any question worth asking, because there is no urban or suburban area in this country where $30k a year (2,000 hours at $15/hr.) is even remotely a living wage.
@JMG: And I suspect “white”.
I think there’s some legitimacy to Kevin’s premise. I saw a few related posts on the Bonddad Blog in recent weeks:
There’s a message here of “it’s the economy, stupid” and promoting appealing economic policies, with a side-serving of “don’t gore anyone’s social ox too badly.”
But I also agree with mistermix that it’s going to be a tough slog to break through the messaging bubble. Putting $ in peoples’ pockets, whether via short-term corona-related measures, or longer-term economic improvement, is probably the solution. Slick Willie managed to make that happen, but he was not coming off as steep a recession as BO. Joe could make it happen if corona is under control and everyone is back to work, so let’s hope for that outcome?
Sister Machine Gun of Quiet Harmony
@Le Comte de Monte Cristo, fka Edmund Dantes:
I agree. There is also a fear among religious conservatives that the culture is changing in ways that make it likely they will have less economic security, because they can be fired for their beliefs about gay marriage, gender, etc.
@planetjanet: But you are equating class with income which is inaccurate as well.
I think Democrats are on the right side on social issues both morally and politically. If I wanted to go after votes among a particular group of working class voters, I’d do it by promoting policies that help working class people generally. We should do this anyway, since a prospering working class benefits everyone. Same with rural development policies.
Major Major Major Major
Okay. I’ll just refer you to Dave Wasserman and David Shor on this topic, if you’d like to see detailed analysis.
The analyses I’ve seen of Miami and black male voters moving Republican have attributed it to disinfo. Attacks on socialists and R-tweeting misogynistic rappers, basically. Dropping our defenses of women needing abortions or those queer/transgender, or being OK with 6yos being mowed down at school isn’t going to help with that.
@WereBear: I think that’s the real problem.
It’s not that Dems aren’t reaching out with policies that appeal to everyone – they are. But they’re not being openly racist, which actively turns off a portion of the country. And the media won’t report accurately on either of these things.
You can look at the stimulus bill as an example: Dems have been pushing for massive assistance since May. That’s over 7 months ago. Just now Republicans finally agreed to a small stimulative bill without much of the direct assistance Democrats wanted, though Democrats managed to keep almost all of the poison pills out.
The result has been the media (and social media) proclaiming that both sides failed and are working for the corporation, don’t care about people, etc. Which is dumb, because there’s exactly one person responsible for the watered down state of the bill and that’s Mitch Fucking McConnell.
Major Major Major Major
@Fair Economist: I read some articles by people who talked to Latino voters in e.g. the Rio Grande Valley, who said things like “I liked how Donald Trump sent me a check with his name on it”
@Major Major Major Major:
Doesn’t really tell me anything.
Cool. But meantime, can you provide a summary.
Better, what do you think it all means?
I think marketing, as we normally think about it, understates the type and amount of persuasion needed to move this country. Right-wing lies fit into a larger mythology of individuality and the definition of freedom. The right’s mythology is bolstered by the open west, each man against the elements, the common man and common sense, god rewards with success, the inviolability of the market’s invisible hand. It all fits into a story and the lies they tell don’t seem like lies because they fit into the larger narrative.
I watch MSNBC, and it is one takedown after another of Repblican miscreants. I listen to Rush and it is the story of poor, put upon whites by the elitist intellectuals who want to destroy what their story tells them, individual strength, common sense, and responsibility. His lies aren’t just lies, but ones that complete a story.
So you’re in favor of repealing the First Amendment?
@Kent: again- The Dems need to sell good governance and hire great ad agencies to enhance their messaging
Breaking: Alex Padilla is Kamala Harris’ replacement in the US Senate.
EDIT: I just got an email from him and his senatorial webpage is already up: https://www.alex-padilla.com/
@Major Major Major Major: Agreed.
Almost 70% of voting Republicans believe that the only reason they lost the last election is because it was rigged by some combination of the FBI, CIA, BLM, Antifa, and China.
I don’t think these people are going to suddenly be willing to vote democrat if we say, “You know what, screw trans people after all.”
What advantage is there in screwing over LGBTQ people and their allies in order to possibly gain a fraction of the 30% of Republicans who might be reachable?
@PJ: It’s interesting to note that Fox has been thrown under the bus. There’s a real fracture in the Republican Party, because Trump’s demands for loyalty are peeling off the actual structure of the machine used to indoctrinate all these people. They cease to trust anything but ever-crazier conspiracy theories, because they’re being run (indirectly) out of Russia, and they were never meant to win. They’re meant to become terrorists.
We pull their teeth by, basically, feeding them. Socialism, or at least New Deal. We’ve done this before and got decades of economic boom out of it, though it helped that we didn’t have war ON our shores unlike everywhere else. This time Russia wants the war happening in our cities and towns, even if they can only produce a little.
Not so fast. AFAIK, the issue has never been litigated. Let’s court-martial Flynn for sedition, conduct unbecoming, and whatever else we can find in the UCMJ and see what happens.
Phone alert tells me Newsom chose Alex Padilla to replace Harris as CA senator. Californians (and other with informed opinions), what do you think?
@Major Major Major Major:
This. Saying you want abortion to be rare is about ready availability of contraceptives so abortion as a form of birth control is less necessary.
As a black woman, it worries me that whites are the only US group that had a majority vote for Trump. I’m not worried about 32% of Latinos, 33% of Asians, or 12% of African-Americans voting for Trump. I’m worried that the majority of the most populous group in this country saw an incompetent, racist, sociopathic, delusional, and narcissistic buffoon and said “That’s our guy! Four more years of this please.” That’s what keeps me awake at night.
As others have said much better than I can, fixing the media landscape is one part of solving this. But it is just one part.
Not my first choice, but I’m OK with it.
@Ksmiami: We already have the people who care about good governance. The question is to what degree we need to court the people who vote on identity issues, and which identity issues we should appeal to.
If we’re not willing to make concessions to homophobes and racists, we won’t be able to make significant gains in that group.
Major Major Major Major
@Brachiator: There were swings towards Trump in all those places I mentioned, fairly robustly across the nation, just like there was a fairly robust swing towards Biden in white suburbs. Enough to change election results? In Florida, quite possibly. In Arizona, the losses were just barely offset by gains in tribal and white areas. In Georgia, even, the picture isn’t that clear. Biden lost ground in some heavily black Atlanta areas even as he gained in whiter areas, though it’s hard to be sure without reweighted exit polls since there are a lot of mixed precincts. (for that last one: https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/how-georgia-turned-blue/)
Sherrod Brown keeps winning in red red Ohio and he is solidly prochoice and pretty good on guns. His message is pretty much old fashioned New Deal.
@Major Major Major Major:
Trump is a populist autocrat. He stumbled onto approving stimulus checks because it made him look big and he could soak up “thank yous” from the grateful public.
But the original idea came from progressive Democrats. It was a variation of the idea of a basic or guaranteed income. The mainstream GOP leadership hated the idea, but they were still in “back everything that Trump wants” mode. The Fed also backed the idea of stimulus targeting individuals.
The problem, of course, was that Trump was inconsistent and also believed in “pennies for ordinary people, dollars for me and my friends.” But he is great at pretending to give a shit about the little guy.
@Major Major Major Major:
(Responding to #43)
Uh, you’re forgetting how many MAGAts are really, really into firearms. Like their blood lead levels are really, REALLY high. Shooting all winter at an indoor shooting range. I personally have an ex-friend whose lead level exceeded TEN TIMES the warning level and he refused his doctor’s advice to consult a neurologist. He was paranoid (a symptom of heavy metal poisoning, I believe) that the docs were gonna violate his 2nd amendment rights.
And some of them cast their own bullets for reloading. More possibilities of massive lead exposure. Not good, to say the least.
