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Old 02-08-2020, 03:07 PM
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Competing electability theories. (D side)


The subject has come up many times in may threads and time for it to have its own thread I think. Of course real world is that no single candidate plays to just one theory and the the best candidates appeal to several theories at once. And some of these theories overlap some. Those caveats aside, which would you argue is the more important theory to think about when thinking about electability? Or even which is the least important? Feel free to make caveats for the general election vs local ones and specific to the states that are most electorally vital for the general election. When possible please bring data and an evidence based argument.

1) Excite the young progressive base.

2) Maximize turnout of Black and/or Hispanic voters.

3) Sweep the suburbs and increase their turnout. (Inclusive but not limited to keeping the Romney-Clinton voters.)

4) Win back the Obama voters who went Trump/3rd party/stayed home.

5) Appeal to rural voters and other non-college educated white voters decreasing the magnitude of the R advantage there.

6) Focus on those who want "change" and who really don't care what the change is as long as it gives them another draw than the cards they have now.


I'm not including a focus on women voters as I personally believe the group is too heterogenous to focus on other than as overlaps with the other groups, but feel free to disagree!
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Old 02-08-2020, 04:31 PM
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3. Get the educated voters in the burbs that may have thrown up their hands with none of the above in 2016. That’s where the Comey letter may have hurt the worst. They’d come around to voting Clinton and then just didn’t want 4 years of ‘but her emails.’

I’m sorry but I don’t give a damn about the young progressive base if they even exist. Tweeting isn’t voting. Young people don’t turn out.

I don’t think there are a lot of Obama/Trump voters that actually think. Someone who voted against Romney because he looks like a prick boss who announces layoffs one day and then record executive bonuses the next isn’t a reliable voter. Especially if they turned around and wanted to smack that smirk off of Hillary’s face in 2016.

The rural and non college white voters are gone. They’re never coming back to our current Democratic Party.

Change voters are often flaky as well. They may want change but that might mean taco Tuesday at a new place on election day while not voting for anyone.
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Old 02-08-2020, 04:56 PM
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As far as the Presidential election goes I think the emotions of the electorate are the most important thing and I think there are two big aspects in the current climate.

Unfortunately the wings of the Democratic party are becoming more fractured (I won't go as far as to say polarized because I think most of each group will still end up showing up to vote for any Democrat in this election). What this means is that it's tough to come up with a set of policies where you hit all the Democrats and swing voters, and the best way to grab people across ideological lines is to appeal to emotion. I think there has been a huge undercurrent of resentment and anger at the establishment since the recession, and McCain, Romney and Clinton were all hurt because they tried to treat their elections as normal. I don't actually think most of the group of angry voters wants you to specifically advocate for some policy that they see as a remedy or just sticking it to the establishment as much as they want to feel like someone "gets" their anger. I think this is essentially why Trump was able to pick up a lot of independent voters.

The other thing is that voters value "authenticity" and don't want to feel like someone is just feeding them buzzwords. I'm using authenticity in quotes because this is the kind of thing that Trump despite being the most dishonest politician in decades gave them that Clinton didn't. Trump's brand of "authenticity" is essentially that he never hides how petty he is and he never apologizes. The Democrats don't have someone like this and shouldn't try to nominate a full-blown demagogue even if it was an option, so the next best thing they have is to stick to their guns. Whether a mainstream democrat or a progressive wins, they should avoid trying to pivot to reassure the other wing. Normally, this makes a ton of political sense but I think in the current climate, the public has more respect for people who make a public show of sticking to their guns than people who take on their rivals' viewpoints. So this obviously means if you get Sanders, he should stay on Medicare for All the entire campaign, and likewise for Biden with sticking to the public option.

Last edited by str8cashhomie; 02-08-2020 at 04:57 PM.
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Old 02-08-2020, 05:36 PM
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I recently saw someone mention - I think it was on this board, actually - that Democrats do well in Presidential elections when they nominate someone who is young and charismatic.

JFK (fits)
LBJ (kinda fits, not young but charismatic in his own way)
Carter (doesn't really fit but fallout from Nixon pretty much guaranteed a win)
Mondale (fits)
Dukakis (fits - not charismatic)
Clinton (fits)
Gore (fits - not charismatic)
Kerry (fits - not charismatic)
Obama (fits)
H. Clinton (fits)

Seems like there's a little merit to the theory, if it's not infallible. But if so, why? Does young and charismatic energize the base? Or suburban soccer moms (to be a bit reductive)? Do you need someone who does both of those things?
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Old 02-08-2020, 06:15 PM
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My own WAG rank order is:

Maximize turnout of Black and/or Hispanic voters.

Sweep the suburbs and increase their turnout. (Inclusive but not limited to keeping the Romney-Clinton voters.)

Win back the Obama voters who went Trump/3rd party/stayed home.

Appeal to rural voters and other non-college educated white voters decreasing the magnitude of the R advantage there.

Excite the young progressive base.

Focus on those who want "change" and who really don't care what the change is as long as it gives them another draw than the cards they have now. (Although that overlaps with the Obama-Trump voters some.)

I'm currently most convinced by Nate Cohn's take on a NYT battleground state poll in November. The two biggest chunks of low turnout voters to get out and/or to persuade are: "affluent voters repelled by the left on economics"; and young non-white non-college educated voters who are relatively culturally conservative and for whatever reason not so outraged at Trump's outrageousness.
Quote:
... It is often posited, for instance, that Democrats face a choice between a moderate who might win back a crucial sliver of white working-class voters who flipped from Barack Obama to Donald Trump, or a progressive who might mobilize a new coalition of young progressives, perhaps especially in the rapidly diversifying Sun Belt states.

But for the most part, these choices are not grounded in the attitudes of the electorate in the most competitive states.

Instead, the polls’ results on persuadable and low-turnout voters suggest that the Democratic focus on Obama-to-Trump voters, or on low-turnout progressives, is largely misplaced.

The party’s leading candidates have not yet reached the real missing piece of the Democratic coalition: less educated and often younger voters who are not conservative but who disagree with the party’s cultural left and do not share that group’s unrelenting outrage at the president’s conduct. ...

... It’s commonly assumed that there’s a simple choice between persuasion and turnout in elections: A candidate can either aim to flip moderate voters or to rally a party’s enthusiastic base.

In a high-turnout presidential election, this choice doesn’t really exist. Virtually all of the ideologically consistent voters will be drawn to the polls, at least in these crucial states where the stakes are so high.

As a result, the voters on the sidelines are often also persuadable. With the exception of one key chunk of persuadable voters — affluent voters repelled by the left on economics — the persuadable voters wind up looking fairly similar to the low-turnout voters.

