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Brownstein: Dems’ Sunbelt Momentum May Get Boost from GOP’s Failed Leadership vs. Pandemic

Ronald Brownstein, columnist for The Atlantic, explains why “The Sun Belt Spikes Could Be a Disaster for Trump: Democrats were already gaining ground in the region before the pandemic hit,” and observes:

The wildfire of coronavirus cases burning through the Sun Belt’s largest cities and suburbs could accelerate their movement away from President Donald Trump and the GOP—a dynamic with the potential to tip the balance in national elections not only in 2020, but for years to come.

Until the 2016 election, Republicans had maintained a consistent advantage in the region’s big metros—including Atlanta, Houston, Dallas, and Phoenix—even as Democrats took hold of comparable urban centers in other parts of the country. But under Trump, the GOP has lost ground in these diverse and economically thriving communities. And now, a ferocious upsurge of COVID-19 across the Sun Belt’s population hubs—including major cities in Florida and North Carolina where Democrats are already more competitive—is adding a new threat to the traditional Republican hold on these places.

“There’s a lag between the trends that we have seen in some of these big northern metropolitan areas and the southern metros,” Alan Abramowitz, a political scientist at Emory University, told me. “But they are definitely going in that same direction.”

In 2016, Trump won all five of the large Sun Belt states that could be battlegrounds in November. But the improving Democratic performance in the big metros provides Joe Biden a beachhead to contest each of them. Polls consistently give the former vice president a lead in Arizona and Florida, show him and Trump locked closely in North Carolina, and provide the president only a small edge (at best) in Texas and Georgia. New York Times/Siena College polls released today give Biden solid leads in Arizona, Florida, and North Carolina, and commanding advantages in the major population centers of each state, including Phoenix, Miami, Charlotte, and Raleigh. Fox Newspolls also released today show Biden leading Trump narrowly in North Carolina, Georgia, and (even) Texas, while opening up a comfortable 9-point advantage in Florida. Among suburban voters, Biden led by 20 percentage points or more in each of those states except Texas, where suburbanites still preferred him by 9 points.

After winning one Arizona Senate seat in 2018, Democrats are also pressing to capture Republican-held Senate seats in Arizona, North Carolina, and Georgia, and more suburban House seats near Raleigh, Atlanta, Houston, Dallas, and Tampa, among others.

Brownstein quotes Republian pollster Whit Ayres, an expert on southern suburbs, who says, “The problem, of course, is that the Republicans are trading larger, faster-growing areas for smaller, slower-growing areas, and the math does not work out in the long run with that sort of trade.”

Brownstein also argues that the coronavirus explosion underway in the south, where governors have led the ‘reopening’ of public facilities, could feed the trend of southern voters moving away, not only from Trump, but also from his GOP enablers across the region.

Across almost all of the Sun Belt states, the spikes are exacerbating tensions between Republican governors who rely mostly on suburban and rural areas for their votes, and Democratic local officials in the most populous cities and counties. Taking cues from Trump, Republican Governors Ron DeSantis in Florida, Brian Kemp in Georgia, Greg Abbott in Texas, and Doug Ducey in Arizona have all moved aggressively to reopen their state economies; refused to deviate from that course as the caseloads have increased; and blocked municipal officials from reversing or even slowing the pace of the reopening…Very little polling is available to show how voters across these Sun Belt states are reacting to the surge in new cases or the determination of the GOP governors to plow forward despite them. Mike Noble, who polls for nonpartisan clients in Arizona, told me that in his surveys this year, most residents have consistently worried more about reopening too quickly than too slowly—though with a sharp partisan divide between Democrats and Republicans. He told me that he expects his next survey in early July to show heightened anxiety and diminished confidence in Ducey’s handling of the outbreak.

