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The Keys To Democrats Winning Next Year

[ Posted Monday, November 27th, 2017 – 19:01 PST ]

Two weeks from tomorrow, Alabama will hold its special Senate election. The chances of Democrat Doug Jones pulling off an upset win are really anyone's guess, at this point. Is Roy Moore so damaged that the very conservative voters of Alabama will reject him in favor of a Democrat? Stranger things have happened, but this is in no way assured. This is, after all, Alabama we're talking about. But Democrats should be looking ahead, whether Jones wins or not, to shape their strategy for the upcoming 2018 midterm congressional elections.

The Alabama race is really a one-off fluke, no matter who wins. By this I mean that no real lessons will be able to be drawn about the state of the nation's electorate, one way or the other. Even if Jones surprises everyone and wins, the situation isn't all that likely to repeat itself next November in many other parts of the country. The only real lesson Republicans will learn, should Moore lose, is perhaps to spend a bit more time vetting the candidates. But that only goes so far -- Moore, after all, did win his primary even though President Donald Trump actually endorsed his well-vetted GOP rival. If Steve Bannon truly does try to flood all the Republican primaries next year with his favored candidates, a few more might win nominations even while carrying some rather heavy baggage. But that, at this point, cannot be counted on by Democrats.

I've spent a little bit of time examining the breakdowns of the polling from the recent Virginia election, which not only gave the Democratic gubernatorial candidate almost twice the margin of victory that Hillary Clinton won the year before, but also swept into office a resounding number of Democratic state legislators. It was a mini-wave election, in one state -- one that Democrats are hoping to replicate next year in a lot of other states.

Now, drawing too many conclusions from a single state's data is always fraught with risk, since local elections often hinge on issues that are meaningless elsewhere. But at least some of the trends which emerged from Virginia are worth examination, because if Democrats can duplicate the effort elsewhere, they may in fact be able to put together a real wave election next year. So without getting too deep in the numbers, here are a few generalities that are worth mentioning.

 

Rural and blue-collar workers are probably a lost cause

The Virginia governor's race showed that even in a very favorable year for Democrats, rural voters in particular (and perhaps to a lesser extent the blue-collar vote) are really not worth pursuing. The Democratic candidate actually lost some ground in the more rural parts of the state, compared to how Hillary Clinton did, even while winning an overall nine-point victory (compared to Clinton's five-point win).

Hardcore Trump voters will likely not move towards Democrats in 2018, either. Now, there was a certain amount of misogyny present in 2016, with Hillary Clinton at the top of the ticket, but there may have also been a lot of anti-Clinton feeling as well. Or pro-Trump. Call it what you will, but this demographic shows no signs of suddenly deciding to vote Democratic even with no Clinton on the ballot.

If Trump continues to disappoint the base of voters which elected him, then perhaps in 2020 -- with the right economic populist on the Democratic ballot -- it may be possible to persuade some of the rural and blue-collar voters to give Democrats a chance, but even that is not all that likely. This group has been largely lost to Democrats since Ronald Reagan's time, and even in a state which as a whole is demographically shifting more and more reliably blue, the Democrat lost ground in the rural counties. That's a sobering lesson for any Democrat considering making a big bid to switch these voters next year.

 

Suburban Republicans may be a lot more persuadable

This one is hard to interpret from Virginia's data, since more and more moderates and Democrats are moving into the Virginia suburbs -- meaning it might actually be a demographic shift due to population movement more than people who have lived there a while deciding to change their allegiances. Nevertheless, the suburban Virginia vote is likely the biggest reason Democrats did so well earlier this month. Populations don't shift all that fast in one year's time, after all.

In particular, the turnout was way up in suburban counties. People were motivated to vote, and to vote Democratic. Previously, some of these suburban districts have been pretty solidly Republican -- Democrats at the state level even won some districts that used to be solid locks for the GOP. This is terrifying those in the Republican Party who know how to read data, and it should.

The real question, though, is whether this is just an anti-Trump backlash or whether these voters are truly changing their political minds in a more permanent way. Led by suburban and generally moderate women voters, a whole lot of what used to be called "country club Republicans" are deciding to register their disapproval with Trump -- and, by extension, the entire Republican Party. This is the trend Democrats really want to expand beyond the shores of the Potomac. Because there may be a gold mine of persuadable votes in suburban districts across the country with equal levels of disgust at the unseemliness of the Trump era.