They aren’t particularly ideological. They’re a bit conservative on cultural issues, at least compared with the Democratic base. They’re less likely to be college graduates, but they don’t love the president. They’re likelier to be young and nonwhite, demographics that would ordinarily be a big Democratic advantage. But because they don’t tend to be partisan, it diminishes that advantage. ...
I don't see any of the current candidates having a huge advantage when it comes to the general election day in mobilizing Black and/or Hispanic votes. Maybe one who'd do less well than Clinton did (Buttigieg). The best way to mobilize the demographic in my mind is not pandering to the identity but running up the turnout in the cities and suburbs where they live and focusing on the issues that matter to them as Americans more than BLM activism does. So it is most important but not an item that discriminates between the candidates much. Given Cohn's bit above a hard progressive might HURT turnout with the segment that needs to be convinced to turnout or be persuaded. Midterm results showed how much this group matters.

I fear some suburban affluents sitting it out with a hard progressive platform, disgust with Trump notwithstanding. Steyer is correct on this. Running on items that this group fear will blow the economy up is foolish. Buttigieg's point about class warfare and exclusion is also on point. You cannot risk making the upper middle class feeling like they are the enemy. They also delivered important results for midterms and likely are the critical piece for flipping the Senate hopes.

Obama-Trump voters? I currently don't see them as on the moderate side of the scale but on the progressive side. I think they just like to shake things up and don't care what the shake is so much. An economic populist pitch can sell a few of them. But most will likely stay with the ongoing shake up that is Trump.

Undercutting rural voter GOP strength is with a VP and some messaging that signals an appreciation of the real problems they have. Clinton had the plans for rural America but she failed at communicating any empathy for them. This is Klobuchar's on the money bit: they have to feel the candidate knows them - or at least gives a shit.

Young progressives who are engaged? Like other engaged Democrats they understand that the choice between trump and any of the viable candidates left is stark. Pandering to a the few who might stay home if not a progressive at the top of the ticket potentially costs too much otherwise.
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Old 02-08-2020, 06:26 PM
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Originally Posted by ShadowFacts View Post
Seems like there's a little merit to the theory, if it's not infallible. But if so, why? Does young and charismatic energize the base? Or suburban soccer moms (to be a bit reductive)? Do you need someone who does both of those things?
It’s simple. Come Election Day, 40% of people will vote Democrat and a similar percentage will vote Republican. Those votes are effectively already cast, and it’s why Trump’s approval rating hasn’t dropped below 40% in four years. The election will be decided by the 20% in the middle and they always vote for the most charismatic candidate because they’re typically low information voters and the charismatic candidate makes them feel better than the other guy. It’s 100% all about charisma. Everything else is just so much fluff and wonkish nonsense.

Last edited by Unreconstructed Man; 02-08-2020 at 06:28 PM.
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Old 02-08-2020, 06:49 PM
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Republicans value the direction of the courts more than Democrats. I think only now are people who lean liberal, some very liberal, but sat out of the 2016 election are now understanding that. 2016 was more important that 2020. Because Trump might get booted out but Gorsuch and Kavanaugh have a job for life on the highest court of the land and those nearly 200 federal judges he has appointed will be around for decades too. The damage that is going to do to reproductive rights, civil rights and religious rights will be with us for years. The fact that people are holding a bated breath whenever there is an update on Ginsburg is the ultimate indication of this. McConnell will rush through to get that seat filled if something happens to her this election year.
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Old 02-08-2020, 06:55 PM
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I don't know if getting black turnout up is possible. Its normally 60% in a presidential election, and was 70% under Obama. But I doubt it goes up to 70% again.

What tactic works best in the northern midwest? There are a lot of suburbs filled with college educated people there who vote, peeling some of them off would flip those states.
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Old 02-08-2020, 08:27 PM
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Two electability-related points:

Quote:
Turnout was underwhelming — a bad sign for Democrats.
Campaigns were expecting high turnout in Iowa, but it didn't happen — and that has to be worrying for Democrats.
The closing campaign events were all packed. Yet turnout was more on par with 2016 than the record-setting 2008 campaign. About 172,000 turned out this year. It was 171,000 in 2016, and 239,000 in 2008.
It very well may be that undecided voters stayed home and are fine with whoever wins. But Democrats were hoping to show just how enthusiastic their base is to turn out and beat President Trump.
In this first contest, it didn't happen.

Sanders is in the pole position for the nomination but didn't help his electability argument.
The Sanders campaign points to polls showing that he beats Trump in a general election. And that's true.
But his performance in Iowa didn't help make his case. Sanders promised turnout would be north of 239,000. It wasn't. And he didn't turn out new voters. In fact, the percentage of first-time caucusgoers went down this year, even compared to 2016. In 2008, the percentage of first-time caucusgoers was 57%; in 2016, it was 44%; this year, it was just 35%.
https://www.npr.org/2020/02/07/80364...cuses-near-tie

The Sanders-supporter mantra ('he'll turn out new voters') was completely undercut in Iowa. Perhaps New Hampshire will be different.

The enthusiasm gap (the first point from the NPR article) could be partially attributable to the hassle of caucusing---the commitment of hours, the need to be free for those particular hours, etc. A fairer test: New Hampshire (again).

(My emphasis in the quote.)
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Old 02-08-2020, 08:45 PM
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Voting for Obama was also a special case. None of these candidates are Obama. But it cannot be dismissed based on caucusing being a hassle as it is was as much of a hassle in 2008 and 2016.

I was more surprised that Warren's vaunted on the ground organization didn't get people to the caucus events.
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Old 02-08-2020, 10:37 PM
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I know I’ve mentioned it before but 2008 was unique in another way. The caucuses were on January 3 2008, a Thursday. Many people are off work and school that 2 week period of Christmas and New Years, making turning out to a Thursday night caucus much easier with no work on Friday.

Probably doesn’t explain it all, but is a definite factor. Last Monday people caucused after a day at work perhaps made more stressful with coworkers calling in sick with brown bottle flu after super bowl parties.
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Old 02-09-2020, 02:31 AM
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I recently saw someone mention - I think it was on this board, actually - that Democrats do well in Presidential elections when they nominate someone who is young and charismatic.
EVERY election beginning in 1952 has been won by the more charismatic of the two candidates, with 1964's LBJ over Goldwater the only close case. (If you don't think Trump is very charismatic you need a new dictionary.)

