Back during the campaign, I wrote a piece that got around on "Common Sense Democrats". I argued that "there is a need for political common sense to undergird...debates [within the party]. If polling, trend data, campaign history and/or electoral arithmetic make clear that certain approaches are minimum requirements for success, they should be front-loaded into the discussion. That way discussion can focus on what is truly important instead of endlessly relitigating questions that are essentially settled.
In other words, start with common sense and then build from there. There will still be plenty of room for debates between left and right in the party, but matters of common sense should be neither left nor right. They are simply what is and what anyone's strategy, whatever their political leanings, must take into account."
I had 7 propositions that should be embraced by common sense Democrats, of which the sixth (slightly updated) was:
"Democrats should not run against Republicans with positions that are unambiguously unpopular. These include, but are not limited to, defunding the police, abolishing ICE, reparations, abolishing private health insurance and decriminalizing the border. Whatever merits such ideas may have as policy--and these are generally debatable--there is strong evidence that they are quite unpopular with most voters and therefore will operate as a drag on the Democratic electoral and governance success."
There is another side to this proposition that could be 6a or maybe just a proposition of its own. Just as Democrats should not advocate unpopular policies, they should not advocate popular policies in a way that makes them less popular.
This is brought to mind by the current vogue for attaching the word "equity" to virtually everything the Democrats are advocating and frequently seeming to justify race-neutral and popular polices on the grounds that they would promote racial equity. As politics, this makes no sense. You are taking policies that have great appeal to persuadable voters--otherwise they would not be so popular--and framing them as equity policies, which will reduce their appeal to persuadable voters who have non-liberal views on racial issues.
This is a very bad idea, as this piece from Matt Yglesias' substack (written not by Matt but by Marc The Intern--nice job Marc!) establishes. The analysis in the piece shows that there are far more persuadables who support progressive economic positions but are non-woke on racial issues than there are those that are woke on racial issues but don't support progressive economic positions. So framing race-neutral, popular Democratic economic programs as equity programs is a very poor tradeoff in support and electoral terms.
From the piece: