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!

Thursday, June 30, 2022

Hispanic Working Class Voters to Democrats: What Do You Mean "We"?

Democrats' emerging problems with Hispanic working class voters are, in my opinion, both poorly understood and vastly underestimated in Democratic circles. That's the subject of my latest at The Liberal Patriot:
"Hispanic working class (noncollege) voters are emerging as an Achilles heel for the Democrats. Here are some facts about Hispanic working class voters that help bring this challenge for Democrats into focus.
1. In the 2020 election, Hispanic voters moved sharply away from the Democrats. Both Catalist and States of Change (forthcoming) data agree that it was around a 16 point pro-GOP margin shift (two party vote). States of Change data indicate this shift was heavily driven by Hispanic working class voters, whose support for the Democrats declined by 18 points. This pattern could be seen all over the country, not just in states like Florida (working class Hispanic support down 18 margin points) where they fell short but also in states they narrowly won (Arizona down 22 points; Nevada down 15 points)....
10. Along these lines, consider these data from Catalist. Between the 2012 and 2020 elections—which Democrats won by similar popular vote margins—Democrats’ advantage among nonwhite working class voters was trimmed by 18 margin points. Over the same period, Democrats’ performance among white college-educated voters improved by 16 margin points. For a party that has already sustained drastic losses among white working class voters and has been clinging to its dominance of nonwhite working class voters as proof that it is still a working class party, these are very uncomfortable facts.
But facts they are. Here’s another fact: Hispanic working class voters are overwhelmingly upwardly mobile, patriotic, culturally moderate to conservative citizens with practical and down to earth concerns focused on jobs, the economy, health care, effective schools and public safety. Democrats will either learn to hit that target or they will continue to lose ground with this vital group of voters—and in the process invalidate their increasingly tenuous claim to represent the American working class."
Read the whole thing at The Liberal Patriot. And subscribe!

Saturday, June 25, 2022

Welcome to the Endless Fight

At The Liberal Patriot, John Halpin surveys the landscape after the repeal of Roe v. Wade. Not good.
"So, the Republican path for a national ban on abortion is not difficult to sketch out—as soon as the next presidential election. Americans won’t like this at all but Republicans don’t seem to care about national opinion or concern themselves with blowback given feckless opposition and advantages in the Senate and Electoral College.
On the other side, the Democratic left is about to implode completely on this issue. They can’t think straight about any issue these days and will probably move away from a sensible Roe-like defense of abortion rights to a more extreme position of abortion at-all-times with no restrictions. Since most Americans don’t like this position, and prefer the Roe status quo to alternatives, it won’t go far outside of the confines of deep-blue states and leftist Twitter circles. Likewise, the threat of pro-abortion militancy in response to the ruling is very real and will further repel voters from the cultural positions of the far left."
Read the whole thing at The Liberal Patriot!

Friday, June 24, 2022

With Friends Like These, Democrats Hardly Need Enemies

Democrats have a lot of problems and their supposed allies in progressive organizations are one of the biggest ones. I explain in my latest at The Liberal Patriot:
"The secret is out. Progressive organizations—nonprofits and advocacy groups—which form a vital part of the Democrats’ supportive ecosystem have become massively dysfunctional due to internal meltdowns, mission creep and maximalist goal-setting. For those close to this world, this has been apparent for some time though there has been reluctance to call it out for fear of helping the right (the Fox News Fallacy) and/or being ostracized by their own side. But with the publication of Ryan Grim’s exposé on The Intercept and Zack Colman’s Politico piece focusing on green organizations, the rot is out there for all to see.
There are three key aspects to this rot:
1. Internal Dysfunction. The new generation of activists coming into these organizations tends to see internal hierarchies as reflecting their radical critique of society as a whole as a system that oppresses all “marginalized” groups: black, Hispanic, anybody nonwhite, female, gay, trans, indigenous, colonized, etc. Therefore, these internal hierarchies are by definition unjust and must be struggled against with little regard to what function these hierarchies might actually serve.
Needless to say, this plays havoc with an organization’s ability to run a merit- and efficiency-based internal system, since so many “diversity” boxes have to be checked to do practically anything. And the need to placate staff demands and smooth over the endless conflicts this produces leads to a stunning misallocation of time and internal resources. The resulting inefficiencies can virtually paralyze an organization. Said one former executive director of a progressive organization quoted by Grim: “My last nine months, I was spending 90 to 95 percent of my time on internal strife”. Said another current executive director: “I’m now at a point where the first thing I wonder about a job applicant is, ‘How likely is this person to blow up my organization from the inside?”
Read the whole thing at The Liberal Patriot!

Thursday, June 16, 2022

Will Higher Turnout Fix the Democrats' Problems?

Nope, not this election. And not future ones either. I explain in my latest at The Liberal Patriot:
"Turnout myths die hard. In fact they don’t seem to die at all.
That is particularly the case in Democratic circles. You don’t have to talk to a typical Democrat for any length of time before they evince their touching faith in the wonder-working powers of high voter turnout. Interrogate them a little further and it turns out what they really mean is that the stark choices presented to the electorate by Democrats’ progressive policies and Republicans’ reactionary ones will, if presented forcefully enough, produce massive turnout by Democratic-leaning constituencies (nonwhites, young voters, etc) that will neutralize Republican advantages.
We can see the latest example of this in how many Democrats are approaching the 2022 elections. The giant hole the Democrats are now in is hard to deny. Biden’s approval rating, a key indicator of midterm outcomes, is now below 40 percent in the 538 rolling average and below where Trump’s was at this point in the 2018 cycle. Republicans are comfortably ahead on the generic Congressional ballot, which typically underestimates their chances and augurs a big election for them. Gallup just released a comprehensive historical review of midterm indicators (Presidential and Congressional approval, satisfaction with the direction of the country, views on economic conditions) which shows the Democrats’ current situation to be exceptionally grim.
Democrats’ approach to digging out of this hole relies heavily on turnout. Either implicitly or explicitly, Democrats think of issues like abortion, guns, “MAGA Republicans” and, of course, January 6th mostly as ways of motivating their base to turn out at higher levels in the current dismal political environment....
There are, however, a number of reasons why this turnout fix is highly unlikely to work and, in fact, borders on the delusional.
1. Some Simple Math. Start with this: when Democrats persuade a voter to switch sides, that nets two votes for the Democrats (one less for the Republicans, one more for the Democrats). When Democrats turn out one more voter to vote Democratic that is, of course, a net of only one vote for them.
But it’s really worse than that. Typically, Democrats think of increased base turnout in terms of turning out more voters from various pro-Democratic demographic groups—young voters, black voters, Hispanic voters, college-educated whites, whatever. But not all the voters in these groups favor the Democrats so mobilization of more voters from a given group may well net less than one vote per additional voter. For example, looking at current Congressional ballot preferences, Democrats might net only a third of a vote for every additional Hispanic or young voter, six-tenths of a vote from every additional black voter and just a sixth of a vote from every additional college-educated white voter."
Read the whole thing at The Liberal Patriot!

Monday, June 13, 2022

Even Vox Is Starting to Realize This!

Perhaps it's time to take another look at my piece on the disutility of climate catastrophism.
Kelsey Piper at Vox:
"As I’ve written about before, climate change is going to be bad, and it will hold back humanity from thriving as much as we should this century. It will likely cause mass migration and displacement and extinctions of many species.
What it won’t do, however, is make the Earth unlivable, or even mean that our children live in a world poorer than the one we grew up in. As many climate scientists have been telling us, the world is a better place to live in — especially for people in lower-income countries — than it has ever been, and climate change isn’t going to make it as bad as it was even in 1950."