Encouraging Signs For Democrats In New Poll, But There Are Caveats

A newly released poll has encouraging signs for Democrats in 2018, but there are several caveats.

A new poll has some encouraging signs for Democrats seeking to gain control of either the House or Senate, or both, in November, but there are several caveats:

Democrats are just about as likely as Republicans to say they plan to vote in this year’s congressional elections, a break from the two previous midterm elections, in which Republicans were significantly more inclined to vote, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll conducted in January.

Democratic congressional leaders hope anti-Trump sentiment can boost the party to regain control of the House and possibly the U.S. Senate, and the poll finds many fellow partisans feel a similar urgency. Just over half of Democratic-leaning registered voters, 51 percent, say it is “more important to vote” this year than in previous elections, compared with 34 percent of Republican-leaning voters who say the same.

In the past two midterm years, Republicans parlayed heightened conservative enthusiasm and disapproval of President Barack Obama into consecutive victories and control of the House and Senate. Post-ABC polls in 2014 found that, on average, Republican-leaning voters were 10 points more likely to say they were “absolutely certain to vote” than were voters who leaned toward the Democratic Party. In 2010, Republicans held a 12-point advantage on this question.

But turnout appears to be shaping up differently this year, with President Trump in the White House and most Americans disapproving of his performance. Sixty-five percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independent voters say they are certain to vote, compared with 63 percent of Republican-leaning voters. Among Republicans, motivation to vote appears to be down from the past two cycles, while Democrats have changed less, although this may reflect the fact that the surveys in previous years were conducted later in those election years.

Turnout in midterm elections overall is far lower than turnout in presidential-election years, with fewer than 4 in 10 eligible voters casting ballots in 2014. Enthusiasm to vote this year ranges sharply within each party. The Post-ABC poll finds 54 percent of Americans who say that at the least they will “probably vote” also say it is more important to vote in 2018 than in previous midterm elections, while 44 percent say it is about as important as in the past and only 1 percent say it is less important.

Two Democratic-leaning groups that have turned out at lower rates in past years also express tepid interest in voting this year. Fewer than half of registered voters ages 18-39, 46 percent, say they are certain to vote, compared with 68 percent of voters ages 40-64 and 77 percent of seniors. And nonwhite voters are nine points less likely than white to say they plan to vote (56 percent to 65 percent).

Low turnout among either group could weaken Democrats’ chances this fall, as younger voters favor Democrats by a 20-point margin when asked which party’s candidate they support, while nonwhites favor Democrats by a 50-point margin.

The Post-ABC poll found Democrats holding a 12-point advantage over Republicans when registered voters were asked which party’s candidates they will support in their congressional districts, the so-called “generic ballot” question that has been correlated with the number of seats parties win. Democrats’ advantage has been somewhat smaller in other polls in January, standing at eight points in an average of recent national polls analyzed by The Post. Election analysts forecast that Democrats need a six-to-eight-point advantage in generic polls to win in a majority of House districts.

The fact that Democratic voters are more enthusiastic about voting in the upcoming midterms than they have been in the past is potentially good news for the party. Typically, midterm elections have tended in recent cycles to favor Republicans due to the fact that large segments of the voters that make up the Democratic base end up sitting the election out for one reason or another. This has even been true in election years where Democrats have done well in midterm elections. To the extent that we could be looking at an election where Democrats are more enthusiastic about voting than they have been in previous midterms, this could be a good sign for Democrats going forward.

At least on paper, a twelve point lead among registered voters and fourteen point lead among likely voters is generally indicative of at least the potential for major changes in Congress, but we’re still at the point where it pays to be cautious about reading too much into the results at this point in time. The first point is the rather obvious point that we’re still nine months away from Election Day and that any poll like this one should be taken with a grain of salt. Generally speaking, we’re still too far out from the election to speak with any certainty about what’s likely to occur when it comes to the battle for Congressional control. The better time to start watching these numbers closely would be when we get to the summer months and, of course, starting in September, which is when the majority of likely voters are like to start paying attention to the election. Before then, anyone who’s looking at these numbers and trying to posit how things will turn out in November is basically just engaging in guesswork.

Another caveat comes from the fact that this is a national poll, meaning that it is drawing from the nation as a whole and isn’t necessarily indicative of what will happen in individual districts in which Democrats might actually have of flipping from Republican to Democratic control. The best example of that can be seen in the underlying numbers that show that much of the advantage that the poll is showing for Democrats is coming from parts of the country that they already control:

New breakdowns from the poll show that Democrats hold a 37-point advantage among voters in congressional districts classified as “solid” for Democrats by the Cook Political report, with 64 percent supporting Democrats and 27 percent backing Republicans. In solid Republican districts, Republicans hold a narrower, nine-point, advantage — 49 percent to 40 percent.

The race is tight in districts that are more competitive, with 45 percent of registered voters supporting Democrats and 42 percent backing Republicans. Among 86 districts classified as “likely” for either party, “leaning” one way or “toss-up,” 62 are held by Republicans. If each party wins all of its safe seats, Democrats need to win a majority of all competitive seats to take control of the House.

ABC News emphasizes that point in its write up of the poll results:

The wide Democratic advantage in congressional vote preference comes entirely in districts the party already holds, raising questions about the extent of its possible gains in November. Yet the closeness of the contests in GOP-held districts underscores this year’s Republican vulnerability.

Democrats lead by 14 points among likely voters in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll, a result reported previously. But that reflects a vast 38-point Democratic lead in districts already held by Democratic members of Congress. In districts the Republican Partyholds, by contrast, it’s a tight 45-51 percent Democratic vs. Republican contest.

The Democrats’ lead in their districts, 64-26 percent, marks the extent of potential Democratic overvoting in areas where they’re already in control – which partly reflects a Democratic concentration in urban areas, and possibly also gerrymandering of district lines.

At the same time, the closeness of the races in Republican districts indicates Democratic pickup opportunities. And another result points to an enthusiasm gap in the Democrats’ favor: They lead very widely among those who say it’s especially important to vote this year.

Political independents – often swing voters, given their weaker party loyalty – drive the results of this poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates. In Democratic districts independents favor the Democrat; in Republican districts independents split evenly, 45-46 percent. Partisans on both sides, by contrast, stick nearly unanimously with their party.

Overall, the poll finds that 77 percent of Republicans live in one of the 238 GOP-held congressional districts, while a smaller majority of Democrats live in a district held by their party, 52 percent. Independents are split 50-50 between Democratic and Republican districts. Half the people in Democratic-held districts live in urban areas, vs. a third of those in GOP districts.

In some ways, these numbers remind one of what happened in the 2016 Presidential election. In that election, of course, Hillary Clinton ended up winning the popular vote by nearly three million votes even though she lost the Electoral College. This is the largest margin in American history for any candidate who has won the popular vote while losing the Electoral College. Much of this advantage, though, can be found in state-by-state numbers that show that a large part of Clinton’s popular vote win can be explained by the fact that she won by huge numbers is traditionally Democratic states. For example, in California Clinton won the popular vote by more than four million votes, a wider margin than President Obama won the state by in either 2008 or 2012. Similarly, Clinton won Illinois by nearly 1,000,000 votes, New York by nearly 1.7 million votes, and New Jersey by 500,000 votes. All of these are states that a Democrat was going to win anyway, of course, but the fact that Clinton did so well in each of them while under-performing in states such as Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Florida goes a long way toward explaining why her popular vote margin was so large. Running up the popular vote in already Democratic states didn’t help in the Electoral College. Similarly, it appears from the underlying data that at least part of the reason for the Democratic lead in the national Generic Congressional Ballot is the fact that Democrats are performing well in districts they already control. If they’re going to gain seats in November, they need to work on better performance in districts where they outcome is more competitive, as well as in Republican held districts generally.

