Election Results Validate Everyone’s Priors

Too woke! Not woke enough!

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Trying to predict the future of American politics based on a handful of off-year elections is a mug’s game but one we inevitably fall prey to. Despite their often being idiosyncratic reasons for particular outcomes (as Steven Taylor has been trying to detail in his Election 2021 Context series) it’s just too tempting to look to the results for clues. And, inevitably, they seem always to coincide with what one believed prior to the new information.

For moderate Democrats or those, like myself, who align with them, it’s obvious that the problem was a national party too dominated by woke progressives with their woke faculty lounge talk and attempts to bring socialism to a country that doesn’t want it.

NYT (“Reeling From Surprise Losses, Democrats Sound the Alarm for 2022“):

Responding to Tuesday’s results like an alarm bell in the night, Democrats on the ballot next year said that unless Mr. Biden and other party leaders addressed voters’ close-to-home frustrations, they were certain to lose their congressional majorities.

“We were so willing to take seriously a global pandemic, but we’re not willing to say, ‘Yeah, inflation is a problem, and supply chain is a problem, and we don’t have enough workers in our work force,'” said Representative Abigail Spanberger, a Virginia Democrat facing a bruising re-election. “We gloss over that and only like to admit to problems in spaces we dominate.”

More pointedly, Ms. Spanberger said Mr. Biden must not forget that, for many voters, his mandate was quite limited: to remove former President Donald J. Trump from their television screens and to make American life ordinary again.

“Nobody elected him to be F.D.R., they elected him to be normal and stop the chaos,” she said, alluding to the sweeping agenda the president is seeking to enact with the thinnest of legislative majorities.

The Hill (“Carville blames ‘stupid wokeness’ for Democratic losses“):

Democratic political strategist James Carville blamed his party’s recent losses and weak performance in state elections on “stupid wokeness” on Wednesday.

“PBS NewsHour” host Judy Woodruff asked Carville what went wrong for the Democratic Party in the Virginia gubernatorial race in which Republican Glenn Youngkin beat former Gov. Terry McAuliffe.

“What went wrong is just stupid wokeness. Don’t just look at Virginia and New Jersey. Look at Long Island, look at Buffalo, look at Minneapolis, even look at Seattle, Wash. I mean, this ‘defund the police’ lunacy, this take Abraham Lincoln’s name off of schools. I mean that — people see that,” Carville said.

“It’s just really — has a suppressive effect all across the country on Democrats. Some of these people need to go to a ‘woke’ detox center or something,” he added. “They’re expressing a language that people just don’t use, and there’s backlash and a frustration at that.”

[…]

Carville said that suburbanites in Virginia and New Jersey “pulled away” from such “wokeness.” He pointed out that Youngkin never ran any ads against President Biden and suggested that the Republican candidate had simply allowed Democrats to “pull the pin and watch the grenade go off.”

“We got to change this and not be about changing dictionaries and change laws,” Carville said. “These faculty lounge people that sit around mulling about I don’t know what. … They’re not working.”

Shockingly, however, the progressive wing finds the opposite message: the party’s voters were insufficiently mobilized because Democrats in Washington haven’t passed a bold agenda. The above-linked NYT story:

Democrats in Washington on Wednesday appeared no less determined to forge ahead with Mr. Biden’s signature domestic legislation: a major infrastructure bill and a multi-trillion-dollar package of social-welfare programs and initiatives to fight climate change. Both moderate and liberal lawmakers say they feel new urgency to show voters they can get big things done.

But Democratic officials also conceded that voters seemed to have penalized the party for devoting months to opaque negotiations on Capitol Hill over legislation that they have spent little time explaining to the public.

Many progressive Democrats believe the only way the party can appeal to voters next year is to deliver for them a range of accomplishments aimed at improving their quality of life. Passing the fullest version of the president’s social welfare and climate legislation, they say, is crucial to motivating voters in the midterm.

“We’re seeing the expectations of our base not being fulfilled and that’s suppressing the vote by itself,” said Representative Raul Grijalva, a progressive Arizonan, who expressed frustration at moderates for holding up the party’s agenda and said he would no longer adhere to “that code of silence” about Senators Joe Manchin III of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona. “We’re mad at them, but we can’t say anything because it might make them weirder.”

