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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

The Rural Voter

The new book White Rural Rage employs a deeply misleading sensationalism to gain media attention. You should read The Rural Voter by Nicholas Jacobs and Daniel Shea instead.

Read the memo.

There is a sector of working class voters who can be persuaded to vote for Democrats in 2024 – but only if candidates understand how to win their support.

Read the memo.

The recently published book, Rust Belt Union Blues, by Lainey Newman and Theda Skocpol represents a profoundly important contribution to the debate over Democratic strategy.

Read the Memo.

Democrats should stop calling themselves a “coalition.”

They don’t think like a coalition, they don’t act like a coalition and they sure as hell don’t try to assemble a majority like a coalition.

Read the memo.

The American Establishment’s Betrayal of Democracy

The American Establishment’s Betrayal of Democracy The Fundamental but Generally Unacknowledged Cause of the Current Threat to America’s Democratic Institutions.

Read the Memo.

Democrats ignore the central fact about modern immigration – and it’s led them to political disaster.

Democrats ignore the central fact about modern immigration – and it’s led them to political disaster.

Read the memo.

 

The Daily Strategist

June 23, 2024

Longest General Election Ever Begins

One phase of the 2024 presidential campaign came to an end while another very long one began, as I noted at New York:

Without a great deal of fanfare, Joe Biden and Donald Trump each clinched their parties’ presidential nominations in the March 12 caucuses and primaries. This sets up what is officially the longest general-election campaign ever, a 238-day marathon (2000 and 2004 were a day shorter) that will seem even longer because it’s a rematch between two universally known presidents.

Biden and Trump became “putative” nominees a week earlier when their last intraparty opponents, Dean Phillips and Nikki Haley, respectively, dropped out of contention. At this point, they are “presumptive” nominees pending the formal designation made at their national conventions (July 15-18 in Milwaukee for Republicans, August 19-22 in Chicago for Democrats). Biden has won 2,107 of the 2,130 Democratic delegates allocated so far (1,968 were needed for the nomination) with “uncommitted” running second with 20. Trump has won 1,241 of the 1,347 Republican delegates allocated to date (1,215 were needed for the nomination) with Nikki Haley second at 94.

The final day of the two nominating contests was a bit short on drama. Hawaii’s Democrats gave seven of 22 delegates to “uncommitted” after 29 percent of caucusgoers opted to make that gesture aimed at pushing Biden to support a permanent cease-fire in Gaza. But in Washington state, where a stronger protest vote had been expected, only 7.5 percent of primary voters went “uncommitted” (with 79 percent of ballots counted) and Biden was winning all 92 delegates at stake.

Former candidate Haley managed double-digit showings in two March 12 primaries in Georgia (13 percent) and Washington (22 percent), though keep in mind that both states allowed Democrats and independents to participate in the GOP contest and many of the votes were cast early, before Haley suspended her candidacy.

Because there have been rumblings in both parties about a hypothetical convention revolt against the presumptive nominee (Biden owing to electability jitters and Trump due to his legal problems), it’s worth noting that Trump’s delegates are “bound” to him by party rules (and can be liberated only by a candidate withdrawal or a two-thirds convention vote), while Biden’s are his strictly as a matter of moral obligation. Both conventions will, however, be totally wired by the campaigns of the two nominees. By the time these summer coronations roll around, Biden and Trump will be two of the most thoroughly known quantities in American political history.

 


Where Dems Can Win Votes with Improved Voter Registration

Some stats from “How voter registration rules discourage some Americans from voting: An explainer and research roundup” by Denise-Marie Ordway at Journalist’s Resource:

In 2022, 69% of U.S. citizens aged 18 years and older were registered to vote, according to a report the U.S. Census Bureau released last year. Registration rates ranged from 61% in North Carolina to 83% in Oregon.

The four most populous states — California, Texas, Florida and New York — had some of the lowest registration rates: 67%, 65%, 63% and 66%, respectively.

White U.S. citizens are much more likely to be registered to vote than citizens of other racial and ethnic groups. Nationally, about 71% of white adult citizens, 64% of Black adult citizens, 60% of Asian adult citizens and 58% of Hispanic adult citizens were registered to vote in November 2022, according to Census Bureau estimates.

Older adult citizens are more likely to be registered than younger ones. While 77% of citizens aged 65 years and older were registered to vote in November 2022, 63% of citizens aged 25 to 34 and 49% of citizens aged 18 to 24 were.

Voter registration rates differed by job status in November 2022. For example, 60% of unemployed adult citizens reporting being registered compared with 72% of self-employed adult citizens and 79% with government jobs.

Adult citizens with lower incomes are less likely to register to vote than those with higher incomes. For example, 83% of adult citizens with family incomes of $150,000 per year or higher were registered to vote in November 2022. Meanwhile, 58% of adult citizens with family incomes of $15,000 to $19,999 were.

The voter registration rate among Hispanic adult citizens in November 2022 was lowest in Mississippi, at 23%, and highest in Minnesota, at 75%.

In Iowa, 76% of white adult citizens were registered to vote, compared with 41% of Black adult citizens, 45% of Asian adult citizens and 58% of Hispanic adult citizens.

In 10 states, fewer than half of Black adult citizens were registered to vote in November 2022. In 15 states, fewer than half of Asian adult citizens were.

In Florida, younger voters and racial and ethnic minorities were more likely to have their voter registration applications put “on hold,” meaning they needed to correct errors and provide additional information before their applications can be processed.

Although there are no shockers in any of these statistics, they do suggest that Democrats can improve their prospects with specific demographic groups in places with a little extra effort.


Teixeira: Nonwhite Working Class Bails Out on Democrats

The following article by Ruy Teixeira, senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, politics editor of The Liberal Patriot newsletter and co-author with John B. Judis of the new Book “Where Have All the Democrats Gone?,” is cross-posted from The Liberal Patriot:

Cast your mind back to those heady days of 2012 when Barack Obama vanquished Mitt Romney and won a second term in the White House. In that election, Obama carried nonwhite working-class (noncollege) voters by a massive 67 points, while losing white college graduates by 7 points. That means Obama did 74 points betteramong the nonwhite working class than among white college graduates.

In the next two presidential elections, that differential steadily narrowed as Democrats did worse among nonwhite working-class voters even as they improved among white college graduates. In 2020, Biden carried the nonwhite working class by 48 points (19 points less than Obama did in 2012) while carrying white college graduates by 9 points (16 points better than Obama). That cut the Democrats’ positive differential between these two groups almost in half, down to 39 points.