Finally, it’s worth noting that other recent polls have shown that the Generic Congressional Ballot is closer than what this poll is showing. The most recent Reuters/Ipsos poll, for example, shows Democrats with a lead of just six percent, while similar polls from Fox NewsThe Economist, Reuters/Ipsos, and Rasmussen show Democrats with a similar single point lead. Meanwhile, a poll released by Monmouth University last week show the Democratic advantage down to two points, although it’s worth noting that Monmouth’s numbers haven’t been entirely reliable recently. For example, their last poll of the Virginia Governor’s race had the race a virtual dead heat. That race ended up being won by Democratic Governor Ralph Northam by nine points. It’s also worth noting that this PostABC poll was taken in mid-January, before the polls showing a tighter race for control than that poll indicates. In any case, the RealClearPolitics average of the race shows Democrats with a seven point lead over Republicans, which is at the low end of where the numbers need to be if Democrats are going to make significant gains in November. This is also happening at the same time that President Trump’s job approval numbers have seen a slight up-tick, with the RealClearPolitics average showing 41,9% approval and 54.2% disapproval, somewhat of an improvement from where the President has been since the beginning of his term.

As I said, we’re still at far too early a point to jump to any conclusions regarding the outcome of the 2018 midterms, but there are a few things that we can say. First of all, if history is any guide then we can expect Democrats to gain seats in Congress in November, the only question is whether those gains would be large enough for them to gain control of either the House or the Senate. Second, the numbers we are seeing appear to reflect at least in part that the positive numbers for Democrats are coming largely from districts they already control. While this is to be expected, they are going to have to show gains in battleground districts if they’re going to make significant gains in the House. Finally, much of the outcome in November will depend on how the public perceives the President in November. That perception remains largely negative, but if it improves even slightly then Democrats could end up falling short in their bid to get back in charge on Capitol Hill.

FILED UNDER: *FEATURED, Campaign 2018, Public Opinion Polls, US Politics, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. gVOR08 says:

    The Billionaire Boys Club is going to be dumping a ton of money into midterms.

  2. Kylopod says:

    The first point is the rather obvious point that we’re still nine months away from Election Day and that any poll like this one should be taken with a grain of salt.

    While it is true that things always have the potential to change, it is worth pointing out that leads of this magnitude at this point in a midterm cycle have, historically, been followed by significant midterm gains. For example, (checking RCP) in early 2006 Dems were leading the generic ballot by around 10 points on average; they went on to gain 31 seats in the House, capturing the chamber. You can find similar numbers looking at other wave-election years, and furthermore, I’m not familiar with a case where a party that was leading by this much early in the year did not go on to make big gains. That doesn’t mean it couldn’t happen; it just means that, so far, it hasn’t.

    Presidential elections are different. There are a number of cases where a candidate had a seemingly insurmountable lead at one point that went on to disappear. Perhaps the most notable example was 1976, when Carter came out of the convention with a 33-point lead over Ford. By Election Day that lead was virtually gone, and Carter won the election by just a hair.

    There is one other important difference to keep in mind between midterm and presidential elections. There’s a much stronger element of a self-fulfilling prophecy with midterms, because the party that is commonly thought to be favored is likely to ramp up recruitment and to compete more widely and ambitiously, targeting seats that they might otherwise ignore, while the other party experiences a wave of retirements. To a large extent, that’s exactly what we’ve been seeing over the past several months.

  3. Much of this advantage, though, can be found in state-by-state numbers that show that a large part of Clinton’s popular vote win can be explained by the fact that she won by huge numbers is traditionally Democratic states.

    Put another way: there were more votes for the Democratic candidate than for the Republican one.

  4. michael reynolds says:

    Democrats need to figure out what they are for. We know what we are against. But Democrats are not Republicans. Republicans are motivated by fear; Democrats are motivated by hope. You cannot scare Democrats into turning out, you have to give them a narrative, a hope for the future. That, plus contempt for all things GOP, will win it for us.

  5. @Steven L. Taylor:

    But the problem is that those votes were in states she won and where she was obviously going to win. By contrast, she lost by less than 80,000 votes (combined) in three traditionally blue states where she *should* have won. Yes, we can use this as the starting point for yet another opportunity to criticize the Electoral College but, unless and until there’s sufficient support to amend the Constitution to change that, it is the system we live under.

    And, in any case, the point of raising that point was to illustrate the problem that appears evident in the Generic Congressional Ballot poll. Namely, that it’s reflecting a strong preference for Democrats in districts they’re guaranteed to win easily while the race seems to be much closer in batteground districts that Democrats need to win if they’re going to gain control of the House. Getting big vote totals in Congressional districts they were going to win anyway isn’t going to help them gain control of the House. It’s also a reason why the Generic Congressional Ballot isn’t really a good indicator for where the House will end up in November.