The Hill (“Ocasio-Cortez: Virginia results show limits of ‘trying to run a fully 100% super-moderated campaign’“):

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) on Wednesday blamed the Democrats’ loss in the Virginia gubernatorial race to nominee Terry McAuliffe “trying to run a fully 100 percent super-moderated campaign,” arguing that such a pitch does not energize a progressive base.

Ocasio-Cortez, in a video posted to her Instagram account, went further to say that progressives “weren’t even really invited to contribute on that race,” pointing to other Democratic wins throughout the country.

“I know that Virginia was a huge bummer. And honestly, if anything, I think that the results show the limits of trying to run a fully 100% super-moderated campaign that does not excite, speak to or energize a progressive base,” she said.

I agree with Spanberger that a lot of us who voted for Biden were much more interested in restoring decency and normalcy to the White House than in enacting a massive legislative agenda. And have been arguing for quite some time that, with a thin margin in the House and a 50-50 Senate dependent on the assent of Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, a less ambitious package was the way to go. And I’ve been arguing for quite some time that, while Democrats are closer to right than Republicans on race, LGBTQ issues, and policing, the rhetoric and agenda are too dominated by the most radical elements of their party, damaging the ability to sell these issues to the American people. Biden’s folksiness and reputation for moderation are simply a better way.

But “Defund the Police” and CRT were already major talking points used by Republicans in 2020 and Biden won Virginia and New Jersey handily, so it’s simply unreasonable to think that they were the major turning points a year later. I’m sure there were indeed quite a number of Democrats who voted for Biden and didn’t turn out to vote in 2021 because they were frustrated with the lack of progress in Washington. But, frankly, the fact that Donald Trump wasn’t on the Republican ticket almost certainly did more to dampen the urgency.

Beyond that, as Zack Beauchamp lays out persuasively for Vox, there’s just not much evidence that CRT was a big issue for voters.

The critical race theory-focused analysis is convenient for both Republicans and Democrats. For the former, it’s proof that they’re on the winning side of America’s seemingly endless culture wars. For the latter, it’s more evidence that Republicans are the party of white backlash and anti-Blackness.

There’s one problem: The evidence for this conclusion is surprisingly weak.

It is true that exit polls showed education and critical race theory as important issues to Virginia voters. But exit polls, in addition to generally not being super reliable, are not a very good gauge of what actually swung races: Among other reasons, partisans who would have voted for their party anyway often parrot whatever message they heard from the campaign or allied media. And when you zoom out, the pattern of the night’s results is not consistent with a CRT-focused explanation.

The election returns from Virginia show a uniform swing against McAuliffe, not an especially strong backlash in areas where CRT was an especially prominent issue. In New Jersey’s gubernatorial race, there was a similarly sized swing against Democrats despite CRT not being a major part of the campaign.

A broader look at election night on November 2 tells a different and more familiar story: McAuliffe lost because of a nationalized backlash against an unpopular incumbent president.

The anti-Biden interpretation is consistent with the history of Virginia’s elections, where the party controlling the White House has lost 11 out of the last 12 times, as well as a deep body of political science research finding that the electorate tends to swing against a president’s party in off-year and midterm elections.

“We tend to see electoral swings against the party of the president after they’re in office [and] people tend to overattribute those swings to the idiosyncratic features of a single race or their own pet issues,” writes Robert Griffin, the research director at the Democracy Fund Voter Study Group. The CRT-focused interpretation of Virginia’s election fits Griffin’s pattern.

There’s a whole lot more analysis in the piece, which I commend, but you get the point.

In addition to confirmation bias, we’re all susceptible to the Pundit’s Fallacy: the belief that what a politician needs to do to improve his or her political standing is do what the pundit wants substantively. The fact of the matter is that those of us who spend a lot of time thinking and reading about politics are extreme outliers and likely not all that perceptive about what drives normal people to vote or not vote.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2021, US Politics
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Sleeping Dog says:

    The NYT’s has an interesting article this AM, disabusing the theory that Dem voters were insufficiently motivated; https://www.nytimes.com/2021/11/04/us/politics/democrats-turnout-virginia.html.