Much depends on the affects of the pandemic’s recent surge in southern states. As Brownstein writes, “The core political question in the large Sun Belt metro areas may be whether residents are grateful that their governors have given them more freedom to resume daily activities or resentful that they have put them at greater risk by reopening so widely. Ayres said the answer is likely some of both…For Trump and the GOP, an urban/suburban backlash against these Republican governors—combined with a broader negative verdict on the federal pandemic response—risks accelerating the trends reshaping metropolitan politics across the Sun Belt.”

It could also give dems tractiuon in senate races, especially if the already hospital-deficient rural southern communities are overwhelmed. Brownstein spotlights Georgia and Texas:

Take Gwinnett and Cobb counties, outside Atlanta. In 2014, Republican Senator David Perdue, who’s up for reelection in November, won comfortable margins of about 55 percent in each. In 2016, though, Hillary Clinton won both by relatively narrow margins against Trump, and in 2018, the Democratic gubernatorial nominee, Stacey Abrams, carried them more resoundingly. Abramowitz expects them to continue moving toward the Democrats in 2020, with margins sufficient enough to give Biden and Perdue’s Democratic opponent, Jon Ossoff, a competitive shot at the state, and also to flip an open U.S. House seat in Gwinnett.

In Texas, the arc looks similar. The University of Houston political scientist Richard Murray has charted a clear blue bend in voters’ political preferences in the 27 counties that comprise the state’s four huge metro areas—Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, and Austin—which together account for about 70 percent of the state’s votes and jobs. As recently as 2012, GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney won 55 percent of the vote across them. But in 2016, Trump fell just under 50 percent, the first GOP nominee to lose them since Barry Goldwater running against native son Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964. In 2018, Democratic Senate candidate Beto O’Rourke carried all four of those metros with 54 percent of the vote.

in addition, GOP prospects are declining in Arizona’s pivotal Maricopa County, where a “fearsome surge [is]vnow buffeting the area.” As Brownstein concludes, “Across the Sun Belt, November will test whether Trump’s base-first strategy can overcome the resistance that’s coalescing against him in the population centers now confronting the full force of the coronavirus outbreak.”


Kraushaar: Trump on Track to Lose in a Landslide

From Josh Kraushaar’s “Prepare for a Biden landslide: The biggest warning sign for Trump’s reelection: He’s starting to see softening support from his base” at The National Journal:

The latest Fox News poll, showing Biden with a 12-point lead over Trump, offers the latest hint that some of the president’s closest allies are starting to lose the faith….Indeed, Trump is seeing a little bit of slippage among white evangelical voters, the core constituency that fueled his victory in 2016. His approval rating among that voting bloc is 72 percent, with fewer than half “strongly approving” of his performance in office. The president is only winning 66 percent of the vote against Biden in a head-to-head matchup, with the former vice president tallying 25 percent support with evangelicals.

For context, Trump won the evangelical vote by a 64-point margin against Hillary Clinton, 80 to 16 percent. Winning two-thirds of the vote may sound impressive, but slipping 14 points in four years is a major problem.

Rural voters also comprised another solid bloc of Trump’s support in the 2016 election, handing him 61 percent of the vote. But the Fox poll shows Trump only winning 49 percent of the rural vote this time around, holding a mere 9-point lead over Biden. His 53 percent job approval with these small-town voters is barely above water.

Yes, there are a lot of things that can happen during the next 4 months. But there are no recent data  which the GOP can find encouraging. Kaushaar continues,

So what does it all mean for the November election? Right now, it looks more likely that Biden will win a landslide victory, picking up states uncontested by Democrats in recent elections, than it is that Trump can mount a miraculous turnaround in just over four months. Even as Trump tries to advance a law-and-order pitch amid growing violence and tumult in the nation’s cities, it’s unlikely to benefit the president because he’s the leader in charge. The chaos candidate is now the chaos president. Biden is the challenger pledging a return to normalcy.

