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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority


Teixeira: New Census Data Not All That Great for Dems

The following article by Ruy Teixeira, author of The Optimistic Leftist and other works of political analysis, is cross-posted from his blog:

I’ll have more to say about these data presently but for now, I’ll refer you to Nate Cohn’s article which makes the important point that the news for Democrats is not quite as good as some are making it out to be.

It’s also worth reading, if you haven’t already, my piece on “Demographic Change Giveth and Demographic Change Taketh Away


“At first blush, Thursday’s release of census data held great news for Democrats. It painted a portrait of a considerably more urban and metropolitan nation, with increasingly Democratic metropolitan areas bustling with new arrivals and the rural, Republican heartland steadily losing residents.

It is a much less white nation, too, with the white non-Hispanic population for the first time dropping in absolute numbers, a plunge that exceeded most experts’ estimates, and the growth in the Latino population slightly exceeding forecasts.

But the census paints a picture of America as it is. And as it is, America is not very Democratic.

Besides the census, the other great source of data on American politics is the result of the 2020 election, which revealed a deeply and narrowly divided nation. Despite nearly the full decade of demographic shifts shown by the census, Joe Biden won the national vote by the same four-point margin that he won by as Barack Obama’s running mate eight years earlier — and with fewer votes in the Electoral College….

Yet despite the seemingly favorable demographic portrait for Democrats depicted by the 2020 census, the 2020 election returned another closely divided result: a 50-50 Senate, one of the closest presidential elections in history, and a House majority so slender that it might be undone by the very data that Democrats were celebrating on Thursday.

The nation’s electoral system — which rewards flipping states and districts — has tended to mute the effect of demographic change. Many Democratic gains in vote margins have come in metropolitan areas, where Democratic candidates were already winning races, or in red states like Texas, where Democrats have made huge gains in presidential elections but haven’t yet won many additional electoral votes.

But Democrats haven’t fared much better over the past decade, as one would have expected based on favorable demographic trends alone. It’s not clear they’ve improved at all. Barack Obama and Joe Biden each won the national popular vote by four percentage points in 2012 and 2020. Demographic shifts, thus far, have been canceled out by Republican gains among nonwhite and especially Latino voters, who supported Mr. Trump in unexpectedly large numbers in 2020 and helped deny Democrats victory in Florida.”

So contain your enthusiasm. These results don’t really change anything in terms of Democratic prospects and challenges.

Some Fairly Good News for Dems in Census Data Release

From an Axios e-blast/post, “1 big thing: Census cements city supremacy”:

Almost all of the last decade’s U.S. population growth was in big metro areas, we learned this afternoon in a 2020 census data dump.

  • For the first time, all 10 of the largest U.S. cities have more than 1 million people, Axios’ Stef Kight writes.
  • Rural shrinkage: More than half of all counties saw population declines from 2010, with smaller counties more likely to lose.

What went up:

  • Diversity: There’s a 61% chance that two Americans chosen at random are from different races or ethnicities.
  • The South and the Southwest saw some of the most explosive population growth.
  • Florida’s The Villages, a 55+ master-planned community, was the fastest-growing metro area.

What went down:

  • America’s white population declined for the first time since the census’ inception. 57.8% of people were white — two points lower than estimates.
  • The Midwest and the Northeast saw some of the biggest losses.
  • Overall population growth was the slowest since the 1930s.

Election experts say the data is better news than Democrats expected — gains in cities, losses in rural areas and a bigger-than-expected drop in the white population.

  • “[T]his is a *much* more favorable Census count than minority advocacy groups/Dems had feared,” tweets Cook Political Report’s Dave Wasserman.
  • “[I]t’s a pretty decent set of data for Democrats in redistricting,” the N.Y. Times’ Nate Cohn tweets.

Go deeper: See the census releases.

Brownstein: Dems’ Last Chance to Win Back Working-Class Whites

Ronald Brownstein explains why “This may be the Democrats’ last chance to recover working-class Whites” at CNN Politics ‘Fault Lines.’:

The blue-collar barricade looms as the most stubborn obstacle to President Joe Bidenenlarging his base of support.

As both candidate and president, Biden has devoted enormous effort to regaining ground with working-class voters, particularly the White voters without college degrees who have drifted away from the Democrats since the 1970s.