    Leaving that aside, Dems have long had the problem that large sections of their voters are simply unreliable and only turnout during presidential years and in many cases only vote for the federal offices on the ballot, leaving state Dem candidates to under perform. The canard that these voters weren’t inspired is laughable.

    In NYC the moderate Dem, ran away with the nomination and is now mayor. In Buffalo, the moderate former mayor won as a write in , defeating the self declared democratic-socialist that was the Dem nominee. In Seattle, the DA contest went to the R over the self described abolitionist, Dem candidate and in the Seattle mayoral contest the moderate appears to be cruising to election. In Mpls, police reform was crushed, all but one of the most liberal council members has been replaced by someone more moderate and the incumbent mayor, handily defeated his leftist opponent. And most of these races mentioned above, weren’t even close.

    The progressive response that I’ve heard is well Michelle Wu, too which I reply, Boston!!

    That Dems are having as comical infrastructure weeks as TFG had doesn’t help, but Dems didn’t get credit for saving the economy with the Covid relief measures either. Frankly, even if Dems manage to pass the infrastructure program of Bernie’s dreams it is too late to help Dems in 22 and maybe 24, because the implementation will take too long and in truth the voters really don’t care. Though if you ask, they do like the programs, but that won’t change a vote.

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  2. Michael Reynolds says:

    If we speak only in binaries we’ll never find an explanation for anything. It’s never this or that, A or B, it’s about the pictures drawn by the candidates and their parties, and the times we happen to be living in, and a bit of some random obsession, and snippets of information, and feel. People feel a great deal more than they think.

    Walk into a crowded room and you’ll know immediately whether your presence is welcome or not. And you won’t be able to pick out a single explanation for your feeling, but the feeling will be hard to ignore.

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  3. Modulo Myself says:

    I know three things. The Republicans would be supporting Trump right now had the dumb scheme to throw out the EC worked. The Supreme Court would have ruled 5-4 in favor of this after a horde of endless lawsuits. And there would be a bunch of ‘data-driven’ pundits saying that this is just status quo American politics, and nothing conclusive can be drawn from the fact that Trump is about to be declared God Emperor.

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  4. just nutha says:

    There is an important message, but not particularly about wokeness and progressives except indirectly. The message is that most Americans DGAF about whether race or the economy or education or social mobility is a problem because these issues don’t affect them (at least in their own minds). As I’ve noted here before, I’m white, have the means necessary to live at the level I have chosen, and hold equity (however small my stake is). In the greater picture it simply doesn’t matter to me who gets elected (even FG–!!!!) because the bad things that could happen won’t affect me (at age 69 and in marginal health).

    That’s not as encouraging as some might want to portray it to be. It means that whatever passes for an agenda for the GQP is as good as things are going to get. But I’ll be fine (and isn’t that what really matters).

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  5. Jc says:

    I feel Carville is right and Vox is wrong. I don’t get why many Progs are so blind to it? That blindness leads to this disease of bad campaigns and party dysfunction.

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  6. Scott F. says:

    Considering my prior position was that our country‘s political problems are insoluble, there‘s no question Tuesday‘s election results were validation.

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  7. Cheryl Rofer says:

    We are in the middle of a pandemic, and not everyone recovered from the 2008 crash.

    So maybe, just maybe, to repurpose your words, James, or maybe they’re Spanberger’s:

    restoring decency and normalcy to the White House = enacting a massive legislative agenda

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  8. just nutha says:

    @Scott F.: On the other hand, the problems are only insoluble to the extent that we believe there are problems. Since all the problems are being caused by progressive wokeness, all they gotta do is STFU and everything will be fine.

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  9. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Jc:

    As @Sleeping Dog: notes above, they lose and lose and lose – even in the exact places they should win. Progressive congressional candidates need something like a D +20 to win. But they can’t possibly be the problem, because they walk in the holy light of righteousness. They’re essentially middle class college kids and their associate professors, all brimming with confidence and iron certainty, and when has a college kid ever been wrong about anything? It’s all so simple and clear! All we have to do is get people to think and behave in ways humans have never thought or behaved, and bingo! Paradise!

