The Non-Emergent Democratic Majority?

The realignment of America's political parties wasn't quite what was hoped.

Princeton political scientist Matthew Karp takes to the pages of The Nation to ask, “What happened to the Democratic majority?” It’s a review essay on a new book by John Judis and Ruy Teixeira, of The Emerging Democratic Majority fame, but one that contributes to the long-running discussion of the nature of political parties here. And, indeed, that larger picture strikes me as more interesting than the answer to the titular question.

The setup:

Do political parties make coalitions, or do coalitions make political parties? In American electoral commentary, the commonsense view is that parties stand for certain principles or policies—on gun control, say, or taxes, or abortion—and then ordinary voters line up with the party that is closest to their own beliefs. But for Karl Marx and his acolytes, this view of parties was nonsense. Political parties were defined not by their stated platforms but by the character of their social base. This fact did not need to be reduced to mere “egoistic class interest,” Marx contended in The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte; nor did it require a rigid view of social class itself. The party representing the petty bourgeoisie in 19th-century France, for example, was not composed only of “shopkeepers or the enthusiastic champions of shopkeepers.” Its members came from a hundred different places and had a thousand different ideas; they also sincerely believed in the general emancipation of society. Nevertheless, their politics were driven, like water flowing downhill, “to the same problems and solutions” that “the material interest and social position” of their class suggested.

Of course, a narrow and deterministic version of this understanding of parties cannot account for the complexity of real political struggle. Even Marx and Engels, when discussing current events, devoted ample space to many other factors, from philosophy and religion to the quirks of individual leaders. Yet in its broadest historical sense, the Marxist view is difficult to refute. In political warfare, our attention is drawn to the loud artillery blasts of candidates and campaigns, but a party’s ultimate impact generally depends on the much larger, slower infantry movements of its social base.

From here, Karp shifts to the history of the American party system:

Consider the history of the oldest mass electoral party in the world today, the Democratic Party of the United States. In the 1820s, it emerged around the magnetic figure of Andrew Jackson, but its political identity was impossible to separate from the coalition that gathered to elect him. This included a range of subgroups, but at its core the party was defined by an alliance between slaveholding elites, urban workers, and small farmers—“the planters of the South and the plain republicans of the North,” in the words of the Democrats’ first great strategic engineer, Martin Van Buren. The party lines may have initially formed around Jackson, but these planters and plain republicans also shared a set of mutual interests, demonstrated by both the issues they fought over (banks, tariffs, and infrastructure) and those that they silently protected from debate (slavery). In a national two-party system, where both sides depended on proslavery support, antislavery politics remained off the table.

This logjam would not be broken from above but from below, when in the 1850s a vast chunk of Northern voters—including many urban workers and small farmers—deserted the Democrats and embraced a new antislavery party. When the Democrats’ social base changed, so too did the party. As a majority of the “plain republicans of the North” became simply Republicans, the Democrats became a regional organization, centered primarily on white voters in the South, with crucial but ancillary support from immigrants in the North. Eighty years later, the Great Depression and the presidency of Franklin D. Roosevelt transformed the Democratic coalition all over again. In the 1930s, Roosevelt’s commitment to bold economic reform helped win over millions of previously Republican farmers and workers in the North, including most African Americans. The result was a new Democratic Party that could rightly claim to be the first mass party in US history grounded in a clear majority of the working class.

It was no coincidence that after 1933, the working-class Democratic coalition—with the support, and goading, of trade unions—constructed the only rudiments of social democratic government that the United States has ever known, from labor laws and financial regulation to old-age insurance, public healthcare, and support for housing and education. Nor was it a coincidence that this same working-class coalition, spurred by civil rights protests, finally overthrew Jim Crow itself in the 1960s.

Now, this class-based view of parties strikes me as too reductionist, ignoring regional and cultural identities. And, of course, race.

Regardless, the larger point is certainly true: while “the Democratic Party” has existed for most of American history (some date it to Thomas Jefferson’s Democratic-Republican Party, not just to Jackson’s more populist version), the nature of its coalition has changed rather radically. Indeed, the Republicans, birthed in the fight over slavery and long known as “The Party of Lincoln,” lost the support of Black voters roughly six decades later and became the party of white Southerners another fifteen or twenty years later. (But, for quite some time, the Democrats were simultaneously the party of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Bull Connor.)

Over the past half-century, the Democratic Party has changed shape yet again. Like other center-left parties around the world, from Norway to New Zealand, the Democrats have lost ground with working-class voters—especially those in blue-collar jobs—while winning more and more support from upper-middle-class professionals. The shift began in earnest in the 1970s, continued across the Clinton and Bush years, and has accelerated rapidly in the last decade.

On the campaign trail and in the White House, Joe Biden has tried to distance himself from this general movement, presenting himself as an old-school Democrat and occasionally attempting to channel the spirit of FDR. Despite the breathless enthusiasm of the liberal press, there are good reasons to doubt whether Biden’s spending program merits analogy to the structural reforms of the 1930s. In any case, an even more dramatic contrast requires attention: The Democratic electorate today looks almost nothing like the coalition that carried the party through the New Deal. In 1944, when Roosevelt presented his famous Economic Bill of Rights, he won about two-thirds of the country’s manual workers. Today, less than 30 percent of manual workers identify as Democrats.

Again, race plays a big role in that. But, since we’ve seen the same trend in Western Europe, it’s clearly more than that.

In the near future, the general trend looks likely to continue. A New York Times/Siena College poll last July showed Biden with just 36 percent support from voters without a college degree and 40 percent from voters making under $100,000 a year. Both of these numbers represent historic lows for the Democratic Party. If Biden does manage to fend off Donald Trump in this year’s presidential election, his coalition will almost certainly be anchored by college-educated and higher-earning voters.

Observers of this general phenomenon—the growing cleavage between working-class voters and left-of-center politics—have taken to calling it “class dealignment.” But there is no consensus about its origins or significance. What caused the metamorphosis within the Democratic electorate? Is it possible for the party’s new coalition to win victories or reforms on the scale of the 20th-century party? And if not, then what can the Democrats—or anybody else—do about it?

Which brings us to Judis and Teixeira:

Few analysts are better positioned to explore these questions of party and coalition than John Judis and Ruy Teixeira. In 2002, they published The Emerging Democratic Majority, which argued that a surging tide of professionals, women, and racial minorities would produce an enduring electoral advantage for the Democrats. During the first, gloomy years of the George W. Bush presidency, that sounded like liberal wishcasting; but less than a decade later, when Barack Obama soared into office with something like the very coalition that Judis and Teixeira had described, the book was hailed as a prophecy.