I guess this is an argument for nominating Sanders.
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Old 02-09-2020, 03:20 PM
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Maggie Koerth had a good article about this on 538 the other day. TLDR quote:

Quote:
Electability here becomes a game of divining which group is more important to winning — swing voters or the partisan base. But that’s no more accurate than trying to estimate how sexist your neighbors are. “Which segment is bigger … there’s not great information on that,” Utych said. “Anything you say is just guessing.”
I'm going with the "base turnout" theory, defining "base" as "any demographic group which is majority Democrat". I don't think there are any really "swing" demographics anymore. Like, educated suburbanites are less reliably Democratic than blacks, and rural white non-college folks are less reliably Republican than white evangelicals. But all other things being equal, increased suburban turnout is still super good for Dems.

In the context of this Presidential election, I feel that there is only one candidate who is capable of healing the divisions within the Democratic party and bringing the moderate and leftist wings together to work towards a common goal. That candidate is Donald Trump.

There are a few centrists who wouldn't vote for Sanders, and a few leftists who wouldn't vote for Biden, but there's no real way to know which group is larger, and in any case the operative word there is "few".
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Old 02-09-2020, 03:21 PM
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Another money quote from that article:

Quote:
Historically, being moderate and appealing to centrist voters was a great way to win congressional elections, Utych and Abramowitz both told me. But that’s been changing. Abramowitz’s analysis of the 2018 House elections turned up evidence that an incumbent candidate’s past voting record — whether they were more moderate or not — didn’t really make much of a difference in whether they won or lost, regardless of party. What’s more, he told me, the number of moderate members in Congress has been falling for decades. Forty-eight percent of the 95th Congress (1977-79) fell within the moderate range of ideology,1 compared to just 16 percent of the 115th Congress (2017-19), Abramowitz found.
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Old 02-09-2020, 03:28 PM
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The subject has come up many times in may threads and time for it to have its own thread I think. Of course real world is that no single candidate plays to just one theory and the the best candidates appeal to several theories at once. And some of these theories overlap some. Those caveats aside, which would you argue is the more important theory to think about when thinking about electability? Or even which is the least important? Feel free to make caveats for the general election vs local ones and specific to the states that are most electorally vital for the general election. When possible please bring data and an evidence based argument.

1) Excite the young progressive base.

2) Maximize turnout of Black and/or Hispanic voters.

3) Sweep the suburbs and increase their turnout. (Inclusive but not limited to keeping the Romney-Clinton voters.)

4) Win back the Obama voters who went Trump/3rd party/stayed home.

5) Appeal to rural voters and other non-college educated white voters decreasing the magnitude of the R advantage there.

6) Focus on those who want "change" and who really don't care what the change is as long as it gives them another draw than the cards they have now.
All of these, but IMO some groups take more effort per vote than other groups. For instance, young progressives in the UK turned out to vote in 2017 for Labour, but not in 2019, or the 2016 referendum. They are less reliable voters and it's harder to get them to turn out to vote in the first place.

Obama had gotten young progressives to vote for him, especially in 2008, but you can't count on lightning striking twice. Obviously they should be encouraged to vote, but there are more reliable groups (such as middle-aged educated suburban dwellers) to focus on first.

Also note that focusing on one group can, sadly, hurt you with other groups. For instance, pandering to hyper-left supporters loses you centrist support.
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Old 02-09-2020, 04:16 PM
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Right, but OTOH, although the young progressives are less reliable voters, they're always going to vote Democrat when they do vote (or vote Green, which is functionally the same as not voting), while a significant group of suburbanites will vote GOP.

For instance, say you have a group of 200 voters, 100 each of young leftists and centrist suburbanites.

If you nominate a centrist, half the leftists will vote Democrat and half won't show up. Say 90% of the suburbanites will show up and two-thirds will vote Democrat. So the Dems win that group 110-30.

If you nominate a leftist, 85% of the progressives will vote, but only 60% of the centrists will vote, and half of them will vote Republican. So that's a slightly better scenario, with the Dems winning 115-30.

Of course, I just pulled all those numbers out of my nether regions; you could get different results by plugging in different assumptions. Unfortunately, there's no way to know what the "real" numbers are with any accuracy.
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Old 02-09-2020, 04:36 PM
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The subject has come up many times in may threads and time for it to have its own thread I think. Of course real world is that no single candidate plays to just one theory and the the best candidates appeal to several theories at once. And some of these theories overlap some. Those caveats aside, which would you argue is the more important theory to think about when thinking about electability? Or even which is the least important? Feel free to make caveats for the general election vs local ones and specific to the states that are most electorally vital for the general election. When possible please bring data and an evidence based argument.

1) Excite the young progressive base.

2) Maximize turnout of Black and/or Hispanic voters.

3) Sweep the suburbs and increase their turnout. (Inclusive but not limited to keeping the Romney-Clinton voters.)

4) Win back the Obama voters who went Trump/3rd party/stayed home.

5) Appeal to rural voters and other non-college educated white voters decreasing the magnitude of the R advantage there.

6) Focus on those who want "change" and who really don't care what the change is as long as it gives them another draw than the cards they have now.


I'm not including a focus on women voters as I personally believe the group is too heterogenous to focus on other than as overlaps with the other groups, but feel free to disagree!
I think 4 and 5 are pretty much the same group of people. 6 is a mixture of those people and hardcore progressives.

The strategies which are most at odds are 1 and 3; anything that helps you with young progressives is likely to hurt you with suburbanites, and vice versa.

Hard to know what strategy would be best for maximizing minority turnout, given that the strategy of actually nominating a minority seems to be off the table. Right now Biden is leading among blacks, Sanders among Hispanics and "other" minorities. Since Hispanics are much less reliable voters than blacks, that's maybe an argument for Sanders.

Sanders also does less badly than other Dems with the 4-5 group, white low education voters. But that group is overwhelmingly Republican now, so getting maybe a third rather than a quarter of their votes isn't a game-breaker; it's certainly possible that that gain could be outweighed by losses among Romney-Clinton types.

So Sanders is best with groups 1 and 4-6, a moderate would be better with group 3, and the magic eight ball is hazy wrt group 2. But you could plausibly argue that group 3 is more electorally significant than all the other groups put together. So in conclusion, who the hell knows?
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Old 02-09-2020, 05:44 PM
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EVERY election beginning in 1952 has been won by the more charismatic of the two candidates, with 1964's LBJ over Goldwater the only close case. (If you don't think Trump is very charismatic you need a new dictionary.)

I guess this is an argument for nominating Sanders.
I think it's just demonstrating that charisma is best defined in hindsight! I wouldn't agree that Nixon (!), Carter, either Bush or, yes, Trump, were obviously more charismatic than their opponents. Trump is a fat, inarticulate blowhard with a bad combover.

But even if you do want to posit that Trump was clearly significantly more charismatic than Clinton, that's still not strong evidence for the charisma-as-destiny theory, since Trump just barely won.

