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How Trump Won

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23-donald-trump-trucks.w710.h473

Very interesting stuff from Nate Cohn:

In the aftermath of the 2016 presidential election, many analysts suggested that Hillary Clinton lost to Donald J. Trump because of poor Democratic turnout.

Months later, it is clear that the turnout was only modestly better for Mr. Trump than expected.

To the extent Democratic turnout was weak, it was mainly among black voters. Even there, the scale of Democratic weakness has been exaggerated.

Instead, it’s clear that large numbers of white, working-class voters shifted from the Democrats to Mr. Trump. Over all, almost one in four of President Obama’s 2012 white working-class supporters defected from the Democrats in 2016, either supporting Mr. Trump or voting for a third-party candidate.

[…]

Ultimately, black turnout was roughly as we expected it. It looks as if black turnout was weak mostly in comparison with the stronger turnout among white and Hispanic voters.

This was part of a broader national pattern. Mr. Trump’s turnout edge was nonexistent or reversed in states with a large Hispanic population and a small black population, like Arizona. His turnout advantage was largest in states with a large black population and few Hispanic voters, like North Carolina.

What was consistent across most states, however, was higher-than-expected white turnout.

The increase in white turnout was broad, including among young voters, Democrats, Republicans, unaffiliated voters, urban, rural, and the likeliest supporters of Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Trump. The greatest increases were among young and unaffiliated white voters.

For this reason alone, it’s hard to argue that turnout was responsible for the preponderance of Mr. Trump’s gains among white voters. The turnout among young and white Democratic voters was quite strong.

But the turnout was generally stronger among the likeliest white Trump supporters than among the likeliest white Clinton supporters.

[…]

If turnout played only a modest role in Mr. Trump’s victory, then the big driver of his gains was persuasion: He flipped millions of white working-class Obama supporters to his side.

A few points:

  • Despite her high personal negatives and her generally negative and character-based advertising, Clinton was able to mobilize the Democratic base about as well as could have been expected. Obama’s only significant advantage was with African-American voters, and it was obviously unrealistic to think that the unusually high African-American turnout in 2008 and 2012 could be replicated, whether Clinton or Sanders or Biden was the nominee.
  • The data is not consistent with assertions that Sanders substantially harmed Clinton by endorsing her too late, or too grudgingly, or whatever. Sanders’s core primary constituencies showed up in the numbers that could have been expected or higher and voted for Clinton by the margins that could have been expected. (Stein’s failure to get off the canvas is another indication that Sanders didn’t harm Clinton by not dropping out earlier.)
  • The decisive shift of older, higher-income whites without college degrees to Trump is much more plausibly about Trump/Romney than about Clinton/Obama. If Obama had some special appeal to the white working class that Clinton lacked, it certainly wasn’t evident in the 2008 primaries. I could see Biden mitigating some of the defections; Sanders I’m much more dubious although of course nobody knows.
  • As I’ve said, assumptions that Trump was a particularly terrible candidate and a generic Republican would have won easily are becoming increasingly problematic. I don’t think it’s safe at all to assume that Rubio or Cruz or Jeb! would have Trump’s particular appeal to white working-class voters.  If the United States had a democratic system for choosing the president, then Trump’s unusual weaknesses would have made him a bad candidate. But in a system that accords undue weight to a few states which had a disproportionate number of voters Trump had a particular appeal to…he wasn’t a weak candidate at all. I’m becoming more and more convinced that a Clinton/non-Trump race would have meant a better popular vote showing but an Electoral College loss for the Republican Party.
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  • kped

    Matt Bruening tells me that the majority of Trumps supporters are women and POC, so suck on that libtards! Glennzilla approvingly retweets him, so it's now on like Donkey Kong. We are taking you neoliberal hacks down, it's women and POC's fault Trump won. No more identity politics!

    • Murc

      Matt Bruening tells me that the majority of Trumps supporters are women and POC,

      Is he actually saying that?

      I mean… the majority of Obama supporters were white folks, but I have trouble seeing a way that a majority of Trump’s 45% of the vote is women and POC. Does he have numbers?

      • MPAVictoria

        Yeah he did a medium post on it a few days back. From what I understand (I follow him on Twitter) his point is that we shouldn’t be demonizing Trump voters. Instead we should be trying to persuade them. Which I agree with on an intellectual level but…..

        • mamcu

          I try to have conversations but the Trump supporters I find don’t want to think–just repeat talking points from tweets. How do you connect with them to actually engage them?

          • kped

            That’s a big part of Rich’s column that infuriated Bruening enough to write those “stats”. A researcher uprooted her life to live with these voters for a number of years in Louisiana, and literally no arguments could reach them. There are persuadable voters, and there are…these people.

            Now, maybe when seeing them whine about “I didn’t think he’d do this to us”, some of us get a smug sense of satisfaction..but that doesn’t stop us from still hoping everyone gets health care, or some type of safety net is there to help them when their industries leave, or that schools are properly funded for their kids, or the environment is protected. All of these things help these voters, and liberals are still loudly advocating for them.

            • humanoid.panda

              That’s the thing: Bruening convinced himself that liberals don’t actually support any of those things.

              • Scott Lemieux

                And we know that liberals don’t care about the poor because they think that keeping Republicans out of office is important before elections are held!

              • jim, some guy in iowa

                see also various SuperLeftists commenting here

              • Hogan

                Hence their lockstep support for RyanCare.

        • louislouis

          Rich’s piece was terrible, starting with the idea that “hillbillies” elected Trump … in WI, and PA. I think Breunig’s broader point is that it makes little sense to “blame” a particular group for an electoral result and wish them harm. In fact, I think there was recently a piece on this blog criticizing the same thing.

          • Abbey Bartlet

            I think Breunig’s broader point is that it makes little sense to “blame” a particular group for an electoral result and wish them harm.

            I wish harm on the particular group of “people who voluntarily didn’t vote for Clinton,” does that count?

            • humanoid.panda

              Given that this group includes something like 120 million people, and that many of these people have children and/or family members who voted Clinton, that would be stupid at best, immoral at worst.

              • Abbey Bartlet

                Given that this group includes something like 120 million people, and that many of these people have children and/or family members who voted Clinton, that would be stupid at best, immoral at worst.

                That’s unfortunate. They should have thought of that.

                • humanoid.panda

                  If your support for the universal healthcare state hinges on the outcome of an election, let me suggest you don’t support the universal welfare state.

                • humanoid.panda

                  universal welfare state.

                • Abbey Bartlet

                  I do support it! I would gladly give it to everyone! They took that option away, so fuck them.

                • humanoid.panda

                  I do support it! I would gladly give it to everyone! They took that option away, so fuck them.

                  As we all know, politics ended forever in 2016.

          • Manny Kant

            Umm…have you been to central PA? I’m thinking no.

          • timb

            Rich’s piece was fine

      • Origami Isopod

        Is he actually saying that?

        Yes, he is.

        • humanoid.panda

          In related new, Warren Buffet, Bill Gates and I have a net value of 80 billion dollars.

          • los

            [1]and I have a net value of 80 billion dollars.

            Great Scott! I had no idea that protesting, er, trolling, arr, Concern Signaling for THE SOROS Bill Gates[2] paid that well.

            ___________
            1. quotation cherry-picking services degeneroutly provided by Jim Hoft
            2. Jim Hoft: “We’re onto you too, Bill Gates.

      • nemdam

        Of course he is. This is Glenn’s tweet linking to Bruening’s piece.

        https://twitter.com/ggreenwald/status/846334735169261569

        • timb

          Dang, GG blocked me. Does this mean I can’t get a tourist visa for my trip to St. Petersburg this summer?

          • Abbey Bartlet

            Mazel tov! Mike Huckabee and Shaun King blocked me. I’m trying for Jill Stein.

          • John F

            GG got into a Twitter pissing match with RoguePOTUSstaff, you’d think it was because RoguePOTUSstaff is pushing RussiaGate, but no it was a “misunderstanding”

            [Actually it was because GG and his supporters are assholes… they misread a RoguePOTUSStaff tweet and descended en masse to demand an apology, I had no idea before that GG had some flying Monkeys at his service.

            • Abbey Bartlet

              I had no idea before that GG had some flying Monkeys at his service.

              That’s why I have him blocked.

        • TroubleMaker13

          Of course he is. This is Glenn’s tweet linking to Bruening’s piece.

          https://twitter.com/ggreenwald/status/846334735169261569

          And here’s Charles Gaba, taking him to the fucking woodshed:

          https://twitter.com/charles_gaba/status/847098316093558784

      • kped

        https://medium.com/@MattBruenig/women-and-people-of-color-make-up-the-majority-of-the-trump-coalition-e9bb20f65709

        It’s lazy stats. Using his same stats, you find that white people make up 87.3% of Trumps voters…not a shock. WHite men make up 45.6%, White Women 41.6%, the rest 12.7%.

        His point (he says…) is against Liberal writers wishing harm against Trump voters, which is a strawman if I ever saw one. The piece he links to http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2017/03/frank-rich-no-sympathy-for-the-hillbilly.html, does not say that at all. Rich is saying “you aren’t going to win the Republican base, so fuck trying to empathize with them to win their votes”. The only way to win their votes is to abandon your base…which is kind of a thing for guys like Bruening and the “no more identity politics” crowd.

        Bruening and Greenwald are engaging a strawman. While Rich is saying forget this faux empathy for his voters, nowhere are they saying abandon policies that help them. And I don’t see that elsewhere. I see the “neoliberal” blogs they hate so much cheering possible medicaid expansion into Trump states. Not to win votes there, but to help people.

        But Matt and Glenn have their agenda, so they’ll find new ways to advance it (and hey, if they can spread some of that blame for Trump to women and POC…well, why not!)

        • Scott Lemieux

          Yes, the misleading stats are just a setup for yet another round of “why do liberals want poor people to suffer?” I didn’t like the Rich piece but it didn’t say what Bruenig says it does, and as far as I can tell the endless quest to produce a single liberal outside a comment section who shares the alleged views of all liberals that we should be happy when Trump voters suffer has come up empty.

          • los

            alleged[1] views of all liberals that we should be happy when Trump voters suffer has come up empty

            Not happy.
            1. So-called “Happy” is actually an alt-resignation to the tragedy of an apparent failing of Homo sapiens. (recurring tragedy seen also in rises of Brownshirts, Kmher Rouge, etc.)
            2. non-Trumpsters suffer too (also as when Brownshirts, Kmher Rouge, etc. self-destructed.)

            ___________
            1. the profusion of Allegers reeks suspiciously.

            • los

              Khmer.
              (ugh, Kmher didn’t look right…)

          • kped

            I think the closest they got to that was Markos saying he didn’t care when a Trump supporter was crying when they found out Trump would take away their health care. But Markos also explicitly wants every state to expand medicaid, and he encouraged people to call their reps to save the ACA. So even that one falls apart under the slightest scrutiny.

            The fact is, the only people who actually want things to get worse…are on the far left. And they were pretty explicit about it during the election, saying if things got really bad it would usher in a socialist government. Those were the people who actually wanted death and suffering on voters…

            • los

              only people who actually want things to get worse

              (obviously: other than the altcucks.)

            • Rob in CT

              1. Not really. Venting is a thing.

              2. And since when does she speak for The Democratic Party (or perhaps only it’s “Neoliberal Sellout” wing)?

              I mean, gosh, if a single commenter can be used to show that Democrats (and/or leftists) are doing it wrong, what if we highlighted you? Man, The Left is fucked!

              • Q.E.Dumbass

                [Wears an imaginary Cato the Elder toga]
                BAN THIS FUCKING TVTURD IDIOT ALREADY
                [Takes off an imaginary Cato the Elder toga]

              • los

                Venting is a thing.

                Venting liberal: “I hope Santa puts a chunk of coal into your stocking next Christmas.”

                Trumpcuck: “Donald Trump is the only president who Execution Ordered Santa Claus to put Reeallly Cleeeeannn Cooal into your stocking… JUST LIKE WHY WE VOTED HIM FOR TO DO!1!”

          • q-tip

            outside a comment section

            Isn’t Twitter one big comment section, though? And holy shit – WE’RE IN A COMMENT SECTION RIGHT NOW OH GOD
            :0

            (Since “they made their bed, let them lie in it” arguments about huge, diverse groups like, say, the population of Texas bother me, I tend to get rankled by them — even though, as Scott says, they’re comparatively rare. I do understand how frustration, fear, and trauma lead to this kind of fuck-THEM-ism, especially from people who suffer from Trump voters’ bad choices far more than I ever will. It’s like a relative of a murder victim who wants the death penalty imposed. I get it — or try to — but I also think we can do better.)

          • timb

            Meanwhile, in Hugh Hewitt’s latest piece for WaPo(?), he calls the people suffering because of Obamacare failing “political benefits”

            Screw Bruening

        • louislouis

          Well he’s approvingly citing to Republican ideas of “personal responsibility” via Kevin Williamson and another National Review guy who used to be poor but now writes books about how poor people are garbage.

          On a related note, what constitutes a “working class white”? Is it purely a function of educational level, or income? The last statistics I saw indicated that slightly less than half of all white voters with a college degree pulled for Trump.

          • los

            Voters with incomes below 51k/yr leaned to Clinton
            Voters with incomes above 51k/yr leaned to Trump
            (Caveat: my memory of that ‘data’ is vague. I think income was median. But the ~qualitative conclusion is accurate.)

            “Working Class” is more difficult to define.
            But then, how do pollsters verify income of those they survey? I assume pollsters apply past “calibration” studies to adjust unverifiable answers in later surveys.

          • kped

            Even that is a stretch. Is he actually approvingly citing those Republicans, or is he noting that for all the talk about Liberal’s looking down on them, Republicans are vicious in how they dislike these voters. But if those Republicans looking down their nose at them (47% comment is explicitly brought up as this), then there is next to nothing Dems can say to woo them to their side.

            It’s not the best piece I’ve read, but I think a lot of people are misreading it.

            • louislouis

              If true, that would be a terrible argument. Let’s recap: for years the Republicans mined votes by vouching for the character of “Red State” or “real Americans.” Once these “real Americans” started to support Trump, who expressed views contrary to free-market orthodoxy while campaigning, Williamson et al. started their anti-white trash hatefest. And then Trump (again, despised by these types but liked by large numbers of lower-income white voters) became the nominee and won anyway. So if benign neglect is the lesson Rich drew from that episode, it was the wrong one.

              I’d distinguish the 47% comment slightly. It was bad for Romney, because of how he delivered the point and the context in which it was delivered. But it was standard WSJ editorial page “lucky ducky” pap that’s been commonplace for years. The Williamson stuff is straight up snobbery.

      • sibusisodan

        I’ve seen a tweet saying that 45% of Trumps vote was white men, and 55% was ‘women and POC’.

        Anyone happy to create such a hybrid category for that 55% isn’t interested in being honest and deserves a rap across the knuckles.