Now it’s Biden running for a second term and, astonishingly, that positive differential may have entirely disappeared. According to the just-released New York Times/Siena poll, Biden is actually doing worse among the nonwhite working class, carrying them by a mere six points, than among white college graduates, where he enjoys a 15 point advantage over Trump. Amazing. There is perhaps no better illustration of the Democrats’ transformation into a Brahmin Left party, beloved by the educated but increasingly viewed with suspicion by the working classes of all races.

The Times data allow us to dig into the attitudinal differences that currently exist between white college graduates and the nonwhite working class and help explain these trends.

1. Biden’s job approval. Biden’s job approval among the nonwhite working class is a dreadful 34 percent. Among white college graduates it’s a comparatively healthy 47 percent. The nonwhite working class is actually closer to the white working class’ assessment of Biden (28 percent approval) than to white college graduates’ view of Biden.

2. Trump favorability. Trump has a 44 percent favorability rating among nonwhite working-class voters. That’s lower than the 55 percent rating among the white working class but still closer to that rating than Trump’s 29 percent favorability among white college graduates.

3. Personality and temperament to be an effective president. White and nonwhite working-class voters are very close on the assessment of Biden (42 percent vs. 46 percent say Biden has what it takes to be an effective president), way lower than the 63 percent thumbs up from white college grads. And on Trump’s capabilities, the two working-class sectors are almost identical (48 percent vs. 47 percent think Trump can do the job), way higher than the 29 percent among white college voters who agree.

4. Assessments of the economy. About three-fifths (59 percent) of the nonwhite working class characterizes current economic conditions as “poor.” That’s identical with views among the white working class and way more negative than among white college voters, only 38 percent of whom believe the economy is that bad.

In terms of whether the economy is better or worse than a year ago, a mere 15 percent of nonwhite working-class voters believe the economy has gotten better while 51 percent believe it has gotten worse. That’s close to white working-class voters, where 21 percent say better and 42 percent say worse. But for white college graduates views are much sunnier: 32 percent better and 29 percent worse.

Looking back further, the nonwhite working class deems the economy worse rather than better than four years ago by 67 percent to 12 percent, quite similar to the white working class at 74 percent worse/16 percent better. That compares to white college grads at 50 percent worse/30 percent better.

5. Personal assessments. Just 12 percent of the the nonwhite working class are willing to say that Biden’s policies have helped them personally. That’s actually slightly less than the 14 percent of the white working class who are willing to say the same thing. Both sectors of the working class trail white college voters, who are much higher (if hardly enthusiastic) at 28 percent on this measure.

An even starker contrast is on assessments of personal financial situation. Over half of nonwhite working-class voters describe their financial situation as only fair (33 percent) or poor (23 percent), as do white working-class voters (33 percent only fair/20 percent poor). But only a third of white college grads feel that way (27 percent only fair/just 7 percent poor).

6. Cost of living. Specifically asked to rate “prices for food and consumer goods” as an aspect of the current economy, 70 percent of the nonwhite working class assesses the situation as poor, as does 71 percent of the white working class, while white college graduates at 54 percent are significantly less negative. The same pattern is evident on gas prices. Fifty-five percent of both nonwhite and white working-class voters characterize the situation as poor, compared to only 35 percent of white college grads.

This convergence of views between the nonwhite and white working class, and their divergence from those of white college graduates, helps explain the trends we have been seeing. Clearly, the Biden years have been experienced by nonwhite working-class voters in a different and less pleasant way than they have been by white college graduates. As the data reviewed here suggest, a lot of this is about the economy. But there are other factors.

As I noted last week, as the Democrats have moved to the left on sociocultural issues, they are increasingly diverging from the comfort zone of the moderate-to-conservative supermajority of nonwhite working-class voters. Democratic positions in these areas are, however, congenial to white college graduates who have rewarded Democrats with increasing support. The accelerating “Brahminization” of the party is the result.

Can Democrats escape the negative effects of this Brahminization? It’s certainly possible though oddly their chances will be best in a relatively low turnout election, where their educated, engaged voters are more important and working-class voters less. And it is mathematically possible for Democrats to drive up their support among white college grads sufficiently to counterbalance whatever losses they might experience among working-class voters. Mathematically possible but not easy.

To get a sense of how heavy the lift could be here, consider a scenario where both the white and nonwhite working class move away from the Democrats by 10 margin points—slightly more than indicated by the Times data among white working-class voters but far less than indicated among nonwhite working-class voters. This can be simulated using States of Change data that allow both nonwhite and white working-class preferences by detailed subgroup (race, gender, age) nationally and within states to be estimated for 2020 and then moved to the right by the specified amount. Those adjusted estimates (with all other preferences held constant at their 2020 levels) are then applied to the projected structure of the eligible electorate in 2024 and subsequent elections.

In 2024, this shift toward Republicans among both nonwhite and white working-class voters produces a solid 312-226 GOP electoral vote majority. The states that move into the GOP column are Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Nevada by 3 points, Arizona and Georgia by 4 points and Wisconsin by 5 points—all six of the key swing states for the coming election.

Republicans also carry the popular vote, albeit by just a point. Thereafter, the GOP starts to lose the popular vote but continues to win the electoral vote through 2040. Again, the Democrats can conceivably counter these—or any other losses—by a sufficiently improved performance among other parts of the electorate. But it does give you a sense of the working class-sized hole the Democrats may be digging for themselves.

It might be worthwhile for Democrats to start seriously thinking about how they can de-Brahminize their party. The rewards could be great—and the penalties for not doing so even greater.