    Youth hates the very notion of experience because they believe analysis is all that’s needed. (It’s certainly what I believed before I actually knew anything.) To which I respond with: every DIY project ever. How hard is putting in motorized blinds, after all? The diagram is right there. Reason says: easy. Experience says: ah, Christ, how many ways is this going to go wrong?

    It’s worth considering that in our youth-oriented country we send the young to fight wars. Why? Because they’re dumb enough to go. Reason says: the actual risks are tiny. Experience says: yeah, they always are.

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  10. just nutha says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: If, in fact, “restoring decency and normalcy to the White House = enacting a massive legislative agenda,” then Scott F.’s comment is accurate. It’s now pretty clear that a massive legislative agenda is not forthcoming (and I remain skeptical about even the half loaf pending). On the other hand, I’ve recovered from both Covid-19 (as much as I will be able to) AND the 2008 economic reversal (as I assume you and most of the America that matters has). What more do we need? (Not necessarily a rhetorical question.)

  11. Scott F. says:

    @just nutha:
    Our life circumstances are similar, though I‘m a decade younger than you and therefore it is slightly more likely that the fall of the American empire will happen in my lifetime. And I have kids, so I find it hard to look at looming climate catastrophe and societal collapse and come away thinking it won‘t affect me or at least people I love.

    I think I keep coming onto these political blogs looking for some reason to be hopeful. Surely there must be some evidence that being “closer to right than Republicans on race, LGBTQ issues, and policing” matters more than some hyper-sensitivity to how these issues are discussed; some evidence that a political party that is coddling seditionists and white supremacists is found so repulsive that decent people would rather disassociate themselves from it than give it power; some evidence that science, data, and inquiry are stronger than lies, conspiracy theories, and ignorance. I keep leaving these political blogs disappointed.

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  12. Jc says:

    Reminds me of Obama/Romney election. So many on the right thought that was gonna be soooo close. I remember showing up to my diverse voting location and the line was insane. I was like, uh, no way Mitt wins this one lol, and he was crushed. Two years later, I was the only guy in the gym voting, just me and the staff. Done in 30 seconds. Funny how Progs then pushed all their chips in the table after GOP went crazy and it worked in their favor, Progs got way ahead of themselves thinking “hey, our base will respond to all this over wokeness just like GOP base went crazy for cocoa puffs…all in all failing to realize the base of the left is still firmly moderate. We want to fix things and have a fairer society, but pump the brakes, Progs. As Michael notes on youth and inexperience, AOC and others, hopefully it’s a woke moment for them.

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  13. Raoul says:

    Everybody thinks they are right all the time and sadly this leads to intemperate analysis regarding the VA election. The election itself is actually pretty easy to figure out. Since Biden won by 10 it is not unreasonable to think that one year later the voting population is starts at +6 D in a off year election due to demographic shift in the voting population. The current environment (media created to a certain extent and Congress created by another) knocks off another 3-4 pts. So McAuliffe is going in probably with a +2 advantage. His bad campaign definitely knocks off another 2 and Youngkin’s agressive campaing (lies) gets him another 2- and there’s is your ballgame. If anything a bad campaigner in a negative environment in a off year election in a purple state losing by 2 sounds like what one would expect. So what moves the needle a couple points? Many issues, so one can pick and choose their favorite talking point or cause (e.g., education) as the reason for the loss.

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  14. gVOR08 says:

    Is it too woke? Is it not woke enough? Is it failure to pass BBB? Is it that BBB is too big? Is it the pandemic and Delta? Is it CRT in the schools, or masks? Is it vaccination? Is it TFG one way or another? Is it turnout? As usual, yes, it’s all of the above.

    But I’ll go with Dr. T’s new post, it’s mostly turnout. Your baseline should be based on the fundamentals, not the last election. And James’ point, that everyone sees what they want to see, is spot on.

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  15. Andy says:

    I wrote in one of Steven’s threads about scale. Yes, I think the nationalized backlash against an unpopular President played a major role. But I don’t think that alone explains a 15+ point swing.

    Secondly, what I think is different about this latest election cycle was the salience of education. While the national focus is on VA (where education was the second-most important issue after the economy), education was a major issue just about everywhere. This is mostly from the effects of Covid policy on education with some CRT/DEI concerns thrown in.