But in the campaign, he improved on Hillary Clinton’s anemic 2016 performance with those voters only modestly. And in office, an array of recent polls show he’s failed to increase his approval rating with those non-college-educated White voters much, if at all, beyond the roughly one-third of them who he attracted last November — even though he’s aimed much of his rhetoric and presidential travel at them and formulated an agenda that would shower them with new government benefits.

Biden’s small gains with these voters last fall still helped him tip the critical Rust Belt battlegrounds of Michigan and Wisconsin, and many Democrats say that any progress with them will be critical to the party’s electoral fortunes in 2022 and 2024.

Brownstein adds, “But the continuing resistance confronting even Biden — a 78-year-old White Catholic who highlights his working-class roots at every turn — underscores the challenge an increasingly diverse and culturally liberal Democratic Party will face in recovering as much support as it attracted from these voters as recently as in Barack Obama’s two campaigns….It may be too strong to say Biden represents the Democrats’ last chance to restore their competitiveness with working-class White voters. But it seems likely that if he can’t do so, there are few others in the Democrats’ next generation of emerging leaders who have a better chance.” Further,

Working-class White voters constituted the bedrock of the Democratic coalition from the 1930s to the 1960s but the party has lost ground among them, largely because of issues relating to race and culture, in the half century since. For almost as long, the party has debated how much emphasis to place on recapturing those voters.

This long-running argument has functioned as a proxy for the larger question of whether Democrats should tack toward the center or move left, particularly on social issues. Party centrists often cite the need to hold as many blue-collar White voters as possible, particularly across the Rust Belt, to justify a more moderate approach; liberals often complain that an excessive focus on those generally culturally conservative Whites leads the party to downplay causes, like aggressive action on climate and racial equity, that could energize more younger and non-White voters, particularly in emerging Sun Belt battlegrounds such as Georgia, Arizona, North Carolina and eventually Texas.

Brownstein notes that “Whites without college degrees have steadily declined as a share of all voters by about 2 to 3 percentage points over each four-year presidential term for decades, while Whites with college degrees and especially non-White voters have expanded in turn. (Although those non-college Whites remain the biggest bloc in the electorate, they fell below 40% of the national total for the first time last fall, according to Census Bureau figures.) As both their overall numbers and support for Democrats have declined, these non-college Whites have fallen by half, from nearly 60% of self-identified Democrats in 1996 to only 30% now, according to analysis by the Pew Research Center. (They remain about three-fifths of all Republicans, Pew found.)” Also,

On the other hand, blue-collar Whites remain overrepresented as a share of voters in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin — the three Rust Belt states that will remain pivotal to Democrats’ White House hopes until they can more reliably win the Sun Belt battlegrounds.

Biden’s presidency stands as a potential hinge in this extended debate: If even he can’t significantly improve the party’s position with these voters, it will likely embolden those who want the party to shift its emphasis from the Rust Belt to the Sun Belt; from recovering working-class Whites to mobilizing its emerging coalition of younger voters of color as well as college-educated Whites.

Brownstein notes that some progressive political analysts believe Democrats are in danger of worrying too much about white blue collar voters at the expense of  dampening the turnout of voters of color and young voters. However,

It’s difficult to overstate how much Biden has targeted working-class voters, especially White working-class voters, during his presidency. As a recent CNN analysis found, his presidential travel has focused heavily on blue-collar communities, with Pennsylvania, Michigan and Ohio topping the list of states he has visited. And blue-collar White voters clearly have influenced one of the White House’s defining political strategies: to generally limit Biden’s personal engagement with hot-button cultural issues (from gun control to voting rights) and to overwhelmingly focus his public appearances on kitchen table concerns: shots in the arm, checks in the pocket, shovels in the ground.

Biden routinely calls his economic agenda a “blue-collar blueprint to build America” and his proposals would shower working-class voters of all races with a wide array of new government benefits. The $1.9 trillion stimulus plan included direct $1,400 payments and a vastly expanded tax credit for families with children that benefited almost all voters without a college education. The bipartisan infrastructure plan expected to receive Senate approval Tuesday is centered on blue-collar jobs rebuilding roads, bridges and water systems. The follow-on $3.5 trillion human capital budget bill Democrats plan to advance this week offers working-class families increased subsidies for health insurance and child care, guaranteed paid family leave, expanded Medicare benefits and, for their children, access to universal preschool and two years of free community college. Some experts have described the cumulative package as the largest expansion of direct government assistance to working families since Social Security during the New Deal.

