Friday, July 30, 2021

Time for Vaccine Requirements and/or Passports: It's a Health, Economic and Political Necessity

At The Liberal Patriot today. John Halpin explains why this step is past due in the United States and will have woeful consequences if the Biden administration does not step up.
As TLP has argued since the first days of the Biden administration, there are only two issues that matter for the success of the country and for Democrats in 2022: controlling the pandemic and getting the economy back on track. Everything else is a sideshow and distraction.
Until now, the Biden team has done an admirable job on both fronts. The economy is running full steam ahead and large percentages of Americans are vaccinated.
But all this progress is seriously at risk with the latest delta variant surge and the confusing and contradictory positions of the CDC and health officials on how to confront it. Rather than pushing and promoting the most important goal of near universal vaccination, the CDC has reversed course to recommend masks indoors for the vaccinated—simultaneously undermining their rationale from May for getting the vaccine and diminishing their trustworthiness by not presenting their data and not considering the obvious question of why those who do not want a vaccine would change course or start wearing masks.
Consequently, the country faces yet another culture war fight between the “vaccinated and the unvaccinated” and over the need for masks without getting any closer to doing what is necessary to control the pandemic: near universal vaccination. A lose-lose proposition....
Just as the U.S. economy is going gangbusters, the coronavirus response is producing unnecessary political splits and rising anger and confusion among Americans. The CDC and Biden should admit their stumbles in issuing the new guidelines, better explain their rationale and fully present all evidence for scrutiny, and pledge to the public full transparency in grappling with the difficult and shifting task of confronting Covid going forward.
Above all, public health officials and leaders need to level with Americans that the only goal that really matters is getting the country to near complete vaccination levels. No one wants to wear masks. No one wants to shut down schools or businesses again. And we have a very effective way to avoid this if everyone gets vaccinated.
Just as people must have driver’s licenses to get on the roads—or present proof of other vaccinations to go to school, to work, or to travel—Covid vaccination must become a requirement for the general welfare of the entire nation. This will require full approval of the vaccines by the FDA followed by clear requirements from employers, insurers, state officials, government agencies, schools, and others that all citizens must show proof of vaccination by the beginning of 2022."
Read the whole thing at The Liberal Patriot! I also recommend this piece by David Frum at The Atlantic site.
"First Canada overtook the United States in the vaccination race. Now the European Union has done so. Even poor European countries such as Greece, Lithuania, and Poland have surpassed vaccine-resistant U.S. states such as Ohio, Arkansas, and Missouri.
Why is this happening? Facebook exists on the other side of the Atlantic as much as it does on ours. Europeans do not lack for far-right political parties swayed by Russian misinformation. They are not better educated: Most EU countries send fewer of their young people to postsecondary institutions than the United States does. Anybody who has ever visited a European pharmacy has seen that Europeans are at least as susceptible to quack medicine as Americans.
One big difference between the U.S. and the EU is that European governments have been readier than U.S. governments to impose direct consequences on those who refuse vaccines. On July 1, the European Union adopted a digital pass confirming one’s vaccinated status, and individual member states are restricting access to public facilities for those who do not carry the pass. In Italy, for example, after August 6, anyone over the age of 12 who wants to enter a restaurant, gym, swimming pool, or cinema will need to have their green pass scanned at the door.
The EU system turns proof of vaccination into a QR code that EU citizens can store on their phone. The same code works in all EU countries and is available free of charge to EU citizens in both their national language and English.
By contrast, U.S. governments have been very reluctant to go the proof-of-vaccination route. Many Republican-governed states have gone out of their way to protect the right to infect. And even if a state were to try to roll out such a mandate, how would it do so? My CDC-issued proof of vaccination is a piece of cardboard inscribed with a nurse’s handwriting. I can scan it with my phone and instantly email it anywhere on Earth—but the document itself remains the product of Depression-era library-card technology."
This is unacceptable! We can do better. We must do better.
The Goal is Near Universal Vaccination
The Goal is Near Universal Vaccination
As Biden’s economic recovery takes off, his agenda is imperiled by the politics of Covid

Thursday, July 29, 2021

It's Just Too Damn the Climate Models!

