Democrats Are More Out Of Step Than Republicans, Poll Says

Polling indicates that voters find the Democratic Party to be even more out of step than the Republican Party.

Democrat-Donkey

While Republicans worry about their own political fortunes in the context of Donald Trump’s continued unpopularity, CNN’s Chris Cillizza points to poll numbers indicating that Democrats have issues of their own to worry about: 

One number in the Post-ABC poll really stood out to me as something that should worry Democrats pondering the party’s future: Asked whether the Democratic Party is in touch with the concerns of the average person, just 28% of respondents said it is — as opposed to 67% who said Democrats are out of touch. Those numbers are worse than the “in touch/out of touch” numbers for either the Republican Party or Trump in that same poll.

More amazing to me is that only 52% of self-identified Democrats said their party was in touch with peoples’ concerns, while 44% said it was out of touch. (Also of concern for Democrats: Fewer than 1 in 5 independents — 18% — said the Democratic Party was in touch with the average person.)

Those numbers — particularly among Democrats — are striking. Party leaders in Washington have positioned the party as the voice of the little guy since the earliest days of the Trump presidency: Their side would be the one to stand up for the disenfranchised people in the country whose lives Trump neither cared about nor even thought much about.

As evidence of the organic groundswell behind this idea, Democrats touted the successes of things like Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s “nevertheless she persisted” moment with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on the Senate floor. Twelve million people watched Warren reading a letter from Coretta Scott King on Facebook Live! Republicans were on the ropes, courtesy of a populist punch-out!

The problem with that conclusion is exposed in the numbers above. Yes, there are lots and lots of Democrats who support Warren, buy “nevertheless, she persisted” T-shirts and wear them proudly. But that doesn’t mean the party can automatically be assumed to be the voice of “the people.”

What it also means is that Trump’s election isn’t a panacea for the Democratic Party. While it’s easier to attribute the party’s 2016 loss to stated (and unstated) racism and sexism in the country — and there was some of that! — that analysis absolves Democrats of the sort of internal review the party badly needs.

Consider this: A billionaire businessman raised in New York City was able to successfully cast his Democratic opponent as the candidate of the elites in this country. How? Because there was already a preconceived notion within the populace that Democrats were coastal snobs — shopping at Whole Foods, sending their kids to private school and viewing the rest of the country with utter disdain. That sentiment still very much exists in the country.

These numbers run counter to the traditional Democratic Party mantra that they are the party of the common man, of course, and will likely come as something of a blow to Democratic populists who have come to believe that the talking points they repeat on a daily basis that they are the part of the regular people. In reality, it would appear that Americans don’t see Democrats as anything like this, which may be one of the reasons why so many working-class voters seemingly tuned out the party over the course of recent elections and, especially, in the 2016 election when so many of them chose to support an aloof, arguably out of place, boorish New York real estate developer over a candidate who was seemingly backing the kind of measures that would appeal to working and middle-class voters would support, It also seems to explain at least in part why we’ve seen voters that might otherwise have voted Democratic turn to the GOP in Congressional and state-level elections in 2010, 2012, and 2014 during which time the GOP gained control of the House and the Senate and gained power at the state legislative and Gubernatorial levels that seem likely to stay in place through the redistricting that will follow the 2020 Census. Because of that, Democrats have seen their political influence dwindle in the heart of the nation while the party continues to fall under the influence of power bases on the East and West Coasts that arguably continue to leave a vast swath of American voters with the impression that, on several important levels, the party is out of step with the values, concerns, and needs of a huge segment of the American public.

As Cillizza goes on to note in the post linked above, these numbers also suggest that if Democrats are going to make gains in the coming years, most immediately in the midterm elections in 2018, they are going to have to find a way to be more than just an anti-Trump party. It also suggests that the efforts of people such as Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren to push the party further to the left to assuage the progressive wing of the party that is largely dominated by elites from the two coasts is also not exactly the key to success either. Instead of doing that, they need to find ways to convince the people in the vast middle of the country that they aren’t the out of touch with their concerns and values, and that they are about something other than finding new ways to increase the size and power of the state. If they don’t do that, they could find themselves making at best modest gains that won’t really change the status quo.

