Have Democrats Moved Too Far to the Center?

Has the party paid too big a price to attract suburban voters?

History professors Lily Geismer and Matthew D. Lassiter take to the op-ed pages of the NYT to argue “Turning Affluent Suburbs Blue Isn’t Worth the Cost.”

Democratic politicians and strategists identify a “suburban revolt” against President Trump and right-wing Republican extremism as the key to victory in the 2018 and 2020 elections. They point to Democratic successes in the off-year 2017 elections in Virginia and New Jersey, and the surprise triumph of Senator Doug Jones in Alabama, as evidence for the party’s plan to target college-educated white women, upper-middle-class moderates and even disillusioned conservatives in the affluent suburbs.

In primary contests last week from California to New Jersey, Democrats pursued that “electability” strategy through the “Red to Blue” project of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which targeted suburban swing voters by clearing candidate fields for moderate and conservative Democrats like Gil Cisneros in Orange County and Jeff Van Drew in New Jersey.

The nomination of centrist candidates may bring Democratic gains in the affluent suburbs in the midterms. But the electoral success of that strategy has previously been modest — and more important, the party has paid insufficient attention to the substantial policy costs of turning moderate and affluent suburbs blue. Democrats cannot cater to white swing voters in affluent suburbs and also promote policies that fundamentally challenge income inequality, exclusionary zoning, housing segregation, school inequality, police brutality and mass incarceration.

The political culture of upscale suburbs revolves around resource hoarding of children’s educational advantages, pervasive opposition to economic integration and affordable housing, and the consistent defense of homeowner privileges and taxpayer rights. Indeed, unlike traditional blue-collar Democrats, white-collar professionals across the ideological spectrum — for example, in the high-tech enclaves of California and Northern Virginia, which combined contain eight of the 15 most highly educated congressional districts in the nation — generally endorse tough-on-crime policies, express little interest in protections for unions and sympathize with the economic agenda of Wall Street and Silicon Valley.

This is a sharpened version of a longstanding argument in American politics: the trade-offs between ideological purity and electoral appeal. Moving too far to the left or the right (to the extent those terms still have much meaning) makes it harder to win elections. But what’s the point of winning elections if you can’t enact your policy preferences?

The thing is, the “costs” Geismer and Lassiter point to are meaningful only to the extent they’re being paid. Would the policies they say are being traded away otherwise be enacted if the Democrats were more aggressive in pursuing a progressive agenda? It’s not obvious that they would. Certainly, not if running on that platform resulted in the election of Republican officials instead of moderate Democrats.

To explain the realignment of American politics and the migration of working-class whites to the Republican Party, observers usually focus on how politicians from Richard Nixon to Donald Trump have exploited white backlash against racial and cultural liberalism.

The flip side of this is the deliberate, long-term strategy by the Democratic Party to favor the financial interests and social values of affluent white suburban families and high-tech corporations over the priorities of unions and the economic needs of middle-income and poor residents of all races. It’s no coincidence that the bluer that suburban counties turn, the more unequal and economically stratified they become as well — a dynamic evident along Route 128 outside of Boston, in the once solidly Republican suburbs of Connecticut and New Jersey, in boom regions such as Atlanta and Denver, and along the West Coast from Seattle to San Diego.

The party’s suburban strategy emerged during the 1970s to counter Mr. Nixon’s racially charged appeals to “forgotten Americans.” Politicians like Michael Dukakis of Massachusetts campaigned on an agenda of protecting suburban quality of life, getting tough on crime, cutting middle-class taxes and promoting high-tech corporations. These “Atari Democrats,” along with the Democratic Leadership Council and Bill Clinton, played a key role in shifting the party’s center of gravity from industrial unions and working-class voters to high-tech corporations and postindustrial suburban professionals.

It’s interesting to think of Dukakis, who was portrayed even in the Democratic primaries as soft on crime (recall that Al Gore, not  Lee Atwater, introduced the Massachusetts prisoner furlough program into the campaign), as a tough-on-crime Democrat. Regardless, it’s true that, especially after successive blowouts in the 1984 and 1988 presidential campaigns, the Democratic Party sought to put forth a more moderate image. Clinton and the DLC are most associated with that movement.

