Thursday, March 26, 2020

There's Just One Elections Pundit Who Knows What She's Talking About-- Rachel... And That's NOT Maddow


Rachel Bitecofer updated her November model this week, partially based on what she calls the mathematical inevitability of a Biden nomination. It shows a Democrat beating Trump in the electoral college 289-181. These are her projected Democratic votes in the half dozen most pro-Trump states:
Wyoming- 29.37%
West Virginia- 31.73%
Oklahoma- 33.45%
Idaho- 34.58
Utah- 35.35%
Arkansas- 36.64%
These are her projected Democratic votes in the half dozen most anti-Trump states:
Vermont- 67.22%
New York- 66.76%
Massachusetts- 66.41%
California- 65.76%
Rhode Island- 62.62%
New Jersey- 61.46%
And these are the Democratic votes in the 10 swing states:
New Hampshire- 53.9%
Michigan- 53.24%
Pennsylvania- 52.47%
Florida- 51.68%
Wisconsin- 51.61%
North Carolina- 50.57%
Iowa- 49.59%
Ohio- 49.06%
Georgia- 48.88%
Arizona- 48.71

"[V]oters," she wrote, "will likely see this recession as they saw the first term of Obama’s presidency, in context. No president can do much to avoid a total standstill of the global economy from an unprecedented virus. But Trump’s mismanagement of the underlying pandemic causing the economy to melt down will be judged by voters, and it’s already clear that the president’s missteps in the early days of the pandemic are exacerbating America’s economic woes."
A recession will certainly provide a potent test of the old “fundamentals” models that my research challenges. Make no mistake about it: If “the economy, stupid” still matters, it needs to matter here, and it should put the presidency completely out of grasp for Trump. Along with the state-level analysis presented here, economic fundamentals models under a recession will predict dismal electoral prospects for Trump. I assume these models have elements in them to prevent them from making forecasts akin to the Reagan/Carter map from 1980, which of course we will not see because the electorate of 1980, which was rich in liberal Republicans and conservative Democrats, and a Southern realignment hitting its stride is long gone.

Now, the parties are largely ideologically homogenous and partisanship has evolved to become a social identity, an individual’s “ride or die,” which makes the prospect of red states breaking in favor of Biden seem unlikely, especially given the salience of white racial identity in contemporary Republican politics. In an America in which partisans are willing to inflict bodily harm on each other over politics, it seems unlikely that a mere recession, even an intense one, could move them off of their preferred presidential candidate in the ways it did prior to the polarized era, when the economic-fundamentals models, like the dinosaurs once did, ruled the Earth.

...Biden, though unexciting to many millennials and Gen Z voters, is perceived by party mainstreamers as highly electable. These perceptions carry important implications for the behaviors of donors, volunteers, candidates, and tertiary actors such as the punditocracy, who hold important narrative-setting power in the electoral ecosystem. Biden will likely be pushed towards selecting fellow primary contender Amy Klobuchar as his running mate, and in the two-person debate last Sunday, the candidate shrewdly dominated the news cycle by announcing that he will select a female running mate.

Given her performance in the Democratic primary and status as a popular senator from Minnesota, Klobuchar likely leads Biden’s short list. Klobuchar’s reputation for bipartisanship and moderation will be immensely attractive to traditional Democratic strategists who will likely be looking at the VP slot via a regionalism lens, looking to solve the “Midwest problem.”

But whether this is the right lens depends on how you diagnose that 2016 loss. I don’t want to put words in the party’s mouth, but if media surrogates and candidate statements are any indication, it appears Democrats believe their 2016 losses in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, which, as a reminder, were surprise losses, were due to the failure of Hillary Clinton to win over white, working-class voters. The movement of these Obama-to-Trump voters was the decisive element in Clinton’s loss, and the recovery of them must be the central element of any plan to recapture the Midwest.

This diagnosis, that Clinton underperformed Obama among white, working-class voters, is not quantitatively wrong. This is a mathematical fact. Where this diagnosis runs into trouble is misunderstanding why Clinton underperformed Obama among white, working-class voters and what, if anything, can be done about it. Because underlying the cycle-specific trends are the realities of the long-term demographic, coalitional realignments of the two parties, where the Republican Party is becoming a rural-based party of whites, particularly working-class whites (but  more accurately, non-college-educated whites), and the Democratic Party is becoming an urban/suburban party, racially and ethnically diverse in a society that is becoming more racially and ethnically diverse, and where college education is becoming a reliable predictor of Democratic candidate vote choice (so much so that I use it to predict Democratic candidate vote share in my modeling).

What this means, of course, is that every four years, fewer white, non-college-educated voters (especially those in rural areas) vote for Democrats. And this has profound impacts in the Midwest, because the traditional Democratic strongholds were often, in more rural, heavily unionized areas of these states. Which is why Democrats look at these areas as, “I used to win here, and I should be winning here now.” Which brings us back to the Obama-to-Trump voters. Some of these voters are actually “pure” independents. They broke against the Democrats in 2016 because they were the status quo. In data I worked with from Morning Consult, about 30 percent of Obama-to-Trump voters expressed unfavorable views of Trump as of last fall. My belief is that this group is likely the pure independent chunk, voters I call “change voters,” who we might expect to swing away from Trump in 2020 now that he represents the status quo (especially under an economic recession environment).

As for the rest? As Dave Weigel observed in his analysis of the March 10 primary states, rural, white, working-class voters seem to be continuing their long-term dealignment/realignment away from the Democratic Party and to the Republican Party in the 2020 primary because Biden lost ground compared to Hillary’s performance in previous Democratic strongholds in rural areas; more evidence that the long term dealignment/realignment makes the prospects of Biden winning back white, working-class voters seem unlikely.

Instead, Democrats should be worried about their own coalition, especially given the significant ideological fractures in it, because that weakness played a critical role in their 2016 loss. And that weakness occurred in large part due to the same strategic miscalculations Democrats seem inclined to repeat in 2020-- focusing on rural/white, working-class voters rather than party unity and turnout of their own coalition. That said, 2020 is not 2016. If Biden picks a moderate like Amy Klobuchar, he’s still going to win the election in the very same way that Democrats completely ignored Donald Trump in their 2018 campaign strategies, but still picked up 40 House seats. This was true before COVID-19 came along to destroy the economy and highlight Trump’s many management shortcomings, but the pandemic and economic collapse are going to exacerbate Trump’s problems.

...Now, are there some realigning Republicans, disgusted by the Trump GOP, who are telling their liberal friends and neighbors they voted for a Democrat in 2018?  Absolutely. But I deal in data, and the data tells a different story about the forces that powered the 2018 wave. Yes, it captures a massive shift of independents moving to the Democrats after voting for Trump in 2016, but the myth of the disaffected 2018 Republican appears to be just that, a myth. Instead, the 2018 suburban transformation was largely powered by millennials and Gen Z voters, voters of color, and college-educated women, many of whom had been lazy about voting prior to the election of Donald Trump but now see their votes as America’s last line of defense. It was the surge to the polls by these voters, Democrats, but also independents, that my 2018 model anticipated and it’s these voters who power the 2020 version, too.

Of these “surge” voters, the most vulnerable to turnout failure are young voters and voters of color and the intersection of these two demographics: young voters of color. And for these voters, ideological representation matters. The argument for two moderates on the Democratic ticket is that it avoids alienating disaffected Republicans who might be willing to support the ticket so long as it’s digestible. But again, the 2018 data doesn’t offer much empirical evidence of Republican support at the ballot box for Democrats beyond the average “crossover” rates typical for the polarized era and certainly, the same strategy to court Republicans came up empty in 2016. And the strategy is not cost free. It will, to some extent, cost Democrats support among some Bernie Sanders supporters. While nominating someone on the far left is certainly not ideal, it may not be ideal for the party to go forward with two moderates on the ticket either, because it leaves their progressive flank exposed to what will be a high-tech assault from the Trump campaign and from the RNC who recognize the importance of disaffection among the progressive base plays in their hopes to retain the presidency and control of the Senate.

As the losing ideological faction from the primary, progressives are about to become the targets of a well-financed, sophisticated propaganda campaign hosted by Republicans attempt to fracture the “not-Trump coalition” and reduce the vote share needed for Trump to carry swing states to the pluralities he reached in the 2016 cycle. If 2020 plays out like 2012, 2008, 2004, or even 2000, with typically low protest-balloting rates, Trump’s path to 270 becomes not just difficult, but nearly impossible because of the president’s low approval ratings. Failing to shore up support among liberal voters, especially at a time of great fiscal calamity could prove to be the Democrats’ Achilles’ heel-- as it was in the 2016 cycle.

In addition to progressive defection, Democrats were also left exposed in 2016 when turnout among voters of color, especially black voters, receded from its Obama Era highs. For older voters of color, potential VP pitfalls lie more along lines of racial representation. The data is irrefutable: Black voter turnout increased in 2008 and 2012 for Barack Obama because black voters rallied around a candidate who represented them. In 2008, that increased turnout was part of a large coalition that gave Obama a huge victory, but in 2012, that turnout offset the loss of independents, who broke in favor of Mitt Romney that cycle. Black turnout in places like Cleveland and Columbus allowed Obama to win Ohio anyway...

Changes from the July 1, 2019, forecast

Arizona: Toss-up to Lean D
With Biden winning the nomination and Mark Kelly (a former astronaut) on the Senate ballot, things are looking very good for Democrats to flip this realigning state completely blue in 2020. It’ll be quite the political transformation for the state that made Sheriff Arpaio famous. One thing to watch here in 2020-- even with the Green Party candidate withdrawing and throwing support behind the Democratic Party’s 2018 senate nominee Kyrsten Sinema, the Green Party candidate still pulled in 2.4% of the vote after significant targeting of progressives via the state’s GOP. It was a prototype of the strategy the RNC plans to deploy to support Trump and their senate candidates in 2020 outlined above. More on this when my senate and House ratings drop.

Nevada: Lean D to Likely D

Nevada looks good for Democrats. And frankly, you can’t live in a world in which Arizona is likely turning into a blue state (at least while Democrats are energized) and Nevada doesn’t end up in Biden’s column. The Nevada caucuses met the admittedly low bar for success set by their big sister, the Iowa caucuses, as votes were counted, reported, and a winner was announced all on caucus night. Nevada also beat the Iowa caucuses on turnout. Although falling a bit short of its inaugural (reorganized) 2008 participation rates, 2020 turnout well-exceeded its 2016 rates. This was an important benchmark for Democrats, because both the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary posted average turnout-- far short of the blockbuster turnout numbers seen in elections since Trump and short of what analysts, including yours truly, were expecting in these contests.

To be sure, this cycle’s Iowa caucuses faced two abnormalities that no doubt disrupted them. The caucuses were held the day after the Super Bowl, which had apparently never happened before. And if that wasn’t bad enough, the final three weeks leading up to the caucuses, including the day of the caucuses itself, were disrupted by Trump’s impeachment (show) trial in the Senate, which forced many of the candidates to leave the Hawkeye State and return to D.C. But New Hampshire’s primary, although also impacted by impeachment, should have been largely unaffected, and although turnout was fine, it certainly was not blockbuster. Seeing turnout almost reach 2008 levels in Nevada was a positive sign for Democrats, and as it turns out, it was also a harbinger of things to come as the South Carolina primary met its 2008 benchmarks, as did turnout in many of the Super Tuesday states. Turnout in the Virginia Democratic primary that day nearly doubled its 2016 numbers.

I should note: Although the correlation between primary participation and general election turnout is generally weak, especially for Democrats, presidential elections are different, and 2008’s massive turnout of the primary coalition that gave Obama the nomination heralded significant upticks in voting participation in the presidential election that fall, particularly among groups less likely to vote, such as minority voters and young voters. Failing to see a turnout increase in the Democratic primaries materialize definitely would have been a troublesome sign for Democrats and would have forced me to reassess my confidence in a Democratic victory in the fall. Please note, current turnout collapses due to COVID19 are not signals of Democratic performance in the fall.

Montana: Safe R to Likely R

With the entrance of popular Gov. Steve Bullock into the state’s Senate race, Montana is moving from Safe R to Likely R, with potential for further upgrade later. Bullock will need to demonstrate dominance among independents in polling out of Big Sky Country to truly be competitive there under a high-turnout scenario, as will his ticket-mate, Joe Biden. But more importantly, they’ll need every single Democrat and left-leaning independent in the state to show up and vote. Which is a problem, because although a great many Democrats and left-leaning independents will be inspired to vote in 2020 due to Trump fear, I assume the Bullock campaign’s resources will largely be spent on conversion. And I’m just not sure it’ll work against Steve Daines, a center-right, traditional, conservative. Regular followers will know that I’m generally bearish about conversion (although sometimes it works, most recently in the Kentucky governor’s race against controversial Republican incumbent Matt Bevin, who along with a reputation for Trump-like divisiveness also curtailed the state’s Obamacare Medicaid expansion program). Conversion in the polarized era is hard, and it is difficult to find evidence of it in polling data from the past decade. Further complicating things for Bullock is that the targets most susceptible to this type of conversion effort aren’t likely to be offended by a guy like Daines, who is already in office. And the resources spent on this effort are resources that will not be spent maximizing the turnout of people who would vote for Bullock if they could be motivated to show up.