Climate models underlie a lot of the catastrophism about climate change that's extremely common these days. But even as that catastrophism has settled into conventional wisdom, disquiet has been rising in scientific circles about the climate models people have been relying on, particularly those driven by the so-called business as usual scenario, RCP (Representation Concentration Pathway) 8.5. They're just too damn hot. From the Science magazine website:

"Next month, after a yearlong delay because of the pandemic, the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) will begin to release its first major assessment of human-caused global warming since 2013. The report, the first part of which will appear on 9 August, will drop on a world that has starkly changed in 8 years, warming by more than 0.3°C to nearly 1.3°C above preindustrial levels. Weather has grown more severe, seas are measurably higher, and mountain glaciers and polar ice have shrunk sharply. And after years of limited action, many countries, pushed by a concerned public and corporations, seem willing to curb their carbon emissions.
But as climate scientists face this alarming reality, the climate models that help them project the future have grown a little too alarmist. Many of the world’s leading models are now projecting warming rates that most scientists, including the modelmakers themselves, believe are implausibly fast. In advance of the U.N. report, scientists have scrambled to understand what went wrong and how to turn the models, which in other respects are more powerful and trustworthy than their predecessors, into useful guidance for policymakers. “It’s become clear over the last year or so that we can’t avoid this,” says Gavin Schmidt, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies.
Ahead of each major IPCC report, the world’s climate modeling centers run a set of scenarios for the future, calculating how different global emissions paths will alter the climate. These raw results, compiled in the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP), then feed directly into the IPCC report.....
In the past, most models projected a “climate sensitivity”—the warming expected when atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) is doubled over preindustrial times—of between 2°C and 4.5°C. Last year, a landmark paper that largely eschewed models and instead used documented factors including ongoing warming trends calculated a likely climate sensitivity of between 2.6°C and 3.9°C. But many of the new models from leading centers showed warming of more than 5°C—uncomfortably outside these bounds.
The models were also out of step with records of past climate. For example, scientists used the new model from NCAR to simulate the coldest point of the most recent ice age, 20,000 years ago. Extensive paleoclimate records suggest Earth cooled nearly 6°C compared with preindustrial times, but the model, fed with low ice age CO2 levels, had temperatures plummeting by nearly twice that much, suggesting it was far too sensitive to the ups and downs of CO2. “That is clearly outside the range of what the geological data indicate,” says Jessica Tierney, a paleoclimatologist at the University of Arizona and a co-author of the work, which appeared in Geophysical Research Letters. “It’s totally out there.”...
[T[he IPCC team will probably use reality—the actual warming of the world over the past few decades—to constrain the CMIP projections....For now, policymakers and other researchers need to avoid putting too much stock in the unconstrained extreme warming the latest models predict, says Claudia Tebaldi, a climate scientist at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and one of the leaders of CMIP’s climate projections. Getting that message out will be a challenge. “These issues don’t translate very well in practice,” she says. “It’s going to be hard for people looking to make some projection of a water basin in the West to make sense of it.”
Already scientific papers are appearing using CMIP’s unconstrained worst-case scenarios for 2100, adding fire to what are already well-justified fears. But that practice needs to change, Schmidt says. “You end up with numbers for even the near-term that are insanely scary—and wrong.”
As the saying goes, garbage in, garbage out. Climate change is too important an issue for alarmist modeling. Wise policy needs the best and most plausible models, not the scariest.

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

The Fox News Fallacy

The Fox News Fallacy has colonized the brains of many Democrats. This is the idea that if Fox News (substitute here the conservative bĂȘte noire of your choice if you prefer) criticizes the Democrats for X then there must be absolutely nothing to X and the job of Democrats is to assert that loudly and often. The problem is that an issue is not necessarily completely invalid just because Fox News mentions it. That depends on the issue. If there is something to the issue and persuadable voters have real concerns, you will not allay those concerns by embracing the Fox News Fallacy. In fact, you'll probably intensify them by giving such voters the impression that Democrats simply don't care about their concerns and will do nothing to address them.
Crime is a great example of this. And one that's increasingly in the news is "critical race theory" (CRT), a term originating in academic legal theory that has been shorthanded by the right as a catch-all for the intrusion of race essentialism into teacher training, school curricula and the like. The Fox News Fallacy is very strong here as the standard Democratic comeback is simply to assert that any voters, including parents, who are concerned about "CRT" are manipulated by Fox News and are opposing benign pedagogical practices like teaching about slavery, Jim Crow, the Tulsa race massacre, redlining and so on. The not so subtle implication is that such voters are racists since who else would be opposed to simply teaching such historical facts?