It’s worth noting that, at least at the presidential level, it was highly successful. The GOP won the 1968, 1972, 1980, 1984, and 1988 elections, many of them in blowouts; they lost narrowly in 1976 in the wake of Watergate, with an accidental candidate, in the throes of a recession, and against a Southern Democrat who was arguably the conservative in the race. They’ve won the popular vote in all but one election since then.

While Clinton and Barack Obama were perhaps more moderate than theoretically-elected alternative Democrats, generating frustration from the liberal/progressive wing of the party, it’s not as if they didn’t move the ball on key issues. Most notably, women’s equality, gay rights, and healthcare expansion occurred on their watch and as a result of both their policy initiatives and judicial appointments. (Republican George W. Bush did his part, especially in the Medicare prescription drug benefit expansion.)

Could the ball have been moved further had the Democrats run, say, Paul Tsongas or John Edwards? Maybe. But there’s no guarantee they’d have won those elections.

Geismer and Lassiter close:

The Democratic fixation on upscale white suburbs also distorts policies and diverts resources that could generate higher turnout among nonwhite voting blocs that are crucial to the party’s fortunes and too often taken for granted. It should not be that hard for liberalism to challenge the Republican tax scheme to redistribute income upward, and build on Mr. Obama’s important but inadequate health care reform, with policy solutions that address the real diversity of American suburbia.

That strategy would embrace a broad economic platform promoted by progressives like Elizabeth Warren and Stacey Abrams in her race for governor in Georgia.

Democratic strategists seem unable to understand why Mr. Trump carried the upper Midwest or why Hillary Clinton’s suburban strategy generated such unenthusiastic turnout among nonwhite voters. A political agenda fixated on turning affluent suburbs blue is capable of building neither a stable long-term majority nor a policy blueprint worthy of the progressive mantle.

I’m skeptical that a policy aimed at ramping up the turnout of nonwhite voters wouldn’t energize the suburban whites Geismer and Lassiter lament being targeted.

Democrats have been challenging “the Republican tax scheme” going back to at least the 1980 election; Clinton and Obama, in fact, helped roll it back.

While I support radical-for-America reforms to health care, Obamacare writ large was highly controversial even if parts of it were quite popular. Medicare for all, which would almost certainly be an improvement over the current hodgepodge, simply isn’t politically achievable any time soon.

That Trump’s appeal to blue collar voters was enough to eke out an Electoral College victory over a uniquely flawed candidate (who still got 3 million more votes than he did nationally) is hardly evidence that a progressive agenda is widely popular. It’s quite possible, given that Trump himself is uniquely flawed, that a Bernie Sanders could have beaten him with his own brand of populist demagoguery. But 2016 is almost certainly an aberration rather than a model around which to build a master plan.

The late William F. Buckley declared back in 1964 that conservatives should support “the rightwardmost viable candidate.” That strategy worked well for years, electing very conservative Representatives and Senators from Southern and rural states, more moderate ones from Western and Northeastern states, and nominating moderately conservative candidates for President. Recently, despite the fluke election of Trump, they’ve drifted away from the “viable” qualifier. That’s mostly a function of the change in the media landscape, which has fueled the primary defeats of relatively moderate Republican incumbents in favor of unelectable ideologues.

The Democrats were a generation late with their version of the Buckley Rule but they applied it splendidly starting in 1992. Geismer and Lassiter are calling, essentially, for the party to make the mistake Republicans have made over the last few years. Doing so would, I fear, be the best hope for a second Trump term.

FILED UNDER: Politics 101, US Politics
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor 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. Mu says:

    Move to the center? My local primary featured 4 candidates running on “down with the NRA” and one running on a program that made Camilla Harris look like a centrist. The latter won.
    The GOP candidate’s main qualification is “proud wife of a Navy Commander (ret.), and BSA and YSA volunteer” (her official bio).
    Someone call me in 2020.

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  2. James Joyner says:

    @Mu: “Down with the NRA” is pretty much a centrist position nowadays, according to the polls. The organization has gone from promoting gun safety to a purely ideological one. As a result, they’ve gone from 2-to-1 favorable ratings to plurality unfavorable.

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  3. Mu says:

    You misunderstand, off course the winner was anti-gun. But it was so obvious she didn’t actually campaigned on it. Her ideas aren’t too bad if you have CA money to spend. Paying for it in NM is kind of out of the question.

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  4. The problem with this whole thesis is that it assumes that there is a a real ability of an American party to really control these things–especially during a mid-term election.

