Monday, May 30, 2022

How Much Will the Abortion Issue Help the Democrats This Year?

Probably less than you think. I explain at The Liberal Patriot:
"The apparent intention of the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade has handed the Democrats a big political opportunity. Most voters want to keep Roe v. Wade. Most voters think abortion should generally be legal and an overwhelming majority favor legal abortion in at least some circumstances.
Republicans on the other hand appear ready to take advantage of a Roe v. Wade overturn by pushing for stringent abortion restrictions in many states up to and including an outright ban on the procedure. So Democrats would appear to be on the right side of public opinion on the issue and well-positioned to generate considerable political advantage for themselves in a year when there’s been little of that to go around.
But will they? Unfortunately there are abundant indications that they could snatch defeat from the jaws of victory on this one. Indeed, I would go so far as to say that the response of the Democrats so far demonstrates in painful, almost crystalline detail much of what’s wrong with the party today.
Here is a (hardly exhaustive) list:
1. Median Voter? We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Median Voter! Public opinion on abortion is quite complicated. It is true that voters oppose banning abortion. But it is also true that voters oppose making abortion legal in all circumstances. By about 2:1 the public favors at least some restrictions on abortion. Looked at by trimesters, the framework used in Roe v. Wade, Gallup found that 60 percent think abortion should be generally legal in the first three months of pregnancy. But that falls to 28 percent for the second three months and just 13 percent for the final trimester."
Read the rest at The Liberal Patriot.

Umm...About That Supposed Left Wing Great Replacement Theory

Predictably, some on the right have sought to characterize the left as having their own equally noxious Great Replacement Theory and, as evidence, many have cited, well, me and my esteemed co-author John Judis.
This is baloney of course and both Judis and I were pleased to see Joan Walsh defend our honor in The Nation:
"There is, in fact, a great replacement theory, they now argue—and it’s been peddled by Democrats. They’re claiming it emerged largely from a book by two friends of mine: The Emerging Democratic Majority, written by Ruy Teixeira and John B. Judis roughly 20 years ago.
"As Republicans flip from “We don’t believe in a great replacement theory” to “Hey, it’s real, but Democrats invented it!”—they routinely cite Judis and Teixeira....
Teixeira and Judis never promoted the notion that immigration, legal or illegal, was going to transform the Democratic Party. The growth of “ideopolises” was a bigger deal. If you can’t grab the book off one of your bookshelves, try this excerpt from The New York Times. And see if you recognize the book Ann Coulter and others are slurring.
The other reason I knew these lying liars are lying is that Judis and Teixeira aren’t ideologues. Their book didn’t advocate policy; it described trends."
In addition, Ryan Mills at National Review had a good article about the controversy where he allowed me to defend our honor directly:
"In 2002, Ruy Teixeira co-authored the book, The Emerging Democratic Majority, which posited that the changing electoral landscape — the changing voting behavior of women, professionals, and younger people, along with racial and ethnic demographic patterns — was poised to benefit Democrats. Teixeira told National Review that he and his co-author, John Judis, were merely pointing out clear demographic trends. “That’s different from arguing that Democrats should consciously engineer and accelerate this shift,” he said. “We said not one word about that.”...
Teixeira said he doesn’t believe it’s fair to say that Democrats are intentionally engineering demographic changes to their political benefit. He called the great replacement theory “a pretty far right-wing constellation of ideas coming out of Europe.” But he said left-wing cheerleading of white decline has “certainly gone too far.”
Teixeira said that in their book, he and Judis were always talking about the “potential” for a Democratic majority. “I emphasize potential,” he said, “because we talked in the book about how it was necessary for these opportunities to be handled intelligently, for the Democrats to adopt a variety of what we called progressive centrism. And above all else, and we talked about this and everyone immediately forgot it, that you need to have a certain share of more conservative, white working-class voters still on board with your party, or the political arithmetic just doesn’t work.”
Teixeira has said a “dangerous misinterpretation” of his book helped elect Donald Trump.
Some conservatives have argued that Democratic crowing about declining white power and the weaponization of demographic change have alienated working-class whites. Teixeira said it also encouraged Democrats to act like they don’t need those voters.
“It encourages the lazy, counterproductive, and basically mathematically illiterate approach to the electorate where these idiots think that they can get by without paying attention to what more conservative or non-college white voters think,” Teixeira said."
Both articles are worth a read and provide a solid rebuttal to attempts to recruit our book as a sort of lefty Great Replacement handbook.

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