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Old 03-10-2020, 09:29 PM
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Progressives: how should Biden talk to Obama/Trump voters?


Thereís an awful lot of discussion of how Biden ought to appeal to progressives who arenít into him. There are fair questions about how Biden should show that he wants their votes, maybe by some new policies and so on.

But thereís also quite a few Obama/Trump voters out there - probably more than the number of primary votes that Sanders got in 2016. They obviously arenít progressives.

It seems to me that the more progressive parts of the Democratic Party donít really believe that we win elections by trying to appeal to these voters. Instead, they think winning comes from turning non-voters into voters.

If I were Biden, Iíd look at these Obama/Trump voters, and see an entirely different rationale to win: addition by subtraction. Getting one of their votes means one less for Trump.

So letís say Biden adopts this strategy - do progressives hold it against him as being yet another example of the corporatist Democrat who is no different than a Republican? Do progressives see their support of a mainstream liberal like Biden as conditioned on beating the shit out of people who dared vote for Trump, to energize non-voters into action?
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Old 03-10-2020, 09:57 PM
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Obama-Trump voters are a ridiculously important swing group, arguably the most important. I honestly don't know how Biden could run a G.E. campaign to pick up lefties who usually don't vote, so while he shouldn't totally give up on them, it wouldn't make a lot of sense to prioritize them.

The people who would hold a Biden run to the center against him likely already don't trust him. Maybe the way he campaigns from this point forward could swing some of them but I'd guess that would be a minority. Also, Clinton essentially proved that putting progressive policies in the platform won't move the needle very much for progressive/Sanders voters (although maybe you could argue she needed to make it something she talked about more day-to-day on the campaign trail).

The real question is how do you reach Obama-Trump voters. Apart from a few voters who just switched sides because of the TPP, I don't know what issue or even what campaign message you could really use. The one thing I think will be important for Biden will be to keep pushing his straight-shooter image - I think Obama-Trump voters value that extremely highly.
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Old 03-11-2020, 12:02 AM
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My understanding is that one way to talk to them is to discuss how Trump ran as a populist, but has governed as a typical republican plutocrat.

He ran on helping the working class, but has cut taxes on the rich and on corporations and wants to fund those tax cuts with cuts to medicare, medicaid and social security.
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Old 03-11-2020, 09:47 AM
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Wesley has it. You hit the issues that piss off both the progressives and the Obama/Trump voters (particularly suburban white women). They are: tax cuts, family separation policy, trying to undo Obamacare/not having a plan for health care, possibly the false claims about an infrastructure plan.

You basically say: he promised you he was different, but he's just another corrupt Republican. Literally the only significant legislation he passed was tax cuts. And the only other thing he tried to pass was killing Obamacare. Oh, and throw in his promises about reducing the deficit v. his actual budget record.

Then you lay out a left/center policy plan of: restructuring taxes to be more progressive, add a public option to Obamacare and fix parts of the law that aren't working, a compromise immigration policy that provides a pass to citizenship for those in the country while increasing enforcement/documentation of new arrivals.
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Old 03-11-2020, 09:58 AM
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Obama/Trump voters? What the heck is that?
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Old 03-11-2020, 10:03 AM
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I think there are probably more of them than you'd expect. I imagine that they're typically low-information voters, who voted based on the candidate's perceived charisma. "Hey, this guy seems cool! I like the way he talks! He's my guy!"
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Old 03-11-2020, 10:11 AM
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Simply being a man (but not a socialist man) will win quite a fee of them back, within parts of several important swing states. Also, if the economy starts (continues?) to hit the rocks, make noise about how you could manage it better than Trump has.
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Old 03-11-2020, 11:04 AM
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Obama/Trump voters? What the heck is that?
People who voted for Obama in 2008/2012, but voted for Trump in 2016.
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Old 03-11-2020, 01:22 PM
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So letís say Biden adopts this strategy - do progressives hold it against him as being yet another example of the corporatist Democrat who is no different than a Republican? Do progressives see their support of a mainstream liberal like Biden as conditioned on beating the shit out of people who dared vote for Trump, to energize non-voters into action?
While I haven't seen crosstabs to confirm, I suspect there is a big component of union household voters in midwest that fall in the Obama to Trump group. Clinton took it in the teeth with them in key midwest states. Mostly she saw double digit cuts into the normal margins and lost among them in Ohio. They typically have good turnout so decent chunk of the change may well have been an actual swing in votes.