If you're a Buttigieg supporter, I guess you could point out that young handsome guys with skimpy resumes are 2-0 in that period (4-0 counting re-elections), but it's too small a sample size to hang any major conclusions on.
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Old 02-09-2020, 07:00 PM
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Voting for Obama was also a special case. None of these candidates are Obama. But it cannot be dismissed based on caucusing being a hassle as it is was as much of a hassle in 2008 and 2016. ...
Logical, but:

Quote:
Originally Posted by dalej42 View Post
I know I’ve mentioned it before but 2008 was unique in another way. The caucuses were on January 3 2008, a Thursday. Many people are off work and school that 2 week period of Christmas and New Years, making turning out to a Thursday night caucus much easier with no work on Friday.

Probably doesn’t explain it all, but is a definite factor. Last Monday people caucused after a day at work perhaps made more stressful with coworkers calling in sick with brown bottle flu after super bowl parties.
(I should have worded my original post in such a way as to include facts like these from dalej42.)




Quote:
Originally Posted by septimus View Post
EVERY election beginning in 1952 has been won by the more charismatic of the two candidates, with 1964's LBJ over Goldwater the only close case. (If you don't think Trump is very charismatic you need a new dictionary.)

I guess this is an argument for nominating Sanders.
I've never been able to see this (Sanders as being "charismatic"). His personal following certainly is passionate, I'll grant you, but I'm not so sure it's about Bernie as a person, so much as it is what he's promising. A lot of people love that "us versus the Evil Corporations" storyline. There's even the prospect of wealth being re-distributed!

Disclaimer as always: If Sanders is the candidate, I'll vote for him. Even if he did break his promise to release his health records:

Quote:
Bernie Sanders Promised to Release ‘All the Medical Records’ Following Heart Attack, Now Says He Probably Won’t
Jan 2nd, 2020, 4:18 pm
ndependent Vermont Senator and Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders said he will “probably not” release any medical records in addition to the doctors’ notes his campaign has put out, despite a promise he made — following his heart attack — to release “all of the medical records” to the public. ...
https://www.mediaite.com/election-20...probably-wont/


Today he said that what he's released is "substantive" :
https://www.nbcnews.com/meet-the-pre...te-78423109659

So...okay, whatever?

As for the effect of this on electability: Democrats tend to value transparency in a way that Trump voters obviously do not. So Sanders may have to revisit this issue, to stop negative talk.

Last edited by Sherrerd; 02-09-2020 at 07:01 PM.
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Old 02-09-2020, 08:13 PM
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Bernie should just get some pill mill doctor to write a letter taking about how he’s the healthiest human being alive, all his numbers are perfect and his energies are so well-balanced that he doesn’t urinate or defecate. And that he has really really big hands with long fingers. For serious

The Democrats need to learn to play the game they’re playing. I almost threw my dinner plate at my TV on Friday night when Elizabeth Warren started babbling about how she didn’t need billionaire money as long as everyone sent her $5.

Buttigieg was the only one that made any sense on the billionaire money thing, pointing out that Trump has a very well-funded campaign that they’ll need to fight against.

Besides we are going to be up against the nastiest dirtiest rat-fuckingest campaign in the history of Presidential campaigns. Biden’s dead in the water, he’s not going to survive Ukraine. The Senate is going to start investigating and I wouldn’t put it past Barr to start a very public DOJ investigation. This is where we are now.

And they will go after Sanders, they’re just holding back so we don’t have time to regroup and recover. They’ll go after his wife and her role in the problems with Vermont College, they’ll hint at criminality. They’ll go after the time he spent in Russia, they’ll have half the country thinking he’s a Manchurian candidate planted by Joe Stalin.

Just keep this in mind before you get worked up by the progressive vs moderate schisms. Republicans are amplifying this stuff and working you up. You’re being, to paraphrase Ted Cruz “being copulated by a rodent”.

Last edited by Ann Hedonia; 02-09-2020 at 08:14 PM.
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Old 02-09-2020, 09:05 PM
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You’re being, to paraphrase Ted Cruz “being copulated by a rodent”.
Who was he talking to at the time, and have they pressed charges?

I saw this polling nugget from 538. Post-NH-debate, for the first time, Sanders is edging out Biden in the electability polling question: respondents think Sanders has a 60% chance of beating Trump, compared to Biden's 58% chance.

Granted, this is among folks likely to vote in the Democratic primary. It'd be incredibly interesting to see what the general public would say.

Yeah, I 100% know that some crazy shit is going to get thrown at Sanders in the general if he wins the primary. The wife-fraud investigation will come up (although that'll be a tricky one, given the closure of the investigation without charges). The weird sex writings from the seventies or whenever, and the Soviet honeymoon, will also come up; and I suspect there'll be another thing or two.

But this is where I think Sander's essential hedgehogness may be to his benefit. He's likely to address these charges both bluntly and shortly. Whatever else you can say about him, it's inaccurate to call him insincere; and I think it'll be hard to make manufactured scandals stick to him for this reason.
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Old 02-09-2020, 09:08 PM
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Yeah, Bernie will just brush that shit off and go back to talking about policy. It's not guaranteed to work, but I think it has a better chance than doing the equivalent of running out and getting a DNA test to "disprove" the charges.
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Old 02-09-2020, 09:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Left Hand of Dorkness View Post
. . . I think it'll be hard to make manufactured scandals stick to him for this reason.
If it wasn't so serious this would be funny.

Wisconsin has the 19th oldest state population. Michigan the 14th. Pennsylvania the 8th. Florida the 2nd. These are the likeliest swing states. And old people are pretty thoroughly convinced that socialism, not to mention the U.S.S.R., are scary entities.

It's NOT that the old white people are swing voters who might go for the Democrats. It's that old white Republicans might stay home if the Democratic candidate seems more or less in the mainstream American tradition.

Last edited by PhillyGuy; 02-09-2020 at 09:24 PM.
  #24  
Old 02-09-2020, 10:38 PM
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Also, OP username/thread title combo!
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Old 02-10-2020, 12:09 AM
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I think it's just demonstrating that charisma is best defined in hindsight! I wouldn't agree that Nixon (!), Carter, either Bush or, yes, Trump, were obviously more charismatic than their opponents. Trump is a fat, inarticulate blowhard with a bad combover.
Another excellent predictor of Presidential elections is simple 8-year alternation. (The only exceptions since 1952 are associated with the Reagan phenomenon.) These excellent predictors cannot both be absolute simultaneously!

