Election 2021 Context, Part 2: Virginia

Going back to 1977 (there's a pattern).

Part 1: New Jersey

We return to Tuesday’s electoral outcomes and give a look at whether Overreaction OverdriveTM deserves as much overreaction as it is getting.

Here’s a similar table to the one I provided for NJ going a bit farther back (the data was readily available, so why not?) and some added categories: State Switcheroo and Counter-WH.

 

There are two interesting patterns here, one more dramatic than the other. The first is my new PoliSci Sciency TermTM the “State Switcheroo.” The ol’ switcheroo is when, a mere year later, Virginians decided to vote for the party opposite of the one they voted for president. Virginia may be for lovers but is also fond of switching its statewide vote in a mere twelve-month period, having done it seven out of 12 times (we have another cute term for that in the post-2000 world, purple state, or if one prefers, the old-fashioned designator of swing-state).

All levity aside, there is some clear pre-party realignment stuff going on here, wherein state-level politics is not functioning at quite the same partisan configuration as the national level (see this post for more explanation and history).

A lot of the above is about, as noted, long-term evolution of partisan sorting in the US, especially in former CSA states. The truly striking pattern is in the last column. In the at least twelve electoral cycles the state of Virginia has voted a governor into office opposite the part in the White House. The only exception to that pattern was 2013 when the state elected Democrat (McAuliffe) with a Democrat (Obama) in the White House.

This is attributable, at least in part, to the truly weird scheduling of state-level elections in VA. More on that in part 3 of this series.

Note, since we are looking at patterns, that McAullife didn’t even win an absolute majority in 2013, the only governor in this sample that failed to do so (whatever that may mean).

At a minimum, anyone who thinks that 2021 is some unique event that tells us reams and reams about the Democratic party or American politics needs to take a deep breath and look at the pattern above.

BTW, hat tip to Matt Bernius for pointing this out to me in a DM (and I believe he noted the Counter-WH pattern in the comments of another post.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2021, Elections, US Politics, Voting
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. Modulo Myself says:

    What’s unique, I think, is that this is the first southern state where white people within their communities are feeling targeted by other whites. I read a Matt Taibbi piece where he was talking about a Facebook group in Loudoun County devoted to ‘anti-racism’ which was made private and had a list of parents uncommitted to anti-racism, and how big of a deal that was. What’s interesting is that in 2009, the Dems were crushed because of the Tea Party and Obama. It was not reporters sorting through local social media outrages in order to put together a through line. There was Obama, Obamacare, and Freedom. Not your neighbor calling you a racist.

  2. @Modulo Myself: I suppose part of (not fully formed) point is that while I think that racial politics are relevant here, I don’t think they are as explanatory as many think is the case.

    And, TBH, I am not sure I trust Matt Taibbi on this kind of thing at all.

    9
  3. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    At a minimum, anyone who thinks that 2021 is some unique event that tells us reams and reams about the Democratic party or American politics needs to take a deep breath and look at the pattern above.

    Deep breath….taken.
    What remains true, and was true before Tuesday, is that Democrats NEED to get better at messaging. And they need to learn how to fight back. JFC, throw a punch or two.
    Democrats allow Republicans to set the conversation. Whether it is trickle-down economics, or death panels, or WMD, or Collusion, or CRT. And once Republicans set the terms, Democrats don’t stand a chance. If you are explaining CRT, for example, you have already lost.
    Another important point – if the White House doesn’t find a clever way to neutralize this “Let’s Go Brandon” meme…it’s going to be devastating. I’m seeing banners on houses here in Deep Blue Connecticut.

    6
  4. Gustopher says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    Another important point – if the White House doesn’t find a clever way to neutralize this “Let’s Go Brandon” meme…it’s going to be devastating. I’m seeing banners on houses here in Deep Blue Connecticut.

    I’m 95% certain that this doesn’t sway anyone. First, it’s dumb. Second, it’s still dumb. Third, they would just have something else hanging.

    Even in deep blue Connecticut, there are going to be Republicans, as deep blue Connecticut is really a purpley-blue or a bluish-purple. This is known as the Nazi Next Door problem, because Republicans are Nazis, and it’s got some good alliteration.

    If you want to make a case that previously they were hiding better, and their visibility is a problem, that may be so, but “Let’s Go Brandon” has very little to do with that. They’re getting bolder everywhere, and we’re doing so before they found their juvenile joke.

    (Whether it represents greater enthusiasm or not, one of the problems with these banners is that no one wants Republicans in their neighborhood. It’s like homeless people — they have to go somewhere, but you don’t want to see that shit on a regular basis)

    2
  5. Andy says:

    I think the reality lies somewhere between the Overreaction Overdrive(TM) and the meh, it’s just a normal historical pattern, nothing to see here side.

    And I think one also needs to consider expectations. The expectation was that McAuliffe would win comfortably and that obviously didn’t happen. If you’d floated this chart on Twitter over the summer and suggested that Youngkin had a real shot at winning based on the historical pattern, you’d have been laughed at and mocked. Part of the Overreaction Overdrive(TM) is that too many did not understand the political environment, and failed to calibrate expectations appropriately.

    And I admit I was one of those. I did not follow the VA governor’s race at all, but the conventional wisdom that McAuliffe would win easily seeped through in my general political reading, and I accepted that conventional wisdom.

    4
  6. Gustopher says:

    I think the “shitty candidate” theory explains a lot more of this than people want to admit. It requires digging in and understanding the races, rather than just assuming that they are a referendum on Biden with no other issues.

    Both McAuliffe and the NJ guy managed to say some pretty dumb things on camera (parents shouldn’t get to choose what thrir kids are taught, and if you don’t want to live in a high tax state then maybe NJ isn’t for you). And not really get control of their races.

    Does it explain all of it? No, but it’s definitely some.

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  7. Modulo Myself says:

    @Gustopher:

    Both McAuliffe and the NJ guy managed to say some pretty dumb things on camera (parents shouldn’t get to choose what thrir kids are taught, and if you don’t want to live in a high tax state then maybe NJ isn’t for you).

    Both are true though. There are not even classic gaffes or offensive unless you are an idiot. Don’t move to Montclair for the public schools, and then complain about the taxes, and don’t be some helicopter-bore emailing your kid’s teacher about the curriculum. I mean, Jesus, we complain all the time about woke snowflakes. Where do we think they come from?

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Yeah, I don’t think it’s about race exactly. It’s more that normal America is just melting down. Even the black candidate who won had to distinguish herself and salute the Republican flag by refusing to disclose if she was vaccinated or not.

    1
  8. @Modulo Myself: TBH I think that the anger at schools is more about Covid than it is about CRT.

    2
  9. Andy says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    Messaging is part of it, but there were a lot more factors. In the case of the VA governor’s race, McAuliffe made a huge strategic error by deliberately siding with school boards and teachers’ unions over parents. From the WAPO exit polling:

    About half of Virginia voters said parents should have “a lot” of say in what their child’s school teaches, while roughly 3 in 10 said parents should have “some” say, and just over 1 in 10 said parents should have little or no say.

    McAuliffe was unapologetically in that last 1-in-10 category, doubled-down on his “gaffe” that parents shouldn’t “be telling schools what they should teach” and then having Randi Weingarten headline his final campaign rally.

