Friday, May 13, 2022

The Reverse Timothy Leary: They're Not Tuning In, They're Tuning Out!

And with the state of today's politics, you can hardly blame them. John Halpin explains at The Liberal Patriot:
"A foul wind blows across the political landscape. You won’t read much about it in the pages of America’s newspapers or see many segments about it on 24-hour cable news or scroll through much about it on amped-up social media feeds. That’s because the most important if unrecognized trend in American life today is the widespread tuning out of politics by huge numbers of Americans who—with good reason—are disappointed, fed up, or just plain uninterested with what passes for democratic discourse today...
It’s an open question whether either Democrats or Republicans can figure out how to reach and represent this tuned-out generation of Americans. “Our nutters will beat your nutters” is not a smart strategy for winning the hearts and minds of the disaffected masses. As the ideological extremes take over both parties, the tuned-out middle sits by waiting to be courted and listened to in politics. To do so, however, the people running the leading political and media institutions in America will first have to make a conscious decision to end the endless culture wars and start focusing on the economic and social needs of the nation as a whole without constantly badgering other Americans to believe things they don’t want to believe."
Read the whole thing at The Liberal Patriot!

Thursday, May 12, 2022

The Losing Record of the Democratic Party Left

My latest for The Liberal Patriot. To be sure, there are others deserving of blame for the Democrats' current situation but the record of the Democratic left is pretty damn bad in my view.
"How much is the Democratic Left losing? Let us count the ways.
1. Build Back Better. This was the vessel into which all the hopes and priorities of the Democratic Left were poured. And it has proved to be a catastrophic failure. While the Democratic Congress, on the Democratic Left’s insistence, wasted months in arcane negotiations about bill structure, what programs it would and would not cover and how many trillions of dollars it all would cost, ordinary voters were trying to cope with the Delta wave and the emergence of supply and inflation problems in the economy. As they became increasingly unhappy with the Biden administration and increasingly unsure just when things would finally get back to normal, the endless, confusing negotiations went on.
This was a terrible look for the Democrats, making them seem out of touch with the country and ordinary voters. And in the end, nothing got done.
2. The Infrastructure Bill. Here is a textbook case of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.....
As the great Casey Stengel might have put it: “Can’t anyone here play this game?”
The thread that runs through all these failures is the Democratic Left’s adamant refusal to base its political approach on the actually-existing opinions and values of actually-existing American voters. Instead they entertain fantasies about kindling a prairie fire of progressive turnout with their approach, despite falling short again and again in the real world. It hasn’t worked and it won’t work.
Instead, what they need is a plan on how to win outside of deep blue areas and states (the average Congressional Progressive Caucus leader is from a Democratic +19 district). That entails compromises that, so far, the Democratic Left has not been willing to make. Cultural moderation, effective governance and smart campaigning are what is needed to win in competitive areas of the country. If democracy is in as much danger as the Democratic Left appears to believe, would not such compromises be worth making? And wouldn’t winning make a nice change of pace at this point?"
Read the whole thing at The Liberal Patriot. And subscribe--it's free!!

Saturday, May 7, 2022

Thursday, May 5, 2022

No, Emulating Mallory McMorrow Will Not Solve the Democrats' Problems

Nor will the abortion issue by itself. But at least here, there is progress to be made if handled sensibly. I explain in my latest at The Liberal Patriot:
"Mallory McMorrow is having a moment. The Michigan legislator made a short speech assailing a fellow legislator who had accused her in a fundraising email of “grooming and sexualizing” kindergartners, which was subsequently viewed millions of times on McMorrow’s Twitter feed. Her message, delivered with some well-chosen personal touches, boiled down to: stand up to hate.
The speech was rapturously received in Democratic circles, particularly among activists and Democratic-leaning pundits. One went so far as to compare McMorrow to Nelson Mandela and Vaclav Havel. And many asserted that here, finally, was a blueprint for an effective Democratic midterm strategy.
Democrats should contain their enthusiasm. When you think about it, what McMorrow is recommending is basically what Democrats have already been doing—calling out their opponents for being hateful, bigoted and/or racist—but doing it more loudly and unequivocally. The idea here seems to be that a message’s effectiveness is directly proportional to the vigor with which it is asserted.
This is a fallacy. If a message has underlying weaknesses and fails to connect to significant and real voter concerns, it will not become more effective by simply increasing the volume. The weaknesses will still be there and voters’ concerns will not magically go away."
Read the whole thing at The Liberal Patriot!
The Mallory McMorrow Fallacy
The Mallory McMorrow Fallacy
Or Should We Call It The Popeye Fallacy?

Tuesday, May 3, 2022

The Complicated Views of Young Voters

I think it's fair to say that neither party and most pundits do not have a particularly nuanced or accurate view of young voters' inclinations. John Halpin has the data at The Liberal Patriot:
"All Americans would like their political leaders to listen to them and take their views into serious consideration when making policy decisions. This is the democratic way. Unfortunately for America’s young people, political elites today grossly misunderstand and distort their views in ways that undermine young people’s impact on the decisions of government and the direction of politics.
The stereotypes of young people run wide and deep. According to left-wing activists, young people primarily care about issues like student debt, climate change, and racial justice and will only support parties or leaders who take maximalist positions on these issues. In turn, this reductive conception of young people suits right-wing activists just fine, making it easier for them to decry the supposed radicalism of young people and tar their politics as hopelessly out of touch with more mainstream Americans.
But looking at the great new Harvard Youth Poll conducted with more than 2000 Americans ages 18-29, it turns out that much of this conventional and ideologically convenient wisdom is untrue. Young people are far more diverse in their political views than generally acknowledged, and the issues that tend to unify young people across educational lines—things like health care and fighting poverty—are not the same ones that the nation’s political elites are fighting about all the time. Most importantly, young people face serious economic challenges that contribute to an overwhelming sense of fear about the future, rising mental health challenges, and political disengagement.
Consider these findings:
Young people are not overwhelmingly liberal or Democratic—most are moderates and many are Independents with big divides by education level......"
Read the whole thing at The Liberal Patriot!

Monday, May 2, 2022

Chart of the Day

Public opinion on affirmative action. Just in case you think that affirmative action, as it is generally understood, is actually popular. (YouGov data)
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