Not everything that can be done to focus on their vote is progressive. They are not very progressive. Support for unions does play well with progressives though. There may well be some area to work in the overlap.
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Old 03-11-2020, 01:53 PM
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People who voted for Obama in 2008/2012, but voted for Trump in 2016.
I keep hearing about these mythical creatures? Has anybody ever provided anything but speculative evidence about these folks? How many of them are there, in real numbers? Are there more of them than people who would vote for Charles Manson if he was on the ballot?
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Old 03-11-2020, 04:30 PM
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Thereís an awful lot of discussion of how Biden ought to appeal to progressives who arenít into him. There are fair questions about how Biden should show that he wants their votes, maybe by some new policies and so on.

But thereís also quite a few Obama/Trump voters out there - probably more than the number of primary votes that Sanders got in 2016. They obviously arenít progressives.

It seems to me that the more progressive parts of the Democratic Party donít really believe that we win elections by trying to appeal to these voters. Instead, they think winning comes from turning non-voters into voters.

If I were Biden, Iíd look at these Obama/Trump voters, and see an entirely different rationale to win: addition by subtraction. Getting one of their votes means one less for Trump.

So letís say Biden adopts this strategy - do progressives hold it against him as being yet another example of the corporatist Democrat who is no different than a Republican? Do progressives see their support of a mainstream liberal like Biden as conditioned on beating the shit out of people who dared vote for Trump, to energize non-voters into action?
Which is there more of in the swing states.

I don't want to sit here with a popular vote victory and electoral defeat in November because we racked up a 5 million vote lead in California.
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Old 03-11-2020, 05:19 PM
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Originally Posted by QuickSilver View Post
I keep hearing about these mythical creatures? Has anybody ever provided anything but speculative evidence about these folks? How many of them are there, in real numbers? Are there more of them than people who would vote for Charles Manson if he was on the ballot?
Seriously? There one of the key reasons Trump is President! They cluster in...wait for it...Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.

They are over-represented on my block, in my city, in my county, and in my state, so I give you a pass for being (or acting) surprised by this. Youíre welcome.
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Old 03-11-2020, 05:20 PM
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https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Obama-Trump_voters
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Old 03-11-2020, 05:55 PM
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Yeah, weíre talking like 6 million, maybe more, voters. Thatís pretty significant.
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Old 03-11-2020, 07:25 PM
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By virtue of being a man will probably help him. I suspect many of these people voted for Bill Clinton back in the day but not ready to cast a ballot for his wife (or any woman for that matter).
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Old 03-11-2020, 08:33 PM
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Yeah. The most recent 538 podcast discusses this, from about 5:30 before the end until 3:30 before the end.

Last edited by JKellyMap; 03-11-2020 at 08:34 PM.
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Old 03-12-2020, 02:04 AM
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This thread turned out to be about almost the opposite of what it was advertised to be. Both topics are interesting and worthy of discussion (and yes: Obama-Trump voters are most definitely a thing--interesting that this is not universally understood), but I'm going to steer back to the OP.

Biden needs to rhetorically commit to the general themes progressives like--combating global warming, making the 1% pay more taxes, reforming the criminal justice system, moving toward universal health coverage--but without getting boxed in by committing to Bernie's specific policy agenda. And yes, some on the left will sniff that out as being gauzy rhetoric without specifics, but it's a deadly trap to provide specifics your opponent can pick apart, when that opponent is just going to offer "stuff that's great" with no details and not pay much of a price. Sad but true: that's politics in America, folks.
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Old 03-12-2020, 04:11 AM
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Biden needs to rhetorically commit to the general themes progressives like--combating global warming, making the 1% pay more taxes, reforming the criminal justice system, moving toward universal health coverage--but without getting boxed in by committing to Bernie's specific policy agenda. And yes, some on the left will sniff that out as being gauzy rhetoric without specifics, but it's a deadly trap to provide specifics your opponent can pick apart, when that opponent is just going to offer "stuff that's great" with no details and not pay much of a price. Sad but true: that's politics in America, folks.
Good points. I'm reminded of a conversation I had with a friend of mine the other night, when he lamented that Sanders was not going to get the Democrat nomination. Notwithstanding the fact that we're both in Canada, which sits more closely with Sanders' policies, and we cannot vote in US elections, we Canadians have our views, thanks to the US news that spills across the border daily.