@Miss Bianca: Apparently if you are not a white, working class, hetero, able-bodied male, your vote does not matter as much.
So basically a day that ends in Y.
I am so tired of seeing these articles in the MSM I could puke.
@Betty Cracker: Padilla has been sort of a non-entity to this CA resident.
That said, I think he’s pretty good. He strikes me as being neither moderate nor progressive, but in between. Latino and very proud of it. Supports establishment figures in general. Not a bad choice by any means, but also not inspired.
The big thing apparently is that Newsom wanted to choose an ally who was also prepared enough to jump right in and assist in the Senate – as well being being experienced and known enough to hold the seat. I think there was a recent tiny potential scandal with him, but it was small enough that I can’t remember what it is.
If the House margins weren’t so thin, I would have preferred Lee or Bass instead. Or Porter. But this is a good choice. Hopefully when Feinstein retires we get someone a little more progressive, though.
@JMG: Drum bolded this passage from the WaPo article: “They [Dem strategists] worry about the potential emergence of a mostly male and increasingly interracial working-class coalition for Republicans”
I read it as recognizing that he meant men.
@Omnes Omnibus: Class IS predominantly an economic argument. I think talk of ‘investor class’ is maybe more illuminating than ‘working class’ because these days, if we can manage it, machines do the work or computers do the work. This has been escalating for decades, for many peoples’ entire lives, and demands a re-evaluation of what an ‘economy’ even is. Under what rules do people even live, and what produces productive activity on a national scale? What conditions make people better themselves competitively, and are we right to even view things in that lens while also feeling like we can express an opinion about minimum acceptable human conditions elsewhere in the world?
By the time the Democrats come to terms with a populist message and have deliverables to prove said message – increase the minimum wage, M4A, Green New Deal, public housing, college debt cancellation, money out of political campaigns, voting day holiday, meaningful police reform, ending mass incarceration, expanding the Supreme Court, legalizing weed, free quality childcare, and abandoning the failed neoliberal economic policies- the conservatives would have co-opted the messaging and call it their own; as is happening with the rescue bill that they are calling a stimulus and placing the responsibility of any delays on the Democrats. Here is a clear example of effective political messaging.
@germy: I am not surprised he’s still on this thoroughly debunked point, but I am kind of surprised that anyone would believe it or repeat it. It doesn’t even make sense on its own.
Our “president”. Sigh.
@burnspbesq: edited, its the holiday season, I need to chill out
@Walker: “Biden gained blue color voters in suburbs.” Who went on to vote Republican down ticket.
@Felanius Kootea: Not that many. There are 856,973 registered Democrats in Philadelphia, 532,000 voted, 324,970 didn’t bother.
@Betty Cracker: I think that’s great! I was hoping it would be him, Becerra, Bass, Chiang, or Schiff. Becerra got picked for HHS. My MIT alum friends will be over the moon; they’re always badgering me to vote for Padilla whenever he’s running for office. In two years though, I’m not sure he’ll win re-election. The competition (Katie Porter, Schiff, Bass, etc.) will be something. I voted for John Chiang for governor way back when and I hope he runs for something else. We have way too many amazing and competent Democratic politicians in CA.
Le Comte de Monte Cristo, fka Edmund Dantes
Reframe abortion rhetoric, addressing the fact that Roe wasn’t about choice – it was about government not intervening in your most private, intimate decisions.
The moment that the “choice” framing was made, the core of the privacy principle enshrined in the decision was all but abandoned. Roe extensions would have been earth-shattering for eviscerating the criminalization of homosexual conduct, and would have enabled same sex marriages all the earlier.
Not just Murdoch, Facebook as well. It’s been 55 years since I took Latin, so I’ll likely mess this up, but here goes:
Libro facies delenda est.
…which I hope means “the book of faces is to be destroyed.”
Hat tip: Cato the Censor
@burnspbesq: I lived on less than that for years up in Vermont, largely because of social services. Usually not food stamps, but for years now, Section 8 housing. My parents died and that stopped me being as impoverished, but now it’s a burn rate issue because I am still making substantially less than 30k a year, even now. That’s why I haven’t changed the way I live significantly.
I think you need to reckon with the fact that literally most people make minimum wage or LESS and that is a majority. Literally most people have less than four figures in their bank account at any given time. There’s no path out of all this without acknowledging that as a driver of behavior. Among other things, it makes people vulnerable to panic and propaganda, because they do not have time to stop and think, or check up on what they’re being told.
@Cermet: That doesn’t matter. Catholics were always opposed to abortion. The great switch in Protestant was part of the founding of the moral majority, which was founded because the Carter administration said that schools that get federal funds have to obey civil rights laws. So, no grants or federal student loans if you banned interracial dating, even if you insisted it was a sincere religious belief.
Well, “we can’t ban interracial dating” isn’t a good rallying cry, so they decided that abortion would be their rallying cry instead.
You’re right that a good faith biblical argument will find that abortion is not banned; the problem is, the argument isn’t in good faith.
OT but: my Lefty friends are all abuzz about this OpEd, calling for Pardon for Julian Assange:
Would love to see if Adam or Cheryl might do a post on this topic (pretty please, tomorrow is my birthday :)). Emptywheel (yes, I know she has to be taken with grain of salt) and others have noted that these defenses of Assange/WL have purposefully sidestepped the charges that are for actions that are NOT routine journalism (like helping Snowden flee the country).
You lost me at “Kevin Drum”.
The lowest county turnout in WA was 75%, highest was 90%, with a statewide of 84%.
The Pale Scot
The Kunts’ song ‘Boris Johnson Is A Fucking Cunt‘ has entered the top 20 of the UK’s singles chart and is tracking to be the #1 song on the charts for Christmas
I’m hoping for a Donald Dump version
@Major Major Major Major:
I agree. I always felt there was some knee-jerk misogyny tied up in how fast HRC got attacked for “safe, legal and rare.” (HRC, hated not because she “has to be right,” but because she usually is, which some people find even more annoying). Abortion being rare in a world where it is also safe and legal means that fewer women are getting pregnant when they don’t want to be. That means better access to contraception. It also means that fewer women are choosing to abort based on economic circumstances, which means a society that supports pregnant women and young children. How is any of this bad?
I mean for God’s sake, getting a cavity filled is safe and legal. That doesn’t mean I’m in a hurry to get any.
@Major Major Major Major: so Dems should have made sure stimulus checks don’t go out? What’s the point here?
Won’t happen. Not even on the table.
The attacks on HRC were mostly pretextual.
Most likely, this is exactly the presumption. In our society, what white men especially think is seen as “normal”, and everyone else is seen as “extra”.
Major Major Major Major
Exactly. They just liked the name on the check. If a Democratic president had pursued this strategy, do we really think it would have required them to water down abortion policy?
@Edmund Dantes: the point is that it had fuck-all to do with abortion or anything else. Trump won over voters we would have expected to break Dem because he put his stupid signature on a check.
Hey, shut up with the facts!
Like Drum, most of the posters here are older, and while a return to the world of our youth is an attractive draw, the Democratic Party of 1974 ain’t coming back.
Democrat’s rural constituency do scut work for big-ag, and aren’t eligible to vote due to visa status.
The media is making much of the idea of Padilla as the first Latino senator from California.
True. But this is also a nod to the mainstream California Democratic Party power structure. Padilla has moved up the ranks from the LA City Council to the state Senate to Secretary of State. He is an okay choice, and also lets Newsom move someone else up to Secretary of State.
Padilla is also relatively young, 47. Younger than Newsom, who is 53.
He is solid and smart. He grew up in the San Fernando Valley, went to a public high school and then on to MIT, and soon decided to get into politics.
Yeah, good choice. Also (inside politics) interesting that Newsom picked someone from Southern California, not the North. But there are a lot of good picks for various offices down here.
