Failure Propagates Upward For Democratic Party

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Michael Siegel

Michael Siegel is an astronomer living in Pennsylvania. He is on Twitter, blogs at his own site, and has written a novel.

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  1. Avatar Chip Daniels
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    says:

    Talk about ignoring the elephant in the room.Report

  2. Avatar Jaybird
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    says:

    A counter-argument: But Republicans are bad.Report

    • Avatar Michael Siegel in reply to Jaybird
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      says:

      They are. But up until 2018, they were also winning. And they still control most of the states and governorships.Report

      • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Michael Siegel
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        says:

        Is it possible that this sickness of which Trump is the symptom, is what America wants?Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Michael Siegel
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        says:

        One of the main things I noticed following Obama’s presidency was that there weren’t that many Heavy Hitters. I realize, now, that I made the mistake of seeing Clinton making deals and DWS making deals as being co-extensive with there not being anyone to run…

        But now I’m seeing a different dynamic.

        A bunch of Democrats, for whatever reason, have said something to the effect of “I am sick of compromising. Screw compromising. You want you and me to agree? I’m down. All you have to do to end up in a state where you and I are in agreement is for you to change your mind.”

        Trump, by contrast, seems to have mastered some sort of messaging thing. Are you worried about the Culture War? Trump is your Conan. Are you worried about Judges? Trump is your FDR. Are you worried about tax cuts? Trump is your Kennedy. Are you worried about the military? Trump has meetings with enlisted guys and goes on to yell at the officers for being clueless. He yells at the *GENERALS*. Then he gets them funding and splits the Air Force in half and calls the smaller half “The Space Force”.

        Is Trump a compromise candidate anymore? The Free Trade kinda people are disappointed. Those have every reason to look at the Democratic candidates and go from “Okay, I could plug my nose and vote for this person” to “HOLY CRAP THIS IS EVEN WORSE!”

        But the Democrats seem to have a bit of a “I don’t want to compromise and you can’t make me!” thing going on. We saw this with the NYT endorsement (which I don’t see as an endorsement of Warren/Klobuchar as much as having the “I’ve got a bad feeling about this” feeling when I see that they couldn’t get the Booker people to switch to Warren EVEN AFTER BOOKER DROPPED OUT).

        And I don’t see the “I’m sick of compromising for you… why don’t you compromise for me?” dynamic going away without a Road To Damascus kinda moment.

        Because why shouldn’t I say that I think Booker would make the best president? Why shouldn’t I say that I don’t think Warren can win? Not because she’s a woman, but because of the Indian thing, and the Republican thing, and the Bernie scorched earth thing, and the Massachusetts Liberal thing, and theReport

        • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Jaybird
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          says:

          My counter-contrarian Biden Take is that a Strong Biden would run a National Unity Campaign… but he’s not strong… and he’s running a weak nostalgia campaign – for another guy.

          I suppose it might work is the best I can say.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Marchmaine
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            says:

            I think I agree-ish with that, but I think about the lady in the elevator and then I thnk about Pennsylvania and Michigan and Wisconsin again.

            You know what Biden’s going to do? Campaign the ever-living crap out of there. And, get this, his message will play.

            Add that to the intangibles and Biden wins.

            But, yeah, I see how someone might look at Biden and say “man, a decade or two ago, he would have *SLAUGHTERED* Trump in this election”.Report

            • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Jaybird
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              says:

              Sure, that’s how it would work… he gets 63M + 88k votes.

              Now, I’m not predicting that… wait for my wisdom once the candidates are selected and we do our predictions poll… but that seems to be the path he’s pursuing; and its not a bad path… its not necessarily a grand path or a path that will “fix” what ails us… but I suppose it might work.

              My plain old contrarian take is that a Biden win would help the Republican party in odd ways that a Warren/Sanders/Progressive win wouldn’t. But that’s still just a hunch forming far over the horizon.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Marchmaine
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                says:

                Yeah, I’m looking at Iowa and New Hampshire and the way I’m gaming them out involves Biden not winning them but somehow holding the narrative through South Carolina and winning there and then picking up some “THE COMEBACK KID!” headlines.

                But the problem is that every single journalist is on Twitter and they all follow each other.

                Maybe the Editors still remember when you could get promoted from the mailroom.

                They’d better.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                Imagine that Biden ekes out a narrow victory this November.
                What would be your reaction to Micheal’s and my comment that there is a sickness in America?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                Something about multiculturalism and how you don’t have a taste for it.

                Why do you ask?Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                I would say something else about multiculturalism.Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                Right… of course there are two races he has to win and they use different muscles… so maybe we haven’t seen President Joe Biden, just Primary Joe Biden.

                But I’m being told this is a Base election… so apparently we’ve fixed that Electoral College thing.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Marchmaine
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                I’m one of those who believes that Biden is Biden is Biden is Biden. I mean, how different is Primary Biden from VP Biden?

                As such, I’m going out on a limb and saying that Primary Biden is the same guy that Presidential Candidate Biden would be and, if President, the same guy that President Biden would be.Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                Sound bet… for the good of the country, I’m holding out hope that he has another gear and a better plan.Report

            • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Jaybird
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              says:

              It’s worth remembering how people were begging Biden to run in 2016. “Draft Biden” actually registered as a political party, I think.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to DensityDuck
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                says:

                You inspired me to go to the twitters and check on #DraftBiden.

                There are quite a few tweets using the hashtag. It’s the responses that are most interesting, though.

                I’m not sure how useful they are for getting a feel for 2020… given that Twitter’s overlap with Biden supporters seems to be approximately “zilch” and I don’t know that that number has changed significantly in the last 4 years.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                Discussions here on the OT from the time suggest a general dissatisfaction with Clinton, but no particular enthusiasm for Sanders; pretty much everyone expected Clinton to win, though.Report

        • Avatar George Turner in reply to Jaybird
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          says:

          I wonder if a culture of virtue signalling has led to their lack of compromise, and the apparent unwillingness to reach broad agreement on a candidate (ie The Times editorial board).

          A large swath of politically active Twitter users and college kids have made almost every position on anything a moral issue about their virtue. They’ve been taught to support X because “all good people support X”. Thus, they can’t switch to “Y” because that would obviously mean they were a bad person. If you support person X because you’re a good person, and have convinced yourself that the pick reflects your morality, then you’re stuck with X for as long as X remains an option.

          This is in stark contrast to the way people put together their fantasy sports team, where they’ll happily field a team of dog-abusing criminal rapists if their stats look good.
          The goal of the game is winning, not virtue signalling, so few would’ve picked a declining Kaerpernick to show they are a “good person” because it’s not about being good, it’s about getting to the post season.

          So in that vein, the first group is screaming that Trump is a Nazi and they’d never ever support him because they are all “good people”. The second group notes that even if Trump is a horrible person, he gets the ball in the end zone like nobody else, so they’re sticking with him. The two groups are not using the same logic to pick a team. One set keeps screaming that the other is a bunch of horrible people for picking Trump, and the Trump people just keep gleefully shouting “Touchdown!!!”

          Maybe the second group will get tired of winning, but I doubt it. At present, the first group can’t form a consensus on whether “good people” would pick a running back who is extra LBGT friendly or one who is more into saving whales. Stats like yards per carry aren’t even on their radar, and they can’t even seem to abandon their individual pet candidate issues because then they’d be bad people. And of course the Trump supporters are staring aghast at the kind of players the first group is even thinking about fielding, and thinking about what the next season would look like if any of those clowns got their hands on the football.Report

  3. Avatar Saul Degraw
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    says:

    I will join with Chip. There is a massive elephant in the room that OT seems psychologically incapable of dealing with on a factual level.

    One of the oddest features of the age of Trump is that no one talks about Trump’s popularity levels on realistic terms. He has been consistently unpopular with more than half the population. His approval ratings hang in the low 40s constantly. I find this constancy disturbing but it is not a majority.

    Yet Trump supporters and certain anti-Trumpers seem to either treat Trump’s popularity rating as being well over 60 percent or that it will become so any day now. This assumes a massive amount of facts not in evidence. Yet it persists. Why? Is it because there are still lots of people out there who just think of Democrats as “the crap team?”

    The GOP made huge gains in state legislatures during the aughts. Many of these were the products of the last holdouts of southern/rural Democrats dying out. But in 2017-2019, Democrats made serious gains in reversing those. 2019 saw Democrats win elections in areas that had been Republican strongholds since the Civil War.

    Yet these things always get discounted at OT. Why is that?Report

    • Avatar Michael Siegel in reply to Saul Degraw
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      says:

      No one is discounting that. But having low approval numbers does not necessarily translate into electoral results. At this point in 1996, Bill Clinton had 46% approval rating. Barack Obama was at 46%. Bush was at 51% and falling. Trump’s approval rating does not scream landslide.

      Look at the the head-to-head polls. Most of them have Dems leading by a few points. That’s not nearly enough to survive the massive war chest and negative campaigning the Republicans are holding back until July.

      Trump has two huge advantages going into this election — incumbency and a good economy. As I pointed out last year, we have not thrown out an incumbent with a good economy since the 19th century. It will take a real political talent to do that, even accounting for Trump’s unpopularity. And the Dems don’t have one.

      Trump is the only reason they have a hope right now. Against any other President, they would be crushed. And they might still lose. And the reason they will lose because even with the 2017-2019 “resurgence” they are still badly behind at the state and local level. The Republicans control 29 legislatures to the Dems 19. They have 21 “trifectas — controlling both governor and legislatures — to the Dems 15. They have 400 more state legislators overall. Even with Trump’s massive unpopularity, the Democrats have not recovered at the state level (and even then, it was with an off-year election, which tends to go against the sitting President).

      You can not look at this field and not see the results of a decade of decline at the non-Presidential level. This is an extremely weak field of candidates. And if Trump is re-elected, that will be why.

      Also, they are unlikely to gain the Senate. And they may make only modest gains in the House. And the failure can also be traced back to the decade-long collapse at the state level.Report

      • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Michael Siegel
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        says:

        and to those who think “all the Democrats have to do is Not Be Trump”, I point to 2004, where everyone figured that all the Democrats had to do was Not Be Bush.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to DensityDuck
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          says:

          Here’s what I argued back in December 2003/January 2004: The democrats need to nominate Dick Gephardt. Here’s the speech he can give: “I’d like to thank George Bush for being such a strong figure in the days that followed the horrible attacks on 9/11. He did a great job of bringing the country together. But now, due to Iraq, we are once again a divided country. I would like to bring the country back together, bring the troops home, maybe do something about health care, and just put us, as a society, back all facing the same problems rather than scowling at each other for partisan benefit.”

          And much like with Clinton’s unofficial slogan of “it’s the economy, stupid”, we could have an unofficial slogan of “give the government back to the grown-ups.”

          As it is, the Democrats yelled “HOLD MY BEER” and then went on to say Hey guys! We know that Republicans hate draft-dodgers. We know that Bush was a draft-dodger… LET’S RUN A GUY WHO WAS A VIETNAM WAR HERO!

          That’s great! Let’s do it!

          Then the Republicans started playing the tapes of Kerry testifying at the Winter Soldier hearings and getting him to talk about throwing his medals onto the White House lawn. “I didn’t throw *MY* medals”, he explained. “I threw the medals of a guy next to me who couldn’t throw his own. Because he was in a wheelchair.”

          And then were surprised that that didn’t resonate with the American people.

          Ah, well. Iowa is… what? In two weeks? How in the hell did that happen?Report

    • Avatar Kristin Devine in reply to Saul Degraw
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      says:

      Everyone who doesn’t agree with me is psychologically incapable of dealing with things on a factual level!!Report

    • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Saul Degraw
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      says:

      Another side of this is that Trump is actually very popular.
      E.g., 51% of American want him removed; “Only” 45% want him to stay.

      ONLY 45%?? ONLY? After all that we have witnessed and heard and read, still, still, at this point, 45% of American say to themselves, Yep, he should continue to be President?

      For me, the elephant in the room is that about 30% of Americans really, really, enthusiastically like Trump and what he is doing. Another 10% or so think he is aesthetically unpleasing, but otherwise acceptable.

      This is the sickness in America. It isn’t some weird structural defect of the way our elections are constructed, it isn’t the Electoral College, it isn’t the form of the Senate.

      When a plurality of Americans want this open corruption and ethnic hatred, the system gives them what they want.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
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        says:

        Here’s another thing for you to wonder about:

        How difficult is it for you to imagine someone who says, publicly, “Trump should be removed!” and then, in private, goes on to vote for him?

        How difficult is it for you to imagine someone who says, publicly, “Trump is awesome!” and then, privately, goes on to call his/her senator to demand impeachment and then, come election day, vote straight Blue?Report

        • Avatar Ozzzy! in reply to Jaybird
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          says:

          Since this is an applicable question, I find it Prevelant to see 1, Less prevelant to see 2.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Ozzzy!
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            says:

            That’s the conclusion I reached too.