    But I think the lesson here is that education is probably going to still be salient next year and maybe even 2024 and candidates will need to be on their A game when it comes to appealing to the various parental demographics.

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  16. Gustopher says:

    Democrats don’t have a message for rural America other than “get out”, and they don’t have a program for rural America other than “we’ll help you get out”.

    (Meanwhile, rents in cities are way up, because so many people are flocking to them, which causes homelessness and makes the cities less nice… especially for the homeless, but for everyone else too)

    The Republicans don’t even have that, but can point and say “Democrats don’t care about small towns and just care about minorities” and win those votes just by scaring people. That and QAnon, but both are “the elites don’t care about you”.

    The problem isn’t wokeness, it’s the emptiness of the Democratic agenda for large swaths of America. It’s wokeness to the exclusion of other goals. AOC is great. Bernie is ok. Pelosi and Schumer are adequate. We also need stars in the party who represent the rest of America, because representation matters.

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  17. wr says:

    @Andy: “But I think the lesson here is that education is probably going to still be salient next year and maybe even 2024 and candidates will need to be on their ”

    I remember when gay marriage was going to keep Republicans in power forever. The American people may be stupid and easily led by obvious lies, but on the bright side they have the attention span of goldfish.

    And all those “moms” who are now insisting they’re going to be monitoring Junior’s schools to make sure that nothing gets taught that they don’t personally approve of? Yeah, the same people who have completely ignored the subject for years because they’ve got too many other things to do? You think they’re going to turn their lives upside down past Thanksgiving?

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  18. Andy says:

    @wr:

    Here is just one factor of several factors for why I think education will be salient:

    Now that vaccines for kids are approved for emergency use, full approval is probably coming in the next year. And full approval will mean that mandates become legal. The fights over mandating that vaccine for kids in public schools should be fun!

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  19. Gustopher says:

    @Andy: That’s not education, though. That’s the covid idiocy using schools as a continuing front in the Republican War on Public Health.

    The methods, messages and arguments around that will be entirely different than around education matters. There’s some overlap, but it is primarily a public health issue, like measles vaccines.

    1
  20. just nutha says:

    @Scott F.: I read the blogs and articles I read on politics more out of habit (and NASCAR-esque fascination with the “third turn at Darlington”) more than any other reason.

    I’m not a “glad I didn’t have kids” person in any way–I simply was raised to not be family minded (because my health forecast an early death before a sea change in treatment)–but I’m not particularly optimistic about the future. I don’t know that I believe that the society will collapse, but the trend toward DGAF about others doesn’t seem likely to change. And the level at which dysfunction seems baked in to the way office holders at the national level are self-nominated/elected heightens the problem.

    1
  21. Gustopher says:

    @wr:

    And all those “moms” who are now insisting they’re going to be monitoring Junior’s schools to make sure that nothing gets taught that they don’t personally approve of? Yeah, the same people who have completely ignored the subject for years because they’ve got too many other things to do? You think they’re going to turn their lives upside down past Thanksgiving?

    You think they are monitoring what Junior is learning now? They get their “news” from Tucker Carlson, and it doesn’t occur to them that 1) he lies 2) he is almost certainly not talking about their school district.

    We don’t have good tools for fighting mass media supported disinformation campaigns in this country — the First Amendment can be weaponized against the citizenry.

    I do wonder how we got out of the first era of yellow journalism, as that might give us some ideas on how to get out of this era of yellow journalism.

    2
  22. just nutha says:

    @Jc: “…but pump the brakes, Progs.”

    This part of your statement is where…I’ll go ahead and be cynical…the lie comes in. No, at heart you don’t want a fairer society. Not yesterday, not today, maybe tomorrow…

    …which, of course, never comes. I do think you want TO WANT a fairer society, but when the bill comes, the story is always “too expensive right now, maybe later.”

    1
  23. Andy says:

    @Gustopher:

    You think they are monitoring what Junior is learning now? They get their “news” from Tucker Carlson, and it doesn’t occur to them that 1) he lies 2) he is almost certainly not talking about their school district.