But I stand by my charisma observation. Humphrey, Ford, Deukmejian?, Gore??, Kerry — Not much charisma. And if you really think Trump isn't more "charismatic" than Hillary you really do need a new dictionary.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
On another matter, upthread I see mention of "leftists who wouldn't vote for Biden." In the other(!) thread I copy-pasted details of Biden's health plan. If it's not leftish enough for all y'all, then ... Hey bartender, bring me a lid of whatever the leftists are smoking!
  #26  
Old 02-10-2020, 10:16 AM
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I find columns like this baffling.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jennifer Rubin
We remember all too well in 2016 that the traditional Republican candidates spent months beating up on one another as they vied to be the single one standing between Donald Trump and the nomination. As they bludgeoned one another, Trump ran away with the race.
...
Democrats cannot afford to repeat the Republicans’ mistake.
...
[Y]ou cannot let the guy leading in a state get a pass. The combatants will depress each other’s share of the vote, and Sanders will sail on to victory.
...
Rather than let Sanders build up momentum and delegates, the candidates should step up their criticism of Sanders and begin earnestly vetting him now.
...
Democrats are right to be worried that Sanders might get the nomination and then hand up four more years of Trump. They should intensify their efforts do something about it before it is too late.
Oh no! If Democrats don't pay attention to what happened with Republicans in 2016, they too could end up nominating the popular populist instead of the traditional party candidate!

It's like she stopped paying attention to what happened after Trump won the nomination. Democrats should be so lucky as to repeat Republicans' 2016 path.
  #27  
Old 02-10-2020, 10:22 AM
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The primary process is completely different on the Republican side. Anyone using that as some lesson for the Dems can be mostly disregarded.
  #28  
Old 02-10-2020, 10:50 AM
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Am I crazy to think that the dems are wasting their time going after the dems? I would think that if DJT isn't enough to get a dem out to vote in November, then they deserve to lose. I am kinda with Bill Maher on this one though, none of the dems seem to have a convincing plan to deal with whats left if they win, how to deal with DJT when he says that the election is rigged, how to deal with the court system, campaign finance stuff.

Maybe that comes in the general election after the primary is over. My fear is that the twitter types are going to drive the candidates way out to the left of Norway, and then we have someone who is just unelectable in the general. The twitter people don't seem to show up to the polls and the dem candidates don't seem to understand this.
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Old 02-10-2020, 11:13 AM
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Another excellent predictor of Presidential elections is simple 8-year alternation. (The only exceptions since 1952 are associated with the Reagan phenomenon.) These excellent predictors cannot both be absolute simultaneously!

But I stand by my charisma observation. Humphrey, Ford, Deukmejian?, Gore??, Kerry — Not much charisma. And if you really think Trump isn't more "charismatic" than Hillary you really do need a new dictionary.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
On another matter, upthread I see mention of "leftists who wouldn't vote for Biden." In the other(!) thread I copy-pasted details of Biden's health plan. If it's not leftish enough for all y'all, then ... Hey bartender, bring me a lid of whatever the leftists are smoking!
Deukmejian?

Alas, septimus, the world would be a better place if the average voter formed opinions of candidates based on careful scrutiny of their policy proposals, but that is not the case.
  #30  
Old 02-10-2020, 01:40 PM
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I saw this polling nugget from 538. Post-NH-debate, for the first time, Sanders is edging out Biden in the electability polling question: respondents think Sanders has a 60% chance of beating Trump, compared to Biden's 58% chance.
The fact that the current Dem front runners are not 90-95% favorites to beat Trump tells me the wrong Dems are winning the primary.
  #31  
Old 02-10-2020, 02:11 PM
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The fact that the current Dem front runners are not 90-95% favorites to beat Trump tells me the wrong Dems are winning the primary.
That's a bizarre hot take. The people asked to estimate the odds are the people voting for those winning candidates.

Rather, it should tell you how deeply pessimistic Democrats are about our nation's electorate, that they think an enormous chunk of people will vote for Trump over any sane human being.
  #32  
Old 02-10-2020, 02:52 PM
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I don’t think there are a lot of Obama/Trump voters that actually think. Someone who voted against Romney because he looks like a prick boss who announces layoffs one day and then record executive bonuses the next isn’t a reliable voter. Especially if they turned around and wanted to smack that smirk off of Hillary’s face in 2016.
I agree with this quite a bit and have been thinking it for awhile myself--people have studied these voters in endless "profiles" written in the last 3.5 years but the reality is I think this set of voters is so irrational and unreliable that you can't and shouldn't build campaigns around them.

Quote:
The rural and non college white voters are gone. They’re never coming back to our current Democratic Party.

Change voters are often flaky as well. They may want change but that might mean taco Tuesday at a new place on election day while not voting for anyone.
Agree with both of these as well.
  #33  
Old 02-10-2020, 03:16 PM
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This is actually such a frequently discussed topic but also a very difficult one. There's a million experts sand a million answers, and we have no real idea if any of them are right. Neither do the experts themselves. The data is noisy, understanding motivations is hard. I've prognosticated on a lot of this stuff myself, and I think the real answer is don't think about things like this, instead think about process, and build tactics from good process. To me such a strategy would have several guideposts/rules to follow:

1. Campaign on how you can make people's lives better. I can't name a single, non-incumbent President who has ever won that didn't do this effectively. At least not in the modern era in which Presidents personally campaigned. Keep in mind this rule is open to wide gulfs in implementation. Compare the FDR campaign of 1932 to the Trump campaign of 2016. Both actually were campaigns where the candidate vigorously focused on how he would improve people's lives if they voted for him. Trump's was a far more negative campaign and focused in part on how he would improve people's lives by going after the "enemies" of his voters.

2. Do not campaign on issues that don't directly relate to 1, and especially stay away from issues that most Americans don't care about. This is probably the biggest actual, strategic level mistake Hillary made. She spent way too much time calling Trump a stupid racist and not enough time on building her own message as to why a vote for Hillary is a vote for better times ahead. Hillary had the actual policy proposals and platform, but politics is more than just "having those", it's what you choose to spend ad buys and public appearances on.

3. We live in an era of big data, use it and adapt as it changes. We now know that Hillary's campaign started to see internally that the Midwest was in trouble midway through the general. There was some classic groupthink going on where so many around her inner circle basically didn't want to admit they were in trouble. So instead of addressing it at all, they ignored it. How exactly she could've responded is up for debate, what we know is about the only response we saw was a very, very late shift to make a few previously unplanned campaign stops.

4. Controversy creates cash. More than ever before we live in a 24 hour news, social media world. Getting attention gives you a stage and gives you a platform. Don't ignore that once you get a platform you can say whatever you want, but getting a platform requires doing things that are exciting and generate interest.

5. There are 51 elections for President, not one. There is correlations between those elections and national sentiment matters, but you're fighting for electoral college votes. At all stages of your planning you need to run things through this filter, if your data shows you're struggling in states you need to win, you need to address that specifically. Don't get stuck on "well if I do something that helps in Michigan it might hurt Hispanic turnout in Texas", how are you doing in Texas? Does it matter? Focus on what matters.