But this misrepresents the concerns of many parents and what the whole CRT controversy is really about. A serious engagement with the issue demands a deeper and more accurate understanding of the roots of the controversy. Sociologist Ilana Redstone provides some clarifying analysis:
"CRT’s critics are often portrayed as wanting to “whitewash” history and deny the reality of slavery. If the problem were that simple, the criticisms would indeed be worthy of the dismissal they often receive. Yet, there are serious concerns about CRT that are rarely aired and that have nothing to do with these points. As a result, confusion and misinformation abound and tension continues to mount.
Before making a few clarifying points, it’s worth noting that the vast majority of teachers and DEI trainers are not sitting down with students or groups announcing a lesson on CRT. More often than not, the name “CRT” never comes up at all. However, a CRT-based perspective is quietly shaping the conversation anyway. Its impact can be seen in conversations about race, power, identity, intent, privilege, and in an insistence on seeing the world through its lens....
CRT is a theoretical perspective that asserts that race is always about inequality and domination. CRT has a few main tenets, some of which can be (over)simplified as follows:
1. Colorblind racism—Deemphasizing the role of race and racism, including to focus on concepts of merit, is itself a manifestation of racism.
2. Interest convergence—Members of the dominant group will only support equality when it’s in their best interest to do so.
3. Race and racism are always tied together. Race is a construct meant to preserve white dominance over people of color, while making it seem like life is about meritocracy.
4. Inattention to systemic racism—An unwillingness to recognize the full force of systemic racism as determining disparities between groups is a denial of the reality of racism today (and evidence of ignorance at best and racism at worst).
These tenets have far-reaching implications. For instance, through this lens, questioning the extent of the role of systemic racism in shaping disparities between groups is itself considered evidence of racism, either overt or internalized. The suggestion that such a question might not be tied to racial animus of any kind is dismissed as either the result of ignorance or of more internalized racism. So, while rightly shining a light on racism as a problem, CRT leaves no space for non-racist reasons to see the world—or, in this case, the causes of inequality—differently."
This is a good summary of basic CRT-inspired ideas that have arrived in educational systems (and of course many other places). It is easy to see why parents might worry about such ideas, regardless of what they're called, influencing educational practices. These worries cannot be bludgeoned away by saying CRT has no influence and parents just don't want their kids taught about slavery.
Redstone has some good advice for progressives and for the mainstream media:
"To progressives: Stop talking about CRT and, more importantly, its related ideas as though objections to it and concerns about it are all driven by a denial of systemic racism or an unwillingness to acknowledge the reality of slavery. As I’ve pointed out here, this is to grossly miss the point. The importance of this point stands even if the loudest critics are not raising the concerns I’ve outlined here.
To the mainstream media: See advice for progressives, above."
She summarizes:
"The upshot is this: The problem is that CRT and its related ideas form a closed system. It’s a perspective that leaves no space for anyone, no matter how well-intentioned, to see the world differently. When presented as the singular valid worldview, it isn’t a productive way to engage with students, groups, or with one another."
With this more realistic perspective on the controversy one can free oneself from the Fox News Fallacy and see the genuine danger for Democrats if they persist in ignoring legitimate voter concerns on the issue.
A recent Politico report from Virginia underscores the danger:
"The stakes aren’t lost on Amanda Litman, founder of the Democratic organization Run for Something, which works to elect school board members and other local officials: “This is a perfect storm of something that can appeal to, or draw back in, some of the suburban parents that might have voted Republican in 2016, Democrat in 2018 and 2020, but could be drawn back to the Republican Party in 2022.”
“We’re trying to argue ‘No, you’re mis-defining critical race theory,’ and that’s not the point,” Litman added. “The point is that people are scared about what their kids are learning.”...
Polling suggests that the majority of voters still aren’t aware of critical race theory. But as the current debate escalates, activists and Republican officeholders are succeeding in giving voters a negative impression of it. As of mid-June, fully a third of voters told pollsters from the firm YouGov they hadn’t heard of critical race theory, and only a third of voters said they’d both heard of it and had a good idea of its meaning. But opinions among those who’d heard of it were sharply negative. Fifty-three percent said they were “very unfavorable” of it while only 23 percent said they were “very favorable.”