    The other major strategic error was attempting to campaign against Trump and believing that would work. He never stopped doing that even when it was clear that strategy wasn’t working. That is more of a messaging than a policy error.

    Frankly, I see a lot of parallels to Hillary Clinton’s campaign in 2016.

    6
  10. wr says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: “And, TBH, I am not sure I trust Matt Taibbi on this kind of thing at all.”

    Personally I wouldn’t trust him to wash my car. And I haven’t had a car in five years…

    4
  11. Andy says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    TBH I think that the anger at schools is more about Covid than it is about CRT.

    I agree with that. I’m waiting for some data and analysis to see if school shutdowns correlated to election results in a meaningful way.

    2
  12. @Andy:

    I think the reality lies somewhere between the Overreaction Overdrive(TM) and the meh, it’s just a normal historical pattern, nothing to see here side.

    While I am not arguing for “meh,” per se, I think it is close to meh than it is to Overreaction Overdrive (far closer).

    I think the schedule of the election is a major factor.

    Also, since the Dem appears to have won in NJ, we are really talking about one state in the L column for the Dems (they won the CA recall as well). None of this is enough to tell us what the pundits want it to tell us.

    FWIW, I think the Ds lose the Congress in 2022 (but not because of anything that happened on Tuesday).

  13. Modulo Myself says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Well then why did Youngkin hammer CRT? I don’t disagree with you, even. I don’t trust Matt Taibbi. But if voters were really angry about Covid and then somehow the candidate tapped that anger but transformed that into CRT, what the hell? That doesn’t make any sense. It’s like the opposite of the Lee Atwater method.

    1
  14. @Modulo Myself:

    Well then why did Youngkin hammer CRT?

    As noted above, I think race is part of this (but race is always part of US politics, so there’s that).

    First, just because a winning candidate hammers something, doesn’t mean that is why they won.

    Second (and more importantly) something like CRT can become a basket in which a lot of views and emotions are put. I think that the Covid anger was easily put in the CRT basket as where angry parents could put their school-realted discontent. It is the same way for a while any gripe about schools was in the “Common Core” basket–often subjects that were not even part of Common Core.

    I would note, too, most people have no idea was CRT is, so the notion that they were actually mad about CRT (rather than CRT being a handy way to capture generalized anger at the schools) is hard to defend, if you think about it.

    2
  15. Andy says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    FWIW, I think the Ds lose the Congress in 2022 (but not because of anything that happened on Tuesday).

    Yes, I think it’s normal and expected for the D’s to lose Congress in 2022 due to cyclical effects as well as the narrowness of their current majority.

    However, not all losses are the same and there’s a pretty big difference between losing 10 seats and losing 40 even if both result in D’s losing control of Congress. IOW, scale matters. And also who loses. And I think scale is relevant in this latest election as well.

    3
  16. gVOR08 says:

    @Modulo Myself:

    What’s unique, I think, is that this is the first southern state where white people within their communities are feeling targeted by other whites.

    This touches on a thing that surprises me. Republicans are always redefining and expanding the “other”. It was originally, and still mostly, black. But they’ve added brown, Muslim, LGBT, Asian, and now “woke”, teachers, school boards, and voting officials. OK, their game is to win with a minority, but a highly motivated minority. But I would have thought each new expansion of “other” would pare off some small fraction of their base until there was no one left. Is the base shrinking, or do they pick up new people they’re no longer actively against, like Catholics? They do seem to be picking up a few Blacks and Hispanics now. How, over time, can you be against everyone, and still have anyone left?

    1
  17. Lounsbury says:

    @Modulo Myself: Parents shouldn’t get to choose is a clear and definate gaffe. It sounds terrible, it gives a sensation of imperiousness. Of course what is behind it is rational, but it is a self-evident gaffe.

    5
  18. EddieInCA says:

    @gVOR08:

    It’s not that simple. People are motivated by many things. To base it all on race is a mistake. A recent poll came out which says that self-identified INDEPENDENTS see Democrats as a bigger threat to Democracy than the GOP. Given all that has taken place the last five years, that number is stunning. BUT… it illustrates the bubble in which much of Blue America lives. You can’t win elections without independents.

    Independents believe that the Democratic Party more than the Republican Party is “the bigger threat” to American democracy, according to an NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll released on Monday.

    In response to the question, “In general, which party do you think is the bigger threat to democracy in the United States,” 41 percent of Independents said the Democratic Party, while 37 percent said the Republican Party. Among national adults, 42 percent said the former, while 41 percent said the latter. Among national registered voters, 43 percent said the Democratic Party, while 42 percent said the Republican Party.

    Additionally, in response to that question, 47 percent of white college graduates and 56 percent of white respondents who didn’t graduate college said that it’s the Democratic Party, while 70 percent of blacks said it’s the GOP. Among Latinos, 39 percent said it’s the Democrats, while 45 percent responded it’s the Republicans.

    Meanwhile, 36 percent of Gen Z/millennials said the Democrats are a bigger threat to U.S. democracy, while 43 percent responded it’s the Republicans. Among those between the ages of 41 and 56, known as Gen X, 43 percent said it’s the Democratic Party, while the same percentage replied it’s the Republican Party.

    https://maristpoll.marist.edu/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/NPR_PBS-NewsHour_Marist-Poll_USA-NOS-and-Tables_B_202110251104.pdf

    2
  19. Matt Bernius says:

    @Andy:

    I think the reality lies somewhere between the Overreaction Overdrive(TM) and the meh, it’s just a normal historical pattern, nothing to see here side.

    And I think one also needs to consider expectations.

    I’m not sure if it’s expectations, but definitely, polling is a key thing to look at. As I pointed out yesterday, one thing that needs to be deeply looked into is how polls, particularly in New Jersey, got things so wrong (on a 2016 level of wrong). Was there a last-minute shift (which feels unlikely) or a big sampling issue?

    Also in regards to CRT, that did not appear to be as big an issue (of an issue at all) in the NJ governor’s race and yet we saw an even larger shift there. So I’m not convinced this is necessarily the “magic bullet” that folks on both sides seem to think it is. And, I also expect that it isn’t going to go away and will be adopted by the GOP as a platform issue in 2022.

    2
  20. Jay L Gischer says:

    Part of the joy that people get from chanting “Let’s Go Brandon” or putting up giant signs with it on them, in bold colors, is the annoyance that other people have. It makes them feel powerful.

    So I suggest that we all kind of rethink our response to it. Laughing at it as juvenile and dumb, which it is, is going to make you feel better and at the same time, it won’t feed their motivation for doing it at the same time.

    I mean, if it came to that, you could probably frame it as cowardly. “If you want to say fsck Joe Biden, just say it!”

    2
  21. Andy says:

    @Modulo Myself:

    But if voters were really angry about Covid and then somehow the candidate tapped that anger but transformed that into CRT, what the hell?

    I think Steven gets it right, but let me expand on that a bit.

    In short, most parents prior to covid were pretty deferential about k-12 education and unless some kind of problem popped on their radar, they just assumed everything was right and normal.

    With covid, and the closing of schools, and the need for parents to essentially be at-home teachers or teachers-assistants (many forced to quit their jobs), they got a much better look at how the sausage was being made, how and what their kids were being taught, how school boards and administrators were managing their kid’s education and the education bureaucracy, etc.