        ‘Hey, Random Rookie and Michael Jordan scored 108 points. What a team!’

        • Murc

          I’ve seen a tweet saying that 45% of Trumps vote was white men, and 55% was ‘women and POC’.

          Even allowing for the broadness of that latter category, that’s still… troubling if true. White women going for Trump that strongly is… bad.

          • NonyNony

            I don’t know the breakdowns that Bruenig is talking about, but in 2012 white women broke for Romney. Romney’s share of the white female vote was 56% according to exit polling, while Obama’s was 42%.

            “White Women Vote Republican” was the least surprising thing about last year’s election. White Women always vote Republican. Honestly I’m surrounded by older white women who hate baby killing Democrats where I live, so maybe I’m just jaded about just how awful my fellow whites are these days.

            • NonyNony

              Since I was curious – using those Romney breakdowns in the exit polls, what I find is that White Men made up roughly 45% of Romney’s total vote and White Women roughly 46%. But the category of “White Women and POC” make up … roughly 55% of his support.

              (Bald statements about Trump’s demographic performance that do not take into account Romney’s demographic performance in 2012 are useless at best and lying with statistics at worst.)

          • Rob in CT

            https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/politics/2016-election/exit-polls/

            White women w/o college degree: 61R-3I-34D
            White women w/college degree: 44R-3I-51D

            [of course, white guys were worse]

            Also interesting:

            Below $50k income: 53-41 D-R
            $50k-$99k: 49-45 R-D
            $100k+: split evenly 47-47

            HRC won a majority of “economy” and “foreign policy” voters and got fucking shellacked amongst those whose primary concern was “immigration” or “terrorism.”

            • jamesepowell

              The white women w/o college deserves further study. Anecdata suggests that white women w/o college despise white women w/college, but we should find out exactly what was going on there. I’m clueless how any otherwise decent female could choose “I grab them by the pussy” but there are many things I’m clueless about.

              I bet the Venn diagram of voters whose primary concerns were “immigration” or “terrorism” and voters who are bigots would look a lot like a circle.

              • Rob in CT

                The white women w/o college deserves further study. Anecdata suggests that white women w/o college despise white women w/college, but we should find out exactly what was going on there.

                Well, we know the fortunes of people w/college degrees and w/o college degrees have been diverging for some time, and we know that non-college degreed people resent this (fair enough!).

                Among men:

                No college: 71R-4I-23D
                College: 53R-5I-39D

                That’s roughly the same disparity we see amongst white women, just from a more R-leaning baseline.

                The hope was that women would find Trump particularly repellant. Some did, though not enough of them in the right places.

                I bet the Venn diagram of voters whose primary concerns were “immigration” or “terrorism” and voters who are bigots would look a lot like a circle.

                Agree. And there are a a LOT of them. And it’s not clear to me that economic populism *alone* (not saying Erik or anyone else here is proposing this) is gonna help there. We have to take on the bigoted RW arguments about scary/evil foreigners and win (or at least fight to a draw of sorts), not just change the subject.

              • Abbey Bartlet

                I’m clueless how any otherwise decent female could choose “I grab them by the pussy”

                They’re not decent.

              • kvs

                Even Gorka could draw that one.

            • los

              Rob in CT says:

              shellacked amongst those whose primary concern [pychotic obsession[1]] was “immigration” or “terrorism.”

              It seems about half of altcuck twitter acount page are full of ‘Sweden is dying under wave of musim immigrant crimes’ with collaged photos of wavy-haired blond ‘Swedish’ girls.

              ___________
              1. meanwhile many of their relatives in the USA are hooked on meth and black market prescription drugs.

          • twbb

            It’s not surprising. A lot of poor and/or Republican women are more used to Trump’s brand of casual misogyny.

            The Dem mistake was assuming that a white woman Wal-Mart greeter was going to see herself in Hillary Clinton. What she saw was the kind of professional woman that the greeter thinks has looked down on her her entire life.

            • humanoid.panda

              Well, no. Hillary’s hope was the suburban republican women would switch to her because Trump is so awful. Whih was true, but not the extent her people predicted.

              • jamesepowell

                It should have been a one-time huge switch, but it didn’t work out. I’m guessing the resistance to switching came from the fact that suburban Republican women have been soaked in 20+ years of anti-Hillary propaganda.

        • msdc

          Considering, what, 67% of the electorate were women and POC? Not an especially impressive number, or a surprising one.

          • Srsly Dad Y

            Aaaaand the sub thread goes exactly as usual on this point by Matt B: from cognitive dissonance, “Is he really saying that? Crazy,” to, “Oh, yeah, it’s trivially true.”

            • NonyNony

              It’s not cognitive dissonance if it’s different people who think different things.

              But it really is a stupid observation by Bruening. The percentage of Trump’s support that came from white women and POC is roughly the same as the percentage of Romney’s support that came from white women and POC.

              I don’t know if its more charitable to him to suggest that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about when he thinks that this is a huge observation, or to suggest that he knows its nothing and is engaging in clickbait agitprop to try to say that white men are the real victims here. One makes him stupid and the other makes him horrible. But either way the observation that the demographics of Trump’s support on race and gender are pretty much the same as Romney’s is a non-observation being hyped into something profound.

              • sonamib

                clickbait agitprop

                Did you know that a large majority of Trump's voters came from the 99%? CEOs, bankers and venture capitalists are only a tiny minority of his voters. Makes you think.

            • sonamib

              I reread the thread, and it’s only Murc that expressed genuine surprise that people who are either

              1) non-white

              or

              2) non-men

              are a majority of Trump voters. Other commenters mainly expressed surprise that Bruenig was making such a terrible argument, not that his claim was wrong.

            • econoclast

              Because nobody can believe he’s making such a stupid point.

              • kped

                Or that Greenwald is blasting that inane point to his many twitter followers.

            • msdc

              If Bruenig is using numbers that show Trump’s electorate was significantly less diverse than the nation as a whole to imply that Trump had a diverse electorate, then his point is neither true nor trivial.

        • los

          and, does “women and POC” add POC women twice?

          • twbb

            Usually POC women are rendered invisible in political and cultural contexts, so..umm..progress?

      • twbb

        The majority of Trump’s 45% of the vote were women, POC, and 54-year old banjo-playing stamp collectors. Is that more credible?

        • los

          What do we want? Burn the 54-year old banjos NOW!

          /s

          • los

            And for efficiency’s sake, we must also hunt and burn the 53, 52, 51, … 3, 2, 1 year old banjos when our banjo-cleansing militias find them!

            We will throw 55 year old and older banjos into the Kitsch Kamps!

            Abort the unborn banjos!

            Heil Tuba-playing Tic Tac collectors!

  • Davis X. Machina

    The decisive shift of older, higher-income whites without college degrees to Trump is much more plausibly about Trump/Romney than about Clinton/Obama.

    “He hates the same people I hate. Hand me the goddam ballot.”

    That’s it. The whole of the law and the prophets. The rest is commentary.

    Tell me. Whom did Romney hate?

    • NewishLawyer

      Poor people probably but not in the way Trump would show it. Trump shows his hate openly. Romney needed to be caught by a hidden camera.

    • Tell me. Whom did Romney hate?

      The moochers.

      • evodevo

        Yes. This is what I heard the most from my white fundie co-workers. Also ‘bortion and gay marriage (still beating those horses). Keep in mind I’m a postal worker, so these people have federal jobs, good bennies, excellent pay, etc. IGMFU

        • Rob in CT

          Wait. Hasn’t the GOP been trying to kill the Post Office?

          • humanoid.panda

            When I was doing my passport application at the post office a month ago, the clerk learned that I was a Russian history PhD, and I had to spend 20 minutes listening to his learned take about why Trump and Putin are going to save the world..

            • Rob in CT

              …from the threat of global Islam and creeping Sharia, I assume?

              • humanoid.panda

                I really wanted to tell him about the fact that Putin actually promotes Sharia law in Russia (he does: Islam is a state-sponsored religion ,just like Orthodox Christianity), but I am a real-life-woos.

                • Plus, I suspect you didn’t want to leave the post office in chains.

          • jim, some guy in iowa

            our rural carrier and her husband (trying to get on full time as a rural carrier) had signs for Republican candidates in their yard

            I am also well acquainted with a full time weekend carrier who was always conservative but didn’t go around the bend til after he quit farming and took up Fox. The local Post Office has been rationalizing routes and trying to get by with fewer carriers, and it was kind of funny to hear him talk about his union’s efforts to get the Post Office to implement a more reasonable plan for that

      • searcher

        Mitt Romney disdains the moochers, the poor, the working class.

        I think that’s a real difference.

        • DrDick

          True. He brought all the passion of cold oatmeal to the race.

          • Q.E.Dumbass

            He brought all the passion of [a] cold oatmeal fart to the race

            FTFY

        • twbb

          I don’t think he honestly does. I think he just thought they were useful targets to convince the GOP deplorable base to vote for him.

          Which, in a way, is morally worse than honestly believing it.

    • Rob in CT

      So let’s say this is right (I find it hard to argue with).

      What do we do? Bring our own haterade?

      • Q.E.Dumbass

        Gillibrand/Black 2020: Fuck Your White Butthurt

        • BubbaDave

          That would make me donate, for sure, but I think this election has turned me into a self-hater. White Christian guys with no college degree (like me) are the absolute worst threats to the Republic.

          • CP

            Eh, my demographic (white Christians with college degrees) went for Trump too, I believe.

            • los

              We got two of ’em. Fetch the kindling from my Tesla‘s trunk!

              /air pollution offset

      • Davis X. Machina

        There’s got to be some untapped resentment that breaks the other way electorally.

        You just have to overcome the initial squeamishness about appealing to the worst in people.

        Les aristos à la lanterne!

        • Rob in CT

          Well, Bernie’s idea was to hate on banks/bankers. Better than hating on poor immigrants & refugees…

          • searcher

            We get to hate the establishment for the next electoral cycle.

            The government is trying to TAKE AWAY YOUR HEALTHCARE and give all of your MONEY to COASTAL ELITES in the form of UPPER CLASS TAX CUTS. They’re taking away your OVERTIME PAY to line the pockets of WALL STREET FAT CAT BANKERS.

            • Rob in CT

              True.

              • los

                True.

                Truth won’t pass breitbart editorial censors/board.

            • Steve LaBonne

              Too bad there’s zero evidence that’s a winning message. (I really wish it was.) As someone pointed out the other day, Kansans responded to the utter disaster of Freedom Caucus “governance” by turning to… old-fashioned business Republicans.

              • Rob in CT

                Well, that’s Kansas. We’re talking about the uppermidwest, Florida, North Carolina, Maine, NH…

                • Steve LaBonne

                  No evidence there either.

                • twbb

                  I think one common Dem mistake is to focus on convincing when demoralizing can work better. Possibly hammering the reddest of the red counties in purple states might get the new voters who supported Trump to just skip the next election.

                • los

                  Possibly hammering the reddest of the red counties in purple states might get the new voters who supported Trump to just skip the next election

                  I read an article that said that Bush voters (in rural PA) sat out 2008.
                  The problem is that the 2006-2009 recession hammered more than only altcucks.

          • NonyNony

            The problem with hating on banks/bankers is that for some people out here in the “heartland” that’s actually code for hating on Jewish people. So your rabble-rousing protest aimed at social justice ends up getting infested by anti-Semites who want to wave around their Jewish caricatures and blame everything on an international conspiracy of Jewish bankers.

            We can’t even do class warfare right in this country.

            • bexley

              As the saying goes: antisemitism is the socialism of fools.

            • los

              latte-sipping globalist jewish gay shariah law feminazi wall street bankers!11!
              they stone women in hijab and throw gays off the roofs!!1!

          • witlesschum

            The whole 99 percent/1 percent framing seems broad and nonspecific enough to work if the Dems rhetorically committed to it. The Trump Administration is going to give them plenty of examples.

            Or attack those with inherited wealth? Talk up people who haven’t done anything but have rich parents and haven’t had to do anything their whole lives.

            Americans haven’t historically done well with this kind of rhetoric because people tend toward the idea that that could be them, but maybe the key is wrapping it up into the idea that people like Trump and his useless kids are cheaters. The reason you aren’t rich is because Trump cheated you of it by not letting you have good health care and a free college education. The reason your Appalachian town is poor is because Trump cheats to keep the money needed to improve your infrastructure and free broadband internet for himself.

            • Gone2Ground

              The Walton family has arguably done more to decimate the futures of the WWC in Trump strongholds than other billionaires in America, but I haven’t heard about any pitchfork movements against the Wal-Mart heirs.

              Attacking wealth in this country is always a losing proposition, unless it’s Mitt Romney, who looks and talks like the corporate shill from HQ that he is. Trump is appealing because he doesn’t talk like the boss.

              • witlesschum

                To some extent, the Dems need to create those pitchfork movements to give their voters people to get angry at.

                • Gone2Ground

                  Won’t argue with you there.

                • los

                  robotize the pitchfork and torch factories

                  /evil THE SOROS

                • los

                  BREAKING news: this THE SOROS memo exposes the lid off of the THE SOROS agenda11!

                  “March 12, 1672.

                  URGENT.

                  To all Pussyhat divisions:

                  I will pay every BLM thugg 3 trillionty seventy dollars a minute in GOLD to robotize America’s pitchfork and torch factories.

                  – THE SOROS”

  • NewishLawyer

    So what this comes down to is that there are a lot of ignorant boors in the United States and they tend to confuse Trump’s ignorance and boorishness with strength.

    My guess is that a lot of the older whites with high incomes but no college degrees have managerial styles that are very similar to Trumps.

    Romney was too patrician to attract the whites who went for Trump. His hair was too perfect, his clothing looked fitted and tailored even when he was just wearing jeans from the GAP. Trump apparently wears really expensive suits (Brioni according to Matt Y. These are suits that go for 4000-6000 dollars a piece) but he does it in such an odd way, he looks like he doesn’t bother with tailoring. So it is a sign of making it and a defiant fuck you at the same time.

    We had an election decided by people whose mentality at sticking it to bourgeois liberals is stuck in middle school.

    • My guess is that a lot of the older whites with high incomes but no college degrees have managerial styles that are very similar to Trumps.

      Yes. They are all little Negan wannabe’s.

    • They are nixon voters who hate the fur coated Bush family. But, in truth, they are even more degraded than the Nixon voters, as Trump is a more degraded candidate than even Nixon (or, at least, public Nixon).

    • Steve LaBonne

      Yup. That’s why the supposed appeal of Bernieism to these people is imaginary. We try to enact policies that benefit the majority because it’s the right thing to do, but there’s rarely a real political reward (see: auto industry bailout, PPACA.)

  • Murc

    If Obama had some special appeal to the white working class that Clinton lacked, it certainly wasn’t evident in the 2008 primaries.

    I don’t think you can compare two vastly different electorates like that, Scott. The part of the white working class demographic who are willing to join the Democratic Party and vote in its primary is going to be highly self-selected and look vastly different than the people in that demographic who are voting in the general election.

