Saturday, February 26, 2022

Time to Declare Victory and Open This Country Up!

Molly Murphy and Brian Stryker at Impact Research (Biden's polling firm) have some excellent advice for Democrats. This is no longer an option but a necessity if Democrats are not to fall even farther behind the public mood. They need to see restoring a sense of normality as their number one task.
"After two years that necessitated lockdowns, travel bans, school closures, mask mandates, and nearly a million deaths, nearly every American finally has the tools to protect themselves from this virus. It’s time for Democrats to take credit for ending the COVID crisis phase of the COVID war, point to important victories like vaccine distribution and providing economic stability to Americans, and fully enter the rebuilding phase that comes after any war.
• Declare the crisis phase of COVID over and push for feeling and acting more normal. Thanks to Democrats, we are nowhere near where we were two years, or even one year ago. Democrats have a tremendous opportunity to claim an incredible, historic success – they vaccinated hundreds of millions of people, prevented the economy from going into freefall, kept small businesses from going under, and got people back to work safely. Because of President Biden and Democrats, we CAN safely return to life feeling much more normal – and they should claim that proudly.
• Recognize that people are “worn out” and feeling real harm from the years-long restrictions and take their side. Most Americans have personally moved out of crisis mode. Twice as many voters are now more concerned about COVID’s effect on the economy (49%) than about someone in their family or someone they know becoming infected with the coronavirus (24%). Two-thirds of parents and 80% of teachers say the pandemic caused learning loss, and voters are overwhelmingly more worried about learning loss than kids getting COVID. Six in ten Americans describe themselves as “worn out” by the pandemic. The more we talk about the threat of COVID and onerously restrict people’s lives because of it, the more we turn them against us and show them we’re out of touch with their daily realities."

Friday, February 25, 2022

Rural Voters and the Democrats: It's Not as Bad as You Think, It's Worse

The ongoing collapse has been obvious for some time and Eli Yokley has the data that provides the exclamation point. This is troubling since the 2020 election did show some modest improvement for Democrats among rural voters in the Presidential race. That has gone up in smoke apparently.
"The Democratic Party’s attrition in America’s shrinking yet politically powerful rural communities was obscured during Donald Trump’s presidency, with the GOP’s suburban decline ultimately helping deliver Democrats a governing trifecta in Washington despite state-level losses.
But Democrats may no longer be able to rely on the suburbs given President Joe Biden’s mounting struggles that threaten to again highlight his party’s weaknesses in rural communities, where new Morning Consult research reveals culture-driven displeasure with the party in power. Some prominent Democrats believe an immediate course correction is required for the party to avoid perhaps decades in the political wilderness.
“The root issue is that rural voters are worth more in both the Senate and the Electoral College,” said Democratic data scientist David Shor, a 2012 campaign guru for President Barack Obama who has spent years warning his party that it faces extinction in the country’s more remote areas. “Either Democrats make these adjustments and do better with working-class voters, or they get locked out of the federal government for a very long time.”

Thursday, February 24, 2022

Where Have All the Democrats Gone?

Long time passing...I explain in my latest at The Liberal Patriot:
"The Democratic coalition in 2020 was not strong as attested to by their narrower-than-expected Presidential victory, losses in House races and resulting razor-thin control of Congress. Since then, Democrats have lost support, well, pretty much everywhere.
Democrats might have hoped that after their relatively poor showing among Hispanics in 2020, they would make up the lost ground as they moved toward 2022. Nope, not happening. They might have hoped that, after holding the line among white working class (noncollege) voters in 2020 and even making some modest gains, they could avoid catastrophic slippage among this demographic going forward. Nope, it’s happening again. And they might have hoped, fervently, that their strong gains among white college voters in 2020—by far the most important single factor in Biden’s victory—would hold in the future and perhaps improve further. Not happening either."
Read the whole thing at The Liberal Patriot!

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Progressives Should be Conservatives (At Least on Some Things)

John Halpin at The Liberal Patriot points out that not all conservative ideas are bad.....indeed, some of them are pretty good and should be incorporated into a reasonable center-left outlook.'
Part of developing a genuine liberal nationalism requires examining and absorbing good ideas from around the political spectrum that can help America succeed and uphold values of freedom, tolerance, and opportunity for all. In that spirit, here are some of the best ideas and concepts promoted by conservatives that should be considered in policy making. Next week, this exercise will be repeated examining the best ideas emanating from the economic left.
"Some of the best concepts from conservatives:
Subsidiarity and localism. Subsidiarity is a confusing term—used mostly in Catholic social teaching—that represents an important concept: policies and political issues are best handled at the local level and within natural social contexts such as families, neighborhoods, parishes, workplaces, etc. This notion of localism doesn’t preclude or replace universal policies and government social programs, nor does it give license to different sets of rules that might threaten individual rights. Rather, a commitment to subsidiarity and localism merely asks political and community leaders to design policies—such as infrastructure investments or anti-poverty programs or work training efforts—from the ground up rather than from the top down....
Tradition and common sense. Tradition and common sense are concepts often derided as covers for the status quo or biases that serve some people more than others. In some cases, this can be true. At the same time, tradition and common sense properly understood represent inherited wisdom, experiences, and norms that groups of people commit to collectively and refine over time to justify behaviors, laws, and customs."
Read the rest at The Liberal Patriot. And subscribe!
What Conservatives Get Right About Politics
What Conservatives Get Right About Politics
Localism, tradition, common sense, and a focus on unintended consequences in policy making are all good ideas for building a stronger country.

Monday, February 21, 2022

The Year of the Angry Parent?