But so far, Biden has very little to show for it in terms of improved approval among White working-class voters. In the latest Gallup Poll for July, his approval rating among Whites without college degrees stood at 34%; he’s exceeded 38% among them in only one of Gallup’s monthly surveys. Surveys released over the last few weeks by Monmouth and Quinnipiac universities, as well as an NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll, likewise put his approval with those voters at just 32-34%. (Another Marist poll showed him at 37%.) In each case, his approval rating among those non-college-educated White voters was about 20 percentage points less than his standing among White voters with college degrees.

With approval from roughly one-third of working-class Whites, Biden’s support now remains essentially unchanged from his vote among them last November: The major data sources (including the network exit polls conducted by Edison Research, the academic Cooperative Election Study and the Pew Research Center’s validated voters study) all showed him winning almost exactly one-third of them. In each case, that was only slightly better than Clinton’s performance in 2016, when most of the data sources showed her winning just under 3 in 10 of those voters. Biden’s performance also remained well below the roughly 40% of these voters that Democrats won in each presidential race from 1988 to 2008, according to the exit polls.

Previously unpublished details on the 2020 results provided to me by each of those sources offer a more nuanced picture of Biden’s performance. Democratic analysts who believe the party must continue emphasizing blue-collar White voters often argue that the Democrats’ weakness with them is exaggerated by the large number of culturally conservative evangelical Christians in their ranks. And indeed, the previously unpublished results provided to me from the exit polls, the Cooperative Election Study and Pew all show that Biden lost non-college-educated White voters who identify as evangelical Christians by an even larger margin than Clinton did: All three of those sources showed Donald Trump winning about 85% or more of those voters, up from around 80% in 2016. Trump’s support among White non-college evangelicals reached about 90% in Southern states such as Georgia, Texas and North Carolina, according to the exit polls.

By contrast, each of those three studies showed Biden improving over Clinton among the non-college White voters who are not evangelical Christians. Even so, all three studies still showed him losing those non-evangelical blue-collar Whites to Trump and winning only 42% to 47% of them. Comparing each study with its own 2016 results, only in Pew’s did Biden significantly improve over Clinton’s performance with them.

Brownstein quotes Sean McElwee, who argues, “When you are dealing with a demographic group as large as non-college Whites, any sort of difference matters.” In addition,

McElwee says the evidence is that only a very small number of working-class Whites may be open to persuasion from Biden, but “the problem is that increasingly small groups of people are still determinative in politics.” He adds: “If you look at how close these margins are in Michigan or in Pennsylvania, we can’t afford to lose 2 to 3 points with non-college Whites because it is such a big demographic.”

McElwee is optimistic that Biden’s kitchen table agenda ultimately will propel at least some gains with blue-collar voters: In polling that his company Data for Progress has done for the advocacy group Fighting Chance for Families, for instance, Trump voters who have received the child tax credit express much more positive views about it than those who have not.

Anzalone, the Biden pollster, likewise says the picture may look different once families receive more of the tangible benefits Biden is promoting.

There’s a lot of stuff … people won’t see for a long time,” Anzalone says. “The bottom line is this is a president who is committed to create opportunities for working families to succeed and be a bigger part of this economy. … This [political] conversation a year from now may be different. The fact is he’s competing for this demographic, and that’s important.”

Browstein notes additional concerns, including:

Ruy Teixeira, a veteran Democratic analyst now at the Center for American Progress, agrees that economic issues will take Democrats only so far. Biden’s “theory of the case is that we are going to deliver for the masses of honest workers in America … and the people who don’t like us, the suspicious non-college White voters, are going to be able to overcome their cultural reservations about the party,” says Teixeira, who has written extensively on the evolving Democratic coalition. “But the theory that you can just do good economics stuff and ignore the rest … is probably mistaken.”

Teixeira believes Biden’s strategy of downplaying cultural issues is insufficient: He argues that the President must more explicitly reject the left’s positions on issues such as crime, much as Bill Clinton did during the 1990s.

Brownstein concludes that “the ceiling on Biden’s potential recovery with blue-collar White voters, whatever economic agenda he passes, is probably lower than he hopes, though not necessarily lower than it takes to improve his position in some closely contested states. “People think” the effort to gain the electoral high ground for 2022 and 2024 “is going to happen through one swift katana move,” says McElwee, referring to the sleek Japanese sword favored by samurai, “when in fact it’s a really brutal game of inches.”

