Friday, July 29, 2022

The Latest Messaging Brainstorm from Progressive Democrats

Probably not gonna work either. I explain at The Liberal Patriot:
"There is a new entrant in the Democratic messaging sweepstakes: “inclusive populism”. The idea here is that Democrats may indeed be bleeding working class voters—points for at least recognizing the problem!—but the solution does not lie in any way with moving to the center on culturally-inflected issues like crime, immigration, race, gender and schooling. That would apparently not be “inclusive”.
Instead, as recounted in Blake Hounshell’s Times article on their initial gathering, the inclusive populists argue for turning it up to 11 on economic populism since “[Democrats] don’t fight hard enough for working-class people, and…aren’t tough enough on big, greedy corporations.” As Hounshell notes:
"The unmistakable tone of the event was a rebuke of the Democrats who have failed to squeeze more progressive policy wins out of their congressional majority over the last 18 months — and essentially, in the left’s telling, let their most conservative member, Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, dictate the terms of their governing agenda."
There are two big problems with this approach."
Read the whole thing at The Liberal Patriot!
Could “Inclusive Populism” Solve the Democrats’ Working Class Voter Problem?
Could “Inclusive Populism” Solve the Democrats’ Working Class Voter Problem?
It Seems Doubtful

Thursday, July 21, 2022

The Democratic Coalition Is Changing....and Not in a Good Way

My latest at The Liberal Patriot:
"Democrats are betting on a small set of issues to mitigate their losses this November. Inflation may have just hit a 40 year high (9.1 percent) with concomitant recession risk but Democrats believe that campaigning against the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade, arguing for more gun control in the wake of recent mass shootings and highlighting Trump’s anti-democratic malfeasance through the January 6th hearings can turn the tide in their favor.
It is true that recently the polls have tightened a bit in the Democrats’ favor (though some of this could be the eagerness of motivated Democrats to be polled). And there is general agreement that Democrats’ chances of holding the Senate are much better than their chances of holding the House.
Recent data indicate that success for the abortion-gun control-January 6th strategy, to the extent it is working (and might work in the future) is attributable to those voters for whom these issues loom large and are less likely to be influenced by current economic problems. Such voters are disproportionately likely to be college-educated whites and it is here that Democrats have been demonstrating unusual strength.
In the just-released New York Times-Sienna poll, Democrats have a 21 point lead in the generic Congressional ballot among these voters. Shockingly, white college Democratic support in this poll is actually higher than support among all nonwhite voters. This is remarkable and has much to do with anemic Hispanic support for Democrats, who favor Democrats over Republicans by a scant 3 points.
More broadly, the lack of Democratic support among working class (noncollege) voters is striking. Democrats lose among all working class voters by 11 points, but carry the college-educated by 23 points. This is less a class gap than a yawning chasm."
Read the whole thing at The Liberal Patriot!

What’s Driving So Much conflict in the Democratic Party?

I am interviewed at length on this subject in a new digital publication, The Signal. This interview was beautifully transcribed and edited and reads very well indeed. If you are at all interested in my thinking on this subject, this is an excellent source.

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

The Ruy Teixeira Newsletter Returns!

Have you missed some of my latest rants about the parlous state of Democrats and the leff? Not to worry--they're all here in the latest Ruy Teixeira newsletter! Be the first one on your block to completely master Marxism-Leninism-Ruy Teixeira Thought (With American Characteristics?) Click through the link for the full newsletter and a subscription option.
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Thursday, July 7, 2022

Some Liberal Patriot Messaging Advice for Biden

At The Liberal Patriot, Brian Katulis tries his hand at how Biden might be able to improve his political messaging.
"President Joe Biden traveled to Ohio this week to make the case directly to the American people for some of the things his administration is trying to get done.
This is the sort of trip outside of the Beltway bubble Biden needs to do more often if he wants to shore up his sagging political fortunes in advance of this fall's midterm elections. Sandwiched between last week’s trek to Europe and next week’s pilgrimage to the Middle East, what Biden said in Ohio had many of the ingredients needed to reconnect with working Americans – but there are still some elements missing he can add to make his case stronger.
Four months before the 2022 midterm elections, President Biden remains stuck at a low point in his political standing, with a job approval of 38%. Biden’s standing collapsed nearly a year ago last summer after the botched Afghanistan withdrawal and the wall his domestic policy agenda hit due to the usual Washington dysfunction and gridlock, divisions within his own party, and several unforced errors in how Biden and his team chose to traverse America’s rocky political landscape.
Biden’s political standing in his own party is so precarious right now that the grumbles and complaints within his own party are growing louder, with some starting to pull out their knives and look for alternatives, a dynamic that will accelerate among Democrats if they lose as big as many predict this fall.
Other voices on the left remain saddled with delusions of grandeur, their heads stuck up their own advocacy agendas as they deny the hard realities of the current political moment like how inflation in gas and food prices affect ordinary working Americans.
That’s why it was good thing that Biden ignored voices trying to pull him down political rabbit holes like left-wing identity politics and went to Ohio, a key swing state, to talk to working Americans."
Read the whole thing at The Liberal Patriot!

