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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Shor’s ‘Popularism’ a Better Strategy for Midterms

A prescriptive nugget from Peter Grier’s “Why Democrats may be facing a generation in the wilderness” at The Christian Science Monitor:

The discussion about the Democratic Party’s future has been simmering for some time, but hit a boil last week when New York Times writer Ezra Klein published a lengthy interview with David Shor, a Democratic data expert whose electoral outlook for the party is particularly gloomy.

The bad news for Democrats is rooted in structural imbalance, in Mr. Shor’s view. The Senate privileges rural states – Wyoming has as much power in the chamber as California. The GOP created some Western states in the late 1800s, such as North and South Dakota and Montana, in part to provide reliable party votes, which they still do.

Overlaid on that today is a Democratic coalition that’s increasingly diverse and urban. In recent years, college-educated voters have moved toward Democrats, and non-college-educated voters – both white as well as some Black and Hispanic – have become increasingly Republican. The Trump era accelerated that movement, locking in the GOP’s ability to win national power with a minority of votes.

To break this cycle, Democrats need to win back states that lean Republican, according to Mr. Shor. But at its top levels, the party is dominated by a cosmopolitan, progressive elite that doesn’t understand rural and working-class voters.

Mr. Shor’s answer to this is something that, for lack of a better word, pundits call “popularism”: Find out what residents of GOP-leaning states want, and then talk mostly about those things. More “Add dental coverage to Medicare,” Less “Defund the police.”

Democrats have to correct the ‘structural imbalance’ the GOP enjoys before they can realistically fight for more controversial reforms – even if it takes a couple election cycles.

One comment on “Shor’s ‘Popularism’ a Better Strategy for Midterms

  1. Martin Lawford on

    “Mr. Shor’s answer to this is something that, for lack of a better word, pundits call “popularism”: Find out what residents of GOP-leaning states want, and then talk mostly about those things.”

    What if the residents of GOP-leaning states want things Democrats do not want, like immigration laws and voter ID? What if they do not want things the Democrats already talk about, like Medicare for All, cancellation of student loans, citizenship for illegal aliens and packing the Supreme Court?

    Reply

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