@MisterForkbeard: I don’t know him. Is this something to be happy about, or not?
A bit off-track but how likely do you think itll be that Trump will attend the inauguration? Up to now, thought itd be a snowball in Hell’s chance. But now, not so sure. Right up to the day, he’ll probably carry on as now, tweeting about fraud, acting like the 20th will never come. But I bet, at the last minute, he’ll suddenly show up. How could he resist making this event all about himself?
The problem with the “move to the center” analysis is that there were plenty of states were people voted for the policies supported by democrats; legalized pot, $15/hour minimum wage, and expansion of medicare are the biggies, when they are put on the ballot, but not democratic politicians. So the electorate has moved to the left, the question is why, despite this, they vote for republicans.
Major Major Major Major
@Capri: Because Republicans are good at sounding like they don’t want to eat your first-born child, even though they do. We could learn a thing or two from that.
@Roger Moore: Maybe you, but this wording about keeping abortion “rare” gives cover to vote for waiting periods, late term bans, bans of specific (safer) procedures, and licensing requirements that are impossible for clinics to meet. AKA abortion bans that wealthy women can easily avoid, but poor women cannot, with all the racial implications thereof.
You can’t just look at how something works, but how it fails. “Rare” is a cookie for weak liberals, but a club for the anti-abortion crowd.
Mike in NC
Why should the media wait until Biden has been in office for a few weeks to declare him a failure, when they can do it a few weeks beforehand?
The Washington Post ran a doom-and-gloom op-ed just yesterday by somebody named Michael Scherer. Can’t seem to find it today.
@Baud: Oh, for sure, it didn’t matter WHAT HRC said, she’d be attacked, but the attacks on “safe, legal and rare,” coming from some ostensibly pro-choice people, really bothered me. Women should have full rights to their own bodies, but it still seemed to me then (as now) that the fewer potentially avoidable medical procedures a body has to undergo in a lifetime, the better.
I agree, except that I think there are a significant amount of people who don’t care about this, because they see it as taking money from “bad criminals” and it keeps their taxes low, or else they don’t know about it at all. In many places, tax dollars don’t fund that much of the police budget – stuff like this and fines and fees do. We need to educate people about this stuff.
I read Kevin, like him and have him bookmarked. Having said that Kevin is way more Orange County CA than most of us. Just because Latinos near the Texas border voted for Trump doesn’t mean Democrats have a problem with Latinos any more than any other group. Kevin is a little bit of a drama maven who the sky is frequently falling. I take a boulder of salt with most of Kevin’s stuff.
Now let’s be clear here. Kevin’s take on public transit/ trains is awful but I chalk that up to him being Orange County and all.
Yes, exactly. Crime peaked in the 80s and 90s when the 50-something MAGA faithful were young. Now that they have aged out of the crime-doing years their sociopathy is channeled into Trumpism rather than violent crime.
I’m not saying there is anything too it. I just want to see Kevin Drum apply his considerable analytical skills and obsession with lead poisoning to the hypothesis that the old white MAGA faithful were lead poisoned in their youth. Rather than tell us we are giving them the wrong message.
@Major Major Major Major:
DefundEat the First Born of the Police.
Le Comte de Monte Cristo, fka Edmund Dantes
“If you say it so often that you start to believe it yourself, it isn’t a lie.”
– George Costanza
The bloated mediocrity is going to Lukashenko the thing. I give his plan a 30% possibility of success.
This, this, 1,000 times this. I wish more people on our side understood that this is actually the issue, not abortions. The “tell” is that there isn’t one anti-abortion group that actually tries to help women prevent unwanted pregnancies – all their action comes after the woman is pregnant. Also, they act like married women never get abortions, because they never talk about it – they want everyone to think all the women getting abortions are 18-year-old sluts who should just keep their legs shut.
Yeah, I agree. People are blaming the slogan for their own insecurities about the attacks on abortion rights.
Great point about the many liberal programs people voted for. This alone contradicts the idea that people are yearning for a grand move to the center for all things.
They like lower taxes and the idea (even if largely a myth) that the Republicans can protect their jobs.
The increase in the Standard Deduction in the GOP Tax Cuts and Jobs Act resulted in a real tax cut for a lot of people, especially lower income people. This also was a general tax reduction, not one targeted to a specific group.
But for some reason, some Democrats think that voters get excited when you talk about taxing the rich. This is not the same thing as cutting taxes, even if you use the money for a bounty of social programs.
@Shawn in Showme:
It’s not that simple. It wasn’t an accident or coincidence that Trump failed to do anything about the pandemic. The whole reason the Republican base loves him is because he explicitly rejected empathy as a value. The Republicans are still stuck in the same basic trap they’ve been in for a while: their base is tribal, so attempts to expand beyond the tribe risk backlash from those within it.
@Feathers: The problem with leaving abortion issues to the various states is that there are terrible, real-life consequences for women. I kept a link to this story from the Huffington Post a couple of years ago; a young woman in Alabama, raped, traumatized; with generally irregular periods, not realizing she was pregnant until late. Found out that the fetus’ brain had failed to develop, just the brain stem; so basic body functions but zero higher functions. Late term abortion not an option. It is very much worth a read to understand the medical issues involved in late-term decisions in general, because there are people who think any and every pregnancy should be brought to term no matter what. The article is titled “I Wish I’d had a ‘Late Term’ Abortion”.
The issue is that we instruct and license our medical practitioners and need to leave these decisions with them and the families they serve. Another complaint of mine would be treating women as though they are too emotional and irrational to make these decisions for themselves, and thus it’s appropriate for the state to step in.
Maybe read this book and listen to what this guy has to say about messaging.
@Baud: Nah, people attack the slogan because it generally means a person can’t be counted on to fight against restrictions on abortion. They will back down when faced with moral outrage, no matter how disingenuous.
One problem with the idea of changing messaging is, no matter how much you say a message, you know damn well the Republicans will twist it into something ugly. Look at Trump saying the most outlandish things about Joe and Kamala – it probably resonated with Republican voters.
This year, I heard that every Republican congresscritter candidate swore on a metaphorical stack of bibles that they would not eliminate a ban on considering pre-existing conditions in insurance pricing (or whether a policy would be offered at all). That was a flat out lie, but it doesn’t matter that it’s a lie, because Republicans are shameless enough to prop up a President who’s killed likely over a quarter of a million Americans.
If the Republicans were truly listening to that Jesus fellow they swear they worship, they’d know they must protect the most helpless among us, and would show reverence for any proven way to help protect people (like masking). That doesn’t matter; they’re truly that shameless, and obviously that callous and indifferent.
So when people talk about messaging, it bugs me a bit. “What message can Democrats come up with that the Republican Party won’t parody into something horrible?” I don’t know, but if you try to avoid being parodied into a baby murdering, gun grabbing, Stalin-style communist, you can’t speak much but pablum, and that isn’t going to excite anyone.
Let’s face it: the elephant in the room is, the Republicans pretended that national security wasn’t important, when they let Junior and Kushner get security clearances without howling in protest; they pretended that obstruction of justice was no big deal; they pretended that it didn’t matter if the President even gave *lip service* to seeing that the laws were faithfully executed; they let him abuse his office, and cover it up, in violation of the law; and they all pretended that asking for a corrupt, baseless, investigation into a political enemy (not rival – when you’re sicking foreign governments on someone, the term is “enemy”), failing to obey the law regarding the aid package, and complete stonewalling of any investigation was fine; and that swearing “impartial justice” allowed them to decide to treat Trump better than anyone else, because he was, after all, their boy. (Certainly not their man, though I’ll grant “aged male person”.)
And, honest to goodness, it would not surprise me if they somehow managed to get “defund the police” to become a chant/demand, because they realized that could be used offensively.