Teixeira: The Most Frightening Chart You’ll Ever See About Hispanics and the 2020 Election

The following article by Ruy Teixeira, author of The Optimistic Leftist and other works of political analysis, is cross-posted from his blog:

The chart below is from David Byler’s excellent article in the Post going over the best available data on Hispanic voting behavior in the 2020 election.

It’s not a pretty picture for the Democrats and Byler provides a valuable service by putting the most relevant data all in one place. I’ve looked at a lot of these data myself and I think Byler gets the story basically right.

“For years, high-ranking Republicans believed that Democrats had them backed into a demographic corner: The Latino electorate would continue to grow, providing Democrats with more votes and permanently squeezing Republicans out of power.

Donald Trump has, for the moment, proved that theory wrong. Overall, Trump won 38 percent of the Hispanic vote in 2020. That’s better than John McCain or Mitt Romney did against their Democratic opponents in 2008 and 2012, respectively, and a big improvement over his 2016 showing…..

[W]ho are Trump’s Latino supporters? And how did he gain so much ground?

A good way to understand Trump’s Latino support is to break his voters into three groups: loyal GOP voters, Democratic converts and new voters who broke for Trump. Each group came to support Trump at different times and for different reasons…..

Trump didn’t just hold onto traditional Latino Republicans: He converted many who voted for Democrats in 2016 or 2018.

He ate into Democratic margins among non-college-educated Hispanics, creating a new battleground in the electorate. More than 80 percent of Hispanics do not have a college degree — a huge pool of potential votes for both parties.

As the 2020 race reached its peak — and Republicans projected an anti-communist, anti-crime, pro-growth message to Latinos — Trump gained ground, especially among moderate and conservative Latinos…..

Trump won new converts with smart politics. He emphasized his economic record, soft-pedaled his immigration positions and focused on issues such as crime, where he could bring Latino Democrats into the fold….

Nobody knows which direction Latinos will take. But the 2020 election proved that many Latino voters are up for grabs — and that Republicans are far from extinct.”

Read the whole thing which includes a lot of very good charts and maps.

New Revelations from Trump’s Coup Attempt Isolate GOP ‘Leaders’ Even Further

While many Americans are surprised at the GOP leadership’s complicity in shredding democracy, they should get ready for even more shocking revelations emerging from the congressional investigation of the January 6th riot at the capitol, well-explained by Zachary B. Wolfe in his article, “The full picture of Trump’s attempted coup is only starting to emerge” at CNN Politics, including:

  • Trump pressured acting DOJ officials like acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen on December 27 to “Just say that the election was corrupt + leave the rest to me and the R. Congressmen,” according to the notes of acting Deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue’s notes, shared with House investigators.
  • A day later, on December 28, at least one acting DOJ official, Jeffrey Clark, who was in charge of the civil division, apparently bought into Trump’s lies, or wanted to assuage him, and drafted a letter suggesting there were election irregularities in the election (there weren’t), but it was rebuffed by other top acting officials.
  • Officials like Rosen’s chief of staff Patrick Hovakimian drafted letters of resignation in case his boss was pushed out in favor of Clark.

Wolf notes further, “CNN’s Marshall Cohen, Jason Morris, Christopher Hickey and Will Mullery have put together an in-depth timeline of Trump’s efforts to corrupt the US government and the Georgia government. It is exhaustive and shocking….It’s the threat of a block of DOJ resignations among the acting officials (these people, as acting officials, were supposed to be Trump loyalists) that may have stopped Trump from a last-minute firing of officials at Justice.”

Wolf quotes CNN analyst Elie Honig, who has argued “It is a federal crime to deprive a state of a fair election….It is a federal crime to solicit false counting of ballots, false certification of an election….It is a federal crime to conspire against the United States….This is deadly serious and there has to be consequences. Imagine if there are no consequences for this whatsoever. What kind of message does that send?”

The apparent cluelessness of so many Republican members of congress thus far about where the congressional investigation is heading and what it could mean for their futures and legacy is disappointing. It’s about to get more so.

OH-11 Primary Has Lessons for Dems

At CNN Politics, Eric Bradner has a sound analysis of moderate progressive Shontel Brown’s victory over left progressive Nina Turner in the Democratic primary to represent Ohio’s 11th congressional district. As Bradner explains:

In the heavily Democratic 11th District, which stretches from Cleveland to Akron, establishment-backed Cuyahoga County Democratic chairwoman and county council member Shontel Brown — who was backed by Hillary Clinton, Rep. Jim Clyburn and the Congressional Black Caucus — defeated former state senator Nina Turner, the long-time ally of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. Turner remained critical of Clinton after the primary’s conclusion in 2016 and in 2020 once compared voting for Biden to eating half a bowl of human excrement.