            It’s easy for me to imagine someone doing the former.
            It’s difficult for me to imagine someone doing the latter.

            (It’s also interesting to imagine someone saying “I don’t know” at this point and wondering where someone who is saying that they just don’t know yet would fall when behind the voting booth curtain.)Report

      • Avatar Urusigh in reply to Chip Daniels
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        says:

        I find it interesting that you admit that ~50% of Americans don’t see any such “open corruption and ethnic hatred” and yet you still seem to have much more than a 51% confidence that they actually exist and you aren’t just sitting in a confirmation bubble getting high on your own supply.

        America isn’t sick, your side is just delusional because the alternative is to admit they ran a bad campaign with an unlikable candidate on policies that most of America doesn’t want when they’re show the actual price tags and yet your party clearly didn’t learn the lesson because it’s happening all over again in real-time right now.

        When Republicans lost the presidency they did a thorough postmortem and looked at the structural issues like needing more outreach to minorities. We owned our failures. You guys lost and so far most of you can’t manage any analysis more complicated than “We’re the Smarty Good Guys(tm), so they must all be Stupidhead BAD GUYS!” It’s past time you all came to grips with the fact that people can and will reasonably disagree with you without being necessarily ignorant, unintelligent, or evil.

        A Democrat is a person who loudly declares their support for the tolerance of different cultures and ideas…who is shocked, horrified, outraged, and ultimately intolerant upon learning that Republicans actually HAVE a different culture and ideas.Report

        • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Urusigh
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          says:

          Hey now, we don’t call folks delusional ’round here… we prefer to think of Chip’s analyses as Overdetermined.

          But as someone so Right I lap some Leftitsts, I find it odd when you say “When Republicans lost the presidency they did a thorough postmortem and looked at the structural issues like needing more outreach to minorities. We owned our failures.”

          Because if there was a “New Right” candidate who not only learned those lessons, but was competent and able to act on them… we’d be doing our postmortems on the odd phenomenon of Trump.Report

          • Avatar Urusigh in reply to Marchmaine
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            says:

            “Because if there was a “New Right” candidate who not only learned those lessons, but was competent and able to act on them… we’d be doing our postmortems on the odd phenomenon of Trump.”

            Trump IS the new right. In case you missed it, he earned more minority votes than either of the two previous Republican candidates and is currently running the largest, most expensive, most well-manned minority outreach operation of any Republican candidate we have historical numbers for. Depending on which polls you look at, he’s been polling around 30% minority support. When’s the last time you saw a republican candidate hit those numbers? When’s the last time you remember a democrat winning a major election with less than 70% minority support?

            Bluntly, our PM did a solid job of identifying our failures, but it did a poor job of identifying the way forward. Trump had to figure that part out largely on his own. (i.e. the majority of legal Hispanic immigrants actually oppose illegal immigration and favor stronger border control).Report

        • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Urusigh
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          says:

          If you think Trump is a good President, and that a majority of Americans support him, why then would you assert that he only won because the Democrats ran a bad candidate?

          That makes it sound like Americans only reluctantly voted for him.Report

          • Avatar Philip H in reply to Chip Daniels
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            says:

            many claim they only reluctantly did. I have never really bought into such claims mind you, but it is a part of the myth of the 2016 election.Report

          • Avatar Urusigh in reply to Chip Daniels
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            says:

            That’s an easy one: I’m not asserting that it is true (at this time), I’m permitting my opponents to assert that it is true to illustrate the Decision Fork that presents them with:

            P1) The better candidate/policies/larger base wins
            P2) (provisionally granted) Trump was a bad candidate, with bad policies, and a small base, and yet
            P3) Trump won

            Therefore: C1) Hillary Clinton was necessarily some combination of an even worse candidate with even worse policies and an even smaller base.

            To avoid C1, you must falsify either P1 or P2. If you falsify P2 than you can assert that HC was a good candidate/policy/base, but you’re then forced into admitting that DT’s was even better. If you attempt to falsify P1, well I’m not even sure that’s possible but it would lead to a quite different conversation. It’s interesting to me to see which Democrats are willing to blame HC herself vs the party’s policy platform (I’ve yet to meet any willing to say her base was smaller, so it must be either candidate and/or policies, or IMHO BOTH!), but it’s outright frustrating how many attempt to assert that neither are true despite the logic being rather inescapable. Note that I can still logically assert that DT actually was a good candidate with good policies and a broad base regardless, but I’ve yet to meet the democrat willing to accept that as a premise, so those discussions tend to fizzle out.

            As a practical matter, yes, a large chunk of his votes were Never-Hillary and some of hers were Never-Trump. Negative partisanship is still the single strongest factor in deciding votes. Trump was at no time the first choice of most Republicans. I.E. My vote in the primary went to Ted Cruz, who I suspect you all would be even less happy with as President if he kept his promises at the same rate Trump has. Trump is by definition a good candidate in the sense that he won, but otherwise he was still largely an unknown quantity, which is at best a neutral quality, not a positive. The choice was between playing Russian Roulette with a revolver (DT) or with an automatic (HC). I have little doubt that a less progressive, more centrist democrat in the mold of Bill Clinton could have held the Blue Wall together and beaten DT by a significant margin. I don’t think Bill was a good President, but he wasn’t an existential threat either.

            Yes, many of his votes were reluctant: voting for DT required making some very hard decisions about which traditionally republican policies we were willing to yield some ground on in order to widen the tent enough to win (I.E. Tariffs, abandoning Social Security reform, etc). In office, President Trump has vastly exceeded expectations, governing to the right of even Reagan on many policies, albeit mostly because Democrats have deliberately sabotaged his attempts to advance bipartisan priorities like infrastructure and left him little recourse but to stick to legislation that even the hard right can be persuaded to support. I can hardly give him full credit for Conservative governing when it seems to have less to do with his own personal convictions and more to do with sticking it to the people who hate, insult, and oppose him. I think the last few years would have gone very differently if Dems had actually accepted the election results and focused on bipartisan priorities instead of a Total War of Resistance.

            I don’t think that he has a majority. I don’t think Democrats do either. Libertarians and Greens draw off some votes from both sides and Independents seem to dislike every existing party. Under these conditions I fully expect that each new President will win a mere plurality in the 40-50% range. That’s not ideal, but I don’t have a proposed solution other than to emphasize the principle of subsidiary and push as many legislative choices as possible back down to the states and lower where the people voting on them actually do have a local majority to legitimize them. Trump is no longer an unknown and has an excellent record to run on now, most of his voter will be quite enthusiastic this time around, but I’m not expecting any thing like Reagan’s sweep of 49 states, just a slight improvement on his 2016 results. The just aren’t enough truly “battleground” states left to swing the numbers much further in either direction.Report

  4. Avatar Kristin Devine
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    says:

    Great post! I enjoyed it!!Report

  5. Avatar LeeEsq
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    says:

    I’m going to third Chip and Saul but will add an additional point. A big problem with fighting Trump is that he is such a big juicy target and is positively reviled by the entire Democratic Party. This means that many of the very ambitious people in the Democratic Party want to be the one that takes Trump down. Since the Democratic Party is also in the midst of ideological readjustment, returning to a more robust form of liberalism, the various people running become avatars of different factions. It’s as much as a fight for the future of the Democratic Party as it is against Trump.

    This problem comes along a lot when democracies battle against fascism. The different non-fascist parts all see themselves as the true defenders against fascism and don’t work well with each other. Its like how the KPD kept attacking anybody who didn’t agree with them as social fascists or why the Republican Coalition in Spain never worked as well as the Nationalists. They all agree on what they hate and what is wrong but they can’t agree on the antidote.Report

  6. Avatar Jaybird
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    One of the main elephants in the room that *I* see is the whole “what happened last time?” question.

    For, like, a *YEAR* we hammered out what happened with the election and there were two, count’em, *TWO* mistakes that I got The Usual Suspects on the board to actually admit were mistakes.

    1. Okay, maybe Clinton should have campaigned in Wisconsin.
    2. There were a handful of districts that Clinton won that also had Republican Congresscritters running unopposed. Maybe the democrats should have run someone in those districts.

    I bring this up not because I delight in saying “I told you so” (though, I’ll grant, it is kinda nice to be able to say that) but because if you can’t see that mistakes were made with 20/20 hindsight, I doubt that you’ll be able to see them as they’re being made, again, in real time.

    And based on nothing else, I’d have to say that I would bet money against the team that brags about how they don’t believe that they made mistakes when they lost last time.Report

    • Avatar George Turner in reply to Jaybird
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      That reminds me of a tale of two UK basketball coaches. Coach Billy Gillespie, who lasted all of two horrible years, often lost embarrassingly. But in the post-game press conferences he would say he thought our team played pretty darn well. He was always positive, always upbeat – and lost to tiny college in the first round of the NIT. Coach Calipari, in contrast, even after a tremendous victory, will spend his post-game conference talking about what isn’t working, which players aren’t gelling, which need to step up, and what changes he’ll have to make to improve things. Winning isn’t enough because there’s always weakness that can be addressed and mistakes that can eliminated.

      Similarly, the Democrats lost 2016 badly, with what they thought was a shoe-in, and still blame their defeat on bad luck and imaginary Russian interference. Hillary’s list of lame excuses became almost legendary, but to this day her party is still blaming the Russians.

      In contrast, Trump won in 2016 yet seems determined not to repeat the mistakes he thinks he made in that campaign. He is notorious for ruthlessly culling his team, or for having them quit in frustration, whereas the Democrats let people fail upward. Last season’s winner is working even harder to run the perfect race, but the losers, convinced that their victories are inevitable (or perhaps content as long as they’re still drawing crowds and paying staffers), won’t even analyze why they lost last time.

      You’ve got one team coming off a bad defeat that seems to think victory is theirs by right, no matter how many mistakes they make or what kind of performance they put in. They’re up against a perfectionist who seems focused on not just campaigning well, but running the perfect race.

      Or, for a racing analogy from Ford vs Ferrari, Christian Bale’s character said he could see the perfect race in his mind, where ever turn is perfect, every shift point is perfect, every lap is perfect, and his goal was to run that perfect race. Every week Trump goes out to vast arenas across this country and works on honing his stage performance. Every night he’s on Twitter trying to send out the perfect insult. He will try to run the perfect race.

      The Democrats seem to think they can let grandpa Biden just drive around the track a bunch of times and they’ll get the checkered flag, as long as that Russian driver doesn’t cut them off again. I don’t think that’s going to work out for them.

      The mindset they need is one that strives for unobtainable perfection, putting together the perfect campaign team, finding the perfect candidate (I suggest Tom Hanks), and running the perfect race, where everything he says sinks in, everything he does resonates, every smile melts hearts, and every message is on point. But in this reality we have Sanders barking at the moon, Warren giving her screechy diatribes, and Biden trying to string coherent sentences together.

      Historians have long noted how aristocracies get lazy, where members of the ruling class assume they’re in charge by right and don’t need to put in a performance that would win enough people over to keep their privileges and status. They think just showing up is good enough, and then one day it isn’t because their opposition is tough, determined, and capable, easily seeing off a creaky aristocracy defended by generals who have a wall full of participation trophies and nothing to back those up.

      Some have blamed the Democrats’ current woes on their Congressional seniority system, where they have to put in long decades of service to get any seniority. Perhaps an unintended consequence of that system is that the leadership is made up of the long-term survivors, who would tend to come from the safest districts that vote Democrat even during Republican tsunamis That indirectly selects for the Democrats who’ve faced the fewest tough races, where even poorly supported positions and sloppy campaigning was good enough. But the skilled performers are the junior members who’ve managed to pull off a few miraculous victories against entrenched Republican incumbents, and who have done so recently. That is where the necessary skill set lies, yet those are typically the most ignored members at the bottom of the party hierarchy. Perhaps changing that would be a good first step toward turning around a long-term trend that’s making the leadership resemble the octogenarians in old Soviet PolitburoReport

  7. Avatar Dan Miller
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    says:

    “t matters because states are where the majority of policy is implemented. It matters because states are where bipartisanship and functional government start.”

    How do you define functional government, and why would you conflate it with bipartisanship?Report

  8. Avatar Aaron David
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    says:

    There is an elephant in the room, and it is this:

    a candidate who has no ideas, no experience, no ability to compromise or govern.

    But Jaybird, in his infinite wisdom, rips that to shreds:

    Trump, by contrast, seems to have mastered some sort of messaging thing. Are you worried about the Culture War? Trump is your Conan. Are you worried about Judges? Trump is your FDR. Are you worried about tax cuts? Trump is your Kennedy. Are you worried about the military? Trump has meetings with enlisted guys and goes on to yell at the officers for being clueless. He yells at the *GENERALS*. Then he gets them funding and splits the Air Force in half and calls the smaller half “The Space Force”.