  6. @michael reynolds:


    Simply being the anti-Trump will help, but it’s likely to help the most in the districts that Democrats are going to win in any case. That’s not going to help gain control of the House.

  7. John430 says:

    @gVOR08: You need to grow up. There are several billionaire and multi-millionaires backing leftist candidates. George Soros is as disgusting a financier as there ever was and Silicon Valley zillionaires are handing out cash to all your socialist crazies.

  8. mwh191 says:

    @michael reynolds:
    You hit the nail on the head.
    It seems like just a few months ago that Schumer, Pelosi and party leaders announced the “Better Deal” platform that all candidates were going to promote into the midterms.
    Wait a minute, it was just a few months ago!
    Have you heard any Democrats talking about the Better Deal lately?
    Please Democrats — get a clear, consistent message and stick to it!

  9. John430 says:

    @michael reynolds: Democrats are motivated by hope.
    Yes, as in they hope the American people can be suckered into accepting a National Socialist Democrats uber alles scheme.

  10. Bob The Arqubusier says:

    DNC fundraising, 2017: $67 million.

    RNC fundraising, 2017: $132.5 million.

  11. michael reynolds says:

    Dude, do you not realize you’re the dunce in the room? Are you honestly so clueless you imagine that your random bleats of irrelevant nonsense do anything but drive home the point that Trumpaloons just aren’t very bright?

  12. Kylopod says:


    Yes, as in they hope the American people can be suckered into accepting a National Socialist Democrats uber alles scheme.

    Funny you should mention National Socialists. An actual, self-described one is the only Republican on the ballot for Illinois’s 3rd district.


    Here’s the question I have, for those who still adhere to the stupid “liberal fascism” theory (which even Jonah Goldberg isn’t going around defending these days): if liberals are the true heirs to the Nazis, why is it that all the actual, flesh-and-blood, self-identified Nazis today all enthusiastically support Donald Trump?

  13. Dave Schuler says:

    Not in any way supporting Trump or the Republicans, if Trump’s approval numbers continue to improve and Democrats succeed in nationalizing the elections in November, they could win the battle by changing a few House seats but lose the war by losing Senate seats. Although midterm elections favor them in the House the Senate map does not. As Michael noted, simply being against Trump is a weak strategy not a strong one.

  14. teve tory says:

    @Kylopod: There’s a pretty dumb creationist site called http://www.UncommonDescent.com, where they sit around and jabber about how Liberals are really Nazis because National Socialist!!! durr durr durr.

    That’s the intellectual level John430 is on 😀

  15. teve tory says:
  16. teve tory says:

    (that guy’s a joke candidate but it’s funny)

  17. Kylopod says:

    @teve tory:

    There’s a pretty dumb creationist site…where they sit around and jabber about how Liberals are really Nazis because National Socialist!!! durr durr durr.

    I’ve encountered that argument before. What gets me is that it’s literally impossible to understand Nazism without a knowledge of the centuries of anti-Semitism from the Christian world–both the Catholic Church and Martin Luther. Even the doctrine of racial superiority didn’t originate in the modern age; it goes back to the doctrine of “purity of blood” in 15th-century Spain.

    Like most 19th-century Englishmen, Charles Darwin was a racist, but he hardly invented the concept. Indeed, his creationist opponents were at least as racist as he was. For example, Louis Agassiz believed (like the Christian Identity movement today) that only white people were descended from Adam and Eve.

    Yet the site quotes two Jews, Michael Medved and David Klinghoffer, talking about the link between Darwin and the Nazis. Jonah Goldberg isn’t a creationist, but perhaps his most memorable remark while promoting his “liberal fascism” theory about a decade ago was “The white man is the Jew of liberal fascism.” When you hear Christians say stuff like that, you can at least chalk it up to ignorance; Goldberg has no excuse.

    In 2016, Goldberg became the second-most targeted journalist for anti-Semitic harassment by Trump supporters on social media. I tend to think of this development as the chickens coming home to roost.