    And, even in the presidential elections, the power is in the hands of the voters. See, e.g., Trump.

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  5. James Joyner says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: Yup. I think the GOP leadership would love to have been able to rein in the excesses of primary voters in recent years. Absent a radical overhaul of our candidate-selection process, party elites are really influential only at the margins. They did try to manipulate the California non-primary system to their advantage, with some success.

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  6. TM01 says:

    Too far to the middle. LOL.

    Thanks. I needed a good laugh.

    Democrats just need to keep on doing what they always do: campaign as centrists and vote full on leftist.

    And please, keep calling the NRA terrorists and vowing to confiscate guns. Please.

    This too tho: recall that Al Gore, not Lee Atwater, introduced the Massachusetts prisoner furlough program into the campaign. Just like Hillary and Obama Is A Muslim.

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  7. @James Joyner: Both national party organization are trying to be more assertive in influencing candidate selection. However, the narratives we use tend to overemphasizes (if not grossly so) how much power they actually have to influence those outcomes.

    The voters need a better understanding of how our nonhierarchical party system works, and the consequences thereof.

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  8. Kylopod says:

    @TM01:

    recall that Al Gore, not Lee Atwater, introduced the Massachusetts prisoner furlough program into the campaign.

    That is correct, though it was Atwater who introduced a racial edge into the debate by invoking images of Willie Horton.

    Just like Hillary and Obama Is A Muslim.

    That’s false. The claim that Obama is or was a secret Muslim was introduced by perennial candidate Andy Martin in 2004, when Obama first ran for the Senate. Hillary’s campaign never claimed Obama was a Muslim (though I do think she made a few dogwhistles), and she certainly didn’t invent the claim, which predates her campaign by several years.

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  9. Andy says:

    This op-ed openly advocates that Democrats should abandon an American constituency. It’s frankly just plain dumb as members of that constituency who read this will be less likely to vote Democratic even if the Democrats don’t take this advice to heart. But it’s also emblematic of what the parties have become in their pursuit of in-group vs out-group politics.

    The result is parties that increasingly seek to represent as little of the American public as possible, and the attitude is now one where even the minimal “compromise” necessary to approach 50% to “win” is viewed as a distasteful accommodation to ideological purity. And with it, these ideologic purists (and partisan hacks generally) turn their nose up and scorn so-called “moderate” and “swing” voters.

    A two-party system that is overly focused on social war issues and a competition where it’s US vs THEM is bad for America. Instead of big tent parties we get programmatic ones that try to slice and dice the American people into camps with the goal being a 50+1 “majority” enabling the winner to shove whatever policies one can down the throats of THEM.

    This is a state of affairs that is not worth defending.

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  10. Andre Kenji de Sousa says:

    @TM01:

    This too tho: recall that Al Gore, not Lee Atwater,

    Nope. Willie Horton and the furloughs was a known local issue in Maryland-Massachusetts(A local newspaper won a Pulitzer with the story, that ran on Readers Digest).

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  11. Andre Kenji de Sousa says:

    1-) Most left of center parties in the world have a coalition of college educated middle class voters, unionized White Voters, minorities and low income voters. That’s a pretty unstable coalition(Immigration doomed the socialists in Europe), and that’s not going to be different with Democrats.

    2-) Centrism is not a monolith. One can be restrictive about abortion laws and be extremely supportive of increased social spending. Or can be supportive of abortion rights and tax cuts on the same time. Centrism can be composed with a different set of ideas from the left and the right.

    To me the problem of US Democrats is that they have a Social-Democratic base(That wants social spending on Nordic Levels) and a socially liberal and economically liberal base. When these two factions compromise you end with something completely bland that Republicans can define on their own terms.

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  12. Kathy says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    I’ve often wondered: can the Democratic party or the GOP restrict which candidates are allowed to run under their banner? I assume no, or Trump would not have been allowed in.

    The other question is: should they?

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  13. Todd says:

    I think there needs to be two parts to this question. It is certainly possible to move too far left electorally, while running for office, in certain districts (sometimes it really is better to avoid taking positions that are likely to be divisive, when possible). But legislatively, I think there’s a lot more evidence that Democrats have been entirely too centrist. We need look no further than the mess that is the PPACA to see the real effects of centrism when it comes to voting. We don’t have (at least) a public option for health insurance right now primarily because of centrist Democratic Senators who all lost their reelection bids anyway. In other words, there appears to be very little electoral advantage to actually voting (as opposed to just campaigning) in a centrist way, but plenty of potential legislative harm.