The celebrations continued apace. In 2009, Teixeira wrote a report for the Center for American Progress that foretold “the decline of the white working class” and “the coming end of the culture wars.” The new Democratic majority, bolstered by the rising millennial generation, would finally terminate social conservatism for good. American political history had reached its apotheosis in the Obama coalition, and progressives had every reason to spike the football in the end zone.

Yet it was not long before history had its revenge. Obama and the Democrats’ shining new majority lasted all of two years before it was unmade by the Tea Party wave of 2010; in statehouses from Wisconsin to North Carolina, Democrats remain buried under the rubble. Over the next decade, Democratic gains with professionals and millennials were negated by the party’s unexpectedly deep losses among the blue-collar working class. Our era has been defined not by an emerging majority of any kind, but by polarization, gridlock, and divided government.

Now, in fairness, Republicans have won the popular vote for President precisely once since TEDM’s publication, the 2004 election that followed, and Democrats have had the majority in each of the four elections since then. But, yes, Trump won the Electoral vote (which, to be fair, is the one that matters) in 2016 and the GOP has held their own in House and Senate races since, mostly but not entirely owing to structural advantages in the system.

Regardless . . .

For their part, Judis and Teixeira now regard their 2002 prediction as a failure. In fact, their new book, Where Have All the Democrats Gone?, marks something like a complete reversal in tone, mood, and analysis. Where their last collaboration announced a confident claim on the future, their new book sounds a searching lament for a vanished past.

Where Have All the Democrats Gone? begins in Dundalk, Md., a Baltimore suburb that was once home to the largest steel mill in the world. For most of the 20th century, Judis and Teixeira tell us, Dundalk was reliably Democratic, but as the steel industry declined, its working-class voters drifted to the right: In 2020, Trump won Dundalk with nearly 60 percent of the vote. A former steelworker and ex-Democrat tells the authors that Trump’s victory drew on “a racist element,” but ultimately was “more about class than color…. I think the Democrats are what we used to call the jet-setter class. They are the ones who go to Europe on vacation. They are the ones who don’t care where stuff is made. I think the working class has caught on to that.”

This is surely an exaggeration, but Judis and Teixeira note that it reflects a widely held sentiment—and, indeed, one that now extends well beyond largely white precincts like Dundalk. In the last few years, Democratic support has begun to slip precipitously among less-educated and lower-earning Black, Hispanic, Asian, and other non-white voters. Rather than a revolt of the so-called “white working class,” the Democrats now face a much broader “defection, pure and simple, of working-class voters.”

“Precipitously” is a wild overstatement. But it’s true that the permanent demographic lock Judis and Teixeira forecast in 2002 looks about as prophetic as the “Electoral College lock” Republicans were once said to possess. While Democrats are still overwhelmingly favored by Blacks, Hispanics, and Jews, they’ve lost considerable ground with the White working class that has only been partially overcome by gains among college-educated Whites.

To examine how and why, Judis and Teixeira have broken Where Have All the Democrats Gone? into two main parts that assert two distinct arguments, each existing in some tension with the other. The first part is essentially historical and offers a detailed review of national politics since the 1960s, with a special focus on the causes and chronology of class dealignment. Here Judis and Teixeira contend, as forcefully as any member of the Democratic Socialists of America, that “neoliberal” economic policies—under presidents Carter, Clinton, and Obama—bear the lion’s share of blame for the working-class defections from the Democratic Party.

The second part of the book goes in a different direction. It is prescriptive, with the authors offering plainspoken, poll-tested advice to the Democratic Party today. To once again become “the party of the people,” the Democrats must do more than merely return to the liberal economics of the New Deal; they must also break with the “cultural radicalism” that, Judis and Teixeira contend, continues to alienate working-class voters from the party. Now sounding less like leftist tribunes than centrist op-ed columnists, the authors call for a pragmatic “middle ground” on questions of race, gender, climate, and immigration.

There are a whole lot of paragraphs expanding on this point but we’ve already hashed that out a lot over the last year or so. The 72-year-old Texeira has gone the way of many white liberals of his age cohort and, apparently, so has the 83-year-old Judis. That doesn’t invalidate their arguments or analysis, of course, but it’s hardly novel at this point.

And, indeed, Karp pushes back:

Their historical arguments are too powerful for their prescriptive ones. The very forces that have reshaped the party of Roosevelt into the party of Biden make it almost impossible for the Democrats to embark on the political transformation the authors seek. In this respect, Judis and Teixeira’s studiously “pragmatic” advice may be the most far-fetched element of the book.

[…]

Today, the march of class dealignment feels like an inexorable fact of American political life. Joe Biden may not have restarted the New Deal, but between his spending bills, tough trade policy, and support for labor, he has at least broken with the neoliberal dogma that ensnared Carter’s, Clinton’s, and Obama’s presidencies. Yet so far, it appears to have made little difference with working-class voters, who seem less inclined to support the Democrats in 2024 than they did in 2020.

[…]

In historical terms, it is hard to dispute Judis and Teixeira’s evidence: Over the past decade, certainly, the Democratic Party has moved left on questions of social policy. The most obvious, oft-cited example is same-sex marriage, which Hillary Clinton opposed as recently as 2013 yet has now become such an article of faith within the party that it no longer even rates discussion. But on other policies that Judis and Teixeira cite—from gender-affirming care to carbon emissions targets—the Democratic baseline is significantly more progressive and ambitious today than it was in the Obama era, never mind a generation ago. Open a newspaper from the 1990s and you’ll find the Republicans making highly familiar arguments about abortion, crime, and border security. You’ll also find the Democrats—in the party’s 1996 platform, for example—celebrating a drop in the abortion rate, touting “the toughest crime bill in history,” and vowing to crack down on “illegal immigration.” For all the talk of a Republican turn to the right in the age of Trump, on most issues the 21st-century Democratic shift to the left has been far more dramatic.

Yet this very real historical shift is one major reason why the Democrats are so unlikely to take Judis and Teixeira’s advice. For crucial Democratic constituencies—the “shadow party,” but also a broader voting coalition—these are the very issues that drive political commitment in the first place. Nor is it clear that the party’s leftward shift has exacted such a terrible price at the polls. Indeed, the Democrats have junked Clinton-era social conservatism, written progressive policy into law in states from Oregon to Minnesota, doubled down on their alliance with progressive elites in the media, the entertainment industry, and academia, and still managed to remain competitive as a national party.

There’s no doubt. Again, they have won the popular vote in the four Presidential elections since abandoning the New Left/triangulation policies that Bill Clinton pioneered. But that has contributed to the continuing realignment of the parties: they’ve lost some moderate Whites and a handful of socially conservative Blacks and Hispanics in the doing, gaining a relative handful of college-educated Whites in return.

It is in the nature of progressive politics to discount the victories it has already achieved while exaggerating the power of reaction and backlash. But on the whole, the past few decades raise the possibility that the battle of values may be winnable after all. Even concrete right-wing victories, like the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs, have only affirmed the weakness of 1990s-style cultural conservatism in national politics: Its appeal is so limited that even Trump has abandoned it. Judis and Teixeira can brandish all the polls and surveys they like, but they are proposing a cease-fire to an army that has swept the field: Why should Democrats abandon the culture war when it has yielded them so much fruit?

Here, Karp is too triumphant. The structures of our system make it more than plausible that Donald Trump wins re-election in November, which would be an unmitigated disaster, at least in the short term. And, if he does, he’ll almost certainly retain the House and regain control of the Senate.

Karp closes on a sour note, at least from the standpoint of the venue:

The Democratic coalition today is built to fight, and perhaps to win, this struggle. It is not built to become a “party of the people,” a vehicle to oppose elite rule, or a force for major economic reform. Insofar as the upper-middle-class Democratic base finds itself pinched or bruised by the reckless march of capital, it may consider mild adjustments to the fiscal or regulatory order; insofar as it wishes to reward the less-advantaged voters inside the coalition, it may support mild increases in welfare spending. But a party that wins 60 percent support from the wealthiest 10 percent of the country and 75 percent support from top earners in business and finance and that claims enthusiastic allegiance from much of the billionaire class will not organize a new New Deal. Its “material interest and social position” simply does not favor a transformation of class power in the United States—or, to say the same thing in different words, a government that can deliver good jobs, healthcare, housing, and education to all its people. To change the world, the Democrats will first have to change themselves.

The thing is, President Biden would happily do most of those things. But, despite Democratic majorities (albeit incredibly slim ones) in both Houses of Congress his first two years, he was extremely limited in what he could get done. But, despite its rebranding as a populist party starting with the advent of the Tea Party, there’s little indication that the Republicans are interested in moving the ball on those issues, either.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Stormy Dragon says:

    But on other policies that Judis and Teixeira cite—from gender-affirming care

    So what exactly is the “moderate” position between gender affirming care being legal or it being illegal?

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  2. Scott says:

    It is interesting that the words of “religion”, “faith”, “Christian” are totally absent no matter who is quoted. I would contend that religion drives much of the politics in this country. Liberal manifestations of faith drove the anti-slavery movements of the 1850s and the civil rights movement of the 1950s. Conservative manifestations of faith drove inward movements of static change such as anti-immigrant, law and order, and class rigidity.

    I find, in general, social scientists use euphemisms of faith and religion such as social or cultural conservatism rather than directly confronting the issues.

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  3. Kylopod says:

    One ingredient not mentioned in this discussion is the extreme nationalization that has taken place in American politics, where most people vote for the same party for president as they do for other offices–much, much more than was the case in the past. For the most part, the process has benefited Republicans more, because for a long time Democrats in Senate and House and other races depended on being able to create some distance with the national party. That’s how it was possible, for instance, to have four Democratic Senators in the Dakotas in the early 2000s, even though both states had been solidly Republican at the presidential level for decades.

    Looked at from that perspective, there was kind of a ticking time bomb for Dems once white working class, rural, and Southern voters began shifting away from the party in the 1960s. What happened in Obama’s two midterms wasn’t a realignment that came out of nowhere, it was in part the state and local races catching up to what had already happened at the national level much earlier. But most analysts didn’t see it coming, because this level of nationalization is historically unprecedented.

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  4. James Joyner says:

    @Scott:

    I find, in general, social scientists use euphemisms of faith and religion such as social or cultural conservatism rather than directly confronting the issues.

    That’s often the case. Social science has long had a secularist bent. Religion is often considered a proxy for something else rather than an independent variable.

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  5. Jay L Gischer says:

    I would be quite happy to go back to the way gender-affirming care was handled in, oh, 2000. Quite happy.

    We are facing an eliminationist backlash. And apparently wanting to hold the line against an obvious and egregious violation of the 14th Amendment is too radical for some.

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  6. Jay L Gischer says:

    @Scott: We’ve discussed here before, and I think you may have pointed out, how little the avowed policies of the “religious” right have to do with the teachings of Jesus and Christianity in general.

    I think that makes it fair to decline to describe their priorities as driven by their religious belief. Religious affiliation follows social affiliation, not vice-versa. I see stories all the time these days of people abandoning one church in favor of which is more Trumpy and political, whilst other members stick to their more non-political focus.

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  7. JKB says:

    Over the next decade, Democratic gains with professionals and millennials were negated by the party’s unexpectedly deep losses among the blue-collar working class.

    But in the last half decade, the Millennials have become the moms at school board meetings fighting for their children against Democrat party activists in “education”. And the “professionals” face the relentless assault of AI on their jobs since most college “education” has been “copy of the professor” something AI is far better at than humans.

    But, I want to go to the other end of the spectrum, which is intellectual services. It used to be, if you wave your Bachelor’s degree, you’re going to get a great job. When I graduated from college, it was a sure thing that you’d get a great job. And, in college, you’d basically learned artificial intelligence, meaning, you carried out the instructions that the faculty member gave you. You memorized the lectures, and you were tested on your memory in the exams. That’s what a computer does. It basically memorizes what you tell it to do.

    But now, with a computer doing all those mundane, repetitive intellectual tasks, if you’re expecting to do well in the job market, you have to bring, you have to have real education. Real education means to solve problems that the faculty who teach don’t really know how to solve.

    And that takes talent as well as education.

    So, my view is we’ve got to change education from a kind of a big Xerox machine where the lectures are memorized and then tested, into one which is more experienced-based to prepare a workforce for the reality of the 20th century. You’ve got to recognize that just because you had an experience with, say, issues in accounting, doesn’t mean that you have the ability to innovate and take care of customers who have problems that cannot be coded.

    –Econtalk podcast with economist Ed Leamer, April 13, 2020

    As for the black vote, it doesn’t take a lot of black voters to migrate to voting Republican to scramble the Democrat hegemony in many areas. Or will more vote for Trump and continue with their local Democrat officials?

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  8. Stormy Dragon says:

    @James Joyner:

    Religion is often considered a proxy for something else rather than an independent variable.

