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Old 12-15-2019, 09:06 AM
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Why do people think Biden's the candidate who can win in the Midwest?


Per 538, here are Biden's current primary polling averages in Midwestern states and Pennsylvania:

PA: 28.0%
OH: 28.4%
MI: 29.1%
WI: 23.1%
IA: 19.7%

Yeah I know, this is the primary, that's the general. But still: if he appeals to the midwestern WWC in particular, shouldn't that boost him somewhat in the primaries as well? After all, you'd think (a) some of those WWC types are already Dems or Dem-leaning independents, and their support would show up here; and (b) to the extent that the Obama/Trump voters were WWC and are reachable by Biden, some of them would be leaning Dem now and supporting Biden in the primaries.

But there's nothing in these numbers to suggest that Biden has noticeably more appeal in this part of the country than he does generally.
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Old 12-15-2019, 10:07 AM
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That's a very good question. He's supposed to be a "regular guy" even though between 1973 and 2017 he had a high paying cushy government job. Some people act like his career was laying bricks or working on an assembly line.
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Old 12-15-2019, 04:22 PM
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Yeah I know, this is the primary, that's the general. But still: if he appeals to the midwestern WWC in particular, shouldn't that boost him somewhat in the primaries as well?
Not necessarily.

The problem is that you are looking at polls that only show the top choice. They don't really speak to who would have a broad base of support in the general election if nominated. One way to get after it is polling who is the second or third choice. We see fewer of those polls in the media. It is the kind of supplemental data that campaigns pay for. Approval ratings might give another look that helps. Even better if you can find those ratings with crosstabs to break out just the approval among Dem and Dem leaning voters. Another way, that we do see some of, is the head to head general election polls.

Biden has typically been doing well in those head to head polls against Trump. The differences between him and the other Dem candidates so far have been small. Those differences are small enough it can be hard to say they are more than just sampling noise. Still Michigan was lost by a quarter percent. Many of the lean slightly blue normally but went for Trump were won by small margins. Small swings are enough.
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Old 12-15-2019, 05:48 PM
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Originally Posted by RTFirefly View Post
Per 538, here are Biden's current primary polling averages in Midwestern states and Pennsylvania:

PA: 28.0%
OH: 28.4%
MI: 29.1%
WI: 23.1%
IA: 19.7%....

But there's nothing in these numbers to suggest that Biden has noticeably more appeal in this part of the country than he does generally.
Isnt he ahead of everyone else? I looked at Wisconsin and he is clearly ahead. When there are that many candidates you cant expect anyone to have a majority this early.

Those are actually very good numbers for him.
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Old 12-15-2019, 06:03 PM
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Because he's the only one with a shot who doesn't threaten to take people's private insurance away. He's relatable, a guy who has overcome more than his share of personal strategy and had the common touch of riding the train to DC every day while in the Senate. He doesn't scare the piss out of the blue collar workers, is beloved by blacks, and was one of the first to endorse same sex marriage. Let's cut the bullshit now and nominate him.
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Old 12-15-2019, 06:42 PM
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Because he's the only one with a shot who doesn't threaten to take people's private insurance away. He's relatable, a guy who has overcome more than his share of personal strategy and had the common touch of riding the train to DC every day while in the Senate. He doesn't scare the piss out of the blue collar workers, is beloved by blacks, and was one of the first to endorse same sex marriage. Let's cut the bullshit now and nominate him.
He is beloved by older blacks, younger blacks are more likely to prefer Sanders and Warren than their parents. Hillary Clinton won the black vote by a large margin against Sanders, and then when 2016 came around reduced black turnout helped move the northern midwest to the right. But then again, turnout among blacks could be even lower for Sanders or Warren.

Its not an easy trade off. Biden may not scare off the WWC as much as Warren would, but he would demotivate liberals and youth voters under 40, who combined probably make up about 60-70% of all democratic voters. Yeah most of them would vote, but a few would stay home, or not volunteer, or not donate money.