Turner would likely have lost to Brown even without the comment, which she made in an interview by The Atlantic about the 2020 election. Political activists of all stripes frequently make such comments, but it’s a big mistake to share them in a major magazine interview.

Bradner notes that “Progressives saw Ohio as a chance to steer the House Democratic caucus further left. Turner — a long-time Sanders ally who became a national figure before any member of the left-wing “Squad” was elected to Congress — would have joined their ranks.” However, “in what could be a preview of how establishment forces will mobilize to protect incumbent Democrats facing primary challenges next year, more moderate Democrats fought back. Out of a crowded field, they rallied behind Brown, a candidate more likely to support Biden and his agenda in Washington.” Also,

And again it was Clyburn — the kingmaker in the 2020 Democratic primary, when his endorsement propelled Biden to a massive victory in the South Carolina primary and a romp three days later, on Super Tuesday — playing a central role.

Clyburn stepped in when the rapper and activist Killer Mike, appearing at a campaign event with Turner, said the No. 3 House Democrat had been “incredibly stupid” to back Biden without securing more concessions. Clyburn endorsed Brown and warned that the left’s “sloganeering” — such as calls to defund the police — is politically damaging.

The Congressional Black Caucus’ political arm endorsed Brown, and Clyburn and other leading Black Democrats campaigned for her on the race’s closing weekend.

Bradner adds that “Jewish voters and pro-Israel groups played important roles down the stretch. The Democratic Majority for Israel super PAC spent heavily against Turner, who has been critical of Israel at times. And Brown’s support from Jewish Democrats in the district proved pivotal — a reality that Brown acknowledged in her victory speech, in which she thanked “my Jewish brothers and sisters” and discussed how a 2018 trip to Israel shaped her view of the US-Israel relationship.”

However, Bradner writes, “It’s hard to distill much about the direction of the Democratic Party on major generational and ideological issues from individual races — particularly low-turnout primaries in off-year special elections like Ohio’s 11th District contest. Further,

Moderate, establishment-aligned figures have now notched a series of important victories over more progressive candidates, dating back to Biden defeating Sanders in the 2020 presidential primary. In Virginia, former Gov. Terry McAuliffe held off challengers to win the primary as he seeks another term. In New York City, centrist Eric Adams won the mayoral primary.

But at the same time, progressives have claimed victories of their own. New York City chose a progressive candidate for comptroller at the same time it picked a moderate for mayor. Buffalo voters ousted their incumbent mayor in favor of India Walton, a self-professed socialist and political newcomer. A progressive challenger, state Rep. Ed Gainey, unseated Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto.

What seems clear is that progressives have yet to figure out — especially in high-turnout contests — how to crack up the Biden coalition of working-class voters, Black voters and suburban moderates who are playing an increasingly large role in Democratic primaries.

In other words, everything is as it should be in the big tent party, with a healthy competition between moderate and left Democrats. Moderate progressives have an edge in most Democratic-leaning districts for now. There are a few Democratic congressional districts in the U.S., in which a candidate with Turner’s views could win, but probably not in Ohio. Brown, however, will win and hold the district for Democrats.

Teixeira: Vax Mandates A Political Necessity

The following article by Ruy Teixeira, author of The Optimistic Leftist and other works of political analysis, is cross-posted from his blog:

Time for Vaccine Requirements and/or Passports: It’s a Health, Economic and Political Necessity.

At The Liberal Patriot today. John Halpin explains why this step is past due in the United States and will have woeful consequences if the Biden administration does not step up.

“As TLP has argued since the first days of the Biden administration, there are only two issues that matter for the success of the country and for Democrats in 2022: controlling the pandemic and getting the economy back on track. Everything else is a sideshow and distraction.

Until now, the Biden team has done an admirable job on both fronts. The economy is running full steam ahead and large percentages of Americans are vaccinated.

But all this progress is seriously at risk with the latest delta variant surge and the confusing and contradictory positions of the CDC and health officials on how to confront it. Rather than pushing and promoting the most important goal of near universal vaccination, the CDC has reversed course to recommend masks indoors for the vaccinated—simultaneously undermining their rationale from May for getting the vaccine and diminishing their trustworthiness by not presenting their data and not considering the obvious question of why those who do not want a vaccine would change course or start wearing masks.