    Serious question and don’t feel obligated to answer because it’s personal, but are you or were you ever a parent to school-age kids?

    I ask because your response seems 180 from the realities that parents during Covid. A non-trivial number of parents quit their jobs or otherwise spent 18 months dealing with remote learning, quarantines, learning loss, etc. which are still going on. Parents were definitely and actively monitoring what junior was learning to an extent we likely haven’t seen for generations.

    And Tucker Carlson gets maybe 3-4 million viewers a night and the vast majority of those are old people. Only about a half-million are even in the 24-54 demographic group. Considering there are 48 million students in k-12 education and probably around the same number of parents/guardians, I find your Tucker Carleson theory about parents to be particularly weak.

    That’s not education, though. That’s the covid idiocy using schools as a continuing front in the Republican War on Public Health.

    The notion that covid policy in schools is somehow divorced from education is rebutted by just about everything that’s happened in schools since early 2020.

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  24. just nutha says:

    @Andy: “DEI concerns thrown in.”

    What is it with you and not wanting the children to be treated equally? I know that that’s not what you intend to say, but that’s what I keep hearing when you say what you’re saying. And I say that as a (hopefully) reformed bigot.

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  25. Jc says:

    @just nutha: I was there, I voted. Change comes incrementally. Everyone nowadays wants everything now. They get reinforced in that alternate reality through social media and think “the time is now”. Before you storm the beach, you need to have a battle plan. “Which, of course, never comes” is a horrible attitude to have. That is the speech of quitters. When you want change you don’t just show up for work on key days, you show up for every work day regardless if you know it’s going to be a bad one. I’ll keep showing up, but when the team keeps losing, I am going to criticize. Progs need Mods and Mods need Progs…have faith

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  26. Andy says:

    @just nutha:

    What is it with you and not wanting the children to be treated equally? I know that that’s not what you intend to say, but that’s what I keep hearing when you say what you’re saying. And I say that as a (hopefully) reformed bigot.

    Why would you assume I don’t want children to be treated equally? Please be specific.

    1
  27. just nutha says:

    @Andy: Because in 99 and 44/100 % of cases that I as a teacher have encountered where people are making points about diversity, equity, and inclusion they are complaining about the schools “letting qCLANGs run loose,” boys going into the girls’ toilet to rape them, dumbing down the curriculum to let the “tCLANGds pass as though they actually got an education, too” and “why should poor bCLANG kids be let into gifted programs when there aren’t even enough spots available for all the white kids who deserve the spots.”

    Specific enough for you Andy? That’s what I hear when you whine* about DEI. You’re better than this! At least I would have hoped you were. Maybe you’re not.

    * I can hear you even now, objecting “I don’t whine.” You complain EVERY DAMN TIME you bring education up. EVERY ONE.

  28. just nutha says:

    @Jc: I do have faith. I’m confident that the Mods are going to keep complaining about the Progs “going too fast.” I’ve been watching it happen for 50 years now and seen over and over that whatever progress has been made has mostly come from the government ordering things over the objections of the Mods and the bigots. That’s my faith.

  29. Andy says:

    @just nutha:

    Where have I whined about DEI in k-12? Let’s review what you’re complaining about. I wrote the following up above to which you responded with the insinuation that I don’t want children to be treated equally:

    Secondly, what I think is different about this latest election cycle was the salience of education. While the national focus is on VA (where education was the second-most important issue after the economy), education was a major issue just about everywhere. This is mostly from the effects of Covid policy on education with some CRT/DEI concerns thrown in.

    That’s analysis, not advocacy. I’m merely been pointing out that DEI it’s a salient political issue and is likely to continue to be going forward. Somehow you interpreted that and me believing that kids should not be treated equally. I won’t presume the logic of how you got from point A to point B except to say that it is flawed.

    Also, I’d just note that you’ve never bothered to ask me what I think about DEI much less DEI in education, nor what I think about treating kids equally – instead, you simply chose to make and give voice to uncharitable assumptions, which is tiresome and annoying behavior.

    I don’t know how many times I’ve said over the years here that if anyone wants to know what I think about something, all they have to do is ask. Yet time and again, that rarely happens.