    Is Trump a compromise candidate anymore? The Free Trade kinda people are disappointed. Those have every reason to look at the Democratic candidates and go from “Okay, I could plug my nose and vote for this person” to “HOLY CRAP THIS IS EVEN WORSE!”

    But the Democrats seem to have a bit of a “I don’t want to compromise and you can’t make me!” thing going on. We saw this with the NYT endorsement (which I don’t see as an endorsement of Warren/Klobuchar as much as having the “I’ve got a bad feeling about this” feeling when I see that they couldn’t get the Booker people to switch to Warren EVEN AFTER BOOKER DROPPED OUT)

    He has ideas, they are just not the ideas you (or even I) might like. And until those who are against Trump start to look that directly in the eye, you have a bigger problem. People aren’t buying what you are selling.

    But, you are generally right about the farm team. Then again, some people get sighed directly to the majors, while other players get called up, and fail.Report

  9. Avatar Urusigh
    Ignored
    says:

    This would be a stronger article if it didn’t waste word count taking gratuitous shots at President Trump. He’s not the reason your farm team is weak. He’s not the reason you got crushed at the state and local levels. And let’s be honest, if you think he was such a horrible candidate than it’s contradictory to also think that he’s the reason your record-breakingly well-funded would-have-been-a-historic-first “most qualified candidate ever” Hillary Clinton lost. By that logic any generic Republican would have beaten her by an even larger margin. So all that cheap shot does is put you right back where Obama left you: obsessing over the personality of the President and ignoring the structural weakness of your own organization and deep unpopularity of many parts of your platform. Your problem isn’t “messaging”, everybody on the street already knows what you’re trying to sell, they just aren’t buying because the product isn’t worth the cost. That’s YOUR problem, not theirs.

    Yes, I’m a Trump supporter and I’m rather pleased that the Democrats shows no sign of getting their act together in time to deny President Trump a 2nd term, but I’m also a believer in the benefits of competition. At some point I would really like a national election to be a choice between Good and Better, not Bad and Worse, so neither side feels existential dread every few years. Dems doubling down on bad candidates and worse policies doesn’t get us there.Report

  10. Avatar Chip Daniels
    Ignored
    says:

    There is this determined effort going on here to assert that somehow Trump is a fluke, an aberration due to foolishness on the part of Democrats.

    No one seems open to the idea that Trump really and truly represents the desires and values of 40% of American voters.

    This tendency is prevalent among both his supporters and detractors.

    When we see video of him mocking that disabled reporter, or hear him bragging about groping women, or watch him stumbling and slurring and struggling to find a coherent thought, only to erupt in a Tourette explosion of rage and grievance, the media and Democrats and Republicans all consciously look away and exclaim “This isn’t who we are as a nation! We are better than this, we are more refined, more just, more compassionate!”
    People look around, and write articles like this, trying to explain how someone, someone, left the gate open and allowed this monster to walk in against our wishes.

    But…what if we aren’t? What if the monster walked in to thunderous applause?
    Like many a counselor or minister or psychologist has told their patients, you are what you do. If you embezzle money from your company, you are a thief. If you have sex with children, you are a pedophile.And if you vote for corruption and ethnic hatred, you are corrupt and hateful.

    The first step to recovery is to make an honest admission of behavior.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
      Ignored
      says:

      It’s a post about the relative weakness of not only the Democratic field but the Democratic bench.

      If your best play is *NOT* to say “Look at the moral fiber of our candidate! We’ve got someone that you won’t have to pinch your nose to vote for!” but to say “LOOK AT TRUMP! HE’S EVIL! HE’S EEEEVIL! AND ANYONE WHO DOESN’T SEE THAT HE’S EVIL IS EVIL!”, then I’d say that you’re in trouble.

      Iowa is 2 weeks away.Report

      • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
        Ignored
        says:

        What would a “strong” Democratic field look like?
        Would they bury Trump in a landslide?
        I don’t think anyone is so foolish as to imagine so.

        Isn’t it a basic proposition that in a republican democracy, whoever wins the election can fairly be said to represent the will of the people?
        Doesn’t Trump represent the actual will of at least about 40% of Americans?Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
          Ignored
          says:

          What would a “strong” Democratic field look like?

          One that would have you say “look at this candidate and how good this candidate is” instead of “LOOK AT TRUMP! HE’S EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEVIL!!!!!”

          But that’s just off the top of my head.

          Would they bury Trump in a landslide?

          In a landslide? Eh. I imagine that they’d be able to win a plurality in a majority of states and win a large enough number of electoral votes that you’d use the word “Mandate!”, yeah.

          Isn’t it a basic proposition that in a republican democracy, whoever wins the election can fairly be said to represent the will of the people?

          Eh, not necessarily? I’d say that the fundamental proposition is that the guy who loses the election leaves the White House without much complaint.

          I’d more argue that it’s probably more accurate that a person who loses an election can be said to be farther from the will of the people than the person who actually doesn’t lose it.

          Doesn’t Trump represent the actual will of at least about 40% of Americans?

          The actual will of at least about 40% of Americans? Eh, I’d say that he gets closer than the Democrats do.

          The question is about the 20% between the two 40%s that could be persuaded either way. Who does a better job of communicating to these people that, “seriously, you’d better not vote for me”? (Oh, there are also regional issues, given the electoral college. But that’s the gist.)

          I hope that I answered your questions.Report

          • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
            Ignored
            says:

            If I said that the people who laughed when he mocked that reporter are making a awful moral choice, would you argue with me?Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
              Ignored
              says:

              Eh, I would probably point to a video like this one and say that there is room to argue that Trump wasn’t mocking the disabled reporter but using a humorous fumbling that he has used against multiple people in the past.

              And having that alternate explanation would allow people, in their own heads, to come to a conclusion similar to when they see the OK sign and jump to the conclusion that it was the circle game and not the White Supremacy symbol.Report

              • Avatar CJColucci in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                You say you’d “probably point to a video like this one and say…” Do you say? And if you do say that, do you believe it to be true?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to CJColucci
                Ignored
                says:

                I find that what I believe is uninteresting and, for the most part, trivial and obvious (indeed, I can’t believe that half of my pushed-back comments get the pushback they do).

                I’m more interesting in looking at a thing and seeing how many different ways it could be looked at, and seeing how changing my priors changes how I interpret what I’m seeing.

                So when it comes to whether I believe that Trump has used the fumbling motions that he used to mock the reporter on people like Ted Cruz and whether he used it on Ted Cruz prior to the mockery of the reporter, I’d say that there seems to be video evidence of same.

                Which allows for there to be multiple interpretations available.Report

              • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                You are basically admitting to amorality here without concern or care.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Saul Degraw
                Ignored
                says:

                Don’t see it as amorality. See it as an alien morality, one that you don’t understand.

                Or, hell, just come to the conclusion that I’m evil. It’s all good.Report

              • Avatar CJColucci in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                So if there is video evidence that he uses the phrase “spic and span” frequently and then pointedly uses it in referring to a Hispanic, or uses the word “niggardly,” if he knows it, frequently and then pointedly uses it while referring to a black person, then . . . what? Proof that he doesn’t know how to behave like a decent human being?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to CJColucci
                Ignored
                says:

                Well, at that point in the hypothetical, I hope it’d have been demonstrated that maybe “Look at how evil even our hypothetical examples of Trump make him look!” might not be as strong an argument to vote for such luminaries as Elizabeth Warren or Amy Klobuchar as we’d like them to be.

                Maybe to the point where we’d change.Report

              • Avatar CJColucci in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                English, please. Preferably somewhat on point.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                See, you are demonstrating my comments about the 10%.

                Trump for you is aesthetically unpleasing, but nothing about him is alarming for you. You don’t see his behavior as a moral evil, maybe not even as morally objectionable.

                When you’ve made this sort of calculus, that you can watch this and assume an innocent explanation, you’ve already made a choice as to whose dignity and humanity is worth defending and whose isn’t.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                Chip, please understand. I was raised to be the guy handing out tracts at the beach. The whole “moral evil” argument thing is one that I see with some amount of fondness.

                But I have antibodies against it.

                Try arguing from a soft relativism, if you could. That might work better.

                Against me, anyway.Report

              • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                This is my shocked face. It is the same as my unshocked face. Of course you would make this argument Jaybird.

                It is an amazingly bad faith argument and you have no sense of shame or decency. Just a burning desire to own the libs no matter what.

                The reporter whom Trump was mocking is physically disabled. He was born with malformed arms. Trump is making a typical gesture known for mocking the physically disabled. One known to anyone who spent anytime in the American school system. Maybe any school system.

                And yet here you are being a willfully ignorant just to make an argument contra Chip.

                Why should we view you as anything but a Trump apologist if not outright supporter? How much bad faith argumentation can you give?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Saul Degraw
                Ignored
                says:

                I’m not merely trying to argue against Chip, Saul. I’m trying to demonstrate that it is possible to argue against Chip.

                And you seem to have your mind absolutely blown that someone could possibly not agree with him.

                To the point where you seem psychologically incapable of dealing with things on a factual level.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Perhaps try imagining things from a viewpoint of one who is a victim.

                Are you seeing things from the viewpoint of that reporter, or that reporter’s loved ones?

                From the viewpoint of a parent whose child is ripped away and put in a cage?

                From the viewpoint of a woman who has been groped or raped?

                You’re trying to tell us that there is an innocent explanation here, where reasonable people can disagree with Trump’s behavior.

                But that itself is the moral choice I keep speaking about. You are choosing to take a stance of detached indifference to other people’s pain and suffering.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                Are you seeing things from the viewpoint of that reporter, or that reporter’s loved ones?

                I can easily see things from the perspective of the reporter and his loved ones. To the point where I can imagine watching the video I linked to and experiencing cognitive dissonance. I can easily see how the reporter would be hurt and how his loved ones would be outraged at Trump.

                From the viewpoint of a parent whose child is ripped away and put in a cage?

                Yeah, pretty easily. I have argued for immigration reform in these very comments! But it was when Obama was president so you probably wouldn’t believe the pushback I got. (Arguments over whether Obama really deported more illegal immigrants than Bush *PER CAPITA* and the like.)

                I wrote about my experiences with the immigration system and how Byzantine it is and how it needs to be reformed and it was noted as yet another complaint that libertarians make about the government.

                From the viewpoint of a woman who has been groped or raped?

                Oh, yeah. We’ve had discussion threads about the Shitty Media Men list in these comments as well as discussions about Weinstein and Epstein.

                You might be surprised to hear that I got pushback on those opinions too.

                You’re trying to tell us that there is an innocent explanation here, where reasonable people can disagree with Trump’s behavior.

                Sure.

                But that itself is the moral choice I keep speaking about. You are choosing to take a stance of detached indifference to other people’s pain and suffering.

                There’s a lot of pain and suffering out there. The utility of pointing out how much sympathy you have for the people feeling it is more impressive to some than it is to others, though.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Jaybird, explaining how an accused amoral scumbag might not see himself that way is defending an accused amoral scumbag, and the only people who would defend accused amoral scumbags are amoral scumbags themselves, because who would care about amoral scumbags? Not I, of course, I’m one of the good people, and you can tell it by how much I hate those accused amoral scumbags.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                Thankfully no Democrat would ever make fun of Trump’s “small hands”. Never.

                You realize that if the reporter was a Fox News regular, Democrats on CNN would be gleefully mocking his disability and flapping their little flippers at him all day long, don’t you?

                These are the same people who called Condi Rice a “House N*****” without a hint of shame. The New York Times cartoonist even drew Condi with big lips sucking on aluminum tubes.

                They’re only outraged when the wrong people get mocked. Then they try to incite a moral panic about it.Report

              • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                I think the issue that you stumbled upon is that Trump’s supporters or apologists incorrectly see themselves as the victims. Jaybird seems to have sympathy for this group and view poking whether he admits it or not.

                Jaybird sees liberals as the biggest hypocrites. So anything that says “gotcha” to a lib is good.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Saul Degraw
                Ignored
                says:

                I think the issue that you stumbled upon is that Trump’s supporters or apologists incorrectly see themselves as the victims.

                This would be a stronger statement if you didn’t put “incorrectly” in there. You’re telegraphing your thumb being on the scale.

                Jaybird seems to have sympathy for this group and view poking whether he admits it or not.

                I certainly have enough to put effort into imagining what things would look like from their perspective.

                My morality sees the ability to do this as “baseline” rather than evidence of Sin, though.

                Jaybird sees liberals as the biggest hypocrites.

                A certain subset, yes. The ones who go out into the public square and proclaim their righteousness seem to draw my eye the quickest.

