Wednesday, April 27, 2022

A Plea for Asylum from the Culture Wars

At The Liberal Patriot, John Halpin puts in his application:
"To: Department of Homeland Security, Political Sanity Division
To Whom it May Concern:
As sensible but politically displaced citizens, we request internal asylum from America's never-ending culture wars. We don't care about Disney or Ron DeSantis or CRT or “groomers” or the Trump family or radical activists on Twitter. We seek refuge from daily assaults on our sanity from ideological warriors on the left and right. We come in peace and offer America our full commitment to equal dignity and rights for all and tolerance of different perspectives and practices.
We believe America has serious issues to address like inflation, energy security, immigration, violent crime, poverty, affordable housing, drug addiction, environmental decline, China, and that psycho in Russia. All we ask is that our nation’s political elites try to help us confront these larger problems in a serious manner and stop trying to impose their personal ideological and moral views on everyone else.
All of us would just like to go about our daily lives, enjoy time with family and friends, and pursue meaningful political activities for the good of the country. But no one sitting atop the commanding heights of our cultural and political institutions seems to listen or care, so here we are.
America just a few short years ago was still a land of “Live and Let Live” and “Don’t Tread on Me.” Americans in the past may not have seen eye-to-eye on many issues, but few resorted to calling each other “hateful bigots” or “pedophiles” as a matter of course. Few people tried to force their entire belief systems on everyone else—through the media, the schools, the legislatures, or the courts. People mostly respected individual rights and the diversity of American backgrounds and viewpoints."

Friday, April 22, 2022

How to Fix the Democratic Brand, Director's Cut

In case you missed it first time 'round, here is a longer version of the essay that appeared a few weeks ago in National Review and to which I linked in an earlier post.
How to Fix the Democratic Brand
How to Fix the Democratic Brand
It Can Be Done, But It Won't Be Easy

Catching Up on the Pennsylvania Primaries

If you don't care about this, you should. The Democrats' receding chances of holding the Senate in 2022 have a lot to do with how things go in Pennsylvania.. Brian Katulis explains at The Liberal Patriot.
"With less than a month to go in Pennsylvania’s May 17th primary election, a few interesting battles have shaped up within both the Democratic and Republican state parties over who will fill the seat left open when Republican Senator Pat Toomey steps down at the end of his term early next year.
Watch the debates between the candidates in both parties over the next few weeks – they could offer important omens for what’s to come not just in Pennsylvania but also across the country.
The fight to win the nomination within both parties is important for two main reasons. First, it will offer some signals about the possible future trajectories of both parties, in large part because Pennsylvania voters living in the Keystone State can shift in unpredictable directions that can offer leading indicators about broader national political trends.
Second, the candidate who wins the general election in November could, depending on how other Senate races shake out, be the one that shifts the entire balance of power in the U.S. Senate. Democrats currently hold a razor thin margin (50 senators in the Democratic caucus plus Vice President Harris casting the tie breaking vote versus 50 Republicans). The victor of this Senate seat in Pennsylvania could determine the course of Biden’s presidency for the next two years."
Read the rest at The Liberal Patriot!

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Are Democrats Fiddling While Rome Burns?

That's been more or less my point of view and that of a few others like David Shor. It's a positive step though that more and more left-leaning analysts are coming to share that viewpoint. The latest is G. Elliott Morris, as expressed in a recent commentary on his substack newsletter.
"[M]any Democrats do not seem to be taking the prospect of being locked out of power for the short- to medium-term seriously enough. If Republicans win back the House in 2022, take back the White House in 2024, and defend a very favorable map in 2026, Democrats may not regain full control of the federal government until 2028 or 2030. To quote [Ross] Douthat: “The political landscape after 2024, however, might look more like liberalism’s depictions of its Trump-era plight.”...
I have to say [that progressives' current strategy].... sounds like more of the same strategy that got Democrats where they are today. That is not to say [their policies are] not the normatively or morally right thing to do. If I had my way, Democrats (including Joe Manchin) would immediately expand universal child care, pass a public option for government-subsidized health care, and dramatically radicalize their approach to climate policy. As a bonus, most of those things in isolation are popular with a majority of voters.
Instead, my argument is that this unified progressive agenda does nothing to bring back into the fold the conservative working-class voters — mainly white, but growing significantly more Latino recently — who have abandoned the Democrats and caused the structural disadvantages that are dragging them down today. The party needs a renewed identity as a pro-worker party, not one where coastal elites control the party line on policy and messaging. And it needs to be substantially more diverse in its approach to talking to voters in different areas of the country; messages that work in young, diverse urban cores do not work in educated white suburbs or shrinking exurbs."
Ah but how to do that? That is what every Democrat should be thinking hard about instead of acting like they live in a different country than they do.