    If Cohn is right in his analysis, it scares the hell out of me. Maybe Clinton was just unusually personally disliked and that combined with Trump running as the candidate of “burn it the fuck down” and “white nationalism” in a year when those two things let him flip a bunch of decisive voters.

    But the thing with bringing people off the benches is that my understanding is they tend to stay off the benches for that specific candidate. Tribalism is a hell of a drug. We can probably bring back people who went Obama->Trump, and if the election in MI, WI, and PA hinges on them we’ll have to, but it may require having a non-Trump election.

    As I’ve said, assumptions that Trump was a particularly terrible candidate and a generic Republican would have won easily are becoming increasingly problematic.

    Well, I mean… he was a particularly terrible candidate. His candidacy looked exactly like his presidency has. But apparently you don’t actually need to be a good one to win, or at least get close enough to steal, these days. “Terrible candidate” isn’t orthogonal to “capable of winning.”

    • If Cohn is right in his analysis, it scares the hell out of me. Maybe Clinton was just unusually personally disliked and that combined with Trump running as the candidate of “burn it the fuck down” and “white nationalism” in a year when those two things let him flip a bunch of decisive voters.

      I think Bernie’s early success demonstrated that Clinton was an effective foil against which to run an anti-establishment campaign. I don’t think that the Democratic leadership (and the democratic electorate) believed that even Clinton would lose against obvious troll-against-humanity Donald Trump. But his base of racist trolls was just strong enough to get over the finish line, with a helping hand by Comey, of course.

      • louislouis

        Wasn’t his base just Republicans? (Not that I object “racist trolls” as an accurate description of Republican voters writ large).

        • I think his base was/is a very specific subset of racist troll that perhaps makes up 90% of the Republican base, but is a distinct subset none the less.

    • nemdam

      The question in political science has always been does how you run your campaign matter? In a Presidential race, this year points to the conclusion that it doesn’t matter.

      • Murc

        It matters at the margins, I think. Maybe if Clinton ran her campaign as badly as Trump ran his he wins by a lot more?

        • humanoid.panda

          And of course, it very plausible that never happened before factors- Comey and Wikileaks, negated the campaign effects.

          • nemdam

            Yeah, this is my takeaway. Trump did run a shitty campaign whose disadvantage was negated because of Russia and Comey. Can you imagine how well Clinton would do if she had Russia and Comey on her side instead of Trump?

            • Thom

              Of course, she would have been tried (maybe) and executed by now.

      • sonamib

        In a Presidential race, this year points to the conclusion that it doesn’t matter.

        Why? This is not at all obvious. To really prove that, we’d need a Democrat who runs a really bad campaign, and still manages to win.

        Remember, Democrats have been running good presidential campaigns for decades. They have set the bar very high. It’s difficult to overperform them. But it could be quite easy to underperform. We could check that by nominating someone with kooky ideas about campaigning.

        • sibusisodan

          The fact that Trump can run what amounts to a slapdash campaign and not lose (any?) turnout relative to 2012 is a fairly massive data point. There was a difference in campaign quality in 2016 which is not reflected in relative turnouts.

          It’s not dispositive, but it is wiggling its eyebrows and whispering ‘look over there’ quite persistently.

          • sonamib

            Two points :

            – Romney didn’t run a good campaign. He bought fully into the UNSKEW THE POLLS conspiracy theory. It’s not clear that he ran a much better campaign than Trump. Trump did, after all, focus a lot of his rallies in the Midwest, where the decisive swing states turned out to be located.

            – The fundamentals favored the Republicans in 2016, while they disfavored them in 2012.

            I think that still leaves room for campaign quality mattering.

            • kvs

              Romney buying into unskew the polls analysis doesn’t mean his campaign was bad. The evidence we have– from studies comparing states where Obama and Romney campaigned to states where the–suggests that the campaigns basically canceled each other out.

              And as far as 2016 goes, Trump seems to have understood the effect his rallies had on mobilizing people and generating headlines. He received the equivalent of billions of dollars of free advertising as a result. He also outsourced his traditional turnout operations to established groups with pre-existing relationships.

              So he might have run a campaign that violated political convention and decency. And he had obvious negatives as a candidate. But his campaign just as obviously maximized his strengths enough to put him in position for the effects of Russia and Comey to deliver an electoral college win.

        • kvs

          Democrats have been running good presidential campaigns for 3 cycles, not decades. The 2004 election in particular is the reason why Democrats now invest in sophisticated campaign infrastructure.

    • jim, some guy in iowa

      he’d been on tv for years and people feel they know him. he wasn’t part of *anyone’s* establishment and he wasn’t a career politician. In fact, running a shitty campaign drives home those points better than *any* “messaging”- the fact of the fucking matter is he was a *great* candidate for people who hate politicians, and there are a *lot* of those people

      • mds

        he was a *great* candidate for people who hate politicians, and there are a *lot* of those people

        See? It’s that sort of pithy observation that keeps my “separate non-voter pools” theory alive. Because I would figure that people who hate politicians would be more likely to be in that 40%+ of non-voting eligible voters.

        • jim, some guy in iowa

          I really need to track down my former state rep and ask her what she thinks happened. She was out there talking to these people as it was all happening, not trying to piece things together after the fact

          the one local elected D we have now (he wasn’t up for re election) believes the insurance rate hike that came out before the election swung all the small business people who decided trump *could* make insurance both better and cheaper

          • lahtiji

            And now who’s laughing?

      • He was a great candidate and he is a great president for people who are world wrestling fans–he gives them broad strokes, big images, and a sense that he is the bully in their corner. Its really not surprising that he won those voters. They don’t know what washington does, they don’t know what government is, and they don’t want to know. Even now its being reported that his fans love him for “knockin’ ’em around” and not taking any “shit” from those pencil necks in Washington. I don’t understand why people remain surprised that he won–he ran a faux anti-establishment campaign when white working class democrats were sick of the rule of black people/women and republicans were sick of losing to black people/women with their own effete/ineffectual washington leadership. They didn’t just murmer this they shouted it all through the primary. This really isn’t a mystery.

        • This ties in to the idea that lots of these dumb shits love the idea or running government “like a business,” not understanding that government runs NOTHING like a business and that putting a businessperson in charge of it might actually be a terrible idea.

          • Linnaeus

            My ancestral state is pretty strong evidence for this.

        • SatanicPanic

          Even now its being reported that his fans love him for “knockin’ ’em around” and not taking any “shit” from those pencil necks in Washington.

          This is amazing to me, since the guy has been getting slapped around like a jobber since inauguration day.

      • witlesschum

        he’d been on tv for years and people feel they know him. he wasn’t part of *anyone’s* establishment and he wasn’t a career politician. In fact, running a shitty campaign drives home those points better than *any* “messaging”- the fact of the fucking matter is he was a *great* candidate for people who hate politicians, and there are a *lot* of those people

        Yeah, Trump’s celebrity is something I know I didn’t think about much during the campaign, but it has to make a big difference.

        People that post here probably think we know as much about Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden as people who aren’t reading political blogs do about Trump. The sort of relationship people who aren’t sophisticated about how they consume media feel they have with celebrities is crazy powerful and weird. Nobody as famous a pop culture figure as Trump has run for president before. It was literally a joke on the Simpsons that this would happen.

        People certainly knew who Clinton was, but she’s always presented herself like a politician and that’s different than sort of relationship a figure like Trump has with this audience, pre jumping into politics.

    • djw

      he was a particularly terrible candidate.

      It think it’s generally pretty well understood that “terrible candidate” is a phrase used to describe one’s chances of winning the election, not one’s personal characteristics, fitness for the job, etc.

    • evodevo

      “apparently you don’t actually need to be a good one to win, or at least get close enough to steal, these days.”
      No, you don’t…. Trump made himself out to be a “self-made, bootstraps” billionaire – which he definitely isn’t – with an abrasive managerial style (“You’re fired”) on exhibit with that TV show, with questionable sartorial style, and a constant hard-on for younger, vulnerable women, whether co-workers or subordinates. His whole personality is that of a narcissistic sociopath.
      BUT – the Trump voters I know LOVE that stuff – they are just like him, or wannabes (concealed or out&proud) …. the bombastic, misogynistic, sloppily-dressed, overweight and out of shape middle western/southern male either is his twin or doesn’t mind. And the faux economic populism + barely concealed racism was just icing on the cake.
      Good luck luring THEM back into the party. If they do, I’d leave.

    • humanoid.panda

      But the thing with bringing people off the benches is that my understanding is they tend to stay off the benches for that specific candidate. Tribalism is a hell of a drug. We can probably bring back people who went Obama->Trump, and if the election in MI, WI, and PA hinges on them we’ll have to, but it may require having a non-Trump election.

      If Trump won PA by 4%, MI by 2%, WI by 5% and Florida (who no one ever talks about) by 6%, then yeah, we should freak out about his electorate- and like Republicans in ’08 we would have trouble winning back those states even if his popularity declines. But since he won all those states by the thinnest of margins- it is more than likely that the regular churn of the electorate is more than enough to to tip them back blue.

      • gccolby

        Yes, exactly. This is why I’ve been saying for months that the doom-and-gloom Internet Left theories of how the Dems lost this election because they’ve permanently lost credibility with the WWC are highly overdetermined. The margins were razor-thin in an election where the media treated Clinton as the presumptive winner from the end of the primary season and Trump as a sociological curiosity. And then there was the unprecedented meddling by Comey that appeared to be the decisive moment. It would be foolish to say there are no lessons to be learned or that there shouldn’t be some changes in strategy, but there’s little reason to take seriously this idea that Dems are screwed without some tectonic shift in messaging or strategy.

        • humanoid.panda

          Right. I don’t know why it is so hard to acknowledge that
          1. The WWC shift from Obama to Trump is real and concerning
          AND
          2. Trump’s victory was an incredible fluke.

          are both true.

      • los

        humanoid.panda says:

        PA by 4%, MI by 2%, WI by 5% and Florida … by 6%

        (all of those swing states are heavily oppressed by illegitimate GOP government)
        Voter purges.
        Many safely gerrymandered state and house seats allowed diverting campaign resources (talk radio, fox news etc) to seats not directly gerrymanderable.

        All of these factors (decade+ of free TV for Trump, the insurance rate announcement, Comeygate, etc.) added up.

    • No Longer Middle Aged Man

      I take 2 things from Cohn’s analysis, in particular the point about 25% of Obama WWC voters flipping Republican, which suggests that generic D vs generic R isn’t the way to think about 2016:

      1. This time at least it was more horses for courses than Arrow’s impossibility theorem. C.V. Danes above has a neat insight: Bernie’s early success demonstrated that Clinton was an effective foil against which to run an anti-establishment campaign. It may be nothing more than Bernie and Trump over-performed because they each got to run against Hillary. Bernie against Trump might have gotten crushed. Or won going away. Or that Hillary might have won going away against an R who didn’t have effective anti-establishment appeal.

      2. Misogyny > racism

      • Rob in CT

        RE: misogyny > racism…

        I don’t know. Both are powerful. Trump’s big thing was hating on illegal immigrants. If I had to distill his pitch down to one thing it would be “I’ll stomp on the Other for you.”

        • Adam The K

          Misogyny & Racism: Stronger Together™

          • Rob in CT

            Goddamn.

    • Scott Lemieux

      I don’t think you can compare two vastly different electorates like that, Scott. The part of the white working class demographic who are willing to join the Democratic Party and vote in its primary is going to be highly self-selected and look vastly different than the people in that demographic who are voting in the general election.

      It’s certainly not dispsotive evidence, although it’s all we have. But that aside, what the basis for thinking Obama has more appeal to these voters than Clinton?

      Well, I mean… he was a particularly terrible candidate.

      Given the rules of the game, he just wasn’t. Having an appeal to rust belt whites that other Republicans don’t is a real asset. It wouldn’t have outweighed his weaknesses if we selected the president democratically, but…

      • Aaron Morrow

        Having an appeal to rust belt whites that other Republicans don’t is a real asset.

        I enjoy quoting Futurama, but in retrospect, Trump was Nixon with charisma during last year’s campaign.

  • Instead, it’s clear that large numbers of white, working-class voters racists shifted from the Democrats to Mr. Trump.

    Fixed it.

    I’m becoming more and more convinced that a Clinton/non-Trump race would have meant a better popular vote showing but an Electoral College loss for the Republican Party.

    I agree. Trump’s brand of blatant racist misogyny clearly resonated with a large chunk of the white electorate racists out there and uncovered a well of tribalism that was much deeper than even the Republican leadership believed. All these years they have been trying to be clever with their dog whistles when all they had to do is just tell the racism like it is.

    • Snarki, child of Loki

      Trump managed to “ignite” his racist voter base.

      Now it’s time to remove the quotes.

    • This. Black Lives Matter was & is a necessary agenda, but it hurt Hillary. Racial issues were on the table in a way that Obama frankly didn’t dare in 2008 or 2012, & the backlash cost HRC votes.

      • Abbey Bartlet

        This, an interview with a young, black political scientist, is a good piece in general, but I want to highlight one bit in particular:

        Really, a lot of the things that hurt Hillary came back to her embrace of this multicultural society. She said that Black Lives Matter, she came out and said that enthusiastically. She talked about white privilege and talked about how white people need to understand Black and Latino people who are in situations that white people may not face with police. I think that Hillary’s embrace of the multicultural diverse future of America hurt her.

        • jim, some guy in iowa

          I beat my digital gums about this too often but like most of the old white people around me I listen to a lot of radio. The ratio of campaign ads was probably 5 to 1 in favor of the Rs by the time it was done, and most of it was on the old standbys: “responsible/low tax government”, de regulation, gun control, etc

          the new thing was “respect for law enforcement” or as I prefer to think “black lives don’t matter”. That got said *a lot*

        • I think what is relevant is where that message hurt her. In the cities where most of the people live, it was probably a positive. In mostly white rural America, it was probably negative. Unfortunately, that is how the EC is weighted.

  • Nick never Nick

    So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.

    • Mayur

      Excellent match of username and quote.

    • Vance Maverick

      Have you read “The Rise of the Colored Empires” by this man Goddard?

      • Nick never Nick

        Good book, very scientific, very deep.

        • FMguru

          It’s all scientific stuff; it’s been proved.

  • Rob in CT

    Gah. This is worse than it if was about turnout. If it was about people who lean D staying home, well, those people will learn their lesson just as people who stayed home/voted Nader learned theirs ours after 2000.

    But no. There really was a huge shift to Trump amongst the non-college educated whites, that we need to reverse (at least partially). Boosting turnout from minorities might allow us to scratch and claw our way back to a narrow EC win (less narrow pop vote win), but in order to re-take state legislatures, the HoR, and the Senate, we need to get more white votes.

    The worry is that having heard the siren call of loud ‘n proud white nationalism, they’re gone. I hope not. I hope the unfolding disaster is enough to bring them back. I hope that messaging tweaks (de-emphasizing this, emphasizing that) are enough to sway them back from the affinity fraud the GOP/Trump has pulled off on them. But I fear that won’t get it done. We’ll see!

    • What one has to do is to try and get these voters back without also appealing to white nationalism. In other words, a strong program of economic development and good-paying industrial jobs for working-class people of all races absolutely must be part of the agenda.

      • NewishLawyer

        Where is the evidence that many of these people are employees instead of small-business owners? Or what Marx called the petite-bourgeois.

        These are Palin types. They might get associated with the working class but they aren’t earning a paycheck. Often they own their own small business. During the election, I saw Trump voters get described as building contractors or truck drivers that own their own small fleet (1-3 trucks).

        You are essentially making a modified Sanders argument.

        • Murc

          Well, what’s your play?

          The path forward Erik is describing is literally the only one I see that doesn’t involve the Democratic Party selling its soul. Aside from it being the right thing to do, we need to run on populist economics as a potential way to get some of the white vote back in key states and in Congress because we both shouldn’t and can’t offer them white nationalism.

          Unless you want to make the argument “fuck those guys, we don’t need’em.” I think the evidence is strong that we do need some of them.

          • NewishLawyer

            I’m arguing that an Industrial jobs program won’t convert the Trump voters that Scott mentioned. They are small bosses dreaming of bigger things. The Petite-Bourgeois were always right-wing. Erik is treating them as workers and they are and are not workers. They are small bosses who might fill in with the dirty work but also really dislike OT laws and the like because it hurts the bottom line.

            I honestly don’t know what to do re Industrial jobs re automation. I suspect that the pendulum has swung far away from the WPA, CCC days but I would love to bring those programs back.

            A lot of government work tends to get sneered at because it is either service work (clerk at the Post Office or DMV type stuff) or it is knowledge work of a sort and not accessible to many.

          • NewishLawyer

            See C.V. Danes, this is about white nationalism, not about economy.

          • DrDick

            I agree completely and it benefits everybody in the bottom 2/3 of the income distribution.

          • los

            Murc says:

            Unless you want to make the argument “fuck those guys, we don’t need’em.” I think the evidence is strong that we do need some of them.

            Evidence is irrefutable that the f***ed over demographic needs anyone other than the GOP that is f***ing them over.

          • kvs

            I don’t think it’s a given we need all or even most of those votes. Certainly not based solely on the information in this study alone.

            There are any number of paths to victory. Winning voters who changed their vote is just the most obvious.

        • Rob in CT

          You are essentially making a modified Sanders argument.

          And? It’s not a terrible argument.

          It’s certainly better than “let’s pander to white nationalism” or “we’re fucked.”

          I don’t know if it’ll work, but hell. We have to do something.

        • It seems to me that you are picking and choosing what you are calling the working class. Some of these people are building contractors. Some work for building contractors. Some are unemployed. I fail to see what difference it makes.

          • The unemployed Trump voters have nothing to trade but their votes for some kind of power–as we saw with coal country they are completely unable to determine what is a good offer and what is a lie, but they prefer to believe lies told by republicans to lies told by democrats. So I really don’t see much hope for a democratic sweep based on a jobs program.

            The romans offered their capite censi bread and circuses. Our trumpenproletariat like circuses that promise bread and seem to be willing to settle for glitz as long as it comes with a heaping dose of white nationalism and bully behavior.

            • sibusisodan

              they prefer to believe lies told by republicans to lies told by democrats.

              That’s a very pithy way of putting it.

            • DrDick

              Actually, I think that, while they are desperate for any kind of help, they can distinguish between good and bad offers. Unfortunately, only Trump offered them anything. Clinton’s only offer to the white working class was “don’t expect too much”. She really did largely write off the WWC.

              • aturner339

                How precisely did Clinton do this? Was her adoption of free community college or madatory sick and paternity leave not a white working class benefit?

                • JKTH

                  Pffft, she just offered policies. Trump offered meaningful bullshit and bluster.

                • Lord Jesus Perm

                  I think what he’s referring to the same thing that Erik talks about a lot, which is that they need jobs (good paying ones) that will give them a sense of buy-in and dignity. I’m skeptical of this as a reason–even though a jobs program is something Democrats should absolutely offer–but I think that’s the gist of DrDick’s comment.

                • random

                  I think what he’s referring to the same thing that Erik talks about a lot, which is that they need jobs

                  We tend to be superstitiously committed to the belief that our preferred policy platform that we personally already strongly endorse or obsess over anyway, also just so happens to be the Golden Ticket to the chocolate factory of electoral dominance. The drive to believe this is so strong that it distorts our perceptions of reality.

                  So it’s easy to see how so many people on both the fiscal left and the fiscal right fall for this one, and even reinvent reality around that will to belief.

                  The fact is that there are not presidential candidates in either party who don’t promise jobs and economic development a whole, whole bunch. In every election both candidates promise to deliver good-paying jobs and economic development and loudly threaten that the other candidate will do the exact opposite.

                  Which candidate the swing-voters believe and whether that is sufficient to get them to swing to that candidate is just not that strongly based on the actual policies themselves. Otherwise they wouldn’t be swing voters in the first place.

                • DrDick

                  How does that create actual good paying jobs? Does it raise the minimum wage to a living wage? Pretty small change to be frank. This is not to say that Trump was telling the truth or that what he proposed would actually do those things, but he told them it would (which is a message they have been fed for decades).

            • Lord Jesus Perm

              Eh, I can’t really get behind this idea that his voters got lied to because they’re not perceptive enough to know better.

              • sibusisodan

                I have trouble with this too, but the alternative is saying that they wanted to be lied to, which a conclusion I particularly relish either.

                • JKTH

                  Well, we’ll see which is right in 2020, since it’s obvious already that Trump is as much of a populist as C. Montgomery Burns.

            • Nick never Nick

              Oh, this is just silly, right down to the historical fatalism. As we’ve seen in the last 50 years, political coalitions shift and change. Democrats can develop both rhetoric and policies that support Trump voters, and they can do it without selling out the cities or their support for an inclusive society. It’ll take political skill, hard work, and a recognition of everyone in America as counting. Obama almost did it, and the extraordinary reaction of the Republican party to him is a testament to the extraordinary danger he presented to them, his potential ability to suck away part of their coalition.

              • humanoid.panda

                Also: luck and contingency. Obama could have been twice the orator and political organizer he was, and still have probably lost in 2004.

              • DrDick

                Agree completely.

              • DrDick
            • as we saw with coal country they are completely unable to determine what is a good offer and what is a lie

              What exactly has been offered to them, though? Of course Trump was conning them. And of course, it wasn’t totally about jobs. But to the extent it was about jobs, a jobs program could help. Otherwise, the choice being offered them is between a dismal truth (“there’s nothing for you to look forward to except scraps”) and a glorious lie (“Coal will rise again”) which, yes, comes wrapped up in showy glitz and white nationalism.

        • sibusisodan

          I would agree this should be done as a matter of good policy.

          But if the auto bailout didn’t produce electoral rewards for the Ds I struggle to believe this segment of the electorate is open to being convinced at all. They have already chosen their team, and it’s not based on policy outcomes.

          • nemdam

            This. We should do a jobs program because it’s what Dems do, but if the auto bailout can’t convince Michigan and Ohio that the Dems have their back, I’m not sure what will.

            This article always sticks in my mind whenever anyone thinks this was about the economy. Elkhart, IN went from an unemployment rate of 22% to 4%, during Obama’s terms, but they hate him as much as ever. And a lot of rural counties that broke hard for Trump were also places with like 4% unemployment.

            https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/12/its-not-the-economy-stupid/511634/

            • los

              RWNJ MSM “rules” outside of big cities.

            • los

              One trumpster owns a RV sales business.
              One interviewee listens to RWNJ AM and watches Fauxnews.

              … article contains similar examples of what we already generally know.

          • This is a really good point.

        • los

          They might get associated with the working class but they aren’t earning a paycheck. Often they own their own small business. During the election, I saw Trump voters get described as building contractors

          Mostly remodels, additions. Maybe occasional strip mall revamps. or subcontractors for bigger projects.

          Mid 2016, I saw survey results… median income of Trump supporters $70k. In third tier cities/towns, those Trumpsters are cafe/bar, carpet cleaning service, roto-rooter business, etc owners not their employees.

      • What one has to do is to try and get these voters back without also appealing to white nationalism.

        Unpossible, me thinks. And with Trump at 36% popularity and trending down, I don’t think we really have to. Trump is doing the hard work for us.

        • humanoid.panda

          Right. All this discussion hinges on the hidden assumption that he won the Midwest in a landslide. Which he didn’t.

          • Rob in CT

            For 2016 alone, yeah, that works.

            Bigger picture, though, we need more than a squeaker in a Presidential election. We need a lot more.

            And in order to get that, we need to reverse the erosion of D support across the Midwest (not just MI/WI/PA, but also MN!, IA and OH). That’s a bigger lift.

            • humanoid.panda

              For sure. But after the experience of the last 10 years, I foreswore thinking about long term shifts in the American electorate…

              • Nick never Nick

                Haha, me too! Let us not mention the words ’emerging Democratic majority’ for a couple more generations, at least. Demographic arguments are to the left what sad theories of historical decline are to the MRA movement.

            • Linnaeus

              It is a bigger lift, but the Trump phenomenon, as it were, is still playing out. I think it’s too early to say that it means we’re all screwed.

            • Bigger picture, though, we need more than a squeaker in a Presidential election. We need a lot more.

              The Internets tell me that the Koch brothers only need five more states to convene a Constitutional Convention, so maybe the point will be moot.

              • humanoid.panda

                Leaving aside the fact that the Dems are almost certainly picking up 5-15 state governorship in the 2017/8, I wish the ACHA experience would have put at least some dent in the notion that the Republicans are mighty steam roller bound to kill us all. But some people just enjoy doom porn.

                • sibusisodan

                  “Republican legislators cannot agree on health legislation, but a constitutional rewrite is inescapable. No one ever needs compromise to pass one of those!”

                • Once a Constitutional Convention were called (and I agree with you that that’s by no means certain, if indeed that’s one of your points), I don’t think that the results will be good whether it ends up being a steam roller or just a fleet of bumper cars loaded with IEDs.

                • humanoid.panda

                  I think the odds of a constitutional convention are less than 1%, yes. And if one is gathered, the odds of it ending up in a dissolution of the US are about 50%.

                • Steve LaBonne

                  I think the odds are still 1%. It takes more states to ratify than to call the convention.

                • I think the odds of a constitutional convention are less than 1%, yes. And if one is gathered, the odds of it ending up in a dissolution of the US are about 50%

                  There was a time when I thought the same of a Trump presidency, but I agree that even if it were to happen, the TrumpCare incident demonstrates what a complete fiasco it would be.

                  That being said, if it were to happen, and if the Republicans got their act together on their jackboot agenda (huge if’s, understandably), I’m fairly confident that California would probably take the opportunity to punch out (with the PNW states) and New England/North East would probably follow.

                • N__B

                  I put the odds of a constitutional convention at well under 1%. If one is called, I put the odds that it ends in a bloodbath initiated by the gun-humpers at 99%.

                • Harkov311

                  But some people just enjoy doom porn.

                  It’s called “disasturbation,” according to one of my friends.

                • Yes, I’m seeing a lot of alarm over a constitutional convention, so I read up on it. It’s true that in theory, one could be called soon, and it’s unclear what the rules are so it could conceivably be hijacked by the Kochs and other unsavory forces.

                  However, I have read that after that 38 states would have to ratify whatever these folks come up with. If that is true, even in the current situation there aren’t enough Republican controlled states to ram through a Koch Constitution.

                • random

                  A Kochstitution?

                • liberalrob

                  Wouldn’t that in theory be the same 38 states needed to call the convention?

                  But I agree with you, while 38 might agree to call a convention it seems conceptually unlikely 38 would be able to agree on ratifying anything. All it would accomplish would be to serve as a lightning rod for all the neoconfederate hate swirling around the country, giving it something new to focus on, as has been described.

                • los

                  Koch Peculiar Institution
                  Koch Disconstitution
                  Koch Misconstitution
                  Koch Miserastution

      • random

        But both parties already do this a whole bunch in every single election. They both promise that their policies will bring about good jobs and economic development and warn that their opponent will do the opposite.

        Economic policy is just background noise for the type of voter who votes for Obama and then turns around and votes for Trump. I’d worry way more about finding a charismatic, youngish, inspiring candidate to sell those policies than about the policies themselves.

        • pseudalicious

          +1,000. Also, we probably shouldn’t run a white person for a while.

      • MDrew

        What one has to do is to try and get these voters back without also appealing to white nationalism. In other words, a strong program of economic development and good-paying industrial jobs for working-class people of all races absolutely must be part of the agenda.

        Man, I wish there had been a candidate running for president in the Democratic party last election who was unmistakably, annoyingly repetitively pushing that message.

        • Abbey Bartlet

          What one has to do is to try and get these voters back without also appealing to white nationalism. In other words, a strong program of economic development and good-paying industrial jobs for working-class people of all races absolutely must be part of the agenda.

          Man, I wish there had been a candidate running for president in the Democratic party last election who was unmistakably, annoyingly repetitively pushing that message.

          If Bernard had been able to beat Terrible Candidate Hillary, those economically anxious Rust Belters would have had a choice of:
          -a strong program of economic development and good-paying industrial jobs for working-class people of all races.
          or
          -a strong program of economic development and good-paying industrial jobs for working-class white people.

          Which one do you think they’re gonna pick?

          • MDrew

            I like Rust Belters. I am from the Rust Belt. I sit in the Rust Belt as I type.

            The former, you ________.

            • MDrew

              …Enough of them, that is.

              Are you glad we had who we had, who you wanted?

              Because it seems to me here you’re acknowledging here, finally, that she didn’t give us our best chance, even if you’re not conceding that the alternatively certainly would have won (and quite rightly, since we can’t know that).

            • Abbey Bartlet

              The former, you ________.

              Sure, because if there’s one thing American history teaches us, it’s that white people will always pick equality over kicking black people.

              • MDrew

                As I said, not always. But enough. It would have been plenty, in fact.

    • Scott Lemieux


      The worry is that having heard the siren call of loud ‘n proud white nationalism, they’re gone.

      This is, at least, premature. If the election was held today Trump would get crushed. If his popularity doesn’t improve significantly, he will get crushed in 2020. We really shouldn’t read permanent significance into what may very well be a fluke. Appealing to voters in part by promising the moon is one thing, getting re-elected with an actual track record another.

      • Rob in CT

        I said it was a worry, not that it was fact!

      • liberalrob

        If the election was held today Trump would get crushed.

        I’m not so certain. Arguably he got crushed last November and still wound up in the White House. So my faith in the ability of the voters in the swing states that broke his way to wise up after only 3 months is not exactly childlike.

        • MDrew

          Yes, it’s remarkable given the degree of certainty Scott was expressing prior to the election that he’s right back to it afterwards.

  • mds

    I angrily started tearing up my dog-eared notes about Obama –> Non-voter and Non-voter –> Trump being indistinguishable from Obama –> Trump in aggregate. Then I hit this part:

    What was consistent across most states, however, was higher-than-expected white turnout.

    The increase in white turnout was broad, including among young voters, Democrats, Republicans, unaffiliated voters, urban, rural, and the likeliest supporters of Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Trump. The greatest increases were among young and unaffiliated white voters.
    […]
    But the turnout was generally stronger among the likeliest white Trump supporters than among the likeliest white Clinton supporters.

    Whereupon I started scotch taping my notes back together. I’ll obviously have to go through the Cohn piece in its entirety, but nothing in that excerpted bit seems to make it unequivocal that it was large numbers of Obama voters flipping to Trump. Even this part:

    Over all, almost one in four of President Obama’s 2012 white working-class supporters defected from the Democrats in 2016, either supporting Mr. Trump or voting for a third-party candidate.

    makes me wonder if they genuinely measured this flip somehow, or if they’re still just going by “Obama WWC percentage down, Trump WWW percentage up.” Which remains consistent with the separate mobilization pools hypothesis. Granted, the positive evidence is in the realm of personal anecdote, whereby cynical “They’re all the same” non-voters got all fired up because they hate, hate, hate Hillary Clinton, but still.

    I mean, I admit I’m probably grasping at straws here, but that’s because as Murc said up above, if a quarter of WWC Dem voters flipped from supporting the liberal black guy named Hussein to vote for a flagrantly racist, sexist, lying sack of liquified dogshit because he projected “strength,” or was finally “non-PC” enough, or some such brain vomitus, then we are well and truly screwed as long as Republicans run shrieking vicious bullying assholes who don’t bother to hide it.

    • humanoid.panda

      As I understand it, Cohn has partial data from the voter file which indicates that voting/non-voting patterns didn’t change enough to account for Trump swing in in Trump-Obama counties. Which is strong circumstancial evidence for the shift theory.

      • mds

        How do those voter file data work, though? Because registration data isn’t sufficient, as there’s a noticeable gap between registered voters and turnout, not just between eligible voters and turnout. Especially for people who haven’t relocated recently.

        • searcher

          You can also see who voted in which elections, at least in New York State. It’s a common targeting technique, to target subsets like “registered Democrats who voted in the last two primaries”.

          So from that data alone, you can say “the vote totals were different by X percent, but only Y and Z percent started and stopped voting in that year, and Y+Z != X.”

          • humanoid.panda

            Exactly.

        • humanoid.panda

          The voter file contains people’s electoral history: i.e it can tell you whether a given voter voted in a given election.

    • mds

      In less “wall-of-text” terms, if WWC voters who supported Obama stayed home because they didn’t believe Clinton was the candidate for their interests, then beating the economic populism drum long and hard could get them back in the voting pool to go toe-to-toe with the WWC non-voters who were energized to vote by Trump. But if WWC voters who supported Obama flipped all the way to Trump because they preferred his message, no reality-constrained economic populism that a Democratic candidate could offer would ever be able to compete with the impossible promises of a Republican candidate like Trump.

      • Murc

        Right.

        But if the latter is true, we’re just straight up fucked, so we have to act like the former is true.

        • humanoid.panda

          No we aren’t. Because even if Trump moved, say, 2 million Obama votes, getting 10% of them back, plus slightly better turnout plus less 3rd party vote minus Comey/WL wins us the election in 2020.

          • Murc

            By a razor-thin margin, and doesn’t get us the Senate or the House, which we need.

            Also, your formulation actually does, in fact, involve getting some of them back.

  • humanoid.panda

    I have three major problems with Scott’s post:

    First, this seems problematic:

    But in a system that accords undue weight to a few states in which voters Trump had a particular appeal to…he wasn’t a weak candidate at all.

    The American system of election, horrible as it is, affords special advantages to small states. Since the four closest states: MI,WI,PA,FL range from middle-sized to very large (and Florida is not even particularly white), I struggle to see where is the “special advantage” here. We should beware from blindly assuming Republicans win only because the game is rigged.

    I also not sure Cohn ever references

    The decisive shift of older, higher-income whites

    As I recall from his previous columns, his key issue was geography, not income: rural whites at all income levels shifted towards Trump.

    Finally, I don’t see any support for this contention:

    As I’ve said, assumptions that Trump was a particularly terrible candidate and a generic Republican would have won easily are becoming increasingly problematic

    As Scott himself explains, Trump won by using the non-democratic elements of the American system to his advantage. Given that both are more skilled politicians than Romney, and Clinton is a far less popular figure than Obama, Kasich could easily win by a Democratic route: produce a 4 point uniform swing from 2012, giving the GOP candidate Ohio, Florida, Colorado, and Virginia- and the ball game. It’s not that hard to imagine: a few more liberals stay at home because Rubio/Kasich is not that frightening, a few suburban votes that swinged to HRC stay home, and few centrists buy the media’s representation of Kasich/Rubio as the great adult, and you have a 2004 style GOP victory.

    But all these is tiny details and they shouldn’t obscure the big pictur: a lot of people here insisted that there was no such thing as Obama/Trump voter and the persuasion is therefore an irrelevant concept in American politics in 2016. This position is not viable.

    • aturner339

      I think you’ll recognize that last point is a bit of a strawman?

      The point is that there is no evidence that Obama/Trump voters were key to the election and that persuading them may not be the best use of resources. Not least of which because no one knows who they are or if they exist.

      • humanoid.panda

        Um, no, Cohn shows rather persuasively that the electorate in Trump-Obama states remained more or less the same- people who voted in 2012 voted in 2016, and vice versa. Which means that Obama-Trump voters were indeed crucial to the outcome.

        • aturner339

          Pretty sure he only says 25% of WWC Obama voters didn’t vote for Hillary. No guarantee they voted for Trump.

          • aturner339

            Ah. Read the discussion on voter files above. possible he showed more than that.

        • John F

          Um, no, he actually doesn’t.

          The issue here us that the data can support a couple of scenarios, and Cohn (And you, and me too) are seeing it as supporting the scenario we thought happened before even looking at the data.

          You (or I, or Cohn) have to reconcile various factors

          1. There are always some voters who switch from one party to another.
          2. There are always voters who didn’t vote in the last election who voted in this one.
          3. There are always voters who voted in the last election, but not this one.

          HRC got 62,279 fewer votes than Obama
          Trump got 2,051,321 more votes than Romney
          Johnson/McMullen got 3,945,0335 more votes than 2012 Johnson
          Stein got 987,589 more votes than 2012.

          Obama got 38% of the white vote, HRC got 37%
          Romney got 60% of the white vote, Trump got 58%

          Obama got 45% of the male vote, Romney 52% (-7)
          HRC got 41% of the male vote, Trump 52% (-11)

          HRC got 54% of the female vote, Trump 41% (+13)
          Obama got 55% of the female vote, Romney got 44% (+11)

          You want Obama voters who switched? MEN, not white working class men, MEN across the board, white/black/hispanic, all shifted a couple of points to Trump, ON TOP OF THAT, Trumps’ favorable demos had a higher turnout rate than they had for Romney.

    • djw

      Since the four closest states: MI,WI,PA,FL range from middle-sized to very large (and Florida is not even particularly white), I struggle to see where is the “special advantage” here.

      It’s the underlying baseline. Before we ever get to whichever swing states happen to be decisive in a given year, there’s a modest Republican advantage from a relatively small number of voters from the non-competitive tiny, overrepresented states. It’s not huge–Democrats do get Delaware, Vermont, Hawaii, and Rhode Island, after all–but it’s real.

      • humanoid.panda

        It’s real, and it was relevant in 2000 and 2004, but not so much this year..

        • humanoid.panda

          FWIW, among the 12 states holding 3 or 4 electoral seats, the Dems won six and the GOP won six this year..

    • Incontinentia Buttocks

      Though the overall allocation of electoral votes advantages small states, that’s not the only — or the worst — effect of the electoral college. With all but two states giving all their electoral votes to plurality winners of the popular vote it most advantages (the voters for the state-wide winning candidate in) swing states over everyone else, especially the voters for the state-wide winning candidate in safe states.

      • humanoid.panda

        Sure- but this is not the sort of thing that tilts the electoral map towards republicans permanently (unlike, say, the structure of the Senate).

        • Incontinentia Buttocks

          Who said anything about permanent? Prior to 2016, there was all kinds of talk about the Democrats having a structural electoral college advantage. We tend to see electoral outcomes as less contingent and more indicative of long-term trends than they actually are. We have a bitterly and closely divided country with two major parties that are remarkably stable institutions. We have a deeply antidemocratic electoral system, especially as regards electing the president, that regularly produces perverse results. That system does have some permanent features that structure those perverse results. But after reading for eight years about the Democrats’ inherent structural electoral college advantages, I am going to be very skeptical for the next four years about claims of the Republicans’ inherent structural electoral college advantages.

          • humanoid.panda

            We agree with each other here- but I thnk Scott’s original post flirted with “electoral college give unfair advantage to Republicans”

            • Scott Lemieux

              The “flirting with” language gives away the show, but given that my argument is that most other Republican candidates would not have had a similar advantage this is a rather epic misreading.

    • Scott Lemieux

      The American system of election, horrible as it is, affords special advantages to small states

      The Electoral College gives only a very small boost to small states. It gives a large boost to candidates who narrowly win fairly large states. Like Donald Trump. This point is just wrong.

      Kasich could easily win by a Democratic route

      Even if this was true, and I’m dubious, why would you use Kasich as your example of a generic Republican rather than Cruz or Rubio?

      • humanoid.panda

        I tried using Kasich/Rubio throughout the post, but I slipped. Cruz is different, because he is not a generic republican- and given his open fundamentalism, probably a worse candidate than Trump, by a significant margin.

    • djw


      Kasich could easily win by a Democratic route: produce a 4 point uniform swing from 2012, giving the GOP candidate Ohio, Florida, Colorado, and Virginia- and the ball game.

      Nitpick: Colorado’s margin (and thus the ‘uniform swing’ shift required to produce a Republican victory in 2012) was 5.4%

    • los

      humanoid.panda says:

      his key issue was geography, not income: rural whites at all income levels shifted towards Trump.

      Which suggests shift of influence toward RWNJ MSM, cultural/emotional issues – not toward “economic anxiety”.

  • Crusty

    I can’t put my finger on why, but this analysis makes me think that the democrats need a star to run in 2020, and I’m concerned that I don’t see who that might be. I don’t know that Cuomo is a star (putting aside policy issues where I know people have some serious beef) he at least strikes me as the sort of obnoxious loudmouth who could go toe to toe with Trump.

    • NewishLawyer

      The one thing I think Sanders could have done better against Trump on is calling out Trump’s bullshit like only a Brooklyn born and raised person can.

      • witlesschum

        I really would have loved to see how those debates would have played out.

      • los

        Sanders berates Trump on issues (or trumptweets) now, but seems to lag the issue.
        Also Sanders’s MSM status is only a relic of his active campaigning status.

        Grayson is also “blunt”, as is Warren though in a non-flamboyant manner.

    • djw

      If “star” and “obnoxious loudmouth” are functionally equivalent I really don’t know what you mean by the former at all. Cuomo is a more or less bog-standard politician.

      (And whatever his GE strengths and weaknesses–I’m not impressed, personally–he’s a non-starter because he’s going to get flayed alive in the primary, and rightly so)

      • N__B

        I want Cuomo to run specifically because I want to watch him get flayed alive in the primaries.

        I’m a bad person.

        • Phil Perspective

          Who is going to flay Cuomo in the primaries? Booker? Hahaha!! Kirsten Gillibrand? It would need to be a Sanders type candidate. Someone who isn’t among the “go along to get along” Democrats.

          • N__B

            I don’t care if you masturbate in public, but do you really have to get that goop on my comment?

          • djw

            Who is going to flay Cuomo in the primaries?

            The Democratic primary electorate.

            (I’m curious how someone manages to believe, on the one hand, that Sanders was a juggernaut and they were forced to cheat to stop him, but Cuomo has a clear and easy path to a nomination with the same electorate.)

            • Rob in CT

              Because obviously it’ll be rigged for Cuomo (by scheming Clintonites, natch)?

            • EliHawk

              I mean, it’s not that hard to see someone who won his Big Progressive Primary Challenge by winning Brooklyn 67-28, Queens 74-22, and The Bronx 82-14 might have some play with the actual Democratic Primary electorate as opposed to the internet Democratic Primary electorate. Like or dislike Cuomo, but his vulnerability with the actual Democratic base seems vastly overstated by a lot of people.

      • Thom

        Cuomo is also relatively unknown outside the northeast.

    • Incontinentia Buttocks

      Oprah Winfrey? Katy Perry? Ryan Gosling? Jordan Peele?

      After 2016, who the hell knows who’s a plausible presidential candidate.

      But in more mundane terms, it’s far too soon to tell what 2020 will look like politically. Let’s focus on 2017 and 2018 first.

      • sibusisodan

        What about Keegan Michael Key running as Luther, Obama’s anger translator?

    • Murc

      I can’t put my finger on why, but this analysis makes me think that the democrats need a star to run in 2020

      Not just in 2020.

      In any election in which the Republicans are running someone either with charisma or who is an effective demagogue, we need to run the same. Because the nerd never wins against the jock. Ever. That’s been true since Kennedy.

      It doesn’t matter how we generate that thrill up peoples legs, but we gotta do it. The only time we don’t is if the Republicans also nominate a nerd.

      • NonyNony

        The truth of this suggests that the only thing that democracy is good for is peaceful transfer of power from one king to another, and not really for self rule.

        I don’t like that implication, but I do have to admit that part of the reason I’ve been off social media since November is because the implications of what Trump’s election means about my concept of what democracy is were completely shaken to their core, and I’m still not sure if I quite understand the implications of it.

        • Crusty

          A while back, someone here (LeeEsq?) talked about how in the UK, they’ve got the Monarch who is the symbol that makes you feel good about the country, and the prime minister who governs with his cabinet- the symbol and the minister are separated. Here, they’re combined in the same person and sometimes we end up voting for the monarch instead of the governor.

          • Rob in CT

            My father (a Brit) made that argument all the time.

            Note, however, that (at large minority of) we just voted for Trump to be the symbol that makes you feel good about the country, which is insane.

          • LeeEsq

            Thanks for the shout out. Its the standard theory of why having separate offices for head of state and head of government works better than combining the two. You could technically have a ceremonial President as head of state, its what parliamentary republics do, but the ceremonial President tends to be a non-entity that people ignore and the Prime Minister ends up something like a President even though he or she might only be head of government.