                So anything that says “gotcha” to a lib is good.

                It depends on the type of hypocrisy that they’re wallowing in, usually. There are a lot of “gotchas” that miss the mark. Those ought be avoided.Report

              • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                There is a difference whether an argument can be made and whether an argument can be made in good faith. There is an issue of whether someone should an attempt to make the argument at all.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Saul Degraw
                Ignored
                says:

                As counter-counter-arguments go, “you have a moral obligation to not make that counter-argument” is not a particularly strong one.

                But, hey, maybe it’ll work out in the field.Report

              • Avatar Pinky in reply to Saul Degraw
                Ignored
                says:

                There is a value in being able to craft an opposing argument. I don’t know why Jaybird does it, but I can’t be mad at him for it. I like this site because it helps me keep my thoughts honest.

                I think that you and Chip make very bad arguments in good faith. Maybe some bad faith slips in, but it’s not my place to speculate on that.

                I’m not confident about diagnosing that Trump clip, though, either way.Report

            • Avatar Urusigh in reply to Chip Daniels
              Ignored
              says:

              Shrug. If you honestly can’t even imagine the opposing argument for yourself and need an actual Trump supporter to debate the matter, I’m right here. I’ll say it upfront: Trump mocked a reporter, using a humorous mannerism that he has used many times against many targets. That the reporter was physically disabled is morally irrelevant, the mocking was neither inspired by nor targeted specifically at his disability. Welcome to “equality”, also known as “treating everyone the same”.

              If you want to argue that mocking reporters in general shouldn’t be allowed than I’ll happily list some of the things President Obama said about the reporters at Fox News. If you want to argue that being physically disabled is in any way relevant to the treatment a reporter receives from the person he’s questioning, whether positive or negative, I’m going to accuse you of discrimination because that is exactly what you will be arguing in favor of.Report

  11. Avatar Saul Degraw
    Ignored
    says:

    Glenn Greenwald has been arrested in Brazil: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/21/world/americas/glenn-greenwald-brazil-cybercrimes.html

    I post this here because I think there is another issue we are dancing around besides the one Chip mention (though it is related). Most people here assume Trump has authoritarian/dictator leanings. He has certainly expressed is contempt at various features of democracy and clean government including ranting against the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, bemoaning that cops can’t just beat down on people, pardoning war criminals like Gallagher, and bemoaning Sullivan’s robust protections for free speech.

    So the question is: why are we not a dictatorship yet? Is Trump not interested in rounding up every Democratic politician or is he unable to because people told him it would be a game over thing? The impeachment trial in the Senate will be a sham but Trump has not been unable to prevent a lot of damning information from coming out. If he were truly a dictator, would he be able to round up Pelosi and Schiff and others?Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Saul Degraw
      Ignored
      says:

      So the question is: why are we not a dictatorship yet?

      There are a handful of ways to answer your question but here are a sampling:

      1. You have made bad assumptions with your question.
      2. Trump knows that the 2nd Amendment is still in effect and any attempt to jail journalists will have to happen after he passes gun laws (which he won’t be able to do with a Republican Senate).
      3. We are in a dictatorship and have been since the early 1900’s and you’re only now noticing.

      I’m sure there are dozens more.Report

    • Avatar Ozzzy! in reply to Saul Degraw
      Ignored
      says:

      Do you think we are in a dictatorship?

      Not sure the rest of your commentary here is much more than nested hypotheticals.Report

  12. Avatar LeeEsq
    Ignored
    says:

    Meanwhile, in real actual American fascism, ICE deports an Iranian student with a valid F-1 visa to attend Northeastern University, despite an order not to by a federal district judge.

    https://www.bostonglobe.com/2020/01/21/metro/iranian-student-removed-us-before-court-hearing-lawyer-says/?s_campaign=bostonglobe%3Asocialflow%3Afacebook&fbclid=IwAR1DwFYdVQyxmBM_BJzqkf5ypqNF_lfRbGKKDe9ZZsB-Apb73Zaq8KTxYak

    This is fasicsm because it shows utmost contempt for the law without consequences. ICE literaly went against the holding of a Federal District Court judge because they wanted to. They did so without cause or merit. Yet, a lot of people are worried that the Democratic Party will just not nominate some mystical magical person that every real true American can get behind. They might have to, gasp of horror hear, vote for a real actual Democratic Party member rather than a Republican but less icky than Trump nominated by the Democratic Party. Because apparently allowing fascism to happen is preferable to having to vote for a real actual Demorcratic Party member.Report

    • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to LeeEsq
      Ignored
      says:

      In response to both you and Saul-
      We don’t all live in the same America.

      At any point in American history, there was some group of people who arguably lived lives as oppressed as anyone of the tyrannies that we have always pointed to.

      People like us- well educated, members of the majority ethnic tribe- generally escaped the treatment those people got and so we imagine everyone else does too and so we call ourselves a free nation.

      In grade school we were always told about the Communists and how in those countries people feared the midnight knock at the door where the government could just whisk you away with impunity.

      Well, here we are.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to LeeEsq
      Ignored
      says:

      Lee, Saul… I want you guys to know that you can email me these stories at askjaybird@gmail.com and I will post them to Ten Second News with a title something like “From the Boston Globe: Northeastern student from Iran removed from US before court hearing, won’t be returned”, a link to the story in the body, and a blockquoted excerpt of the first couple of paragraphs.

      They’ll appear up in Ten Second News and we’ll have a place to discuss them and you guys won’t have to worry if you look like you’re trying to change the subject of whatever post you’re commenting in into something that you’d rather discuss.Report

      • Avatar Jesse in reply to Jaybird
        Ignored
        says:

        Considering you turn every political post into a Socratic argument about How the Democrats Will Never WIn Again Because Donald Trump Narrowly Won Three Midwestern State By a Few Thousand Votes, you talking about somebody “changing the subject” is hilarious.Report

        • Avatar George Turner in reply to Jesse
          Ignored
          says:

          Why should they have to beat Trump when they were going to remove him by impeachment? That effort quickly turned into such a sham and an abysmal face plant that today, during the opening day of only the third Senate trial of a President in US history, I skipped it and watched a documentary on the making of Galaxy Quest – and I’m a political junkie.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jesse
          Ignored
          says:

          In this very thread, I talked about how Biden struck me as likely to win the election, were he to go up against Trump.

          But, when I run this through my simulation, I see that you are merely making an error of fact when I am making a gross moral error by not spending a couple of paragraphs talking about how morally offensive I find Trump.

          So, with that in mind, I’ll ask: Hey, when you look back at how you looked at the 2016 election before the fact, do you see if you made any errors? If so, what errors did you make? Have you changed how you think about 2020 in light of these errors?Report

  13. Avatar Douglas Hayden
    Ignored
    says:

    “In 2016, the depth of the GOP field represented the party’s strength. In 2020, the depth of the Dem field represents the party’s weakness.”

    In 2016, a collection of the GOP’s young up and comers and stable old hands got bushwhacked – and bushwhacked badly – by a belligerent reality TV star. Within two years, all but Trump were either unemployed, relegated to punchlines, or busily rearranging the furniture in the HUD main office. I’ll accept the argument that the 2020 Dem field is weak – which I’ll contest if Biden all but runs the table – but you can’t convince me the 2016 GOP field wasn’t either. Or that this hasn’t been a problem for both parties going back to at least 2012, or even 2008 and 2004. Or that our collective notion of what constitutes a ‘strong field’ is based off of a political history generated before open primaries, 24 hour news media, and social media.Report

    • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Douglas Hayden
      Ignored
      says:

      How many of our presidents, I wonder, were elected by narrow margins, after having been selected in a contested convention where they narrowly beat challengers?

      JFK 60, Nixon 68, Carter 76…They all had to fight off a crowded field, and none won by a landslide. Even Obama 2008 had a fierce primary fight with Clinton.

      This fixation with “strong” and “weak” candidates seems incredibly silly and ahistorical.
      Even here, no one can really say what they think a “strong” candidate might be.

      So someone could point to any candidate and make the same argument in any direction, and it makes the same amount of sense.

      Its really just that cult of the savvy stuff, where people play armchair pundit, like handicapping the pennant race or something.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Chip Daniels
        Ignored
        says:

        In a charitable way, I think it is another manifestation of the shock you mentioned above, so many people are in utter disbelieve that tens of millions of Americans like what Donald Trump is selling and how he is selling it. Even more if you include the people who dislike the sales technique but love the product. This manifests itself in being gobsdmacked that there is not a Johnny Unbeatable candidate who can get 75 percent or more of the popular vote and FDR in 36, Nixon in 72, or Reagan in 84 levels of the electoral college.

        “Its really just that cult of the savvy stuff, where people play armchair pundit, like handicapping the pennant race or something.”

        I am also coming to the conclusion that a lot of political junkies like the horse race stuff over policy/morality/ethics stuff.Report

        • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Saul Degraw
          Ignored
          says:

          There is that connection between fascism and cynicism where the people themselves eventually accept their powerlessness and forget any dream of a just society.Report

          • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Chip Daniels
            Ignored
            says:

            “There is that connection between Democracy and cynicism where the people themselves eventually accept their powerlessness and forget any dream of a just society.”

            -A. Tocqueville, Epilogue.

            The problem with the term Fascism since the 1960s is that its purely a rhetorical term that has lost all useful diagnostic or prescriptive powers… it is the common cold of our political lexicon; the runny nose of chafing authority.Report

            • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Marchmaine
              Ignored
              says:

              We could say the same about “tyranny”, or “dictatorship” or even “socialism”, also frequently and indiscriminately used.

              How would you characterize the British government of the late 18th/ early 19th century?
              Was it a cruel despotic tyranny, a fascist state?

              The American founders thought so, so much that they rose up in a long bloody revolution.

              Yet…that was also the period of Jane Austen novels, the sort where we today look back at it longingly and make movies about that era starring Colin Firth and Hugh Grant.

              Because for Jane, Britain wasn’t a place of tyranny. She lived a life of peace and freedom.

              Coincidentally, at that very same time, the newly created American citizens, the owners of plantations and drivers of Negros, also lived lives of peace and freedom. For them, America wasn’t a place of slavery and injustice either.

              That’s the nature of tyranny. Only a small group of people ever see the fist of injustice.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                Only a small group of people ever see the fist of injustice.

                This seems like as good an outcome as could be hoped for, outside of heaven.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                How many people experience what Radly Balko writes about?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                A lot fewer than those who vote for keeping the status quo, I tell you what.Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                That’s the great thing about the Left… always correcting for the tyrannies we’ve experienced in the past; while the Right is always correcting for the tyrannies the Left is introducing for the future.

                Honestly, the narrative that the Right is nostalgic is mostly wrong… on the Right we always tell our young’un’s that we’ve *never* gotten it right… there’s no golden age, just a long story of failing in different ways.

                Its the fat, dumb, and happy middle that’s mired in nostalgia.Report

              • Avatar Philip H in reply to Marchmaine
                Ignored
                says:

                if the Right has never gotten it right the how the hell can you Make America Great Again? That implies America having gotten it right at some prior point to which a return is needed.Report

              • Avatar Urusigh in reply to Philip H
                Ignored
                says:

                By not anchoring the viewpoint to a single year across all topics, but by cumulatively anchoring on the high point for each topic (I.E. The lowest unemployment and lowest abortion rates we’ve ever had are both historical measures to “Make Great Again”, quite regardless of whether those two high points occurred in the same year or decade as each other.

                This is where Democrats always miss the point by saying something like “oh yeah, well there was slavery back then, so it wasn’t so great after all!”. Being quite happy with the current lack of slavery doesn’t invalidate wanting back a time when there were no mass shootings and a single worker could comfortably support a family of four, now does it? Isn’t the entire Democrat party theoretically running on those priorities? Those things are each independent variablesReport

            • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to Marchmaine
              Ignored
              says:

              Tocqueville was at least somewhat wrong. I live in a state where it’s relatively easy to get initiatives on the ballot. There’s nothing like a good ballot initiative to drive up voter interest, and turnout.Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Michael Cain
                Ignored
                says:

                “There’s nothing like a good ballot initiative to drive up voter interest, and turnout.”

                -K. Rove, 2004

                I’m not sure if that falls into the cynicism bucket or the powerlessness bucket… but there’s a bucket for that somewhere. 🙂

                I agree that Tocqueville is wrong, though… he’s wrong all over the place; just that everyone should read his wrongness ’cause its less wrong than most politico-sociological reviews of early American democracy.Report

    • Avatar Philip H in reply to Douglas Hayden
      Ignored
      says:

      More so then Republicans, Democrats have concentrated on the White House almost exclusively since Clinton. They have no bench depth in governorships, and in fact ceded way too many states to Republicans over the last 15 or so years to be believed. Thus what alternatives do exist in national Democratic politics are mostly in the Senate – and too many of those folks should really have stayed where they are to being with. Its telling how few Democratic governors there are, much less how many have chosen to run, and that two mayors have garnered so much attention (though in Bloomberg’s case he can afford to buy his attention).