When one party will completely deny objective reality to protect themselves, or attack their opponents, when there are no limits to their shamelessness, or the damage they’ll allow to occur without speaking out, asking how the other party can change that through “messaging” seems to be foolish. If the Democrats found a great message, it would either be turned into a grotesque parody, or, Republicans would swear that *they* were the true believers and guardians of the message, it’s just, they’ll do it through tax cuts and deregulation, somehow. (It doesn’t *have* to make sense – nothing the Republicans have done in the past four years made any sense.)
@Feathers: That’s simply not true. Dems, at least at the national level, have held strong on abortion rights. That fact that they are not getting credit for it by abortion rights supporters suggests one reason why the GOP continues to have as much power as it does.
I also liked Chiang and hoped he might have been the choice for senator.
But Padilla is a very good choice.
“Moving to the center on social policies” means:
1. Throw the trans people under the bus
2. Throw the gays under the bus
3. Throw the immigrants under the bus
4. Throw the blacks under the bus
5. Throw the women under the bus
Any one of those actions gets you another little slice of support. But if you’re the Democrats, you have to lose some of the support you have. That’s our coalition and we’re being told we have to betray bits of it to expand mainstream appeal.
@Chris Johnson: I would argue that social class has significant cultural components.
@Major Major Major Major:
I think we need to be at least a bit cautious about interpreting this. Remember that this was a very high turnout election, so a lot of the individual voters are different from the ones we’ve seen before. At least part of the explanation for this is that those lower propensity voters are less polarized than high propensity voters are, so the new voters weren’t going to maintain the high margins we’re used to seeing. This applies both ways and explains why Biden did better with low propensity white voters at the same time he did poorly with low propensity minority voters.
That’s obviously not the entire story. There are some places where you can only get the observed voting patterns if a lot of people changed their votes. But you should at least temper interpretations based on the assumption that you can increase turnout while maintaining the same margin.
One of the few messages I have heard that cause people to back up and think on the abortion issue is when women elected to state legislatures introduce bills to regulate male sexuality/fertility. When it’s couched in terms of “Why is my body legislatable and yours isn’t when it takes two to make a pregnancy?” then people have to deal with the structural inequality of the systems/terms we’ve accepted to talk about this issue which are entirely male-dominated.
That’s why representation is SO important. It is also why I get impatient when people begin pranging on the Dems’ supposed weakness of “identity politics”. It’s only a “weakness” when your identity is the dominant one being represented.
@Roger Moore: Good point.
I also think we’ll find out eventually that our GOTV efforts were hampered by COVID more than the Republicans’ efforts were, because we treated it as real.
The Right Wing extremists are not conservative. Democrats are conservative. Making abortion illegal doesn’t mean a person is pro-life, it is forced birth. Does not wearing a mask mean you are pro-choice? Never ignore the chance to help someone think. People have told me progressives can’t be patriotic and liberals don’t go to church and are not religious.These memes need to get buried. I have thought about going to a right wing church just to spread my gospel. Would they kick me out?
Drum’s comments about DC and PR statehood, “packing the courts”, etc., reminds me of Gov. Ralph Northam’s campaign against Tom Perriello in the primary. Tom had all kinds of sensible progressive policies he was pushing. Ralph basically poo-pooed all of it, saying “it’s not happening” – not even trying to propose an alternative for the fall campaign. When the HoD and state Senate flipped/nearly flipped, he was caught flat-footed. Things might have moved even farther along the good direction that Virginia is now on if he had done things differently…
Drum and Northam would probably have a grand time together, sitting 6 feet apart while yucking it up about those far-left people who don’t understand politics… ;-)
Major Major Major Major
@Roger Moore: I think we’ll be arguing about why and how for a while, I was just providing a broad snapshot of who and where.
Major Major Major Major
Sometimes I feel like I’m the only person who actually talks to some of the voters we’re discussing here. They like moderate-sounding rhetoric, regardless of how Republicans may spin it. They actually do pay attention to the words coming out of candidates’ mouths. They voted for Joe Biden. They did not necessarily vote for Democratic congressional candidates. Joe Biden ignored the Internet and wasn’t afraid of incurring twitter’s wrath. For various reasons, personal and structural, congressional candidates often did not. They supported the same actual policies, though.
@Another Scott: Talking about court packing hurt us with these voters, anecdotally.
@Suzanne: We had a discussion about this in the morning thread yesterday (I think). It’s an interesting theory.
I apologize – don’t have time to read the whole thread because my fridge stopped working and the repair guy should be here soon. I still want to put in my two cents, probably someone has already said it better.
A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. Stop advocating for racial equality and abortion rights and you’ll lose BIPOC and women. Period.
Democrats have to do something about FaceBook, especially in Spanish. My housemate’s friends and family are always spouting right wing bullshit they see in between family news. She tries to refute it, but it’s getting worse, people are getting less persuable and she gets exhausted.
Dems who get squishy lose. Be loud and proud about our beliefs and find a way to give actual benefits to our voters. Not happy talk, but actual child care, decent housing, and good health care and they will come. Look at Obamacare. The initial reaction about death panels and people not being able to keep their doctor/plan when Obama said they would made it unpopular, but once people got covered it’s gotten more and more love.
Kay has it right. Put locals in neighborhoods who can reach their friends and families and let them do it. All these highly paid media bros aren’t producing and their condescension attitudes put people off.
@Major Major Major Major:
I try to avoid talking to anyone outside of BJ, but that’s my impression too. Rhetoric that excites us doesn’t excite the normies, and sometimes puts them off.
And it’s interesting that no one is proposing that Dems be more like Joe Biden, who just won the most votes in American history.
Major Major Major Major
The most obvious form of outreach is on religion. As someone who does not go to church, grew up on the coast, and moved to Kentucky, it is clearly the biggest area of misunderstanding among my people back home. The abortion zealots are unreachable, but there’s a vast pool of earnest believers who are inclined to a liberal worldview but are bombarded by partisan zealots with the idea that the Democratic party is hostile to religion. There’s very little counterprogramming. I know on here we pray to the Flying Spaghetti Monster so the cultural difference might just be too significant—there’s no good way to counter the argument if it’s true that we’re hostile to religion.
Drum is conflating two definitions of “working class”.
Liberals and Democratic-leaning voters tend to picture the “working class” as opposed to the interests of the capitalist class, as in “We are the 99%”.
Trumpists and Republican-leaning voters see the working class as opposed to the interests of the serving class, and this is the problem. Republican voters who style themselves as working class do so because they believe that they are better than the serving class and more importantly the people who belong in the serving class: women, immigrants, people of colour, and any other scum they don’t like. The opposite of working class isn’t capitalist; it’s “lazy and shiftless”.
You can’t reach these people with a marketing campaign. And meeting them in the middle ultimately means capitulating to them.
@MJS: You’re too kind. Thanks.
Major Major Major Major
@Baud: Proposals to ignore the Internet tend to flop on the Internet.
The Moar You Know
Issues don’t matter to voters. Tribal identities matter.
@Betty Cracker: I think it’s bang-on, actually. I think it’s exactly right.
I also think we should out-Christian them, too. Make it clear that GOP policies are not a thing any Christian or social conservative could possibly support.
Begin with the at minimum HALF MILLION VOTERS IN FLORIDA WHO WERE DENIED THE FRANCHISE BECAUSE OF A POLL TAX.
David ??Merry Christmas?? Koch
The answer is obvious, we haven’t address working class concerns on telephone metadata and drooonze
And I think that comes from years of letting the forced birth contingent frame the argument; a lot of pro-choicers are really uncomfortable talking about abortion, even if they support it. Even implying it would be great if abortion was less common becomes grounds for attack, instead of recognizing it’s the logical end of a concerted effort to make contraception easily accessible to a population that has been educated about sexual health and knows how to use contraception.