Just look at the swing-state map: Biden is leading in every battleground state, according to the RealClearPolitics polling averages, with the exception of North Carolina where the race is tied. Trump trails by 6 points in the electoral prize of Florida, where the president’s newfound willingness to meet with Venezuelan dictator Nicolas Maduro prompted a fierce backlash and quick White House retreat. He’s down 4 points in Arizona, a state that has only voted for a Democratic presidential candidate once since 1964. He’s not close to hitting even 45 percent of the vote in Michigan, Pennsylvania, or Wisconsin—the Midwestern states he flipped to win the presidency…Public polling even shows Biden within striking distance in Georgia and Texas, two electoral prizes that would normally be safely Republican … unless a big blue wave hits in November.

All of the usual caveats about 4 months to go being a long time to go and the polls always narrowing in the last week of the campaign notwithstanding, the best data indicates that the GOP is on a fast track a rout of historic proportions for both the presidential election and down ballot.


Teixeira: How Not to Build the Left

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

Free David Shor! Or at least give the poor data analyst a job, since he’s been fired and now ostracized for the thought-crime of promoting the idea, based on an excellent study by political science professor Omar Wasow, that maybe riots associated with social movements do more harm than good. You can read the sorry details in this piece by Jonathan Chait that reveals the bizarre attacks leveled against Shor by those now intent on policing the left against such thought-crimes.

This is madness. These kinds of attacks, cancellations and firings should have no place in the progressive movement and all those involved should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves. This is not how you build an effective mass movement for change. On the contrary, this is how you undercut it at a moment when the public is quite open to large-scale change. Really, who wants to join a movement which utilizes such Orwellian tactics to deal with political disagreement? Well, some do I guess but most will check out the moment they get a whiff of this stuff.

The fact of the matter is that there is an emerging progressive coalition in this country–call it the Biden coalition–which has a fair chance of routing Trump and Trumpism and rebuilding our sorry country. This emerging coalition reaches far, far beyond the metropolitan woke and the feverish name-calling they marinate themselves in. These “normies”, hailing from all parts of this very large country, want their country back and are not interested in giving it to an intolerant left. That left must lose that intolerance and realize it’s a part and only a part of this much larger coalition.

Then, get to work on the hard task of actually persuading people that progressive solutions are the best ones for the country’s problems. That’s how you build the left.


Teixeira: Memo to the Left: Don’t Blow It!

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

I was interested to read this article by Sydney Ember In the New York Times on “Bernie Sanders Predicted Revolution, Just Not This One“. It wasn’t a particularly good article but it had some interesting material in it on the views of left activists now that the Sanders campaign is over. it included this paragraph:

“Progressives at both the national and grass-roots level are still trying to push Mr. Biden to the left even as he has begun to adopt the language of systemic disruption. His willingness to satisfy their demands — on policing perhaps most urgently but also on issues like climate change and health care — could help determine whether he is successful in the general election.”

Of course, this has it exactly backwards. The extent to which Biden satisfies their demands could determine whether he fails this November, not whether he succeeds. There is absolutely no reason for him to adopt these groups’ demands, which are generally far less popular than the positions Biden has already adopted. He should remember to ask the question, paraphrasing a 20th century dictator’s query about the Pope, “How many armies do these groups have?” The answer is clear; he doesn’t need these groups, he needs the people he already has.

What is just as bad is that these groups are stepping on the chances for success of the very causes they espouse. Sheri Berman lucidly explains in this must-read article on Social Europe:

“Just as the Trump presidency has made crystal-clear the role played by the politically polarising, racially-inflammatory tendencies built into the Republican party since the era of Richard Nixon, the left needs to recognise that denigrating compromises and coalitions and shouting down opponents, rather than engaging with and trying to convince them, are incompatible with democracy.

We have seen these tendencies over the last days, as defences and rationalisations of rioting have abounded in sections of the left. And in a widely-reported scene in Minneapolis the mayor, Jacob Frey, a civil-rights lawyer, progressive and second-youngest mayor in the city’s history, gave an impassioned speech in favour of ‘deep seated, structural reform’—only to be surrounded by protesters telling him, inter alia, to ‘get the f*** out of here’, having refused to commit to fully defunding and abolishing the city’s police department.