Could be. This is an excellent analysis by Yahoo's Jon Ward which does a generally good job of summarizing the current political moment. Recommended--much better than what you tend to see in the "prestige" media.

Saturday, February 19, 2022

The Crazy Catches Up With the Democrats

It's starting to dawn on more and more Democrats that the crazy in some parts of the party really is having a dire effect on the party's brand. It's not just a nuisance, it's an honest to god problem that can't be batted away by referring to Fox News talking points and January 6th.
This week of course three ultrawoke members were recalled from the San Francisco school board by absolutely crushing margins. When something like his happens In a place like San Francisco, you know a backlash is afoot.
Tyler Cowen in his Bloomberg column asserts that this result makes it a reasonable time to say wokeism has now peaked and will be receding. Maybe. But Cowen rightfully points out that receding doesn't mean they will disappear anytime soon since they have burrowed into academia, cultural institutions HR departments, foundations, nonprofits and the like. They've got jobs and power and that doesn't disappear so easily.
"The turning point for the fortunes of the woke may be this week’s school board election in San Francisco, where three members were recalled by a margin of more than 70%. Voters were upset that the school board spent time trying to rename some schools in a more politically correct manner, rather than focusing on reopening all the schools. There was also considerable opposition to the board’s introduction of a lottery admissions system for a prestigious high school, in lieu of the previous use of grades and exam scores....
Another trend is how relatively few immigrants are woke. Latinos in particular seem more open to the Republican Party, or at least don’t seem to have strong partisan attachments. More generally, immigrant political views are more diverse than many people think, even within the Democratic Party....
Wokeism is likely to evolve into a subculture that is highly educated, highly White and fairly feminine. That is still a large mass of people, but not enough to run the country or all its major institutions. In the San Francisco school board recall, for instance, the role of Asian Americans was especially prominent....
The woke also are likely to achieve an even greater hold over American universities. Due to the tenure system, personnel turnover is low, and currently newer and younger faculty are more left-wing than are older faculty, including in my field of economics. The simple march of retirements is going to make universities even more left-wing — and even more out of touch with mainstream America."
Also this week the DCCC released a memo and data showing just how potent GOP attacks, building on the crazy, are likely to be this cycle.
"In swing districts, 64% of voters agreed with the statement that "Democrats in Congress support defunding the police and taking more cops off of the street." The internal poll found that 80% of self-defined swing voters in competitive districts agreed with the same statement. Politico previously reported on the DCCC warning about the effectiveness of what they refer to as conservative "culture war attacks."
Sixty-two percent of voters in contested districts agreed with the statement, "Democrats in Congress have created a border crisis that allows illegal immigrants to enter the country without repercussions and grants them tax-payer funded benefits once here." Seventy-eight percent of swing voters in those districts agreed.
Sixty-one percent of swing district voters agreed with the statements, "Democrats in Congress are spending money out of control," and, "Democrats are teaching kids as young as five Critical Race Theory, which teaches that America is a racist country and that white people are racist." And 59% agreed with the statement, "Democrats are too focused on pursuing an agenda that divides us and judging those who don't see things their way."
Remember Democrats, only *you* can stop the crazy. If not you, who? If not now, when? Time to say enough is enough.

Friday, February 18, 2022

The Emerging Democratic Majority Meets the Vulgar Marxist!

I had a fun time with Matt Thomas on his new podcast that goes with his excellent Vulgar Marxism substack. Thomas uses the razor sharp tools of Marxist class analysis to interrogate my shameless neoliberal revisionism, particularly as it applies to the past and current role of the professional class.
I take a stand for Michael Harrington's "left wing of the possible" approach. I also emphasize, as we used to say in grad school, the relative autonomy of the cultural and ideological moment in late capitalism. (h/t Louis Althusser)
Of course, the Vulgar Marxist disagrees which is what made this such a fun conversation. Give it a listen. Here's his description of the pod:
"Ruy Teixeira on "The Emerging Democratic Majority" Twenty Years Later
We discuss professional class hegemony within the Democratic Party, the morbid symptoms of neoliberalism, and if the coalition he advocated for was ever really possible, or doomed from the start."

Thursday, February 17, 2022

Just Say No to Climate Catastrophism!

As I continue my popularity campaign with the Democratic left, I take issue with the dominant perspective of climate catastrophism. Addressing climate change, no matter your assessment of the problem's seriousness, has fundamental political problems that the drumbeat of climate catastrophism has not solved and will not solve. Read my take at The Liberal Patriot!
"What’s green and near the bottom of voters’ policy priorities? Climate change, that’s what. Democrats have a very, very hard time acknowledging this but it is nevertheless true.
In the latest Gallup “most important problem” poll, climate change comes in at a whopping 2 percent (open-ended response). A new Pew survey asked the public about a lengthy series of policy priorities and whether they should be a “top priority” to address in the coming year. The result: climate change came in way behind strengthening the economy, reducing health care costs, dealing with the coronavirus, improving education, defending against terrorism, improving the political system, reducing crime and improving the job situation and also behind dealing with immigration, reducing the deficit, addressing the criminal justice system and dealing with the problems of poor people (whew). That’s 13 issues in front of climate change!
The Pew report breaks down these ratings by education. Interestingly, among working class (noncollege) respondents climate change repeats its dismal 14th place finish in the policy priorities parade. But among the college-educated, climate change does much better, going up to 6th on the list. Hmm.
Surveys have repeatedly showed that, while the public mostly acknowledges climate change is ongoing and they are at least somewhat concerned about it, the issue is not so salient that they are willing to sacrifice much to combat it."
Read the rest at The Liberal Patriot.