    And a lot of them did not like what they saw. Some of that was CRT-adjacent stuff which manifests as the growing influence of DEI on curricula, education policy, and pedagogy. But a lot of it was related to other things that parents didn’t like, particularly Covid policies, and the kind of normal revulsion that people have when they look inside highly bureaucratic systems for the first time.

    5
  22. Matt Bernius says:

    @EddieInCA:

    A recent poll came out which says that self-identified INDEPENDENTS see Democrats as a bigger threat to Democracy than the GOP.

    Yeah, allow me to side-eye the use of “INDEPENDENTS” in that poll after looking at the crosstabs. No poll, IMHO should ever allow for an “independent” category without doing a deeper dive into the make-up of that group. The reason for this is Pary Enrollment/Identification in the US is at an all-time low, in particular for the Republican party. So that grouping of “Independents” is full of voters who are ideologically Republican/Conservative/Anti-Democratic-Party.

    Time and time we have seen that the number of “true” independents–folks who regularly cross party lines is low.

    And honestly, looking at that page, its telling us what we already know, that the majority of the “Democrats are a threat” are White Men (regardless of education level) and White women who didn’t finish college. Also if they are Baby Boomers. And they tend to be concentrated in Rural and Smalltown areas. The one surprise is that Small Cities fall into that category as well… I’d love some more information about how that is defined. Oh and then there’s the religiosity angle.

    While I don’t think everything shouldn’t be boiled down to race, it’s worth remembering that this is the group of people who have come to see racial power as a bit of a Zero-Sum game–i.e. that anything done to combat historic and systemic racism is inherently going to harm\discriminate against them.

    1
  23. Kylopod says:

    I have a theory that the tradition of NJ voting against the president’s party was already fading years ago–it was just made less obvious by Chris Christie’s reelection landslide in 2013. As I remember, this wasn’t commonly viewed at the time as particularly devastating for Dems, since he was considered an outlier, a Republican who had become personally popular in a blue state, not unlike the way Larry Hogan is viewed now. His RINO bona fides were proven in 2012 when he embraced (literally and figuratively) Obama during Hurricane Sandy.

    2
  24. gVOR08 says:

    @Jay L Gischer:

    Laughing at it as juvenile and dumb, which it is, is going to make you feel better and at the same time, it won’t feed their motivation for doing it at the same time.

    Which is, I think, how most of us do react. If you see some guy coaling with a pickup or displaying a bunch of gun stickers or failing to wear a mask isn’t your reaction, “What an idiot”? Owning the libs has always been mostly in their imaginations.

  25. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Gustopher:

    I’m 95% certain that this doesn’t sway anyone. First, it’s dumb. Second, it’s still dumb.

    Agree to disagree and see what happens.
    IMHO, a meme that goes viral and then goes mainstream (#1 and #2 on iTunes) is not something to be dismissed.

    1
  26. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Andy:
    Agreed McAuliffe was a shitty candidate.
    Nonetheless, Democrats have always been shitty at messaging and they NEED to get better.

  27. John430 says:

    @Gustopher: This is known as the Nazi Next Door problem, because Republicans are Nazis,

    Well, there it is. The gauntlet gets thrown down against honest fellow Americans. So…what does that make you? Try this one on for size: Your kind yearn for the very gas chambers that the Nazis used. That is called projection. Do you get to parade around in your Storm Trooper uniform in your house at night? Or do you live under a rock, slimeball?

    1
  28. Gustopher says:

    @Andy:

    And a lot of them did not like what they saw. Some of that was CRT-adjacent stuff which manifests as the growing influence of DEI on curricula, education policy, and pedagogy.

    I think CRT became a bucket for a lot of school control issues. It just happened to be the big bucket with “racism” printed on the side, but people who pay medium amounts of attention just see school boards not being responsive to the community.

    I think public hearing on schools teaching CRT would deflate a lot of the CRT hate mongering — schools don’t teach CRT, and a lot of the people who claim they do are upset that schools are teaching history that includes the effects on people of color, and a little light on that goes a long way. The racists will show their true colors.

    Don’t want the schools teaching that Andrew Jackson ran a campaign of genocide against native Americans? Have you tried not living on land cleared by the trail of tears?

    1
  29. @Andy: Sure, scale should be taken into consideration.

    And I think scale is relevant in this latest election as well.

    McAuliffe lost by 2.5%, so there’s that, I guess.

    I haven’t look at the state legislature races closely enough to say anything intelligent.

    2
  30. @Matt Bernius:

    allow me to side-eye the use of “INDEPENDENTS” in that poll

    I second this side-eye.

    2
  31. Mister Bluster says:

    Move along. Nothing to see here.

    “At this point, we’re living under corporate and medical fascism. This is tyranny. When do we get to use the guns?” the man asked, to applause from the crowd. “No, and I’m not – that’s not a joke. I’m not saying it like that. I mean, literally, where’s the line? How many elections are they going to steal before we kill these people?”

    2
  32. Andy says:

    @Matt Bernius:

    Time and time we have seen that the number of “true” independents–folks who regularly cross party lines is low.

    Depends on your definition of “low.” The average for the last two decades is almost 10% of voters. That’s a decisive number. Just consider the 4-5 million who switched from Obama to Trump in 2016 and another ~4 million who went third party above the historical average. Or Biden’s capture of suburban voters in 2020 and those voters in Virginia changing to Youngkin this year.

    While I don’t think everything shouldn’t be boiled down to race, it’s worth remembering that this is the group of people who have come to see racial power as a bit of a Zero-Sum game–i.e. that anything done to combat historic and systemic racism is inherently going to harm\discriminate against them.

    How do you know that this group of people sees racial power as zero-sum and that they actually believe that “anything” done to combat racism is against their interests? That is a sweeping and bold assertion that I think needs some evidentiary support before it’s taken seriously.

    Personally, I think that view is toxic for Democrats. Telling voters that are gettable for Democrats that they are racists when they don’t vote for Democrats is a losing strategy IMO.

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    In my view, the whole Brandon thing is the equivalent to TFG. It’s in-group language intended to signal what team one is on and nothing more. It’s not intended to make an argument or motivate anyone to examine or change their views or politics. Getting upset about these in-group memes just makes them even more appealing to the people who use them.

    5
  33. Gustopher says:

    @John430: Q: What do you call a table of 6 people having dinner, when one of them is a Nazi?

    A: Six Nazis having dinner.

    Spare me your outrage until the Republican Party takes care of its Nazi, Neo-Nazi, White Supremacist and Christian Nationalist problems. Your national leaders openly coddle the Proud Boys.

    8
  34. dazedandconfused says:

    Followed this lightly and from afar, but his comment about parents having no say in what is taught in schools was when I felt a feeling akin to that caused by fingernails on a blackboard.

    I’d like to know if that coincided with a significant shift in his polling numbers.

    2
  35. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Jay L Gischer:
    I have no reaction to it. It’s a meme. WGAF?

    1
  36. matt bernius says:

    @Andy:

    How do you know that this group of people sees racial power as zero-sum and that they actually believe that “anything” done to combat racism is against their interests? That is a sweeping and bold assertion that I think needs some evidentiary support before it’s taken seriously.