FILED UNDER: Donald Trump, Politicians, Public Opinion Polls, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Mr. Bluster says:

    Democrats Are More Out Of Step Than Republicans

    If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.
    Henry David Thoreau

  2. Liberal Capitalist says:

    I would like to know their data gathering methodology.

    For instance, if it is based on calls that go primarily to Land Lines, would that not possibly catch those who are older or homebound… and then (by coincidence) catch Fox News viewers?

  3. Eric Florack says:

    Democrats Are More Out Of Step Than Republicans

    … Thus demonstrating a reasonably firm grip on reality

  4. Rick DeMent says:

    The GOP have successfully weaponized ignorance. Can’t remember where I read this, but it’s demonstrably true.

  5. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    Shocking…Democrats are out of step with the people who want Government out of their Social Security.
    With the people who think that Comb-over Donnie is a straight shooter.
    With people who think climate change is a hoax.
    With people who think tax-cuts for the rich will magically pay for themselves.
    With people who think that anyone who isn’t lily-white is evil.
    With people who think that the most BS conspiracy theories are true.

    For years the Republican party has been conning their base into widespread acceptance of completely unsupportable ideas. And now Democrats should hew those ideas? Nonsense.

  6. CSK says:

    Hate to say it, but the problem may be this: For far too long, northeast liberals have been unable to mask their contempt for the middle classes. Granted, I live and work in the Cambridge/Harvard bubble, but it’s the one in which the Democratic Party movers and shakers do as well. I’ve been listening to the sneering at dinner parties for more years than I care to recall.

  7. HarvardLaw92 says:

    So, in a poll where 58% of respondents indicated that Trump is out of touch, and 62% indicated that Republicans are out of touch, the takeaway is a Democratic poll number?

    This poll is bad news for everybody in DC, and as time moves forward you can arguably expect them to swing more anti-Republican simply by virtue of the fact that they’re in control and therefore stand to take the bullets.

    I expect Cilizza to carry water for Trump. Hell, doing so has become his de facto job lately, but seriously; I expected more than this from you Doug.

  8. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl:
    So look…I’m not defending Clinton or Schumer or Sanders or anyone.
    But seriously…we are talking about people who think that if we just deport 11 million immigrants the US will be just like the glory days in the 50’s that never, ever, really existed.
    These are people who railed against LED lighting…how dare anyone question the incandescent light bulb?
    People who believe in clean coal, and that Dumb Don is bringing coal miner jobs back.
    People who think marijuana is just one step from heroin.
    Who think that a single cell constitutes a human being and deserves the same rights as you and I.
    Someone is out of touch, OK…but I don’t think it’s the Democrats.
    I think Obamacare is the perfect example of what’s wrong with the Democrats. As successful as it”s been they have never been able to sell it properly.
    Same with alternative energy.
    Michael Reynolds is dead-on about this.

  9. Pch101 says:

    Trump is right about one thing: It’s more politically expedient for a politician to tell people what they want to hear before the fact, then later deny that it was a lie, than it is to be truthful.

    Many voters want to get cash and prizes for their particular tribe while denying those same things to “bad hombres” who aren’t in their tribe. Many voters feel overtaxed, even though the budget deficit should make it obvious that the government doesn’t collect enough taxes to cover its spending. They can’t handle the truth, so why give it to them?

  10. george says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl:

    At 67%, including 44% of Democrats, they’re clearly out of touch with more than those folks.

    I look at it like an engineering problem – if the data shows a bridge is in danger of buckling you don’t waste a lot of time complaining about the kinds of vehicles going over it, or the weather anomalies that led to the problems, because those are the conditions you have to work with. The idea is to make the bridge stronger (or I suppose tear it down and build a better one).

    Ideally there’d be no electoral college, and every voter would be interested in researching the issues and parties instead of just voting for the same party they’ve voted for the last three decades, or the most entertaining/charismatic candidate. But that’s like saying ideally (for bridge building) every vehicle would weigh ten pounds and the weather would always be perfect – that kind of wishful thinking is a waste of time.

    When almost half of your party thinks you’re out of touch (the opposition is always going to think you’re out of touch just on principle and can be safely ignored) then its time to examine what’s going on.

  11. Gustopher says:

    The Democratic Party has come a long way since the era of “a chicken in every pot”, embracing multiculturalism, civil rights, reasonable regulation, long term thinking on global warming, etc. But, we’ve lost a bit of economic populism.