If Democrats can successfully flip major swaths of the moderate suburban districts which currently have Republicans representing them in the House and the Senate, then the Democratic wave could become real next year. But even if they have a banner year in 2018, my question will be whether this is a unique circumstance that will revert back to the norm in the 2020 presidential election. So even if Democrats have a great year next year, they shouldn't get complacent about this demographic in any way.

 

Young voters are energized

The youth turnout in Virginia was impressive, especially for such an off-off-year election. And it was overwhelmingly Democratic. Now, young people have been voting more blue than red for a while, but the trend seemed to accelerate in Virginia this time around. Again, this has caused fears within the GOP and glee within the Democratic Party, but then again Democrats have been gleeful about the youth vote for a while -- usually only to be massively disappointed when the votes are counted.

It's not so much that young people show up to the polls and switch to voting Republican, it's that they don't show up at all. Democrats don't need to worry about winning the youth vote, because they'll probably win it by a comfortable margin in most parts of the country -- instead they should worry about the excitement level among the young. The only two elections where they did reliably show up at the polls were Barack Obama's two wins. Every other year stretching back at least 20 years, they have posted disappointing turnout numbers.

The "Resist!" energy must be sustained throughout all of next year if young voters are going to turn out and vote in a midterm congressional election (which most of them normally skip). Anti-Trump energy levels still seem to be quite high, but progressive values matter a lot to this demographic as well. You've got to be for a solid policy agenda to really turn out the young voters, in other words, not just against Trumpism.

Think about it -- young voters, since 2008, have faced a whole lot of disillusionment with the whole political process. That's a whole decade's worth of people turning old enough to vote. First Obama disappointed by not getting enough of the progressive agenda accomplished, and then there were the twin disappointments of seeing first Bernie Sanders get beat and then watching Hillary Clinton lose to Donald Trump. Such disillusionment can make dismal turnout numbers for young people plummet even further. Happily, though, in Virginia the opposite occurred. Sending a clear anti-Trump message energized the young, and if such sentiment levels remain high through the next year, Democrats should see a big boost in the youth vote's actual turnout (especially for a midterm).

A bigger question is whether the young will be excited about the prospects in 2020, but that's going to depend on which candidates run on the Democratic side. If Bernie Sanders -- or someone with similar political views -- makes a strong showing, that might do it. But if a bland or overly-moderate candidate wins the nomination, young people could again decide to stay home.

 

Minorities can't be taken for granted

Predicting the minority vote is tricky, since the last ten years of data was so obviously influenced by the fact that an African-American was on the presidential ticket. Now that Barack Obama's off the political stage, Democrats have already seen a slide in minority turnout. Recent news reports from Alabama suggest that the Democrats are falling back into their default of taking the black vote for granted, which is a worrisome development, if true. This may just be the campaign of Doug Jones, or the reports might even be overblown. We'll see who turns up at the polls in two weeks, in other words.

Minority voting slid for Hillary Clinton as well. Again, it'd have been hard for any white Democrat to have matched Obama's wave elections in this regard, but it still bears a lot of attention from the national party. Are Democrats in general adequately addressing the concerns of black and Latino voters? Are minorities' concerns prioritized enough by Democrats, or is it just seen as meaningless lip service and pandering for votes?

These are important questions to address for the party as a whole. Next year, the chances of Democrats improving the voting numbers for Latinos, in particular, seem pretty good. Donald Trump has continued to make life harder for them and for their families than any other Republican, so the opportunity for a backlash vote remains high.

 

Women standing strong

The most energized segment of the Democratic base may just turn out to be women. From the day after Trump was sworn into office, women have been loudly expressing their disapproval. Add to this trend the fallout we're currently experiencing from the whole #MeToo movement against sexual harassment (and worse), and it seems more than a little likely that Democrats are going to do very, very well next year with women voters.

This has been most striking in the suburbs, as mentioned above. Some suburban women who are usually happy enough to vote for Republicans (in order to lower their taxes, among other reasons) are either outright disgusted or downright angry at the changes Trump has made to the Republican Party. This wave of feeling shows no signs of abating, and the more candidates like Roy Moore keep doing well in primaries, the more it will be exacerbated. Even during the Tea Party's best years, candidates like Todd "legitimate rape" Akin were defeated, after all. Women's rejection of such candidates seems to be at an all-time high, and this shows no signs of going away in the next year. If Moore actually wins, then he'll be on their television screens for months, reminding them of how far the GOP has fallen in this regard.