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  14. Stormy Dragon says:

    Nothing is going to help build the anti-Trump coalition like making it clear you want the newcomers to suffer and want to make sure you maintain the ability to make them suffer the second you get the chance.

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  15. @Kathy: the parties have, for all practical purposes, no control over their labels.

    I would argue that they should.

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  16. Kathy says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Perhaps that’s where change should begin.

    In your analogy of the non-hierarchical football team, you left out that the positions are not only determined by voters, but it happens in the middle of the game, and the players are not all on the same team.

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  17. An Interested Party says:

    They’ve won the popular vote in all but one election since then.

    Surely you mean lost, not won…

    Democrats just need to keep on doing what they always do: campaign as centrists and vote full on leftist.

    Yet another example of why reasonable discourse with such people is impossible…the ACA is “full on leftist”? Oh please…and the lies about Gore and Hillary certainly don’t help this deplorable’s credibility…

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  18. Jim says:

    To the center?!
    The author owes me a new keyboard, because mine is now covered in coffee and spittle.

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  19. Rusty Shackleford says:

    @James Joyner: @James Joyner:

    The NRA hasn’t backed-off one iota from it’s tremendous gun safety work. The NRA is by far the largest active promoter of gun safety in the US. It’s ideological position has been in response to bans in states like CA and NY as well at the 94 Assault Weapons ban pushed by Bill Clinton against the centrist advice of Dick Gephardt.

    I strongly suspect whatever spike in anti-NRA sentiment you witnessed earl8ier this year was due tot eh medial fusillade and will revert to the norm quickly.

    So my advice to the Dems is please keep calling NRA members Terrorists and believing that “Down with the NRA” is a popular, election-winning and centrist position. I am sure Lucy will let you kick that football this November.

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  20. Christopher Hoving says:

    I disagree strongly that Trump’s victory was an aberration. He won because he raised the concerns of the people the elites ignore. Sanders should’ve been the Dem nominee for the same reason. He might indeed have beaten Trump, but that wouldn’t have been an endorsement of socialism anymore than Trump’s win was an endorsement of laissez faire economics. The battle now is not between parties or ideologies but between Trump (on behalf of the people) and the Establishment. While the latter has the full support of the MSM propaganda machine, the MSM’s efforts are harmful to its cause. What the GOP needs to do is purge itself of anti-Trumpers and represent the people. Pr0-Trumpers are *not* “too conservative to win.” They are just what the people want–even in places considered Solid Blue by the MSM. Republicans will have their best success in California in decades this year.

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  21. niwus says:

    “have democrats moved to far to the center?”

    … are you friggin kidding me?!

    remember when the clintons represented the “far left” in the nineties? now they are considered “center-right”. the DNC hasn’t been moving to the right (toward the “center”), they have been bolting to the left – with each election taking even more brazen positions from the last. the rightward jolt by the republicans (driven by the tea party movement) was a reaction to the democrats attempts to literally drag the country to the left – voters be damned!

    this is the same party that has keith ellison at its head, had bernie sanders in serious contention for the presidency, and has a slew of mayors/governors declaring “sanctuary status” – supporting an “a-la-cart” approach to laws, as though they can pick and choose which ones they will enforce and which they will ignore. “to the center”… lol… please, just stop!

    lets not forget it was senator reid that first nuked the filibuster – which dems were perfectly cool with until the reps got congress back, then were appalled that they didn’t put it back. just the opposite, mcconnel finished the job by killing it completely for confirmations as well.

    lets not forget it was dems who used the highly dubious (but legal) reconciliation process to pass the ACA against the will of the public, then feigned shock and outrage when it became obvious it could be undone by the same dubious process – which led to adds and videos talking about the “shocking, little known process the republicans had unearthed”… lol

    lets not forget it was a democrat president (obama) that issued DACA as an executive order – the equivalent of a post-it sticky with a presidential seal on it – because he knew it would never pass congress. so he just WENT AROUND congress completely! same with the iran deal and TPP – both treaties that require congressional approval, but which neither received. something that leftist sycophants at CNN and MSNBC never talk about when the moan and cry about trump “acting alone” like a “dictator”, and “pulling us out of treaties”.