People who identified as Republican and had heard of critical race theory were especially negative: 85 percent termed their views “very unfavorable.” But the same was true of 71 percent of independents, the group that was key to Biden’s victory over former President Donald Trump, favoring the Democrat by 9 points, according to the Pew Research Center, after Trump had narrowly won the group over Hillary Clinton in 2016. Among Democrats who had heard of critical race theory, most (58 percent) were “very favorable,” while a smaller but still significant 7 percent were “very unfavorable.”...
In Loudoun County, Va., where heated opposition to the district’s plans to implement new diversity initiatives has led to an attempted recall of board members, culminating in a viral school board meeting in June where two protesters were arrested, organizers have similarly noticed support coming from outside the Republican Party. A poll conducted by Public Opinion Strategies in early June for the anti-critical race theory advocacy group Fight for Schools found that 48 percent of independent voters and 59 percent of public school parents overall in Loudoun and neighboring Fairfax County viewed critical race theory negatively, while 31 percent and 39 percent of each group had positive views.
Biden won Loudoun County by 62 percent to 37 percent over Trump, and Fairfax by 70-28."
Let that sink in. And this:
"In Palm Beach County, which voted 56-43 for Biden over Trump in 2020, a statement intended to increase equity in the district adopted in May quickly devolved into a heated dispute because the district vowed in the five-paragraph statement it would work to eliminate “white advantage.” It sparked hundreds of calls from parents concerned about the phrase, culminating in a school board meeting where dozens of parents testified they wanted “white advantage” removed.
“My children will never be taught to be ashamed of or apologize for who they are because of their skin color,” one parent told the school board during the meeting.
In May, the majority of Democrats on the school board sided with the protesters and voted to edit the “white advantage” phrase out of the equity statement. But the local Democratic Party took action and censured those school board members with a resolution saying they had betrayed the party’s values. Two school board members declared they would leave the party as a result."
The Wall Street Journal also looked into how the issue is evolving in Virginia.
"Some voters interviewed in Virginia, including suburban white women who were important to Democrats’ improved performance here and in other states that President Biden carried, said they felt national conversations about race and equity were divisive and often cast all white people in a negative light. Others were concerned that their children would come home from school believing that their parents are racist...
[Republican gubernatorial candidate} Youngkin is trying to engage voters such as Karen Mineo, a Loudoun County teacher.
“They are trying to make me feel bad because of the way I was born,” Ms. Mineo said. She said she participated in a 2019 meeting where school staff were told to be aware of implicit bias that comes with being white, something she took issue with: “They are trying to make me feel bad about me, for who I am, that I can’t help.” A spokesman for the district didn’t respond to a request for comment....
Recent polling finds that Americans have nuanced views about classroom lessons on race. In a Reuters/Ipsos poll this month, state bans on teaching critical race theory in public schools drew support from a majority of Republicans but not of Democrats or independents. Majorities in all three groups said they supported teaching high-school students about the impact of racism and slavery on the U.S.
Winsome Sears, the GOP nominee for Virginia lieutenant governor, often tells supporters that she doesn’t view the country as fundamentally racist. Ms. Sears, who is Black, invokes her father—who migrated to the U.S. from Jamaica to find work—as she rejects critical race theory. “It gives Black children the impression that they are victims and that, as a result, they can’t succeed in life,” she said.
Her story resonated at the event outside Richmond with Angela Allen, a corporate strategist who is running for a local school-board seat. She said Ms. Sears’s story shows that America isn’t racist. “I struggle to make that leap,” she said. “I don’t see it lived out. I just heard from Winsome Sears—she isn’t a victim.”...
Ann James, a retired postmaster from Goochland County, Va., said her biggest issue with critical race theory was that she thought it suggested all white people were bad. “I just think every race is important. We’ve all got a story,” said Ms. James, 84.
To win, Mr. Youngkin will need to both appeal to the core supporters of former President Donald Trump, who are the most active Republicans in the state, and persuade some Virginians who have turned away from the party."
Part of Youngkin's strategy is clearly to work the "CRT" issue. As Democrats attempt to respond to the issue in Virginia and elsewhere, they should not fall for the Fox News Fallacy.