    Which brings us to this:

    It also suggests that the efforts of people such as Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren to push the party further to the left to assuage the progressive wing of the party that is largely dominated by elites from the two coasts is also not exactly the key to success either. Instead of doing that, they need to find ways to convince the people in the vast middle of the country that they aren’t the out of touch with their concerns and values, and that they are about something other than finding new ways to increase the size and power of the state.

    Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders are two of the people pushing economic populism — and it’s a message that reverberates and does well.

    When people learn what the Consumer Financial Protection Thingy does, they love it. And we should be shouting the benefits from the rooftops. And, Elizabeth Warren does an excellent job of explaining it so people can understand it — you don’t have to be an electrical engineer to buy a toaster, and you shouldn’t have to be a financial wizard to get a mortgage. Make sure the terms of the mortgage are spelled out, make sure it behaves as expected.

    Protecting People From Big Business should be one of the things that the Democratic Party stands for, and which people think of when they think of Democrats. That’s more Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, not less.

    We need to go after the suburban middle class — introduce a homeowners bill of rights to reign in HOAs, the hated “voluntary” organizations that have sprung up so widely that it’s often hard to buy a house that doesn’t have one because developers are setting them up when building.

    We need to help our smaller cities — let’s start breaking up Washington DC’s beauracracy and centralization, and move some of those jobs out to stimulate economies elsewhere. There’s no reason that Veterans Affairs has to be headquartered in DC, rather than Cleveland OH, or whatever Missouri has. Make government closer to the people, physically.

    We need to offer some hope for rural America. Something. I don’t know, cheaper opioids?

    The Republicans have a lock on cultural populism — what we genteel types call xenophobia and racism — but offering people hope is more effective than just offering them someone to blame.

  12. george says:

    @CSK:

    I think that is definitely a big part of it – and the way the Internet has developed, its easy to find a few examples of such things and blow it up as representative of the whole party … which is what right wing sites have become very good at.

    It reminds me of being in the peace movement in university; we’d go on a march, and 95% of us were careful to speak and dress reasonably respectable. The press, being mainly interested in selling papers or TV advertisement, would find that boring and so concentrate on the 5% that were over the top in speech and dress (and every group has at least 5% like that). The Internet has made it worse, because the outliers are self published (easy to find and quote), tend to draw other outliers to their comments (making a fringe opinion appear to be representative of the opposition party), and of course, its cheap and easy to set up a web site concentrated on bringing such outliers to light (ie Breitbart and the like).

  13. george says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    This poll is bad news for everybody in DC, and as time moves forward you can arguably expect them to swing more anti-Republican simply by virtue of the fact that they’re in control and therefore stand to take the bullets.

    I’d say that’s exactly right, but still, I’d much rather be in a position where its only bad news for the GOP.

  14. sherparick says:

    I have to take things from Chris Cillizza with a huge dose of skepticism. He is one of the original “hippie punchers” and the “Left” that Sanders and Warren want to take party (Fair Trade as opposed to Free trade, supporting unions, higher incomes, free college (or at least free 2-year community colleges), making Obama Care more progressive with larger subsidies and lowering the age of Medicare eligibility and progressive taxation to pay for it are all things that poll well with most Americans.

    I have to assume most “everyday concerns” are incomes and prices and, if you own a home, the price you can get for your home. Most people outside the Beltway and Massachusetts don’t know who Elisabeth Warren is. Also, I wish I knew from the poll what the pollsters think the term “out of touch” means. Also find it interesting in these polls how the 30% who are not white, and most of whom are working class, are not identified or considered in the Village media narrative.

    Generally, even with a competent administration, the out party (e.g. the Party that does not hold the Presidency) does well in off-year elections since those motivated to protest a given President’s policies come out to vote for the party in opposition. I don’t think this is a particularly competent administration or Congress.

    A lot of people, mostly older working class whites, have drifted to a hard anti-abortion position (interesting they discovered the moral flaws of abortion and contraception after they and/or their significant other got past menopause), and I don’t know how Democrats who believe that decision should be left to the woman get past that and in touch with that value.

    Finally, you may not have noticed, but Democrats are having a huge internal argument between the Sanderistas, the Clintonites, and Obamaites on the future of the party.

