Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Why the Democrats Fell Short

This will be a source of endless discussion--as it should be--but some more of my thoughts made it into a David Lauter election results overview piece in the LA Times. He mostly gets what I said mostly right though I do wish we had better data on these issues. Presumably things will become clearer as the data are accumulated and modeled.
Although preelection polls suggested that Biden would improve on Hillary Clinton’s showing among white, college-educated voters, the election data so far indicate that did not happen, said Democratic analyst Ruy Teixeira. Biden did win back some of the non-college-educated white voters that Clinton lost to Trump four years ago, but there, too, the gains were smaller than expected, Teixeira said.
For both parties, the results put a spotlight on internal tensions that could turn into divisive public fights in the year to come.
Republicans remain divided on whether, without the burden of Trump’s bombastic style, they can win back suburban voters who incline toward moderate policies or whether their future lies in a more explicit form of conservative populism aimed at working-class voters — Trumpism without Trump.
Democrats on Wednesday were already dividing over whether the problem of Biden’s campaign was too much moderation or too little.
In Kamarck’s view, “Biden tried to reach beyond his base, but his attempt was undercut by Democratic primaries where everybody but Biden and a handful of others were out on the left wing.”
“Biden did a good job trying to say, ‘I beat those guys in the primary.’ He knew he had to overcome that, but it was hard to overcome.”
Teixeira suggested that Biden might also have suffered among Latino voters because the attention paid this summer to issues of racial justice drowned out talk of his “working-class economic agenda” that might have connected more directly with many of them. “Maybe that’s not what the median Black or Latino voter wanted to hear” as the main topic of discussion, he said. “Maybe the culture wars are a loser for Democrats.”
At this point, I am inclined to think so.

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