Thursday, June 16, 2022

Will Higher Turnout Fix the Democrats' Problems?

Nope, not this election. And not future ones either. I explain in my latest at The Liberal Patriot:
"Turnout myths die hard. In fact they don’t seem to die at all.
That is particularly the case in Democratic circles. You don’t have to talk to a typical Democrat for any length of time before they evince their touching faith in the wonder-working powers of high voter turnout. Interrogate them a little further and it turns out what they really mean is that the stark choices presented to the electorate by Democrats’ progressive policies and Republicans’ reactionary ones will, if presented forcefully enough, produce massive turnout by Democratic-leaning constituencies (nonwhites, young voters, etc) that will neutralize Republican advantages.
We can see the latest example of this in how many Democrats are approaching the 2022 elections. The giant hole the Democrats are now in is hard to deny. Biden’s approval rating, a key indicator of midterm outcomes, is now below 40 percent in the 538 rolling average and below where Trump’s was at this point in the 2018 cycle. Republicans are comfortably ahead on the generic Congressional ballot, which typically underestimates their chances and augurs a big election for them. Gallup just released a comprehensive historical review of midterm indicators (Presidential and Congressional approval, satisfaction with the direction of the country, views on economic conditions) which shows the Democrats’ current situation to be exceptionally grim.
Democrats’ approach to digging out of this hole relies heavily on turnout. Either implicitly or explicitly, Democrats think of issues like abortion, guns, “MAGA Republicans” and, of course, January 6th mostly as ways of motivating their base to turn out at higher levels in the current dismal political environment....
There are, however, a number of reasons why this turnout fix is highly unlikely to work and, in fact, borders on the delusional.
1. Some Simple Math. Start with this: when Democrats persuade a voter to switch sides, that nets two votes for the Democrats (one less for the Republicans, one more for the Democrats). When Democrats turn out one more voter to vote Democratic that is, of course, a net of only one vote for them.
But it’s really worse than that. Typically, Democrats think of increased base turnout in terms of turning out more voters from various pro-Democratic demographic groups—young voters, black voters, Hispanic voters, college-educated whites, whatever. But not all the voters in these groups favor the Democrats so mobilization of more voters from a given group may well net less than one vote per additional voter. For example, looking at current Congressional ballot preferences, Democrats might net only a third of a vote for every additional Hispanic or young voter, six-tenths of a vote from every additional black voter and just a sixth of a vote from every additional college-educated white voter."
Read the whole thing at The Liberal Patriot!

Monday, June 13, 2022

Even Vox Is Starting to Realize This!

Perhaps it's time to take another look at my piece on the disutility of climate catastrophism.
Kelsey Piper at Vox:
"As I’ve written about before, climate change is going to be bad, and it will hold back humanity from thriving as much as we should this century. It will likely cause mass migration and displacement and extinctions of many species.
What it won’t do, however, is make the Earth unlivable, or even mean that our children live in a world poorer than the one we grew up in. As many climate scientists have been telling us, the world is a better place to live in — especially for people in lower-income countries — than it has ever been, and climate change isn’t going to make it as bad as it was even in 1950."

Thursday, June 9, 2022

Maybe Not a Sister Souljah Moment

But a Chesa Boudin Moment might just do the trick! My latest at The Liberal Patriot.
"The crushing recall of San Francisco’s stridently progressive District Attorney, Chesa Boudin, crystallizes just how much trouble Democrats are in on the crime issue. When voters in San Francisco—San Francisco!—throw a progressive Democrat out of office for failing to provide public safety, you know Democrats have an urgent need to assure voters that they are in fact determined to crack down on crime and to dissociate the party from approaches that fail to do so.
This is a wave that has been building for some time. In the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder and the nationwide movement sparked by it, the climate for police reform was highly favorable. But Democrats blew the opportunity by allowing the party to be associated with unpopular movement slogans like “defund the police” that did not appear to take public safety concerns very seriously.
At the same time, Democrats became associated with a wave of progressive public prosecutors who seemed quite hesitant about keeping criminals off the street, even as a spike in violent crimes like murders and carjacking sweeps the nation. This was twinned to a climate of tolerance and non-prosecution for lesser crimes that degraded the quality of life in many cities under Democratic control. San Francisco became practically a poster child for the latter problem under Chesa Boudin’s “leadership”.
So the voters kicked him out by a wide 60 percent to 40 percent margin. According to one analysis, about 40 percent of the votes for recall came from majority white areas of the city while 60 percent came from majority nonwhite areas. Based on the neighborhood pattern of voting and pre-election polling data, it seems clear that Asian voter support for the recall was particularly strong."
Read the rest, as always, at The Liberal Patriot.