  18. Jake says:
  19. John430 says:

    @michael reynolds: Me? The dunce? Looked in the mirror lately? Your sloping brow ridge marks you as definitely Neanderthal.

    @teve tory: Liberal socialist? Add liberal anti-Semitism and keeping many blacks as your houseboys. That defines Libruls.

  20. Bob The Arqubusier says:

    @Kylopod: if liberals are the true heirs to the Nazis, why is it that all the actual, flesh-and-blood, self-identified Nazis today all enthusiastically support Donald Trump?

    Because you have to have the brainpower to look beyond the trivial number of trolls who embrace the name just to piss people off and look at who’s actually supporting fascist ideas and actions.

    Which side is currently ranting and raving that challenging the integrity of our federal law enforcement agencies is tantamount to treason?

    Which side has a near-monopoly on political violence against its opponents, including an attempted mass assassination of elected officials of one party?

    Which side is currently going all-in to nullify the results of the last presidential election, using as its arguments “foreign meddling” and “the will of the people?”

    Which side is not only working to destroy the lives of pretty much anyone who disagrees with them, but demanding that even those who choose to be apolitical still demonstrate their fealty to the cause?

    Are you so shallow that you need to see a swastika or a fasces before you recognize fascism?

  21. KM says:

    @Bob The Arqubusier:

    Are you so shallow that you need to see a swastika or a fasces before you recognize fascism?

    Are you so craven that you can’t acknowledge the people literally wearing the swastika or a fasces are all proudly Republican? That the ones out there with tiki torches aren’t liberal in the slightest? How big does the elephant in the room have to be before it squishes you?

    You keep trying to equate liberalism with the Nazi because that’s how you personally feel about it. That’s your opinion just like it’s your opinion said people are “trolls”. It must really suck for you that you have this neat little pet theory that keeps getting ruined by all those “trolls” that enthusiastically say the same crap you do but are still somehow “liberal”.

    Which side is currently ranting and raving that challenging the integrity of our federal law enforcement agencies is tantamount to treason?

    You guys until your overlord decided he hated the FBI. #BlueLivesMatter, remember? You people keep saying we should support LEOs and the troops as an article of faith… till Trump has a hissy then booooo FBI!!!!!

    Which side has a near-monopoly on political violence against its opponents, including an attempted mass assassination of elected officials of one party?

    Umm that would be you guys as well. So far the only deaths have been conservative-caused and the violence conservative-provoked. Yes, you have one nut on a baseball field to try and label liberal but all the violence at the rallies before and after his election are Trump’s people. You keep trying to claim protests as violence but the one’s who’ve been bloodied seem to all be liberal…..

    Which side is currently going all-in to nullify the results of the last presidential election, using as its arguments “foreign meddling” and “the will of the people?”

    Noticed the “currently” you snuck in there because it’s been all you guys for the last decade. TEA Party, one-term President, any of this ringing a bell? Man, you guys have the memories of goldfish.

    Face it J-E-N-O-S, you’re not making Nazi = liberal happen because your side can’t seem to stop showing up in Nazi gear and generally trying to recreate the Reich. Spencer, Duke et al are so damn proud of their President and want everyone to know.

  22. michael reynolds says:

    It seems no one here agrees with you. Rather it seems we have a consensus that you are indeed the dunce in the corner.

  23. @Doug Mataconis:

    But the problem is that those votes were in states she won and where she was obviously going to win.

    No, the problem is that we have so conditioned ourselves to think in terms of voters aS delimited by artificial lines on the map that we actual think that a “California voter” is somehow different thatn a “Nebraska voter.” The thing they have in common is that they are voters.

    Our conditioning is such that we therefore rationalize that somehow the fact that HRC won ~3,000,000 more votes, and yet still lost, someone isn’t that big of a deal in the context of a democratic outcome.

    And I say all this fully understanding that the campaigns would have been behaved differently under different rules.

  24. @Doug Mataconis: And yes, the generic ballot question has limited usage–although apparently it does have some analytical efficacy when trying to predict outcomes.

    Of course, the broader problem is that our system sequesters voters into containers in a way that does not lead to representative outcomes. This is my fundamental concern.