So, Montana will be worth watching at least. A recession and COVID19 blowback might have more influence in Montana than in other red states because in Montana there are more independents (the dominant independent group there are right-leaning independents, which is why Montana usually breaks in favor of Republicans). But the race will add spending and attention to an otherwise ignored state and given the inflated polling of other long-shot Senate bids, like Tennessee’s 2018 Senate race with former Gov. Phil Bredesen, may produce enough “false flag” polling (pollsters: be sure to always put those party labels on the ballot questions!) to attract attention from the Biden campaign, or possibly Bloomberg, who will be spending on Biden’s behalf.

Virginia: Likely D to Safe D

As I mentioned, turnout nearly doubled in the Virginia Democratic primary and despite a coordinated effort dubbed Operation Chaos by Virginia’s Second Amendment groups galvanized by Virginia’s newly sworn-in Democratic trifecta passing a gun background check bill and a “red flag” law, few Republicans utilized Virginia’s open primary rules to sabotage the Democratic primary by voting for Bernie Sanders (Fun fact: I tested this in my VA primary poll and found that although yes, some Republicans indeed planned to show up and vote for Sanders, they were greatly outnumbered by others who planned to vote for either Biden or Bloomberg. Although the percent of Republican identifiers doubled in 2020 over their numbers in the 2016 primary in Virginia, Republicans still made up a paltry 6 percent of the primary electorate, a far cry from the 23 percent who indicated in our poll at least a soft intent to vote.

But I digress. Virginia’s days as a “purple” state are behind her due to the state’s atypically high rates of college education (a trait she shares with her fellow former swing state, Colorado). I’m not sure we’ll be seeing Virginia return to two-party competition in statewide contests unless college-educated voters end their long-term realignment to the Democratic Party. The way people think of suburban realignment is as a fixed pool of voters changing their affiliation from Republican to Democrat, or at least from Republican to independent. There are certainly some Republicans that left the GOP as it shifted sharply to the right, embracing populism via the Tea Party, then Palinism, which morphed into Trumpism. But this exodus largely occurred before Trump entered the picture, although his candidacy did seem to push out a final surge. And in terms of elites, since 1994, far more Democrats have left their party than Republicans (due to the Southern realignment). During the course of the Trump presidency year, although 19 Republican office holders have quit their party, 15 Democrats have done the same, most recently, a freshman House member in New Jersey who is almost surely regretting that decision today.

Instead, the political metamorphosis in America’s suburbs is largely powered by generational replacement and the coming of age of America’s two largest, most diverse, and best educated generations in history: millennials, who are at the front end of the generation, 40, and at the bottom end of the generation, in their late 20s, and Generation Z, which is currently only about half enfranchised. Millennial college grads are bucking the trend their Gen X parents followed when they became Republicans (because back in the 1980s, Greed was Good and Alex Keating was cool). Instead, some are becoming Democrats, or at least left-leaning Independents. That said, people have a high propensity to adopt their parent’s political attitudes in a process known as political socialization. Generally, 80 percent of individuals adopt their parent’s political attitudes while 20 percent end up like me, forever facing uncomfortable, stilted, small-talk conversations over their Thanksgiving turkey.

Because of this reality, generational replacement is a slow process, but several additional factors are speeding things up. Nowadays, geographic mobility is a reality of the modern economy, so today’s college graduates often find themselves settling in suburbs outside major cities in states they didn’t grow up in. And although the GOP’s race problems aren’t exactly new, the issues they have long faced with black voters over conservatives’ resistance to civil rights legislation are now spreading to other minority groups, such as Latino and Asian voters, a byproduct of the party’s increasingly strident rhetoric on policy issues that touch on race, such as immigration and social welfare programs (as the GOP’s 2012 autopsy report correctly noted: This rhetoric is isolating America’s growing minority population and, I can tell you, frustrating the Gen Z and millennial Republicans who are at the mercy of the party’s Boomer leadership).

The suburbs of today are not the suburbs of yesterday. Because millennials are entering their 30s and 40s, they are entering the suburbs and raising their children there, as their parents did before them. And like generations before them, as they have come into “real” adulthood they are maturing politically, starting to become more interested in politics and in voting. And if they were casual voters in 2016, they, and to a lesser but still important extent their college-age equivalents in Generation Z, are rabid about it now. They showed up in what was, for these age groups, huge numbers in the 2018 midterms, and will likely repeat that in the 2020 general. And their presence in the electorate, both Democrats and independents, is reshaping the political landscape of America’s suburbs.

Does this mean there are no former Republicans who now call themselves independents voting for Democrats in the ‘burbs? Of course there are! But they play a supporting role-- they aren’t the lead actors.

Texas: Likely R to Lean R

Like in 2018, my expectation in terms of the statewide ballot in Texas is that Democrats are going to turn in a very competitive performance but will likely come up short. To actually win statewide, they need a massive turnout increase among Latino voters, and I’m not sure that the Democratic Party truly grasps that yet. Which is funny, right? Because Republicans have recognized the power of descriptive representation among Latino voters for decades, finding and promoting talented Latino politicians all across the country in the Southwest and in Florida and tapping into human beings’ innate desire for sameness. Even Beto O’Rourke, for all the improvements he made to running for statewide office in Texas (the most important of which was abandonment of what I call the “Embarrassed Democrat” platform) still didn’t quite grasp that Latino turnout is the ONLY path to victory. If he had, he would have invested less time and resources on visiting all 250-something counties and more money on Latino turnout. If the Democrats finagled $50 million dollars out of Bloomberg and spent it all on Latino turnout this cycle, Biden could potentially win Texas. Of course, that would also require effective messaging: It is one thing to talk to voters, but what you say to them matters, a lot in convincing them their vote matters.

The best asset Biden has for winning Texas is the fact that Democrats will likely believe deeply in the potential for that Senate seat to flip-- plus, there are nine (that’s correct, nine) House seats within reach deep in the heart of Texas, in the realigning suburbs around Houston and Dallas. These districts either got underinvested in or even outright missed in the 2018 wave (I highlighted these races back in August of 2019 here). Add to this an effort by Texas Democrats to pick up seats in the state legislature, perhaps enough to give them control of the state house for the first time since the Southern realignment ran its course through the state, and you have very similar circumstances to conditions we’ll be seeing in Iowa and North Carolina, where Democrats will also benefit from multiple competitive races helping to boost overall turnout. This earns Texas a lean R, for now.

Georgia: Lean R to Toss-up

And that leaves us with Georgia. The Peach State, and the state I spent six years living in as I pursued my doctorate at the University of Georgia (Go Dawgs, Woof, Woof, Woof). Although I initially rated Georgia as Lean R, and that is the rating the state warrants under the model, it has now gone from holding not one, but two Senate races! Those two Senate seats which, by the way, are likely going to be pivotal for Democrats’ hope to take control of the Senate, have certainly increased the salience of Georgia for the party. Despite their best efforts, the party was unsuccessful in convincing the state’s star Stacey Abrams to run, and indeed, her decision to sit out was a major factor in my decision to initially rate Georgia as Lean R.