    … but yeah, they’re just “moving too far to the center”… yeah thats whats happening!

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  22. gVOR08 says:

    As the GOPs abandon the center, why wouldn’t the Dem’s claim it? Republican used to dog whistle the racism because if they said it out loud it would alienate the soccer moms. Well, now they say it out loud, so why wouldn’t the Dems collect the soccer moms?

    Looking at it a different way, a big part of the psychological appeal of being a conservative Republican is believing that you’re one of the elect, one of the best people, a maker. With Trump at the helm it’s really, really hard to believe that Republicans are the best people.

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  23. james says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: @Steven L. Taylor:
    It is difficult for me to see how a party can do so without risking ignoring the wishes of its voters.

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  24. There is no center in the Democrat Party in 2018. Not any more. When the DNC held its 2012 National Convention and they booed God and Israel, I realized they were a lost cause. Reason, logic and common sense no longer reign in the Democrat base, much less the party; that much is clear. And if it did, Joe Lieberman, my Senator from Connecticut would still be in the Democrat Party, as well as Zell Miller from Georgia and both would be major fixtures there. There are no conversations because the current Democrat Party has no discernible center at all. Since Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, not to mention a biased news media that has literally lost its mind, there is no one to talk to, at all….and exactly why Donald Trump is exactly where he is at this moment in time.

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  25. Andre Kenji de Sousa says:

    @Todd:

    But legislatively, I think there’s a lot more evidence that Democrats have been entirely too centrist.

    Democrats are too supportive of big donors, not too centrists or too liberal. They are nominating candidates that are too liberal in the South and candidates that are too Conservative in Blue States because these people can raise money.

    That’s why their centrism is too bland.

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  26. Cliche Guevara says:

    The title is just clickbait and it worked apparently.

    Straight from the Department of Questions No One Is Asking.

    The Democratic Party is what it set out to be – the party of the top 1% and a coalition of the 1%’s slaves. The Hate America student loan identured servants who paid $200k for a nothing education and all they got was a service or office job to keep them feeling superior to those non-college educated ring-around-the-collar/blue collar types. Yuck! And a cobbling of identity grievance groups. No, I’m the biggest victim! ‘Cause slavery, or some imagined male/female pay gap, nuns won’t pay for my birth control or someone won’t draw dicks on my cake. I swear to Betty Friedan that this country sucks and has since the day it was founded by slaveowners. This country would be great if it wasn’t what it is and more resembled what my Gramscian sociology professors said it should be.

    Or, as you say, “too centrist”.

    They hope that the overly-important white working class, whose lifestyle is literally everything that’s wrong with this country, can’t die off fast enough or graciously enough for them so they’ll just import some third world socialists who are easier to please.

    Sorry/Not Sorry that they had other plans.

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  27. Carole says:

    @Kylopod: Remember though that Hillary’s campaign circulated this photo: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2008/feb/25/barackobama.hillaryclinton

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  28. Kylopod says:

    @gVOR08:

    As the GOPs abandon the center, why wouldn’t the Dem’s claim it? Republican used to dog whistle the racism because if they said it out loud it would alienate the soccer moms. Well, now they say it out loud, so why wouldn’t the Dems collect the soccer moms?

    You are speaking as though collecting the relatively affluent “centrists” will come at no cost. But many of those voters aren’t especially welcoming toward policies aimed at labor and the poor. If your suggestion is that we should lure them over on the grounds that they’ve got no choice but to support the Dems, even if Dems proceed to ignore their economic concerns, that doesn’t strike me as a strategy very likely to succeed (if they were persuaded by that sort of argument they’d have started voting Dem a long time ago), and even if it does, I doubt it’s sustainable in the long run.

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  29. EndOfPatience says:

    Yes, yes they have!

    The American people are CRYING OUT in agony for a pure Progressive to replace the monster in the White House! We need a Savior who will

    1. Lead the charge to get rid of Trump. Impeachment if possible, other means if we must.

    2. Ban guns! ALL of them!

    3. Guaranteed income of AT LEAST $30,000 per year, per person, with $10,000 per child.

    4. 1 child per couple rules for white couples.