    Probably because a lot of Christians freak out when it’s treated as just another religion instead of some unique metaphysical phenomenon, so social scientists have learned it’s best not to address it directly.

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  9. Matt Bernius says:

    @Scott & @James Joyner:
    The role of religion as an analytical category definitely varies from social science to social science. I can’t speak for political science, but in fields like anthropology, sociology, and history it’s definitely seen as an often important part of the story.

    I think part of the challenge is that for a lot of social scientists tend to be careful about talking about religion in broad terms.

    Liberal manifestations of faith drove the anti-slavery movements of the 1850s and the civil rights movement of the 1950s.

    This is entirely correct. And during the very same times, conservative manifestations of faith–in particular Christian faiths–were driving in the opposite direction. There were exceptions, but they were relatively few and far between.

    Even today, we could talk about White Evangelicalism (versus Black Evangelicalism) as being a key driver in Republican politics. James has covered that in past articles. But that also addresses only a single flavor of Christianity and doesn’t easily represent the scope of the practice. And I think in an article like this one, it’s hard to say what that additionally brings to the discussion.

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  10. EddieInCA says:

    Gerrymandering.

    Without it, GOP would be lost nationally. Poll after polls show that people agree with Dem policies much more than GOP policies. The GOP has kept up only through gerrymandering and voter suppression.

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  11. Michael Cain says:

    @Kylopod:
    I vote against the Republicans down ticket because no matter how sane they may be individually, collectively they’re enablers. One of the Republicans running for the state legislature near me was reasonably sane on the environment and climate change (my principle issues). But when elected, every procedural vote he made gave the power to the crazies in the party.

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  12. Michael Cain says:

    @EddieInCA:
    One thing the Republicans have done well is to portray the Democrats as the party of the coasts and failed cities in the extended Rust Belt. In large swaths of the country, those tropes have taken hold and large parts of the population who may favor a number of policies supported by Democrats just can’t bring themselves to vote for anyone with a (D) after their name.

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  13. al Ameda says:

    @Kylopod:

    One ingredient not mentioned in this discussion is the extreme nationalization that has taken place in American politics, where most people vote for the same party for president as they do for other offices–much, much more than was the case in the past.

    I will not vote for a so-called moderate Republican because as we’ve recently seen, when the stakes were highest, as in these Trump years, so-called moderate Republicans stood with Trump on nearly every major vote on any important issue. We still have ‘centrist’ or ‘moderate’ Republicans who say that they hate him, can’t stand him, but ‘yes’ they will vote for him in 2024.

    I will continue to have no reason to vote for a ‘reasonable’ Republican (unless his/her Democratic opponent is Donald Trump, Trump Jr., Eric Trump, Lara Trump, Kimberly Guilfoyle … etc.)

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  14. Beth says:

    @Jay L Gischer:

    I would be quite happy to go back to the way gender-affirming care was handled in, oh, 2000. Quite happy.

    Absolutely fucking not. Holy shit not. From the 1998 Harry Benjamin standards of care (precursor org to WPATH):

    Eligibility Criteria
    The administration of hormones is not to be lightly undertaken because of their medical and social dangers. Three criteria exist.

    1. age 18 years
    2. demonstrable knowledge of what hormones medically can and cannot do and their social benefits and risks;
    3. Either a documented real life experience should be undertaken for at least three months prior to the administration of hormones Or
    4. A period of psychotherapy of a duration specified by the mental health professional after the initial evaluation (usually a minimum of three months) should be undertaken

    5. Under no circumstances should a person be provided hormones who has neither fulfilled criteria #3 or #4.

    the 2001 standards were just as similarly evil. What 3 & 4 lead to was the destruction of lives and created immense suffering. What these meant in practice was that only weathly white people were allowed to transition once they learned how to dance well enough. You’re not straight, no hormones. You’re not femme enough, no hormones. Oh, you think you’re a man? no hormones. This was fucking torture. This lead to forced divorces. cutting people off from their families, friends, and communities. This was EVIL. It gave ALL the power to doctors that generally didn’t believe us and made us suffer.

    Personally, what this standard of care meant for me was that I couldn’t transition. I needed about a year on hormones before I could begin to socially transition. Without informed consent gender affirming care, my marriage would have ended, I would have tortured my kids for a couple years before I climbed into a garbage can and blew my brains out or drove my car off a bridge.

    I’ll go ahead and hazard a guess about this:

    But on other policies that Judis and Teixeira cite—from gender-affirming care to carbon emissions targets—the Democratic baseline is significantly more progressive and ambitious today than it was in the Obama era, never mind a generation ago.

    It’s because people 45 and younger have been fed a line since we were kids, Trickle down economics is going to make us all rich some how. Inflation is just around the corner and will kill us all. Crime is out of control. Women have too many rights. The gays are going to ruin everything. And on and on and on. And when given the chance to give up power to the next generation, our parents continually said, fuck no we know better.

    I’m throwing in with the kids. My parents generation has fucked everything to hell and blamed us for it. screw that.

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  15. Beth says:

    @EddieInCA:

    Gerrymandering, or as I would suggest, weaponizing the structural tools available. The weaponizing including forcing the Dems to play by the rules, while also not playing by the rules themselves.

    Coupled with:
    @Michael Cain:
    @Michael Cain:

    The absolute lying and enabling. Mitt Romney might think he’s a decent dude, but he’s fully onboard with and responsible for every single thing Trump does. Romney is willing to sell his “decency” for power, even if he sometimes feels kinda icky about it.

    At the same time, Dems can’t (and don’t seem to want) to lie the same way. We can’t just say crap like, “gender affirming care is mutilation of healthy tissue”. We have to explain why that’s not the case. We have to explain why the prior standards of care were bad. It’s entirely disheartening.

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  16. Andy says:

    There has been an ongoing realignment in the parties, and I think the aberration of Trump and his cult of personality have clouded that underlying dynamic. We’ll have to wait to see what happens to the GoP once Trump leaves the stage – hopefully sooner rather than later.

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  17. Gustopher says:

    From Comrade Karp:

    Over the past half-century, the Democratic Party has changed shape yet again. Like other center-left parties around the world, from Norway to New Zealand, the Democrats have lost ground with working-class voters—especially those in blue-collar jobs—while winning more and more support from upper-middle-class professionals. The shift began in earnest in the 1970s, continued across the Clinton and Bush years, and has accelerated rapidly in the last decade.

    When manufacturing really started moving overseas then? When blue collar jobs started getting threatened…

    This is going to sound incredibly reductionist, but conservatism is a political movement for losers.