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Class Matters: David Shor Explains What's Wrong With the Democratic Party and Why It Must Be Fixed

I ran across this recent interview with David Shor in an obscure place, the liberalish independent Orthodox Jewish site Yated Ne'eman. It's quite an interesting interview if poorly transcribed-- there are quite a few obvious misquotes of Shor on data-related stuff (see if you can spot 'em!) But the message is still clear and bracing. As time goes on, I think Shor is feeling increasingly comfortable saying exactly what he thinks and not softening it. Which I'm all for.
A few highlights:
* I'd say perhaps the dominant theme of the interview is that the changing class composition of the Democratic party matters--a lot.
"We have to look at the broader context of what’s been happening here and in almost every other country in the West. There has been a pretty consistent story that in the postwar era ⁠— here and in Britain and Germany ⁠— the center left has done pretty well with less educated voters, with working class voters, and did poorly with more educated or higher income voters.
That has changed dramatically over the last 30 years. If you look at a chart of voting patterns, you see that in the 1970s and 1980s, Democrats won white voters without a high school diploma by 28 percent and lost voters with at least a bachelor’s degree by 10 points. In [2016], that was reversed, with Republicans winning those without a high school diploma by nine points and those with a bachelor’s by just one point.
What’s interesting is that even though we can focus on what happened in 2016 — 2016 was a big transformation in voting patterns — it’s part of a long-term trend; it’s been happening for the last 70 years, here and in other countries. So I think that there is this natural question of, why is this happening?...
The story I like to tell is that immediately after the postwar era, only five percent of the electorate had a college degree. Now, 40 percent do. That’s a really massive shift in the electorate....Despite that, even though college educated voters were only five percent of the population in the 1940s, all the politicians, all the elites, were still college educated. So this led to this really interesting phenomenon where it was impossible to run on cosmopolitan values that the politicians would naturally want to, because you would just lose. George McGovern tried it in 1972 and he was annihilated.
Because of that, center left parties really focused on economic issues and avoided cultural ones. But now that there’s been this massive increase in educated voters, it is now possible to run on these cultural or cosmopolitan issues and win.
What that caused is that people who run on these cultural issues — now that they don’t have to have the same kind of restraint — are increasingly defined as being center left and progressive in terms of issues they care about, as opposed to issues that working class people care about.
So if you look at the last four years, you see how as college educated people have become a larger share of the Democratic Party, they have increasingly remade the party in their own image. That is a problem, because culturally, working-class white voters and working-class non-white voters have a lot in common and agree with each other on cultural issues....
What’s really interesting is ideology. By just asking people, “Do you identify as liberal, moderate, or conservative?”, we’ve seen that roughly the same proportion of white people, black people, and Hispanic voters identify as belonging to these three ideological groups. It’s roughly 20 percent liberal, 40 percent moderate and 40 percent conservative. This has been true basically for decades; it has been very stable.
What I think is interesting about that is that the reason why Democrats get around 75 percent of non-white that among white people, ideology and partisanship are correlated. Over 90 percent of white liberals vote for Democrats and about 80 percent of white conservatives vote for Republicans. But among non-white voters, that wasn’t true. Democrats have historically won non-white conservatives by large numbers.
If you look at Hispanic voters, one of the things you see is that Democrats in 2012 won Hispanic conservatives by 10 points, and in 2020 lost Hispanic conservatives by 40 points. That is the whole game. That is what happened to Hispanic voters."
* Shor goes on to explain more about how shifts in Democratic issue focus has undermined Democrats' nonwhite support.
"What’s changing is that now, non-white conservatives are starting to vote more like white conservatives; they are converting. I think the reason for this is basically, if you look at different ideological issues, some issues are more polarized than others. For example, your views on immigration are strongly correlated to whether you identify as a liberal or conservative. But your views on whether the government should give everybody a job is less correlated — there are rich liberals who are opposed to it, and there are poor conservatives who support it.
You see that ideology is tied to views on social issues, and non-white voters do have conservative beliefs on social issues. One example is, black Democrats are less likely to support changing traditional marriage then white Republicans are.
What happens is that over the last four years, Democrats have focused less on the kind of issues that Hispanic and black voters agree with us on, and focused more on the issues that they don’t. Hispanic voters have conservative views on crime, for example, and you can see a correlation that Hispanic voters with conservative views on crime were more likely to switch from Hillary Clinton to Donald Trump."