Consequently, the country faces yet another culture war fight between the “vaccinated and the unvaccinated” and over the need for masks without getting any closer to doing what is necessary to control the pandemic: near universal vaccination. A lose-lose proposition….
Just as the U.S. economy is going gangbusters, the coronavirus response is producing unnecessary political splits and rising anger and confusion among Americans.

The CDC and Biden should admit their stumbles in issuing the new guidelines, better explain their rationale and fully present all evidence for scrutiny, and pledge to the public full transparency in grappling with the difficult and shifting task of confronting Covid going forward.

Above all, public health officials and leaders need to level with Americans that the only goal that really matters is getting the country to near complete vaccination levels. No one wants to wear masks. No one wants to shut down schools or businesses again. And we have a very effective way to avoid this if everyone gets vaccinated.

Just as people must have driver’s licenses to get on the roads—or present proof of other vaccinations to go to school, to work, or to travel—Covid vaccination must become a requirement for the general welfare of the entire nation. This will require full approval of the vaccines by the FDA followed by clear requirements from employers, insurers, state officials, government agencies, schools, and others that all citizens must show proof of vaccination by the beginning of 2022.”

Read the whole thing at The Liberal Patriot! I also recommend this piece by David Frum at The Atlantic site.

“First Canada overtook the United States in the vaccination race. Now the European Union has done so. Even poor European countries such as Greece, Lithuania, and Poland have surpassed vaccine-resistant U.S. states such as Ohio, Arkansas, and Missouri.

Why is this happening? Facebook exists on the other side of the Atlantic as much as it does on ours. Europeans do not lack for far-right political parties swayed by Russian misinformation. They are not better educated: Most EU countries send fewer of their young people to postsecondary institutions than the United States does. Anybody who has ever visited a European pharmacy has seen that Europeans are at least as susceptible to quack medicine as Americans.

One big difference between the U.S. and the EU is that European governments have been readier than U.S. governments to impose direct consequences on those who refuse vaccines. On July 1, the European Union adopted a digital pass confirming one’s vaccinated status, and individual member states are restricting access to public facilities for those who do not carry the pass. In Italy, for example, after August 6, anyone over the age of 12 who wants to enter a restaurant, gym, swimming pool, or cinema will need to have their green pass scanned at the door.

The EU system turns proof of vaccination into a QR code that EU citizens can store on their phone. The same code works in all EU countries and is available free of charge to EU citizens in both their national language and English.

By contrast, U.S. governments have been very reluctant to go the proof-of-vaccination route. Many Republican-governed states have gone out of their way to protect the right to infect. And even if a state were to try to roll out such a mandate, how would it do so? My CDC-issued proof of vaccination is a piece of cardboard inscribed with a nurse’s handwriting. I can scan it with my phone and instantly email it anywhere on Earth—but the document itself remains the product of Depression-era library-card technology.”

This is unacceptable! We can do better. We must do better.

Voters Want More Bipartisanship – Especially on Infrastructure

At Axios, Hans Nichols shares the content of a memo by Mike Donilon, and advisor to President Biden. An excerpt:

In a Georgetown University Battleground poll:

• Voters see political polarization as the leading challenge for the country. 32% pick polarization in their top two issues, 7pp higher than the next most important issue.
• Despite wide gaps on the importance of many other pressing issues, the Georgetown poll found that voters across party and demographic lines ranked polarization highly.
• An overwhelming majority of respondents said they want a leader who is willing to compromise to get things done (69%).

A CNN poll found that 74% of voters choose “working across the aisle to get things done in Washington, even if it means losing out on some high-priority policies” against “standing firm on their beliefs without compromise, even if it means not much gets done in Washington.”

Voters across the political spectrum want a bipartisan infrastructure deal A July Yahoo/YouGov national poll asked Americans if they support a bipartisan infrastructure deal put together by a group of senators. According to the poll, 53% of Republicans, 51% of Independents, and 64% of Democrats favor the agreement.

This is consistent with their June findings that showed the strong backing of Republicans, Independents, and Democrats for the deal. Similarly, a recent Navigator poll backs this claim. A bipartisan infrastructure agreement elicits broad support among a diverse coalition.

The individual components are even more popular: there is strong, bipartisan support for the inclusion of funding for roads, bridges, ports; for clean water pipes; for the electric grid; and for high-speed Internet service (AP/NORC).