I sometimes wonder, had she lived to be really old, how Ayn Rand would have voted in the post-Reagan years. She was a ferocious pro-choice advocate (like a certain breed of right-winger, she was capable of understanding something if it affected her, and she’d gotten an abortion when she was young for an unwanted pregnancy), to the point where I wondered if she would have ended up a single-issue voter on abortion (Ronald Reagan’s opposition to abortion was the main reason she hated him so much). The stuff she wrote in the 1960s and 1970s is really, really firm about a fetus not having rights. I sometimes think the early pro-choice movement could have used some of that fearlessness about stating that a fetus is not a person.
@Splitting Image: There is a new podcast about Georgia from Crooked Media.
Gaining Ground: The New Georgia
I have only listened to the first episode, but New Georgia and Stacey Abrams started the big organizing push in Georgia in 2014. Here’s their blurb on the podcast:
I think a lot of us are coming to the realization that we are going to win elections by organizing 365 days a year, starting right after the previous election.
My problem here is that Kevin is just assuming working class Asian and Latino males are voting on non-negotiable for Democrats “social issues.” Maybe they are, but I think it is just as likely that they’re voting Republican because so many of them have a very powerful response to the Republicans “Socialism!” messaging. I think “abolish the police” was likely also an extremely problematic issue. Obviously, conservative Catholicism and evangelical denominations have a powerful presences in Latino and Asian-American communities, but I would need to see some data before I’d be convinced it’s all about Guns, God (meaning abortion) and Gays.
@Suzanne: Trying to out-Christian them–I’ve been trying that with my mother, but so far have been brushed off with “you’re not ‘of the faith’ “and so can’t criticize.
Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)
@Le Comte de Monte Cristo, fka Edmund Dantes:
Oh good, the transphobe puts in his two cents
@Another Scott: Virginia Governor Ralph Northam was always a strong proponent of women’s reproductive rights, gun safety measures, and Medicaid expansion. He had strong support among organizations promoting the first two, and this is one reason he beat Tom Perrielo by a comfortable margin. Perriello, in fact, had a a bad vote or two on the first two issues issues during his two year term congressional term which were the subject of some ads by Northam snd groups like NARAL. When the Virginia Democrats made gains in 2017 and claimed both houses of the legislature, they caught up with Northam on these important issues.
Trump was able to convince even some pundits that he supported economically progressive policies, by massively, massively lying and being generally incoherent. It worked in part because honestly he’s never had much in the way of personal policy preferences, apart from his racist and isolationist hobbyhorses–but of course he was perfectly willing to give money Republicans everything they wanted.
I think the FSM stuff here is largely a reflection of the blog host, who is relatively outspoken about his atheism, rather than the Democratic party as a whole. Certainly, most successful Democratic politicians are believers and quite open about their beliefs. If anything, atheists are massively underrepresented politically.
@Frankensteinbeck: I agree. Also lumping huge swathes of people who have little in common together make little sense. Case-in-point Latino, Asian etc
Dumb hot take by Drum. You can’t find middle ground between Reality and Delusion. There is no ground in Delusion-ville, just a sea of nonsense.
Let’s just assume Kevin Drum is right?!?! Should we get David Brooks’ thoughts on the matter too? Cheese and fries, that is a bridge to far.
@NCSteve: Flat-out calling Biden and Harris Communists worked on more people than we would have thought. It’s not something that Democrats can really counter by doing or saying anything, since it’s completely divorced from reality–it’s like calling them vampires. But, you know, if you came here to flee Pol Pot, it has emotional resonance.
The Bernie Sanders-inspired tendency for the party’s left wing to call their flavor of social democracy “socialism” probably gave them an opening, but what the hell could we do about that? It’s not as if the rest of the party embraces that label anyway.
@David ??Merry Christmas?? Koch: Working class drones slaving away at the Intercept and the Jacobin, the poor dears feel unrepresented.
The problem is not with the working class, the problem is with toxic masculinity. As long as cis het males believe they are inherently better than women and LGBTQ+, they’re not going to vote for a party that stands for equality.
@Roger Moore: one social development in the last decade is that when asked their religious affiliation, a plurality of Americans now pick “None.” But not all or necessarily most of the “Nones” are atheists. I’m not.
I don’t think this is going to work. Evangelical Christianity is about social identity at least as much as it is about a coherent religious worldview based on the teachings of Jesus. If they’re faced with a choice between what they’ve been taught in Sunday school and what the Bible actually says, Evangelicals will take Sunday school.
@rikyrah: Exactly. Protect voting rights and you protect the liberal agenda. Its the Republicans who are facing a demographic apocalypse, not us. They are holding on by their fingernails. That’s why they are doubling down on the gerrymandering and voter suppression. It is literally the only way that they win.
J R in WV
Because there is no such “pill” and in fact sociopathy appears to be highly resistant to long-term psychiatric treatment.
@Jeffery: The US death rate is roughly 1% per year. Now, that’s for the whole population — ~25% of the population is under 18, so roughly 1.3% of the voting-age population should die each year.
There were 584,025 votes for Clinton in Philadelphia County in 2016, according to Wikipedia. Roughly 5% of those should have died, so 554,824 of the voters from 2016 should still be alive.
There were 603,790 votes for Biden in Philadelphia County in 2020. 603,790 – 554,824 = 48,966.
J R in WV
@Sister Machine Gun of Quiet Harmony:
Actually, they can’t be fired for their beliefs if they don’t actually attack people in their workplace. You can’t tell what someone believes about gay marriage, gender, etc if they don’t tell you all about it in excruciating detail every day at lunch.
Of course, that’s a high bar for many evangelistic church goers, racists, homophobes, etc. It’s almost as if they get their rocks off telling other people about their mental defects!
Doesn’t bother me at all. Just White folks clinging to the Whiteness, which they value above all else.
Dolt45 has made that plain and clear.
I’m right there with you, fwiw.
This is exactly right. Evangelicals don’t support Trump because he’s a good Christian like them. Far from it. They support him because he validates their social identity with his ruthless putdowns of the secular elites who they see as their biggest threat. The fact that the rest of what he does is utter blasphemy in the context of Jesus’s actual teachings doesn’t matter.
@Geminid: I was referring to things like what’s mentioned in this story:
Northam has done a decent job as governor, and of course is 10 light years ahead of any VA GOP alternative. But what might have been…
Republicans can’t dance.
It’s always nice to refer to Rethuglicans as the Corporate Socialism party.
@rikyrah: We knew that this would be the case even before the first vote was cast. Who was the last Democrat to win the white vote was it LBJ?
Honestly, Democratic advertising (not going to say messaging) needs to depict the toxically masculine as old and insecure and downwardly mobile.
If the Dems want to win, we need to become an aspirational brand.
@rikyrah: @moonbat: This is huge. If our voters are allowed to vote, we win. Voting rights is absolutely key. Why do you think the GOP works so hard on suppression?
J R in WV
Padilla attended MIT and graduated with a degree in Mechanical Engineering, after which he worked for Hughes writing software for space craft. So… Obviously smart and educable.
Worked to elect Democratic candidates, then as an assistant to Sen. Feinstein… so a real Democrat. Won his second election to SoS by 12 points more than his first election.
Looks like a good pick.
And if you average his age and Sen. Feinstein, you get a very reasonable median age of 67. That’s a joke, son, you’re supposed to laugh now! ;~)
[I did not do the math so I do not know what the actual number would be! OK, actual average closer to 65… is it still funny after the math?]
@Roger Moore: Yeah, but Evangelical Christians are not the whole community of Christian faith. In fact, many Mormons hate Trump. Catholics are torn on the issue. Mainline Protestants don’t like him. We need to stop letting Evangelical Christians define Christianity, just like we needed to stop letting right-wingers take the American flag as their own. Fuck you people. We’re the ones actually trying to do what Jesus would do. We’re the ones who actually love this country enough to make it better and not just a vehicle for our personal resentments. Stop letting them have semiotic ground. It matters. There are plenty of people who are really uncomfortable with abortion but aren’t single-issue voters (and who will accept it if we can deliver on other stuff) who we can get on board, but they see us as culturally different when we really are not.