            A monarch generally lasts several decades with modern medical technology and people grow up and grow old with one monarch. A monarch also acts as a repository for a countries’ culture, history, identity, pageantry and traditions in a way a ceremonial President can not.

        • Steve LaBonne

          That was an argument that Schumpeter made explicitly in Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy.

        • Rob in CT

          If you asked me what the primary advantage of democracy is I would absolutely pick the peaceful transfer of power/legitimacy.

          I did once think that it offered more than just that. But as you say, that’s looking a mite questionable.

          The thing is, that one advantage is really big.

          • NonyNony

            Yeah – I mean it’s worth it just for the success we’ve had in going on 152 years without a War for Succession. That’s 29 peaceful transfers of power at the Presidential level, though fewer if you think about power being transferred from faction to faction instead of just the presidency.

            So while I may be more jaded in my view of democracy, I wouldn’t trade it because the alternatives are all still obviously worse.

        • sonamib

          Well, the “king election” aspect is only true for presidential democracies. That club is comprised of the USA, France, and…?

          In parliamentary systems, personalities are less emphasised, even if they do play a role.

          • Matt Heath

            That club is comprised of the USA, France, and…?

            Most of the countries, although India and most of Europe probably constitute “notable, rare exceptions”

            • sonamib

              LOL, if you include Brazil in a list of countries with strong presidential systems, you don’t understand anything about Brazilian politics. It’s a feudal system, politics is mostly controlled by local strongmen and power brokers. Granted, that might still count as monarchical…

              France counts as “semi-presidential” even though the President has been very strong since 2002. Hell, 2 of the 5 main candidates to the French presidential election are running a solo campaign, without a formal allegiance to any party.

              A lot of the presidential systems in the list are quasi-dictatorships in Africa and Central Asia. I wouldn’t really say Iran, Turkmenistan and the like are democracies.

              TL;DR : that list you provided isn’t really a list of democracies with strong presidential systems.

              • CP

                I admit that I’ve never really understood the logic behind the hybrid system of France, with a President and Prime Minister who both hold real power – seems like a recipe for dysfunction. My parents’ explanation was that De Gaulle basically wanted the executive branch’s functions separated into “things I care about” (which would fall to the President) and “things that the executive branch needs to do but that I don’t want to be bothered with” (which would fall to the Prime Minister). Which… seems like something he’d do.

                • LeeEsq

                  De Gaulle wanted to create a Republican monarchy and wanted the President to be more regal than it was in the United States. Its why it was originally elected through a very big electoral college than a two-round popular vote.

                • sonamib

                  Well, I wouldn’t explain it that way. Note that de Gaulle didn’t have all the power. He wasn’t an autocrat (even though he wished he was). France was a parliamentary republic for a long, long time. From 1870 to 1958, with a WW2 hiatus. De Gaulle probably had to compromise with influential politicians in the National Assembly before he could propose his idea for a Fifth Republic.

                  French presidents never liked the compromise, they repeatedly tried to assert their power by dissolving the National Assembly at an opportune moment, when they thought they were very popular. This often backfired spectacularly, with the opposition winning.

                  But Chirac found the solution : presidential terms and legislative terms would now last the same amount of years (5, the president used to get 7), and, crucially, the legslative elections would occur one month after the presidential election. It’s brilliantly evil because it turns the presidential election into the main show, the election of the National Assembly doesn’t matter because “everybody knows” the president will get “his” majority.

                • CP

                  Well, when De Gaulle came back to power, it was at the point of a gun – the Fourth Republic ended in a coup, led by a military institution that never really learned to like democratic government in the first place, and whose basic demand was “we want De Gaulle in charge.” So I always assumed that he had, if not all the power, still a huge amount of discretionary power in deciding what the new republic would look like, hence the focus on him.

              • djw

                This is more than a bit dismissive of a good number of South and Central American democracies that are, presently, not notably less functional than European parliamentary systems–Uruguay, Costa Rica, Chile, Argentina, etc. (And yes, despite it’s flaws, Brazil is a flawed democracy but still clearly in the democracy category on every democracy index out there.)

                Linz is, I think, clearly correct that presidential systems are less stable than parliamentary systems. But the notion that they’re not *really* democracies during their periods of stability is taking it a bit far, and more than a little Eurocentric.

                • sonamib

                  I’m not really sure what my point was anymore.

                  But I didn’t mean to say that Brazil wasn’t a democracy. Just that the president is in a very weak position. There are more differences than similarities with the US system. A multiparty coalition is needed in order to govern.

                  But point taken about being Eurocentric, I don’t know much about other Latin American governments.

                • sonamib

                  Maybe you were under the impression that I didn’t think Brazil was a democracy because I threw the world feudalism around? Well, people were talking about elected kings in the USA, I was just going along with the analogy.

            • humanoid.panda

              But a lot of countries that have presidents are not democracies. Presidential democracies are a rarity.

          • LeeEsq

            Most countries in Latin America, the Philippines, and even in parliamentary republics if the ceremonial President is enough of a non-entity. The parties become identified with their would be Prime Ministers and the would be Prime Minister’s personality determines a lot.

            • sonamib

              In Paraguay and Brazil, at least, feudalism seems like a better comparison than absolute monarchy. In Venezuela, it was a feudal system that kind of evolved into an absolutist one. I’m not sure it still counts as a democracy now. But I’ll admit I don’t know much about the rest of the region.

              But what were we arguing again? I’m not even sure anymore. I guess I just wanted to point out that the US system is rather unique among democracies.

      • MDrew

        Not just in 2020.

        In any election in which the Republicans are running someone either with charisma or who is an effective demagogue, we need to run the same. Because the nerd never wins against the jock. Ever. That’s been true since Kennedy.

        It doesn’t matter how we generate that thrill up peoples legs, but we gotta do it. The only time we don’t is if the Republicans also nominate a nerd.

        Sanders was a boxer and is a runner. I say this only because he pretty obviously reads “nerd” at this point. But… what do you think Murc? Could Sanders have generated just enough chills in people’s legs to offset the charge Trump was putting up their gams to win?

        I would say certainly not enough to retake any of Congress, much less effect a political revolution. But retaining the White House would have been pretty nice.

    • Scott Lemieux

      Cuomo has a 0% chance of being the Democratic nominee, thank Christ.

      • Abbey Bartlet

        Cuomo has a 0% chance of being the Democratic nominee, thank Christ.

        But it would get him out of Albany, freeing the slot up for Chelsea.

        • Q.E.Dumbass

          Damn, Murc and I were hoping Hillary.

          • Abbey Bartlet

            Hmm, could be. I’d have to check with Josh Barro.

            • Q.E.Dumbass

              I mean, we seriously, legitimately hope she’d run for governor.

              • Murc

                It’s less a hope and more of a fantasy.

                It’s not going to happen. But my 2018 election cycle fantasy is for Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton to team up and kick Bruce Rauner and Andrew Cuomo (plus whatever sacrificial goat the Republicans run in New York) out on their asses.

  • nemdam

    While the number of white working class voters who flipped from Obama to Trump is higher than I thought, the polling always said this was going to happen. But to counteract this, her campaign was banking on a roughly equal number of college educated whites flipping from Romney to Clinton. These were the suburban Republicans that Clinton was targeting, and the polling showed whe was winning them over. And contrary to popular belief, she did do better with college educated Republicans than Obama did. Unfortunately, she didn’t do well enough to counter the loss in white working class voters like the polling said she would.

    And this is where the Comey letter and, to an unknown effect, Russia comes in. But definitely Comey. I guarantee you that the biggest demographic that was effected by the letter was these college educated Republicans who were turned off by Trump and were going to crossover for Clinton. But the letter triggered all of their old tribalism about how terrible Hillary is, so they got cold feet at the last second. Cohn’s analysis would all hold true without the letter, but he would also add about how well Hillary did in the suburbs if not for The Man of Unimpeachable Integrity’s letter.

    So I guess my takeaway is to abduct the FBI Director the last month of the election? In all seriousness, as painful and unsatisfying as it is, I don’t think there is any real conclusion to take away as the election was a fluke event because of the unusual circumstance of Russia and the FBI.

    • Phil Perspective

      I guarantee you that the biggest demographic that was effected by the letter was these college educated Republicans who were turned off by Trump and were going to crossover for Clinton.

      And we know this how? It certainly wouldn’t apply to older Republicans. People forget that Johnson got 3 times the vote of Stein. I’m curious what the party affiliation break down is of those who voted for Johnson. I have a hard time believing many people open to voting for Democrats voted for him.

      • Abbey Bartlet

        I have a hard time believing many people open to voting for Democrats voted for him.

        Why?

      • Rob in CT

        I too am curious about that. I don’t find it hard to believe, though. I think MORE of his pickups were disaffected Republicans, of course.

      • nemdam

        Well, we don’t have data proving this which is why I’m speculating. But I believe I explained it pretty clearly by stating that’s what the polling said.

        I don’t think Johnson pulled much from Democrats, but he did pull from left leaning independents. It’s possible the Comey letter may have moved some of those voters from Clinton to Johnson/Stein too.

    • MDrew

      This is the most convincing story I’ve heard about why to think the Comey action was decisive.

  • Crusty

    One factor that I feel like is sometimes left out of the equation about how to square the 2008 and 2016 results is George W. Bush. Specifically, at the end of his administration, there was quite a bit of disgust with him and his administration over general competence (an issue where Trump is also having trouble), on the two biggies- war and the economy. While lots of people love war, I don’t think there was a strong enough sense that we were winning at war as opposed to just moving into a permanent state of it. And the economy was in the toilet, bigly. So lots of people mildly inclined towards republicans, whether its because their parents voted republican, they’re susceptible to racist dog whistles, or they are big believers in “lower taxes and less regulations on businesses,” there was a serious competency question that drove people away from the party. McCain had to run away from the party and do some kind of awkward oh, I’m a republican but not too much like the republicans you’re sick of at the moment.

    • Incontinentia Buttocks

      And there may well be disgust with Trump in 2020. He’s already a dozen points south of the 45% who voted for him.

  • Bri2k

    One thing missing here is the “burn it down” mentality among Trump supporters. While probably not a majority, this, along with other factors is what probably gave Orange Julius the election. It was death by 1,000 cuts for HRC.

  • Ronan

    Can the sort of definitive statements people are making on this election really be made with the data that they currently have?
    I dont have access to the NYT so out of curiosity, what data is Cohn extrapolating from?

    • humanoid.panda

      As noted above- he has some preliminary voter file data. Which is as close to ultimate arbiter of truth we have on this side of abolishing the secret ballot..

  • msdc

    Scott:

    Stein’s failure to get off the canvas is another indication that Sanders didn’t harm Clinton by not dropping out earlier.

    Can I ask you to elaborate on this? Because I’m not seeing how it follows from the information presented here. Stein and Johnson both tripled their percentage of the vote relative to 2012.

    • DrDick

      Nothing tripled is still nothing. Their percentages of the vote combined were negligible.

      • Abbey Bartlet

        Nothing tripled is still nothing. Their percentages of the vote combined were negligible.

        Yes, except if all of her voters went to HRC, we wouldn’t have a fucking fascist in the White House.

        • sibusisodan

          Much as I like this explanation, I don’t think the third party numbers add up as needed in all the required states. But my memory could be faulty.

          • Abbey Bartlet

            Much as I like this explanation, I don’t think the third party numbers add up as needed in all the required states. But my memory could be faulty.

            They do, one sec.

            • Abbey Bartlet

              Shit, forgot I couldn’t edit.

              Michigan: GOP margin of 10,704 votes. Jill got 51,463 votes. (Also: 25,307 write-ins.)
              Pennsylvania: GOP margin of 44,292 votes. Jill got 49,941 votes. (Also: 47,285 write-ins.)
              Wisconsin: GOP margin of 22,748 votes. Jill got 31,072 votes. (Also: 22,812 write-ins.)

              • sibusisodan

                Thanks! I slouch corrected. Turns out I can’t math correctly for PA…

              • Phil Perspective

                And if all Johnson votes would have went to Cheeto instead?

                • Rob in CT

                  If Trump had lost, Republicans would’ve been upset that they lost a bunch of votes because people couldn’t bring themselves to vote Trump and voted Johnson instead.

                  And I’d understand (but not sympathize) with their anger, because they’d be right that if their leaners had stayed on-side they’d have won (in this counterfactual).

                  The difference, IMO, is that Trump had numerous totally disqualifying faults, whereas HRC did not.

              • Rob in CT

                2/3 of her support doesn’t get us there, though (in MI yes, PA no, WI no but really close).

                But with the write-ins, though… are those way up from 2012 too?

                • Abbey Bartlet

                  But with the write-ins, though… are those way up from 2012 too?

                  2016
                  Michigan: Jill got 51,463 votes. (Also: 25,307 write-ins.)
                  Pennsylvania: Jill got 49,941 votes. (Also: 47,285 write-ins.)
                  Wisconsin: Jill got 31,072 votes. (Also: 22,812 write-ins.)

                  2012
                  Michigan: Jill got 21,897 votes. (Also: 14,332 write-ins.)
                  Pennsylvania: Jill got 21,341 votes. (Also: 13,097 write-ins.)
                  Wisconsin: Jill got 7,665 votes. (Also: 5,170 write-ins.)

                  Yeah so back to the part where fuck Jill Stein.

                • urd

                  Yeah so back to the part where fuck Jill Stein.

                  Yeah, whatever. You continue to ignore the effect Johnson voters had on Drumpf’s numbers.

                  If you are going to use data, make sure you use all data that is key to the discussion. Otherwise it’s just cherry picking to prove a theory that you refuse to acknowledge is wrong.

                • Rob in CT

                  urd: why do we have to care about Johnson’s numbers, though?

                  We want the Right to fracture and be unable to hold their noses, and thus lose.

                  We want the Left to hang together and win.

                  Why is Johnson’s higher vote total somehow responsive to “fuck the grifting/useful idiot Stein?”

        • DrDick

          This assumes that all of her voters would have voted Democratic at all, which is clearly unwarranted (many would likely not vote at all).

          • Rob in CT

            There’s some baseline # that is ungettable. I think that prior election cycles show that this is a very small number – something like her 2008 and 2012 showings. Maybe 1/3 of her vote total this year. The other 2/3 was potentially gettable.

            And I maintain that every single one of her voters fucked up, given the choices and stakes.

      • msdc

        Nothing tripled is still nothing.

        And a combined 1.3% of the vote tripled is 4% of the vote, or roughly twice Clinton’s margin in the popular vote and significantly more than Trump’s margin in key swing states.

    • Rob in CT

      Stein got 1%, which is much higher than she deserved but still teeny tiny.

      Johnson is the one who got a (sort of) significant # of votes, and I have to think he pulled more neverTrump Republicans in than neverClinton Democrats…

      I actually think it’s possible that the Ls got a suprising # of weakly attached lean-D votes (anti-war, pro-pot, don’t really think too deeply about much else but ugh Hillary sucks man…).

