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Halpin: Liberals Must Rebuild Their Intellectual Infrastructure. Sectarian politics will only be defeated through a long-term commitment to equal dignity and rights for all people

The following post by John Halpin, co-editor of The Liberal Patriot, is cross-posted from The Liberal Patriot:

If you’re baffled by the direction of so-called “progressive” politics these days, you’re not alone. An intellectual and political movement once grounded in the reformist policies of the earliest progressives—and the universal principles of 20th century American liberalism—has given way to a well-funded network of activists, academics, and social media denizens who reject these principles in part or wholesale.

In place of a commitment to individual freedom, political equality, and social welfare policies designed to offer people protection from hardship and a hand up in life, today’s progressives organize themselves around abstract theories of oppression and power relationships grounded in racial, gender, and religious categorizations. Where liberals and the early progressives saw deep flaws in American society and set out to create practical solutions to achieving greater equality and freedom for all people, modern social justice progressives see a country irreparably broken by “400 years of systemic racism” and seek to overturn perceived social and cultural hierarchies in favor of historically oppressed groups. Older liberals once fought for laws and regulations to overcome racial and gender discrimination and increase individual rights, while modern progressives increasingly fight over language, representation, group-based accusations, and who is allowed to say or think what.

Likewise, 20th century American liberalism and progressivism was strategically and politically focused on building the majorities necessary to put in place some of the most important reforms in our history. This involved rallying reformers and voters across the political spectrum. Although the Democratic Party of FDR, Truman, and LBJ—alongside a powerful labor movement—led many of these liberal reforms, pro-civil rights and pro-social welfare Republicans also played a major role passing legislation and standing up against reactionary elements in society.

In contrast, much of contemporary progressive politics seems markedly apolitical and strategically unfocused with activists more content firing off social media shots from the sidelines and complaining about people ignoring them rather than persuading people in different parts of the country—and from different political backgrounds—to join in a common cause for reform.

There are many different explanations for why this shift happened. But one that is often overlooked is the changed intellectual infrastructure sustaining liberal politics.

For starters, the sociological landscape that once underpinned traditional American liberalism—a working-class Democratic Party; labor unions; liberal churches, parishes, and synagogues; multiracial urban political networks; social reform journalism; and liberal academics and the social sciences—has atrophied. Rising in its place is a left politics grounded in a highly professionalized Democratic Party coming out of culturally radical environments in elite colleges and universities, wealthy foundations, corporate media outlets, and ideologically aligned non-profits and advocacy groups.

A young person looking for a solid reform-based liberal education and philosophical training today would be hard pressed to find it anywhere in the billion-dollar progressive infrastructure of contemporary politics. They could however find lots of “conversations” about structural oppression and extended Twitter threads and digital media trainings to combat “white privilege” and advance abstract notions of “equity.”

Conservatives (prior to the Trump years) have generally done a much better job laying the groundwork for long-term reflection on first principles and the foundations of American life based on their commitment to free enterprise, Judeo-Christian values and beliefs, and individual rights. Much of this work involves policy and intellectual development for emerging movement leaders.

As Molly Worthen explained in an interesting overview of these intellectual efforts:

These conservative seminars make an enormous impact simply by taking students seriously. “They’re not at the children’s table,” said Tom Palmer, who directs Cato University, a program that mixes undergraduates with midcareer professionals and retirees. “No one pinches their cheeks and tells them how cute they are.”

There is another insight here: the power of teaching the canon. Most of these programs conceive of the canon far too narrowly, but the canon is an elite debating society that anyone can join. It shows students that the struggle for freedom and justice began long before the 1960s, and that this deep history lurks beneath today’s policy debates.

Unfortunately, at most universities, studying political philosophy has become a form of countercultural rebellion, a discipline marginalized by courses in supposedly practical subjects like business and communications. Campus activists may learn organizing strategies and the argot of identity politics, but few study the history of their own ideas.

It’s not as if liberals and progressives lack these foundations. Sadly, too many universities and elite progressive training programs choose not to emphasize them in their politics, or to engage intellectually with other philosophical understandings of politics, whether radical or conservative. As Worthen writes:

Yet for all its relativism and wonkishness, the progressive tradition grew from firm ideological commitments: a faith in human equality and empathy; the rule of law; the scientific method. Progressives can find kindred spirits among classic conservative thinkers: Adam Smith on moral sentiments, Edmund Burke’s critique of imperial power. You can’t fully understand the theology of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. without grasping Augustine’s doctrine of original sin. But few young progressives read these authors. The hyperspecialized, careerist ethos of mainstream universities has served them just as poorly as it has conservatives.