    Beyond paying attention to rightwing media, listening to conversations with folks in my extended family and other social circles, reading online conversations, listening to the rhetoric and policies of Republican candidates and officeholders at local, state and national levels, reading studies…?

    Is that a limited sample set… sure. But it isn’t insignificant. And we’re specifically discussing at the moment people who are willing to respond to a survey that “Democrats are a threat to Democracy.”

    I think you are bending over backwards to avoid see any racial component, conscious or unconscious, to this.

    Also, for the record, I’m not specifically calling anyone a racist. However, I think a lot of people are committed to the continued propagation of systemic racism–whether they realize it or not–in part because it benefits them. And if someone feels that is equivalent to calling someone a racist… no offense but that feels like a major defensive move to cut off any discussion of the topic.

    5
  37. matt bernius says:

    Hey @John430 I’m curious why we haven’t seen you discuss 1/6 or Trumps claims about election fraud. I can only assume that it’s because as a real American you’re appalled by both those actions to overthrow the democratic process.

    The only thing you seem comfortable waxing about is race… and if memory serves that’s mainly because you can invoke your wife as proof that Democrats are the real racists.

    3
  38. Michael Reynolds says:

    I think for the vast majority of people their understanding of CRT boils down to: white people evil. Needless to say that is not going to be good for us politically. “Systemic racism” also translates as: white people evil. Are we surprised that parents freak out? Everything Ta-Nehisi Coates writes (as interpreted by Fox News): white people evil. Black pride good, gay pride good, white pride = evil.

    It is not surprising that parents rebel if their kids are being taught to hate themselves. And that’s how it looks to lots of suburban voters.

    You can argue all day long that CRT is misunderstood and that if only voters would attend a seminar and read some books. . . but the old political adage is: When you’re explaining, you’re losing.

    Here’s how you might sell CRT. Christians, Jews, Muslims all basically agree on this: if you sin you must repent and atone and seek forgiveness and thereby achieve redemption. When Germany sinned in carrying out the Holocaust, we demanded they repent and atone. We still insist the Turks repent for what they did to the Armenians, and rightly so. Well, our country, the USA, which we love for its ideals, has committed historical sins, that is undeniable. We should repent and we should atone so that we may be redeemed and walk proudly in the sunlight of God’s grace.

    ‘We’ don’t speak religion, ‘they’ do. You will never reach American voters with a sour message of contempt for the country. That never works. Begin with patriotism and love of country or you lose. Period.

    7
  39. Michael Reynolds says:

    @matt bernius:
    He’s been busy catering the JFK Jr. resurrection.

  40. gVOR08 says:

    I’ve read that 3.3 million people voted in VA, and people keep saying that’s a million short of the prez election a year ago. Youngkin was able to keep the GOP base fired up with CRT, but Ds didn’t have Trump to motivate their turnout, notoriously low in off year elections anyway. Seems to me that’s the biggest explanation.

    I fearlessly predict GOPs will soon discover they’ve always known that election security depends on holding state and local elections in odd numbered years.

  41. matt bernius says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Well, our country, the USA, which we love for its ideals, has committed historical sins, that is undeniable. We should repent and we should atone so that we may be redeemed and walk proudly in the sunlight of God’s grace.

    Sorry Michael, this is equally as bad an approach, because at some point we need to get to what “repenting” means. And then the same problems arise again.

    Or we get to the “Well my family came to the US after the Civil War…” so why should I have to repent for things that happened before we came here. Or before I was born.

    The reality is that we just want to pretend none of this ever happened and folks want it to go away. Hell, just look at the fights folks have over trying to say that the main cause of the Civil War was Slavery versus the “States Rights” they were taught about in school.

    The reality is that however you want to label it–whether its CRT or repenting for our history–there is a significant portion of the population who doesn’t want to do it and wants to go back to a point where there was a clear hierarchy based on a number of factors (race, gender, sexuality, etc) and just about everyone was prepared to respect it. That loss of traditional white social power coupled with growing income disparities (not to mention our cultural fear of shoring up the social safety net–again for largely racialized reasons) will continue to march us in a very dangerous direction.

    2
  42. EddieInCA says:

    @matt bernius:

    I’m very glad I’m 61. That’s all I can say about our current world.

    6
  43. Andy says:

    @matt bernius:

    I think you are bending over backwards to avoid see any racial component, conscious or unconscious, to this.

    You should note that I never claimed there was no racial component, so I am avoiding nothing. Quite the contrary, I do think race plays a part in human interactions and that goes for everyone, not just “white” people.

    What I question is the racial essentialism inherent in your claim as well as the certainty that you somehow really know and understand what motivates these people (who you really haven’t even defined).

    Anyway, as I thought, you don’t have evidence to support your assertion beyond the vague and subjective personal experience along with the typical bete noir of right-wing media.

    Also, for the record, I’m not specifically calling anyone a racist. However, I think a lot of people are committed to the continued propagation of systemic racism–whether they realize it or not–in part because it benefits them. And if someone feels that is equivalent to calling someone a racist… no offense but that feels like a major defensive move to cut off any discussion of the topic.

    I’m not trying to cut off discussion of the topic – a strange assertion considering I’m the one that started this discussion and asked you for more information/clarification about your argument. I’m not the one trying to be defensive or trying to cut off discussion here.

    Secondly, I see no substantive difference between stating that people view race as zero sum and calling them racists. Because people who actually do see race as zero sum are, by definition, racist in my view. After all, the definition of racism says:

    characterized by or showing prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism against a person or people on the basis of their membership in a particular racial or ethnic group, typically one that is a minority or marginalized

    If I believe that race is zero sum, and that anything that benefits someone of another race harms me, how does that not fit the definition of racism? If you think there is a distinction here where one can view race in zero-sum terms and yet not be racist, then I’d like to see that distinction explained, because I don’t see it.

    @Gustopher:

    I think public hearing on schools teaching CRT would deflate a lot of the CRT hate mongering — schools don’t teach CRT, and a lot of the people who claim they do are upset that schools are teaching history that includes the effects on people of color, and a little light on that goes a long way. The racists will show their true colors.

    That is what a lot of liberals believe, but I don’t see much evidence for it. I’ll just quote what I wrote in a recent thread:

    Regarding CRT: Focusing on the “CRT” label misses the point and is not relevant. What many parents – including suburban parents – object to is the various DEI-related curricula that are perceived to promote an ontology of “whiteness,” neoracist notions of racial essentialism, and “equity” efforts that do things like remove popular gifted & talented programs. Claiming that CRT isn’t in schools is whistling past the graveyard and is an argument about semantics. But the reality is that DEI is growing in k-12, a lot of it is not popular with parents.

    And it isn’t just white people who feel this way.

    4
  44. gVOR08 says:

    Yes, McAuliffe’s clumsy gaffe in the debate hurt. Yes, a lot of the concern about education is frustration at having to deal with kids not being in school. And yes, it’s not logical that that transmuted into hostility over CRT, but GOP obsessions aren’t required to make sense. Yes, CRT became a label for anything people didn’t like, much of it imaginary, that has anything to do with race. (Which in this country is a whole lot of stuff.) But the fact is CRT is a big deal because in September of last year FOX “News” made it a big deal. Then the rest of the Mighty RW Wurlitzer and the GOP pols jumped on it. They have to have some bit of seed to work with, but the GOP outrage machine can always find a molehill they can make into a mountain.