* The dominance of highly-educated whites in the Democratic party isn't as important as you think it is--it's more important!
"At the same time, it is also symbolic that the leaders of the Democratic Party are competing to get donations from highly educated white voters. And that means that they are talking in a different way than they used to. I like to look at the 2012 DNC presidential nomination clips versus the 2020 DNC clips. Democrats now speak a totally different language, that I think is aimed more at pleasing different internal interest groups then just speaking plain English.
Moving forward, some of these trends are inevitable. There is a historical basis on why Democrats have done so well with non-white voters — black voters especially, you can’t get 93 percent forever. But I think that if Democrats want to slow this trend, or reverse it, it is basically a matter of going back to the 2012 norm of having your audience as a median voter rather than having your donors as a median voter.
I always like to say that the median voter is about 50 years old and doesn’t have a college degree, and that makes them very different. One statistic I like is that white voters with a college degree who are under the age of 34 are only five percent of the electorate, but they are a literal majority of people who work in Democratic politics. So I think it’s just a message of talking about things that people agree with us on, primarily pocketbook issues, and using language that people can easily understand and messages that people can easily identify with.
But that is easier said than done."
* Let's repeat one of the last observations above to make sure it sinks in:
"[W]hite voters with a college degree who are under the age of 34 are only five percent of the electorate, but they are a literal majority of people who work in Democratic politics"
* Follow the money!
"It used to be that Republicans would outraise Democrats routinely. Starting in 2008 and 2012, that started to change. If you look at the 2020 presidential race, Joe Biden substantially outraised Donald Trump. I think online donations really changed the game.
Educated people have a disproportionate voice in a lot of ways — they are more likely to be journalists, they are more likely to donate, they are more likely to run for office. But I think that the donations take is really underappreciated, because in politics now, there are fewer swing voters than there used to be....
Something I like to say in terms of who my favorite politicians are is that it’s not ideological, it’s not left wing versus moderate ⁠— it is which politicians have been around the longest versus those who haven’t. People such as Bernie Sanders or Joe Biden or Chuck Schumer — they were around in the old days. In the 1984 Senate race in Delaware, Joe Biden got 60 percent of the vote. Ronald Reagan, the Republican presidential candidate, also got 60 percent in the same state. That means that nearly half of the electorate voted for both Democrat Joe Biden and Republican Ronald Reagan.
So back then, it was just way easier to learn things. You would give a speech, and there would be swing voters in the audience who would yell at you. Politics back then was about crafting messages that would appeal to the working class, because the country was so much less educated. That really reflected the way they talked. That is why both Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders refused to embrace defunding the police, they have consistently talked very differently than everyone else in the party. Chuck Schumer, too.
But the game has changed now. Ever since 2008, getting ahead in the Democratic Party is about raising online donations, and people who donate are incredibly educated. Something like half of people who donate have advanced degrees, which is wild — they are something like three percent of the population. You are talking about a highly liberal, highly engaged group of people you are trying to cater to. And at the same time, the media has gotten a lot younger due to structural changes in the economy — online and social media has made the views of young people a lot more visible and important than it used to be.
So the new generation of politicians, people like Kamala Harris, have come along and it is a different game. The way to get ahead now is just raise a lot of money and get liberal journalists excited about you. And that is why they talk so differently ⁠— because the people they are trying to influence are so different from the actual median voter.
I think this has been happening for a long time, but 2016 was really the first time when the Democratic id just expressed itself. The Clinton campaign that year was basically built around appealing to these voters and trying to excite them. That was the prevailing theory of elections at the time — that there are no more swing voters, and that we just have to mobilize the base.
This has really hurt Democrats. If you want to try to change course, we have to go back to the old ways of focusing on middle class people and talking about pocketbook issues that they agree with us on and ignoring the cultural issues that excites the donor class. Ultimately, you can have all the money in the world and you can run all the ads you want, but if you have the wrong message and you have the wrong brand, you are not going to get anywhere."
* Let's repeat one of those observations:
"The way to get ahead now is just raise a lot of money and get liberal journalists excited about you. And that is why they talk so differently ⁠— because the people they are trying to influence are so different from the actual median voter."