The lack of a fortified intellectual infrastructure supporting traditional American liberalism is a big challenge. So what needs to be done?

The first order of business for liberals is to recognize the depth of the problem. Identity-based politics, on the left or the right, will not just disappear on its own. The incentives for this kind of politics have grown immensely in recent years, and it will have to be counterbalanced by an equally well-supported effort from liberals on both the center-left and center-right.

The second order of business is for those with resources to increase their support for strategies to uphold genuinely liberal values—such as freedom, equality, pluralism, tolerance, rationality, and a commitment to the common good—and help rebuild liberal education and political work in America. Lots of self-funded groups are doing yeoman’s work along these lines. But if liberals really want to push back against the cultural extremism ascendant on the left or right, they will need to build their own institutions and programs to develop new leaders, grow new social movements, create new policies, and influence political parties based on genuinely liberal principles.

American liberals need to step up financially and politically to support projects grounded in the belief that “all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights” and focused on pragmatic policies to steadily improve the lives of all people.

If not, then culturally radical ideas will continue to dominate and shape our politics for years to come while liberal values will continue their retreat.


Investors Wade Into Georgia Voting Rights Fray

Business leaders who would like to help defend democracy against racially-motivated voter suppression should read the following article by Tammy Joyner, which is cross-posted from atlantaciviccircle.org:

A group of heavyweight investors has weighed in on Georgia’s battle over controversial voting legislation.

On Tuesday, nineteen investors affiliated with funds that manage $1 trillion in assets, sent letters to six Georgia companies under pressure to take a stand specifically against SB 241, HB 531, and SB 202 — bills that critics claim will suppress votes in Georgia. The letters call on AFLAC, Coca-Cola Co., Delta Air Lines, Home Depot, Southern Co., and UPS to stop making political contributions to legislators who attempt to restrict voting rights. The investor campaign was organized by Majority Action and SEIU Workers United.

“Corporations have too often reinforced structural racism and white supremacy with political spending practices that harm and disenfranchise Black, Indigenous and other communities of color,” Eli Kasargod-Staud, executive director of Majority Action, a nonprofit group that works with shareholders to hold corporations accountable, said in a statement. “More and more investors now recognize and are calling on corporate leaders to change these practices that both undermine democracy and threaten long-term shareholder value.”

The companies have been under tremendous pressure for weeks to speak out against the legislation. The companies have issued statements saying they support access to voting but have done little else to demonstrate in direct opposition to the legislation, critics say.

“As a trustee, I know the power of capital and know these decisions are not good for these companies’ bottom lines and create reputational risks for them,” said Champaign County Clerk Aaron Ammons, a trustee of Illinois State University Retirement System, one of the investors. “As a county election official, I know the importance of the right to vote and making sure that voting rights are protected. I am hoping these companies, these iconic brands, will speak out forcefully against these racially motivated attacks on voting rights in Georgia.”

The head of SEIU, a wide-ranging national union, called the corporations’ silence on voting rights “unconscionable and hypocritical.”

“These companies claim they support racial justice when it is the easy thing to do, but then sit on the sidelines while the freedom to vote for millions of Blacks, Latino and Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Georgians are being threatened by racist voter suppression bills,” Chris Baumann, Southern Regional Director of SEIU Workers United said in a statement. “If Coca-Cola, Southern Co., AFLAC, Delta, UPS, and Home Depot refuse to listen to the Black Latinx and AAPI workers who are the backbone of these companies, perhaps they will listen to investors who are affiliated with funds managing $1 trillion in assets under management who are demanding action. We once again call on them to publicly denounce these racist voter suppression bills and publicly commit to never giving them another dime in political contributions.”

The investor letters are the latest in a series of pressures being waged in protests and in the media. SEIU Workers and Progress Georgia have been running a state-wide digital advertising campaign demanding the companies to condemn the voting bills. Several ads urge Georgians to sign petitions and send emails to Georgia legislators. The ads also note that black buying power contributes more than $106 billion to Georgia businesses every year.

Black Georgians are the third-largest black consumer market in America, Jeffrey Humphreys, director of the Selig Center at the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business, told Atlanta Civic Circle. Their spending represents 24 cents of every dollar spent by Georgia residents overall, Humphreys added.