The force of anti-Trumpism among women might in fact be the factor that is later identified as the crucial one if Democrats do manage to pull off a wave election. We may begin hearing about the "soccer moms" as key voters once again, to put this slightly differently.

 

Grassroots beats top-down

The hardest lesson Democrats need to learn is that grassroots energy is beating the top-down Democratic national machine, especially in terms of both raw energy and crucial get-out-the-vote efforts. Feelings for the Democratic National Committee are not good from most of the base right now; not only from Bernie Sanders voters still viewing the D.N.C. with enormous suspicion, but also from other Democrats who view the national organization as being woefully inadequate to today's politics.

How large a part of this was due to Hillary Clinton and her campaign and how much is baked in to the party apparatus still remains to be seen. But I've heard disquieting reports from people who have gotten very excited about participating in Democratic Party politics at all levels who have either been rebuffed by entrenched local party leaders or been shocked at how little local party organization even exists in their areas.

This anecdotal evidence isn't all bad, however, because it has led to differing reactions. Some grassroots people have essentially remade the local Democratic Party apparatus into their own, either because it didn't really even exist in the first place or through showing up in larger numbers and getting their own people into leadership positions. This isn't always the case, though, as some grassroots efforts who are turned away essentially then mount their own efforts to influence the voters -- which are by nature uncoordinated with the party, leading to duplicate efforts or even things falling between the cracks.

The Democratic Party is on the brink of announcing big institutional changes. In December, the party is set to consider the recommendations of the "Unity" panel which was put together in an effort to bridge the gap between Bernie's voters and Hillary's. If Tom Perez does decide to make a few major changes (such as limiting or eliminating the superdelegates, for instance), this could go a long way towards rebuilding confidence in the party apparatus. If, however, the changes adopted are mostly of a cosmetic nature, then next year (and perhaps beyond) the grassroots organizers could become more influential than even the official party efforts.

This could ultimately be a good thing or a bad thing for the party as a whole. But over the next year, in my opinion the most important thing for the Democratic Party to achieve is to make a major and sustained effort to include all the "Resist!" groups which have sprung up nationwide in the party, with open arms. Don't disdainfully ignore them. Don't take them for granted. Instead, if this energy can be fully tapped it might add to any sort of wave which is building. But if Democrats return to the attitude of putting corporate interests before the grassroots, then this wave may never actually become reality. While speculation about the midterms may admittedly be premature at this point, I will be carefully watching what changes the party decides to adopt next month, to see indications of whether the party realizes what a turning point next year could be.

-- Chris Weigant

 

Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant

 

50 Comments on “The Keys To Democrats Winning Next Year”

  1. [1] 
    neilm wrote:

    Turns out that all that Republican winning in state elections means that they are the establishment and their policies are now being tested.

    It didn't work out well for Kansas, and now Oklahoma is starting to realize that voting Republican means your schools are only open four days a week. Oops.

    https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/11/the-red-state-revolt-spreads-to-oklahoma/546671/

  2. [2] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    "I will be carefully watching what changes the party decides to adopt..."

    We could use some action instead to influence the party to change for the better by rejecting the Big Money interests.

    And that starts with including all the resistance efforts in the debate and not continuing to disdainfully ignore One Demand.

    A small wave of small contribution candidates (including Democrats, Republicans, third party and independent candidates) in 2018 would be much better for the country than a big wave of Big Money Democrats in 2018.

    A big wave of Big Money Democrats in 2018 will only lead to more Big Money Democrats or Republicans in 2020. A small wave of small contribution candidates in 2018 could lead to a big wave of small contribution candidates in 2020.

    Do you care more about the Democrats or the country?

  3. [3] 
    TheStig wrote:

    Welcome back. Terrific column. I think you are correct on all six points. Especially number 6, the Grass Roots.

  4. [4] 
    ListenWhenYouHear wrote:

    Totally agree with CW about the rural voters. My grandfather lived in Lower Alabama and the only time his TV was on a channel other than Fox News was to watch the Univ. of Alabama play. Even then he would change it back to Fox News during halftime. There is no way to convince someone who only watches Fox News that the Democrats could ever introduce legislation that they should support; much less that they would have a candidate that wasn’t trying to destroy our country!