But it was a strategically shrewd move for Abrams, who likely appears somewhere high up on Biden’s VP list. While coming up short, her candidacy for the state’s governorship in 2018 was impressive. For a black female to come within a hair’s breadth of winning the governorship of Georgia-- GEORGIA, for God’s sake, in a congressional midterm cycle, no less? So please, don’t @ me with the “but she couldn’t even win her own race” tweets. Georgia is an R+5 state, and as in many red states, Republicans have strategically used control of state government there to erect barriers to voting. Drop Stacey Abrams in Virginia and I’m not sure anyone would want to run against her. So important to remember that a politician’s electoral performance (and their issue positioning/ideology for that matter) is conditional on where they serve/run for office and in the polarized era, what matters for that is the party composition of the district/state. Take a 2018 loser like Claire McCaskill, whose Missouri Senate seat went from R+5 to about R+9 during her tenure, and drop her off in a state like Wisconsin (EVEN), and McCaskill is still serving in the Senate.

Back to Georgia. For the special election, well-known preacher Raphael Warnock has entered the race against incumbent Sen. Kelly Loeffler, who was appointed to the seat last fall to fill an unexpected vacancy created when the state’s senior senator, Johnny Isakson, had to retire suddenly due to illness. What you may not know, because it’s super-weird and election nerd wonky, is that this special election is like Mad Max of Thunderdome + WrestleMania, except it’s more like 20 candidates of all stripes enter, and two will leave. That’s because the state’s rules governing appointment-filled vacancies and elections require winners to exceed a 50 percent +1 benchmark to avoid a runoff. And because this election is a special election to fill out a two-year term, there will not be a primary first to whittle down the competition to a single Republican and Democratic nominee.

So, with more than a dozen candidates running in it, this election seems all but certain to end in a January 2021 runoff between the top two vote-getters. Things became far more complicated for the GOP when Rep. Doug Collins, a fervent Trump supporter and MAGA adherent, decided to challenge Loeffler, a “country club conservative,” in the special rather than conceding defeat after trying to pressure Kemp into appointing him to the seat instead of her. Despite immense pressure from Georgia’s pro-Trump base, Kemp appointed Loeffler for two reasons: broader electability in what the party knows will be a competitive Senate cycle and her ability to self-finance her race (she donated $20 million dollars to her own campaign).

A quick aside on this. Bashing the big-money biases of candidate selection from both party’s organizations is easy to do, and money is quite obviously a terrible sickness on the American political system, but I do want to point out that both the DNC and RNC are facing serious constraints due to the costs of modern campaigns that drive these decisions. With Senate races costing around $100 million dollars in the post-Citizens United environment, the parties are increasingly forced to turn to millionaires (and more recently billionaires) to run for office because they are the only ones who can come up with the type of money needed to compete. Collins, who was supported by Georgia’s vibrant Republican grassroots community, didn’t take too kindly to being passed over for the Senate seat largely due to funding potential and is willing to jeopardize the party’s ability to hold the seat over it (well that, and a dash of good ol’ fashioned ideological extremism) and will now have plenty of fodder to use against Loeffler who is one of four senators under scrutiny for selling stocks in the run-up to the pandemic.

IF Georgia Democrats can thread the needle and somehow get their field to winnow and get Warnock over the 50 percent threshold on Election Day in November, they could flip that seat. But that’s a mighty big “if,” for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is that the Democrats have ideologues in their party, too, which can make coordination difficult. Having two competitive Senate seats in a state that broke for Trump by just 5 points in 2016 in a low-turnout environment makes Georgia a toss-up state for the Biden team. And because a state like Georgia is superfluous to an Electoral College victory (you only need 270 EC votes to accomplish that) this is where things like candidate quality, strategy, and VP selection can make a difference. Under a scenario where Stacey Abrams or even Kamala Harris is on the ticket, Georgia could become ground zero.

What does it all mean?

Collectively, the update reflects the consolidation of the Democratic primary around a digestible candidate decently positioned to capitalize on anti-Trump blowback constrained by polarization and hyperpartisanship, the forces that constitute the fundamentals of the 2020 presidential election. Democrats and left-leaning independents are fired up, galvanized by negative partisanship and ready to vote Trump out. But Republicans, at least as of today, are equally determined to keep him. I want to make something clear- this update largely ignore what is all but guaranteed to be a serious economic recession as well as the toll the COVID19 pandemic ends up taking on American lives.

Can a mismanaged response to COVID19 that exacerbates the death toll and economic collapse and ensuing recession further complicate Trump’s already dismal reelection picture? Absolutely. When I said “barring a shock to the system” and listed economic recession it was not because I expected such an effect would help Trump electorally. Indeed, I’m not sure Trump would be capable of benefitting from any “rally around the flag” event, which the pandemic certainly could qualify as, because it is simply not in his nature to behave in ways that would allow him to rally the public around him, at least not outside a very constrained window of time.

If I had to guess, voters will likely hold Trump largely blameless for the economic collapse but the management of the country’s response to the pandemic is another matter. That said, after watching the Trump presidency play out, with the revelations of the Mueller Report-- deftly deflected by Attorney General Barr in what I admiringly note was a brilliantly executed public relations effort-- and the stunning revelations from House’s investigation into the president’s actions in the Ukraine scandal unable to move Republican voters off of the 90/10 approval perch, until I see data that shows Trump’s Red Wall cracking, I remain bullish on his ability to remain at least competitive for reelection in 2020. In other words, it’s hard for me to imagine the political map remade and Democrats suddenly competitive in places like Arkansas, which is what we have seen historically when presidential elections have corresponded to periods of massive economic or societal upheaval. Polarization and hyperpartisanship makes such an outcome unlikely, but if signs of such a democratic reawakening were to emerge, I will be sure to tell you.

Since Bitecofer brought up the Senate... I want to point out an American Prospect report this week on knucklehead Chuck Schumer and his toxic role in screwing up the DSCC, which he used to head and now maintains a firm grip on through weak puppet Catherine Cortez Masto, who he appointed. Bob Moser began with how Schumer was able to drive the more qualified and surer statewide bet-- Maggie Toulouse Oliver-- in the New Mexico open-seat race, out of the race to make room for a centrist nothing DC establishment candidate, Ben Ray Luján.

Moser wrote that "While the DCCC, which intervenes early and often in House primaries, tends to garner more press attention-- and more howls of protest from progressives-- the DSCC is just as powerful and intrusive. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s hand-picked favorites gain an insurmountable financial advantage and the establishment stamp of approval, effectively ending most primary elections before they begin. Schumer doesn’t just choose between candidates who’ve declared their interest or started to run; he aggressively shapes the races to suit his narrow idea of “electability,” sometimes elbowing the 'wrong' candidate out of the race with strong-arm tactics. And when he’s not happy with his choices, Schumer goes out and finds his own, recruiting centrist candidates with big-donor connections who often turn out to be lackluster campaigners at best."