Monday, April 18, 2022

Ruy's Razor

A very nice post from my friends at the Welcome Party.
"As all who read The Liberal Patriot know, Ruy Teixeira doesn’t mince words.
The demographer and political scientist co-authored the 2002 bestseller The Emerging Democratic Majority, which argued that the rapidly evolving demographic makeup of the United States stood to benefit the Democratic Party. This research was often misinterpreted as a fait accompli for the left — and continues to be willfully misinterpreted by the far-left as a mandate to ignore both historical swing voters and the ideologically mixed views of Black and Hispanic voters.
Teixeira, who was recently profiled in the New York Times, co-launched The Liberal Patriot in December 2020. Week after week, Texeira has been forcefully correcting the record with hard-hitting demographic and electoral analysis.
The Twitter-less Teixeira has observed that Democrats are now paying a steep electoral price for the far-left’s embrace of widely unpopular (but highly hashtaggable) slogans.
The extent of the Democrats' leftward lurch is most pronounced in the growing chasm between the views of the predominantly white, wealthy, and highly educated elites who staff the Democratic Party (and most major cultural institutions) and pretty much every other demographic group in the country.
Teixeira has illuminated Democrats’ problems with a variety of demographic groups: Democrats’ Hispanic Voter Problem, Working Class Voter Problem, and Coming Asian Voter Problem to name a few.
All of these fall under the umbrella of the Democrats’ Common Sense Problem: the jargony far-left dogma that dominates much of the party’s core infrastructure has too many voters thinking we’ve abandoned common sense entirely. Far-left battle cries like “Defund the Police” and “Abolish ICE” might make sense to those who are steeped in the intellectual discourse of abolition, but at best they confuse ordinary voters — and more often simply alienate them."

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Politicians Say They're for the Working Class...But None of Them Are

John Halpin's latest at The Liberal Patriot looks at the class character of the people's representatives. It's rather disconcerting.
"There’s no greater positive myth in American life than the belief that our national government is “of the people, by the people, for the people” as President Abraham Lincoln famously stated in the Gettysburg Address.
Although this ideal may be theoretically true—the American system of government has lasted longer than any other system in the world, after all, with citizens electing their own representatives in regular and fair elections—a basic examination of the makeup of our current Congress reveals a few confounding facts that complicate our well-intended egalitarian beliefs about who runs the country. Consider this:
Contemporary members of Congress look nothing like the rest of America in terms of their educational attainment and job backgrounds. According to the Congressional Research Service, 94 percent of House members and 100 percent of Senators in the 117th U.S. Congress have earned a bachelor’s degree or higher. For comparison, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2021 only 38 percent of Americans age 25 years or older had obtained a bachelor’s degree or higher. The near uniformity of college education among members of Congress today stands in stark contrast to mid-century trends when three-quarters of Senators and a little more than half of House members had obtained a bachelor’s degree or higher."
Read the rest at The Liberal Patriot!

Thursday, April 7, 2022

Could the Democrats Lose Their Nevada Senate Seat in 2022?

They most certainly could. I review the relevant data in my latest for The Liberal Patriot.
"What do you get when you combine the Democrats’ Hispanic voter problem with the Democrats’ working class voter problem? Something like the Democrats’ Nevada problem.
On one level, it might seem odd that there should be a Democratic Nevada problem. Nevada is the most rapidly-diversifying state in the country—it recently became majority-minority—and should continue to be so in the future. All else equal, that should favor the Democrats and it is true that Democrats have carried the state in the last four Presidential election and currently hold the governorship and both US Senate seats.
But hidden in these facts are some troubling signs. Despite rapid diversification, the Democratic margin in Presidential elections from 2008 to 2016 declined sharply from 12.5 to 2.4 points. And in 2020, as the Democrats gained ground in the country as a whole, the Democratic margin in Nevada went from 2.4 points… 2.4 points. That means that—again, despite rapid diversification of the electorate—Nevada went from three-tenths of percentage more Democratic than the nation as a whole in 2016 to 2 points more Republican in 2020.
Hmm. Now how did that happen? Start with Nevada’s Hispanic voters, 16 percent of 2020’s voting electorate."
Read the rest at The Liberal Patriot!

Tuesday, April 5, 2022

Against Illiberalism on Both the Right and the Left

John Halpin at The Liberal Patriot has an excellent review of Francis Fukuyama's new book, Liberalism and Its Discontents. Read the review and you might consider the book as well!
"Fukuyama’s new book, Liberalism and Its Discontents, offers an eloquent and eminently sensible defense of liberal freedom and pluralism that should be read and debated by leaders and activists across the ideological spectrum. This clearly written and concisely argued book highlights Fukuyama’s lifelong examination of the political theories and systems that shape human history—and in turn get shaped by its developments.
Classical liberalism in Fukuyama’s definition represents a “big tent that encompasses a range of political views that nonetheless agree on the foundational importance of equal individual rights, law, and freedom.” Liberalism in this formulation is not what we typically think of as center-left, Democratic Party politics in the United States or libertarianism on the right. It is a system of thought and institutions dating back to the 17th century designed to solve the problems of governing a diversity of people without force and constant war....
Unfortunately, as Fukuyama correctly argues, classical liberalism is under sustained attack from both the populist right and the identity-based left.
Right-wing leaders in countries like Russia, Hungary, Poland, Brazil, and Turkey, and even in America with Donald Trump, actively seek to demolish liberal institutions, eliminate checks on power, advance outright lies and conspiracies, and take over previously independent bodies to maintain their hold on power often in corrupt ways. In turn, illiberal left-wing movements in America and Europe seek to override constitutional neutrality and individual rights by promoting group-based discrimination to ameliorate real and perceived injustices while simultaneously patrolling political speech and dissent deemed as deviations from progressive orthodoxy.
Although threats from the populist right may be more pronounced and immediate, threats from the identity-based left also contribute to cultural divisions that undermine the cohesion and consensus necessary for pragmatic, incremental steps to improve liberal societies."
Francis Fukuyama’s calm evisceration of illiberalism on the left and rig