    Conservative populism appeals to people who are in decline, and who are desperate to retain the past and whatever advantages they had then.

    People who are doing well and people who hope to do better are, by and large, lefties of one stripe or another.

    Race and racism play into that — while the white working class might be doing worse, the Black working class is getting more opportunities than ever before, so they are often climbing faster than the working class is declining. And white, economically-anxious folk see that and think Black and Brown folk are coming to take their jobs.

    That’s it. Broadly speaking, I don’t think it gets much more complicated than that.

    Democrats looking the other way and quietly tut-tutting while tiny minorities are demonized isn’t going to move the needle by any significant amount. The fear and hatred of “the other” is something people indulge in when they’re doing poorly, and those people (those losers) are heading to the right. Appealing to Americans’ better nature also isn’t going to move the needle by any significant amount, but it’s the right thing to do.

    We need a center-left party that actually has an industrial plan to revitalize blue-collar jobs in our small and mid-sized cities — whether that’s bringing back manufacturing, or creating new jobs that require less education but still pay well.

    Meanwhile, our right-wing party does very well by not solving anything. It’s the party of losers, after all, and so long as people are losing, it will have appeal. All their incentives are in the wrong spot, and if you incentivize bad behavior, you get bad behavior.

    The one wrinkle is that our institutions protect the status quo. They make change hard. Our courts, the administrative state and the filibuster largely act to prevent change. It lets the right wing get far more radical, because they seldom actually have the terrible policies take full effect. Voting for lunatics is consequence free… until it isn’t.

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  18. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Beth: Thank you! I was thinking along your line of reasoning but have no expertise on the subject to speak authoritatively.

    ETA: “I’m throwing in with the kids. My parents generation has fucked everything to hell and blamed us for it. screw that.”

    As, at least I assume so, a member of your parents’ generation, yeah, this too! Hear! Hear!

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  19. Grumpy realist says:

    @Gustopher: unfortunately, I suspect that AI will do in a lot of those lower-white collar jobs. What will be left are jobs requiring human movement, such as lifting and moving people, car repair, HVAC engineering, construction, etc. But we also need a suitable concentration of population in an area for such a business to be fruitful. Between the hollowing out of rural America due to Big Ag and the fact that the older you get—if you can afford it—you will move to somewhere that has the health infrastructure you require.

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  20. Moosebreath says:

    @EddieInCA:

    “Gerrymandering.

    Without it, GOP would be lost nationally. Poll after polls show that people agree with Dem policies much more than GOP policies. The GOP has kept up only through gerrymandering and voter suppression.”

    Agreed. It’s an underappreciated point that the election of 2010 created complete Republican control of many state governments which they did not hold before, and they used them to create self-perpetuating Republican majorities in the legislative branch through gerrymandering the districts to ensure that the next time the districts are realigned, the persons voting for the new districts are heavily Republican. It is only if and when Democrats are able to take control of a the courts that the gerrymander gets broker (See Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and North Carolina for examples).

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  21. Kylopod says:

    @Michael Cain: @al Ameda: I totally agree about so-called “moderate” Republicans being useless in today’s politics, and finding no reason to vote for them. But was this always true? Would you have backed figures like Jacob Javits or Edward Brooke back in the day? My dad who’s pretty hardcore Dem told me he once voted for Charles Matthias. But he despises Larry Hogan, whom he refuses to call a moderate, is up in arms about his policy on roads, and says he was only relatively benign on account of the Democratic supermajority in Maryland keeping him in check.

    It’s hard to wrap my head around the fact that Bill Buckley and various other conservatives favored Joe Lieberman over Lowell Weicker in the 1988 Senate race even though it stood in the way of their attempts to recapture the chamber. I’m old enough to remember the royal pain Lieberman was while in office, but even he seemed preferable to any Republican. Yet I know if you go back far enough, there actually were many individual Republicans who were to the left of many individual Democrats. That specimen is as extinct today as the nonavian dinosaur.

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  22. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Beth:

    Yeah, I too would not have been allowed to transition under the 2000 standards. If that’s the “moderate” position, I’d almost prefer Republican openly hostile transphobia to Democratic moderates that produce the same effective results while also wanting my adoration for being “supportive”

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  23. DK says:

    In addition to downwardly-mobile and unhappy white working class voters, Trump also won the wealthiest households and most privileged demographics — a fact which keeps getting lost in the vibes bubble.

    Biden and Hillary both won households making under $50k by double-digits.

    In 2016, Hillary and Trump then ran even with all other income levels according to both the CNN and New York Times exit polls.

    In 2020, with his horrors known, Trump won households making six figures or more. Biden also won more unemployed voters than Trump. And Biden and Hillary both won union households by double-digits, and supermajorities of demographics battling against systemic discrimination/inequality — with massive toll on their health and economic well-being.

    The Democratic and Republican electorates at any given time are more complex and mixed-up than pat explanations and vibes would have it — scrambled by culture, age, region and movement, constantly changing economic conditions, discrete issues, immediate priorities, and current events both domestic and international. And the strengths and weaknesses of the actual candidates and campaigns in any given election.

    Hence why folks like Judis, Teixeira, and Karl Rove should not have made predictions about “the emerging Democratic majority” and “the permanent Republican majority” — and should stop overreacting to current events now with more ham-fisted and overheated prognostication.

    They won’t, because these guys get rich failing up — since for some odd reason the Very Serious People of the establishment love listening to certain men who keep being wrong.

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  24. Andy says:

    @Gustopher:

    This is going to sound incredibly reductionist, but conservatism is a political movement for losers.

    What’s so ironic about this is that it used to be the “conservatives” labeling others as losers.

    During my life through the Bush years, it was the upper-crust white, educated Republicans who threw the “loser” label around to groups who just couldn’t manage to pull themselves up by their bootstraps and continued to hold provincial views on various topics that no self-respecting, educated upper-middle class suburbanite would hold. It was this group of white Republicans that was pro-immigration, pro free trade, and generally supportive of neoliberal policies.

    And now a big chunk of this white, wealthy, educated cohort is moving or has moved over to the Democratic camp, and the attitudes and neoliberal political values come along with them. Democrats used to be for strong immigration controls to protect wages and the working class, now they aren’t. Democrats used to be skeptical of “free” trade, now they’re not. And increasingly, I see more and more of this “loser” language that used to be the domain of privileged white Republicans aimed at what was, just a couple of decades ago, one of the core constituencies of the Democratic party.

    We’re all neoliberals now it seems.