The demand to ‘defund the police’, which has been central to the protests, is designed to mobilise the already committed and express anger, rather than attract a broad array of citizens to the cause. The goal, of course, is to create a new model of policing—less violent and aggressive, more deeply and organically embedded in communities, more integrally paired with expanded social-service organisations to deal with mental health and poverty-related issues with which cops are not trained to deal.

There is broad support for such reforms, yet if couched as ‘defunding’ or abolishing the police majorities are consistently opposed. If the goal is to win elections and institutionalise major structural reforms, emphasising confusing and confrontational slogans such as ‘defund the police’ is counter-productive. Unless, of course, the real goal is not to win elections and power but rather to ‘make a point’ or mobilise the already discontented—tendencies towards which parts of the left are all too prone and have left it consistently vulnerable to being overwhelmed by a more strategic and focused right.

Now is the time the American left has been waiting for. The protests over recent weeks have been a remarkable manifestation of the power of democracy—citizens from every state and every background have made their voices heard and forced American society to confront problems which it ignored for too long. The protests have also helped turn the tide against a president who represents the greatest threat to progress and democracy our country has experienced in modern times.

But to seize this opportunity the left needs to recognise that in a democracy there are only two ways of achieving your goals: you can compromise with those who disagree with your views or you can convince them that your views are correct. Illiberal behaviour, purity tests and name-calling are antithetical to both. The US is indeed at a critical juncture—the democratic left must recognise this and act accordingly.”

In short: don’t blow it.


Teixeira: Biden-Trump – It Ain’t Just the Margins, It’s the Level or The Beauty of Hitting the 50 Percent Mark

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

Understandably, people focus on the margins in the trial heats and lately they’ve been very good for Joe Biden, averaging over an 8 point lead in recent polls. But that actually undersells how well Biden has been doing. Because the absolute level at which he’s been polling support is a very, very good sign. Put simply, he’s hitting 50 percent or higher consistently and that gives him a dominant position in the race.

We can see this in the RCP running average of Biden’s support, 50.2 vs. 41.7 for Trump.

And we can see it in the the soon-to-be-published and generally more reliable 538 running average, 50.2 for Biden vs. 42.1 for Trump.

Harry Enten explains why this is so important:

“Most times when we look at polling we talk about margins. For example, former Vice President Joe Biden leads President Donald Trump by a 7 point margin in an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll out on Sunday. What that can miss, however, is that Biden’s close to 50% (49%), while Trump isn’t anywhere close (42%) in the poll.

Indeed, if you look at the average of live interview polls released since last Sunday, Biden manages to eclipse 50% (51%). That is, he has a majority for now. This is a key milestone that shouldn’t be undersold.

As I’ve noted in the past, Trump’s comeback in 2016 was made considerably easier by the fact that Democrat Hillary Clinton wasn’t polling close to 50%. The average live interview poll taken in June 2016 (when Libertarian Gary Johnson was included) had Clinton at a mere 42%. Not a single one of those polls had her even touching 50%. In fact, she never got close in the average of polls during the rest of the campaign.

Biden, meanwhile, reached at least 50% in three live interview polls this past week (ABC News/Washington Post, Monmouth University and NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist College).

When Trump closed the gap in the waning days of the 2016 campaign, he had to convince very few Clinton supporters to vote for him. Trump merely had to pick up support from those who were undecided or backing a third party candidate.

Right now, Trump’s road will be difficult if not next to impossible to win if he doesn’t take back voters who are already with Biden.”