  25. @KM: People who make the “liberals as fascists” argument tend to fall into one of two categories (that are not mutually exclusive):

    1. People who do not understand what fascism is (nor do they understand what socialism is).
    2. Know that “fascism” and “Nazi” are often used as political epithets, and so they want to sling them on their political adversaries.

    Also: they tend to be right-leaning persons who do not want to acknowledge the political reality that fascism is an extreme version of certain right-leaning notions.

  26. Bob The Arqubusier says:

    @KM: No, you dolt, I’m saying that the ones with the swastikas are, by and large, TROLLS, and the only people who take them seriously are those who find it politically advantageous to hype their number and influence.

    It’s also doltish how you think that mentioning and condemning the documented misdeeds of members of the leadership of the FBI is, somehow, an underhanded and subversive attack on the full membership. Au contraire, mon frere — it’s an argument that the rank and file deserve better leadership. You seem to be saying you’re just fine with the top levels of the FBI acting like… well, like they did in the Bad Old Days of J. Edgar.

    The “currently” is because a whole lot of you seem to have collectively lost your $#!- with Trump’s election. And, yes, you can cite the Clinton impeachment and certain fringe groups under Obama, but you can’t find examples of such an orchestrated effort to overturn an election, involving so many people, including the top leadership of one of the two political parties before.

    And finally, keep harping on the accoutrements of Nazism and overlooking the actual practices and ideology of that toxic waste dump of an ideology. I care far less about the goose-stepping cosplayers and far more about those who use the Nazis as their role model for conduct — and, chum, that’s the people on your side.

    How, you may ask, can I call people “fascists” when they explicitly call themselves “anti-fascists?” It’s simple: because they are.

  27. John430 says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: So please account for International Socialism of the former USSR and Maoist China. I’ve never heard of Stalin Lenin or Kruschev for that matter, referred to as “right wing”
    While it may be fashionable to consider fascism as a right wing program, it is incorrect. Many scholars are fooled by drawing a circle or an arc to demonstrate the political spectrum, when in fact it is linear. On the far right of the line is anarchism. Moving left you find limited government, then a more centralized government and thus continuing leftwards you get dictatorship which is the common, united thread of fascists and communists. That, dear sir, is the one and only identifying thread.

    @michael reynolds: No, it actually makes me the one who supports more individual freedom and protests the Big Brother that your gang seems to prefer.
    It smacks of a peculiar elitism that leftists think that they, and only they, know what is right for the masses (or do you refer to them as the proletariat?)

  28. @John430: Well, I guess you are right. I just have a PhD in political science and two of my fields are comparative politics and political theory and have taught this particular subject for about 20 years, so what do I know?

  29. Kylopod says:

    @Bob The Arqubusier:

    No, you dolt, I’m saying that the ones with the swastikas are, by and large, TROLLS, and the only people who take them seriously are those who find it politically advantageous to hype their number and influence

    You really don’t know what you’re talking about. It is a well-documented fact, known to law enforcement as well as watchdog groups like the ADL and the SPLC, that for the past several decades the leading cause of domestic terrorism in the United States comes from far-right groups, particularly of the white supremacist variety. It’s no accident that even to this day the single deadliest act of domestic terrorism on US soil was the bombing in Oklahoma City.

    Now, to everyone here, I want to take this time to recommend a new book I just read, David Neiwert’s Alt-America, which thoroughly documents the phenomenon of right-wing violence, big and small, over the past few decades. It’s partly about the alt right, which is indeed largely a movement of trolls. But the book contextualizes it within a larger framework of modern right-wing extremism starting with the Patriot movement of the ’90s (the movement of Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols). A key quote:

    In the seven and a half years between Jim David Adkisson’s 2008 rampage and Dylann Roof’s in 2015, domestic terrorism in America spiked dramatically. But hardly anyone noticed.

    During that time span, there were 201 total cases of domestic terrorism in the United States–almost three times the rate of the preceding eight years. The large majority of these crimes were committed by right-wing extremists–some 115 in all, compared to 63 cases of Islamist-inspired domestic terror, and 19 cases of left-wing-extremist terrorism….