* Why the Democratic party reliance on educated voters is so very, very bad:
"[C]ollege educated white people, regardless of income level, have a really disproportionate voice in who ends up getting nominated. That’s a problem. I think it’s unsurprising that if we are not listening to non-white voters in a material way, they are going to abandon ship. At the end of the day, a winning coalition is built on representing many moderate and conservative voters.
One thing people don’t realize is that even among Democrats, only half identify as liberal. And even from that half, only something like 21 percent identify as very liberal. So there is this totally unrepresentative group of moderate and conservative Democrats — a very disproportionate share of whom are non-whites — who don’t really have a voice. The prevailing party conversation is about whether we should embrace socialism or whether we should defund the police ⁠— and that is disconnected from what black or Hispanic voters necessarily care about.....
[W]orking-class voters are overrepresented in all our institutions. They are overrepresented in the Electoral College, they are overrepresented in the Senate — that is why Donald Trump won in the first place.
People like to talk about how bad a candidate Hillary was, but what people don’t understand is that Barack Obama got about 52 percent of the vote in 2012 and Hillary Clinton got 51.1 percent. In any other country, that would have been enough for her to hold power. But what changed is that the Electoral College went from being biased towards Democrats in 2012 to suddenly being more biased against Democrats in 2016 than ever. The bias of the Electoral College really exploded in 2016.
The reason it exploded is because the Electoral College overweighs the views of working-class voters. By the way, the same thing happened in the US Senate. And right now, because Republicans are pursuing this strategy — and Democrats are letting them pursue this strategy — Democrats need a much higher share of the vote then they normally do to win. Joe Biden got 52.3 percent of the vote, and if he would have gotten 52 percent of the vote, he would have lost. That really highlights the danger of this approach, which is that our electoral institutions are not designed for a coalition that just has college educated voters.
Republicans certainly failed to win most of the votes, but the strategy they are pursuing allows them to persistently lose the popular vote and still win. And I think this is the underappreciated thing of all this."
* The Democrats need a serious course correction but the left of the party--shorthanded here as "AOC and her friends"--will make this difficult. If that course correction fails the results will be predictable and bad.
"I think it’s now clear in the party that’s some kind of course correction needs to happen. Incentives are strong now to try and move in [another] direction.
But the flip side is that mechanically it is hard. If you look at Joe Biden, who is now the most moderate person in the Democratic Party, there is nobody set to replace him. This generation of people who were around and who know how to talk to working class people is going to disappear soon. So it’s a real question which one of these two forces will win — simple generational replacement versus incentives that the Democrats really have to change....
[T]he scary thing for me is that Donald Trump was the most unpopular politician to ever run for office. He happened to have a good strategy, which was to dial up cultural resentment and try to appeal to cultural values, but he happened to be personally unlikable for a lot of reasons. We ran the most popular person in our party — Joe Biden has the highest personal ratings of any Democrat — against the most unpopular person in the Republican Party, and we only barely won, by 0.3 percent.
The danger is that even after Trump, the lessons of how to win — go complain about immigration, dial up a culture war, dial up authoritarianism — probably still works. So there will be another, better Trump, but it’s not clear to me that we are going to have another, younger Biden. That’s a scary thing.....
There is this large group of voters who are disproportionately working-class white voters from the Midwest, who [agree] with us on health care and disagree with us on immigration.
That group — it’s fairly large, it’s about 15 percent of the electorate — Barack Obama got about 60 percent of those people, and Hillary Clinton got 41 percent. That is the story of that election. That is what I find scary. There is this real ideological niche for a candidate who is moderate on economic issues and right wing on cultural issues and authoritarian issues. There are parties in other countries who fill that niche, whether it’s the AFD in Germany, the Swedish Democrats in Sweden, or Le Pen in France.
I don’t think that Trump was this unique individual — he simply found the strategy that no other Republican wanted to do because they would have lost some friends. But now that they know it works, I think other people are going to do it.
Democrats must counter that strategy by moving toward the center and decreasing the salience of these cultural issues. The danger is that they are primed to do the opposite, the way AOC and her friends want. Democrats are going in the wrong direction — they are letting Republicans have this large chunk of voters to themselves and then it will be hard for us to win elections, particularly the way our electoral system is set up."
Like an impending hanging, this should concentrate the mind. Either change course or get ready for some serious political setbacks. You've been warned.