There is no easy answer. Doesn't matter if we pick the liberal or the moderate candidate, certain people will be demotivated.
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Last edited by Wesley Clark; 12-15-2019 at 06:43 PM.
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Old 12-15-2019, 07:36 PM
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Because he's the only one with a shot who doesn't threaten to take people's private insurance away. He's relatable, a guy who has overcome more than his share of personal strategy and had the common touch of riding the train to DC every day while in the Senate. He doesn't scare the piss out of the blue collar workers, is beloved by blacks, and was one of the first to endorse same sex marriage. Let's cut the bullshit now and nominate him.
He's also overcome a lot of personal tragedy.
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Old 12-15-2019, 08:06 PM
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He's also overcome a lot of personal tragedy.
Thanks, yes I meant tragedy.
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Old 12-15-2019, 08:12 PM
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He doesn't scare the piss out of the blue collar workers, is beloved by blacks, and was one of the first to endorse same sex marriage. Let's cut the bullshit now and nominate him.
Hardly any Democrat is as centrist as I am. Until early 2016, I was a Republican.

So, ideologically I'd prefer Biden, regardless of when he endorsed same sex marriage.

However, Trump is going to try to make this election about how the Democrats tried a coup to reverse the results of 2016, and again are trying to steal it in 2020. By impeaching Trump without having the votes for Senate conviction, the congressional Democrats are walking right into this. To, on top of that, give Trump the Hunter/Ukraine thing to play with is too dangerous.

Am I sure? No. DJT is a very effective negative campaigner against any opponent. I'm wondering if Buttigieg only seems to me a much safer nominee because Donald hasn't gotten around to him yet. Plus I think Buttigieg is unqualified. But he does seem to me the safest of the top four in terms of ability to stop America from sliding into authoritarianism.

Warren? Trump would be too effective playing up her harmless genealogy mistake.

Sanders? I really, really, don't like his policies. And if you want to say Sanders/Corbyn, you can. And -- this is real -- Bernie's health is shakey. But Biden's also old, and I'm thinking that the Biden Ukraine problem is a bigger one than being red-bait-able.
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Old 12-15-2019, 09:38 PM
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Why do people think Biden's the candidate who can win in the Midwest?

Because when I look at the other candidates in those state polls I see:

PA: Biden +14.7 over Sanders
OH: Biden +9.9 over Sanders
MI: Biden +10.5 over Sanders
WI: Biden +4.5 over Sanders
IA: Biden -1 below Buttigieg but +2.2 over Sanders

Let's look at a couple of other heartland states:
IL: Biden +6 over Warren
IN: Biden +10 over Sanders

Other than Minnesota, where the polls show Warren and (slightly) Klobuchar ahead, Midwestern Democrats aren't exactly going for the more progressive Democratic candidates. Why would anyone think they'd do better than Biden in a general election?
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Old 12-15-2019, 10:09 PM
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Why do people think Biden's the candidate who can win in the Midwest?

Because when I look at the other candidates in those state polls I see:

PA: Biden +14.7 over Sanders
OH: Biden +9.9 over Sanders
MI: Biden +10.5 over Sanders
WI: Biden +4.5 over Sanders
IA: Biden -1 below Buttigieg but +2.2 over Sanders

Let's look at a couple of other heartland states:
IL: Biden +6 over Warren
IN: Biden +10 over Sanders

Other than Minnesota, where the polls show Warren and (slightly) Klobuchar ahead, Midwestern Democrats aren't exactly going for the more progressive Democratic candidates. Why would anyone think they'd do better than Biden in a general election?
Yeah but are those polls from within the democratic primary? Generally the turnout in the democratic primary in a year with a competitive primary is about 1/4 the turnout of the general election. In the 2016 democratic primary about 30 million people voted, vs about 130 million for the general election.

So saying Biden is doing better than other candidates within the democratic primary probably isn't meaningful, I would assume most of those people will vote in the general and will vote for whoever the democrat is.
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Old 12-15-2019, 11:18 PM
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Hardly any Democrat is as centrist as I am. Until early 2016, I was a Republican.

So, ideologically I'd prefer Biden, regardless of when he endorsed same sex marriage.