  5. [5] 
    neilm wrote:

    Yup - we need to win the open minded - and thankfully they are the majority - so we also get to get them to the polls!

    When the crazies go overboard, the normal people have to stand up.

    Welcome to 2018.

  6. [6] 
    neilm wrote:

    Great column CW! Thanks.

  7. [7] 
    neilm wrote:

    Grassroots is passion over expectation.

    Incremental change happens 95% of the time via expectation.

    Passion happens 5% of the time. 45 is a classic example.

    The challenge to Democrats is to give us an exceptional candidate, not a 95% candidate.

  8. [8] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Here is a blog post by Senator Hart that may be of interest ... I'm in the sharing mood tonight. :)

    http://www.mattersofprinciple.com/?p=1481

    And, it's not entirely off topic ...

  9. [9] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    neilm [7] -

    That is an interesting way of putting it. While 2018 will be all over the map (435 House districts), 2020 will prove the point one way or another...

    -CW

  10. [10] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    To everyone else -

    Thanks for the kind words! I have recharged my batteries with a long Thanksgiving weekend, and feel rarin' to go. Plus, I'm off jury duty for at least Monday and Tuesday. Rest of the week is still up in the air, but just wanted to provide that update...

    -CW

  11. [11] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Oh, should have added...

    "...even if Ohio State did beat Michigan..."

    Go Blue...

    :-)

    -CW

  12. [12] 
    neilm wrote:

    If the Democrats keep in place the system that delivers 95% candidates, all is lost.

    I used to think, back in 2016, that the American electorate was sophisticated enough to spot a con man. Ain't so.

    We need to either find a true leader or a better con man.

  13. [13] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    OK, started answering some comments from the previous article...

    http://www.chrisweigant.com/2017/11/22/thankfully-2017-is-almost-over/#comment-111032

    still got a long way to go (we're over 300 comments!) but gotta grind through them slowly...

    :-)

    -CW

  14. [14] 
    Michale wrote:

    This is, after all, Alabama we're talking about.

    "Stan.. Your in Ala-Fucking-Bama. You come from New York. You killed a good ole boy.. There was NO WAY this was not going to go to trial.."
    -Joe Pesci, MY COUSIN VINNY

    :D

    Now, there was a certain amount of misogyny present in 2016, with Hillary Clinton at the top of the ticket, but there may have also been a lot of anti-Clinton feeling as well.

    Maybe you can explain something to me...

    If misogyny was the reason Hillary Clinton lost the election, wouldn't it ALSO have caused Hillary to lose the Vanity Vote??

    It seems to me that ya'all want to have it both ways. You want to blame sexism for Hillary's lost, but ya'all (most of ya'all) crow about Hillary winning the Vanity Vote where sexism had no effect..

    Laser Targeted Sexism???

    How, exactly, does that work???

    This group has been largely lost to Democrats since Ronald Reagan's time, and even in a state which as a whole is demographically shifting more and more reliably blue, the Democrat lost ground in the rural counties. That's a sobering lesson for any Democrat considering making a big bid to switch these voters next year.

    It would probably help if Democrats would quit ATTACKING those voters...

    But THAT is not going to happen any time soon..

    This could ultimately be a good thing or a bad thing for the party as a whole. But over the next year, in my opinion the most important thing for the Democratic Party to achieve is to make a major and sustained effort to include all the "Resist!" groups which have sprung up nationwide in the party, with open arms. Don't disdainfully ignore them. Don't take them for granted. Instead, if this energy can be fully tapped it might add to any sort of wave which is building. But if Democrats return to the attitude of putting corporate interests before the grassroots, then this wave may never actually become reality. While speculation about the midterms may admittedly be premature at this point, I will be carefully watching what changes the party decides to adopt next month, to see indications of whether the party realizes what a turning point next year could be.

    As long as Clinton is the de-facto head of the Democrat Party, nothing will change...

    Great commentary, CW.. :D

  15. [15] 
    Michale wrote:
  16. [16] 
    Michale wrote:

    Two weeks from tomorrow, Alabama will hold its special Senate election. The chances of Democrat Doug Jones pulling off an upset win are really anyone's guess, at this point. Is Roy Moore so damaged that the very conservative voters of Alabama will reject him in favor of a Democrat? Stranger things have happened, but this is in no way assured. This is, after all, Alabama we're talking about. But Democrats should be looking ahead, whether Jones wins or not, to shape their strategy for the upcoming 2018 midterm congressional elections.