In the case of solidly blue New Mexico, "Toulouse Oliver didn’t want to give in. She’d fought uphill her whole life. But she and her campaign were about to get a hard lesson in exactly why, since 2010, not a single candidate endorsed early by the DSCC had lost a Democratic primary." Heather Brewer, her campaign manager, told Moser that she tried "to get DSCC Chair Catherine Cortez Masto or her boss, Schumer, to meet with Toulouse Oliver and see what she had to offer. 'They never returned my phone calls,' Brewer says. 'We were just ignored.' They had no illusions that the establishment would go against Luján, she says. 'We just wanted the opportunity to make the case that they should stay out of the primary. Two strong, viable progressives were running. Given the Democratic edge here, whoever won the primary was going to win the general election. This was the race. Why shouldn’t New Mexicans be able to decide between two worthy candidates?' Brewer knows very well that Luján is no progressive; she an dI discussed it over the phone at least a dozen times. And saying so to a reporter helps explain how Schumer is able to snow the public.

For candidates left unchosen by the DSCC and the Schumer machine, “there are so many, many, many obstacles that you wouldn’t see if you’re on the sidelines,” Brewer says. “It’s all designed to keep outsiders from even trying.” The highest, hardest hurdle is raising enough money to compete. “We were told again and again, if you can hold Luján’s financial advantage to 10-to-1, you’re doing great,” Brewer says. When the party committees decide to weigh in on a primary and pick their favorite, they aren’t just pledging to put millions behind him or her, along with other valuable campaign resources (organizers, consultants, fundraising pros); they’re signaling where other Democratic donors should invest as well-- and which candidates they shouldn’t bother with. But the party doesn’t stop there. “I understand, from what we were told, they were using their influence to get organizations who’d endorsed Maggie, or thought about supporting her, to stay on the sidelines,” Brewer says.

When the candidate met with donors and progressive organizations that would be expected to be friendly to her effort, Brewer says, “We got a lot of paternalistic reactions: ‘Are you sure you want to take on this fight? Because it might come back to bite you.’ What you couldn’t help hearing was, ‘Why aren’t you putting your pretty little dress on and waiting for another time?’”

Toulouse Oliver managed to raise enough to staff up her campaign last spring and summer. But that was just one challenge it had to meet. Top-level campaign vendors-- pollsters, field organizers, fundraisers-- have grown increasingly wary of taking on non-establishment candidates. And for good reason: Last year, the DCCC announced that it would blacklist any campaign vendor that worked on a primary challenge to a Democratic incumbent. By implication, that also meant steering clear of any challenge to party-endorsed candidates altogether. “The DSCC didn’t spell it out the same way,” Brewer says, “but they didn’t have to. If you go with an insurgent candidate, you’re done. ‘You cross us, and we’ll cross you.’ It cast a shadow over everything about how people approached Maggie’s campaign.”

One person who didn’t take Toulouse Oliver lightly was her opponent. Just two days after she bucked the DSCC and officially announced she was running, Luján-- whose voting record on the environment had been mixed-- declared he would be co-sponsoring Green New Deal legislation in the House. A month later, he said he would-- like Toulouse Oliver-- refuse to accept corporate PAC money. In June, he tacked left again, coming out for Medicare for All. And in August, he became the highest-ranking Democrat to call for an impeachment inquiry.

By that point, he’d effectively appropriated most of the big issues that Toulouse Oliver was campaigning on. And, no surprise, he was also raising big bucks. By October, Luján had $1.6 million in the bank. Toulouse Oliver had $85,000 heading into the final quarter of the year. “We did polling,” Brewer says, “and we still had a path to victory. It was an ugly, scorched-earth path, though.”

At the end of October, after six months of fighting the system, Toulouse Oliver withdrew, throwing her support behind Luján and celebrating the small-but-unsatisfying feat of pushing him to the left. For the rest of the campaign, she’d continue working as secretary of state to make voting easier-- work that will, of course, benefit Luján in November.

The DSCC had won again. Field cleared, check! Months later, Brewer, who’s been working in New Mexico politics for two decades, still hasn’t gotten over it. “You’re going 100 miles an hour trying to fight the establishment, and then-- bang, it’s over. This policy of hamstringing challengers, strong-arming vendors, warning donors not to give to challengers-- it’s completely contrary to the Democratic spirit. What they’re doing is shutting out different voices. It’s not OK.”

Goal ThermometerIt used to be a rare thing for the national Democratic committees to step into-- much less step on-- party primaries. “The party’s traditional view was that you should be neutral until the states or districts picked a nominee,” says Andrew Romanoff, a former Colorado House Speaker who served on the Democratic National Committee in the late 1990s. But since the mid-2000s, under the leadership of Pelosi, Schumer, and former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, the notion that voters should choose their own nominees has become an anachronism.

Schumer made his bones in the Senate by chairing the DSCC during his first term, in the 2005-2006 cycle, making good use of his home-state ties to Wall Street. From the start, he’s shown no hesitation about meddling in primaries-- and no interest in changing his ideas about what an “electable” candidate looks like, despite the fact that his handpicked recruits have regularly bombed in winnable general elections. This year, the strategy of fixing primaries has reached its logical zenith: In every single state where there’s an open Senate seat or a vulnerable Republican, the DSCC has chosen an early favorite. That adds up to a lot of states this time around—four in which Democrats are favored to win (Arizona, Colorado, Maine, New Mexico), and seven more where they have fair-to-middling chances (Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Iowa, Montana, North Carolina, Texas).

The DSCC, of course, says it’s all a matter of pragmatism. The rationale for preventing voters from choosing Democratic nominees is supposedly to avoid “divisive” primary battles that drain resources and goodwill heading into general elections. And the choice of candidates is based on cold, hard calculations of what it’ll take to win a particular state. “These are not decisions made on a whim or a popularity contest,” Dan Sena, who ran the DCCC in 2018, said when questions were raised about this year’s Senate picks. “These are decisions that are very well thought-out, take time to develop, and often they’re critical to being able to flip a seat.” DSCC spokesperson Lauren Passalacqua put it more simply: “We’re working with the strongest candidates who will help Democrats take back the Senate.”

So what does the lineup of “strongest candidates” in key 2020 races look like? Eight of the 11 are white. Six are men. Three have never run for any office. Six have never won an election. All but two oppose both the Green New Deal and Medicare for All. All but one—the Rev. Raphael Warnock in Georgia, the lone African American on the list—are demonstrably more conservative than their main rivals bypassed by the DSCC.