6. Turnout and persuasion both probably matter, so you should probably do both. There's good evidence that Trump was able to persuade some people to his side and that helped him. There's also evidence that Hillary's get out the vote process in places like Philadelphia, Detroit, Milwaukee and other important locations was lack luster. This is really campaigning 101, but "turnout strategies" and "persuasion strategies" aren't either or, most successful campaigns try to do both, and they try to focus them in the states that matter (see point 5.)
  #34  
Old 02-10-2020, 03:49 PM
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Democrats should be so lucky as to repeat Republicans' 2016 path.
We'd have Marianne Williamson bringing us to the verge of a dictatorship involving "COEXIST" armbands. No thanks.
  #35  
Old 02-10-2020, 04:13 PM
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I think that Trump himself does a pretty good job of motivating the Democratic base. The key as I see it is to have a candidate who after a massive disinformation campaign, and likely an investigation by the US justice department can still maintain a higher approval rating than Trump.

The voters we have to worry about are the ones who are currently anti-Trump but will stay home because "Both are equally corrupt" or "At least the economy is doing OK, unlike what will happen if candidate X gets in."
  #36  
Old 02-10-2020, 05:48 PM
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This is actually such a frequently discussed topic but also a very difficult one. There's a million experts sand a million answers, and we have no real idea if any of them are right. Neither do the experts themselves. The data is noisy, understanding motivations is hard. I've prognosticated on a lot of this stuff myself, and I think the real answer is don't think about things like this, instead think about process, and build tactics from good process. To me such a strategy would have several guideposts/rules to follow:

1. Campaign on how you can make people's lives better. I can't name a single, non-incumbent President who has ever won that didn't do this effectively. At least not in the modern era in which Presidents personally campaigned. Keep in mind this rule is open to wide gulfs in implementation. Compare the FDR campaign of 1932 to the Trump campaign of 2016. Both actually were campaigns where the candidate vigorously focused on how he would improve people's lives if they voted for him. Trump's was a far more negative campaign and focused in part on how he would improve people's lives by going after the "enemies" of his voters.

2. Do not campaign on issues that don't directly relate to 1, and especially stay away from issues that most Americans don't care about. This is probably the biggest actual, strategic level mistake Hillary made. She spent way too much time calling Trump a stupid racist and not enough time on building her own message as to why a vote for Hillary is a vote for better times ahead. Hillary had the actual policy proposals and platform, but politics is more than just "having those", it's what you choose to spend ad buys and public appearances on.

3. We live in an era of big data, use it and adapt as it changes. We now know that Hillary's campaign started to see internally that the Midwest was in trouble midway through the general. There was some classic groupthink going on where so many around her inner circle basically didn't want to admit they were in trouble. So instead of addressing it at all, they ignored it. How exactly she could've responded is up for debate, what we know is about the only response we saw was a very, very late shift to make a few previously unplanned campaign stops.

4. Controversy creates cash. More than ever before we live in a 24 hour news, social media world. Getting attention gives you a stage and gives you a platform. Don't ignore that once you get a platform you can say whatever you want, but getting a platform requires doing things that are exciting and generate interest.

5. There are 51 elections for President, not one. There is correlations between those elections and national sentiment matters, but you're fighting for electoral college votes. At all stages of your planning you need to run things through this filter, if your data shows you're struggling in states you need to win, you need to address that specifically. Don't get stuck on "well if I do something that helps in Michigan it might hurt Hispanic turnout in Texas", how are you doing in Texas? Does it matter? Focus on what matters.

6. Turnout and persuasion both probably matter, so you should probably do both. There's good evidence that Trump was able to persuade some people to his side and that helped him. There's also evidence that Hillary's get out the vote process in places like Philadelphia, Detroit, Milwaukee and other important locations was lack luster. This is really campaigning 101, but "turnout strategies" and "persuasion strategies" aren't either or, most successful campaigns try to do both, and they try to focus them in the states that matter (see point 5.)

This post should be a sticky
  #37  
Old 02-10-2020, 06:34 PM
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Quote:
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The primary process is completely different on the Republican side. Anyone using that as some lesson for the Dems can be mostly disregarded.
Rubin wasn't commenting on the mechanics of the primary---she was commenting on the wisdom of a circular firing squad. (IOW, it's no smarter for the Democrats than it was for Trump's rivals in 2016. Infamously, the GOP candidates failed to work together to counter Trump, instead choosing to go on sniping at one another.)


Quote:
Originally Posted by Buck Godot View Post
I think that Trump himself does a pretty good job of motivating the Democratic base. The key as I see it is to have a candidate who after a massive disinformation campaign, and likely an investigation by the US justice department can still maintain a higher approval rating than Trump.

The voters we have to worry about are the ones who are currently anti-Trump but will stay home because "Both are equally corrupt" or "At least the economy is doing OK, unlike what will happen if candidate X gets in."
^ This (especially the parts I emphasized).

The Atlantic has a major new article out on the Trump campaign's disinformation initiative: https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine...on-war/605530/

NPR interviews its author:

Quote:
Behind The 'Disinformation Campaign' Backing Trump In The 2020 Election
February 7, 2020

.. President Trump's team is presiding over a sophisticated, multimillion-dollar digital operation, an operation that carries his campaign's message across just about every digital platform available. And that message, says journalist McKay Coppins, could result in the most extensive disinformation campaign in U.S. history.

...KELLY: You decided to wade into this and try to get firsthand experience, and you write in this article about creating a brand-new Facebook account for yourself. What did you set up, and then what happened?

COPPINS: This was in the midst of the impeachment battle. And I wanted to get a sense of what the Trump campaign was pumping out into the bloodstream that I may not be seeing as just kind of an ordinary person or as a journalist, so I created a fake Facebook account. I chose a forgettable name, got a picture with my face obscured. And then I just started clicking like on the president's reelection campaign and various associated pages. This created sort of...

KELLY: Signaling you would be open to pro-Trump messaging.

COPPINS: Exactly. And this created sort of a news feed on Facebook that was Trump-ified (ph), MAGA-fied (ph), if you will (laughter). And so for several weeks, I spent time just scrolling through it to see what kind of information they were putting out there.

KELLY: And?

COPPINS: It was fairly alarming, I have to say. ...
https://www.npr.org/2020/02/07/80390...-2020-election

The specifics Coppins goes on to describe are eye-opening.


The more we can keep a spotlight on what the Trumpites are up to, the better.