Black Buying Power in America: The Top 5 States At A Glance

Texas. $133.8 billion
New York $131.0 billion
Georgia $106.2 billion
California $105.9 billion
Florida $105.6 billion

Source: Selig Center, Terry College of Business, University of Georgia

View the investor letters here.


Biden Calls for Ban on Assault Weapons, Better Background Checks

In response to the massacres in Atlanta, GA and Boulder, CO, President Biden has called for a ban on Assault weapons and tougher background check requirements for purchasing guns. “I don’t need to wait another minute, let alone an hour, to take commonsense steps that will save the lives in the future and to urge my colleagues in the House and Senate to act.” The President called further for:

We can ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines in this country once again.  I got that done when I was a senator.  It passed.  It was law for the longest time, and it brought down these mass killings.  We should do it again.

We can close the loopholes in our background check system, including the “Charleston loophole.”  That’s one of the best tools we have right now to prevent gun violence.  The Senate should immediately pass — let me say it again: The United States Senate — I hope some are listening — should immediately pass the two House-passed bills that close loopholes in the background check system.  These are bills that received votes of both Republicans and Democrats in the House.  This is not and should not be a partisan issue; this is an American issue.  It will save lives — American lives — and we have to act.  We should also ban assault weapons in the process.

President Biden also called for limiting “the size of magazines.” At The New York Times, Annie Karni and Catie Edmondson explain further,

Mr. Biden, who had helped pass the landmark Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act as well as the 10-year assault weapons ban while in the Senate, came back five weeks later with proposals for legislation and executive action, but the Obama administration’s push to pass a background check bill failed.

“The failure to get legislation passed was one of Obama’s greatest regrets,” said Kris Brown, the president of Brady: United Against Gun Violence, a nonprofit group.

Mr. Biden faces political gridlock on the issue despite longstanding public support for tighter gun laws, growing calls for action from many Democrats and the waning influence of the National Rifle Association.

According to a Pew Research Center poll in 2019, growing proportions of Americans in both parties supported tighter gun laws. There was broad bipartisan support as well on some specific steps, including barring people with mental illnesses from buying guns. About 71 percent of Americans — including a slight majority of Republicans — favored banning high-capacity ammunition magazines, while 69 percent, including half of Republicans, backed an assault weapons ban.

Some Democrats are hopeful something can be passed. The NRA is weaker today than it was just a few years ago. However, today’s Republicans are far less conscientious than they were a decade ago.  Most observers believe it would require significant filibuster reform for the Senate to pass even modest gun safety reforms.


Teixeira: Why Voter Suppression Doesn’t Always Work

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

It’s Hard to Make Making Voting Harder Have the Electoral Effects You Want

That’s Harry Enten’s message in his new CNN column and he is correct.

“Republicans’ response to losing control of the White House and Senate has been to try and make voting harder in a number of states. Most notably, perhaps, is Georgia, where they’re going after ways of voting that were popular for Black voters and Democrats in 2020 (e.g. mail voting).

Democrats and Black advocacy groups are, of course, up in arms and trying to stop the GOP.
We can’t know how these changes, if they come to pass, would affect future elections. But by looking at two of the most prominent moves Republicans are trying to make, we can see it’s not at all clear that Republicans will succeed in helping their electoral prospects….

This doesn’t mean that what Republicans are doing in Georgia is right, and it doesn’t mean that this time they won’t help their chances.

The bottom line is, though, that voters aren’t static. What’s often been found by political scientists is that moves that try to make voting more difficult don’t succeed in changing election outcomes. The reason is that voters and parties make moves to try and counteract what’s happening.”


Dionne: Filibuster Reform Needed to Save Democracy

E. J. Dionne, Jr.’s column, “Goodbye and good riddance to the filibuster” in The Washington Post provides an eloquent epitaph for Mitch McConnell’s one-man veto of needed legislative reforms. As Dionne writes, “President Biden has signaled that the days of the Senate filibuster’s stranglehold on majority rule are numbered. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is scared to death that he’s right.” Further,

McConnell is particularly worried that Democrats will use their majorities in the House and Senate to enact fundamental reforms to our political system, from protecting voting rights to containing dark money’s influence on elections. That’s why the man who supposedly loves Congress’s upper chamber promised to create “a completely scorched earth Senate” if Democrats try to make it easier to pass legislation.