Political Strategy Notes

“The emerging Democratic strategy is two-fold,” David Weigel writes at Semafor. “One: They need to counteract “Trump amnesia,” the catchall term for voters forgetting aspects of his presidency that they hated in real time. The top of Biden’s remarks, invoking the Jan. 6 riots and how Republicans had memory-holed them, was part of that….Outside of California’s central valley, where the House GOP’s super PAC spent money to help Rep. David Valadao beat a challenger who attacked his vote for Trump’s post-Jan. 6 impeachment, the party was nominating MAGA candidates who kept insisting that the 2020 election was stolen. As Trump locked up the nomination this week, Arizona U.S. Senate candidate Kari Lake was picking up support from GOP leaders, ensuring that the swing state’s Republican ticket would be led by two candidates who’d lost it….The second part of the strategy looks forward — a people-versus-the-powerful message, portraying Trump as a catspaw for right-wing economic interests….“I wish there was more coverage of the Trump record of tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy,” said North Carolina Rep. Wiley Nickel, a Democrat leaving the House this year after Republicans re-drew the state’s map and made his seat unwinnable. “That’s their record. If Republicans have unified government, Social Security and Medicare will be on the chopping block.”….Biden worked that angle on Thursday, repeatedly, calling out United Auto Workers President Shawn Fain in the gallery and highlighting the GOP’s least popular economic policies. As Semafor’s Shelby Talcott reports, the campaign is increasingly focusing on Project 2025, the Heritage Foundation’s compendium of policy and personnel advice for the next Republican president. Hillary Clinton’s unsuccessful 2016 campaign separated Trump from the rest of the GOP, citing then-House Speaker Paul Ryan as a character witness. Biden is binding them together.”

Check out the Biden campaign’s first ad, post SOTU:

In “DLCC unveils ambitious “Multi-Cycle” strategy for long-term democratic dominance,” Stacy M. Brown writes at insight news.com: “The Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee (DLCC) on Monday, Feb. 26, revealed an expansive strategy memo, charting a multifaceted plan to venture into historically Republican strongholds and solidify Democratic power over the next decade. Departing from the typical focus on immediate elections, Democrats are now adopting a forward-thinking approach to counter the historical trend of losing gains in subsequent cycles….Distinguishing itself as the sole party committee investing in multi-cycle victories, the DLCC said it aims to tackle this challenge head-on. Officials said the strategy is to secure immediate electoral triumphs and establish a lasting infrastructure that will fortify Democratic influence for years to come. Investments made in 2024 will lay the foundation to claim the majority in state legislatures throughout the decade, officials declared….The DLCC stressed the urgency of countering the Republicans’ successful long-term game, citing underhanded tactics, gerrymandering, and substantial financial investments that have consistently allowed them to dominate state legislatures. To thwart these efforts, the DLCC advocates for significant resources, investments, and a clear strategy for sustained power….The DLCC also asserted its capability to secure immediate electoral gains while strategically building Democratic power over multiple election cycles. Officials pointed to recent elections reflecting this approach’s success, with state Democrats now controlling 41 of the 99 state legislative chambers, marking a significant shift in political power.”

Brown adds, “As the DLCC gears up for the 2024 cycle with its largest-ever $60 million budget, officials outlined a bold, evidence-based plan to achieve majority control in 50 chambers by 2030. The multifaceted strategy includes:

  • Breaking Republican supermajorities.
  • Expanding into traditionally Republican territory.
  • Setting the stage for new Democratic trifectas.
  • Combating gerrymandering.
  • Tracking other races that influence power balances.
  • Taking advantage of special elections.

Specifically, the DLCC’s multi-cycle strategy targets states like Kansas, North Carolina, and Wisconsin to break or prevent Republican supermajorities. The committee has already invested in Wisconsin and North Carolina as part of its battleground initiatives. Additionally, the DLCC aims to gradually chip away at Republican trifectas in states like Georgia, which is identified as a prime location for political change in 2024….The DLCC stressed the importance of holding key seats in states that don’t align gubernatorial and legislative elections in the same year. This strategic move allows Democrats to establish governing trifectas over multiple cycles. With half of its Senate seats up for election in 2024, Pennsylvania serves as a crucial target for the DLCC, aiming to secure a trifecta in 2026 alongside a competitive gubernatorial race….“With new redistricting maps decided by 2030 elections and in order to fundamentally transform the balance of power in states, we need a long-term strategy to break into territory that Republicans have long dominated,” DLCC President Heather Williams said in an email. “That’s exactly what this plan does. The DLCC is the only party committee tasked with working cycle over cycle to build Democratic power in state legislatures. Our 2024 target map includes states like Kansas, North Carolina, Georgia, and Wisconsin – states where we must build infrastructure and position Democrats to gradually chip away at Republican power. 2024 is the year of the states, and what happens this year will shape the arc of Democratic power in the states for the decade. Today, Republicans have been put on notice that the DLCC has the plan to win not only the year, but also the decade and decades to come.”


Why No Labels Is Moving Ahead With No Candidates

Since J.P. Green covered the SOTU Address and response, I’ll end the week with a report on the potentially significant maneuverings of the No Labels organization, which I wrote up at New York:

The nonpartisan group No Labels has announced a decision by a group of “delegates” from around the country to move forward with a 2024 presidential ticket, despite having no discernible candidates lined up.

Former Dallas mayor Mike Rawlings, the chairman of the virtual convention that made this decision on Friday, put out a statement saying: “They voted near unanimously to continue our 2024 project and to move immediately to identify candidates to serve on the Unity presidential ticket.” At some point in the next couple of months, assuming the group can identify qualified candidates to fill out the “unity ticket,” it is expected to reconvene the delegates for an up-or-down vote that will conclude the deliberative process. Says Rawlings: “Now that No Labels has received the go-ahead from our delegates, we’ll be accelerating our candidate outreach and announcing the process for how candidates will be selected for the Unity Ticket on Thursday, March 14.”

The political logic of this two-step process is pretty simple: The idea of a bipartisan “third option” has always been more popular than any actual ticket. A poll from Monmouth last summer showed support for such a ticket dropping by half when specific candidates (in that case, West Virginia senator Joe Manchin and former Utah governor Jon Huntsman, both No Labels leaders) were identified. And just this week, Third Way, a centrist Democratic group that has been relentlessly warning that No Labels may pave the way to a second Trump administration, released new polling with the same bottom line:

“Only a third of the electorate would even entertain voting for an unnamed No Labels ticket. (Again, we tested this before we named Haley.) That recedes quickly when details are added …

“When we asked about a third-party ticket led by Nikki Haley, we found it to be non-competitive. Indeed, it performs worse than an unnamed moderate, independent ticket:

“Nikki Haley has 80% name ID and boosts a better net approval rating than either Biden or Trump. Despite her strengths, a No Labels ticket with Haley as the nominee gets just 9% of the vote, losing badly to Trump and Biden and trailing even RFK Jr. (13%). Thus, a No Labels ticket led by one of the most well-known and respected GOP leaders available is more likely to finish fourth than win a single electoral vote.”