      I still believe the Republican field fell away because there were too many to start with, and none of them really stood up to trump because they all knew his base was their base, and they valued Republican branded power more the anything. You have to remember he won the nomination by winning pluralities in a crowded field. He never had a majority.Report

      • Avatar Pinky in reply to Philip H
        Ignored
        says:

        That’s an interesting point. One party’s path to 270 includes California and New York. The other one has Texas and maybe we can swing Florida. That means the Republicans have to pick up a lot of smaller states. So you end up with one party getting 3 million more votes and the other one having way more state houses.Report

  14. Avatar George Turner
    Ignored
    says:

    Quite a few metrics predict that Trump will do far better in the electoral college this time around.

    Among the many problems plaguing Democrats is the way the far left took over much of academia and started churning out students who reflexively hate white Americans and, on the world stage, hate America. They’re quite loud and proud about it, and it convinces many normal folks that Democrats do not have our best interests at heart because they despise us and seem to want us dead. This creates the obvious election problem, like running for mayor of some large city while constantly going on radio and TV and denouncing the city’s major sports teams, and pointedly deriding the local fan base as a bunch of morons. Sure, there may be a slice of the community that hates the owner, the coach, and the team, but if they were a majority the team probably wouldn’t still be there.Report

    • Avatar Philip H in reply to George Turner
      Ignored
      says:

      Among things auguring for Trump’s failure in the general election and thus the electoral college:

      The continued collapse of the coal industry
      The continued slow death of steel in spite of tariffs
      The closures of family farms in spite of tariffs
      The failure to replace the ACA with anything more affordable while slowly gutting it and thus kicking off people who got onto insurnace because of it (not to mention canning the preexisting condition exclusions).
      The growing backlash against severe abortion restrictions
      The continued lossess in state and federal courts that are forcing gerrymandered districts to be redrawn.
      The fact that only among non-college educated white men has support for him grown in the last three years.
      The 2018 House election.

      I could go on. But i have coffee to drink.Report

      • Avatar JS in reply to Philip H
        Ignored
        says:

        You could also, of course, look at the latest polls. Which show Trump losing nationally by 7+ points. 52/45 against Sanders, 53/44 against Biden. Trump actually appears to lose by a significant margin against the whole Democratic field.

        Given both have similar name recognition between Sanders and Biden, and the fact that they represent complete opposite ends of the Democratic tent — it looks quite like Trump has an absolute hard ceiling of 44 or 45%, which a solid 52% whose position seems to be summed up as “Literally any Democrat over Trump”. Even as you hit lesser known candidates like Klobuchar, with lower name recognition, you see Trump remain at 44% and the “unsure” numbers simply rise — which I would suspect represents unfamiliarity with the Democratic candidate or their chances, given the polar opposites of Biden and Sanders are pulling 52% to 53% against 44%.

        I note also that his approval ratings have been static at about 42% for almost three years now, and he hasn’t polled above 45% in a very, very long time. Unlike Obama or Bush, who had periods of high popularity and whose approval ratings varied considerably, Trump seems to be bouncing inside a very narrow range.

        In short: A weak Democratic candidate may run into serious trouble in 2024, but right now Trump is such a reviled candidate — in an election that will be 100% about Trump and nothing else — that it really doesn’t matter. A weak candidate and a strong one are likely to perform similarly against Trump, simply because what’s driving voting and turnout is Donald Trump and not, say, Sanders, Biden or Warren.

        A President who seems to have a ceiling of 45% is in a lot of trouble, and while the electoral college can help a lot, I’m not sure it can help even 5 points worth — much less 7.Report

        • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to JS
          Ignored
          says:

          The optimist in me sees the hard ceiling; The pessimist sees that it is also a hard floor.Report

          • Avatar JS in reply to Chip Daniels
            Ignored
            says:

            Based purely on his approval/disapproval ratings have remained static for years. Bouncing between 40 and 42% approval and 52% to 54% disapproval. So I’d say it’s both.

            Offhand, with a static 52 to 54% disapproval rating, his ceiling cannot realistically be above 48%. To breach that would require people who have disapproved of him for three years to decide to vote for him, or otherwise support him.

            To change opinions baked in by that much time would take a rather phenomenal set of circumstances. That doesn’t get into his impeachment numbers. If 51% of the voting public wants you removed from office now, via impeachment — that seems something of a hard barrier right there.

            Which again circles back to the basic head-to-head polling, which shows Trump consistently polling at 44 to 45%, and his opponents polling between 48% and 54% in a manner that lines up with name recognition and front-runner status, but not ideology or personal charisma.

            Of course, that leaves “turnout” as the real question mark.

            Without going into all my reasoning, which is a whole post in of itself, I suspect 2020 will mirror 2018 in that both parties will see record or close to record turnout, which historically has boded poorly for the GOP. Democratic turnout is so variable that “high turnout” for Democrats simply can bring far more irregular voters than Republicans, because such a large percentage of Republican voters vote regularly.Report

        • Avatar George Turner in reply to JS
          Ignored
          says:

          Well, you seem to have faith in the polls. Hillary did too.

          If you go check Real Clear Politics polling data, you can see that the national polls are garbage. In the same week, Trump beats Biden by 7, Sanders by 10, and Warren by 14, but then loses to Bloomberg by 6, Buttigieg by 2, and then loses to Biden by 7. What good is a poll when they keep producing scattershot answers that indicate the error margin might be as high as plus or minus 10?

          Polling is broken, both in the US and in Europe, and I haven’t seen good evidence that anybody has figured out the underlying causes and fixed them.

          Thus, it might be more important to pay close attention to other metrics like crowd attendance, debate viewership, and the economy.Report

    • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to George Turner
      Ignored
      says:

      Quite a few metrics predict that Trump will do far better in the electoral college this time around.

      This strikes me as… unlikely. I look at trends geographically, and to gain electoral votes, Trump will have to go into regions where Clinton did very well in 2016, and in those same regions the Dems overall did very well in 2018. While some of the 2018 results were probably due to Trump personally, I think a lot of it was Trump policies as actually delivered rather than as promised.

      Trump’s not going to win Illinois, and probably not Minnesota. After those, he has to win blue states in the NE urban corridor and the West in order to gain EC votes. I pay more attention to the West, and there just aren’t any Clinton states where you can make any reasonable argument that Trump will get better results, especially in light of 2018. There’s only one western state where 2016 was close enough that flipping seems at all likely, and that’s Arizona, where a flip would cost Trump EC votes.Report

      • Avatar George Turner in reply to Michael Cain
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        says:

        I think he’ll win Minnesota. The state’s mining region has apparently had shift similar to West Virginia, with the folks who’ve been voting Democrat for generations, and who voted for Hillary, deciding to switch parties because they see Trump as their champion. Their numbers may not be that large, but it could be significant. Many others, more urban, said they’re switching in disgust about Omar and the rest of the squad, and their very negative perceptions about what’s happened to Minneapolis. They just can’t get on board with the “death to Israel” type rhetoric.

        I also think he has a good chance of winning Virginia due to Northram’s anti-gun and pro-blackface policy, which will drive voter turnout in heavily red areas to record levels.

        Overall I think he’ll pick up a whole lot of votes from the fantastic economic performance and record low unemployment, especially among minorities, while Democrats will likely see low turnout because they don’t have any candidate that’s remotely compelling or inspirational, except perhaps to college activists and the perpetually outraged brigades.Report

        • Avatar North in reply to George Turner
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          says:

          Your analysis on Minnesota might hold water if his trade wars hadn’t blasted the farmers into oblivion. I doubt Minnesota is as friendly to him now as it was to him in 2016 when he was a cipher. There’s a lot of votes in the farming regions and the suburbs in Minnesota that he lost. And he’s not going to make it up in mining country; he already had their support.Report

          • Avatar JS in reply to North
            Ignored
            says:

            There’s also the inconvenient 2018 elections, in which the Minn. state house flipped blue and the Governor’s office remained Democratic — by a wide margin — with no incumbent on the ballot.

            There’s also some head to head polling from October, which shows Trump lagging at 40% with the entire Democratic field beating him with between 9 and 17 points.

            Would not put money down on Minnesota flipping red at this point.

            You’d be better off betting on Michigan, where Trump’s popularity pushes up to 45%. Not great, but certainly winnable facing the right Democratic candidate.

            Of course which one the “right” — or “wrong” — candidate is is harder to guess. An incumbent’s numbers are always a lot more solid than a “one of this crowd” hypothetical matchup. Still I’d bet on 45% winning before I bet on 40%.Report

      • Avatar JS in reply to Michael Cain
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        says:

        There is also the fact that, like 2018, the GOP will likely have to sink quite a bit of money and time into ensuring Texas is held.

        Texas is not a cheap media market, and Trump is actually polling worse than Ted Cruz was.

        While advertising money is probably close to unlimited in the post-Citizen’s United era, skilled staffers are not, and neither is candidate time and energy.

        I cannot see the GOP looking at Trump is polling at or below 50% and not panicking and throwing money, staff, and time at it. Texas is the very definition of a critical state, and the GOP literally cannot afford a loss there.

        I will state for the record that I absolutely see no world in which Trump loses Texas in 2020, but his poll numbers are too bad in an R+8 state with that many electoral college votes to just hope for.Report

        • Avatar George Turner in reply to JS
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          says:

          I suppose you don’t recall how low Trump was polling when he crushed Hillary. If Trump is polling above 40% he’s probably a shoe-in. ^_^

          Also, have you considered that he might be polling poorly in Texas because he’s not shooting Guatemalans as they cross the wall? You have to look at why someone is polling poorly. Nancy might be polling badly in San Francisco because she hasn’t instituted full communism, but that’s not going to translate to Republican votes.

          And how many people who don’t like Trump are still not going to pull a Bernie or Warren lever in a million years, or who wouldn’t bother turning out for Biden even if their polling place was in the garage next door?

          One of the problems with recent polling, which showed up in a big way in 2016, is that Trump supporters wouldn’t admit that they support Trump because the left had made supporting him a moral issue. Once people lie about their preferences so they don’t get judged, polling becomes worthless. The same thing happened regarding Brexit, and you can see how that went.Report

          • Avatar JS in reply to George Turner
            Ignored
            says:

            “I suppose you don’t recall how low Trump was polling when he crushed Hillary. If Trump is polling above 40% he’s probably a shoe-in. ^_^”

            We can look it up! Turns out history and google exists.

            Turns out…48 to 46, which was roughly the outcome. Trump entered office with a fallibility rating of 45.6% (aggregated) and a disapproval rating of 42%. He was actually higher after the election but before inauguration, but there was a bit of a rough three months there.

            So, he entered office with a 46/42 approval/disapproval which has turned into 42/52 approval/disapproval — a 14 point swing to being 10 points underwater. A gap which has held fairly steady since about month three of his Presidency. The gap has been wider than 10 points — he managed almost 20 at one point — but has never been smaller then than 10 points.

            So to answer your question: Trump appears to be polling at least 2 points lower than when he won in 2016, however it appears every main Democrat is outpolling Clinton by between 2 and 6 points.

            “One of the problems with recent polling, which showed up in a big way in 2016, is that Trump supporters wouldn’t admit that they support Trump because the left had made supporting him a moral issue”

            You mean the polls that showed Clinton winning the popular vote 48-46? She won 48.1% to 46.2%. Now that narrow a margin means the EC can — and did — throw a real monkey wrench into things.

            But I’m afraid the polling was, in fact, quite spot on. Clinton was shown to have a 2 point lead in the popular vote, and that’s exactly what she ended up with.

            So what showed up in a big way how again?Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to JS
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              says:

              The thing that should worry you about the polling being spot on last time is that where the polls were wrong, they were all wrong in the same direction.

              (I’d also watch out for “maybe I was wrong, but I was right to be wrong!” kinda thinking.)Report

              • Avatar JS in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                I did in fact note that above. 2 or 3 points nationally is well within the numbers where the electoral college can veer in a different direction than the popular vote.

                Because the popular vote was fairly close — and two points is fairly close — the battleground states, which by definition are states wherein the margins between parties are much smaller — are closer yet. A late swing can topple them, and do so similarly across many such battleground states.

                Two points, even three? Local conditions, local politics, local issues — those can sway an election two or three points. It won’t be often — how often have we had a popular vote/EC split? — but it can happen. And in demographically similar states, you can get what we saw in 2016.

                But 5 points? Now you’re asking a lot more — before even getting into how a five point national polling gap might change the actual list of battleground states.

                This isn’t just pulled out of my nether regions, by the way. There have actually been studies.