Biden warming up to the idea of making the filibuster much harder to use is big news, given his reluctance to take this step in the past. He’s responding to reality. As the president told ABC News’s George Stephanopoulos on Tuesday: “It’s getting to the point where, you know, democracy is having a hard time functioning.”

Dionne adds that “has more standing than just about anyone to persuade the filibuster’s staunchest Democratic supporters, Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, of two things. First, the time for major new restraints on the filibuster has come; second, and just as important, that the current abuse of the filibuster flies in the face of authentic Senate tradition.”

In addition, Dionne writes, “And changing filibuster rules would be nothing new. McConnell himself instituted the most recent shift. Eager to guarantee a conservative majority on the Supreme Court, the narrow Republican majority voted to remove the filibuster for Supreme Court confirmations. Not one of President Donald Trump’s three nominees — not one — got close to 60 votes. When it came to court-packing, McConnell had no problem with majority rule.”

It’s really a matter of survival for the Democratic Party and for American democracy, both of which depend on enactment of the ‘For the People Act,’ which cannot pass the U.S. Senate without filibuster reform. “The comprehensive political reform bill would block the scandalous attack on voting rights in some Republican states,” Dionne writes. “It would also curb gerrymanders that distort representation, take major steps to limit the power of dark money by expanding disclosure and create strong incentives for politicians to rely on small as opposed to large contributions.”

Dionne explains that “absolutely no one believes that Republicans will provide enough votes to overcome a filibuster on a voting rights bill. Thus, it would be legislative malpractice for Democrats to walk away from a broadly popular (and much needed) suite of improvements to our political system when doing so won’t get them to 60 votes anyway.”

However, Dionne notes, “Moving away from the filibuster will take time. Change is likely to be gradual, not sudden. The Senate might have to start with narrower reforms (including Biden’s “talking filibuster”) before it becomes inescapable that legislating will require getting rid of the filibuster entirely for whole categories of bills.”

Dionne concludes, “Of course, the alternative is for Republicans to become a more moderate, less monolithic party and to work constructively with Biden on major legislation. The fact that you just chuckled dismissively at that sentence is why filibuster reform is inevitable.”


Political Strategy Notes

From Thomas B. Edsall’s column, “Biden Wants No Part of the Culture War the G.O.P. Loves: The generosity of his $1.9 trillion relief bill has the added benefit of shifting attention where he wants it” at The New York Times: “The Biden administration appears to have adopted a two-pronged strategy to reduce the corrosive impact of hot-button social, cultural and racial issues: first by inundating the electorate with a flood of cash via the $1.9 trillion Covid relief act and second by refusing to engage fractious issues in public, calculating that deprived of oxygen, their strength will fade….The sheer magnitude of the funds released by the American Rescue Plan, the White House is gambling, will shift voters’ attention away from controversies over Dr. Seuss, who can use which bathroom and critical race theory. So far, the strategy is working….Biden has a favorability rating of 52.9 to 41.9, according to the Real Clear Politics average of the seven most recent surveys, and a Pew Research poll the first week of March found that a decisive majority of voters, at 70-28 percent, have a positive opinion of the Covid stimulus bill….“Taking their cues from a new president who steadfastly refuses to engage with or react to cultural provocations,” Democratic officeholders “have mostly kept their heads down and focused on passing legislation,” The Week’s Damon Linker wrote in “Will the G.O.P.’s culture war gambit blow up in its face?

Edsall continues, “Stanley Feldman, a political scientist at Stony Brook University, noted in an email that he thinks that “Biden understands that it’s to the Democrats’ advantage to lower the volume on the culture wars. The Covid rescue bill is a clear attempt to change political discourse back to economic issues and to provide broad-based, tangible assistance to a large part of the public. Biden signs executive orders on gender but there’s little discussion of this.”….Biden’s approach, Feldman continued, “is clearly putting many conservatives in a difficult position as they try to counter with stories about Dr. Seuss and Mr. Potato Head.”….Stanley Greenberg, a Democratic pollster with decades of experience in federal and state elections, is optimistic about Biden’s current prospects, but he warned that the administration will have to gain control of immigration: “The border matters,” he said, “and Republicans will use images from the border to sear into people’s consciousness. It is very important that they” — the Democrats — “are soon seen to be managing the border and immigration.”….Biden and other Democrats, in Greenberg’s view, should “ignore cancel culture attacks” while making the case “that Democrats are fighting and delivering for the working class and it is Democrats you can trust to have a strong economy.”