Funny how POC are never “working class”.
I find some resonance in that – I think we have shown in places like Georgia that running a Republican lite is not going to cut it. We are competitive when we can boldly tell our ideas and be proud of them. Running away from the platform, or its leaders makes you look like a person that is parsing the situation.
I think we’re best when we are honest about our conviction and focus less about winning the race and more about building a bridge with your ideas. I think voters can tell when you’re doing that parsing thing – look at Beto and a string of others. Uncompromising to their values. We need more of that.]
Almost certainly the Republicans take advantage of that and the end if you present a candidate that is more GOP than Democratic, then you’ might as well go full bore and just vote GOP.
They prefer to shame them instead – call them names and then punish them – but at the same time – oh my – that baby in the womb is so precious – until of course it is born and then it is an object of shame. I can’t even…
@Le Comte de Monte Cristo, fka Edmund Dantes: I know there’s a lot of truth to this, but here’s my simple theory on why, which I suspect differs from yours significantly: many Americans are assholes. Assholery runs more rampant among white evangelical males than it does among other demographics, but it’s hardly confined to that cohort, and we shouldn’t ever forget that.
I believe you and I are of similar ages and backgrounds, and I know from conversations over the years we’ve got children of similar ages who can be a bit tiresomely precious on all these issues. So I totally understand the source of your derision, even though I don’t share it.
But that doesn’t change the cold, hard fact that someone who would vote for Trump (or Bevin, DeSantis, Rand Paul, Gaetz, etc.) because of those motivations is simply an asshole, be they male or female, rich or poor, black, brown or white. The Democrats aren’t the Oberlin student council, and anyone who votes as if they are is not only an asshole but a dumbass as well, IMO.
That’s how they make their money – make horse race out of everything – no matter how demented one side is.
“This man likes to stab babies in the gut after they are born” vs “we must be pro-life and save all children” – are both right? Tun in tomorrow in “Face the Nation’s assholes”
@Baud: I was more thinking a deep dive into the story (especially in context of recent Russian hacking), rather than about the possibility of pardon itself (which I agree is unlikely).
@J R in WV:
In fairness, many denominations see evangelizing their beliefs as an essential part of their religion. It’s actually a central problem of religious tolerance: how do you have religious tolerance when some religions preach intolerance of others?
@Shawn in Showme:
This is why we need to do a green economy – it means jobs in other fields of engineering, and a lot of working class jobs as well. It will never be the 50s when we were doing infrastructure for the world – instead we need to find other “boom” jobs.
A lot of blue collar folks believe in tradition, and want to keep repeating it because so much of their culture and memories are built around it – but cannot handle when the free market changes things. But they are taught that the free market is a strong american value and distinguishes them from the “commies”.
I don’t know how to fix that except to change how we educate children in high school and provide them with tools in dealing with change. There is no guarantee that life will be the same as it was for your parents and grandparents.
@Another Scott: Perriello could not have gotten this particular program through in the 2018 General Assembly session. But Northam pushed through Medicaid expansion, and I’m not at all certain Perriello could have gotten ten Republican Delegates and three Republican Senators to buy in. As a congressman, Perriello campaigned and voted as a light blue dog. He retooled his politics and jumped into the 2017 race late as a liberal, which he probably was all along. His biggest financial backer- a very nice, very wealthy woman- certainly is.* But Virginia Democrats knew and trusted Northam, and they did well to choose him.
*Perriello’s backer made the news in 2017 when she donated $100,000 to the Perrielli campaign, and her husband donated $100,000 to Northam. But they get along fine, as do the moderate and liberal wings of the Virginia Democratic party.
I agree with what others have said about this not really being about the “working class” — i.e. people who work for hourly wages, generally at the lower end of the economic ladder. That’s not really Trump’s base. His base is people — mostly white and heavily male — who don’t have a college degree but tend to be self-employed, small business owners like ranchers, car dealers, or contractors, or well-paid skilled tradesmen, and see their “lifestyle” (unapologetic masculinity [incl gun ownership], patriotism, sports fandom, and the belief that people who don’t pull themselves up by their bootstraps are lazy mooches) threatened by liberals.
Pace Drum, I don’t think the solution to this is abandoning our values and positions on social issues like abortion or gay rights. Outside the Evangelicals, who will never be persuaded anyway, that’s not what motivates these guys. It’s about what party they feel they “relate” to, and a lot of that goes back to insecurity over their sense of “manhood” and a certain notion of “fairness” in society that we now identify as white privilege. That’s going to take some strong messaging on economic populism that actually follows through with tangible benefits — economically and culturally — for middle-class men. Whether Democrats can do that without sacrificing their other social justice commitments, I don’t know.
@Kent: Your observation is spot on. My good friend who has worked in political communication for decades has identical observations. She’s trying to create an identity for Democratic candidates in six weeks. She’s paid to do this every year. Every year the campaign staff send her vague info and flat stories because they have no knowledge about the candidate besides the campaign issues. The problem is we typically tell our stories for a few weeks per election cycle. The right wing are typically on their media outlets 365 days per year.
Can you explain this, please, to an ignoramus like me? (We all agree on the “safe and legal” part, so the question is, what’s the problem with “rare”?)
My answer as to why certain pockets of POC voted for Trump: white supremacy is as much about misogyny as it is racism. Looking back at toxic workplaces I’ve been in, “honorary white” POC jump in loudly and often when women hating comes up. And remember that women gain status in white supremacy by shitting on other women. In many communities it’s not a bad trade off. There are huge costs to standing up for yourself and your right to be treated well. I’m guessing that part of keeping your social status in these parts of America, especially as a small business owner, meant supporting Trump.
@Le Comte de Monte Cristo, fka Edmund Dantes:
Yeah, dude, “kill the homeless” is definitely the winning message for Democrats. Someone make this guy DNC chair, stat.
@jonas: So we’re back to “economically anxious” white males again, are we?
#224 beat me to it. But I still want to comment. Saying that abortion should be safe, legal, and rare makes you want to PUKE?
I’ll assume you want abortions to be safe. So that’s not the part that makes you puke. I’ll assume that you want abortions to be legal, so that’s not the part that makes you puke.
Abortions ought to be rare makes you PUKE? More abortions everybody! Yeah, that sounds great! More dead babies is the way to go. I’m not surprised but it is interesting to see someone say it out loud.
J R in WV
Yes, they would. SATSQ…
Maybe literally, they’re pretty bad at manners too.
@Socrates: If you aren’t having one or providing one, it’s none of your fucking business.
Kevin Drum has no idea what the working class is, what their polling looks like. His basic misunderstanding leads to false ‘fox narrative’ assumptions about what the Ds should do to sway voters. If Ds want to make big inroads, they need to hammer the message to independent contractors that Trump and the Rs *raised* their taxes by cutting all of their favorite deductibles. They also need to address the cost-shifting that was borne with changes in the ACA. People hate paying huge bills for terrible COBRA coveage. This isn’t hard.
In response to the general thrust of Kevin’s argument, can we first try actually making people’s lives better economically? No offense, but the Dems are really bad at this. Too many elected Democrats are too afraid of dispensing too many goodies to people, and as a result, every time the Dems have to clean up after the goddamned elephants, the recovery takes forever to happen, and people’s lives are still a shitshow for years while there’s a Dem in the White House.
When we’ve achieved massively shared prosperity and they STILL vote against us, OK, then we’ve got to try something else. But let’s try that first.
@piratedan: The English language countries (mostly english) that do not have Murdoch are Canada and New Zealand. They have avoided the most toxic political polarization.
The US is heading to even more extreme right wing media- propaganda outlets for crackpot billionaires.