                An EC inversion has about a 40% chance of happening if the popular vote is within 1 point, and about a 30% chance if within 2. And, as one might imagine, it’s skewed Republican at the moment — the GOP has roughly a 70% chance of being the ‘winner’ of an EC inversion. (Didn’t 538 predict about a 30% chance of Trump winning? )

                However, drops off fairly quickly, as one would imagine. 5 or 6 points and the likelihood is quite small. Not impossible — but recall that Trump’s inversion turned on less than 100,000 voters spread across three states. A simple snowstorm might have been enough to prevent — or cause — an inversion by that small an amount.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to JS
                Ignored
                says:

                I didn’t see where you mentioned this point above.

                I’m not complaining about the polls being wrong. Of *COURSE* there is a margin of error! Of course it’s awesome if the actual results are within it!

                It’s when they all are away from the actual results in the same direction that I would ask what is going on.

                Out of the polls that are your favorites, how many of them picked Trump to, narrowly, win?

                Given the win he got, I’d say that you’d want somewhere between 20% and 33% of them to have picked a Trump win.Report

              • Avatar JS in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                “I didn’t see where you mentioned this point above.”

                “A President who seems to have a ceiling of 45% is in a lot of trouble, and while the electoral college can help a lot, I’m not sure it can help even 5 points worth — much less 7.”

                “It’s when they all are away from the actual results in the same direction that I would ask what is going on.”

                Except, as noted, the national polls in 2016 were correct. The less polled swing states were not, but even they were not outside of the MoE for those states either — a two point race is, in fact, quite close.

                I don’t know why you insist the polls were wrong. They were quite correct. Not many people worked out the actual odds of an EC inversion — in fact, the best study done on EC inversions was done after the election for rather obvious reasons — but that’s because EC inversions are quite rare.

                91% of all Presidential elections have seen the winner of the popular vote win the EC.1 in 10 is pretty small odds.

                So to sum up: The national polls were quite accurate, the swing state polls were within the MoE, and the biggest predictive mistake was not correctly forecasting the odds of an EC inversion, when the best and most thorough analysis of a very rare — 4 times in history — event had not been performed.

                Should we take that into account this election? Absolutely. As I said above, if the race is within a point, there’s a 40% chance the loser of the popular vote will win the EC. If it’s withing 2 points, there’s about a 30% chance.

                And that absolutely should be taken into account. On the other hand, if the race is 5 points apart, the chance of an EC inversion remains, but is very, very small.

                And of course, poll aggregates remain quite accurate as long as MoE is taken into effect, and were quite accurate both in 2016 and 2018, despite some people’s weird insistence that they had to be wrong. I can’t seem to stress this enough, but the actual results were correctly predicted nationally and the state results were generally within the MoE of any poll conducted in the last 10 days of the election.

                Saying “We can’t trust the polls because 2016” is basically the opposite of reality. The actual lesson to be taken from 2016 should be something like “Close races are close races, and the winner of the national vote is not guaranteed to win the Electoral College, since about 10% of the time they don’t”.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to JS
                Ignored
                says:

                I’m not saying “we can’t trust the polls!”

                I’m saying if every single one of the polls said that Clinton was going to win (but was within the margin of error) and Trump, instead, won, then I’d want to know why none of my polls predicted that Trump would win (but still be within the margin of error) and if none of my polls said that, then I’d say that something went very, very wrong somewhere.

                Even if all of my polls were within the margin of error.

                1 in 10 is, indeed, pretty small odds. If I had 40 polls, I’d expect only 3-5 of them to indicate that he’d win.Report

              • Avatar JS in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                “I’m saying if every single one of the polls said that Clinton was going to win (but was within the margin of error) and Trump, instead, won, then I’d want to know why none of my polls predicted that Trump would win (but still be within the margin of error) and if none of my polls said that, then I’d say that something went very, very wrong somewhere.”

                Because the polls were measuring the popular vote, and not the electoral college, which are often — but not always — the same thing?

                And most people did not bother adding “Three times before in the history of our nation has the winner of the popular vote lost the EC, so that can always happen, keep that in mind” because it was a pretty rare event?

                You are acting like the pollsters got it wrong. No, they were fairly accurate. Dead on nationally, and within MoE of the tightest swing states despite a late break towards Trump.

                Your beef, such as it is, should be with pundits and analysts who mostly did not take an EC inversion seriously. In all fairness, there had only been three in American history. Still, some did — Nate Silver, for instance.

                You seem to be arguing that we shouldn’t trust the polls, despite them being accurate in 2016, because the conclusions people drew from the polls were not accurate — because they did not take the possibility of an EC inversion seriously enough.

                Which again, in all fairness to 2016 pundits, had happened only three times in American history. Since then, there have been studies that indicate a 2 point election — such as 2016 — will see a roughly 1 in 3 chance of an EC inversion.

                And indeed, if the race this year is within 2 points, we should damn well all make sure we account for a roughly 30% chance of the loser of the popular vote winning the EC and thus the Presidency.

                “then I’d want to know why none of my polls predicted that Trump would win (but still be within the margin of error) and if none of my polls said that”

                I want to stress this again. Nationally, they predicted a 48-46 Clinton win on the popular vote. That is, in fact, exactly what happened. They were quite accurate. So exactly how could completely accurate polls be “very very wrong somehow”? They were very, very accurate for what they were measuring.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to JS
                Ignored
                says:

                The wacky thing about the margin of error is that it’s a margin and things should fall on either side of it.

                You are acting like the pollsters got it wrong. No, they were fairly accurate. Dead on nationally, and within MoE of the tightest swing states despite a late break towards Trump.

                No, I’m acting like none of them got it right. Like, even ACCIDENTALLY.

                And if I remember 2016 correctly, one of the things people were worried about was Clinton winning the EC but Trump winning the Popular vote. Remember that? It’s why Clinton sent teams from Michigan to Illinois.

                They even reference it in the SNL/Chappelle skit where they’re watching the returns.

                I’m not upset that any given poll said that Clinton was going to win and it was within the margin of error. Hey, the actual result being within the margin of error is *PRETTY GOOD*!

                It’s when all of the polls are within the margin of error but none of them predicted the outcome (which was within the margin of error) that I’d say “Hold up… shouldn’t 10% of my polls have guessed that this thing that had a 10% chance of happening would happen?”Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                And, since we don’t elect the President via a national vote, wouldn’t the national polls be rather meaningless? Yet we had state-by-state polling data, and that gave Democratic pollsters, pundits, and journalists the confidence to book hotel rooms for the Hillary Clinton victory celebration and inauguration parties. The looks on their faces on election night was priceless. I still watch those videos. ^_^

                Obviously none of them, based on their obsessive poll watching, thought Trump had a prayer.

                I think the pollster who came closest to the result was the one who, instead of asking people how they were going to vote, asked them how they thought their neighbor was going to vote. The question is whether they were really talking about themselves, or were taking the question seriously and talking smack about their deplorable neighbor.

                And I think the real problem is that since the left made Trump support a moral issue, polling can’t work, anymore than you could validly poll people about whether they have any outstanding warrants or cheat on their spouses. It’s moved polling from the realm of statistical science to just listening to people lie about themselves.Report

              • Avatar Philip H in reply to George Turner
                Ignored
                says:

                you know, if you support Trump but won’t say you support Trump you are a coward. Pure and simple. And yeah, I’ll judge you for that all day long.Report

              • Avatar JS in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                I literally do not know how to explain “Polls measure popular vote, but that’s not how we elect Presidents, so they’re not technically predicting the winner of the Presidency because sometimes the popular vote winner does not win the EC” any further.

                You continue to randomly conflate polling, polling analysis, pundit predictions and lastly the popular vote itself with the outcome of the election. THEY ARE NOT THE SAME THING.

                Pollsters cannot poll the electoral college. So they don’t.

                Take this: “It’s when all of the polls are within the margin of error but none of them predicted the outcome”

                Polls don’t predict the outcome of the EC. That’s up to analysts, because polls CANNOT POLL THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE. This is not rocket science.

                I will point out that one of the few analysts — NOT POLLSTER — who broke down the swing state polling and attempt to model the electoral college via state polls and did the actual work to determine the odds of an EC inversion was Nate Silver, who — on the eve of the election — gave Trump about a 26% chance of winning the EC.

                He was one of very few who bothered to do the rather complicate work to cover an eventuality that had happened only 3 times before.

                I really cannot stress this enough: Pollsters do no survey electors. They are not polling nor predicting the state of the EC. They can’t. That is literally not a thing that is poll-able. They are restricted to attempting to poll popular vote totals.

                Insisting that “popular vote = EC” is what pundits in 2016 got wrong, which is understandable to an extent — it is a rare occurrence for that to not me the case. You insisting RIGHT NOW that the two things are the same, despite actually knowing how 2016 turned out, is just unfathomable.

                That entire thing you just posted is literally a giant, ongoing complaint that boils down to “The polls had to be wrong because Trump won” despite the polls actually being quite accurate. The people making predictions off the polls were, by and large, wrong. The polls themselves were as accurate as they usually are.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to JS
                Ignored
                says:

                And while I appreciate you explaining that over and over again, I don’t disagree with it.

                I am not saying that they got the election “wrong”. They didn’t. The outcome was within their margin of error.

                Getting within the margin of error is great!

                It’s when the outcome is within the margin of error but every single poll was on the same side of that margin without any of them being on the other side of that margin, that’d I’d say “huh… shouldn’t some of these have been on the other side of the margin of error”?

                Now, please. Explain to me again that I’m not paying attention to what you’re saying.

                Then I can say that I am but I’m making a different point than the one you’re responding to.Report

              • Avatar JS in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                “It’s when the outcome is within the margin of error but every single poll was on the same side of that margin without any of them being on the other side of that margin, that’d I’d say “huh… shouldn’t some of these have been on the other side of the margin of error”?”

                Except that didn’t happen. Take PA, where pollsters remained in the field through the 5th: The last polls in PA had Trump+1, Clinton +6, Tie, Clinton +2, Clinton +2. RCP’s aggregate had Clinton at 2.1 and Trump won by 0.7.

                How about Florida? Thankfully another state where polling continued late — to the 6th.

                Last polls: Trump +4, Clinton +2, tie, tie, Trump +3.. RCP’s aggregate had Trump at +0.4 — he won be 1.2.

                What about Nevada? Polls in the field until the 6th. Trump +0.8, Clinton +1, Clinton +2, Trump +1 — RCP’s aggregate was Trump +0.8. Clinton won by 2.4

                Where’s the inaccuracy? The systemic error you’re trying to claim exists? Three states — two had Trump low, one had Clinton low.

                Now there are some states where there were really sizeable differences between the aggregates and the final result — Wisconsin and Minnesota, for instance — but they stopped polling the 2nd. Minnesota — they stopped polling the 25th of October. But I don’t think anyone is arguing there was a big surge towards Trump in the last week or so.

                “Then I can say that I am but I’m making a different point than the one you’re responding to.”

                Your point is, as best I can tell, “All the polls showed Clinton winning and all the pundits and analysts said Trump had very little chance, but he won. ERGO the polls were wrong”.

                If that’s your point, your problem is you conflate pollsters, polls, and poll analysis as all the same thing AND conflate the popular vote with the EC.

                Pollsters in the field, those that were polling in the last days of the election, were all within the MoE and the resulting aggregates were both accurate and didn’t “always” favor one candidate, as you keep insisting.

                The various pundits and analysts USING that polling data absolutely missed the possibility of an EC inversion, among other things.

                In other words: Close election was close, and the pollsters were as accurate as pollsters can be, given the very nature of how polling is done. Analysts, as always, can screw the pooch.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to JS
                Ignored
                says:

                Your point is, as best I can tell, “All the polls showed Clinton winning and all the pundits and analysts said Trump had very little chance, but he won. ERGO the polls were wrong”.

                No.

                My point is that the polling might be spot on this time the same way they were spot on last time and we will, once again, explain that the polls were good and we were right to expect the Democratic candidate to not lose, even if it didn’t turn out that way, and so, no, we still have no lessons to learn from this.

                And we’d question why someone would want us to.Report

              • Avatar JS in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Hold on, let me quote my DAMN SELF from the beginning of this mess:

                “A President who seems to have a ceiling of 45% is in a lot of trouble, and while the electoral college can help a lot, I’m not sure it can help even 5 points worth — much less 7.”

                Further clarified as:

                “And indeed, if the race this year is within 2 points, we should damn well all make sure we account for a roughly 30% chance of the loser of the popular vote winning the EC and thus the Presidency.”

                I didn’t think i ALSO needed to clarify “Close races are close and can go either way”, but I also get the strong impression you haven’t read much I wrote and instead have been talking to an imaginary version of me.