    These are the same ilk of people who refused to believe all the women who came forward with equally believable claims made by respectable women against their young, heartthrob president, Bill Clinton.

    This is the same media that exudes such deep and open contempt for Christians and Christianity, with which Judge Moore has cloaked himself his entire political life. So is it really such a stretch to imagine these jackals manufacturing a fake scandal in order to destroy a Christian on the verge of power — especially one who is such an unreconstructed Washington outsider?

    Perhaps the moment that did the most to feed the deep suspicions of Alabama voters was when another accuser came forward to tearfully tell of a similar encounter with Judge Moore decades ago. As if scripted by Harvey Weinstein, the woman held a press conference with famed legal feminist Gloria Allred.

    And you know what they say?

    How do you know when a lawyer is lying? His lips are moving.

    How do you know when a woman is lying? She is seated beside Gloria Allred and her lips are moving.
    https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2017/nov/26/case-roy-moore/

  17. [17] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    Admittedly, there are numerous and varied issues that motivate voters, many of which are temporary, short-term, mostly local, personality-based, or otherwise of a transient nature. However, perhaps the most fundamental one that never goes away is the old pocketbook issue.

    If you are a voter who feels that he is forced to contribute more to the government 'common pot' than he receives in benefits, you tend to vote conservative, which in actual practice turns out to be Rep.

    If on the other hand, you feel like you get back more from the government than you are forced to contribute, meaning you feed at the public trough, you tend to vote liberal, which translates to Dem.

    What the Dems have going for themselves long-term is that the percentage of the population of the former group is in long-term decline, while the percentage of people in the latter group is steadily growing, mostly due to immigration and huge birth-rate disparities.

    Time and demographic factors appear to favor the Dems, which ought to cheer Chris and the majority of our fellow Weigantians.

  18. [18] 
    TheStig wrote:

    Neilm-7

    I agree that most lasting political change is incremental, 95% is as good aguesstimate as any. To me, grassroots is simply the bottom of the organizational pyramid...the part that holds up the rest of the edifice. In my experience, Republicans are typically better at this than Democrats. They are more organized at the local level. They hobnob, at home, at work, at play at church and more of them seem to get involved in the nitty gritty of political organization...and they do it year after year, without monetary compensation. This translates into voter turnout and makes Republicans punch above their demographic weight. Add to that the proportional over representation of rural and suburban districts in Congress and the Electoral College and you get the sewage we see in the White House, Senate and House.

    Democrats cannot afford to ignore this gap.

  19. [19] 
    Michale wrote:

    Time and demographic factors appear to favor the Dems, which ought to cheer Chris and the majority of our fellow Weigantians.

    Yes.. In 75-100 years, demographics will favor Democrats with their Identity Politics policy...

    If the Democrats, and our fellow Weigantians, are content to remain the minority Party for that length of time, that suits me just peachy keen wonderful...

  20. [20] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    Michael [18]

    Sounds WAY overoptimistic to me. 75 months might be more realistic, sad to say.

  21. [21] 
    TheStig wrote:

    chazzzbrown

    Installed the new line 26, and scroll length is 50% of the unblocked version.

    Many Thanks, I was barking up the wrong tree with my own attempted revision.

    TheStig

  22. [22] 
    Michale wrote:

    Many Thanks, I was barking up the wrong tree with my own attempted revision.

    Thank you for re-establishing my Safe Space.. I am now safe from facts and reality I don't like....

  23. [23] 
    Michale wrote:

    CRS,

    Sounds WAY overoptimistic to me. 75 months might be more realistic, sad to say.

    I think it's going to be a lot longer than that...

    Further, I also believe that the minorities aren't going to be the TOE THE LINE lemmings that the Democrat Party hopes they are going to be..

    MANY minorities are turned off by the Dim's tendency to see them as a black person or a gay person and not as an American..

    Trump did very well with minorities and those minorities who don't WANT to be professional activists will likely go with the GOP..

    THAT fact, coupled with the slow growth of the demographic makes my prediction of 100 years not so outlandishly optimistic..

    In short, minorities are not the sure fire Dem vote the Democrat Party thinks they are...