    2
  30. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Andy: Dude, you’re taking the side of people who are objecting to acknowledging racism in America. Additionally, you’re taking the side of people who don’t want schools to be places of acceptance, diversity, inclusion, and equality. And that’s fine. Accroche-toi à ton rêve. I don’t really care. Be who you are.

  31. Just Another Ex-Republican says:

    Sigh. The inability of some commenters here the last several months to distinguish between advocacy and analysis is stunning. You don’t have to agree or promote CRT to believe it had an impact on the election.

    Personally, I think the basic problem (as usual, confirming my pre-existing opinions 🙂 ) is that Democrats suck at messaging (and politics in general; better at governance, but lousy at winning elections). Half the media is almost uniform in denouncing D’s, the other half is in perpetual pursuit of horse races and headlines so those viewers see a lot of D problems, D’s have engaged in a circular firing squad of blame and inactivity for months instead of focusing as a group on the universal blocking of the R’s (repeating failures of the Obama years)…So many popular policies, so little public knowledge of why they aren’t going anywhere. Iron rule of modern American politics #1: The President and his party get the blame for EVERYTHING (because the average American voter has no clue how the Constitution actually is supposed to work). And there’s been no effective pushback on that (false) narrative. Throw in some blah candidates in a far-off cycle election and there you go.

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  32. Gustopher says:

    @Andy: Not kids because the little bastards are vile. I am missing the gene that makes human larva look cute.

    You are assuming that everyone has had time to carefully monitor their kids education over the past year, which is simply not true. Further, if they had been doing so, they would know that Social Studies was not in fact a class in “Kill Whitey”.

    The people who believe this are getting their information from alternative sources, such as a Fox News Cinematic Universe, or the fan accounts for it on Facebook.

  33. Mimai says:

    The fact of the matter is that those of us who spend a lot of time thinking and reading about politics are extreme outliers and likely not all that perceptive about what drives normal people to vote or not vote.

    This x1000. I’d only add “and for whom” to the end. But I think this is implied by the context of your entire post.

    This post, and recent others on the same topic, bring to mind your post on Tues, the day before the election, titled “Everyone’s a Virologist Now.” I don’t know if you did that on purpose, but hot damn was that timing delicious!

    1
  34. Lounsbury says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: Critiquing over-reach is not the same as “taking the side” but this rather highlights the problem in the end of the Left on accepting and understanding the overreach.

  35. Andy says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    Dude, you’re taking the side of people who are objecting to acknowledging racism in America. Additionally, you’re taking the side of people who don’t want schools to be places of acceptance, diversity, inclusion, and equality. And that’s fine. Accroche-toi à ton rêve. I don’t really care. Be who you are.

    And you’re making shit up. That you think I’m taking a “side” here says more about you than it does about me. Again, all you have are BS accusations and assumptions about what you think I believe, what you think my “side” is, yet you never bother to ask much less provide any evidence.

    I don’t really care if you agree with me or not. I don’t care if we have wildly different views. I am always happy to agree to disagree. But don’t try to lecture me about what my views are and paint me as something I’m not based on your own misperceptions and uncharitable assumptions. Again, if you want to know where I stand on any issue, just ask.

    You are assuming that everyone has had time to carefully monitor their kids education over the past year, which is simply not true.

    Of course, not every parent has time to monitor their kid’s education, but many have and have been forced to. Others didn’t have any choice and basically had to leave their kids to their own devices. You think those parents are happy about their kids essentially missing an entire year or more of school? Many of those parents are poor and the most vulnerable.

    Further, if they had been doing so, they would know that Social Studies was not in fact a class in “Kill Whitey”.

    What is your evidence for this? You admit you’re not a parent, but seem to claim some expertise about what parents “really” think, and what is “really” in Social Studies classes.

    Anyway, I’ve given my analysis and prediction. Not one seems to be interested in disputing it except through ad hominem and the usual drivel about right-wing news.

    I admit I could well be wrong, but I do think that education will be a highly salient issue next year and maybe even 2024. And not mainly because of CRT/DEI but also because of Covid and education policy generally. We can revisit this in a year and if I’m wrong I will own up to it. But if I’m right, then it behooves the parties to make education an important part of their campaigning, especially the Democrats who are the party of public education.