    Over at Political Wire a Youngkin adviser says what she’d have told McCauliffe.

    And what they should have done instead was go towards the typical: Democrats are very good at painting Republicans as being bad on education, saying we’re going to fire teachers and cut pay. Having been governor before, he had a record there. He should have hit us first and disqualified the issue.

    And there’s a reason it’s so easy to paint GOPs as bad on education.

    The issue wasn’t really education, but I think she’s right, McAuliffe could have at least partially blunted it by getting ahead of it.

    2
  45. John430 says:

    @matt bernius: Try to keep up. I responded to a slur condemning Republicans as Nazis. There was no issue of race. But…that’s a favorite Democrat trick; playing the race card when they have nothing relevant to say.

    1
  46. CSK says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:
    In my experience, “Independents” are Republicans who don’t, for one reason or another, want to admit it.

    1
  47. Michael Reynolds says:

    @matt bernius:
    We don’t even try to talk to ‘those’ people. Obviously we aren’t going to convince them all, but we don’t need all, we need like 5%. We should give them a path, and we aren’t even trying. We could give some white ministers talking points, in effect, but we despise those people, and we don’t speak their language, so we don’t try.

    And BTW, obviously I’m in the fuck ’em, the MAGAts. But I’m not a politician.

    We’ve been doing this forever, refusing to even try and explain our positions in ways that might reach people who did not just graduate from Brown with a degree in white guilt. When we do actually try – as we did with gay marriage where we marshaled a whole array of arguments – we sometimes succeed.

    Look, no one wanted to get cigarettes out of the public sphere, but the weight of rational argument wore the opposition down to the point where we could pass laws and those laws were obeyed. Conservatives raised hell over things like vehicle safety rules, but we wore them down with rational arguments, and now those same anti-regulation fanatics are checking crash numbers before they buy a car. We generally prevail over the long haul, but starting from a position of scorn and derision (again, insert hypocrisy disclaimer) is less effective than slow, steady pressure.

    A year ago (Sept. 2020) the percentage of Americans who said they would not get a Covid vaccine was 49%. As of February 21 the number was 30%. We can steer the tanker, but it’s never going to be a motorboat.

    3
  48. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    (but race is always part of US politics, so there’s that)

    And there you go going all CRT on us. I’d be looking over my shoulder for signs that the Thought Police are following me if I were you.

    1
  49. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: I would also note that one hammers on CRT rather than Covid-19 because CRT can be controlled more readily. So far, no one has successfully banned Covid-19 from their schools. Less so as the total quantity of performative partisanship about Covid-19 precautions goes up.

    1
  50. CSK says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    There’s some kook in Florida, a doctor of osteopathy, who’s vigorously promoting the notion that the Covid vaccines kill, that they’re a bio-weapon intended to reduce the population.

  51. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @EddieInCA: Even more glad now that I’m 69. 😉

    2
  52. Kylopod says:

    @CSK:

    In my experience, “Independents” are Republicans who don’t, for one reason or another, want to admit it.

    The research suggests that independents can be roughly evenly divided into three groups: Democratic-leaning independents, Republican-leaning independents, and independent independents. This is an oversimplification, but it’s got a lot of truth to it. The research has also shown that the majority of independents vote reliably for one party.

    Now, there is some evidence that Republican-leaning independents in recent years outnumber Democratic-leaning independents. That means that independents, taken as a whole, are indeed a Republican-leaning demographic. But it also suggests that independents are not one thing. And contrary to what is often asserted, independents are not a reliable bellwether in presidential elections. Obama lost the indie vote by 5 points in 2012 despite winning the election handily.

    The picture of independents as a mass of thoughtful outsiders unmoored from partisan politics, stroking their chins as they make an informed decision on which to party to support in any election, is nothing more than a myth. It’s a myth that indies themselves cling to because it makes them feel good about themselves, but it’s something even non-indies often accept uncritically because it’s comforting to believe a noble group like that exists. It’s gives people something to aspire to.

    3
  53. Jay L Gischer says:

    @gVOR08: Well, everyone is different. To me, “what an idiot!” seems like it carries some anger, and is probably going to feed them. Of course, hearing someone say it can radically change the feeling, since nonverbals are very powerful. (Eddie Izzard:
    “it’s 70 percent how you look, 20 percent how you sound and 10 percent what you say”)

    To me, I want to work toward a reaction that I could say to someone doing this with a song in my heart and a smile on my face.

  54. @Kylopod:

    The research suggests that independents can be roughly evenly divided into three groups: Democratic-leaning independents, Republican-leaning independents, and independent independents. This is an oversimplification, but it’s got a lot of truth to it. The research has also shown that the majority of independents vote reliably for one party.

    Yup.

    1
  55. EddieInCA says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    You don’t read a day over 49.

    2
  56. mattbernius says:

    Andy, quick response with an IOU for a longer one.

    Quick response: I was in a crappy mood when I replied and didn’t take enough time to respond thoughtfully. I also, rereading my response, was too pointed on the “shut down conversation point” and didn’t unpack what I meant well enough (namely that the more I do work in this area, the less I think “racist” is a particularly good word to use to describe individuals).

    Either tonight or tomorrow, I’ll respond in a more in-depth way to your points.

  57. Andy says:

    @gVOR08:

    And there’s a reason it’s so easy to paint GOPs as bad on education.

    The issue wasn’t really education, but I think she’s right, McAuliffe could have at least partially blunted it by getting ahead of it.

    According to WAPO exit polling, education was the second most important issue for voters behind the economy/jobs and more important than the Covid epidemic. It seems to me that education was highly salient in this election.

  58. senyordave says:

    Virginia is a purple state that was trending blue and appeared to be turning completely blue. But how much of that was due to presidential elections. The last four presidential elections made it pretty easy for anyone other than true conservatives to vote Democratic.
    In 2008 you had the economy crashing and the Republican candidate choosing a completely unqualified woman as his VP. Other than true-blue Conservatives it was easy to vote for the Democratic.
    In 2012 Obama was running for re-election and things were pretty stable so once again it was pretty easy to vote Democratic.
    2016 and 2020 Trump
    In all four of those elections I would guess that Northern Virginia voted overwhelmingly Democratic. Much of the rest of the state, especially Southern Virginia, would sooner die than vote for a Democrat. CRT probably plays great with them, but most of them would vote for David Duke if he was on the ballot.
    Along comes Youngkin, who seems like a reasonable conservative on the surface, and CRT seems like a real thing to white people, so he swung a lot of Northern Virginia “moderates”. Add in 18-34 year olds deciding to not bother to vote, it was a perfect storm.
    What scares me is that as horrible a 2020 Trump had he still only lost by 4.4%. Put in Republican who appears to be a moderate in 2024 as a presidential candidate and you could see Virginia vote Republican for president.

  59. Andy says:

    @mattbernius:

    Matt,

    No worries, you are always a reasonable and thoughtful person and I appreciate you taking the time to respond.

    This is a rare instance where I think your argument appears to be way off the mark so if my challenging it is more direct than usual, that is why. I look forward to your response, thanks.