Political Strategy Notes

If you have wished for more ads and stories about pro athletes and popular entertainers raising hell about voter suppression, check out Alex Reimer’s “LeBron James’ Voting Rights Push Could Be A Historically Significant Athlete-Led Political Campaign” at Forbes. Reimer notes, “James is forming a voting rights organization along with several other prominent Black athletes and entertainers. The group, called More Than a Vote, will go beyond traditional get-out-the-vote campaigns. It will combat voter suppression, with James using his gigantic presence on social media to shed light on attempts to restrict voting access for minorities…“Because of everything that’s going on, people are finally starting to listen to us — we feel like we’re finally getting a foot in the door,” James told the New York Times in an interview. “How long is up to us. We don’t know. But we feel like we’re getting some ears and some attention, and this is the time for us to finally make a difference…James’ efforts against voter suppression promise to be widely broadcast. But the truth is, James has enough reach on his own to make a tangible difference in public awareness. The three-time champion and four-time MVP boasts more than 136 million followers across his Twitter, Instagram and Facebook feeds. To put that in perspective, 137 million people voted in the 2016 presidential election, the NYT points out.”

A good video to share with South Carolina voters who may want to elect a new senator with consistent principles — Sen. Lindsey Graham blasts Trump and lavishly praises Biden in 2016. from a new ad by Republican Voters Against Trump:

New York Times columnist Thomas B. Edsall notes that, “in an unpublished working paper, “Sorting Apart: Partisan Polarization in the American Electorate, 1972-2016,” Stanley Feldman writes, “It’s clear that preferences have shifted significantly in a more conservative direction over this time period among Republican identifiers,” Feldman wrote, adding that contrary to those who argue that racial hostility among working class whites is the deciding factor in elections, he and his co-authors found that “It’s not the case that conservative racial issue preferences are concentrated among low-income whites. High-income Republicans are more conservative on racial issues than low-income Republicans.””

Edsall notes further, “Joe Biden’s lead over Trump has grown from 5.6 points to 8.1 points since Floyd was killed on May 25; Trump’s disapproval rating has risen and his approval level has fallen over the same period; and the Democratic advantage in the generic congressional vote has inched upward…While a leftward movement among voters, particularly on racial matters, is, at the moment, indisputable, these and other social and cultural issues remain volatile, and Republicans remain undeterred…Joe Trippi, a Democratic consultant, is thinking landslide too, but not Stephens’s landslide: ‘The more wound up we get on coronavirus and unemployment and race, the more chaos we see. If Trump is chaos and Biden is community, what will the country choose? I think a whole bunch of suburban G.O.P. women, younger G.O.P., business G.O.P. and college educated G.O.P. choose Biden and community. G.O.P. women are exhausted by the chaos.'”

In their article, “There’s A Huge Gap In How Republicans And Democrats See Discrimination” at FiveThirtyEight, Meredeith Conroy and Perry Bacon, Jr report on “findings about perceptions of discrimination and perceptions of various groups in American society, based on recent polling from the Democracy Fund + UCLA Nationscape project.” Conroy and Bacon report that “An overwhelming majority of Democrats thought black and Muslim Americans face “a great deal” or “a lot” of discrimination in America today, as opposed to “a moderate amount,” “little” or “none at all.” Perceptions of discrimination against black people have surged among all groups, including Republicans, in the wake of Floyd’s death. But the vast majority of Democrats thought that black people in America faced high levels of discrimination even before Floyd’s death.2 About half of Democrats also thought women face a lot of discrimination…In contrast, only about half of Republicans thought that black people and Muslims face high levels of discrimination, and only about a quarter thought that women do. The majority of Republicans thought those groups face “a moderate amount,” “little” or “no” discrimination at all.”