Funding for roads, bridges, and ports
• Republicans: 79%
• Independents: 80%
• Democrats: 87%
• Overall: 83%

Funding for pipes for drinking water
• Republicans: 70%
• Independents: 79%
• Democrats: 85%
• Overall: 79%

Funding for the electric grid
• Republicans: 59%
• Independents: 62%
• Democrats: 73%
• Overall: 66%

Funding for high-speed Internet service
• Republicans: 44%
• Independents: 54%
• Democrats: 78%
• Overall: 62%

A strong 57% of Independent support President Biden’s infrastructure proposal, demonstrating how important it is for these voters to pass a bipartisan deal.

Nichols adds that, “Wednesday’s bipartisan agreement is an important signal to voters that they’re being heard and that their government can work as they think it should – with elected officials from both sides of the aisle coming together to address the concerns that matter most in their lives.”

Insights About Working Class Politics in Florida from a Lefty City Council Candidate

Democrats have had a hell of a tough time getting any traction in Florida in recent years, partly, but not exclusively because of voter suppression and gerrymandering. It would be hard to pick another state where Democrats have underperformed with more adverse consequences. The Governor, Lt. Governor, both U. S. Senators, 16 out of 27 members of congress are Republicans, who also hold 26 out of 40 state senate seats and 76 of 120 state house seats. This despite the fact that “active registered” Democratic voters outnumber Republicans in 2021 in the state by 5,247,592 to 5,171,308, respectively.

Florida has uniquely complicated demographics, including a disproportionately-large percentage of white voters without college degrees, Cuban-American, Puerto Rican-American and African-American voters. Clearly, Democrats are in need of some fresh ideas about how to build a winning coalition for both state-wide and local election campaigns.

At Current Affairs, Nathan J. Robinson interviews Richie Floyd, a schoolteacher and Democratic Socialists of America member and candidate for St. Petersburg’s city council. In the interview Floyd shares some insights about how Democrats can do better in the Sunshine state:

You know, I really believe this state is ripe for working-class politics because the majority of people here are working-class, the overwhelming majority. We’re a service-based economy, mostly like tourism—used to be agriculture, that’s shifted away significantly. In St. Pete and Pinellas County and the Tampa Bay area, we’re trying to attract visitors here to come to our beaches to go fishing. And then you have Orlando, the whole I-4 corridor and center of the state. Orlando is based on tourism as well. And so there’s a lot of working-class people that look like me in this state and they just basically don’t have political representation at this point. The Democratic Party has been incapable of winning at a state level for a long time. They don’t necessarily speak to the issues of working people. They get caught up in a lot of things that the Republicans bait them into.

I think there’s a coalition for that. And we kind of saw it in 2018 with Andrew Gillum‘s campaign. He started out on that path, got a little lost towards the end of the general election. And so just came up short. But I think that really shows that there is something here for working people if they’re organized. And now when it comes to Bernie Sanders and stuff, something you have to know about Florida is the overwhelming majority of Floridians were not born in Florida. We don’t have real connections to this state. And our political institutions are kind of decrepit. There’s no machine politics here. It’s usually people flying in, dropping a bunch of money on mailers and ads without ever making a connection to the community, and then leaving the second that the election is over. And so that’s where our opportunity lies: if we actually get out and organize in our real community. And that’s how we’ve been relatively successful here.

Floyd also emphasizes the link between Florida’s environmental destruction and the screwing of the state’s working class:

Well, the history of Florida is one of environmental degradation and profit put over our natural resources and our working people. The entire time that the state’s existed. And so that’s part of the reason why our politics are able to resonate with people. We talk about the reason why the state is like this, which is the fact that everything that’s gone on over the state’s history has been for land developers and real estate interests to make a profit. And there’ve been bright spots—environmentalists have won victories here. The one I point to the most is in the ‘80s, our estuaries, like Tampa Bay, were just completely in shambles. And we brought back our fish population significantly since then, but we’re turning back towards a situation like we had back then….It can get bleak sometimes, when we’re worried about storms and we’re worried about pollution spills that we’ve had recently, and our red tide, and how expensive housing is. But it doesn’t have to be like this. And I think you catch a lot more flies with honey. You should express why people should be excited to get up and vote for you.