    5. Reparations for millennia of colonialism to all Persons Of Color, to be paid by a special tax on white people.

    6. Reparations to all womyn for millennia of patriarchal oppression.

    7. Forgiveness of all student debt and free college for life going forward.

    8. Single payer health care.

    9. Protect the environment with a complete and immediate ban on the use of ANY carbon based fuel.

    10. Fair tax rates, up to 110% on any annual income over $1,000,000

    11. Recognition of fundamental human rights, like not being scared of Conservates and Republicans, government paid vacations of a month every year, a movie ticket and refreshments every week, and most important, free puppy Thursdays.

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  30. Tyrell says:

    “too far to the center”? You have to be kidding. They have been so far out in left field they would have been in the bullpen! Hopefully the Democrat party is returning to what I grew up with: sensible limited government, strong foreign policy, traditional values.
    The party of Johnson, Fulbright, Nunn, Carter, Connally, Humphrey, Ervin: common sense conservatism.

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  31. Dave Schuler says:

    The elections themselves are held locally but all campaigns are national now. That’s the nature of social media. An enormous proportion of funding for local races comes from outside the jurisdictions these days. In the recent Chicago mayoral elections just about any money that wasn’t contributed by people who do business with the city came from outside the city.

    The problem with running a centrist candidate in a centrist district is that although it can get more votes for your candidate in the district it dilutes your brand and can hurt you in areas that are closer to the party’s center.

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  32. Kylopod says:

    @Tyrell: In what universe is the legacy of Johnson that of “limited government”?

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  33. Robert Arvanitis says:

    Joyner says Republicans have given up the viable” qualifier. Mitt Romney not electable? In what universe?
    Oh, right, in the world where the debased media present a united left front, coordinated by “Journolist” to make sure the acolytes get the spelling right; not a lot of value to the various “studies” majors.

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  34. Rahim Cohen says:

    Voters are very, very stupid. They are like children. Outside the Clinton Archipelago, they would vote for a chimp if he wore a MAGA hat.

    Oh, wait.

    My advice is to lie to people and tell them what they think they want to hear, and then do what’s right for the globe when elected. Voters don’t need to hear the truth. They need to vote the correct way and then sit back and let the smart people run things.

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  35. Patrick says:

    @Andy: best. Moment on this thanks

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  36. Hal_10000 says:

    While I am no friend to the Democratic Party, it seems to be that there is a substantial portion of moderate and small-c conservative votes they could pick up with the right candidates. This is basically what they did in 2006 and 2008. Right now, the moderate center of the country is lining up with Democrats on various polls. And there many disaffected conservative/libertarian types like myself who could be swayed. I voted for a Democratic governor for the first time ever a few years ago because he was moderate and our Republican incumbent was garbage. I voted for Clinton because she was sane and Trump wasn’t. The Left wing will vote for Democrats no matter what.

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  37. mockmook says:

    Right.

    McCain and Romney were radical right wingers.

    I mean they weren’t before they ran, and they aren’t now, but certainly when they ran they must have been….

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  38. alanstorm says:

    @gVOR08:

    Pure projection. You must be a liberal.

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  39. alanstorm says:

    “Have Democrats Moved Too Far to the Center?”

    Now, THAT’S funny!

    Are you trying to write comedy, like The Nation? I suppose you might as well – their work has been slipping, as if they were trying to be serious.

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  40. Tim McDonald says:

    @James Joyner: You might want to check the NRA results and exclude NY, California,New Jersey, Washington, Oregon and Illinois from your polling. Unless you learned nothing from the last national election we had. Because we are not a democracy, we are a republic of 50 states……and in a large majority of those states attacking the NRA and the 2nd Amendment…which seems to be the Democratic Party’s strategy…..is a loser.

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  41. An Interested Party says:

    I strongly suspect whatever spike in anti-NRA sentiment you witnessed earl8ier this year was due tot eh medial fusillade and will revert to the norm quickly.

    Oh sure, until the next school massacre, when, once again, the NRA and its stooges will talk about thoughts and prayers but not about doing anything about the guns that caused so many deaths…

    The battle now is not between parties or ideologies but between Trump (on behalf of the people) and the Establishment.

    Yet again it’s impossible to have a reasonable dialogue with those who support the joke in the White House…the Orange Toddler in part of the Establishment and what he is doing is not helping the people as much as it is helping the Establishment…

    Republicans will have their best success in California in decades this year.

    And free unicorns for everyone…

    the rightward jolt by the republicans (driven by the tea party movement) was a reaction to the democrats attempts to literally drag the country to the left – voters be damned!