Last edited by Sherrerd; 02-10-2020 at 06:34 PM.
  #38  
Old 02-10-2020, 10:30 PM
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We'd have Marianne Williamson bringing us to the verge of a dictatorship involving "COEXIST" armbands. No thanks.
That doesn't make sense. Virtually nobody gives a shit about Williamson. She doesn't hold enormous rallies that energize her base. How on earth, even as a flippant throwaway comment, does Williamson 2020 look like Trump 2016?
  #39  
Old 02-10-2020, 10:35 PM
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EDIT: Never mind

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Old 02-10-2020, 10:38 PM
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3. We live in an era of big data, use it and adapt as it changes. We now know that Hillary's campaign started to see internally that the Midwest was in trouble midway through the general. There was some classic groupthink going on where so many around her inner circle basically didn't want to admit they were in trouble. So instead of addressing it at all, they ignored it. How exactly she could've responded is up for debate, what we know is about the only response we saw was a very, very late shift to make a few previously unplanned campaign stops.
Not doubting you but do you have a cite for this? I've seen that polling in the rust belt gave her only a razor-thin edge heading into the election, but I haven't seen any more detailed data. It also seemed fairly obvious that her campaign wasn't viewing the rust belt as a major swing region when it should have, but I haven't seen any specifics.
  #41  
Old 02-10-2020, 11:13 PM
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I suggest checking out Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton's Doomed Campaign, it's by two journalists that conducted a large number of on the record interviews (and some off the record) with high ranking Hillary campaign staffers and imo is probably the best insiders treatment of the campaign.

There is more than one account of high ranking Hillary aides punishing people who tried to raise concerns about weak points like Midwest or sidelining their concerns because they didn't want it reaching the candidate level for whatever reason. I think a lot of it was just pure hubris in the Blue Wall and a belief that the candidate didn't need bothered about it, and shame on Hillary for not being closer to the data.
  #42  
Old 02-10-2020, 11:15 PM
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[...]
1. Campaign on how you can make people's lives better. I can't name a single, non-incumbent President who has ever won that didn't do this effectively. At least not in the modern era in which Presidents personally campaigned. Keep in mind this rule is open to wide gulfs in implementation. Compare the FDR campaign of 1932 to the Trump campaign of 2016. Both actually were campaigns where the candidate vigorously focused on how he would improve people's lives if they voted for him. Trump's was a far more negative campaign and focused in part on how he would improve people's lives by going after the "enemies" of his voters.

[...]

4. Controversy creates cash. More than ever before we live in a 24 hour news, social media world. Getting attention gives you a stage and gives you a platform. Don't ignore that once you get a platform you can say whatever you want, but getting a platform requires doing things that are exciting and generate interest.
Unfortunately, in this modern world, these points are in conflict..
  #43  
Old 02-12-2020, 10:03 AM
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While driving back from CO heading back to TX yesterday in this winter blizzard, I was listening to NPR, and was impressed with Bernie Sander's campaign manager. The host asked something about Bernie and Democratic Socialism and his manager retorted back something to the effect of what we have now is "Corporate Socialism."

Couldn't find the transcript from NPR, but will look for it some more. Meanwhile, seen this wiki article that talks about Socialism for the rich and capitalism for the poor Basically it says:

Quote:
...is a classical political-economic argument, stating that in the advanced capitalist societies state policies assure that more resources flow to the rich than to the poor, for example in the form of transfer payments. The term corporate welfare is widely used to describe the bestowal of favorable treatment to particular corporations by the government. One of the most commonly raised forms of criticism are statements that the capitalist political economy toward large corporations allows them to "privatize profits and socialize losses."[1] The argument has been raised and cited on many occasions.
They need to pounce on this at every chance, I think this could lead to a winning strategy.

Regardless of who the nominee is, I'm going to back anybody but Trump.
  #44  
Old 02-12-2020, 10:29 AM
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While driving back from CO heading back to TX yesterday in this winter blizzard, I was listening to NPR, and was impressed with Bernie Sander's campaign manager. The host asked something about Bernie and Democratic Socialism and his manager retorted back something to the effect of what we have now is "Corporate Socialism."

Couldn't find the transcript from NPR, but will look for it some more. Meanwhile, seen this wiki article that talks about Socialism for the rich and capitalism for the poor Basically it says:



They need to pounce on this at every chance, I think this could lead to a winning strategy.

Regardless of who the nominee is, I'm going to back anybody but Trump.
I agree. And Sanders used this in a recent interview on Fox News with Chris Wallace -- he said Trump himself is a socialist... the difference it that Trump's socialism is for the rich, and Sanders' proposed socialism is to benefit the poor and middle class.
  #45  
Old 02-12-2020, 12:06 PM
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The fact that the current Dem front runners are not 90-95% favorites to beat Trump tells me the wrong Dems are winning the primary.
Yeah but activist partisans (disproportionately more primary than general election voters, either party) also want what they want politically. It's not entirely unreasonable if they trade off some more likelihood of losing the general election against candidates who propose what they, not some others voters, want. It really isn't all about deciding what personality and platform would be most popular, regardless of all other considerations.

And I don't think it's 'pessimistic about the electorate' necessarily, at least for people self aware enough to realize other people can deeply disagree with them politically not just because the other people are 'ignorant', 'stupid', '[]ist/[]phobic' etc. Although that's probably part of the reason (many voters on both sides are ignorant and/or stupid at least, self evidently). But for whatever reasons others disagree, I find it questionable that the goal of party activists would ever be to insure 90% likelihood of victory. If the opponent is really weak enough to make such a % possible (Trump is not as of now), a typical partisan would probably want to push the envelope a bit more on the platform and accept a somewhat lower % likelihood of winning.

'But Trump is so terrible he has to be beaten with near certainly, *no matter who and what platform* it would take do that'... not many Democratic primary voters truly believe that IMO. They want a platform they entirely agree with *and* certainty of beating Trump, but there's probably a trade off between those two things, as usual.

Last edited by Corry El; 02-12-2020 at 12:09 PM.
  #46  
Old 02-12-2020, 12:39 PM
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Unfortunately, in this modern world, these points are in conflict..
I don't see it. Take Bernie. Free college and Medicare for all are about making people's lives better, and also controversial as hell. For that matter, Trump's "Mexico buys us a wall", "Lock her up" and "kill Obamacare" planks from 2016 were controversial and also ostensibly about helping the depressingly large group of people who thought those things would actually make their lives better.

The feasibility and practicality of those ideas had nothing to do with it. Just promise the moon and say it in such a way that it's all over the news and Facebook for as long as possible. Maybe that looks like calling yourself a socialist and promoting UHC, maybe that looks like calling Mexicans rapists and promoting a ban on Muslims. Depends on your audience.
  #47  
Old 02-12-2020, 12:41 PM
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Which would you argue is the more important theory to think about when thinking about electability?

4) Win back the Obama voters who went Trump/3rd party/stayed home.