    2
  60. mattbernius says:

    @John430:
    There was no issue of race. But…that’s a favorite Democrat trick; playing the race card when they have nothing relevant to say.
    Sorry, I was referring back to your recent “My D’souza-esque understanding of history proves Democrats are the real racists,” “check out this Chris Rock bit (that he’s since disowned) to justify why Black folks deserve to be abused by cops”, and “CRT is the real racism” postings.

    And a few more prior to that (like your comments about the racial dynamics in Texas voting).

    And also, you still manage not to address how you are shockingly silent on the topic of 1/6. I can only take that to mean that you’re deeply ashamed by the actions taken by Trump supporters (and based on how much you like that *disowned* Chris Rock video think the ones being prosecuted are getting what they deserved for lawlessness).

    Likewise, your silence on the multiple threads about Trump’s debunked claim that the election was stolen, must mean that you too find those claims to be baseless and clearly harmful to our Democracy.

    I mean, I have to assume that given how proud you are to stand up to us mean folks and point out how our thinking is wrong and evil on all of these other topics.

    2
  61. CSK says:

    @Kylopod: @Steven L. Taylor:
    I’m sure that’s the case. As I noted, I was speaking from my own experience living in a blue state.

  62. Lounsbury says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    We still insist the Turks repent for what they did to the Armenians, and rightly so.

    Bizarrely so as the Armenian massacres were an act of the Ottoman militias where in the heavily Armenian populated east, were largely ethnic Kurdish speakers, not Turks proper (and the majority of the four Pashas junta themselves not native Turks).

    The rotten late Ottoman state certainly deserves blame but it’s rather like blaming ethnic Russians for Stalin the native ethnic Georgian….

    All the more queer that Americans adopted an ostentatious love of the Kurds, whose tribal militias (quite loyal to the Islamic Ottoman state) had principal responsabilities (although this was probably less about Kurdishness than about ethno-religious tensions from late Ottoman economic and social decay in the backwoods east).

    1
  63. lounsbury says:

    @Michael Reynolds: “‘We’ don’t speak religion, ‘they’ do. You will never reach American voters with a sour message of contempt for the country. That never works. Begin with patriotism and love of country or you lose. Period.”

    The historical note aside, yes, although the hard Left fraction commentariat will not be able to digest.

    Becoming quite worried that a return of the Orange creature odds are climbing as the religion of Woke rather seems to too strong among the converted.

    1
  64. Stormy Dragon says:

    @gVOR08:

    But I would have thought each new expansion of “other” would pare off some small fraction of their base until there was no one left.

    Authoritarianism is always a hierarchy: you get the minimum group you need to get into power, and then once there start shedding groups lower on the hierarchy until you have the minimum group you need to stay in power (which is often significantly smaller than than what was needed to get into power to begin with)

  65. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Kylopod:

    The research suggests that independents can be roughly evenly divided into three groups: Democratic-leaning independents, Republican-leaning independents, and independent independents. This is an oversimplification, but it’s got a lot of truth to it. The research has also shown that the majority of independents vote reliably for one party.

    There’s an old joke about the statistician who goes elephant hunting. The first elephant he sees he misses 20 feet to the right and the second he misses 20 feet to the left, and then goes home telling a story of how, on average, he shot two elephants during his trip.

    I bring it up, because I’d like to suggest breaking the “independent independents” up into two groups: true independents (people who have consistent set of policy goals that don’t fit into either party and who have to switch back and forth situationally) and moderates (people with no consistent set of policy goals but who take a position midway between the two parties specifically because it’s midway between the two parties). Those two groups may look the same in aggregate, but they’re going to behave very differently.

  66. Kurtz says:

    @EddieInCA: @Matt Bernius:

    Bernius raises my initial thought about the self-ID ind. I was hoping that they included a lean question, but they didn’t.

    Marist generally conducts quality polls. 538 gives it an A rating. So that’s something to consider. OTOH, the data doesn’t include as much detail on the weighting vs. raw numbers as I would like.

    The methodology page is pretty technical, and I’m not comfortable opining on it without some more extensive research. But it concerns me that Football Outsiders has more detailed explanations of their statistical methods than Marist does. For examples in the realm of politics, 538 also has a more detailed description of their processes and other polling houses release more detailed cross-tabs.

    The general rule about single polls applies. I hope they continue to ask that question monthly, because that would give a clearer picture.

    1
  67. Gustopher says:

    @John430:

    I responded to a slur condemning Republicans as Nazis.

    Is it a slur or a description?

    Do you denounce your leaders who have embraced the Proud Boys, the Three Percenters, Patriot Prayer and the other Nazi, Neo-Nazi, White Supremacist, and Christian Nationalist groups? Or even anyone who surrounds themselves with QAnon nuts? That’s denouncing Donald Trump.

    And can someone who has denounced Trump really be a Republican these days?

    If you cozy up to Nazis, you can’t be surprised people think you’re a Nazi. It’s generally a distinction without a difference.

    3
  68. Andy says:

    One interesting thing I learned today is how Youngkin won the primary – they switched to ranked-choice voting for the primary this year and he won in the 6th round. If this had been a usual primary vote, I bet a Trump toady would have got the nomination with a minimal plurality and things might have turned out much different.

    If we are going to be stuck with primaries in our system (which, IMO, are one of the primary causes of our current political dysfunction), then at least have them use RCV.

    5
  69. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: Easy, a counter slogan around “Team Brandon”–complete with hats, shirts, bandanas.

    This is what you saw with Republicans and the “Deplorables”. “Lets go Brandon” only works because its about Biden. Once Biden people become Tribe Brandon–it loses its efficacy and they’ll move to the next tactic.

    2
  70. Gustopher says:

    @Andy:

    Focusing on the “CRT” label misses the point and is not relevant. What many parents – including suburban parents – object to is the various DEI-related curricula that are perceived to promote an ontology of “whiteness,” neoracist notions of racial essentialism, and “equity” efforts that do things like remove popular gifted & talented programs. Claiming that CRT isn’t in schools is whistling past the graveyard and is an argument about semantics.

    When I say we should have hearings about “CRT” in schools, I mean all of that… but mostly because the right wing nuts in the various legislatures are going to show themselves as racist fools, at least enough of the time to change the narrative.

    Because a lot of them are made about more than diversity training — btw, are we celebrating the differences, or saying everyone is the same this year? — they’re mad that kids are being taught facts that they don’t want kids to know. And one of those racist scumbags is going to let their sheets show.

    And then they let their sheet show, we need to grab that sheet, parade it about, and make sure no one thinks of complaints about CRT without thinking of those racists. Because if there’s anything most Americans hate more than an uppity Black man, it’s someone who is even more racist than they are. Americans will look away if they can, but when they can’t look away, things change.

    How many confederate flags have you seen flying over state houses these days?

    Thwarts the battle we have to fight. Apparently endlessly. And against the same people.

    But in the end, not many people like the tiki torch Nazis. Oh, john430 will claim that they aren’t real Scottish Nazis or whatever, but most people can see them for what they are once they are forced to acknowledge them.

  71. Lounsbury says:

    Input, data showing that contrary to the assumptions of certain Left-Left comments, turnout did not collapse,

    Virginia Democrats and Gov. Ralph Northam repealed the state’s voter ID law, enacted 45 days of no-excuse absentee voting, made Election Day a state holiday and enacted automatic voter registration for anyone who receives a driver’s license in Virginia.