  24. [24] 
    Michale wrote:

    In other words, Democrats don't want to WORK for people's votes.

    Democrats feel that their platform speaks for itself and, if anyone can't see that Dems are the better choice, then they are simply Deplorable and the Dem Party will attack them incessantly...

    It's why they lost so big in 2009 thru 2016...

    They don't want to work for votes.. If a voter can't see that the Dims are better on their own, the Dims don't want or need their vote......

    So goes the "wisdom" of the Democrat Party...

  25. [25] 
    TheStig wrote:

    21-M

    Don't flatter yourself.

  26. [26] 
    Michale wrote:

    Don't flatter yourself.

    *I* am not doing a thing. You are the one making clear that you can't function without your Safe Space, Snowflake....

    But hay.. If you want to cede the field of battle because yer a skeered, I understand...

    Political debating can be a full on contact sport.. There is no shame in not being able to hang....

    Awww, who am I kidding.. Yea there is.. :D

  27. [27] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Michale-
    Democrats don't want to work for votes because just like the Republicans they are already working for the Big Money interests.

    The Democrats problem is that people no longer believe the platform because the Democrats are controlled by the Big Money interests.

    Until Democrats show they are willing to EARN our votes by standing up to the Big Money interests they will continue to lose.

    And until citizens demand better all we will be offered is the false narrative that all we have is two bad choices.

  28. [28] 
    Michale wrote:

    DH,

    Can't argue with the logic..

  29. [29] 
    neilm wrote:

    OK, this whole "people only vote for Democrats because they want to keep getting more stuff from the Government" nonsense has to be called out.

    The reddest states get way more net income from the Government than the big blue states. Both Mississippi and Louisiana relied on federal aid for more than 40 percent of their general revenue. Tennessee, Montana and Kentucky came in just under 40 percent. All are red states.

  30. [30] 
    Michale wrote:

    Yes, Neil.. You can cherry pick a few facts and think that it makes your case..

    But only has to harken back to the Obama elections and listen to all the people saying how Obama is going to give them a free phone and Obama is going to pay their mortgage to know that the Democrat Party is the Free Ride Party...

    The Democrats have that reputation and it is well-earned..

  31. [31] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    If you are a voter who feels that he is forced to contribute more to the government 'common pot' than he receives in benefits, you tend to vote conservative, which in actual practice turns out to be Rep.

    If on the other hand, you feel like you get back more from the government than you are forced to contribute, meaning you feed at the public trough, you tend to vote liberal, which translates to Dem.

    And you actually believe that? Shows how much you have to learn about the actual motivations of Democratic voters.

    But let's deconstruct the first paragraph, since you've apparently described your own motivations there: You feel that you contribute more to the 'common pot', i.e., you pay more in taxes, than you feel you receive back from the government.

    So tell me, does that include National Defense, water and food safety, highways, disaster relief, border security, law enforcement, research grants, national park services, firefighting, federal deposit insurance, flood abatement, coastal water management, wetlands management, national weather forecasting, all agricultural programs, land management, mine inspection, workplace safety, the federal justice system, the court system, port management, national intelligence agencies, arctic research, space programs, telecommunications management and policy, college loan programs, securities and exchange regulation, international aid and development, diplomatic missions, international treaty negotiation and enforcement, US embassies, the US mint and treasury, printing operations, aviation control and management, air safety systems, Amtrack and rail system management, tourism, commerce, trade, patents, standards, certification, drug testing and development, disease control, weapons development testing and control, nuclear stockpile management, nuclear waste management, nuclear power generation and management, and child toy testing, just to name a small percentage of what the government does?

    Note that that list doesn't include any assistance programs, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Veterans programs, healthcare programs, Native American reservation programs, CHIP, education, housing, or family planning, since you might not personally use any of those programs, and your premise is that your tax dollars should be used to benefit YOU and YOU alone.

    Now, how all that ties into giving huge tax breaks for billionaires is beyond me, except that one might name a cocktail after you or something.

  32. [32] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    Balthazar -

    I have many times, here and elsewhere, pointed out that two of the primary motivations that move people to vote as they do would be 'pocketbook' issues, and ideology.

    While I wouldn't dispute the validity of your long list of gov't benefits, beginning with "Nat'l Defense" and ending with child toy testing", I seriously doubt that such remote benefits enter into the normal voter's evaluation of whether he's coming out ahead or behind.