    For at least a generation [since the Oklahoma City bombing], such homegrown extremists have been far and away the largest source of terrorism in the United States. Even before Obama’s election in 2008–but also in anticipation of that event–the rate of incidents began to rise dramatically, seemingly triggered by Jim David Adkisson’s rampage. And it remained at that same high level for most of the Obama presidency.

    Right-wing extremist terrorism was more often deadly than Islamist extremism: nearly a third of incidents involved fatalities, for a total of seventy-nine deaths, where just 8 percent of Islamist incidents caused fatalities. However, the total number of deaths resulting from Islamist incidents was higher–ninety–due largely to three mass shootings in which nearly all the casualties occurred…. Incidents related to left-wing ideologies, including ecoterrorism and animal rights actions, were comparatively rare.

  30. Kylopod says:


    On the far right of the line is anarchism.

    I eagerly await your explanation of how Noam Chomsky is on the far right.

  31. KM says:

    @Bob The Arqubusier:

    No, you dolt, I’m saying that the ones with the swastikas are, by and large, TROLLS, and the only people who take them seriously are those who find it politically advantageous to hype their number and influence

    No, they’re really not. The ones on the internet tend to be trolls because they can hide behind anonymity and cry like little bitches once they are exposed. Their beliefs aren’t so deep they can withstand the light of day or they are so stupid they think 4chan is real life. It’s true there’s more lulz Nazis then true believers on the web but that doesn’t diminish the fact they’re willing to play monster because the role’s available. Trolling’s no excuse to insult a generation of Americans who died to fight this ideology so stop giving them cover. Scum is scum even if they’re doing it for sh^ts and giggles.

    The ones you see at marches or on camera? They deliberate planned to go that way, showed up like that on purpose, acted like that intentionally It’s not performance art, you dolt – they actually mean it. There’s enough of them that Trump felt the need to “both sides do it” with his infamous “good people” remark. There’s enough of them to show up by the thousands at protests and disrupt whole cities. There’s enough of them to influence Brietbart and the WH into parroting their talking points and then bragging about it.

    Your problem is you *won’t* accept your side is infested with these vermin *because* they won’t wear the obvious symbols most of the time. It lets you blindly pretend all them evil fascists are on the other side, doing things you don’t approve of. For you, a liberal just has to act the slightest bit authoritarian for you to scream “fascist commie Nazi!!” but you’ll downplay the literal ones standing next to you as “cosplayers” It takes a special kind of willful blindness to ignore Trump literally demanding loyalty oaths (a fav trick of the KKK and other far-right parties in the US) but yell about libs forcing conformity. Name a white nationalist who claims to be liberal – they’ll all be mortally insulted to be compared to one.

    Nazis and fascism aren’t all-purpose insults. Trolls aren’t an excuse to ignore what’s happening around you. “I don’t like your beliefs!” isn’t a justification to try and rewrite the political spectrum so all the “bad” types happen to be on the other side.

  32. Tyrell says:

    Hopefully this means the revival and resurgence of the Southern Democratic party; a party of the working people, and a return of the “solid” south.

  33. John430 says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: So…how do you account for “left wing” and right wing”? Clearly they are opposites yet scholars claim that they are one and the same. Please tell me how anarchists are totalitarians? Why is National Socialism right wing and International Socialism a left wing construct? And don’t give me that baloney that Nazis let the ownership of production in private hands. Who dared to cross the ruling party’s orders in Nazi Germany. Hitler also used anti-Semitic themes in his “socialization” Ditto the Soviets.

  34. @John430: Because the typical left-right spectrum is NOT from 100% statism to 100% anarchy.

    The typical left-right spectrum is from radical to reactionary.

  35. @John430: And beyond simplistic spectra, the reality is that that intellectual and philosophical bases of communism and fascism are quite different–indeed, very different.

    That matters if one actually wants to understand these regime types.

    You seem to only be thinking in terms of how powerful or authoritarian the state is. That is only ONE variable.

    The Taliban in Afghanistan was pretty authoritarian, but it was neither fascist nor communist.

  36. @Kylopod:

    You really don’t know what you’re talking about.

    Pretty much. And he has no interest in learning why that is the case.

  37. @Tyrell: I wouldn’t count on it.

  38. @John430: @Steven L. Taylor: BTW, I wrote about some of these themes at length here: Trump and Fascism.