                Which is why I so rarely bother talking to you. It’s a habit you should work on.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to JS
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                says:

                So we agree that I wasn’t saying that the polling was wrong?

                Good.

                So when it comes to having any given candidate low, I’d say that the ideal situation is to have polling be spot on in about half of the states (like, within .3%, either way) and split between more than that for one candidate and more than that for the other.

                Because if we’ve got a situation where even our aggregate polls had Trump low in more than a statistically appropriate number of states, we are in a situation where many different things could be happening that include such awful outcomes as “people are lying” and “we’re making a mistake in our polling”.

                I’m pleased that we agree that we’re not making mistakes in our polling. Our polling is great!

                So we just have to hammer out if people are lying to pollsters and if we’re polling Trump low to a degree that indicates that something has gone wrong somewhere.

                Here’s from RCP’s “Toss Ups
                Florida (29)
                Ohio (18)
                Michigan (16)
                Pennsylvania (20)
                New Hampshire (4)
                Maine CD2 (1)
                Maine (2)
                North Carolina (15)
                Virginia (13)
                Georgia (16)
                Colorado (9)
                Nevada (6)
                New Mexico (5)
                Arizona (11)
                Iowa (6)

                Toss-up tells me that, hey, half of these should go to Trump, the other half should go to Clinton. And let’s give us some wiggle room. There are 15 on there, we should give ourselves wiggle room. So it’s not only 7-8 or 8-7 that should have us say “it worked” but 9-6 or 6-9 (nice). Would 10-5 have us worry?

                So let’s look at the Toss-ups on the 270 to Win Map.

                Florida (29) – Trump
                Ohio (18) – Trump
                Michigan (16) -Trump
                Pennsylvania (20) -Trump
                New Hampshire (4) – Clinton
                Maine CD2 (1) – Clinton
                Maine (2) – Trump
                North Carolina (15) – Trump
                Virginia (13) – Clinton
                Georgia (16) – Trump
                Colorado (9) – Clinton
                Nevada (6) – Clinton
                New Mexico (5) -Clinton
                Arizona (11) – Trump
                Iowa (6) – Trump

                So out of 15 toss-ups. we’ve got 9-6 going to Trump.

                Oh, and one “leans blue” in Wisconsin doing so.

                If we included the leans-blue-goes-red, we could say that it was 10-6 wins for the toss-ups.

                I admit. When I started writing the above, I assumed 11-5.

                But 10-6 is something that I expect would be very, very, very easy to repeat.

                And talk ourselves into the position that we’re not.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Oooh! It occurred to me to count up electoral votes!

                171 electoral votes! Tossed up! (Not counting Wisconsin.)

                Of those 171, 133 went to Trump.
                38 of the toss-ups went to Clinton.

                And that’s not counting Wisconsin.

                *I* think that “maybe I’m fooling myself” is one of the things that would be very, very, very important to eliminate as a possibility.

                But I’m all about me.Report

            • Avatar George Turner in reply to JS
              Ignored
              says:

              As late as August 2016, Hillary was leading Trump 48 to 33. On Nov 8, 2016, Hillary was leading Trump 47 to 40 in Wisconsin, 45 to 42 in Michigan, and 46 to 44 in Pennsylvania.

              Trump has been under constant attack for three years and it hasn’t budged the polls. In contrast, the Democratic candidates are still “pristine”, little more than generic at this point. How is Biden going to look after a couple hundred million dollars in ads about his rampant corruption and his son’s Burisma dealings, his coke habit, and his stripper problem, probably backed up by Durham’s report on the goings on in Ukraine in 2016?

              All the 2016 Republican candidates thought they could beat Trump, too, but none survived his cutting attacks and mastery of unconventional media. He’s a buzz saw. After he went to work on her, Hillary didn’t even win among white women.

              How is someone like Biden, who has trouble stringing sentences together, going to outperform her when the campaign gets ugly and tough?

              Democrats might win, but they’d best not use rosy scenarios to mislead themselves into thinking it will be easy. They did that last time and it didn’t work out well for them.Report

              • Avatar Philip H in reply to George Turner
                Ignored
                says:

                This is probably the only true statement you have made on this thread:

                “Democrats might win, but they’d best not use rosy scenarios to mislead themselves into thinking it will be easy. They did that last time and it didn’t work out well for them.”

                Hillary lost because the polls were not translated into get out the voter activities in the midwest. Everyone got cozy and lazy. Rank and file democrats and left leaning voters have no interest in making that mistake again, regardless of how badly the DNC performs.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to Philip H
                Ignored
                says:

                But when you’re saying the polls show that you’ll easily beat Trump, you’re doing exactly the same thing you did last time. Why bother to vote when he’s going to lose in a landslide?Report

              • Avatar Philip H in reply to George Turner
                Ignored
                says:

                well I haven’t missed an election of any size since I was 18 so in my case you are barking up the wrong tree.

                My point is rank and file folks don’t trust the polling and so far are energized to vote regardless of whether the DNC pulls its head out of its rear and actually backs a candidate with something more then I’m Not Trump.Report

              • Avatar Urusigh in reply to Philip H
                Ignored
                says:

                I would dispute that assessment. The Dems have increasingly relied on “record-breaking turnout” and you all seem to assume that is a trend that you can sustain indefinitely. There’s a few obvious problems with that: 1) there’s a hard cap on how many genuinely persuadable voters are still sitting on the sidelines to be pulled in this time around, 2) there’s diminishing returns on going after those voters, so it becomes more and more expensive outreach for less and less new voters (which is a big problem when it looks like the DNC&candidate warchest this election will actually be smaller than Hillary Clinton’s was and the RNC&Trump’s will be far larger, and 3) your new progressive voters were promised that Trump would be already impeached out of office before this election happens (Spoiler: not going to happen) and your new moderates were promised a return to bipartisanship and business-as-normal legislating (ALSO hasn’t happened), so it really shouldn’t be taken as a given that they are going to be motivated to vote again when they didn’t get what they were promised in return for their votes the last time. I.E. IF Hillary Clinton had gotten the same turnout and percentage of black voters Obama did, she’d be President, instead Trump actually earned more black votes than either of the Republicans who ran against Obama. “Anyone but Trump!” clearly wasn’t the best motivating factor then, why would it be better now? Depending on the poll, he’s in the 30’s with minorities right now and generally trending upward. When’s the last major election a Democrat won without at least 70% of the black vote? Trump is pouring an unprecedented level of time, money, and people into his minority outreach this time around and has a head start already.

                So I have to ask, how many non-voters do you really think are available to add to your side of the column? At what $cost per voter? How many of those can you afford? Now do the same analysis for the Republican side, where our warchest is substantially larger and more of the voters we’re aiming for are in less expensive media markets. How many of your working class PoC are likely to follow the white working class out the Democrat door and into the Trump tent? How many more republicans do you expect to peel off from a party where Trump has upwards of 90% approval?Report

      • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Michael Cain
        Ignored
        says:

        “and probably not Minnesota”

        Ultimately for 2020 Presidential elections, this is the only calculus that matters… until the Dems select a nominee and we see how both sides intend to prosecute the matter, national polls at this point are just froth.

        Minnesota is a good state to watch; if we’re saying Trump *probably* won’t win Minnesota in October… he might win.Report

        • Avatar H in reply to Marchmaine
          Ignored
          says:

          Luckily, sometimes people poll states. Minnesota actually looks pretty bad for him. 2018 skewed pretty heavily blue, and Trump’s favorables are -10 in that state.

          There hasn’t been any head-to-head polling since October, but Trump didn’t break 40% in any of the match-ups. The various Democratic candidates were all polling between 49% (Sanders) and 55% (Khlobacher).

          Michigan is more fertile territory for Trump — he’s at least hitting 45% against the nebulous cloud of the Democratic field.Report

          • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to H
            Ignored
            says:

            I take your point about 2018… but somewhere out there there’s a witty pithy quotation about extracting predictions from mid-terms to the next Presidential race.

            I agree with Mr. Cain that Minnesota *probably* won’t flip for Trump… but there have been enough interesting voting trends in Minnesota that watching it in the run-up to 2020 is (IMO) worthwhile. And I’ll stand by my contention that if Minnesota is something more than merely theoretically in the realm of possibility in Oct 2020… then something is not going well from the Dems.Report

            • Avatar George Turner in reply to Marchmaine
              Ignored
              says:

              What caught my eye is that impeachment is polling badly in Minnesota, and showed a big shift against it (I think by 5 to 10 points as things got rolling in the House), and those polls are more recent than the presidential polls from October. If opposition to impeachment hardens into Trump support, as some articles on it suggested from street interviews (which are notoriously unreliable) then the state’s next presidential poll might alarm some people.Report

              • Avatar JS in reply to George Turner
                Ignored
                says:

                The latest polling I can find from Minnesota on impeachment is from 11/18.

                Pro: 44%. Against: 37%.

                I’ve seen news reports on the latest CNN poll refer to a 49/49 split across battleground states, which include Minnesota, but I have been unable to find the actual cross-tabs or how they handled state break-downs in a national poll.

                Morning consult tuns a daily approval poll — the results are fairly static — 40 to 43% approval, 53 to 55% disapproval. In fact, their 12/19/19 results are identical to their 9/19/19 results which are identical to their November 2018 results…

                Maybe they’re not unskewing the polls enough, eh?Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to JS
                Ignored
                says:

                I only recall seeing one story on it, which was about how Minnesota was pretty evenly split on impeachment until it actually started. I gather that the polls you are seeing reflect that, (40 to 43 for and 53 to 55 against), where as maybe they had been 50-50 or slightly in favor of “investigating”.

                Of course those earlier numbers may have been questionable because I’m not sure that anyone was really focused on accurately polling the question when it didn’t seem that pressing, and the reporter may have been taking another poll question as a proxy for early impeachment support so that he’d have an angle for the story, which was that impeachment wasn’t playing well in the heartland.

                Combining that with a story about how the folks in Minnesota’s mining regions are flipping to Trump, which were much like the early stories about the Rust Belt folks changing their loyalties during Obama’s second term and the 2016 campaign season, and it points to a possible shift from “safe Democrat” to “leans Democrat” or perhaps even to “toss up”.

                As the primaries come around we should get fresh poll data because they’ll have to ask a lot of match up questions. Perhaps the ground has shifted, or perhaps nothing has really changed.Report

            • Avatar JS in reply to Marchmaine
              Ignored
              says:

              ” And I’ll stand by my contention that if Minnesota is something more than merely theoretically in the realm of possibility in Oct 2020… then something is not going well from the Dems.”

              Yet if we want to say Minnesota, in which Trump is -10 approval and his polling numbers haven’t broken 40% and which head-to-head matchups show a +7 or better D lead is “in the realm of theoretical possibility for Trump”, then we must ALSO accept that Texas, in which Trump’s net approval is +1, and in which head-to-head matchups have shown Trump with a +1 to +7 lead is within the realm of possibility in Oct 2020 for Democrats.

              Which means something is not going well for the GOP.

              You can’t have it both ways. You can’t point at Minnesota, a common swing state wherein Trump is polling very low and say “That’s a signal something is wrong for Democrats” and ignore Texas, which is emphatically NOT a common swing state in which Democrats are polling higher than Trump is in Minnesota.

              You can’t have it both ways. If Trump at 40% in a swing state is bad news for Democrats, why isn’t Biden, Warren, and Sanders polling 44% in Texas bad news for Republicans?Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to JS
                Ignored
                says:

                I’m having it one way and that way is clearly delineated by poll numbers in October 2020 in Minnesota.

                What I find odd about your comments in both this thread and the other is that you seem very invested in the idea that polls today give you great comfort that the Dems will win in 2020. Its a weird sort of motivated reasoning that displays what you hope will happen not any sort of data or evidence of what *will* happen. Reminds me of the famous OT comment that when 538 figures make one nervous, we are reassured by Wang.

                I’m not here to take away your comfort.

                I have no idea what polls will tell us in Oct 2020… but the ones I’m interested in are Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, PA, OH and FL… and a few others as well. I mean, technically, all 50 if I’m wondering who’s really gonna be President next… but I’m making some assumptions about CA/IL/MA/AL/NY etc that I don’t have to wonder so much as check-in once in a while.

                If it makes you feel better, if TX goes Blue… it doesn’t really matter what happens elsewhere. Or, if we want to go with a momentum assessment… if TX goes Blue a lot of others in the above list will as well. Its kinda game over if TX goes Blue.

                Are you calling TX for Team Blue? Now?Report

              • Avatar JS in reply to Marchmaine
                Ignored
                says:

                “I’m having it one way and that way is clearly delineated by poll numbers in October 2020 in Minnesota.”

                Which shows Trump at 40% against the entire possible Democratic field? If that’s a good sign for Trump, than the Democratic field polling at 44% in Texas is good news for the Democratic field.