      • DrDick

        And a large chunk of his voters, to the extent they voted at all, would likely go to the Republicans.

        • Rob in CT

          Yes, absolutely we’d expect the L’s to pull more disaffected R-leaners than D-leaners. I just think a decent minority chunk of L voters this cycle are potentially gettable (which still adds up to a small number overall in the context of a Presidential election – it’s just that every little bit counts).

          • DrDick

            But the third party candidates really are not responsible for Clinton’s loss and it is stupid to claim they are. There are a number factors that played a significant role, including the completely unbalanced press coverage of the campaigns, Comey’s intervention, and the candidate herself.

  • John F

    Instead, it’s clear that large numbers of white, working-class voters shifted from the Democrats to Mr. Trump. Over all, almost one in four of President Obama’s 2012 white working-class supporters defected from the Democrats in 2016, either supporting Mr. Trump or voting for a third-party candidate.

    ***

    What was consistent across most states, however, was higher-than-expected white turnout.

    For this reason alone, it’s hard to argue that turnout was responsible for the preponderance of Mr. Trump’s gains among white voters. The turnout among young and white Democratic voters was quite strong.

    HRC got virtually the same number of votes as Obama got in 2012, Trump got more than Romney- but not that much more, HRC still won the popular vote handily

    So if HRC actually lost significant numbers of white working class Obama voters, she HAD to have offsetting gains:

    A. Among blacks, nope, in fact she had a drop off from Obama
    B. Among Hispanics, a little but not that much
    C. Among Romney voters, yes she had some especially among those with 4 year + degrees, but Johnson/McMullin had 4 million more votes than Johnson in 2012 they got far more Romney defectors than HRC did.

    I think the obvious conclusion is that while some Obama voters switched, a big/majority portion of the apparent switch is that a lot of white working class voters who did not vote in 2012- came out and voted in 2012 for Trump – so yes it is in fact easy to argue that “turnout was responsible for the preponderance of Mr. Trump’s gains among white voters.” You can’t explain HRC’s vote totals if you think 1/4 of white Obama voter switched.

    • xq

      You’re not accounting for population growth. It’s easier to think about this in terms of rates, not raw numbers.

      1/4 of white Obama voter switched

      The claim is that around 1/4 of white working class Obama voters switched. Much smaller number.

  • Steve LaBonne

    Hard cases make bad law. Unprecedentedly weird, extremely close elections make bad advice for future campaigns.

    • John F

      Yeah, to some extent 2016 sheds no light on anyone’s strategy going forward.

      1. HRC is sui generis due to the 20+ year non-stop vilification campaign waged against her, she’s been atop polls of who do like least/ trust the least for over 20 years. I can’t imagine she’s running again.

      2. Trump is sui generis, and 2020 Trump is not gonna be 2016 Trump, in 2020 he’s gonna be an incumbent who has continuously crapped on his “working class” supporters for 4 years- people are thick but SOME are actually gonna notice.

      3. The margin was, considering we are a county of 300 million, razor thin, a 1% shift would have given HRC the win, Comey keeping his mouth shut almost certainly gives her the win, Comey talking about RussiaGate instead if EMAILS! almost certainly gives her the win.

      • lahtiji

        who has continuously crapped on his “working class” supporters for 4 years

        In all seriousness, there are people who get off on that kind of stuff, and I’d wager that most of them were Trump voters to start with.

      • TopsyJane

        1. HRC is sui generis due to the 20+ year non-stop vilification campaign waged against her, she’s been atop polls of who do like least/ trust the least for over 20 years. I can’t imagine she’s running again.

        I seem to remember that she was actually polling higher favorability ratings than Obama for awhile. I can’t imagine her running again, either, and I hope she doesn’t for her own sake, but when you consider that Biden has shown interest in 2020 — well, nothing’s impossible.

        • Roberta

          The pattern seems to be that she has exceptionally high favorability ratings when she’s not running for anything, sadly.

          • Abbey Bartlet

            The pattern seems to be that she has women have exceptionally high favorability ratings when she’s they’re not running for anything, sadly.

            FTFY.

  • jamesepowell

    Not sure if it’s already stated upthread – I did read most things – but it cannot be stated often enough that if it weren’t for the NYT’s 24 year anti-Hillary campaign, this post doesn’t exist.

    Hell, if it weren’t for Comey’s anti-Hillary activity this post doesn’t exist.

    • MDrew

      I’ll say again: flagship liberal newspaper being on a quarter-century campaign against a politician (which I don’t fully accept, but taking it arguendo), who is of their state and metro area, is ex-ante a good reason for a liberal party to think twice about nominating said politician for president in a generationally important election.

      • MDrew

        …Both as a precaution against the likely ongoing pursuit of the campaign, and because it can/should be seen as an indicator of sentiment in certain influential corners of the voting coalition of the party.

  • John F

    As I’ve said, assumptions that Trump was a particularly terrible candidate and a generic Republican would have won easily are becoming increasingly problematic. I don’t think it’s safe at all to assume that Rubio or Cruz or Jeb! would have Trump’s particular appeal to white working-class voters.

    Since I don’t think any significant numbers of “white working-class voters” who voted for Trump would have voted HRC if Rubio or Jeb! were running instead, and I think out that out of the 5 million who voted Johnson/McMullen some 3-4 million would have voted Rubio or Jeb! instead, and some of the better educated Romney voters who voted HRC would have voted Rubio or Jeb!

    I absolutely think Rubio or Jeb! would have done better in the popular vote than Trump did- but they may not have done as well in the Electoral College.

    Because she was facing Trump I think HRC got the absolute MAXIMUM number of raw votes she could have gotten in any opposition candidate scenario (everything else… Comey cough cough, staying the same),

    HRC v. Jeb! may have seen an across the board turnout crash that makes prognostication tough though.

    I do think she would have beaten Cruz though.

  • xq

    Yes, interesting stuff. Hopefully this will slow the constant (and never well-supported) claims that swing voters don’t matter anymore and 21st century elections are all about turning out the base?

    In many ways, the 2016 election is straightforward to understand. There’s always been a part of the Democratic coalition that disagreed with the Democratic mainstream on a few key issues like immigration but preferred Dems on economic policy. Trump ran as an economic populist and got a bunch of those voters (probably didn’t help that the Clinton campaign chose to reinforce his message that he was a different kind of Republican). He’s proceeded to govern much like a typical Republican, and not at all like any sort of populist, so I see no reason to conclude that all Obama-Trump voters are gone for good.

    • Scott Lemieux

      Hopefully this will slow the constant (and never well-supported) claims that swing voters don’t matter anymore and 21st century elections are all about turning out the base?

      Yes, good point. People confuse “there aren’t many swing voters” with “swing voters aren’t important at the margin.”

      • MDrew

        Which makes the former observation of near-zero value. Not many people are going around saying that swing voters are a huge voting bloc, but to the extent they are, it doesn’t even really matter much (I mean, facts matter, so fair enough), since in fact what swing voters do is important to outcomes quite often.

        It’s possible that correcting those who overrepresent the sheer size of the swing block is itself a harm if it ends up making people think that its impact, in addition to its size, is small.

  • Abbey Bartlet

    I don’t think it’s safe at all to assume that Rubio or Cruz or Jeb! would have Trump’s particular appeal to white working-class voters. If the United States had a democratic system for choosing the president, then Trump’s unusual weaknesses would have made him a bad candidate. But in a system that accords undue weight to a few states which had a disproportionate number of voters Trump had a particular appeal to…he wasn’t a weak candidate at all. I’m becoming more and more convinced that a Clinton/non-Trump race would have meant a better popular vote showing but an Electoral College loss for the Republican Party.

    I’ve been saying this for ages. He brought out all the racists.

  • anonymous

    Trump succeeded because he awakened white racial consciousness, especially to the trend that the country is becoming majority-minority. Once awakened, they aren’t going to be unawakened. As someone else said, it is “whitelash”. This phenomenon isn’t going away in 2020 either.

    The Dems can either address this fear or watch as Whites start to flee from the Dems in ever larger numbers.

    • humanoid.panda

      Anonymous is a troll.

    • John F

      Explain how then that Trump got 58% of the white vote whereas Romney got 60%?

      Bush 2 pulled 58% in 2004 (and that got him a popular vote win)

      Bush 1 pulled 60% in 1988 (and that got him a popular vote landslide)

      What Trump may have done is reconfigured it a bit- he gained among under-educated whites and lost among educated whites

      under-educated whites are a shrinking demo relative to educated whites.

      • CP

        Explain how then that Trump got 58% of the white vote whereas Romney got 60%?

        It endlessly fascinates me how many great sounding and plausible theories (not that this was necessarily one of them) run aground of an unglamorous fact.

      • Rob in CT

        Well, turnout is one way. So is benefitting from a particular distribution of a particular slice of that demographic (non-college educated whites).

        So: how can you win with 58% of the white vote instead of 60%? Well, one way would be if whites were a larger share of the electorate that year (don’t think this holds nationally in 2016).

        Another is for you to get higher %s of whites and/or higher white turnout (and/or lower minority turnout) in several crucial states such that you eek out an EC win/pop vote loss.

        Trump did particularly well with non-college whites and the states that flipped to him had a lot of non-college whites.

    • Rob in CT

      Where “address this fear” means “offer white nationalism lite” or at least that’s what I’ve gotten from your prior posts.

      If that’s not what you mean, you might want to lay out how your argument differs.

      • anonymous

        Think about Merrick Garland.

        Why did Obama choose him and not a PoC?

        It is because he realized that if he did pick another PoC, it would just play into accusations of minority identity politics and thus cause “whitelash”. He already got Sotomayor. He could have picked another PoC as many progressives wished but he knew better.

        Obama clearly realized the potential for “whitelash” and decided it was time for a pick like Garland, a bland White male. You and I both know he picked a nominee with that demographic in mind! Was Obama a supporter of “white nationalism lite”???

        • Rob in CT

          That’s not why Obama picked Garland. So no, you and I do not both know that.

          He picked Garland because he had been previously extensively praised by Republicans, was a moderate liberal, and was a bit older*, and these things were hoped to be enough to get him confirmed by the GOP-held Senate.

          * older meaning he’d likely lock in a liberal majority for fewer years, making him more palatable for Senate Republicans.

          • Rob in CT

            Also note that it didn’t work.

            • TopsyJane

              Also note that it didn’t work.

              Sure didn’t. You’d think after eight years Obama would have realized it wouldn’t, but even the brighter among us sometimes never learn.

              I’d love to have had footage of Republican senators refusing even to meet with a prospective black, Hispanic, or Asian justice, particularly a woman. Oh, well.

          • Q.E.Dumbass

            FFS, what the hell does it take to be banhammered these days? Because the reappearances of commenters who should’ve been banned multiple times over has been pissing me off more and more lately?

            • Rob in CT

              This site has never been big on the banhammer.

              • Q.E.Dumbass

                I’m not asking for admin to start banning all the accounts. Just four (and possibly another one I suspect is Jenbob in disguise). I’m not particularly upset that TJ/NR and Proglib got banned…but given that three of the accounts are fucking obviously trolls (and that two of them straight-up admitted to being so) — there is absolutely no rationale under which these fucknuts should be allowed to keep their posting privileges.

                • Origami Isopod

                  TJ/NR got banhammered for sockpuppeting, which is straight-up against the rules. I don’t know what the last straw was with ProgLib. But in general, Rob is correct in that LGM tends to be very reserved with the banhammer.

                • Q.E.Dumbass

                  It was insulting the frontpagers. But even then TJ/NR and ProgLib contributed far more value to the community than the current crop of fucknuts (i.e., until fairly recently they were far more crankish than trollish).

                  And one of the people has actually had their comments deleted repeatedly, so I have no idea why he hasn’t just been fucking banned already.

          • anonymous

            Absolutely all those factors (moderate, older, praised by Repugs, etc.) were important. But it is naive to think that Obama didn’t also choose him because he was a White male as well. Most people believe his choice of a White male was deliberate.

            • Rob in CT

              Even assuming you are correct about this, and I continue to disagree, note that it did not work. It didn’t come close to working, even.

              • liberalrob

                Yeah, I don’t see how “Obama picked Garland because he was white” has anything to do with “Dems need to address ‘whitelash’ or they’ll keep losing whites.” Looks to me like you’d have to say Obama did try to address ‘whitelash’ and it failed anyway. Was Garland not white enough?

                I think he picked Garland because he wanted to demonstrate conclusively that the Republicans were simply not going to confirm any nominee he sent up whosoever, even the most “centrist” one he could find. They could not argue their objection was based on anything other than naked partisanship. In that, it succeeded.

                I think Garland’s confirmation would have been amazingly quick if Clinton had won the election. Like within days. But then I’m an optimist; it’s also possible they would have kept that seat open no matter how long it took to get a Republican in the White House. Either that or until the Dems got to 50 and broke the filibuster.

  • smartone

    Sorry the warning signs were there in from 2010 on
    Michigan , Ohio, Wisconsin all had Republican Governors
    Penn had Republican Governor from 2011 – 2015 who was so awful that he lost
    but these States all were trending Republican from Obama’s election onward

    so no surprised that they flipped in 2016

    • anonymous

      This is exactly right. The shift isn’t temporary but permanent. It’s like when WV went from Dem to Repug. Like WV, those states are trending more Red over time.

      But I’m sure people at the time also said that WV’s shift is just temporary too.

      • Aaron Morrow

        You want to turn to antisemitism because of a “trend” of two presidential elections?

        *shrug*

        • humanoid.panda

          What the troll is doing is a nice parlor trick: take 2008 the Democratic high water mark, was a baseline..

      • The shift isn’t temporary but permanent.

        Funny, up until November people were talking as though those states could be relied on to remain Democratic in Presidential elections for the foreseeable future. Since that proved to be wrong, suddenly we are supposed to believe the exact opposite – that in one election they have turned into permanently red states, that huge numbers of people who voted Democratic as recently as 2012 have, by the simple act of pulling the lever for Trump, crossed the Styx into Hades, never to return.

    • Hogan

      Since WWII PA has alternated between Democratic and Republican governors, two terms for each party. Corbett broke the string by losing after his first term.

      Good luck making a trend out of that.

  • pillsy

    Did Obama have special appeal to members of the white working class?

    Well, he kinda probably did in 2012 in that he was an incumbent a lot of them had already voted for.

    In 2008, he didn’t need it, because the GOP had pretty comprehensively driven the country into a fucking ditch and the economy was in the middle of a full-on meltdown. People talk a lot about “economic anxiety” driving shifts it voting behavior, which is fine as far as it goes, but it’s weird to argue that and then argue that people were voting unusually in 2016.

  • Rob in CT
    • xq

      Somewhat hard to interpret. In my quick read, they claim that imports 1) increases polarization on both sides 2) hurts incumbents on both sides 3) doesn’t affect D vs R vote share in congressional elections 4) but did help Republican presidential candidates in 2008 and 2016 relative to 2000 (didn’t consider 2004 or 2012, and didn’t compare 2008 directly to 2016). Looks like most of the change on the presidential vote level happened in 2000-2008, so not a Trump-specific effect.