Russo: The Myth of the Conservative Working Class

The following article by John Russo, of the Kalmanovitz Initiative for Labor and the Working Poor, is cross-posted from Working-Class Perspectives:

Rush Limbaugh, who passed away last month at age 70, was conservative talk radio’s most flamboyant and influential provocateur. Boasting an audience of 15 million, Limbaugh is often credited with persuading working-class voters to embrace a Republican Party whose pro-business, free trade economic policies went against working-class interests. As Kevin Wagner, a professor of political science at Florida Atlantic University, explained, “Limbaugh was on the forefront of trying to take conservative policies and explain them in a way that appeals to a demographic that typically would not favor the Republican Party.” The result, Wagner suggests, can be seen in “the strength of the Republican party has among working-class Americans.”

But is it really true that Limbaugh, who could be misogynistic and racially inflammatory in his broadcast, appealed primarily to the working class? In fact, as Rick Perlstein has suggested, Limbaugh’s listeners are more aptly described as “the petty bourgeoisie, the Joe the Plumbers, the guys with their own bathroom fixture businesses, the middle managers.”

This case of mistaken identity, of misidentifying people who are actually quite comfortable as “working class,” has plagued coverage of American conservatism for years now. It was a crucial error in how people viewed the participants in the Capitol insurrection. Many of those arrested after the January 6 riot were middle-class business owners, doctors, lawyers, IT specialists and accountants. So why do so many assume that the rioters—and former President Trump’s supporters more generally—were working-class? We can trace the error back to its grain of truth: the economic displacement that explains why white working-class people are so angry.


Teixeira: Two, Three, Many Joe Manchins….

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

I like to think that if Che was with us today that would be his uncompromising cry. Well, maybe not. Anyway, people really love to complain about Joe Manchin. But the ineluctable fact is that the Democrats would be two slices of hot buttered toast without him. So rather than complain about Manchin, which won’t do any good anyway, people on the center-left should be thinking hard, really hard, about how we can get *more* Joe Manchins.

The road to sustainable progressive governance lies through an expanded Democratic Senate majority. No substitutes.

Fanciful proposals to abolish the Senate or air-drop a bunch of lefty states into the Senate are not serious proposals. Progressives who do not have plausible ideas about how Democrats can capture Senate seats in redish states like IA, OH, NC, TX and FL are kidding themselves that they have a viable political strategy for the actually-existing United States, as opposed to some mythical country of their imagination.

David Leonhardt nails it in his column this morning, which includes this fantastic graphic, which smart Democrats should affix to a wall near their computer. And look at carefully before they fire off their latest tweet denouncing Joe Manchin.

“The structure of the Senate has not always favored Republicans. But in recent decades, heavily white and rural communities have moved to the political right. Because these communities dominate many small states, and because small states enjoy a lot of power in the Senate, it now has a large pro-Republican bias.

So how have Democrats nonetheless won control of the Senate, allowing them to pass an ambitious bill last week that will reduce poverty, lift middle-class incomes, cut the cost of health insurance and more? There are two main answers.

First, the Democratic Party has been the more popular political party nationwide for most of the past three decades, and this national edge sometimes allows it to overcome the Senate’s built-in bias. Last year, Joe Biden won the popular vote by 4.4 percentage points. That was enough for him to win exactly half of the country’s 50 states and for Democratic Senate candidates to flip seats in Arizona and Georgia.

The second answer is more succinct: Joe Manchin and Jon Tester.

Manchin, a Democratic senator from West Virginia, and Tester, a Democratic senator from Montana, have managed a remarkable feat in today’s polarized political atmosphere. They have won elections in states that usually vote by wide margins for the other party. The only other current politician with a similar track record is Susan Collins, a Republican senator from Maine….

Without him, there would be no Democratic Senate right now and no $1.9 trillion virus relief law. It’s unclear how many of Biden’s cabinet nominees would have been defeated and how successful the president would be at putting federal judges on the bench….

Few things in American politics are as valuable to a party as people like Manchin, Tester and Collins. And finding more such politicians is even more important to the Democratic Party because of the Senate’s pro-Republican bias.

As Matthew Yglesias writes in his Substack newsletter, addressing progressives: “If you don’t want your governing agenda perpetually held hostage to Joe Manchin (or for a majority to be out of reach if Manchin retires in 2024), then you need to win Senate races in right-of-center states like Iowa, Ohio, North Carolina, Texas and Florida that just aren’t as right-wing as West Virginia.”