                “I’m not here to take away your comfort.”

                Ah yes, the personal insult. I’m clearly not disagreeing with you for any valid reason, I’m just an emotional wreck or I’d see it as clearly as you.

                “Are you calling TX for Team Blue? Now?”

                I’m not calling anything for anybody, but I am calling out the rather loose standards you’re using for “bad sign” and “good sign” and the conclusions you’re drawing.

                Is 40% good for Trump in Minnesota? If so, why is 44% not good for Democrats in Texas?

                Now if you were talking about Florida and saying the polling there was bad news for Democrats? Absolutely — Trump is polling around 50%. If Democrats need to win Florida to win 2020, they’re not winning 2020 without a significant change in polling.

                Pennsylvania? Looking bad — Trump’s only polling in the mid-40s, but the Democratic field is doing worse.

                Michigan? That’s more a toss-up — Trump seems to be polling in the mid-40s. Definitely not a great sign for Democrats. Michigan looks a bit better — at least the Democratic glob is holding at about +5.

                Minnesota though? Where Trump polls at 40% and Democrats at 50%?

                THAT’s my issue. You pick the state Trump is struggling the hardest with and declare it’s “bad news for Democrats” — using polling criteria, that if applied to both sides, means you have to conclude Texas and Nevada are really bad signs for Trump.

                I’m calling out shitty conclusions, using actual numbers, and you resort to “Durr, you must be emotionally upset” bullshit.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to JS
                Ignored
                says:

                I’ll give you a quick reason not to pin any hopes on flipping Texas: It would be a huge financial gamble to try and make a fight there, and the Democratic party likely won’t support such a large and risky investment that would drain the amount of money they would have for ads in battleground states.

                In fact, a Republican strategy would be to lure the Democrats into Texas, just as Democrats would love to have Trump waste his campaign money in California or New York so that he can’t spend it in Pennsylvania or Wisconsin.

                If Texas flips, it flips, but Democrats already got burned once backing Beto against Cruz, which is money none of them can get back.

                Hillary’s deficit in Florida was only about 100,000 votes, compared to 800,000 votes in Texas, and Florida has 80% as many electoral college votes as Texas. If it cost some constant amount to flip a voter, regardless of location, it would make sense to saturate Florida with enough money to ensure a win there before spending a dime in Texas.

                While I’m on this theme of strategic spending, I’ll mention that in 2016 Trump spent heavily on ads in Minnesota because he knew that a huge swath of Wisconsin watches Minnesota TV stations. Hillary’s folks didn’t understand his strategy and thus didn’t respond in Wisconsin, thinking he was the one blowing his money on an unwinnable state. And the kicker is that Trump and Johnson got 31,222 more votes than Hillary and Jill Stein – in Minnesota!

                So spending money trying to flip Texas while putting Minnesota in the “safe Democrat” column would be a huge mistake, on par with ignoring Wisconsin in 2016.Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to JS
                Ignored
                says:

                Honestly baffled at what you’re trying to argue about.

                I’m talking about 10 months from now looking at how Minnesota is trending.

                You *seem* to be telling me that its unpossible Minnesota could be trending other than how it is trending today… and that strikes me either misunderstanding what I’m saying, wishful thinking, or motivated obscurantism. I’m holding out hope for the first item.Report

            • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to Marchmaine
              Ignored
              says:

              I haven’t done a cartogram for a while. Here’s the county-level results for Minnesota in 2016. My question when I look at it is whether Mr. Trump has pissed off the Minneapolis-St. Paul suburbs. I don’t know the area or the issues, and my thoughts are no doubt biased by my own state, which has moved from swing to almost-safely-blue over the last decade, where Trump has seriously pissed off the Denver metro suburbs.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Michael Cain
                Ignored
                says:

                One of the things that people might be over-weighting is that Minnesota had Trump winning for 20 minutes on Election Night 2016 (before Minneapolis-St. Paul came in).

                And so, for 20 minutes, people said “WAIT WHAT?” and I still remember Kohole making the joke “YOU HAD ONE JOB”.

                Now, of course, Minneapolis-St. Paul will go for Generic Democrat and, as such, Minnesota will go for whomever the Democrats are running. But, man, those 20 minutes!

                (I imagine that there will be a stink made about Ilhan Omar and whether he’ll be able to bait her into saying something useful to his ad campaign in her district, which she is likely to win again.)Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                As I mentioned above, “Trump and Johnson got 31,222 more votes than Hillary and Jill Stein.” Johnson isn’t running again, and plenty of libertarians have decided they like Trump, due to the economy, his court picks, and his defense of various freedoms.

                Given that, 2020 is likely going to be a close race there, because Trump’s “approval” numbers in 2016 probably weren’t very good either. But what happens there will likely hinge on plenty of events that haven’t happened yet and campaign ads that haven’t been made or aired, and of course the Democrats still have to pick a candidate.

                I think it’s a bit too early to try and call the state for either side, no matter how much comfort that might bring.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to George Turner
                Ignored
                says:

                Okay! The third party votes! We know that the Libertarians got 3% in 2016 and that is the most that they’d ever gotten (John Anderson got 1% in 1980).

                So the question is: Where do Johnson voters go in 2020?

                I’m running this through my simulator and see some of them going to Trump, yes. I assume that a lot of them were Republican voters who wanted to cast a protest vote without casting it to Clinton. But a lot of them were Bernie voters who wanted to cast a protest vote without casting it to Trump.

                And the remaining ones will be voting for Vermin Supreme.

                I don’t know how to measure who is who in that 3%, though and which candidate will be helped the most by them wandering back home.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                It’s worth pointing out that if you transfer Stein’s voters to Clinton, she wins the election.Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Eh, its a bit more than that… the margin of victory in 2016 was very small. Dropping from almost +8%/+11% to +1.5% (44k total votes)

                But mostly it appears to be mass defection *from* HRC rather than mass support for Trump (which stays identical to Romney %)

                So… Minnesota has a weird blip in 2016 that shows a dramatic swoon for the D candidate

                But, if you look to where the “defecting” votes went it was to Johnson/Weld and McMullin… so it seems weird to say that votes defected from D to L and I when the L and I often pull from R.

                On the gripping hand, its possible all those D votes stayed home and a totally new crop of voters popped in to *replace* all the Romney voters who defected to the L and I. In which case, what % of the 165k votes float back to Trump as an incumbent and does he keep all the new voters… etc. etc. ad infinitum… there are too many variables to construct a model – which is why I think its an interesting state.

                That’s why my question is more along the lines of how satisfied with Minnesota be with whomever the Dems select or will they defect to non-Trumps who might put the state in play.

                Which means, that possibly the D’s have to fight to *win* Minnesota even if Trump only gets the usual 45% of the vote.

                So, knowing *who* the Dems select and *how* MN reacts to that candidate is the only possible metric we could use to figure out whether 2020 plays like 2012 or 2016 or something else.Report

  15. Avatar Chip Daniels
    Ignored
    says:

    Trump Opens Door to Cuts to Medicare and Other Entitlement Programs

    https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/22/us/politics/medicare-trump.html

    Its only called Class Warfare when working people fight back:Report

    • Avatar George Turner in reply to Chip Daniels
      Ignored
      says:

      That’s the same paper that spent two years saying that evidence was about to break that would prove Trump colluded with Russia. As their whole impeachment train crashes into the ravine, I expect them to cook up all kinds of new nonsense. It’s what they do.Report

  16. Avatar Chip Daniels
    Ignored
    says:

    Asked in an interview with CNBC if cuts to entitlements would ever be on his plate, Mr. Trump answered yes.

    “At some point they will be,” Mr. Trump said, before pointing to United States economic growth. “At the right time, we will take a look at that.”

    Mr. Trump suggested that curbing spending on Medicare, the government health care program for the elderly, was a possibility.

    “We’re going to look,” he said.

    So…he didn’t say that?Report

    • Avatar George Turner in reply to Chip Daniels
      Ignored
      says:

      Trump has made more resolute statements about colonizing Mars. This one sounds about 1% as alarming as things Bernie, Warren, and AOC say routinely, where they’re going to take away your health insurance, your car, and bulldoze your house to save the climate.

      Politicians say they’ll look at things. One common defection is saying they’ll set up a committee to see if there’s a reason to set up another committee to consider possibly introducing legislation to urge the House to consider taking up a bill to form an independent bipartisan advisory panel to produce a report on the pressing issue. This is how they turn doing nothing into paying their friends fat salaries to do nothing.

      Running a story with a fantasy about what those things might be, sometime in the future when Congress is taken over by reptile aliens, is just pointless speculation to fill newsprint. If Trump is going to do something, he’ll make sure everybody knows what he’s going to do because he’ll preach it to the rafters at every campaign rally, like he did with the wall.Report

      • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to George Turner
        Ignored
        says:

        Ah, so he’s a liar.

        Got it.Report

        • Avatar George Turner in reply to Chip Daniels
          Ignored
          says:

          He’s not lying, he’s telling exactly what he might do. If Congress comes up with a serious proposal to cut entitlement spending, he might take a look at it. But that would also hold true for all past and future presidents, from Obama to anyone in the current campaign, because every President will take a look at anything important that Congress is inclined to do.

          These are not particularly newsworthy statements, questions, or responses, and any reporter that is trying to make hay out of them is merely advancing an empty and partisan political attack, like saying that Biden wants to bring back school segregation because of some off-hand comment that he’d be open to listening to some local PTA’s complaint about school redistricting.

          Unless an idea is way outside the Overton window, the default response of any politician is that they’ll look, listen, or consider, because the opposite response doesn’t play well. Often it’s like giving a child a very noncommittal “maybe” so they don’t throw a tantrum about hearing “no.”Report

          • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to George Turner
            Ignored
            says:

            So, he WILL take a look at cutting Social Security and Medicare.

            Just as the paper reported.

            Got it.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
              Ignored
              says:

              They should means test social security. I mean, Baby Boomers have more wealth than the rest of the country’s generations combined. I don’t know why we need to take money out of the pockets of poor brown people just so the baby boomers can buy another pack of gourmet lobster.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                This sounds very…savvy.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                If *I* were a boomer, I’d talk about fairness and whatnot. The importance of keeping promises.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                I am a Boomer, and a liberal Democrat, and I would LOVE to talk about fairness, especially why we need to take money out of the pockets of poor brown people just so the rich people can buy another pack of gourmet lobster.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                Do you think we should look at cutting Social Security and Medicare?Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                No, not until we have exhausted all other options, like cutting Defense and restoring taxes to where they were in previous generations.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                What did the last budget the House sent up do wrt military spending?Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Uh oh, did those perfidious Dhimmicrats try to hollow out our military again?Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                No one has ever lost an election by increasing the Defense budget.

                In truth, my position on the Defense budget is an outlier even among Democrats.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                Well, good luck with exhausting all other options, then.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                So you’d take a look at it. ^_^

                That was my point. Depending on how you preface the question, every politician would say they’d take a look at it.

                I’m sure you can get any politician to say they’d take a look at increasing defense spending, and then the following day get them to say they’d take a look at decreasing defense spending.

                What they’re doing with that response is, to echo Jeb, saying that they’ll be on top of things, ready to lead, because they’re a leader, who leads, because they have led. And they listen, because they’re good listeners, and they will listen to the arguments and make a decision on whatever issue comes to their desk needing a decision.

                Such non-answers are how they got to sit behind a big desk, ready to look at things, and ready to think about the things they’ll look at. Basically it’s just conversation filler, like talking about the weather, until they start to move on an issue.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to George Turner
                Ignored
                says:

                Apparently the rubes in flyover are not supposed to notice the squeals of glee coming from the Republican party.

                From WSJ:
                “It’s not often that the New York Times makes President Trump sound better than he is, so perhaps today’s dispatch from Washington is suitable for framing. The good news is that the United States may finally have a President who is interested in restraining federal spending.”

                From National Review:
                “In March of 2019, Trump proposed $1.9 trillion in cuts to programs like social security and Medicare. The Congressional Budget Office projected spending on social safety-net programs to top $30 trillion through 2029.”

                But you have a point. What Trump says in the morning doesn’t necessarily align with what he says in the afternoon, and he isn’t burdened with anything like principles anyway. He really needs to hear from the Blonde With Two Boobs On A Couch before he makes a decision.Report

              • Avatar Philip H in reply to George Turner
                Ignored
                says:

                There’s also the minorly inconvenient fact that cuts to earned benefit spending won’t actually impact discretionary spending or the deficit as earned benefits are not coming out of the same revenue stream. Add in the fact that no one has proposed cutting the earned benefits revenue stream. all that sums up to yet another attempt by rich old white men to deny things to people who paid for them, so they can continue to lie about the impacts of their tax cuts for rich old white men.Report

        • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Chip Daniels
          Ignored
          says:

          “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.”Report

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