    Were you to survey a cross section of Dem voters, I'd be willing to bet that a single direct benefit such as food stamps or public housing, would far outweigh your entire list as voting motivation.

    But I join you in wondering "How all that ties into giving huge tax breaks for billionaires?" It is likewise "beyond me".

    I have to conclude that you and I were simply not communicating on this exchange. If that's because I'm a poor writer, I apologize. If it's because you have reading comprehension problems, I cannot help.

    BTW, to preclude you jumping to any more unjustified conclusions, I'd mention I'm well into my eighth decade and as such have not paid any income tax in years. My motivation must be ideology.

  33. [33] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    My motivation must be ideology.

    Fair enough. Me too.

    But you're entirely mistaken if you think that any cross-section of Democrats would list or consider food stamps and public housing at or near the top of their motivations list, as those programs support relatively few folks, compared to the overwhelming number of Democrats that own homes or rent apartments and feed themselves, even splurging for a McDonald's burger from time to time. Most Democrats aren't vegetarians, don't believe in the healing power of crystals, or join in drum circles, either. We're ordinary folks, with normal needs and wants, and mostly with loved ones we care for. And believe it or not, middle class Black and Latino families have more in common with middle class Republican families than not. Waaay more.

    So instead of (mis)characterizing each other, let's discuss the relative merits of proposals we support. That wouldn't seem like such an enormous waste of time.

  34. [34] 
    neilm wrote:

    BTW, to preclude you jumping to any more unjustified conclusions, I'd mention I'm well into my eighth decade and as such have not paid any income tax in years. My motivation must be ideology.

    CRS - are you not receiving social security and getting Medicare?

    There are pocketbook issues and non-pocketbook issues. If this was only about pocketbook issues you should be a Democrat based on your model of Democratic voters - i.e. people who receive more from the Government that they are currently giving.

    I'm only in my sixth decade and have three kids at college, so I'm still working and paying plenty of Federal taxes so in the simple model I should be a Republican.

    Since the two people who are discussing the model don't fit into it themselves, are you sure it has value?

  35. [35] 
    neilm wrote:

    Yes, Neil.. You can cherry pick a few facts and think that it makes your case..

    But only has to harken back to the Obama elections and listen to all the people saying how Obama is going to give them a free phone and Obama is going to pay their mortgage to know that the Democrat Party is the Free Ride Party...

    Talk about cherry picking - the old "Obama phone" chestnut - I thought we'd fact checked that for you and you'd realized you'd been duped by some right wing blogger.

    Seems not. Here we go again:

    https://www.snopes.com/politics/taxes/cellphone.asp

    The Lifeline program originated in 1984, during the administration of Ronald Reagan; it was expanded in 1996, during the administration of Bill Clinton; and its first cellular provider service (SafeLink Wireless) was launched by TracFone in 2008, during the administration of George W. Bush. All of these milestones were passed prior to the advent of the Obama administration.

  36. [36] 
    neilm wrote:

    So what really does motivate voters? Is it pocketbook issues? Is it identity politics? If only there was a way to ask a representative number of American voters and find out!

    http://news.gallup.com/poll/1675/most-important-problem.aspx

    Turns out that the #1 problem by a country mile is:

    Dissatisfaction with government/Poor leadership - 23%
    Race Relations - 10%
    ...
    Economy - 4%

  37. [37] 
    neilm wrote:

    It turns out the economic issues are at the lowest point this century - the last time economic issues were this unimportant to voters was in 1999.

    Time for a crash ;)

    http://news.gallup.com/poll/222299/mentions-economic-issues-top-problem-lowest-1999.aspx

  38. [38] 
    neilm wrote:

    Can we all say "Thanks Obama" - in 2009 economic issues were #1 for 86% of the country, now they are at a low for this century.

    I'll say "Thanks Obama" again, once for myself and once for Michale because I know he'd want me to ;)

  39. [39] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    neilm

    I'm well aware that we give presidents credit for all the good things that happen during their terms in office, and blame for all the bad things, but the truth is, they mostly do not deserve either.

    The "great recession" resulted from loaning mortgage money to tens of thousands of unqualified buyers, who gambled that because the price of houses had never declined in three-quarters of a century, that theirs would keep going up forever.