However, Trump is going to try to make this election about how the Democrats tried a coup to reverse the results of 2016, and again are trying to steal it in 2020. By impeaching Trump without having the votes for Senate conviction, the congressional Democrats are walking right into this. To, on top of that, give Trump the Hunter/Ukraine thing to play with is too dangerous.

Am I sure? No. DJT is a very effective negative campaigner against any opponent. I'm wondering if Buttigieg only seems to me a much safer nominee because Donald hasn't gotten around to him yet. Plus I think Buttigieg is unqualified. But he does seem to me the safest of the top four in terms of ability to stop America from sliding into authoritarianism.

Warren? Trump would be too effective playing up her harmless genealogy mistake.

Sanders? I really, really, don't like his policies. And if you want to say Sanders/Corbyn, you can. And -- this is real -- Bernie's health is shakey. But Biden's also old, and I'm thinking that the Biden Ukraine problem is a bigger one than being red-bait-able.
I think thereís a scale on scandal attacks. Letís say the scale runs from Obamaís birth certificate on one (the ineffective) end to Clintonís e-mails on the other (the effective) end. On this scale Warren and her non Native-American ancestry are closer to the Obama end. Biden and the Ukraine thing are closer to the Clinton end. None the less I still get the impression that Biden would do better than Warren with the working class voters that gave Trump the victory. Right now I find it extremely difficult to determine who has the best chance against Trump, which is my #1 criteria. Right now Iím leaning toward Buttigieg but thatís changed several times.
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Old 12-15-2019, 11:19 PM
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Yeah but are those polls from within the democratic primary?
The source is the same polls in the 538.com article that RTFirefly linked to in the OP. When the OP says Biden is polling at 28.3% percent in Pennsylvania, it doesn't say that the very same page shows that Sanders is at 13.6%, Warren is at 12.2%, and no one else is in double digits. Ditto for the other states.

Apples to apples.
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Old 12-16-2019, 01:33 AM
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I think general election matchups in swing states are a better guide to electability and they suggest that Biden has a smallish but consistent edge over Bernie and a bigger edge over Warren.

Furthermore he is a better known quantity than Bernie and his negatives are baked into his numbers. IMO Bernie is more vulnerable to attack ads which, for example, portray him as weak on national security. Finally he has at least one major policy position, abolishing private health insurance, which will be a serious general election liability.
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Old 12-16-2019, 05:47 AM
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Ditto for the other states.

Apples to apples.
I suppose. But state level polling a week before a national election is much less accurate than national polls.

Eleven months before -- neither means a lot.

Admittedly, the alternative -- speculative pundrity -- isn't extremely accurate either
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Old 12-16-2019, 12:36 PM
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I suppose. But state level polling a week before a national election is much less accurate than national polls.

Eleven months before -- neither means a lot.

Admittedly, the alternative -- speculative pundrity -- isn't extremely accurate either
Agreed, but in this forum, speculative punditry is what we do best
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Old 12-16-2019, 04:41 PM
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Because he's the only one with a shot who doesn't threaten to take people's private insurance away. He's relatable, a guy who has overcome more than his share of personal strategy and had the common touch of riding the train to DC every day while in the Senate. He doesn't scare the piss out of the blue collar workers, is beloved by blacks, and was one of the first to endorse same sex marriage. Let's cut the bullshit now and nominate him.
Wesley Clark has already addressed the massive generational gap in his black support. And also, he wasn't "one of the first" to endorse same sex marriage, though to his credit he did so in 2012, a year ahead of Obama and HRC.

Bernie Sanders formally came out for SSM in 2009, but had a long record of supporting LGBT issues, including voting against the shameful Defense of Marriage Act in 1996. Joe Biden voted for that bill.

Warren says she can't remember a time when she didn't support SSM, though in a hasty Google search the earliest I can find her going on the record was 2011, when she first started running for the Senate.

I couldn't easily find a cite for Pete Buttigieg's first public statement on the issue, but I'm just gonna go out on a limb and guess he was probably pro-SSM before Biden was, too.

Not that I think this should be a crucial factor in deciding anyone's vote, but it's factually true that Biden was not in the forefront on that issue.