3) Sweep the suburbs and increase their turnout. (Inclusive but not limited to keeping the Romney-Clinton voters.)
These two, in that order. The US presidential election is essentially a popularity contest. Non-partisan voters are going to vote for the candidate they like best, which will probably be the one they feel they have the most connection with. That connection doesn’t necessarily have to be a personal connection. I doubt the rural poor believe they have a lot in common with Trump. But I think in 2016 they were impressed by him and liked what he had to say. So for the Democratic candidate for the general election to win, that person will need to have a popular message, be able to deliver it effectively to people with short attention spans, and be charismatic in their delivery. Conversely, that person also needs to avoid alienating people. Being popular with the left while attacking the right, or people the candidate doesn’t think will vote for them will drive non-partisans away. So be popular, but also don’t be unpopular. (Trump got away with being an asshole, but he’s a special case. Everyone already knew he was an asshole, so he owned it. He was the equivalent of the “heel” in a professional wrestling match. Sometimes people cheer for the bad guy.)

If it’s a purely partisan race, I think the Republicans will win. The Democrats need to bring in the non-partisans. I think the biggest source of the non-partisan voters is going to be the suburban class. People with jobs and houses who are relatively well off and care about social issues, but aren’t necessarily politically progressive. So, to pick one topic, people who want better health care for the poor, but don’t want to give up their health insurance policies. I’m thinking of a general group of people who would get behind a slogan like “Making Lives Better”. But they’d have to be convinced that the policies behind that slogan wouldn’t make them personally worse off.
  #48  
Old 02-12-2020, 01:15 PM
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I don't see it. Take Bernie. Free college and Medicare for all are about making people's lives better, and also controversial as hell. For that matter, Trump's "Mexico buys us a wall", "Lock her up" and "kill Obamacare" planks from 2016 were controversial and also ostensibly about helping the depressingly large group of people who thought those things would actually make their lives better.

The feasibility and practicality of those ideas had nothing to do with it. Just promise the moon and say it in such a way that it's all over the news and Facebook for as long as possible. Maybe that looks like calling yourself a socialist and promoting UHC, maybe that looks like calling Mexicans rapists and promoting a ban on Muslims. Depends on your audience.
I think it’s very important for a candidate to gain attention, but I’m not sure that being controversial, at least in an antagonistic sense, is the best way to go about it. I think that most of the very memorable US presidential campaign occurrences that are regarded as successful were atypical and had a cool factor, but weren’t based on belittling people. I’m thinking of things like George H. W. Bush stating “Read my lips. No new taxes.”, Bill Clinton playing the saxophone, and Barack Obama leading “Yes We Can!” chants. Sure, there’s negative campaigning, but for it to come from the candidate and be effective, I think they have to have an easy target. Lloyd Bentsen’s “Senator, you’re no Jack Kennedy” putdown of Dan Quayle comes to mind. Trump was a successful antagonist, but I think (and hope) he’s an outlier and not the start of a trend.
  #49  
Old 02-15-2020, 09:50 AM
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I was hoping this thread would take off. Anybody else have any suggestions? Are people excited with their Democratic candidate? Or is it mostly, anybody but Trump?

Getting back to Bernie Sanders, I think him exposing and staying on track with the corporate socialism and costs to taxpayers is a good strategy, which I believe is trillions of dollars (over a few decades, fed, state and local levels, my rough estimate, not sure) could lead to a successful strategy of winning the WH. What I don't like about him, is the trillions of school debt forgiveness that taxpayers would be responsible for. But another time for that.

Working with this strategy, while on the stump, Bernie and others could go with something like this:

Trump is the spawn of a father who relied on tax dodges and handouts, he has continued the cycle, as will his children which came from the inheritance. Their success doesn't rely on any special intelligence, any skill set of any kind, none are self-made, what qualifications they have, intelligence and hard work isn't apart of it, along with ethics.

In place of the failed trickle-down economics that Republicans have been using for the last 40 years, causing our deficit to soar, getting the rich richer, the poor poorer, relying on corporate socialism, we need a trickle-up economics (there's a phrase I like). We need to stress small businesses and letting them build from the ground up. It would rely on more money getting back to working people.

Or go with something along those lines, pounding away at it every chance they get. I'm sure Bernie is already doing similar speeches, I haven't followed any as much as I should, mostly waiting to see where the dust settles.

I'm sure quite a few on SD are familiar David Cay Johnston who is the Pulitzer Prize winning reporter, worked for the NY Times many years, I still believe is a professor at several colleges, and has been a part of investigative reporting for some time. He's written numerous books and articles, I have two of his books, Free Lunch and The Fine Print that give many examples of how the wealthiest Americans enrich themselves courtesy of the taxpayers. He shows plenty of examples of why it's harder for smaller businesses to compete with these bigger companies that get favorable tax treatment and just get bigger.

I thought David and Bernie could be two great allies, so I went looking. Maybe they still can, but much to my discomfort, David Cay Johnston says Bernie hasn't been honest with his answers on releasing his tax returns (as of 2016, maybe he has now?). There are plenty of discrepancies. I'm not that familiar with The National Memo source, but am familiar with Johnston who wrote that piece.

Even though it's difficult for me to get excited about any of the Democratic candidates, with Trump I feel outrage, with any Democratic candidate, it's ho-hum. Are most feeling the same, or is there a candidate you really like a lot? And regardless do you still plan on voting, mostly to get Trump out of the WH?
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Old 02-15-2020, 11:31 AM
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What Democrats need is either Trump's economy to crater, or short of that, they need a candidate with the ability to contrast himself or herself in such a way that they have some confidence that any changes they make to the government will be beneficial, or at least not disruptive - but any changes to the head of state would have to be regarded as highly important in the eyes of voters.

I think there will be a lot of people who will feel that removing Trump will be highly important. But we may be overestimating that number. At this point, I'm curious to know whether the number of people who desperately want Trump out of power is greater than the number of people who desperately want to keep him in power. If that's the case, then that favors the Democrats.

Bear in mind that this is not lost on Trump: this is why he is so polarizing - he understands that it's important to motivate those who desperately see the value of keeping him in power: religious fanatics, the wealthy, people who have deep anxieties about losing their white privilege, and people who feel that they've been stepped on by "intellectual, urban elites." As I've said before: polarizing isn't a bug, it's a feature of his politics. Trumpists enjoy watching him kick liberals in the gut when they're already on the ground. It's the same dynamic that gets crowds cheering at WWE matches when The Rock gets ready to deliver "the people's elbow" smash across the chest or when Stone Cold Steve Austin delivers "the stunner." To them, it's justice, Trump style.

What's more nebulous at this point is how those less partisan voters will cast their ballots.
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