  • John F

    Trump voters:

    White men: 46.2%
    White Women: 42.3%

    Hispanic Men: 3.6%
    Hispanic Women: 3.4%
    “Other”: 2.4%
    Black Men: 1.4%
    Black Women: 0.6%
    Asians: 0.25%

    hmmmm can’t quite put my finger on it…

  • shah8

    Man, this is a pretty weird thread to me.

    A little interesting, tho’ I think there is a lot of work being done off of first impressions, and not too much “let the data come to me”.

    I don’t actually think this article is a good one to get a really firm handle on anything. Turnout issues are much more granular than state level, which is where most of the article is about, for example. And I do not think that “Obama Voters shifted to Trump” narrative/evidence is that convincing.

    This article sort of reeks of pathological “swing voters” fetish, and the usual white working class matters. So if I were any of you all, I’d wait for something a little more…authoritative.

    • imwithher

      Totally agree. There simply were not all that many Obama WWC voters to begin with. And even the article says that not even a quarter of them “defected.” And, of those, some of them went to Stein and Johnson. That this somehow constitutes “large numbers” is merely an assertion. I wonder what per cent of WWC voters switch presidential parties generally? In a more or less random pattern. And isn’t possible that some Romney WWC voters voted for Hillary too? Did they even consider that.

  • imwithher

    In 2012, it was widely estimated that President Obama won about 40 per cent of the white voters overall. And that white voters were 72 per cent of the entire electorate.

    And, according to Pew, Obama also got about 40 per cent of the white voters with annual income under 36k.

    In other words, Obama did not do particularly well with white working class voters to begin with, at least as compared to how well he did with white voters generally.

    I have no data on what percentage of the white vote is working class. But I think a one third guess is probably erring on the up side. So, one third (working class) of 72% (all whites) was WWC in the 2012 electorate. Meaning that, of the entire electorate, 21.6 per cent was WWC. Obama got 40 per cent of that, or 8.64 per cent of the total electorate.

    Another way to look at it is that Obama received forty percent of 72 per cent (total white vote), which comes out to 28.8 per cent of the vote. Of which, again, what percentage was working class? One third? If so, that comes out to 9.6 of the total electorate.

    Now we are told that “almost” one quarter of Obama’s 2012 WWC support defected to Trump or third party in 2016. Well, one quarter of 8.64% equals 2.16. And one quarter of 9.6 is 2.4. And, since the defection rate is said to be only “almost” a quarter, let’s say the defecting WWC voters accounted for 2 per cent of the total vote.

    That’s not “large numbers” in my opinion. And that is assuming that the data and the extrapolations are all correct. And it is far from clear to me that that actually somewhat small number is not merely noise. But, even if it isn’t, who is to say that misogyny, Comey and Russialeaks don’t account for all of it. Plus CDS. Plus a feckless, worthless, both sider ist, profit-driven media.

    I fail to see how it is self-evident that economic policy is the answer here.

    Of course, add to that, as some commentors have above, that HRC’s policies and Obama’s performance were much more favorable to the economic concerns of the WWC than anything that the GOP has ever delivered or that Trump even promised.

    Something else to consider, according to the authors, turn out for white voters with a likelihood of voting for Trump was three per cent more higher “than expected” (whatever that means) than for Clinton. And yet the article claims that turnout was not the key.

    All in all, this looks, to me, like just another attempt to Sanderize the data. It must be all about the WWC, all the time, and it must be nothing but “Trump got Obama WWC voters cuz Hills is such a neo liberal shill!” explanations.

  • let’s say the defecting WWC voters accounted for 2 per cent of the total vote.

    That’s not “large numbers” in my opinion.

    In an election where the overall swing to the Republicans was two percentage points (from +4 Obama in 2012 to +2 Clinton in 2016), and this swing was sufficient to result in an electoral college victory for Trump, those numbers are absolutely “large” enough to be decisive.

    who is to say that misogyny, Comey and Russialeaks don’t account for all of it.

    We can’t prove that those things were or weren’t “all of it”. The reason for my being skeptical that those factors account wholly for the shift is my general observation that people and their motivations tend to be fairly complex. Consequently, when people suggest that it was “either” all about bigotry/misogyny/dirty tricks, or “economic insecurity”, I consider that to be a false dichotomy.

    I fail to see how it is self-evident that economic policy is the answer here.

    It isn’t. What is “the answer”? There is no one answer, let alone one that is self-evident.

    add to that, as some commentors have above, that HRC’s policies and Obama’s performance were much more favorable to the economic concerns of the WWC than anything that the GOP has ever delivered or that Trump even promised.

    One reason why “economic policy” isn’t an evident cure for the problems ailing Democrats is because people disagree on what is causing people’s economic problems, and therefore what policies would actually help. We see that Obama’s policies were good for the economy and that Clinton’s would have been better than Trump’s. That view is not universal. Therefore, for Democratic economic policy to bring people on board, those people would have to be convinced that they are better than Republican ones.

    All in all, this looks, to me, like just another attempt to Sanderize the data. It must be all about the WWC, all the time, and it must be nothing but “Trump got Obama WWC voters cuz Hills is such a neo liberal shill!” explanations.

    I think that what my previous point makes clear is that it doesn’t actually “Sanderize” the data. It might suggest that Clinton should have tried harder to make an economic case for Democratic policies to these people. It says nothing about whether Sanders would actually have succeeded where Clinton failed.

    • people disagree on what is causing their economic problems,

      • imwithher

        I think the entire purpose of all of these studies and articles and blog posts is to Sanderize the data.

        The unstated and unwarranted assumption is that HRC’s voters are just sorta “there.” Anyone could have gotten them. Including, most especially, St Bernie Sanders of the WWC. As if this: “in an election where the overall swing to the Republicans was two percentage points (from +4 Obama in 2012 to +2 Clinton in 2016), and this swing was sufficient to result in an electoral college victory for Trump, those numbers are absolutely “large” enough to be decisive,” is just a given. Of course, the theory assumes, Bernie Sanders, or any candidate who emphasized, embodied, pandered to, or whatever, WWC economic issues, would have gotten all of the Hillary votes, all of the “+ 2” votes that Clinton got, and the difference, the only thing that really matters, and what the Dem party must “address” in the future, is getting that last two per cent on board.

        How about, instead, we look at it this way….HRC made certain choices. She emphasized so called “identity” politics to some extent, meaning she emphasized the manifest misogyny of her opponent, as well as his racism, xenophobia and religious bigotry. She also emphasized his utter incompetence, and his lack of character. The idea was to bring in the real “base,” ie minority voters and women, and to reach out to college educated Republicans, independents and moderates, particularly women.

        On the one hand, the strategy worked. She won the popular vote. A fluke result of a stray hundred thousand votes in three states accounts for her loss. On the other hand, the case is being made that if she had just appealed to the WWC a little bit better than she in fact did, she would have won the EC. Because she would have carried those three states.

        But what is left out is that a set of policies, or a message emphasis, or even a different candidate altogether, would not necessarily have won all the votes that HRC did in fact win.

        The “analysis” bullshit is in just adding the few thousand needed WWC votes in the operative states, as if getting them would not have cost votes in other areas. “Raise the red flag of socialism, free college, free pot and free ice cream to satisfy the subsequent munchies,” would have cost votes among GOP-leaning middle and upper class women. Talking up WWC issues instead of saying “Black lives matter,” and so on, would have cost votes in the minority community. De emphasizing women’s issues would have cost votes. Bernie Sanders, as Mr Hypothetical, or any other hypothetical candidate, doesn’t, in any real analysis, just start out with all the actual HRC voters, and then get to add his allegedly better performance with the WWC voters to that.

        But that is the agenda here, and elsewhere.

        Yes, the margin was razor thin. But that being the case, it is beyond easy to simply point to one factor, and say that that was the difference.

        But it is simply not an established “fact” that there was any combination of policies or messages, or even a candidate, which would would have put a winning coalition to together.

        Pretending otherwise might not be your agenda, but I think it is the blogger’s. And the author of the article.

        • xq

          You’re reading way more into an article that mentions Sanders once, as a side point near the end, than is actually there. This has nothing to do with Sanders. No one knows if Sanders would have done better with the Obama-Trump voters.

          • imwithher

            Two dead horses being flogged. One is Sanders. The other is the key to victory is pandering to the WWC.

            In an election campaign that was 100k votes from succeeding, someone could, if they wanted to, invest the time and energy into “proving” that HRC could have won if only she had spent LESS time and energy focusing on WWC issues and more on identity politics and appealing to white, college-educated voters, particularly women. If only Hillary had dropped all that stuff about raising the minimum wage and making college more affordable and so on, and spent that time really talking up Trump’s history of misogyny and racism, she might have won 100k more women’s and POC votes in the three operative states and then she would have won the EC.

            But, no. Because the preconception is all the other way. The hobbyhorse is winning back the “Reagan Democrats.” And nothing else matters. A pathetically small, and statistically dubious at that, “swing” of two percent, which a hundred other things besides “economic policy” might account for, and which was only even arguably “decisive” given all the work that Hillary did do, and all the other voters she did win, is doing all the work. Those are the votes, and only those votes, ie the racist, misogynist, CDS, and/or idiot portion (who think the GOP and Trump really will protect their economic interests) of the WWC, that must be re won, at all costs.

            And Sanders is the face of that. Regardless of how prominently he is mentioned in the article.

        • Once again your arguments are based on the unfounded assumption that it’s either ‘one thing or the other’

          The unstated and unwarranted assumption is that HRC’s voters are just sorta “there.” Anyone could have gotten them. Including, most especially, St Bernie Sanders of the WWC.

          No such assumption is actually necessary. It’s like arguing that anyone who says that the Comey letter was a “decisive factor” in the outcome must assume that there were no other significant factors that could have made a difference. “Decisive” simply means that on its own it was enough to make the difference. It doesn’t discount the existence of other factors.

          what is left out is that a set of policies, or a message emphasis, or even a different candidate altogether, would not necessarily have won all the votes that HRC did in fact win.

          If you’re looking for a set of policies, or message emphasis, or candidate, that will necessarily win an election, you may search to the ends of the Earth and beyond, way into the infinity of the universe. That is not the point of this kind of analysis.

          Of course, the theory assumes, Bernie Sanders, or any candidate who emphasized, embodied, pandered to, or whatever, WWC economic issues, would have gotten all of the Hillary votes, all of the “+ 2” votes that Clinton got

          The OP and the data it summarizes makes no claims about what tradeoffs were possible, or would have been necessary, to get a more favorable result. All we have here is a somewhat better idea of why we got the result we did.

          it is simply not an established “fact” that there was any combination of policies or messages, or even a candidate, which would would have put a winning coalition to together.

          Pretending otherwise might not be your agenda, but I think it is the blogger’s. And the author of the article.

          If you seriously believe that that is Mr. Lemieux’s agenda, I invite you to read his many posts on the election since the election. Just skim them, and then come back and try to restate that claim with a straight face. The man is mno “Sanderista”

          • Rob in CT

            And here I was reliably informed that Scott was a hippy-punching neoliberal sellout who ran a Hive of Hillary known as LGM…

            • imwithher

              Yeah, I don’t get this kind of comment. Sure, some folks say one thing, other folks say the opposite. That hardly means both of them are wrong.

          • The man is no “Sanderista”. He is not anti-Sanders, but he is clearly skeptical of claims that Sanders would have necessarily done better than Clinton in the election.

          • imwithher

            O

            nce again your arguments are based on the unfounded assumption that it’s either ‘one thing or the other’

            Just the opposite. What the article seeks to prove is that WWC and economic policy are “the” decisive factors.

            No such assumption is actually necessary. It’s like arguing that anyone who says that the Comey letter was a “decisive factor” in the outcome must assume that there were no other significant factors that could have made a difference. “Decisive” simply means that on its own it was enough to make the difference. It doesn’t discount the existence of other factors.”

            That is perhaps true in the abstract. But we are not living in the abstract. There is a reason that all of these articles and “analysis” and so on point in one direction. Of course, any number of factors can be said to be “decisive” in such a close race. But no one is going around saying, “Gee, if only Hills won more college educated independent GOP women voters, she would have won. Golly, just a couple percentage point better performance with such women in the “WOW” counties of Wisconsin and similar places in PA and Michigan, and she would have won. So, the Dems should focus on that.” Much less, “if Hill had done even better with African Americans, she would have won those states.”

            Why do you think that is? A coincidence?

            If you’re looking for a set of policies, or message emphasis, or candidate, that will necessarily win an election, you may search to the ends of the Earth and beyond, way into the infinity of the universe. That is not the point of this kind of analysis.

            I’m not looking for one. But this kind of analysis has that as its only “point.”

            The OP and the data it summarizes makes no claims about what tradeoffs were possible, or would have been necessary, to get a more favorable result. All we have here is a somewhat better idea of why we got the result we did.

            Um, no. We got the result we got, according to the OP and the “data,” b/c we didn’t get enough WWC votes. Alpha and omega.

            If you seriously believe that that is Mr. Lemieux’s agenda, I invite you to read his many posts on the election since the election. Just skim them, and then come back and try to restate that claim with a straight face. The man is mno “Sanderista”

            Don’t actually care whether he is or was a “Sandernista,” because he is a consistent Reagan Democrat/”economic policy” uber alles guy. And that take is a Sandernista one, regardless.

            • What the article aims to prove is that the WWC was the decisive factor.

              What it appears to prove is that demographically, the shift in WWC votes was the most decisive factor in Trump’s victory. Nothing you have posted here in response refutes this claim. The fact that the shift in that demographic accounted for a small percentage of the electorate does not refute it. The fact that there were other, lesser, demographic factors pushing in the same direction does not refute it. The fact that there were other demographic factors pushing in the opposite direction does not refute it. The fact that there were non-demographic factors at play, at least one of which was also decisive, does not refute it. The fact that alternative candidates, approaches, or policies would have had an impact on factors other than the wwc shift identified here and we don’t know that the overall impact would have been at the end of the day, does not refute it.

              Until you come up with some data or analysis of the data that does refute it, your speculation about the motives of those presenting the data are not only wrong but irrelevant.

            • Don’t actually care whether he is or was a “Sandernista,” because he is a consistent Reagan Democrat/”economic policy” uber alles guy. And that take is a Sandernista one, regardless.

              Sorry, but this is complete b.s., as you would surely know if you had actually taken a moment to even glance at his other posts on the topic, as I suggested. This tells me all I need to know about how seriously to take your judgements of other people’s motives.

            • Abbey Bartlet

              he is a consistent Reagan Democrat/”economic policy” uber alles guy

              I’m sorry, what? Are we talking about the same Scott Lemieux here? If so, I would like some of what you’re smoking.

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