The list of viable contenders rejected by the DSCC is a study in contrast. The tone was set with the first early endorsement of the cycle: A couple of weeks before the committee chose Ben Ray Luján over Maggie Toulouse Oliver last April, Schumer’s blessing went to former astronaut Mark Kelly in Arizona, a political novice who only registered as a Democrat in 2018, over Rep. Ruben Gallego, a 39-year-old rising star in the progressive caucus who’d long been planning to run. (Gallego subsequently opted to bow out.)

Another Schumer recruit was rolled out in June 2019 in the state every Democrat would most love to win: Mitch McConnell’s Kentucky. Democrats there, and many progressives around the country, had gotten fired up about the prospect of an out-of-the-box challenger to the self-proclaimed “Darth Vader of the Senate,” who’s never lost in six Senate elections and also never been liked: Twice over the past year, McConnell’s approval ratings in Kentucky hit a rock-bottom 18 percent. Matt Jones, a 41-year-old Eastern Kentucky native with the gravelly drawl to prove it, started Kentucky Sports Radio after finishing Duke Law School, and has become one of the most beloved figures in the state, mixing politics into his sports talk and specializing in McConnell takedowns. “For a lot of this state, I’m their one progressive friend,” he told me last summer, when he was still considering a tilt at the McConnell windmill.

Like other Kentucky Democrats, Jones had watched with mounting frustration as McConnell demolished a series of well-funded centrists backed by the DSCC. Kentuckians mostly vote Republican now, and they gave Trump a 30-point blowout margin in 2016, but they’ve still elected Democrats to the governorship three of the last four cycles. Jones couldn’t help wondering, “What if you stand up for progressive economic values and do it with a down-home Kentucky spin?” His hope was that the DSCC, which he calls “a complete disaster when it comes to selecting candidates,” would stand back and give him a chance to test his theory. “Kentucky is a blue-collar, anti-establishment state,” he says, “The reason that people like Trump here has nothing to do with ‘issues’ per se. They like him for the exact same reason they don’t like McConnell. To beat him, you’ve got to run somebody who runs against his mainstreamism.”

The DSCC did not stand back, of course. It never reached out to Jones. Instead, Schumer wooed Amy McGrath, the ex-Marine who came up just short in a House race in 2018. McGrath is running straight down the middle, emphasizing “country over party,” and raising a ton of money-- just as the DSCC favorite in 2014, Alison Lundergan Grimes, did, before losing to McConnell by 15 points. Jones ultimately decided to stick with his radio network and channel his McConnell animus into an upcoming book, Mitch, Please. The whole thing left him, and a lot of his fans, anguished. “I was looking at this and saying, ‘I’m thinking about taking on the most powerful senator since LBJ. I’m going to do it as a radio host, and risk having people turn on me for good and ruining my career if I lose. And then there’s Schumer coming along to say that I’m going to have to run against the Democratic establishment as well.’”

Join the club, Matt. With Jones out of the running, first-term state Rep. Charles Booker of Louisville, an African American, stepped up late last year to give McGrath some competition from the left with a scrappy grassroots campaign touting Medicare for All and universal basic income.

And so it went, throughout 2019. In Iowa, where first-term Republican Joni Ernst looks eminently beatable, the DSCC came out in June for real-estate executive Theresa Greenfield, another first-time candidate, over two young progressives with broad appeal who’d been looking to run: J.D. Scholten, whose grassroots populist campaign nearly unseated the white supremacist Rep. Steve King in 2018, and Linn County Supervisor Stacey Walker, an African American Bernie Sanders supporter who’s viewed as a rising force in the party. Scholten wound up running against King again. When Walker decided to stay out of a “primary orchestrated by Washington elites,” as he put it, he was brutally honest about his reasons. “I don’t have the privilege of challenging institutional forces on this scale without incurring significant damage to my political career,” he said, “and at the end of the day, this fear won out over my courage and I’m not proud about that.”

The Iowa seat, it’s worth noting, almost surely wouldn’t be in Republican hands if the DSCC hadn’t given an early, field-clearing endorsement in 2014 to famously haughty Rep. Bruce Braley after longtime Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin retired. Soon after receiving Schumer’s blessing, Braley made headlines complaining about the shortage of locker-room attendants in the Senate gym during a government shutdown; worse, he was caught on tape poking fun at the idea that popular Republican Sen. Charles Grassley, a mere “farmer” without a law degree, might soon be chairing the Senate Judiciary Committee. Farmers, a large contingent in Iowa, took notice; Braley lost handily.

It wasn’t the first or last time the DSCC’s strategy left it to ride or die with a candidate who proved inept or downright offensive. In 2016, with Republican Sen. Pat Toomey looking like a sure loser in Pennsylvania to populist Democrat Joe Sestak, Schumer recruited Katie McGinty, who’d run for election exactly once and won 8 percent in a primary. Sestak had infuriated the DSCC by challenging and beating Republican-turned-Democrat Arlen Specter in a 2010 primary, and he had to pay the price. McGinty, propelled into the general election by $5 million in DSCC spending against Sestak, became a laughingstock for her wooden public presence and a pariah for her deep ties to oil and gas companies. She lost a race that set spending records on both sides.

Even when Schumer’s recruits win general elections, the upshot for Democrats can be problematic. His great success story of 2018, Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, votes regularly with Republicans on judicial nominees, backed Attorney General Bill Barr’s confirmation, opposes net neutrality, and was ranked-- by one nonpartisan vote-tracking group-- as more conservative in 2019 than Mitch McConnell. The Arizona Democratic Party threatened to censure her last year for “failing to support the tenets of the 2016 Democratic Party platform.”

In newly competitive Kansas, where GOP Sen. Pat Roberts is retiring, the early DSCC nod went to longtime Republican state Sen. Barbara Bollier, who’d switched parties only one year before. In Maine, where Sen. Susan Collins’s serial capitulations to President Trump have wrecked her reputation for independence in a state that’s been trending blue, a potentially lively Democratic primary was squelched in May, when the DSCC endorsed state House Speaker Sara Gideon. “They didn’t just get in putting their thumb on the scale,” marveled progressive activist Betsy Sweet, who stayed in the race while other contenders dropped away, but struggled to raise money and find campaign vendors. “It was like the full body.” Collins, Sweet noted, has beaten Schumer picks in the past, partly because of the way the DSCC dictates they run campaigns. “What I see Chuck Schumer trying to do for all these candidates is to package them like a cookie. Their formula is to raise a lot of money and [run] a lot of negative ads, and you win.”