    The “losers” have also switched sides and are now, ironically, “conservative.” And as losers, they had no choice in the matter; it’s the privileged, educated, mostly white elites who get to declare who is and isn’t a loser and – conveniently, are also the gatekeepers to exiting loserdom.

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  25. Rick DeMenT says:

    @Beth:

    “gender affirming care is mutilation of healthy tissue”

    so is circumcision, but no one is going out to try and stop that.

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  26. James Joyner says:

    @EddieInCA:

    Gerrymandering.

    Without it, GOP would be lost nationally.

    I know this is an article of faith but study after study shows that it’s just not true. The impact on total partisan outcomes is negligible, at best, because both parties engage in it and it roughly cancels out. What it does is do, though, is render individual races noncompetitive and legislators non-responsive.

    The real problem is the Senate and, by extension, the Electoral College. They’re immune to gerrymandering (except in the cases of Maine and Nebraska, which allocate part of their EVs to district-level winners) but they’re distorted at the outset.

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  27. Moosebreath says:

    @Kylopod:

    I had decades of deciding whether to vote for John Heinz and/or Arlen Specter, and pulled the lever for both of them once each. I also lived in Connecticut in the late 80’s and voted for Weicker over Lieberman. Not merely were they sometimes to the left of the Democrats they ran against, but they also were willing to break with their party on a regular basis (Weicker especially). Republicans these days generally are not willing to do so anywhere near as often.

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  28. James Joyner says:

    @Andy:

    What’s so ironic about this is that it used to be the “conservatives” labeling others as losers.

    During my life through the Bush years, it was the upper-crust white, educated Republicans who threw the “loser” label around to groups who just couldn’t manage to pull themselves up by their bootstraps and continued to hold provincial views on various topics that no self-respecting, educated upper-middle class suburbanite would hold. It was this group of white Republicans that was pro-immigration, pro free trade, and generally supportive of neoliberal policies.

    Yeah, that was my reaction to the assertion as well. It was what was behind Romney’s infamous “47 percent” quote: Democrats were the party of losers who didn’t pay taxes and were looking to mooch off the rest of us.

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  29. Jay L Gischer says:

    @Beth: Well, ok. I guess that sucked. I am sorry to recapitulate all that ugliness for you.

    The point I was trying to make is we are facing a rollback to something even more restrictive than the things you describe, right? That’s the rhetoric. Ban all gender-affirming care. Even that terrible Harry Benjamin stuff that served you so poorly.

    My daughter basically followed those guidelines, though I don’t know if that just fit her better, or was something that the doctors insisted on. She is naturally cautious and went slow on the whole thing, which doesn’t for a moment seem to describe you. Of course, your situation was also quite different, being married and all. She was 19 and kind of a loner.

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  30. Gustopher says:

    @Andy:

    What’s so ironic about this is that it used to be the “conservatives” labeling others as losers.

    Fine. People experiencing a loss of economic stability and income. First derivative of income over time is negative.

    They cling to what they have and resent anyone whose first derivative of income over time is positive, even if the actual value is lower than theirs. And they’re desperate and easily manipulated.

    Ok, they’re losers.

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  31. Chip Daniels says:

    I could stand to be corrected, but from what i can see, the only demographic groups which consistently favor Republicans are the ones which have as their modifier, “White” or “Wealthy”.

    They win the White working class, the White religious, the wealthy suburbanites, the wealthy immigrants, and so on.

    I can’t think of a demographic they consistently win that doesn’t have at least one of those adjectives.

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  32. Mister Bluster says:

    @Rick DeMenT:..“gender affirming care is mutilation of healthy tissue”…so is circumcision…

    So is a vasectomy…
    There weren’t any do-gooders trying to harass me outside the clinic when I got mine 40 years ago.
    (you’re welcome)

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  33. gVOR10 says:

    James says,

    The thing is, President Biden would happily do most of those things (deliver good jobs, healthcare, housing, and education to all its people). But, despite Democratic majorities (albeit incredibly slim ones) in both Houses of Congress his first two years, he was extremely limited in what he could get done. But, despite its rebranding as a populist party starting with the advent of the Tea Party, there’s little indication that the Republicans are interested in moving the ball on those issues, either.

    And contra Karp, I don’t think the upper middle class, educated parts of the D coalition would much object. Thank you, James, for “rebranding”. That is all they have done, it’s a change to the marketing, not the substance.

    Karl Rove thought they could get a permanent Republican majority by catering to their older base by strengthening SS and Medicare. But. The only way they could propose to do it was to privatize SS. They had to give Goldman Sachs and the boys a piece (all) of the action. The plutocrats had to be paid off before any improvement in benefits.

    Most of this discussion seems to see parties as coalitions of voters. But I’m not seeing much about funders and activist organizations, where much of the real action is. To some extent this is about coalitions of funders; Koch, the Mercers, the Uihleins, the Prince/DeVosses, Theil, etc. against a short list of D billionaires and the upper middle class.

    @DK:

    In addition to downwardly-mobile and unhappy white working class voters, Trump also won the wealthiest households and most privileged demographics — a fact which keeps getting lost in the vibes bubble.

    Biden and Hillary both won households making under $50k by double-digits.

    Yes. We have a tendency to break data down by quintiles or deciles, which obscures the role, the very existence, of the 1% and the 0.1%. That the super-wealthy support Rs is the schizophrenia of the party, a faux populist facade on a plutocratic party. There’s also a tendency for journalists to speak of the “working class” or “blue collar” when they mean white working class. You’re right, everything I see says the working class as a whole still supports Ds.

    Pundits also tend to talk of educated v high school as an economic class and culture thing. But surely a part of it is that the educated tend to be better informed and had some exposure to critical thinking. They have better BS detectors, hence they’re less likely to be GOPs.

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  34. Gustopher says:

    @DK:

    In 2020, with his horrors known, Trump won households making six figures or more.

    If you’re making six figures, Trump’s tax cuts likely put a lot more money in your pocket. This isn’t rocket science, it’s selfish people.

    There are also a lot less people making six figures, and they each get one vote.

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  35. Gustopher says:

    Hitler didn’t come to Germany in good times. Unless I am very wrong about the world, prosperous people don’t slip into fascism all that often.

    If far right parties are doing better across the established democracies, that tells me that a lot of people in those established democracies are hurting, and that the global economy has more to do with it than dozens of countries independently making different bad decisions leading to similar bad outcomes.

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  36. Jay L Gischer says:

    @Mister Bluster: So is breast augmentation and breast reduction surgery on cisgendered women. I’m not seeing anybody trying to ban that particular “mutilation of tissue” either.