    Making it easier to vote worked.

    In this week’s election, Mr. McAuliffe won 200,000 votes more than Northam did when he won the 2017 election in a blowout. He won nearly 600,000 more votes than he did in 2013 when he beat Kenneth Cuccinelli II to become governor. He beat his internal turnout targets in Northern Virginia, Richmond and the Norfolk area. Turnout was strong in Black precincts, college towns and the suburbs, all traditional areas of strength for Democratic candidates.

    Yet Mr. Youngkin still got more votes, buoyed by turnout near presidential-election levels across rural Virginia and better than anticipated numbers in the outer suburbs of Washington. He won far more votes than Mr. McAuliffe’s team or virtually any of the public polling had anticipated.

    One should think that such data should give pause to writing off entire swaths of the voters representing major voting blocs as deplorable scum and racists.

  72. Lounsbury says:

    @Jim Brown 32: Really quite a good suggestion as to be honest the phrase itself is somewhat amusing and catchy. Childishly so but I find myself vaguely amused by it even though I quite like Biden.

    So play Judo instead of being Whiny Byatches and turn it around, as indeed the opposition did with deplorables.

    2
  73. Lounsbury says:

    @Andy: Of course the Commentor in question and his like rather prefer holding educational hearings to ‘correct’ misapprehensions and continuing to dismiss and talk-down to the concerns, drawing on arch and snobbish literalism.

  74. mattbernius says:

    @Lounsbury:
    One great thing to come out of the VA election it is a proof-point of how reforming voting to make it more easy and accessible doesn’t equal “Democrats always win.”

    One would hope that Republicans would learn from this lesson and enact similar measures in other states. Perhaps also, they might begin to believe that those of advocating for removing friction from the systems are doing it for the good of Democracy writ large rather than trying to ensure our preferred party wins.

    1
  75. mattbernius says:

    @Lounsbury:

    Of course the Commentor in question and his like rather prefer holding educational hearings to ‘correct’ misapprehensions and continuing to dismiss and talk-down to the concerns, drawing on arch and snobbish literalism.

    Man you are still really salty about getting called you out on your “the only way the Democrats win the Whitehouse is if they select an White person from the midwest as VP. And that pandering to the BIPoC members of their base will only be performative pandering that won’t deliver them a win” bullshit (which it proved to be). Or just in general your really crappy understanding of racial dynamics in the US.

    And again, if you think I’m talking down to folks, then clearly you have real issues reading the tone of your own posts. And also seem to miss the humility that I tend to engage with (including stating when I’m wrong or out of line) versus your performative “I know better because I’m a Brit and see things better than you biased libs” stick.

    Any time you want to have a substantive and respectful debate on these topics, let me know. Of course, I look forward to you also first demonstrating you actually have the capacity for that (rather than you’re usual “I’m just always right because you are even when you aren’t” high-minded assholery that apparently is part of being a social climber from your quaint little island). But maybe you can get some lessons from the way Andy engages.

    BTW, Andy, that response is still coming, drafting it is taking a little longer than planned because I’m trying to address some of the shortcomings of my first post.

    2
  76. mattbernius says:

    @Jim Brown 32 100% that embracing it rather than clutching at Pearls is completely the right approach (as proven by both “Deplorables” and “Obamacare”).

    1
  77. Rick DeMent says:

    @Lounsbury:

    Of course the Commenter in question and his like rather prefer holding educational hearings to ‘correct’ misapprehensions and continuing to dismiss and talk-down to the concerns, drawing on arch and snobbish literalism.

    Well it’s that or accept clear and obvious lies about CRT. But I understand how you fell about it, like the time someone wandered into a discussion on Guns and after a long thought provoking post on balancing individual rights with public safety was dismissed out of hand because they used the term clip instead of magazine.

    See also, “the US is a Republic not a Democracy” and “the only people who you can call a racist is someone who professes a belief that one race is superiors to the others”. And of course the big Kahuna of lies my teacher told me, “The cause of the civil war was states rights”.

    There is no lack of argument by pedantic nonsense on either side but if people are going to absolutely lost their minds over CRT there should either know what it actually is or at the very least clue us all in about what it is they think is going on. I mean what exactly are they so pissed off about that had to do with race? And to put a finer point on it, when I was a kids we were pretty much taught straight up Lost Cause mythology when learning about the civil war. In a lot of places that is still taught. I have never seen a bunch of white liberal parents losing their collective minds over it at school beard meetings even though they are literally being taught outright lies. It’s hard not to talk down to someone who’s only grasp of the material is a meme on fakebook.

    I don’t even know what these “anti-CRT” people want. All I can go by is what CRT is and that makes the whole discussion poisoned from the get go because they are thinking about things that are not CRT but can’t or won’t say what it is they don’t want their kinds to be taught aside from vague ideas of lessons that will make there kids hate themselves because they are white.

    Maybe you can clear it up, what exactly are the so animated about, because if their kids were being taught that the USA is the most star spangled place ever invented in the history of the whorls I doubt they would be concerned about their kids are being taught? Form when most teachers I know have to say parents do have the first earthly clue as to when any of their kids are taught and have little interest in it anyway (unless it’s about race or sex apparently).

    1
  78. Andy says:

    @mattbernius:

    For the record, I can’t remember any time you’ve ever talked down to people.

    And the reality is that we all have bad days where we are cranky and not as charitable as we should be. A little grace is in order.

    And Matt, don’t worry about responding if you don’t want to or don’t have time. We can take up any disagreement we may have on this at another time.

    2
  79. Kurtz says:

    @Andy:
    @mattbernius:

    And Matt, don’t worry about responding if you don’t want to or don’t have time. We can take up any disagreement we may have on this at another time.

    No, Matt. NOW!!!

    And I’ve never seen you to talk down to people.

    Oh, and Matt, the “quaint little island” dig is supreme. But you forgot “bad food, worse weather.”

    1
  80. mattbernius says:

    @Andy:
    First thanks as always. Grace, like hope, is a discipline I continue to try to practice and hope one day to be better at it.

    And Matt, don’t worry about responding if you don’t want to or don’t have time. We can take up any disagreement we may have on this at another time.

    Agreed. And I expect that this isn’t the last time on this particular merry-go-round. But, more importantly, this is a topic that I want to write my way through because I think it’s important. Maybe enough so that I ask for the posting keys back.

    One thing I definitely regret about my initial formulation is that I made it sound that I think people effectively taking a zero-sum perspective are (a) doing it in all cases, and (b) doing it intentionally. A’s just a foolish thing to say about anything. And B comes across as pretending I have some deep insight into intentions. Neither really reflects my view.

    I also want to agree that, as I think we’ve discussed in the past, “CRT” discussions really are not about “CRT.” In that way, Tucker Carlson is right in that neither he, nor anyone else, seems to know what the CRT we are discussing actually means (because it’s a cluster of things).

    And so there definitely is some whistling past the graveyard as you put it among progressives who are advancing the “CRT isn’t being taught in k-12.” I also think there is a lot of blindness among anti-CRT folks about how their concerns about it my extend past the narrow topic of DEI training.