Last edited by Thing Fish; 12-16-2019 at 04:44 PM.
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Old 12-16-2019, 07:16 PM
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The Democratic Party is going to stick with the original plan of nominating the senior most white person in the party. Because their time has come. Next up to bat. Familiar face with a history of inside Washington. That's what everyone wants.

Will work about as well as the last time it was tried. Which is every election in the past.
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Old 12-16-2019, 07:49 PM
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I think the answer is pretty straightforward: he's a household name and he's campaigning on proposals that are relatively safe.

In my mind, there are two fundamental truths to keep in mind:

1) Any Democratic nominee is probably going to make the race look competitive. Given how partisan things are now, I could see any of the major candidates getting close to a minimum of 250 electoral votes. California, New York, Massachusetts, and Illinois are going to vote for Biden, Sanders, Warren, Buttigieg, or Bloomberg. Very few states are in play -- at least for right now.

2) Any Democratic nominee is going to have a very hard time beating Trump if the economy is this good in 7 months. That's true whether it's Sanders or Biden.

But Biden gives them the best chance in places like Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. Voters know who Biden is. They know he's old, but if they're fed up with Trump, that fact won't matter. Just like if they believe Trump is doing his job, it probably won't matter if Buttigieg brings his youth to the table.

Last edited by asahi; 12-16-2019 at 07:51 PM.
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Old 12-16-2019, 08:51 PM
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Why do people think Biden's the candidate who can win in the Midwest?

Because when I look at the other candidates in those state polls I see:

PA: Biden +14.7 over Sanders
OH: Biden +9.9 over Sanders
MI: Biden +10.5 over Sanders
WI: Biden +4.5 over Sanders
IA: Biden -1 below Buttigieg but +2.2 over Sanders

Let's look at a couple of other heartland states:
IL: Biden +6 over Warren
IN: Biden +10 over Sanders

Other than Minnesota, where the polls show Warren and (slightly) Klobuchar ahead, Midwestern Democrats aren't exactly going for the more progressive Democratic candidates. Why would anyone think they'd do better than Biden in a general election?
Why, is anyone saying they've got some special sauce in the Midwest? Seems they're trailing there by more or less the same that they're trailing nationally. And Biden's leading in those states by about the same degree he's leading nationally. He's got no special sauce there, and neither does anyone else. That's all.
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Old 12-16-2019, 09:42 PM
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The Democratic Party is going to stick with the original plan of nominating the senior most white person in the party. Because their time has come. Next up to bat. Familiar face with a history of inside Washington. That's what everyone wants.

Will work about as well as the last time it was tried. Which is every election in the past.
Last time it was tried, the Democrat got 3 million more votes than the Republican. For that matter, she got more than three million more votes than the fresh new face who had only been in Washington since 1991.
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Old 12-16-2019, 10:18 PM
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The Democratic Party is going to stick with the original plan of nominating the senior most white person in the party. Because their time has come. Next up to bat. Familiar face with a history of inside Washington. That's what everyone wants.

Will work about as well as the last time it was tried. Which is every election in the past.
Yeah, the Dems did that in 2016*. And also in 2012 and 2008... wait, no, no they didnt.

There is no such thing as "their time has come' and "The Democrats" dont nominate anyone, the voters do.

* and not even in 2016, as there were plenty of Dem Pols more senior than Hillary.

So in others words- they pretty much have never done this.

Last edited by DrDeth; 12-16-2019 at 10:20 PM.
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Old 12-16-2019, 10:22 PM
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The Democratic Party is going to stick with the original plan of nominating the senior most white person in the party. Because their time has come. Next up to bat. Familiar face with a history of inside Washington. That's what everyone wants.