Nikki Haley, of course, spent a good part of her last week as an active presidential candidate disclaiming any interest in a No Labels candidacy, reminding everyone that she is a lifelong “conservative Republican” who would never consider running on a ticket with any kind of Democrat. But if her name isn’t capable of mobilizing support for a unity ticket, whose would? No one comes to mind.

The presidential general election has just entered a new phase, with Joe Biden and Donald Trump dispatching their final opponents on Super Tuesday and the incumbent throwing down the gauntlet in a State of the Union Address that seemed to galvanize Democrats. This contest is too volatile to tell exactly how a future No Labels ticket would affect the outcome, though Third Way and other Democrats will continue to warn of its perils. For now, it does make sense for No Labels to make every effort to show support for a no-name presidential ticket before taking the final plunge, even if it knows an identified ticket is likely to lose altitude once the blanks have been filled in.

At the moment, No Labels has ballot access in 16 states: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, North Carolina, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Utah. ABC News reports the group believes it is still on a trajectory to secure a spot on the ballot in 33 states ultimately. It’s a high-stakes, dangerous game No Labels is playing, and there remains a chance it will flip the board at the crucial moment and back off the unity-ticket plans. Everyone connected to No Labels claims to be revolted by the idea of playing spoiler, and most say they’re particularly horrified by the idea of Trump as the 47th president. But the lack of empirical data that their “third option” would actually work with real candidates is a problem these self-styled “problem-solvers” need to address definitively very soon.


President Biden’s SOTU Shames GOP

I wish every swing voter viewed President Biden’s State of the Union address. More likely only a fraction of them tuned in. Usually the annual speech is a glorified laundry list. But not this time. This time President Biden seized the opportunity to confront the GOP’s bullshit meme that he is too old to be a strong leader, as if his tangible accomplishments weren’t enough to disprove it. The President shredded the ageist bigotry, not only with the focus and substance of his remarks, but also with his alert and energetic speech delivery. The gaffe-counters were undoubtedly disappointed.

The President was supremely confident in almost every sentence. At several points he stopped to bandy with hecklers, even challenging the Republicans in a good-humored way when they weren’t expecting it. They appeared toothless and stunned by Biden’s confidence. The most fun was when he nailed them for showing up at ribbon-cutting ceremonies for infrastructure projects they voted against. The best they could manage was howls and groans, while their Speaker grimaced and made smirky little faces up on the podium behind the President, as Vice President Harris stood and applauded joyfully.

President Biden channeled some of the “Is that all you got?” attitude that FDR deployed so successfully as he rebuilt America. Biden revived the spirit that empowered the visionary leadership of JFK and get-it-done determination of LBJ. The Democrats are back from their long nap. I hope President Biden gets a bump in his approval ratings. He certainly deserves it. No matter what happens, Dems should be assured that he did his best.

As for the GOP’s official response to the SOTU, I doubt Sen. Katie Britt’s whispery and breathless rant will get much traction. She trotted out a couple of cherry-picked immigration horror stories, and that was pretty much it. Regarding the media coverage of Biden’s SOTU, so far it is less than impressive. Speeches don’t have all that much shelf-life anyway.

Enough gush. Here’s the the very dry C-SPAN summary, and those who haven’t yet viewed the SOTU can click on this link to watch full video of the speech :

President Joe Biden delivered his 2024 State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress. Throughout the speech, he drew a contrast between himself and former President Trump, the leading challenger against Mr. Biden in the 2024 presidential election. The president addressed a range of domestic issues, including his record and plans for manufacturing and jobs, safeguarding reproductive rights, taxing billionaires, making health care more affordable, eliminating junk fees, and calling on Congress to pass a bipartisan border bill. He also discussed international issues, such as stopping Russian President Vladimir Putin’s aggression against Ukraine and delivering more aid to Palestinians amid the Israel-Hamas war.

All in all, it was a very good night for the Biden-Harris campaign.


Haley Doesn’t Understand Her Own Party

Again, I don’t regularly share posts here that are strictly about Republicans, but it’s important that Democrats don’t share Nikki Haley’s misconceptions about the GOP, which I addressed at New York:

After being trounced by Donald Trump on Super Tuesday, Nikki Haley announced on Wednesday morning that she is suspending her presidential campaign. Haley outperformed low expectations in the 2024 race. Initially, she didn’t stand out in a crowded field of candidates who hoped Trump would self-destruct or that Republicans would return to the old-school conservatism of Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush. But as other candidates (notably Ron DeSantis and her fellow South Carolinian Tim Scott) flailed around in Iowa trying to resurrect archaic strategies for winning the nomination, Haley timed her brief moment in the spotlight well. She survived a demolition derby among non-Trump candidates via strong debate performances and an increasingly explicit appeal to Republicans who cherished their party’s past and dreaded its MAGA future.

But Haley never resolved her perpetually ambiguous attitude toward her vanquisher, promising to support him in the general election even if he’s a convicted felon yet criticizing him in increasingly sharp and personal terms as her own campaign lost steam. The ambiguity continued in her announcement of that campaign’s end; she refused to “endorse” Trump right now but pointedly observed that she has always backed her party’s nominees. Her demand that Trump “earn” the votes of her supporters doesn’t make much sense; half of them are Biden supporters, and the other half want Trump to become somebody else….

So despite her habit of congratulating herself regularly for the courage she has exhibited in promoting her own career, Haley is ending her campaign in a state of strange irresolution. She might have made her peace with Trump earlier and climbed aboard his bandwagon, perhaps even becoming his running mate and heir apparent. Conversely, she seemed to have the money to continue losing to Trump in post–Super Tuesday primaries, for a while at least. And she definitely could have made a very big splash by offering to head up a unity ticket sponsored by the nonpartisan No Labels organization, which may be deciding this very week whether to run a candidate for president. Instead, she’s just going away, surely leaving some of her backers wondering what Haley 2024 was all about.

Perhaps, as David Freedlander’s recent foray into Nikki-land for New York suggests, Haley shares the delusion of some of her core supporters that her campaign represents a righteous remnant of Goldwater-Reagan conservatives who will recapture the Republican Party when the temporary madness of the MAGA movement melts away. It’s often forgotten that Haley originally emerged from the right-wing DeMint-Sanford wing of the South Carolina Republican Party and won her first gubernatorial race as the protégé of Sarah Palin. As she insisted in slapping aside overtures from No Labels, she’s always viewed herself as a “conservative Republican,” not any sort of moderate. And in her brief announcement ending her campaign, she gave shout-outs to the drab agenda of fiscal discipline, term limits, and national-security hawkishness that characterized the conservative movement before Trump came along and blew up “entitlement reform” and “forever wars” as the unpopular causes they undoubtedly are.