Wednesday, July 6, 2022

To Regain the Support of “Culturally Traditional but Not Extremist” Working Class Voters Democrats Need to Understand the Compelling Political Narrative That Leads Them to Vote for the GOP.

Andy Levison is just right about this. I highly recommend you read his excellent memo.

Levison summarizes his argument as follows:

1. As the 2022 elections approach, a critical question for Democratic strategists is why a significant group of working class voters choose to support Republican extremists even though they themselves are more accurately described as “cultural traditionalists” rather than extremists. In opinion surveys and focus groups this group of white (and now also increasingly Latino) working class voters make clear that they do not actually believe MAGA/Q-Anon/Tucker Carlson conspiracy theories or view all Democrats as literal “enemies” but they nonetheless vote for extremist candidates who assert these views on election day.
2. A major reason for this is that working class voters do not make their political choices primarily based on examining specific issues and policies. They evaluate candidates based on their broader outlook and philosophy – a perspective that the candidates frequently present as a basic “story” or “narrative” about America.
3. The basic extremist narrative is actually undergirded by three profoundly important subsidiary narratives that are nested within the larger narrative and which long predate the modern MAGA ideology. These three linked sub-narratives are not inherently extremist. They express a genuine and understandable frustration and sense of abandonment by the Democratic Party.
4. Democratic candidates can identify with these narratives and seek ways to address the legitimate concerns that are a deeply felt part of the working class experience in modern America without endorsing the extremist narrative that has incorporated and exploited them with such marked success.

Tuesday, July 5, 2022

What Should Voters in the Middle Do?

Declare independence! says John Halpin at The Liberal Patriot:
"Nothing ever changes with America’s broken political system. Despite reams of evidence that an increasing proportion of voters despise both political parties and want to see internal changes or alternative party choices, neither Democrats nor Republicans have gotten the message.
Republicans vie to elevate the dimmest bulbs in the country to office, pledging loyalty to a corrupt former president who actively sought to overturn an election he lost. In turn, Democrats vie to elevate those who live in a fantasy world where things like high gas prices or violent crime aren’t real problems while mystical structural forces and improper language use are keeping Americans in a permanent state of oppression.
Normal Americans—a mix of traditional conservatives, liberals, and moderates—look at the two parties and just shake their heads. Out to lunch. Whack jobs. Extremists. Arrogant blowhards. Clowns who don’t understand my life. They’re right. The two parties have failed to adequately represent the views of ideologically unaligned Americans. And the two parties don’t particularly care to change this situation as they make yet another call to the partisan ramparts ahead of the 2022 elections."
Read the whole piece at The Liberal Patriot!

Saturday, July 2, 2022

Things Aren't Looking So Great

Yascha Mounk describes the pickle we're in and has a few suggestions that rational, non-head in the sand Democrats should be pursuing. I think his suggestions make sense.
Mounk's suggestions:
* Democrats must prioritize federal legislation that clarifies how Congress should certify the outcome of future elections and minimizes partisan meddling in the process.
* Democrats must move back into the cultural mainstream. While they should full-throatedly defend the rights of minority groups, the party’s top leaders must strongly distance themselves from the excesses of the identitarian left.
* Democrats must demonstrate to the American people that they hear their concerns about inflation and the surge in violent crime. And while the tools that the White House has at its disposal to address either crisis are limited, Biden must use them as best he can, putting himself in a position to claim partial credit if there are genuine improvements by 2024.
* Democrats must pass the imperfect legislation for which they have the votes rather than holding out for the more ambitious deals that have proven elusive. If the White House was willing to compromise with moderates on issues like Build Back Better, the administration would have some genuine accomplishments to tout.
* Finally, Democrats who have a better chance of beating Donald Trump in 2024 than either Joe Biden or Kamala Harris should seriously explore a primary challenge, and fast. To protect themselves against bad faith attacks, candidates who wish to succeed would probably be well-advised to announce that they are running before Biden makes his own intentions clear.

Friday, July 1, 2022

Moderate Democrats Need a Worldview

If you haven't read the Jason Zengerle piece on the travails of moderate Democrats today, you really should. It's quite good and gives a good airing to those on both sides of the current divide in the Democratic party. I am quoted in there to pretty good effect I think, including this:
“The thing about moderates today is I don’t think they have a worldview,” Teixeira says. “They’re just reacting to what A.O.C. and the Democratic left are doing. But what’s their alternative? I don’t think they have an alternative. ‘Don’t do dumb stuff’ is not a worldview.” Perhaps one day in the future, maybe as soon as November, moderate Democrats will refashion their worldviews according to Teixeira’s and Yglesias’s Substacks and McElwee’s and Shor’s tweets the way Clinton and a previous generation of moderate Democrats once based theirs on “The Politics of Evasion.” But that day has yet to arrive."
Stay tuned!