Will work about as well as the last time it was tried. Which is every election in the past.
You mean voters are going to select someone you don't like, and therefore voting is a scam. Okay.
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Old 12-16-2019, 10:29 PM
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USA Today/Suffolk University poll: Biden is the candidate who trails Trump the least - by 3%. (Bernie, Warren, and Buttigieg trail by 5, 8 and 10 percentage points, respectively.) So Biden is clearly the man, the only issue is whether his centrism will depress turnout.
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Old 12-17-2019, 01:39 AM
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the only issue is whether his centrism will depress turnout.
You guys aren't gettin it: this is a referendum election. If the voters believe that a) Trump is doing well enough right now, and b) he will be gone in 4 years anyway, then even if Barack Obama could run again, he'd be a long shot against Trump. Has nothing to do with centrism or progressivism. But FWIW, centrism gives the Dems the best chance, insofar as it can tap into the increasingly progressive energy that's surging within the party. Even if Biden isn't quite there himself, he will no doubt surround himself with astute politicos who will understand that the needle has shifted more in the direction of Bernie than Hillary the last few years.
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Old 12-17-2019, 09:43 AM
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There is no easy answer. Doesn't matter if we pick the liberal or the moderate candidate, certain people will be demotivated.
Sure, but come the general election, the liberals are going to fall in line and vote Democratic regardless; it's not like they're going to be so pissed that the party chose Biden that they'll vote Trump in protest.

What I'd want to know is the relative breakdown of the electorate as a whole in terms of ideology.

I suspect, but have no proof, that the best strategy for the Democrats would be to aim center-left, with the expectation that the more left wing/liberal side will fall in line and vote Democratic because they really don't have other options. Meanwhile, they can squarely get the right-half of their own party, as well as (hopefully) a goodly chunk of the middle, while the GOP aims hard-right.
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Old 12-17-2019, 10:07 AM
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If Biden gets the nomination, then whomever he selects as his VP will have a certain bearing on the ticket as well. If he selects Warren as his VP, that will likely pull some of the more progressive left voters. Same with Stacy Abrams. If he selects Klobuchar or Buttigeg, then it will be a more centrist ticket, which might be a harder sell.
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Old 12-17-2019, 12:20 PM
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If Biden gets the nomination, then whomever he selects as his VP will have a certain bearing on the ticket as well. If he selects Warren as his VP, that will likely pull some of the more progressive left voters. Same with Stacy Abrams. If he selects Klobuchar or Buttigeg, then it will be a more centrist ticket, which might be a harder sell.
Sure, but who cares? Are those progressive left voters going to go vote for Trump? Hardly likely. They'll STILL vote for Biden/Buttigieg regardless.

But... will the people in the middle still vote for Biden if he picks Warren? She's absolutely terrifying to a big chunk of people who aren't necessarily Trump voters, in a way that Buttigieg or Klobuchar aren't .
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Old 12-17-2019, 01:19 PM
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If Biden gets the nomination, then whomever he selects as his VP will have a certain bearing on the ticket as well. If he selects Warren as his VP, that will likely pull some of the more progressive left voters. Same with Stacy Abrams. If he selects Klobuchar or Buttigeg, then it will be a more centrist ticket, which might be a harder sell.
He is unlikely to pick a competitor, that doesnt happen often, except maybe someone who dropped off early
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Old 12-17-2019, 01:20 PM
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Sure, but come the general election, the liberals are going to fall in line and vote Democratic regardless; it's not like they're going to be so pissed that the party chose Biden that they'll vote Trump in protest.
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Sure, but who cares? Are those progressive left voters going to go vote for Trump? Hardly likely. They'll STILL vote for Biden/Buttigieg regardless.
Not necessarily. There will be a certain percentage of progressives who will decide that the Democratic establishment is too far to the right for them to support, and they'll do something petulant. Why did Jill Stein get one million more votes in 2016 than she did in 2012? Why did Hillary Clinton get 300,000 fewer votes in Wisconsin, handing the state to Donald Trump, while Trump actually got fewer votes in that state than Mitt Romney did in 2012? If Jill Stein had merely doubled her performance from 2012-2016 in Michigan, and the other 8,000 Michiganders who voted Green had voted Democratic, Hillary would have won that state, as well.

Those aren't Democratic votes that went for Trump. Those are Democratic votes that went away, period.

Last edited by Kent Clark; 12-17-2019 at 01:21 PM.
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