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  37. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Gustopher:

    Actually prosperous people, while not necessarily becoming fascists themselves, are quite willing to make the trade of authoritarianism for stability as long as it offers stability in the time of chaos and protection of their position and wealth. Remember Mussolini promised to make the “trains run on time” and Hitler to address the ruinous inflation that Weimar Germany suffered under. More recently, the Egyptian middle class welcomed the return of a dictatorship rather than risk democracy under the religious parties.

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  38. al Ameda says:

    @Kylopod:

    I totally agree about so-called “moderate” Republicans being useless in today’s politics, and finding no reason to vote for them. But was this always true? Would you have backed figures like Jacob Javits or Edward Brooke

    You’re exactly right. For a few years I worked with two colleagues, from NYC and Hartford respectively, and both were nostalgic for Jacob Javits and Lowell Weicker. Both perceived those senators as independent and strong. Prior to our permanent culture war, moderate Republicans were often a very desireable alternative for independent or centrist voters.

    That world is gone.

    These days I perceive self-identified ‘independents’ as Republican voters who don’t want to say that they’re Republican, primarily because of the Trump brand.

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  39. Gustopher says:

    @Chip Daniels: The graphic chosen for this post has a lot more brown people on the elephant side than one would predict.

    Sure, Republicans like to trot out whatever Black supporters they can find, but that’s always a tiny number in the crowd.

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  40. Kylopod says:

    @gVOR10:

    There’s also a tendency for journalists to speak of the “working class” or “blue collar” when they mean white working class.

    Additionally, the terms are treated as equivalent to what pollsters refer to as voters without college degrees. So when there was all this media analysis about how Trump had won over white working class voters, the polls simply measured his support among whites without college degrees. By that definition, Bill Gates counts as working class.

    And while it is broadly true that college degrees are an important key to prosperity, and people like Gates are certainly the exception that prove the rule, there are still plenty of people without college degrees who are well above the poverty line.

    I understand why pollsters ask only about college degrees. Even putting aside for the moment the way the media implicitly racializes it, “working class” means different things to different people, and while there are objective criteria that can be used to define it (which would involve identifying specific types of jobs), that’s the kind of complexity that would be tricky to ascertain when surveying voters as they leave a polling station.

    The problem is that the media then goes on to ignore these distinctions.

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  41. @EddieInCA: It isn’t mostly gerrymandering–it is single seat districts and a too-small House. Because of geographic sorting single-seat districts inflate the significance of the rural vote.

    If we eliminated gerrymandering tomorrow, the core problem of elections not being representative would remain.

    It is really, really important that we all come to understand this.

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  42. Kathy says:

    @Beth:

    I’m far more concerned about the movement to ban gender affirming care for minors.

    Not only because hormone blockers and, later, hormones lead to better results, but because essentially it would even ban psychotherapy that helps a child or even a teen to come to terms with their gender identity. That would be affirming, and therefore illegal. They’d be sneaking in conversion “therapy” as well. That would be the only one allowed.

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  43. BTW: at the presidential level, as noted in the OP, the Dems are the majority and have been for decades, on balance.

    If the presidency was elected by direct national vote, it would help correct some of the bad behavior by Reps, who would have a greater incentive to fix their competitiveness problem.

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  44. Beth says:

    @Jay L Gischer:

    Sorry, if I can at you a little hot with my comment. It’s just a direct hit on a sore subject. I’ve really come do understand the 80’s and 90’s as the absolute dark ages. That’s what’s so awful about “don’t say gay” and crap like that. The goal is to erase us so that the people that come after us flounder and suffer.

    Make it seem like trans people are something new and weird and bad. That job gets a whole lot easier when people don’t know their history.

    For what it’s worth, my transition was glacially slow. I didn’t say the words “I’m trans” until 2017. I was in therapy until 2019 before I got HRT. I spent 14 months on HRT before I changed my name and socially transitioned on March 9, 2020. It was another 16ish months before I had any surgeries. This sort of transition would have been impossible under the Harry Benjamin standards. I would have to lie about being bisexual. I would have had to get a divorce and not see my kids or old friends.

    Given a choice between death and a rollback to more restrictive standards, I’ll take death. I’d be killed either way, but one has way more suffering.

    Gender affirming care is life saving.

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  45. Monala says:

    @Moosebreath: @James Joyner: when I was following the special election for Ohio-11, I saw the results of gerrymandering starkly. Ohio-11 comprises most of the city of Cleveland, some of its suburbs and other parts of Cuyahoga County… plus this weird long thin sliver of Summit County, the county to the south of Cuyahoga, where Akron is located. Why that thin sliver? I can only surmise that the power brokers of Ohio wanted to group Akron’s smaller black population with the much larger and significantly minority Cleveland. Easy peasy, no need to trouble yourself anymore with black voters in Akron!

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  46. Monala says:

    Now sounding less like leftist tribunes than centrist op-ed columnists, the authors call for a pragmatic “middle ground” on questions of race, gender, climate, and immigration.

    The thing that struck me is that this advice then loses a lot of Gen Z, a large and upcoming voter block who care deeply about these issues (maybe not immigration as much, but the rest).

    Of course, I’m not entirely certain how large the suppport is for these issues in Gen Z, given that we’ve seen that like all generations, they have regressive members too. Deeply sad is the story of a young non-binary person who is recently beaten to death at their high school in Oklahoma, with the school not even calling the ambulance.

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  47. Gustopher says:

    @Grumpy realist:

    unfortunately, I suspect that AI will do in a lot of those lower-white collar jobs.

    And almost as unfortunate is that AI will do those jobs terribly.

    If Newt Gingrich was a stupid person’s idea of a smart person, and Donald Trump is a stupid person’s idea of a rich person, then the current wave of generative AI is a stupid person’s idea of a machine that can do your job.

    It’s absolutely going to happen, and it’s going to be a disaster. It will be automating Idiocracy*.

    The only question is whether it’s going to be recognized as a disaster after the fact by the people who make decisions, and whether they will be doing reasonable trial runs or just doing it everywhere.

    ——
    *: I hate the movie Idiocracy because the premise is eugenics shit about the wrong people breeding. But once you automate away the people, the end state fits.

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  48. DrDaveT says:

    Like other center-left parties around the world, from Norway to New Zealand, the Democrats have lost ground with working-class voters—especially those in blue-collar jobs—while winning more and more support from upper-middle-class professionals.

    This part struck me, especially when followed by the anecdote from Dundalk with the former steel worker hilariously equating Democrats with jet-setters.