Tuesday, June 7, 2022

In Search of the Center

At The Liberal Patriot, John Halpin has fresh data on how the public is searching for the political center.....and not finding it.
After the Democratic primaries in 2020, Joe Biden’s comeback victory over more left-leaning opponents was hailed as a triumph for his traditional brand of pragmatic centrism and bipartisan cooperation that later enabled him to win a decisive popular vote majority over Donald Trump in the general election. Biden swooped into office promising to “end this uncivil war that pits red against blue, rural versus urban, conservative versus liberal.”
A year and half later, this center ground appears all but abandoned and out of reach—for both President Biden and former President Trump."

Monday, June 6, 2022

Thursday, June 2, 2022

Have Democrats Found the Key to the Suburban Vote?

Probably not. As I argue at The Liberal Patriot, it is not even clear they really understand the complexities of the actually-existing suburban vote.
"The Democrats have a plan…sort of. In the face of a dreadful political environment dominated by voters’ negative judgment on Democrats’ economic stewardship and further defined by strong disapproval of Democrats’ approach on issues like crime and immigration, Democrats propose to flip the script by focusing their message on abortion and guns. Here they feel they are on stronger ground and can win the all-important battle for the suburbs.
The idea seems to be that the suburbs are full of liberal, highly-educated voters who are likely to be particularly moved by these issues and turn out against the Republicans. That may be true in some limited areas at the margins but it seems highly unlikely to work in the suburbs writ large for a very simple reason: actually-existing suburban voters are quite different from this caricature.
Start with who actually lives in the suburbs. Contrary to popular perception, less than a third of the suburban vote nationwide is made up of college-educated whites, the presumed locus of appeal for the suburban abortion/guns/very liberal on social issues vote. In fact, about three-fifths of suburban white voters are working class (noncollege)."
Read the rest at The Liberal Patriot!

Monday, May 30, 2022

How Much Will the Abortion Issue Help the Democrats This Year?

Probably less than you think. I explain at The Liberal Patriot:
"The apparent intention of the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade has handed the Democrats a big political opportunity. Most voters want to keep Roe v. Wade. Most voters think abortion should generally be legal and an overwhelming majority favor legal abortion in at least some circumstances.
Republicans on the other hand appear ready to take advantage of a Roe v. Wade overturn by pushing for stringent abortion restrictions in many states up to and including an outright ban on the procedure. So Democrats would appear to be on the right side of public opinion on the issue and well-positioned to generate considerable political advantage for themselves in a year when there’s been little of that to go around.
But will they? Unfortunately there are abundant indications that they could snatch defeat from the jaws of victory on this one. Indeed, I would go so far as to say that the response of the Democrats so far demonstrates in painful, almost crystalline detail much of what’s wrong with the party today.
Here is a (hardly exhaustive) list:
1. Median Voter? We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Median Voter! Public opinion on abortion is quite complicated. It is true that voters oppose banning abortion. But it is also true that voters oppose making abortion legal in all circumstances. By about 2:1 the public favors at least some restrictions on abortion. Looked at by trimesters, the framework used in Roe v. Wade, Gallup found that 60 percent think abortion should be generally legal in the first three months of pregnancy. But that falls to 28 percent for the second three months and just 13 percent for the final trimester."
Read the rest at The Liberal Patriot.