    Oh please, take some responsibility for your own loons, don’t blame them on anyone else…

    When the DNC held its 2012 National Convention and they booed God and Israel, I realized they were a lost cause.

    Feel free to supply some evidence to support that ridiculous claim…

    ….and exactly why Donald Trump is exactly where he is at this moment in time.

    Once again it is everyone else’s fault that the Orange Toddler is an incompetent idiot…

    No, I’m the biggest victim!

    Oh yes, indeed you are, as well so many heterosexual white men it seems…

    You might want to check the NRA results and exclude NY, California,New Jersey, Washington, Oregon and Illinois from your polling.

    Feel free to provide some evidence to support that claim…

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  42. Kylopod says:

    @Carole:

    @Kylopod: Remember though that Hillary’s campaign circulated this photo: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2008/feb/25/barackobama.hillaryclinton

    The article notes that the claim that her campaign circulated that photo came from Drudge’s website, and the Clinton campaign denied any knowledge of it. There are grounds to be skeptical.

    That said, I never suggested the Clinton campaign was blameless when it came to spreading the idea that Obama was a Muslim. I already said that her campaign “made a few dogwhistles” in that direction. There was the Penn Memo, there was the aide who circulated an email furthering the claim (and who was promptly fired), there was the disgraceful moment when Hillary declared that Obama wasn’t a Muslim “as far as I know.”

    But none of this was the origin of the conspiracy theory. The origin has been conclusively traced to Andy Martin in 2004, an entire presidential cycle before Hillary launched her campaign.

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  43. Mike K says:

    @James Joyner:

    Hilarious. The NRA is the most successful civil rights organization since the 1960s.

    I know people who do not pwn guns that are joining.

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  44. Tango Sierra says:

    Democrats booing Isreal:
    https://youtu.be/kX11IUjkEKs
    Democrats booing God:
    https://youtu.be/t3CRsnMf1xQ

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  45. steve says:

    Troy heaven today. Anyway, still not sure of any significant figures on the left who are asking to ban all guns. As to the NRA, I am a member (unless forgot to pay dues again) it still does safety but my experience at my gun range is that it emphasizes ideology so much more now. NRA instructors, at least where I go, make sure they throw in lots of politics while teaching safety. Wasn’t that way in the past. (I am older.)

    Steve

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  46. Matt says:

    @niwus:

    remember when the clintons represented the “far left” in the nineties?

    Only in the minds of right wingers (and their talking points at the time). They were right of center corporate whor..Democrats.. You’re just repeating the talking points of Rush and crew. Then again EVERY SINGLE Democratic candidate is “FAR EXTREME LEFT!!!!!” to those people.. It’s been a standard GOP talking point for at least 30 years. Almost no one who was actually a Democratic party member saw the Clintons as left wing.

    @Kristen McFarland:

    When the DNC held its 2012 National Convention and they booed God and Israel,

    That is not what happened. They did boo the method used to force a change in the platform when a vote was supposed to be conducted for such a change. The only connection to Israel was the part declaring Jerusalem was the capital of Israel.

    The fact that you feel the need to twist an event into meaning something it didn’t shows how you have no interest in an honest conversation.

    @Tyrell: Says the guy who thinks it’s 1950s still and doesn’t get why blacks and women weren’t fond of that era. You’re as clueless as they come.

    @Kylopod: He’s either clueless or a troll of some kind. He’s made similarly ridiculous claims time and time again even when people correct him multiple times.

    @Tango Sierra: Of course if you actually watch the videos you’ll see that the booing is at the guy who didn’t hold the vote properly and just arbitrary decided the results.

    Thanks for posting the actual videos so people can laugh at your attempts at misrepresenting what occurred.

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  47. @Matt: Indeed. Clinton, and the whole Democratic Leadership Council bit was a conscious attempt at moving to the center.

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  48. Matt says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: My post vanished? Moderation or something maybe?

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  49. An Interested Party says:

    Democrats booing Isreal [sic]

    Bullshit…what people seemed to be booing was the idea of recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, which is a radical proposition and rightfully deserves to be booed…

    Democrats booing God

    More bullshit, as it is unclear if people were opposed to the amendment about “God-given potential” or about the Jerusalem issue or even about how the vote was taken…

    If you want to be a good Christian you really shouldn’t bear false witness…

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