Floyd has avoided leftist buzz terms in his campaigning, and tried to reach voters as a rooted community activist:

The most important thing for us is to actually be rooted in the community and connected to the community. And so as a candidate, what that looks like is I’m a member of my neighborhood association and of the teacher’s union, and I’m active in them. I talk to people around town about a variety of issues and just make myself a known community member so that it’s not anything scary. “That’s just Richie, a tall, goofy middle school teacher.” So that’s the first thing. And then the issues that we talk about, we speak in plain terms. I don’t say the word “proletariat,” like it’s not about “the means of production.” I’m like “I’m here for working families and working people and making sure that the wealth built in the city goes to the people who created it, the people who work and run the city.” And that’s a very left-wing demand, but it’s something that people naturally gravitate to when you say it in plain language.

None of this is to say that the red-baiting that was instrumental in defeating Democratic U. S. House incumbents in Florida last year won’t be used again, nor that it won’t work. True, Floyd is just a city council candidate. But it’s not like the Florida Democratic Party has figured out a better messaging approach that has produced enough actual victories. In any case, Floyd’s point about Democrats focusing their messaging and policies to help Florida’s huge working class is surely a good one.

Teixeira: Shaming Trump Supporters Is Dumb and Won’t Work

The following article by Ruy Teixeira, author of The Optimistic Leftist and other works of political analysis, is cross-posted from his blog:

Hillary Clinton famously likened Trump supporters to “a basket of deplorables”, a gaffe that contributed to her stunning defeat in 2016. But she actually said only *half* of Trump supporters were in a basket of deplorables. Today’s liberal Democrats and activists, in my experience, are not satisfied with this. As far as they’re concerned *all* Trump supporters belong in said basket. They’re all deplorable, every last one of them. Lo, they have sinned and are forever cast out of civilized humanity. That seems to be the general attitude.

This is not, to say the least, a way to win any converts. People know when you look down on them and they react accordingly. They may harbor their doubts about Trump but shaming them for their erstwhile Trump support just gets their back up.

In the Post today, Gary Abernathy, one of those erstwhile Trump supporters, points out just how dumb and counterproductive this self-righteous liberal attitude is:

“When supporters of former president Donald Trump hear media pundits analyze them with the usual collection of belittling observations, they must be tempted to respond, “Hey, we’re right here! We can hear you!”

Yes, they are indeed here, and living among us. And they have every right to be insulted by being accused of believing a “big lie,” and by the implication that they are violent, or traitors, or mindless sheep — racist sheep, of course….

I live in Trump Country. I was a Trump supporter, until he lost me with his actions after the 2020 election. But most Trump voters have stuck with him. With Trump’s encouragement, they sincerely believe the election was stolen. They’re not racists. They’re not traitors. Some of them think anyone who accepts Biden’s win is a traitor. Some of them think I’m traitorous — or at the very least I’ve succumbed to the evil influences of the mainstream media — for accepting Trump’s defeat…..

It’s my unscientific conclusion that about half of Trump’s supporters will go to their graves believing the election was stolen. The other half can be persuaded otherwise, but only by time and reflection, like accepting a death. Shaming will never work….

[S]top calling people liars. The media should return to the non-accusatory style that worked for decades. Instead of writing that election fraud is a lie, or Republicans are “falsely claiming” fraud, go back to the style that worked for decades: “Republicans again claimed the 2020 election was rigged, but no evidence has emerged to support that allegation and courts have dismissed all suits challenging the results.”

Next, abandon the narrative that Trump supporters are insurrectionists, and stop elevating groups such as QAnon and the Proud Boys beyond the fringe elements they are. As shameful as the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol was, only about 800 people were involved — hardly representative of millions of Trump supporters. Despite their suspicions, the vast majority of Trump voters are not interested in invading federal buildings or overthrowing the government. They’re interested in going to work and church and soccer games, taking care of their families and voting in the next election.

There’s no big mystery to effectively communicating with Trump supporters — or for Trump supporters to communicate with everyone else. Treat each other with politeness and courtesy. Respect other opinions even if you disagree. Acknowledge each other’s patriotism and love of country. Don’t assume you understand each other because you’ve read some think-tank analysis. Reach out, be curious and start a dialogue.

Trump supporters aren’t going away, and those who continue to paint them as the lowest forms of life reveal themselves to be more interested in perpetrating stereotypes and nurturing divisions than in achieving what’s needed for our nation to survive — reaching across our political chasm, respecting our differences and finding common ground where we can.”

I agree with all this. It may make you feel good to regard all Trump supporters–perhaps unto the seventh generation–with withering contempt. But it is monumentally ineffective if you care about building a better politics for a better future.

And you should.