Nikki Haley would be well advised to adjust to the evolution of her party or to leave it. Instead, she is suspending her political career along with her campaign, and it’s anybody’s guess if she knows where she is going next.


Political Strategy Notes

“In 11 states, felons lose their voting rights indefinitely for some crimes, or require a governor’s pardon for voting rights to be restored,” Clark Merrefield writes at Journalist’s Resource. Felons “face an additional waiting period after completion of sentence (including parole and probation) or require additional action before voting rights can be restored,” according to research from the National Conference of State Legislatures.

  • Those 11 strictest states are Alabama, Arizona, Delaware, Florida, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, Nebraska, Tennessee, Virginia and Wyoming, according to the NCSL. Florida “disenfranchises more returning citizens than any other state,” write the authors of a January 2023 paper in the Vanderbilt Law Review.
  • There are 14 states where people convicted of felonies lose the right to vote while incarcerated, as well as while completing probation or parole, according to the NCSL. These states are Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
  • There are 23 states where people convicted of felonies lose the right to vote only while incarcerated, according to the NCSL, with the right automatically reinstated after time served. These states are California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah and Washington.
  • People convicted of felonies in the District of Columbia, Maine and Vermont do not lose their voting rights and can vote while incarcerated.
  • In some states, people convicted of a felony can vote in the state where they live even if they wouldn’t be eligible in the state where they were convicted. Journalists covering this topic should consult legislation and reach out to legal experts to understand their state rules for restoring voting rights. For a quick look at restoring voting rights for people with criminal convictions, check this U.S. Department of Justice state-by-state guide“.

Further into the article, Merrefield adds, “More than 4 million people in the U.S. are barred from voting because of a felony conviction, according to estimates from The Sentencing Project, a nonprofit organization that advocates for “effective and humane responses to crime.” News outlets commonly cite reports and policy briefs from The Sentencing Project, and their data is used in academic research, including in one of the papers featured below….Over the past quarter century, about half of state legislatures have moved to restore voting rights to those disenfranchised due to a felony conviction….“Since 1997, 26 states and the District of Columbia have expanded voting rights to people living with felony convictions,” according to an October 2023 report from The Sentencing Project. “As a result, over 2 million Americans have regained the right to vote.”….we have gathered and summarized six studies that explore demographic trends in felony disenfranchisement as well as how felony disenfranchisement affects political engagement and electoral democracy in U.S. states. The research roundup is followed by story ideas and interview questions for journalists….The findings show …

  • Public health outcomes tend to be worse in states where democratic processes are affected by policies such as felony disenfranchisement.
  • People are more likely to support felony disenfranchisement when they express attitudes aligned with xenophobia and when they support policies that would restrict immigration and reduce government funding for public programs.
  • Felony disenfranchisement is relatively higher where Black populations also exhibit higher rates of depressive symptoms.
  • Restoring voting rights to people convicted of felonies is unlikely to meaningfully affect election results — but those who have their voting rights restored tend to feel they personally have more of a say in how their state governments operate.

Kyle Kondik shares some, thoughts on the Super Tuesday results at Sabato’s Crystal Ball: “we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention a big political development on Tuesday that had nothing to do with Super Tuesday: Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ) announced that she would not seek a second term—arguably 2024’s most important remaining big candidate decision for the Senate, barring something unexpected down the line. Sinema, whose election as a Democrat was a significant moment in Arizona’s transition from red state to purple state, left the Democrats following the 2022 election, although she continued to caucus with them. Sinema, who upset the left during her term, may have lost a primary to Rep. Ruben Gallego (D, AZ-3), who is on track to be the Democratic nominee. Sinema is thus the second straight occupant of this seat, following Republican Jeff Flake, to serve just a single term and retire at least partially because of base problems (Flake probably would have lost a primary in 2018 had he run). Gallego is now set up for a general election against, most likely, 2022 gubernatorial nominee Kari Lake (R) in a race that remains a Toss-up. On balance, this is probably a good development for Gallego, although it’s not completely obvious how a three-person general election (including Sinema) would have worked out. Sinema almost certainly would have finished in third, which is probably why she’s not running now. The two most recent nonpartisan Arizona polls showed Sinema having different impacts on the race: A Noble Predictive Insights poll from last month showed Gallego leading Lake by 10 points in a head to head battle but only up 3 in a three-way race, so Gallego was clearly doing better without Sinema in the race. However, an Emerson College/The Hill/Nexstar poll, also from last month, showed Gallego up 7 in the two-way and 6 in the three-way, effectively the same-sized lead.”

Miles Bryan and Noel King explain “What Biden could do to bring grocery prices down” at Vox: “So what can the Biden administration actually do about high food prices and shrinking packages?….“While the government can’t necessarily control the prices retail puts on stickers, we can give more money to low-income people to deal with those higher prices,” Elizabeth Pancotti, a strategic advisor at the progressive think tank the Groundwork Collaborative, told Today, Explained co-host Noel King….The Biden administration also is moving to make the meat and grocery industries more competitive, and therefore cheaper for consumers. They’ve even opened up a joint task force between the FTC and Department of Justice to investigate unfair and illegal pricing….Elizabeth Pancotti: “Just last week we actually found out that the Federal Trade Commission is suing to block the $25 billion merger deal between the grocery store giants Kroger and Albertsons. This had been kind of rumored in the news that the FTC was considering it….This deal was announced, about a year and a half ago, and some state attorneys general have already sued to say that this merger would make grocery markets less competitive in certain regions and certain states. But now the Federal Trade Commission has sued to block the merger entirely across the entire country….And then there is the meat industry. For beef, pork, and poultry, there are about six players that control between half and 75 percent of the market. But this wasn’t always the case. The industry has become highly consolidated over the last 30 to 40 years, and that has kind of two big effects….There’s actually a law on the books about how companies can charge different prices depending on the size of their buyer, and so it’s much cheaper to manufacture 100 bags of Doritos for every single Walmart store in America. You’ve got an economy of scale there that brings down Frito-Lay’s price. You probably really want Walmart to buy a lot of Doritos from you if you’re Frito-Lay. And so you might give them a discount above and beyond how much cheaper it is for you to make that outsized number of bags of Doritos. That’s illegal under the Robinson-Patman Act.”