Conroy and Bacon note further that “Nearly half of Democrats expressed unfavorable views about police and evangelicals. Unfavorable views of the police have substantially increasedfrom polling before Floyd’s death,5 but Democrats’ unfavorable views of evangelicals were already very high and remain so. About a quarter of Democrats said they had unfavorable views of white Americans; a quarter said the same of undocumented immigrants,6 even though the Democratic Party is increasingly supportive of immigration and immigrants…In contrast, large shares of Republicans expressed unfavorable views of undocumented immigrants, LGBT Americans and Muslims. More than 20 percent of Republicans said that they had unfavorable views of black Americans and police, with the latter group having increased in unfavorability substantially since Floyd’s death.7

“There were also some notable differences among Democrats,” Bacon and Conroy note. “For example, Democrats under 45 were significantly more likely than those over 45 to say they had an unfavorable view of the police (54 percent compared to 38 percent). Black Democrats were more likely than white Democrats to have unfavorable views of the police (58 percent to 41 percent). Black and Hispanic Democrats were about twice as likely as white Democrats to view LGBT Americans unfavorably, and about 30 percent of both groups expressed unfavorable views of white Americans. And white Democrats, in particular, viewed evangelicals unfavorably (50 percent)…

Conroy and Bacon conclude, “When social identities are threatened (real or imagined threats, often made salient by group leaders), individuals retreat to the safety of their in-groups, and react defensively with more negative feelings toward outside groups. And given the effectiveness of in-group retreating for political outcomes, there is little chance of this changing anytime soon, at least from political leaders who stand to gain the most from these identity-based fights…The activation of social identities can have positive democratic outcomes, too. For instance, Trump’s anti-Latino rhetoric led to increased political activity from Latinos with a stronger racial identity. And as we wrote about last week, strong racial identity among black Americans leads to collective voting to defend group interests. Moreover, if a sense of shared identity can be triggered, partisans can come together to prioritize national interests…But so long as the parties remain largely distinct in terms of the group identities of their members — and how those members feel about other groups — ingroup and outgroup conflict is easily activated.”

Washington Post columnist E. J. Dionne, Jr. has this encouraging observation about Biden and his campaign for Democrats: “He has offered policy-laden critiques of Trump’s handling of covid-19, the economy and the policing issue. Later this month, those familiar with his thinking say, he’ll offer a plan for big investments in job creation. They will focus on strengthening the nation’s domestic industrial base, clean energy and caregiving to children, the elderly and the disabled…In other words, Biden is not acting as if he thinks the election is already won, and he’s not averse to big proposals. As one Biden insider notes, the former vice president’s agenda — on health care, education, climate change and policing, for example — is “much more progressive” than the programs offered by Obama in 2008 and Hillary Clinton in 2016…This doesn’t mean he’s moved “too far left.” On the contrary, the ideas he has plucked from the progressive portfolio are vote-winners, not vote-losers. Lowering the Medicare eligibility age to 60 is very popular with voters between the ages of 60 and 65. Free public college for students from families with incomes under $125,000 a year is popular, too.”


Teixeira: Biden’s Support Among Black Voters

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

Does Biden Need the “Enthusiastic Support of Black Voters”?

That’s the claim of a letter sent to the Biden campaign by 50 or so liberal organizations, who allege he will not get that enthusiastic support unless he embraces a lengthy series of demands included in their letter. These demands include reparations, defunding the police and withdrawing support for investments in community policing.

There are two things wrong with the letter’s argument. First, Biden already has sufficient black support to win the election, even though he is currently running a little behind Clinton’s 2016 pace. Moreover, recent data suggest that support is firming up (see below). The fact of the matter is that Biden is solidly ahead at the moment because he has reasonable nonwhite support and is running way ahead of Clinton among both white college and noncollege voters. He would benefit from increased black support relative to the current baseline–the more votes and the bigger margin he has, the better–but he does not “need” that to win the election.

Perhaps what the letter authors mean is that Biden cannot afford a catastrophic decline in black support and/or turnout relative to 2016. But that is not what the authors said and there is no evidence at the current time that he is risking that.

And we certainly have no evidence that embracing the demands of the letter would forestall such a decline or even increase black support much beyond where it already is. Much of what they advocate is not only not popular overall but is also not popular among black voters specifically. In contrast, the reforms Biden has already embraced are all wildly popular among black voters

Hopefully, Biden will ignore this letter and concentrate on the broad coalition he has assembled which does not fixing in the ways advocated by the letter writers.