I disagreed with my friend--I said that Biden was the better choice. Mainly because he speaks in generalities, which reveal views that are not quite as radical as Sanders', and which might sit better with the undecideds. As I see things, this coming election is not really about the issues, as much as it is about a referendum on whether Americans want to keep Mr. Trump, and all his ignorance of the US constitution, ignorance of what "rule of law," really means, his cozying up to Russian/Saudi/North Korean dictators while dismissing the US's traditional foreign allies in free democracies, and--well, for lack of a better term, "wackiness"--in power; or whether they want to elect somebody who can restore some sense of normalcy to the American presidency, restore confidence in foreign military and trade allies, and reassure Americans that their government does indeed have all of their best interests in mind--not just the corporations and the one-percenters.

My friend and I agreed to disagree, but I stand by my argument: I believe that Biden does a better job at speaking in generalities, not making specific and unrealistic promises ("Free college!" etc.), and overall, making a Democrat president and Congress more palatable to Joe and Jane Undecided. If this coming election is indeed a referendum on Mr. Trump and all that he stand for, then it seems to me that Mr. Biden could present some formidable opposition.
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Old 03-12-2020, 07:50 AM
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This thread turned out to be about almost the opposite of what it was advertised to be. Both topics are interesting and worthy of discussion (and yes: Obama-Trump voters are most definitely a thing--interesting that this is not universally understood), but I'm going to steer back to the OP.

Biden needs to rhetorically commit to the general themes progressives like--combating global warming, making the 1% pay more taxes, reforming the criminal justice system, moving toward universal health coverage--but without getting boxed in by committing to Bernie's specific policy agenda.
But those points are really efforts to appeal to progressives, arenít they? If the idea is to pitch progressive ideas to Obama/Trump voters, Iím not sure it broadens Bidenís appeal to them.

So, letís use a somewhat exaggerated example. Progressives want to hear that Biden will take private health insurance away from everyone. Those in the middle want everyone to get coverage, but they REALLY REALLY donít want their plans to be eliminated.

I think that progressives are going to be more sour than expected if Biden promises that Americans who like their doctor ó errr ó insurance will get to keep it. My opinion is that progressives see Obama/Trump voters with a great deal of contempt, and will see such outreach efforts as making deals with the devil. I think this was the main progressive criticism of Mayor Pete, who said he wanted to appeal to future ex-Republicans, but was criticized as being out-of-touch with how far gone Trump voters are.

Iím curious as to whether progressives on this board - Iím not singling our Bernie supporters to be clear - see the 2020 election in terms of ďpick a side, weíre at warĒ that includes not just being anti-Trump, but anti-Trump voter.
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Old 03-12-2020, 09:26 AM
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The progressives will have to remember that Biden didn't win the nomination campaigning on M4A. So he doesn't have to say "you'll keep your insurance". He can campaign on introducing the public option/reinforcing Obamacare.
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Old 03-12-2020, 12:58 PM
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I think we overestimate the numbers of actual Obama-Trump voters when we look at districts. There are many of those voters, they are basically the “I’m getting screwed, let’s vote for the guy who seems most likely to change things” crowd. But there are also a lot of voters for Obama that were replaced by new Trump voters. Obama motivated more people than Hillary, let’s face it. And Trump motivated new people too.
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Old 03-13-2020, 03:32 AM
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Obama motivated more people than Hillary, letís face it.

Obama got 65.9 million votes in 2012. How many votes did Hillary get in 2016?

SPOILER:
65.9 million.
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Old 03-13-2020, 03:12 PM
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Obama got 65.9 million votes in 2012. How many votes did Hillary get in 2016?

SPOILER:
65.9 million.
The difference is those voters were motivated by Trump.

I think it's simple: The O/T voters don't like the way things are going. Give them wishy washy "hope and change", "drain the swamp" platitudes and watch the magic do its work. These people have no specific policy goals (at least not as a group, they all want something different), they just recognize that things suck and want someone to tell them they'll make it better. They want someone who is angry. Either a righteous, "they screwed it all up, let's fix it" anger like Obama had, or a "fuck those assholes" nihilistic anger like Trump.

Personally, I think these voters are going to have a hard time voting for a lifelong political insider like Biden. They want someone who will agree with them that we should just blow up Washington and start from scratch, metaphorically or otherwise. That's going to be hard for someone who has been working there for fifty years and is best buds with every current politician.
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Old 03-13-2020, 05:28 PM
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Obama got 65.9 million votes in 2012. How many votes did Hillary get in 2016?
Oh I know! Three million more than Trump, but it doesnít count because the didnít live in the right places!
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