Super Tuesday’s Good News for Dems

Outside of President Biden’s sweep of states in which he was on the ballot, probably the best Super Tuesday news for Democrats came from North Carolina, where a deeply-flawed Republican won his party’s nomination for Governor. As Aaron Blake explains at WaPo, “In what may be the nation’s marquee governor’s race, the GOP overwhelmingly nominated Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson. Robinson’s past statements make some of these flawed candidates look like mainstream Republicans. He has:

  • attacked school shooting victims and questioned whether the Las Vegas massacre was real.
  • suggested 9/11 might have been an inside job and that the moon landing might have been faked.
  • repeatedly employed antisemitic tropes.
  • suggested Black Americans should pay reparations rather than receive them.
  • repeatedly derided women in offensive terms — and much, much more.”

If N.C. Democrats can’t hold the Governor’s mansion, they might replace Florida’s Dems as the least effective mega-state party in the U.S.

Texas Dems also have reason to be optimistic, having nominated the mediagenic Colin Allred to take on Ted Cruz, who may be the most vulnerable Republican U. S. Senator of the ballot in November. As Eric Bradner notes at CNN Politics, “But Texas, along with Florida, might represent Democrats’ best chance of going on offense under the 2024 Senate map….Allred, a former NFL player who first won his Dallas-area seat by ousting a Republican incumbent in a hard-fought 2018 race, has focused on health care — including his support for the Affordable Care Act and abortion rights. Allred is also a prolific fundraiser, outraising Cruz $4.8 million to $3.4 million in 2023’s fourth quarter and ending the year with $10.1 million in the bank to Cruz’s $6.2 million.” Allred’s toughest challenge may be navigating the gun safety issue, which is especially difficult in Texas. So far, he has played a competent hand. Having just beaten a much-respected Latino progressive Roland Guttierrez, Allred must also strive to unify his party.

With 12-term congressman Rep. Adam’s Schiff’s primary victory in the U.S. senate race, California Democrats will probably hold the Senate seat vacated by the death of Dianne Feinstein and now held by seat-warmer Laphonza Butler. Republican Steve Garvey, who has equivocated regarding his support for Trump, did finish ahead of Reps. Katie Porter and Barbara Lee, but Schiff’s victory bodes well for Democrats, “in a state where Democrats outnumber Republicans nearly 2-1.” Schiff is also a formidable debater and a hefty majority of those who voted for Porter and Lee will likely cast ballots for Schiff in the Fall. But he has to reach out to Lee and Porter to help heal lingering scars and get the full benefit of their active support.

Trump’s predictable romp in every state but Vermont, which Nikki Haley won, is tempered by the quickening pace of his legal problems. Barring a major economic downturn, widespread discontent of ‘never-trump” Republicans should work to President Biden’s advantage in the months ahead. A statistically-significant share of traditional Republican conservatives will likely vote for President Biden and many others will simply not vote at all. President Biden’s job one in the months ahead is to minimize the percentage of Democratic voters who stay at home or vote for third party candidates. That project merits a dedicated campaign task force. He must also make sure his campaign prepares and broadcasts video clips and ads that demonstrate his energy and lucidity on priority issues — alongside video that shows Trump bragging about his destroying reproductive freedom, and showcasing Trump’s disjointed gaffes. If President Biden can pull this off, it should help down ballot Democratic candidates do well. An eloquent SOTU on Thursday, punctuated with vision and vigor, would be a good start.


Teixeira: Dems’ “What, Me Worry?” Approach to Losing Working Class Voters Invites Disaster

The following article by Ruy Teixeira, senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, politics editor of The Liberal Patriot newsletter and co-author with John B. Judis of the new Book “Where Have All the Democrats Gone?,” is cross-posted from The Liberal Patriot:

The Democrats seem to have a “What, me worry?” take on their ongoing loss of working-class (noncollege) voters. That take has several components: white working-class voters who support Trump/Republicans are racist reactionaries who Democrats can’t reach; nonwhite working-class voters who vote Republican are just voting their ideology and so too are beyond persuasion by Democrats; working-class voters are declining as a share of voters over time (and the college-educated are increasing) so the Democrats’ problems will solve themselves; and trying to reach persuadable working-class voters by moving to the center would alienate left progressives and be a net vote-loser.

None of these views are correct.

1. Claim: white working-class voters who support Trump/Republicans are racist reactionaries who Democrats can’t reach. This assumes white working-class voters who vote Republican or would consider doing are all cut from the same reactionary, super-conservative cloth. Not so; many can reasonably be characterized as persuadable. Consider the 2016 Trump vote.

When analysts sifted through the wreckage of Democratic performance in 2016 trying to understand where all the Trump voting had come from, some key themes emerged. One was geographical. Across county-level studies, it was clear that low educational levels among whites was a very robust predictor of shifts toward Trump. These studies also indicated that counties that swung toward Trump tended to be dependent on low-skill jobs, relatively poor performers on a range of economic measures and had local economies particularly vulnerable to automation and offshoring. Finally, there was strong evidence that Trump-swinging counties tended to be literally “sick” in the sense that their inhabitants had relatively poor physical health and high mortality due to alcoholism, drug abuse, and suicide.

The picture was more complicated when it came to individual level characteristics related to Trump voting, especially Obama-Trump voting. There were a number of correlates with Trump voting. They included some aspects of economic populism—opposition to cutting Social Security and Medicare, suspicion of free trade and trade agreements, taxing the rich—as well as traditional populist attitudes like anti-elitism and mistrust of experts. But the star of the show, so to speak, was a variable labelled “racial resentment” by political scientists, which many studies showed bore a strengthened relationship to Republican presidential voting in 2016.

This variable is a scale created from questions like: “Irish, Italian, Jewish, and many other minorities overcame prejudice and worked their way up. Blacks should do the same without any special favors.” The variable is widely and uncritically employed by political scientists to indicate racial animus despite the obvious problem that statements such as these correspond closely to a generic conservative view of avenues to social mobility. And indeed political scientists Riley Carney and Ryan Enos have shown that responses to questions like these change very little if you substitute “Nepalese” or “Lithuanians” for blacks. That implies the questions that make up the scale tap views that are not at all specific to blacks. Carney and Enos term these views “just world belief” which sounds quite a bit different from racial resentment.