Teixeira: Public Opinion on the Protests, Black Lives Matter and the Police

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 important to understand what public opinion is and is not saying about the protests, BLM and the police.

First, as widely understood, net favorability toward Black Lives Matter has spiked upward in the last few weeks. The public generally sees the associated protests as justified, overwhemingly condemns the killing of George Floyd and police brutality generally and is increasingly likely to see a racial bias problem in policing.

Not surprisingly, support for reforming the police and police practices is now very strong indeed, as poll after poll has shown (see graphic below for one example).

But that does not mean the public is suddenly on an anti-police vendetta and wants to defund or abolish (!) police forces. That is a view among some BLM and associated activists but it is wildly unpopular with the public (see below for a representative polling result). Even “cutting funding” for the police isn’t popular and the most anodyne formulation possible–reducing the police budget in your community to shift funding to mental health, housing and education–only garners 39 percent support vs. 60 percent opposition (Ipsos). This result no doubt reflects the fact that most people are very or somewhat satisfied with the job the policy are doing in their local community (71 percent, Monmouth).

Finally, the embrace of the Black Lives Matter by the public does not mean the embrace of what you might call the ideology of the movement, which sees the US as a white supremacist society where radical steps like defunding the police are a necessity. It reflects, rather, horror at the specific George Floyd incident and a general opposition to racism and policy brutality that is rooted in the deeply-held value that all should be treated fairly. This is shown by a recent Yougov/Economist result where people were asked about whether they had positive or negative reactions to different slogans, including Black Lives Matter and All Lives Matter. The associations with Black Lives Matter were 52 percent positive/22 percent negative. The associations with All Lives Matter were….56 percent positive/23 percent negative.

So it’s a different world out there than you find on Twitter or among activists or within elite media circles. But that world is the real one and the one where change has to take place.

I’ll give the last word to the very wise James Clyburn:

“When you allow people to use incendiary terms, we create a climate within which we can’t get much done,…‘Defund the police’ is unnecessarily confusing, I think all of us know that sound bites tend to get interpreted in all kinds of ways and if you’ve got to explain the sound bite, you’re losing the whole issue.

For me, the word defund means what Merriam-Webster says that it means. So if you’re talking about reallocating resources, say that. If you mean reimagining policing, say that. If you’re going to reform policing, say that. Don’t tell me you’re going to use a term that you know is charged — and tell me that it doesn’t mean what it says.

Nobody wants George Floyd to be remembered by a burning building — we want to remember him by reforming policing,”

Amen.


Teixeira: ‘You Live By the Sword, You Die By the Sword’ – Trump and White Noncollege Voters

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

Trump’s had a lot of bad polling news lately. But arguably the worst news of all for him is that he’s losing ground among white noncollege voters. This is despite clearly targeting his campaign toward getting more of these voters than he did in 2016 to make up for his overwhelming disadvantage among nonwhite voters and a widening gap with white college voters. But he’s not getting more of these voters, he’s getting less. This is catastrophic for his campaign if it continues.

This is a general pattern but it definitely applies to the three key Rustbelt states he has to win; Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. According to the Democracy Fund + UCLA Nationscape survey (6000 cases a week, over 110,000 since the beginning of the year, 45,000 just since April 1), Trump’s lead against Biden among white noncollege voters in Michigan and Wisconsin is only in single digits and in Pennsylvania it is less than half of what it was in 2016.

I’m not the only one to notice this. Nate Cohn in his latest New York Times analysis notes that:

“The decline in the president’s standing has been particularly pronounced among white voters without a college degree, helping to explain why the Trump campaign has felt compelled to air advertisements in Ohio and Iowa, two mostly white working-class battleground states where Mr. Trump won by nearly 10 points four years ago.