@Omnes Omnibus: Amen.
I don’t endorse this message.
My argument for ‘rare’ is pretty simple:
” Needless to say, the progressive wing of the party is massively resistant to this idea. ”
Whatever problems the progressive wing of the party has, and I think there are many, I don’t see how this is true. A big chunk of the progressive wing has been whining about lack of attention to working class economic issues for at least a decade. Edit: I think they are right, but I also think the ratio of whining and complaining about centrists to pitching constructive specific proposals is way too high. The progressives have a serious problem of excessive whining and complaining that the centrists don’t like them compared to to useful ideas that will attract support.
If Drum is going to decide which faction is saying what by looking at the junk that shows up in twitter feeds, he isn’t going to understand much about any faction, progressive, liberal, or centrist.
Edit2: and, Drum’s diagnosis seems to ignore the main thrust of the influential BS faction, which has a long history of too much attention to economic working class issues. BS certainly couldn’t expand his pitch and appeal to a wider group of primary voters, even after what should have been the very clear lessons of his 2016 run.
@moonbat: Dem messaging is okay but:
1. It tends to rational arguments and avoids emotional stories. We need better balance between both approaches.
2. Democrats need more outlets to provide 24/7 coverage of stories from our perspective.
3. Democrats do not need to be like GOP messaging. The GOP has embraced one emotion above all others: rage. Democrats are enraged by Trumpism and injustice, but rage is like hot pepper. It does not make an entire diet.
4. Democrats have lots of emotionally engaging stories from the diverse people who fought for civil rights and justice. They bear being spotlighted and repeated.
@lowtechcyclist: Calling for them to be “rare” is implying that there should be some judgment, that some sort of failure happened along the way. We have tried really, really hard to get stigma out of healthcare so that people will get the treatment they need and not think that a provider will consider them crazy/slutty/fat/gay/undisciplined/whatever. That language brings back stigma. Stop.
Others have already made this point, but Kevin Drum pivots from articles stating that the Latino working class voted more for Trump than in the past to the statement that Democrats are losing the entire working class.
This neatly ignores the Black working class, which is important because the primary goal of Republicans is the maintenance of (anti-Black) racism.
Democrats can only appeal to these voters by becoming more racist than Republicans, which will never happen.
But then Kevin Drum has always been a little socially conservative anyway, so his conclusions line up pretty well with his beliefs.
@Dan B: The gist of this argument seems to be that we need our own Fox News, a network that exclusively carries the Dem message 24/7. As an ex-newspaper journalist, I have a problem with that. There is an objective reality out there and it’s the press’ job to identify it.
There is a simpler way of solving this issue though and that is bringing back the Fairness Doctrine. It destroys Murdoch’s whole business model and forces these propaganda machines to balance the ledger. Like that delicious footage of Fox and Newsmax having to do reality checks on their election fever dreams we’ve been treated to for the last couple of days..
@Suzanne: This 100%. I hate the word rare being used with abortion.
It is for comments such as this that I wish BJ had a “like” button.
@SFBayAreaGal: No one ever says “I think chemotherapy should be rare”, although of course we would love it if people didn’t get cancer.
@West of the Rockies: Compromising our principles is counterproductive and unnecessary. A huge percentage of middle class and upper middle class men are getting ten messages of government failure and waste for every single message that counters that narrative. They’re getting that from media and their peers. They vote on their anger and the outrage they share with their peers. They don’t pay attention to the machinations of government. Their peers are not telling them that FOX and RW media are twisting their stories.
Well yeah, there’s a societal failure here: women still often don’t have access to affordable, reliable birth control. And the degree to which it’s difficult to convict men of sexual assault is also a societal failure.
Not sure how we talk about all this without at some point using words like ‘rare’ or its synonyms.
@Suzanne: We actually do have a goal of making certain vaccinations rare, and then nonexistent. Nobody gets vaccinated for smallpox anymore, and there are other diseases where we’d probably be pretty close if it weren’t for the damn anti-vaxxers.
So yes, people do say this sort of thing about medical interventions other than abortion.
@Major Major Major Major: I’m sure they listen, and I’m sure they like moderate-sounding rhetoric, but the question being asked is “how do Democrats change their messaging to reach these people?” with the perpetual sense that perhaps they should move toward being more moderate.
That completely ignores that the zone is already flooded with BS, and that the Republicans, as a party, want no truck with reality that doesn’t sound good for Republicans.
More importantly, while I can’t say what individual congressional candidates did, saying that Biden won, so maybe this method works just fine ignores that he was running against Trump – I reckon he probably had one of the highest disapproval ratings of any sitting President when it came to re-election; *and*, he could easily have won.
If it helps understand what I’m trying to get at better, I’m not saying that better or worse messaging *can’t* help; merely that there’s still the total willingness to ignore clear, objective, reality, in promoting Republicans, or damning Democrats; and that’s a huge, huge, deal… one I suspect might (ahem) trump careful messaging changes.
While it’s acceptable for the President to condemn Democrats (and not individual Democrats, but all Democrats (though sometimes only Democrats in Congress) in eliminationist-style terms, the entire political system is seriously ill. And asking how Democrats change that is missing a (not *the*) point.,
Calling for abortions to be “safe, legal, and rare” is, in my view as a woman who’s had an abortion and accompanied friends to theirs, an acknowledgement that it’s safer for a woman to have universal, easy, low cost access to contraception so that fewer unplanned pregnancies result in the first place. That’s a positive agenda, it affirms the right to contraception, and one that can appeal to a wider group of voters. And it’s a pro-woman agenda to me, because even a minor outpatient surgical procedure carries more risk than contraception does.
@moonbat: I am not in support of a “Progressive FOX”. We would be fine with objective news that is engaging and entertaining. I’d be fine with media that is Center Right to Progressive as a counter to RW media. But objective, fact and compelling story based, 365 / 24/7 would be excellent.
The Fairness Doctrine would be great, updated. That and an end to the Electoral College. We may need an extreme crisis to achieve either. 2020 doesn’t seem to be extreme enough so strategic remedies have more appeal at the moment.
Let me repeat: A progressive version of FOX is not a solution. Never has been, never will be.
@moonbat: To add to my dislike of a Left Wing FOX I don’t listen to Thom Hartmann or Amy Goodman. They tire me with their sneaky diatribes. My Mike guy does. He uses ear buds so I don’t have to hear them.
15 minutes per day of these two with lots of other voices would be fine by me. I am more enlightened by our comedians like Colbert, Trevor Noah, John Oliver, and Jimmy Kimmel, and more willing to indulge them.
@Dan B: Fair enough.
@satby: Yeah, that’s the way I read “safe, legal and rare,” too. It’s entirely possible that Bill Clinton was trying to sound more moderate when he said it, but its political appeal doesn’t diminish the practical message that more focus on birth control and related education would greatly cut down on unwanted pregnancies.
@Fair Economist: First time I’ve heard of RW black rappers swinging black male votes in Miami. It makes perfect sense. Were they being paid the big bucks by Mercer funded outfits? If so would they go for Democratic money?
@Dan B: While I too reject the idea of a ‘progressive Fox News,’ there’s also a need for a genuinely progressive news network of some sort.
One way it could differ from good mainstream news reporting would be in the stories and the issues it chooses to cover. Coverage of labor issues, for instance, has all but dropped off the media radar. Another way it could differ is the sorts of questions it asks when covering mainstream stories that don’t seem to get asked by the mainstream press. But neither of these would be at cross purposes with thorough and accurate reporting.
Re the Fairness Doctrine: this was an FCC rule, though I think its ultimate demise may have been due to either a change in the law, or a Supreme Court decision. (I used to know this shit, but that was in another lifetime.) At any rate, to update and restore it would be much more doable than abolishing the Electoral College, which would need a Constitutional amendment.