If anyone doubted her assessment, Schumer’s interventions in North Carolina provided ample proof. First-term senator Thom Tillis is considered one of the most beatable Republicans in the country. After trying and failing to recruit a series of candidates last year, Schumer landed on moderate military veteran Cal Cunningham, a one-term state legislator in the early ’00s who lost the Democratic nomination for Senate in 2010, despite a DSCC endorsement, and hasn’t run for office since. The DSCC was determined to block state Sen. Erica Smith, who’d been running a progressive campaign from the start. “Sen. Schumer, for whatever reason, did not want an African American running for Senate in North Carolina,” Smith said. Just before they tapped Cunningham, Smith claimed that party leaders had told her, “unequivocally that they were not, had not, did not intend to endorse in the primary.” Smith stayed in, defiant but drastically outspent.

Toward the end of the campaign, a mysterious PAC—its funding later traced to the Republican Senate Leadership Fund—spent more than $2 million on dirty-trick ads touting Smith as the “true progressive” in the race and criticizing Cunningham’s stances on LGBT rights and climate change. But PACs supporting Cunningham, which put $7 million behind him, simply ramped up their spending in response. Cunningham won 57-35 on Super Tuesday.

Schumer’s quest for a non-Smith candidate in North Carolina produced the most embarrassing, and revealing, glimpse yet into the DSCC’s criteria for selecting the “strongest” candidates. Jeff Jackson, a 37-year-old National Guardsman who’s crusaded against Republican voter suppression and gerrymandering in the state Senate, met with Schumer early in 2019 to discuss his own possible candidacy. In September, long after he’d decided not to run, Jackson revealed why in a talk at UNC Charlotte. Jackson, all gung ho, said he’d outlined his plans for the campaign, telling Schumer he wanted to start with “100 town halls in 100 days” across the state.

Schumer responded brusquely, Jackson reported. “Wrong answer … We want you to spend the next 16 months in a windowless basement raising money, and then we’re going to spend 80 percent of it on negative ads about Tillis.”

Democracy in action.

Early last year, as he laid the groundwork for a Senate campaign in Colorado, Andrew Romanoff got a call from the DSCC. “They said Sen. Schumer would like to meet with you, see what you’re putting together, see if we can recommend any consultants,” he recalls. The outreach was a bit surprising. A decade before, Romanoff, who’d been the youngest House Speaker in state history, had gotten crosswise with the Washington establishment when he’d mounted an unsuccessful progressive challenge to Michael Bennet, who’d been appointed to the Senate in 2009 when Ken Salazar became President Obama’s secretary of the interior.

Back then, Romanoff admits, his support for single-payer health care, radical environmental reforms to combat climate change, and same-sex marriage were a few election cycles ahead of their time in Colorado. Ten years later, as he tried to mount his political comeback, those views had become mainstream-- so much so that at least a half-dozen other potentially viable progressives, including two women who’d also been state House Speakers, were planning to run for the chance to unseat unpopular first-term Republican Sen. Cory Gardner. But hey, Romanoff thought: Maybe his old foes at the DSCC would give him a leg up this time.

“It turned out that it was all a ruse,” Romanoff says. “Sen. Schumer made it clear to me that he was going to recruit Hick”-- former Gov. John Hickenlooper, who was then running a hopeless campaign for president from the right, likening Bernie Sanders to Marx and Stalin--“into the race. They were very naked about this. They didn’t want to see a primary; they didn’t want Democrats to fight each other. And they didn’t seem terribly concerned that Hick had said publicly, more than once, that he’d be a terrible senator and didn’t want the job.”

Romanoff was undaunted by Schumer’s kiss-off. “If Washington were a town known for its good judgment,” he says, “I might have been more inclined to defer.” But Schumer wasn’t blowing smoke. In late August, a week after Hickenlooper put a merciful end to his presidential bid, he released a video declaring that he’d changed his mind about running for Senate. “I’ve always said Washington was a lousy place for a guy like me who wants to get things done,” Hickenlooper said. “But this is no time to walk away from the table.”

Huzzah! The DSCC endorsed him two days later.

Colorado Democrats were dumbfounded and furious. The move was especially mystifying, as candidate Trish Zornio noted, because “any Democrat running against Cory Gardner is slated to win. It’s a wonderful thing: A potted plant would probably win in November.” Six of the women running in the primary fired off a public letter to Schumer and Cortez Masto, demanding that the DSCC “reconsider its early endorsement” of Hickenlooper and accusing the party of gross gender bias. “Those of us who have run for office before have been told to ‘wait our turn’ and ‘don’t rock the boat’ more times than we care to mention,” they wrote. “Now the DSCC, by its endorsement, is implying that we should defer to a male candidate because you seem to believe he is ‘more electable.’”

This wasn’t just sexist, they said, but a recipe for losing a Senate seat that should be a gimme. Hickenlooper’s popularity had waned during his two terms as governor, as he fought against legalizing marijuana, sued two towns that tried to ban fracking, and quintupled oil and gas production in the state, earning him the nickname “Frackenlooper.” His reactionary presidential campaign hadn’t burnished his image. “We would hate to see Colorado as another state that could not take back the U.S. Senate because of poor candidate selection by the DSCC,” the women wrote, referring to Schumer’s habit of wooing older white men out of retirement to run and lose-- including former governors Ted Strickland of Ohio (2016) and Phil Bredesen of Tennessee (2018), and former senators Bob Kerrey of Nebraska (2012) and Evan Bayh of Indiana (2016). They all looked strong in early polling. And they all lost by double digits in November.

Before long, as money poured in for Hickenlooper and dried up for the others, fury gave way to resignation for most of the hopefuls. By the end of November, five of the letter writers had dropped out, along with former U.S. Attorney for Colorado John Walsh and Obama-era Ambassador Dan Baer, the lone openly gay contender. But the resentments remained fresh, especially as Hickenlooper followed the DSCC’s “windowless basement” formula and skipped 19 of 20 candidate forums and debates between September and March. On March 7, Romanoff—the strongest progressive left standing (“I’m either stubborn or slow to take a hint”)-- beat Hickenlooper in the state’s Democratic caucuses, the first step in Colorado’s long and convoluted process of choosing a nominee.

Hickenlooper remains the favorite to prevail in the June 30 primary, with a large lead in the polls and millions to spend. But the DSCC’s heavy-handed intervention on his behalf won’t soon be forgotten. If early endorsements are supposed to foster unity and quell bitter divisions in the Democratic ranks, this one backfired spectacularly.

So did Schumer’s even more unaccountable maneuvering in Texas, where demographic trends finally began to translate into Democratic votes in 2018. Rep. Joaquin Castro was expected to head up a big, impressively diverse field of Democrats hoping to topple Sen. John Cornyn, a powerful Mitch McConnell lieutenant in Washington who’s a faint presence back home. Even if Castro opted out, the contenders would include the most powerful African American in the state capital, Sen. Royce West of Dallas, and the dynamic organizer of the Jolt Initiative that’s registered hundreds of thousands of young Latino voters, Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez. No matter who won, the top of the Democratic ticket in Texas was going to look like the future. Until Schumer stepped in.