In the most recent polls, white voters without a college degree back the president by 21 points, down from 31 points in March and April and down from the 29-point lead Mr. Trump held in the final polls of registered voters in 2016.

Mr. Trump didn’t just lose support to the undecided column; Mr. Biden ticked up to an average of 37 percent among white voters without a degree. The figure would be enough to assure Mr. Biden the presidency, given his considerable strength among white college graduates. In the most recent polls, white college graduates back Mr. Biden by a 20-point margin, up four points since the spring. It’s also an eight-point improvement for the Democratic nominee since 2016, and a 26-point improvement since 2012.”

Evan Scrimshaw at Decision Desk HQ sums up the situation for Trump succinctly:

“What Biden is doing is a very tricky double, essentially. He is marrying the anti-chaos reactions of many white voters, especially those with degrees, to an immense degree while holding Obama-esque shares of working class, non-degree whites. He is winning the voters who gave the Democrats the House by upwards of 25% per CNN while holding his losses with White Non-College voters to the high teens in both NBC/WSJ and CNN. That coalition – holding the overall white margin to a near tie while winning non-white voters – is the most efficient possible coalition in the US, and either means that the South is in play (if Southern Non-College whites are moving at all to Biden) or the Rust Belt is just moving to Biden at a rapid pace (if Southern Non-college whites are staying ruby red). Either way, Trump needs to fix this or he’s done.”

Yup. It ain’t over ’til it’s over but right now Trump is in a world of trouble. You live by the sword, you die by the sword…..


Does Georgia’s Election Mess Mean Trouble for Dems in November?

A sampling of headlines in reports about Georgia’s primary election: “Georgia election ‘catastrophe’ in largely minority areas sparks investigation: Long lines, lack of voting machines and shortages of primary ballots plagued voters. (from nbcnews.com); “Primary results: Highlights from a messy election night in Georgia and 4 other states” (from CNN Politics); Voters See Chaos At Georgia Primary Elections (npr.org).

Not a good look for the Georgia GOP. As you might expect the state’s Secretary of State’s office blames the problems on an unusually-large turnout, new voting machines and, somehow, Democrats, even though Republicans control the voting process. As Kevin Collier, Cyrus Farivar, Dareh Gregorian and Ben Popken report at NBC News:

Hourslong waits, problems with new voting machines and a lack of available ballots plagued voters in majority minority counties in Georgia on Tuesday — conditions the secretary of state called “unacceptable” and vowed to investigate.

Democrats and election watchers said voting issues in a state that has been plagued for years by similar problems, along with allegations of racial bias, didn’t bode well for the November presidential election, when Georgia could be in play.

“This seems to be happening throughout Atlanta and perhaps throughout the county. People have been in line since before 7:00 am this morning,” Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, a Democrat, tweeted shortly after polls were supposed to open — and in some cases still hadn’t.

Do not hold your breath, waiting for photos of long lines and confusion at predominantly-Republican polls in GA. Kristen Clarke, president and CEO of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, a civil rights group, said “Three-quarters of voters who called with problems identified as African American.”

You may remember that Georgia was also an election problem child in 2018. As Collier, Farivar, Gregorian and Popken explain,

Voting problems also plagued Fulton County in 2018, which led to allegations of voter suppression by Democrats. The secretary of state at the time was Brian Kemp, a Republican, who wound up winning the governorship by a thin margin against Democrat Stacey Abrams. Abrams at the time called the election “rotten and rigged.”

Georgia has added 700,000 voters to the registration rolls since 2018. Massive incompetence may be the kindest description of Georgia’s curent government. As Andrea Young, executive director of the ACLU of Georgia, put it: “Whether it is incompetence or intentional voter suppression — the result is the same — Georgians denied their rights as citizens in this democracy.”

Since Georgia is not only a swing state in the presidential election, but also has two senate seats in play, Democrats can not be blamed for thinking the worst, and their party is challenged to respond with a robust legal, media and GOTV strategy.