But in the aftermath of the Trump election, researchers continued to use the same scale with the same name and the same interpretation with no caveats. The strong relationship of the scale to Trump voting was proof, they argued, that Trump support, including vote-switching from Obama to Trump, was simply a matter of activating underlying racism and xenophobia. Imagine though how these studies might have landed if they had tied Trump support to activating just world belief, which is an eminently reasonable interpretation of their star variable, instead of racial resentment. The lack of even a hint of interest in exploring this alternative interpretation strongly suggests that the researchers’ own political beliefs were playing a strong role in how they chose to pursue and present their studies.

In short, they went looking for racism—and they found it.

Other studies played variations on this theme, adding variables around immigration and even trade to the mix, where negative views were presumed to show “status threat” or some other euphemism for racism and xenophobia. As sociologist Stephen Morgan has noted in a series of papers, this amounts to a labeling exercise where issues that have a clear economic component are stripped of that component and reduced to simple indicators of unenlightened social attitudes. Again, it seems clear that researchers’ priors and political beliefs were heavily influencing both their analytical approach and their interpretation of results.

And there is an even deeper problem with the conventional view. Start with a fact that was glossed over or ignored by most studies: trends in so-called racial resentment went in the “wrong” direction between the 2012 and 2016 election. That is, fewer whites had high levels of racial resentment in 2016 than 2012. This make racial resentment an odd candidate to explain the shift of white voters toward Donald Trump in the 2016 election.

Political scientists Justin Grimmer and William Marble investigated this conundrum intensively by looking directly at whether an indicator like racial resentment really could explain, or account for, the shift of millions of white votes toward Trump. The studies that gave pride of place to racial resentment as an explanation for Trump’s victory did no such accounting; they simply showed a stronger relationship between this variable and Republican voting in 2016 and thought they’d provided a complete explanation.

They had not. When you look at the actual population of voters and how racial resentment was distributed in 2016, as Grimmer and Marble did, it turns out that the racial resentment explanation simply does not fit what really happened in terms of voter shifts. A rigorous accounting of vote shifts toward Trump shows instead that they were primarily among whites, especially low education whites, with moderate views on race and immigration, not whites with high levels of racial resentment. In fact, Trump actually netted fewer votes among whites with high levels of racial resentment than Mitt Romney did in 2012.

So much for the racial resentment explanation of Trump’s victory. Not only is racial resentment a misnamed variable that does not mean what people think it means, it literally cannot account for the actual shifts that occurred in the 2016 election. Clearly a much more complex explanation for Trump’s victory was—or should have been—in order, integrating negative views on immigration, trade and liberal elites with a sense of unfairness rooted in just world belief. That would have helped Democrats understand why voters in Trump-shifting counties, whose ways of life were being torn asunder by economic and social change, were so attracted to Trump’s appeals.

Grimmer and Marble, with Cole Tanigawa-Lau, followed up that initial study with one that included data from the 2020 election. Grimmer summed up their findings this way:

Our findings provide an important correction to a popular narrative about how Trump won office. Hillary Clinton argued that Trump supporters could be placed in a “basket of deplorables.” And election-night pundits and even some academics have claimed that Trump’s victory was the result of appealing to white Americans’ racist and xenophobic attitudes. We show this conventional wisdom is (at best) incomplete. Trump’s supporters were less xenophobic than prior Republican candidates’ [supporters], less sexist, had lower animus to minority groups, and lower levels of racial resentment. Far from deplorables, Trump voters were, on average, more tolerant and understanding than voters for prior Republican candidates…

[The data] point to two important and undeniable facts. First, analyses focused on vote choice alone cannot tell us where candidates receive support. We must know the size of groups and who turns out to vote. And we cannot confuse candidates’ rhetoric with the voters who support them, because voters might support the candidate despite the rhetoric, not because of it.

This sounds more like voters who aren’t being reached by Democrats than voters who can’t be reached by Democrats.

2. Claim: nonwhite working-class voters who vote Republican are just voting their ideology and so are beyond persuasion by Democrats. But it is white college graduates not white working-class or nonwhite voters who are most constrained in their ideology. As Echelon Insights’ Patrick Ruffini has noted, white college graduates exhibit the most ideological consistency in the electorate—just 38 percent are in the middle on an ideological consistency scale, not consistently conservative or liberal. In contrast, 83 percent of black voters, 77 percent of Hispanic voters, 69 percent of Asian voters, and 58 percent of white working-class voters are in the middle group. Notably only 31 percent of white working-class voters are consistently conservative, contrary to the lazy presumptions of most Democrats.

And white college graduates, while more ideologically consistent, are not an adequate fix for Democrats’ working-class problems. It is important not to confuse white college graduates overall with white college Democrats. Most white college graduates are not liberal; this is true only of white college Democrats, who have indeed become much more liberal (and ideologically consistent) over time. But white college graduates as a whole are not particularly liberal. In a survey of more than 6,000 adults that I helped conduct between late March and May of last year with the American Enterprise Institute’s Survey Center on American Life (SCAL) and the nonpartisan research institute NORC at the University of Chicago, 28 percent of these voters identified as liberal. The overwhelming majority said they were moderate (45 percent) or conservative (26 percent).

As for nonwhite working-class voters, it is true that more are voting their ideology. But this is no reason for Democrats to throw up their hands and say, in effect, there’s nothing that we can do. They simply can’t afford to sustain significantly larger losses among these voters without fatally undercutting their coalition. Recent polling data make this brutally obvious.

In the latest New York Times/Siena poll, Biden leads Trump by a mere 17 points among this demographic. This compares to his lead over Trump of 48 points in 2020. And even that lead was a big drop-off from Obama’s 67-point advantage in 2012. The trend line is not good.

Why is this happening? The beginning of wisdom is understanding that the nonwhite working class is not particularly progressive while the Democratic Party has become more so. In the Times poll, these voters overwhelmingly say they are moderate-to-conservative, with less than a quarter identifying as liberal. This has created increased contradictions between the Democratic Party and the nonwhite working-class voters they have relied upon for huge margins to make up for shortfalls elsewhere.

Data from the SCAL/NORC survey exposes these contradictions by allowing the views of moderate-to-conservative nonwhite working-class voters to be examined in detail. My analysis shows many large differences between standard Democratic Party positions and the views of these nonwhite working-class voters. As just one example, consider the issue of “structural racism.”