In December, before Castro made up his mind, the DSCC threw its weight behind the most conservative white candidate in the mix, M.J. Hegar. A female Air Force pilot and Purple Heart recipient in Afghanistan, Hegar had come close to knocking off a House Republican in the suburbs of Austin in 2018, largely on the strength of a viral campaign video, “Doors,” which memorably highlighted the personal and professional obstacles she’d overcome. She’s an appealing character-- a motorcycle-riding mom with tattoos and a knack for cornpone putdowns (she loves to call Cornyn “cupcake”)-- with the kind of mushy ideology that might have made her a strong candidate in the Texas of the 1980s or ’90s. Back then, Democrats needed to woo white voters back into the fold to win. Today, they can only win with record turnout from the nonwhite majority.

Even Texas Democratic Party officials were left stunned by the endorsement. Castro soon decided to keep his House seat and wait for another day to run statewide, but the others stayed in. West and Ramirez both ran against the DSCC, which he accused of “trying to block African Americans out of the process.” Ramirez spoke openly of her discussions with the national party: “I let them know that if they did endorse her, I would hate for it to backfire on her in the general election with voters of color who already felt underrepresented and ignored.” On Super Tuesday, Hegar led the field, but with only 22 percent of the vote-- an anemic showing for a candidate who spent $3 million, with an additional $3.5 million boost from VoteVets Action Fund, a dark-money group that backs Afghanistan and Iraq veterans. West, who spent less than $1 million, narrowly edged Ramirez for a spot in a May 22 runoff.

If Hegar makes it to the general election, it’ll cost millions more to get there. So much for the Schumer strategy of avoiding expensive and divisive primaries. There was no guarantee that Castro, West, or Ramirez would have beaten Cornyn in November if they emerged from a fair and unmediated primary, of course. But Texas Democrats would have had a candidate who looked like Texas circa 2020, rather than an echo of the good ol’ past.

But the past is never past, it seems, when Chuck Schumer and his brain trust play God in Democratic primaries.

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At 5:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY too early to pretend that Biden will defeat Trump.

The flock-herding canine is very busy today.

At 9:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bitecofer's "data" seems to contradict her conclusions. whatever.

"Black voter turnout increased in 2008 and 2012 for Barack Obama because black voters rallied around a candidate who represented them."

Black turnout increased in 2008 because the candidate LOOKED LIKE them. It stayed higher than usual in 2012 IN SPITE OF the party/candidate doing jack shit for them... presumably because he was still black. And he and party did even less for them the second term. $hillbillary lost them because $he is not black, is a woman and had a checkered past wrt race.

Note: Bernie has been better for their race than anyone they've voted for since LBJ, but is a Jew. Maybe Bitecofer can finally connect the dots on that one.

Black voter turnout must be high again to offset the malaise of every thinking lefty who will be loathe to vote FOR a lifelong racist misogynist corrupt neoliberal fascist. They may still vote AGAINST the retarded fuhrer... but that's not the same thing.

At 9:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Democrats should be worried about their own coalition, especially given the significant ideological fractures in it, because that weakness played a critical role in their 2016 loss."

Here, she is referring to the electorate. The party is pure (corrupt neoliberal fascist), save a numerically insignificant progressive insurgency.

The ideological fractures are really massive rifts.

Those who will be reliable voters are multi-issue voters but are far too stupid to discern that the party they vote for has not addressed any of their issues for decades. As the epiphanies are experienced and those voters retire to their hibernation, the democraps become less and less competitive, as noted in recently swing states that are no longer and former bastions are now swing states, which $hillbillary lost.

The simplest way to think of it is the amplitude of the anti-blue wave. Obamanation's wave was positive due to him attracting black voters. $hillbillary's was large anti- due to losing obamanation's blacks and earning the loss of thinking voters due to her fealty to wall street (with the 2008 crash fresh in most minds!).
And the overt rigging of the process by the DNC to prevent Bernie from winning was also a big factor.

The DNC is/was repeating that rigging this cycle. But evidently the voters who vote have gotten dumber by a factor in that time. biden was laughed out of all of the previous 7 or 8 primaries he ran in. This time, he's the most electable? Boggles the mind.

Biden is a moron. He is clearly in the dementia spectrum... likely far more advanced than even trump. He's always had a temper problem for people challenging him on his actual record. Dementia shortens that fuse. And he's always been gaffe-prone... part of being a moron. But, more to the point, he's corrupt. Proudly so. His family is also corrupt, trading on access to joe for whomever will pay them for that privilege.

That biden is winning among democrap voters begs a question: for these imbeciles, how horrible must a candidate be to NOT earn their vote?

biden is an indicator that, for these potted plants, a candidate can be infinitely horrible as long as he sports a 'D' by his name on the ballot.

And then you idiots ponder how 'lesser evilism' ends up being an escalator into hell.

this is how.

biden will lose bigly. Bitecofer will just have to adjust her "model" to account for more stupidity and fewer voters willing to abide racism misogyny corruption neoliberalism and fascism.

perhaps the democrap PARTY is evolving away from voters on the left far more slowly than the Whigs evolved away from their voters... almost surely too slowly. Or perhaps the voters are evolving a tolerance for the evil of corruption, but not in numbers to keep them competitive.

Or perhaps the dormant 100 million will find someone and some movement to jump on board... somewhere... somehow. maybe the covid depression can be the catalyst.

if only American voters were smart enough to get there on their own instead of requiring mass abject misery.

like I keep saying... dumber than shit.

At 8:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Note: Bernie has been better for their race than anyone they've voted for since LBJ, but is a Jew. Maybe Bitecofer can finally connect the dots on that one."

Are you fucking retarded? There are next to NO blacks in Vermont and to many older American blacks Sanders' name means absolutely nothing.

If you want to make snooty comments suggesting that older blacks aren't especially well-informed when it comes to matters of policy, fine. But don't suggest that Sanders unpopularity among older blacks is due to some sort of ingrained anti-semitism. That's obnoxiously stupid, even for obsessive-compulsive kook like you.

Steve 3/27/2020

At 9:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sanders' name means nothing? come on Steve... you're better than this.

If black voters haven't heard of Bernie Sanders after he's been running for president for 5 years, they are deaf and blind.

It's also pretty well accepted that, among American blacks, anti-Semitism and homophobia are real. Ironic since during the civil rights era, Jews were conspicuous in their support of equality. But still real.

And given their support of a guy that has a nearly half-century record of racism (remember Anita Hill?), corruption and efforts to cut sustenance programs over a guy who has spent a similar amount of time legitimately supporting their struggle for equality... well, if it isn't anti-Semitism, then it is surely stupidity.

but keep trying. I know how it is. annoyance with form translating to personal hatred. I know lots of people like that.

That reminds me... I wonder where GFY/suicide yourself guy went.

At 12:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

He's on the Hide Biden detail.


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