    Finally, something I just saw Jamelle Bouie write on twitter is a super important point to bring into the conversation (which I also think is possibly part of your sticking point with some of this Andy):

    This is all to say that you are right that left-wing racial politics are a departure from liberal notions of equality, but you are wrong to say that they are a departure from the classical civil rights movement or its intellectual heritage.

    From your writings, I see you as someone aligned (at least in part) with classical liberalism. And ultimately, I think that will (in places) create friction with aspects of any movement towards civil rights. I’m not saying the two are utterly incommensurable, but I think trying to reconcile them requires a lot of compromises. BTW, this is something that I don’t think a lot of progressives want to acknowledge (and this is also getting surfaced in the CRT debate).

    Unfortunately, I think to do any of those different thoughts justice will take lots of paragraphs for each. Which I will work on and eventually post. If there are any that you think would be more helpful to the discussion, let me know and I’ll concentrate on those first.

  81. Matt Bernius says:

    @Kurtz:

    Oh, and Matt, the “quaint little island” dig is supreme. But you forgot “bad food, worse weather.”

    My favorite response to the question of English food was John Clear response “We were building an Empire! We couldn’t be bothered with the small things.”

    Though it’s also clear they opted to colonize places with far better cuisines than they could deliver at home. Thus the curry becomes the most English of dishes.

    1
  82. Kurtz says:

    @mattbernius:

    Grace, like hope, is a discipline I continue to try to practice and hope one day to be better at it.

    Grace is a tough one. Don’t try too hard.

    1
  83. Andy says:

    @mattbernius:

    But, more importantly, this is a topic that I want to write my way through because I think it’s important. Maybe enough so that I ask for the posting keys back.

    and

    Unfortunately, I think to do any of those different thoughts justice will take lots of paragraphs for each. Which I will work on and eventually post. If there are any that you think would be more helpful to the discussion, let me know and I’ll concentrate on those first.

    That would be great – would love to see you posting again.

    From your writings, I see you as someone aligned (at least in part) with classical liberalism.

    Indeed, I’m very much aligned with the principles of classical liberalism. I’d just note that principles do not always translate easily when dealing with the messy details of humanity, but that is my bias. In the same way, I still support the principles of America’s founding and the associated ideals, even as it’s clear we’ve never fully lived up to them as a country.

    This is all to say that you are right that left-wing racial politics are a departure from liberal notions of equality, but you are wrong to say that they are a departure from the classical civil rights movement or its intellectual heritage.

    On the contrary, I think the major reason why MLK Jr’s movement (which was the culmination of many decades of effort) was so successful in its aims is that it was premised on liberal notions of equality.

    I could go on at length about this and it’s something I’ve noted before, but as a student of strategy and strategic theory, I consider MLK Jr. to be one of the greatest strategists and strategic thinkers of the 20th century. And part of that is that he was able to recognize and use the tools and resources he had available to exploit a vulnerability in white society – namely that it was grossly failing to live up to the principles it claimed to hold. He was able to pressure this vulnerability in multiple ways. So his strategy was very much premised on liberal notions of equality – in fact, it was an essential element.

    And just to summarize for brevity, I don’t really see anything equivalent now. The lack of a brilliant strategic thinker is understandable – such people are very rare. But the current civil rights movements lack strategic coherence and seem to increasingly embrace the idea that more active discrimination is necessary to counteract current and historical discrimination, which is one of Kendi’s central ideas. I am deeply skeptical of that. The other thing I’m extremely skeptical about is racial essentialism which I see is becoming a bigger part of DEI.

    Consequently, I agree with most of this from Freddie DeBoer. Without specifically saying so, and maybe without realizing it, he sees the lack of a coherent strategy and the contradictions among proponents of these new ways (new to most people) of looking at race.

  84. mattbernius says:

    @Andy:

    That would be great – would love to see you posting again.

    That is such wonderful encouragement to read. I am hoping I will, though probably not until next year. I’m right now working on learning to do less rather than more at the moment.

    I’m fighting a lot of burnout.

    Indeed, I’m very much aligned with the principles of classical liberalism. I’d just note that principles do not always translate easily when dealing with the messy details of humanity, but that is my bias.

    That was my sense. Glad to see it confirmed and I agree about the challenges with translation.

    On the contrary, I think the major reason why MLK Jr’s movement (which was the culmination of many decades of effort) was so successful in its aims is that it was premised on liberal notions of equality.

    Here’s where I think where the sanitized telling of the civil rights movement has only gotten half of the story correct. Yes, the initial and primary focus was, as a first step, simple equity under the law. That was seen as the long hanging fruit and a necessary step towards the goal of equity.

    This is also the area where I need to bring receipts, so to speak, and that takes time. For the moment I will simply say that if you look at the writings of key figures like W.E.B. DuBois and MLK you will find both calls for equality and calls for equity as well (including throughout the March on Washington Speech–in the parts many tend to gloss over). And King’s work at the time of his death was moving increasingly towards the topic of equity once equality under the law had been won.

    Consequently, I agree with most of this from Freddie DeBoer.

    I scanned the essay, and if I had time to write a long post, I’d try to do a more in-depth counter arguement. But my crux of it is that I think the following is a move that fails to account for recent history:

    What is the advantage to Democrats in talking about “whiteness” instead of saying “hey Black people have faced unfair disadvantage, a free and fair society needs to address this, here’s a program to help”?

    The reality is that Democrats and left-leaning folks have attempted to do this repeatedly in both legislation and policy and the results have not been particularly welcomed. From the reaction to Affirmative Action to changing recruiting criteria on schools or civil service positions, to the narrative that the 2008 Financial Crash was due to Clinton regulations to make it easier for BIPoC families to buy houses, to the recent revolt around specific c-19 bailouts for BIPoC farmers.

    People will acknowledge that Black people have faced unfair disadvantages and then, when programs are proposed to help them, the immediate reaction is “why are you only enacting this program for black or BIPoC people–it needs to be color-blind.” Then when someone points out that color-blind programs like the C-19 farm bailouts went disproportionately to White farmers the conversation moves onto another topic.

    This is to some degree what I mean about a “zero-sum” game of sorts. If you accept that systemic racism still exists and demand that any program meant primarily to help BIPoC folks needs to be race-neutral in terms of its application, then the very nature of systemic racism means that it cannot reach the people it’s intended to help (which has happened with the minority farm relief which is being challenged in court by White farmers, pausing the entire effort–potentially for years).

    Again, I’m writing this without showing my work, so YMMV. But at some point in the future I will make a more detailed and sourced argument.

    Thanks again for the encouragement!

    1
  85. Andy says:

    @mattbernius:

    Thanks for the detailed response!

    I understand completely about burnout. I hope we can continue this discussion in the future.

    For now, I think the crux (for me at least) is two things:
    – What is meant by “equity?” I don’t think King’s vision of equity aligns with the contemporary use of that term by people such as Kendi.
    – Policies targeting at improving the situation of specific racial groups by giving those groups benefits or advantages that other racial groups can’t receive are always going to be problematic (and often illegal and unconstitutional). That’s before considering the effectiveness or downsides of such policies. I’m all for policies that help disadvantaged groups, but the devil is in the details and the policies must have good results, not merely good intentions.