Is racism “built into our society, including into its policies and institutions,” as held by current Democratic Party orthodoxy, or does racism “come from individuals who hold racist views, not from our society and institutions?” In the SCAL/NORC survey, by 61 to 39 percent, moderate-to-conservative nonwhite working-class voters (70 percent of whom are moderate, not conservative) chose the latter view, that racism comes from individuals, not society. In stark contrast, the comparatively tiny group of nonwhite college graduate liberals favored the structural racism position by 78 to 20 percent. White college graduate liberals were even more lop-sided at 82 to 18 percent. That tells you a lot about who influences the Democratic Party today and who does not.

Thus, the nonwhite working class is not super-liberal. But neither are they super-conservative. As the numbers cited here indicate, they are more mixed in their views and thus subject to persuasion. Thinking nonwhite working-class defections are simply a matter of conservative ideology coming to the fore would be a big mistake, even if many Democrats find it comforting.

3. Claim: since working-class voters are declining as a share of voters over time (and the college-educated are increasing), Democrats’ problems will solve themselves. The trend is correct but the interpretation is not. It is the case today and will be the case going forward that working-class voters will still dominate the electorate. They will be the overwhelming majority of eligible voters (around two-thirds) in 2024 and, even allowing for turnout patterns, only slightly less dominant among actual voters (around three-fifths). Moreover, in all six key swing states—Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin—the working-class share of the electorate, both as eligible voters and as projected 2024 voters, will be higher than the national average.

As I have noted, because we now live in the Upside Down, Democrats reliably win the college-educated but lose the working class. That means that, given the disproportion between the two groups, Democrats need to win the college-educated by way more than they lose the working class to win elections. That is mathematically possible but very challenging—and the worse the working-class deficit gets the more challenging it becomes.

To get a sense of this challenge, consider that in the Times poll previously mentioned, Biden’s deficit among working-class voters was 17 points, 13 points worse than his 4-point deficit in 2020. This is consistent with other polls which generally have Biden’s working-class deficit in the mid-teens. Benchmarking off a 15-point working-class deficit, Biden would have to carry college-educated voters by 33 points in this scenario to replicate his 2020 national showing. That would be quite a jump from his 18-point advantage in that election. Not impossible of course but very, very difficult and shows how much this disproportion could matter in 2024.

Nor will this disproportion go away tomorrow. Estimates from the States of Change project have the working class proportion of eligible voters dropping only slowly from 67 percent today to 62 percent in 2036.

4. Claim: trying to reach persuadable working-class voters by moving to the center would alienate left progressives and be a net vote-loser. The concept that Democrats should shy away from moving to the center because the progressive left will take their toys and go home is ludicrous. This view is backed up what is essentially a threat: if Democrats don’t move in the direction recommended by the progressive left, “their” voters, especially young voters, will fail to be “energized” in 2024, endangering Biden’s re-election and Democratic electoral prospects generally.

But is that really true? Leaving aside the question of whether that would be a responsible use of their power (I don’t think so), do they even have that kind of power? I doubt it. In fact, I think the progressive left is more of a paper tiger, claiming power and influence way above what they actually have.

Start with the fundamental fact that the progressive or intersectional left, for whom issues from ending fossil fuels to open borders to decriminalizing and decolonizing everything (free Palestine!) are inseparably linked moral commitments, is actually a pretty small slice of voters—six percent in the Pew typology (“progressive left”), eight percent in the More in Common typology(“progressive activists”). So we should ask whether and to what extent their commitments are reflected in the views of the voter groups in whose name they claim to speak.

Probably the most important of these is young voters, lately lionized as Democrats’ best hope—but also perhaps their downfall, if not appropriately catered to. And it is true that young voters generally lean more left than older voters. But that does not mean that young voters as a group are flaming left-wingers. Far from it. Indeed, in the Pew typology, the “progressive left” group among those under 30 is only 5 points more (11 percent) than among the population as a whole.

This can be seen on many issues. One such is how to tackle the problem of climate change. The progressive left is in a state of perpetual outrage that the country is not moving faster to get rid of fossil fuels and transition to renewable (e.g., wind and solar) energy, the alleged solution to the problem. This too is supposed to be an issue where the Biden administration is out of sync with younger voters, who therefore will fail to be energized by his re-election bid. Fear of this possibility was presumably why the Biden administration caved to pressure from climate activists and halted permitting on liquified natural gas (LNG) exports, a decision that makes no policy sense and seems likely to alienate working-class voters.

But is it really true that young voters in their tens of millions are demanding moves like this? In the SCAL/NORC survey cited earlier, respondents were asked about their preferences for the country’s energy supply. By 64 percent to 36 percent, Millennial/Gen Z (18-44 year old) voters favored “Use a mix of energy sources including oil, coal and natural gas along with renewable energy sources” over “Phase out the use of oil, coal and natural gas completely, relying instead on renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power only.” This does not seem consistent with the mantra of progressive left activists.

Similarly, in a 3,000 voter survey conducted by YouGov for The Liberal Patriot last June, the following choices were offered to voters about energy strategy:

We need a rapid green transition to end the use of fossil fuels and replace them with fully renewable energy sources;

We need an “all-of-the above” strategy that provides abundant and cheap energy from multiple sources including oil and gas to renewables to advanced nuclear power; or

We need to stop the push to replace domestic oil and gas production with unproven green energy projects that raise costs and undercut jobs.

Among the same Millennial/Gen Z (18-44 year old) voters, the progressive left-preferred first position, emphasizing ending the use of fossil fuels and rapidly adopting renewables, is a distinctly minoritarian one, embraced by just 36 percent of these voters. The most popular position is the second, all-of-the above approach that emphasizes energy abundance and the use of fossil fuels and renewables and nuclear, favored by 48 percent of Millennial/Gen Z voters. Another 16 percent flat-out support production of fossil fuels and oppose green energy projects. Together that’s 64 percent of these voters who are not singing from the progressive left hymnbook.

So the progressive left’s claim that failing to embrace their positions is the death-knell for Democrats among younger generation voters is highly suspect. Indeed when progressive left politicians like the ever-reliable and ever-wrong Seattle congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, say things like this…

In reality, tacking to the center may lose a few voters in the progressive hard core—which is small—who choose not to vote or vote for a minor party (they’re unlikely to vote for Trump), but the tradeoff in ability to reach more moderate, especially working class, voters would be well worth it. And potentially crucial in a tight race. That’s why a “What, me worry?” attitude toward the working class and bending over backwards to please the progressive left is a luxury Democrats cannot afford.