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Optimism or Pessimism about America

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I thought this Yglesias piece on the differences between Sanders and Clinton voters was pretty good. Basically they more or less believe the same things, with strikingly few meaningful differences. The difference is that Clinton voters are basically happy with the direction of the country and Sanders voters aren’t. Clinton voters want tweaks to the system, Sanders voters want a “revolution.” I put that in scare quotes because most either don’t really know what that word means or are romanticizing a process that can go very, very wrong. Much of this goes back to Obama, who tapped into people’s desires for a new America with soaring rhetoric that papered over a very establishment figure who governed that way. The problem with a figure, whether Trump or Bernie or whoever, who wants to “shake things up” is that they aren’t really going to be able to do that effectively, leaving their voters permanently unsatisfied. There’s no easy answer for Democrats on this. We need a candidate who inspires and who has good policy, but who is also realistic about what can get done. That’s a tough needle to thread. Hillary Clinton really didn’t do it very well, or not as well as she needed to anyway.

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