People are spending a lot of time psyching out why white working class males vote Republican. A better focus might be why the white working working class males who do vote Democratic vote that way. A good group to study might be Sherrod Brown’s voters. That’s where I’d look to develop messaging to these folks. If the Democrats can just cut the republican margin in this democratic group that could put win Iowa, and put Ohio in reach.
But if we want to flip Florida and Texas, more Latino working class votes are needed. While messaging might vary, I think policies that help working class voters generally are the way to go: policies that promote good jobs at good wages, access to good health care, educational and other opportunities to allow people and their children upward mobility.
And I think Democratic leaders need to convince their influential upper middle and upper class component that a prosperous working class benefits them, because some don’t get it. I wish that instead of indulging her wealthy donor audience’s disdain for “deplorable” trump voters, Hillary Clinton had given these Long Island fat cats a pep talk on infrastructure investment. These people people think of “infrastructure” as in, “we”re taking the Range Rover today, Sergei had to put the Mercedes in the shop because of that pothole.” Or, “Didn’t your cousin Abigail’s daughter marry a civil engineer?” Clinton would have done well to explain how infrastructure investment would foster a more prosperous working and middle class, which would make her listeners even richer, and their country stronger
Abortions should be safe, legal, and as common as they need to be for people to get proper treatment.
Safe, legal, and rare may have once been about providing sex education and contraception to women who want it, but that’s not how it’s been used in my opinion. In practice I think it is taken to mean that abortions should be accessible to good girls in trouble, but not those dirty sluts. It’s become a variation of the only good abortion is my abortion.
If you want contraception and sex education to be accessible, then say that. Until those things are universal, abortions hould be safe and legal and it’s none of our business how common they are.
@germy: Narcissistic injury combined with the knowledge on some level (even if he can’t admit it to himself consciously) that he’s facing some combination of prison, bankruptcy, exile, or a not-very-convincing suicide or natural death.
I agree. That was one of the things that drove me crazy about Diane Mitsch Bush, who flopped a second time in CO CD-3. She kept saying shit like, “she would stand up to party leaders”, like that was some kind of ringing endorsement to vote for the Democrat: “it’s okay, independents and Republicans, I promise to hate Democrats too!” Fuck that shit.
@lowtechcyclist: We don’t talk about making vaccinations rare if people still need them. Many women and trans men still need abortion access. We are not yet in the moment when we can talk about them being “rare” without that connoting “difficult to access if you need one” or “fraught with judgment on your eternal soul, you whore”. The facts on the ground matter.
Formerly disgruntled in Oregon
@Chyron HR: Thanks – sad to see it took over 100 comments for someone to call out that hateful bullshit.
Mr. Dantes has said hurtful stuff about gender non-conforming folks here before, but this violence against the homeless shit is another level. And to hide behind sock puppets while doing it is super cowardly. Fuck you, dude!
Sister Machine Gun of Quiet Harmony
@J R in WV: So, there was that teacher who was fired for not using a students preferred pronouns. https://www.cnn.com/2019/10/02/us/virginia-teacher-says-wrongfully-fired-student-wrong-pronouns-trnd/index.html
Formerly disgruntled in Oregon
@lowtechcyclist: “the Dems are really bad at this”
Who passed a $3 Trillion pandemic relief package through the House in May? Why isn’t it law? Did the Dems stand in they way of passing their own bill? Or is there an entirely separate party called the Republicans (that you neglected to mention) that should be considered to be part of the equation? Hmm?
@Capri: That’s easy, almost any black person could tell you, it’s the racism. White people like this stuff, but they don’t want to support the party with the black people in it.
Marcus Johnson on twitter was right, we don’t have much of a messaging problem, people really know what we stand for. They are voting to keep away from the black people, give them the other stuff without us, and they’re fine.
By the way, I can’t remember where I saw this, but someone pointed out that Latinos in Texas tend to be pretty pro police, Border Patrol and the oil and gas industries are big employers, hence the Green New Deal and Defund the Police are nonstarters there.
And, once again, we are having this discussion without mentioning voter supression, as rickyrah always mentions.
@Capri: Would you be surprised if many of the people who liked legalized cannabis and $15 minimum wage had no clue these were Democratic policies?
The GOP comes out of business, and gets funding from Wall Street and Madison Avenue. You can’t be GOP without understanding that Marketing is a high priority. Democrats come from academic backgrounds where knowledge, language skills, legal knowledge, and high analytical skills are the highest priority. It’s difficult for them to comprehend that most of the electorate is nowhere nearly as informed. When Kimmel does his Man in the Street interviews it’s cringe inducing how many people know anything beyond pop culture and their group’s bubble. The same is true about the intellectual bubble and the Wall Street bubbles.
Trump gets his name on some checks and it’s the first time most people have seen a politician do anything for them.
We need consistent and wide reaching marketing. We don’t have that at present. Our message is great, if complicated. Boil it down to a dozen talking points and repeat until our target audience hears it.
Being cruel to helpless people is not generally the way to make them more clean, gentle and acceptable to general society.
@Geminid: Hillary Clinton said half of Trump’s voters were deplorable and the other half were yearning for new opportunities. She wasn’t constantly yucking it up with rich people how his voters were all scum. The MSM did that, not her.
In retrospect, half was a pretty conservative estimation, pretty generous even.
Sister Machine Gun of Quiet Harmony
He won Utah by large margins. Some may really hate him, but they hate us more.
@glory b: Yes, Clinton did not call all trump voters deplorable. My comment was long enough as it was, and that’s why I did not make that distinction. But she would not have said this publically, and if she had to do it over again, she would not have said it privately. My point was that she was telling her audience what they wanted to hear, instead of what they needed to hear.
@Sister Machine Gun of Quiet Harmony: Harry Reid is Mormon. Lots of those Maricopa County suburbs with educated white people who swung away from Trump? Full of Mormons. (The Phoenix East Valley is the second-largest LDS community in the world.) Some of those are gettable votes for Democrats moving forward…. if we don’t act like it’s weird for Christians to be Democrats.
I personally know a shit-ton of Mormons who voted for Biden.
@Suzanne: Fascinating interview! His recommendation that the Biden administration talk about the costs of government programs and how the benefits are a fair return on taxes seems good. I thought that many government agencies were constrained by law from any self promotion.
@LongHairedWeirdo: So if Republicans will twist all messages Democrats put forth means we should give up on messaging? My take is that the Democratic Party is barely in the marketing game. If the Democrats have a megaphone and the GOP has several networks, by default, and hundreds of “Think” Tanks that spend 24/7 cranking out Talking Points, blasting them to political and media networks, that we should not bother with messaging?
It’s been many decades since Justice Lewis Powell wrote his “Memorandum” to the Chamber of Commerce that resulted in the right wing infrastructure we face today. We tried to get the Center for American Progress going. Many people tried to found a progressive counter to ALEC. The GOP laughs at us.
We are on the outskirts of marketing looking on at what a relentless propaganda campaign can achieve.
@Suzanne: I tried for years to get progressive religious leaders to promote their beliefs. They wanted to fill the pews but were loathe to saying anything which might possibly, even a tiny bit, cast doubt on conservative Christians’ beliefs.
It’s hard to make a story that will grab people’s attention when your message is, “We’re nice.” Early Christians didn’t point out how nice it was for them to be feeding hungry lions. There were nice Christians AND cruel Romans. That is a story that “went viral.”
I won’t tell you what conclusion you might create for yourself, but I said that Republicans’ messaging is untethered to reality, yet taken seriously, and that’s more of a problem than deciding on Democratic messaging.
No One You Know
@Miss Bianca: This, exactly.
Emperor of Ice Cream
@patrick II: That is as insightful a post as I’ve read anywhere. I often describe it as cultural v political. But you lodge it even deeper. It’s foundational to our entire national conception and embedded deeply within the national myth.