Dems Address Decline in Support by Voters of Color

In his New York Times column, Thomas B. Edsall explores the reasons why “Democrats Are Anxious About 2022 — and 2024,” and writes, “In the wake of the 2020 election, Democratic strategists are worried — very worried — about the future of the Hispanic vote. One in 10 Latinos who supported Hillary Clinton in 2016 switched to Donald Trump in 2020.” Edsall notes further,

Public Opinion Strategies, which conducts surveys for NBC News/Wall Street Journal, provided me with data on presidential voting from 2012 to 2020 that show significant Republican gains among the roughly 30 percent of Black and Hispanic voters who self-identify as conservative.

From 2012 to 2020, Black conservatives shifted from voting 88-7 for the Democratic candidate to 76-17. Black conservative allegiance to the Democratic Party fell by less, from 75 percent Democratic, 9 percent Republican to 71 percent Democratic, 16 percent Republican.

The changes in voting and partisan allegiance, however, were significantly larger for self-identified Hispanic conservatives. Their presidential vote went from 49-39 Democratic in 2012 to 67-27 Republican in 2020. Their partisan allegiance over the same period went from 50-37 Democratic to 59-22 Republican.

It’s not only Latino voters, as Edsall explains:

The 2020 expansion of Republican voting among Hispanics and Asian-Americans — and to a lesser extent among African-Americans — deeply concerns the politicians and strategists seeking to maintain Democratic control of the House and Senate in 2022, not the mention the White House in 2024.

The defection of Hispanic voters, together with an approximately 3 point drop in Black support for Joe Biden compared with Hillary Clinton, threatens a pillar of Democratic competitive strength, especially among Black men: sustained high margins of victory among minority voters whose share of the population is enlarging steadily.

Edsall goes on to probe what political opinion data shows regarding racial self-identification and differences by age among voters of color and he writes, “The increased level of support for the Republican Party among minority voters has raised the possibility that the cultural agenda pressed by another expanding and influential Democratic constituency — well-educated, young activists with strongly progressive views — is at loggerheads with the socially conservative beliefs of many older minority voters — although liberal economic policies remain popular with both cohorts. This social and cultural mismatch, according to some observers, is driving a number of minority voters into the opposition party.”

Although even a modest decline of support for Democrats among these voters is cause for concern, the overwhelming majority of voters of color supported Biden and Democratic candidates for senate and congress in 2020 and 2021. If Biden’s covid relief package leads to a solid recovery, Democrats will have reason to hope for an uptick in their support in 2022 and 2024. If the Biden administration is able to secure significant reductions in their unemployment rates, Democrats could do even better.


Teixeira: The Empirical Case Against Cultural Leftism in the Democratic Party

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

The Empirical Case Against Cultural Leftism in the Democratic Party.

It’s a strong case and I summarize it in my latest post for The Liberal Patriot, which draws on David Shor’s recent interview in New York Magazine.

“The good news is that the Democrats control all three branches of the federal government and appear competent enough to successfully contain the covid pandemic and unified enough to do the legislative necessary to get the economy running on all cylinders, possibly moving into outright boom territory. That’ll be great for the country and should be good for the Democrats as the party presiding over the country’s turnaround.

The bad news is that the Democrats still face a daunting situation, even if these developments pan out. Despite running against an historically unpopular President embroiled in twin health and economic crises, Biden’s victory was much narrower than expected, accompanied by a reduced majority in the House, poor Senate results that were only redeemed by the Georgia runoffs and losses in state legislative elections when Democrats desperately needed gains to protect themselves in the redistricting process.

Moreover, with control of both the House and the Senate are on a razor’s edge, they will shortly confront the administration’s first midterm elections which are typically very tough for the incumbent President’s party. Even with the goodwill generated be a successful first two years, 2022 will be a daunting challenge.

This underscores the necessity of understanding how the Democrats fell short in 2020 and what can be done to maximize Democratic votes in the future. They simply can’t afford underperformance if they hope to hold power and continue to move the country in a progressive direction.

With data from voter files starting to come in and precinct returns having been ever more elaborately analyzed, the contours of Democratic underperformance and its probable causes are starting to emerge. The findings make clear that Democratic chances are undercut by cultural leftism but can be at least partially remedied by moving to the center on cultural issues and emphasizing economic issues that have broad appeal across working class constituencies.”

Read the rest at The Liberal Patriot! Democrats ignore Shor’s findings at their peril.