    Of course, when the bubble burst, they all defaulted, the worst lenders went bankrupt, and the economy tanked. No single president had very much to do with all those bad loans (congress, however DID have VERY much to do with them), and Obama just happened to be in office when the turn-around began.

  40. [40] 
    neilm wrote:

    I'm well aware that we give presidents credit for all the good things that happen during their terms in office, and blame for all the bad things, but the truth is, they mostly do not deserve either.

    I know, and I agree. But when our current President runs around giving himself credit for everything, so it only seems fair ;)

    The "great recession" resulted from loaning mortgage money to tens of thousands of unqualified buyers, who gambled that because the price of houses had never declined in three-quarters of a century, that theirs would keep going up forever.

    I was selling real-time risk management software to capital markets for many years, including this period, and spent a lot of time in NY and London with the big banks. They gave the Obama administration pretty high marks for their handling of the crisis, so he does deserve some credit for the turn around at the time. Plus he did, with Bush's help, stop the auto industry from collapsing.

  41. [41] 
    neilm wrote:
  42. [42] 
    neilm wrote:
  43. [43] 
    neilm wrote:
  44. [44] 
    neilm wrote:

    The filter keeps blocking the link to the second one - it is about the false "pro-repeal" net neutrality comments submitted to the FCC. You'll have to Google it - sorry.

  45. [45] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    Republicans sending bogus pro-repeal comments to the FCC? Not surprised at all about that, given that s good number apparently believe that ethics are for pussies.

    Republicans trying to weaponize the #MeToo movement, and O'Keefe up to his usual dirty tricks?

    Also not surprising, considering I've been out here in the wilderness asking, "How did Roger Stone know in advance about the Franken allegations?"

  46. [46] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    neilm

    Two of the "big three" DID collapse. GM went bankrupt and had to default on their bond debt, in order to re-organize with taxpayer bailout, and Chrysler got bought out by Fiat.

  47. [47] 
    TheStig wrote:

    Balthasar - 42

    O'Keefe just demonstrated that time honored techniques of professional journalism are pretty good at spotting fraud...and that journalists video their interviews. O'K is going to have to up his game or go for softer targets.

  48. [48] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Michale [14] -

    No, no... the ultimate quote from the movie is:

    Lisa: The car that made these two, equal-length tire marks had Positraction. You can't make these marks without Positraction, which was not available on the '64 Buick Skylark!
    Vinny: And why not? What is Positraction?
    Lisa: It's a limited-slip differential which distributes power equally to both the right and left tires. The '64 Skylark had a regular differential, which, anyone who's been stuck in the mud in Alabama knows, you step on the gas, one tire spins, the other tire does nothing.
    [the jury members nod, with murmurs of "yes," "that's right"]
    Vinny: Is that it?
    Lisa: No, there's more! You see where the left tire mark goes up on the curb and the right tire mark stays flat and even? Well, the '64 Skylark had a solid rear axle, so when the left tire would go up on the curb, the right tire would tilt out and ride along its edge. But that didn't happen here. The tire mark stayed flat and even. This car had an independent rear suspension. Now, in the '60's, there were only two other cars made in America that had Positraction, and independent rear suspension, and enough power to make these marks. One was the Corvette, which could never be confused with the Buick Skylark. The other had the same body length, height, weight, wheel base, and wheel track as the '64 Skylark, and that was the 1963 Pontiac Tempest.

    Man, you really are slipping...

    Heh.

    -CW

  49. [49] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    I should mention, in all fairness, there is a debate about the proper capitalization of "Positraction."

    Positraction?
    positraction?
    Posi-Traction?

    Just to be scrupulously fair, y'know...

    -CW

  50. [50] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    C. R. Stucki [17] -

    So how will those reliably GOP voters react to the current tax plan the GOP is pushing? It wuill screw them in a number of ways, in order to provide lavish tax breaks on millionaires. Polls show this isn't actually very popular, even among Republican voters. So how is this tax bill good for the GOP when most of its base already hates it?

    Michale [30] -

    You should look up the actual stats. It ain't a few damn cherries... it's the whole freakin' orchard.

    Blue states are donor states. The ones Mitt Romney called the "makers." The red states are the "takers." Period. Democratic states have better economies, and they prop up the states with worse economies, run by Republicans (see: Kansas, the last few years, compared with, say, California).

    neilm -

    Sorry about the filter problems, they've been freed.

    OK, that's it for now, folks...

    -CW

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