    Without contradicting any of Dr. Taylor’s points about single-seat districts and the Electoral College, I think we need to stop forgetting the successful propaganda campaigns that the wealthy have effected against the grumpy non-wealthy. Without Fox News and its even more egregious kin, blue collar support for Republicans would be much less than it is.

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  49. Kylopod says:

    @Gustopher: ChatGPT gets a lot of questions wrong. When I’ve asked it to describe plots of specific books, it rather impressively knows some pretty obscure titles, but it often gets details wrong and gets mixed up with other books. Its knowledge of political trivia is also sketchy. For instance, it thought that Kamala Harris was the first African American on a presidential ticket. You can correct it, though, and it listens to you.

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  50. Gustopher says:

    @Monala: I know that the people who beat Nex to death are minors, and we should be a little more understanding of minors, and I understand that vigilante justice is seldom the right thing, but… I really wish someone would burn their houses down.

    The Oklahoma police are waffling, saying “Did this kid really die from being beaten, and having their head repeatedly smashed against the floor, or did they have an underlying medical condition?” (Presumably an underlying condition aggravated by having their head smashed against a floor)

    It’s been close to two weeks, and the police clearly don’t want to do anything. So, I’m not opposed to mob justice. Or the police station burning down.

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  51. Tony W says:

    @James Joyner: I think it’s easy to discount the impact of having harsh partisans in Congress. The amplification of voices like MTG, Hawley, Gaetz, Jordan, and even AOC, has a significant impact on the electorate and how divided we all feel as a country.

    Gerrymandering has a huge impact beyond the individual district being gerrymandered. No seat should be safe from opposition.

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  52. James Joyner says:

    @Gustopher:

    If you’re making six figures, Trump’s tax cuts likely put a lot more money in your pocket. This isn’t rocket science, it’s selfish people.

    Hell, I’m making six figures. And, while it didn’t at all factor in to my voting decision in 2016 or 2020, the Trump “tax cuts” actually cost me a huge amount of money, as the modest reduction in my tax rate was wildly offset by the inability to write off most of my state and local taxes.

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  53. James Joyner says:

    @Tony W:

    I think it’s easy to discount the impact of having harsh partisans in Congress. The amplification of voices like MTG, Hawley, Gaetz, Jordan, and even AOC, has a significant impact on the electorate and how divided we all feel as a country.

    Oh, for sure. I’m not arguing that gerrymandering has been good for the country, just that it had negligible impact on the Republicans getting control of the House.

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  54. Tony W says:

    @James Joyner: And I guess my argument is a little bit circular:

    1) Republicans manage, perhaps through gerrymandering, to elect a crazy partisan with a loud voice who gets a lot of press attention

    2) This gets the attention of the closeted bigots who are now feeling empowered and justified.

    3) Less competitive districts suddenly get a big turnout from this “bigoted-loser” crowd who used to stay home.

    4) Control over the chamber gives voice to more loud voices and perpetuates the cycle, and perhaps even crosses over into statewide/national politics.

    So my argument is that gerrymandering has a downstream effect outside the core district.

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  55. James Joyner says:

    @Tony W: I’m not sure how you’d test for those “downstream effects” but I’m skeptical. I mostly think it just reinforces the notion that our votes don’t matter.

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  56. JKB says:

    Joel Kotkin posted a related story on American Mind on the 21st

    Whether as professionals or the ultra-wealthy, these Democrats may be voting their consciences, but also their class interests. Government, social assistance, and healthcare account for 56 percent of the 2.8 million net new jobs over the past year, notes the Wall Street Journal, and for nearly all employment gains in blue states such as New York and Illinois. Professionals concentrated in government and largely public funded health programs have benefited mightily under Biden. Those who work directly for Washington recently a nice 5 percent raise from their president.

    The other side of the Democratic base, wealthier voters, are beneficiaries of the strong stock market. The top ten percent own roughly 60 percent of all stocks, while most others have holdings averaging $40,000. In contrast to real incomes, which have grown barely 1.7 percent since 2020, stock income has burgeoned by nearly 50 percent.

    So Paul Krugman is not entirely delusional when he thinks things are pretty good; they are indeed excellent for private jet flying tech oligarchs and tenured Ivy League professors. But the gap between the upper classes and everyone else continues to grow. No surprise then that only 36 percent of voters in a new Wall Street Journal/NORC survey said the American dream still holds true, substantially fewer than the 53 percent who said so in 2012 and 48 percent in 2016 in similar surveys.

    Even more than African Americans, Latinos work in the carbon economy. In states like California, much of the population endures high rates of “energy poverty,” and is forced to spend over 10 percent of household income to keep their lights on and homes heated. Recently the California Air Resource Board, the prime implementer of California’s climate regime, has projected that climate policies will force major income declines for people making less than $100,000 a year, but would raise incomes for those above that mark. The racial implications are clear: 60 percent of California low-income households are minorities, largely Hispanic.

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  57. Barry says:

    @Tony W: “The amplification of voices like MTG, Hawley, Gaetz, Jordan, and even AOC, has a significant impact on the electorate and how divided we all feel as a country.”

    ‘One of these things is not like the others; one of these things does not belong…’

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  58. Ken_L says:

    One has to assume that Judis and Teixeira are educated, intelligent people. Yet again and again in recent years, they pretend that Democrats could adopt ‘a pragmatic “middle ground” on questions of race, gender, climate, and immigration’ that would win back ‘white working class’ voters, without alienating the much larger group of voters who support the party precisely because it of its current positions on race, gender, climate and immigration.

    The Australian Labor Party tried to play this game starting 30 years ago, adopting “centrist” positions to pander to its traditional working class base on the assumption leftists would give it their second preference votes because Labor was preferable to the Tories. And it worked … for a while. Then the Greens and left-leaning independents started to win seats. Labor now only governs with their support.

    In the US, of course, there is no viable third party to represent disaffected leftists, and voting is not compulsory. So if Judis and Teixeira have their way, disaffected leftists won’t vote third party. I expect they’ll just stay home.

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  59. Matt says:

    @Gustopher:

    We need a center-left party that actually has an industrial plan to revitalize blue-collar jobs in our small and mid-sized cities — whether that’s bringing back manufacturing, or creating new jobs that require less education but still pay well.

    Not going to happen as that would require taking money out of the pockets of the rich elite. You know the 1% that own almost 60% of all the wealth in this country…

    Redistributing wealth upwards is fantastic great because trickle down always works!!!!! Taking money from the rich and giving it to the poor to afford stuff? That’s evil and unAmerican!!!!11

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