  15. Scott says:

    I find such polling to be less than useful. What the heck does “in-touch” mean? Without asking that question, the reason for the negative numbers could be anything. There is very little information that can be acted upon in the polling.

    It’s more politically expedient for a politician to tell people what they want to hear before the fact, then later deny that it was a lie, than it is to be truthful.

    This is true short term but ultimately, a politician’s best strategy is to stand up and state their beliefs and the policies they support and let the chips fall where they may.

  16. TM01 says:
  17. Mr. Bluster says:

    …but offering people hope is more effective than just offering them someone to blame.

    I would not be so sure of that.

  18. Modulo Myself says:

    Because there was already a preconceived notion within the populace that Democrats were coastal snobs — shopping at Whole Foods, sending their kids to private school and viewing the rest of the country with utter disdain. That sentiment still very much exists in the country.

    Right, outside of the coastal bubbles nobody desires nice consumer products, and god knows schools and zoning are of importance. Like no community was ever built in order to keep black people out and property values out. And everybody loves everybody. No hierarchies, no frats, old boy networks, no country clubs. When AIDS swept through the gay community in the 80s, it was the fundamentalist Christians who showed their love and in no way thought it was god’s punishment. And when drugs were an ‘urban’ problem, it was Heartland USA who wanted to treat it as a medical issue rather than something to crack down on.

    Lol.

    To me there’s no way that the hatred of ‘average’ Americans for anything different or other did not backfire on the people who were doing the hating. It’s like the connection between a bunch of Christian men who won’t eat lunch with women in order to preserve marriage’s true sanctity and Donald Trump, noted grabber of p—y. It’s so obvious that the disdain is impossible to conceal.

  19. CSK says:

    @george:

    And, on the flip side, George, I have to tell you that you haven’t lived until you’ve heard someone named Winthrop Winslow Cabot Lodge Lowell Farnsworth Quincy Adams XVI declaim, with a straight face, that he’s trying to get back to his working-class roots.

  20. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @george:

    I look at it like an engineering problem – if the data shows a bridge is in danger of buckling you don’t waste a lot of time complaining about the kinds of vehicles going over it, or the weather anomalies that led to the problems, because those are the conditions you have to work with. The idea is to make the bridge stronger (or I suppose tear it down and build a better one).

    Only your analogy is flawed.
    The proper analogy would be that one group of mentally deficient engineers, working with crayons, has wrongly decided the bridge is in danger based on unsupportable theories and ideas. Meanwhile serious structural engineers have undertaken programs to improve the already sound bridge for the coming decades. The problem is not to undertake repairs that will actually only serve to undermine the bridge, but to improve communications so that the mentally deficient engineers are able to understand what is really happening with the bridge.
    Read Gustophers comment above re: Consumer Financial Protection.
    Same for Obamacare…once people know what’s actually in it, they like it. When they wrongly think it’s all death panels and a socialist takeover, they don’t.
    Democrats need to learn to talk to the fourth grader intellect of this nation without alienating the rest of us.

  21. michael reynolds says:

    If Democrats are, on average, more temperamentally inclined to self-criticism (and they are) while Republicans are less inclined to self-criticism (and they are), the poll is meaningless. It’s junk data.

    I’m not saying the conclusion is necessarily wrong, who knows, it may be. But this poll demonstrates nothing.

  22. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @TM01:
    Yeah…and when that nano-technology is feasible for the mass-market then I will be amongst the first to embrace it. But it ain’t yet.
    If I had a dollar for everything Fast Company touts that doesn’t ever come to pass…

  23. Jen says:

    I’m beginning to think that “out of touch with the average voter” indicates an educational or issues understanding gap.

    A lot of people laughed when Trump made his “who knew healthcare was so complicated” statement, but I have been pretty shocked at how shallow an understanding people have on a wide, wide range of issues. They really do appear to think that the answers are simple, all we need is the right person/people in charge and magically everything will get better.

    I have no idea where this came from, but think it might go back to when Congress struck backroom deals. Legislators headed into a smoke-filled room, did their wheeling and dealing, and out came legislation that got enacted. Stuff got solved. With no more back rooms, all the fighting is out in the open–so all people focus on is the *fighting* rather than paying attention to what they are fighting about, which is chock-full of boring and intricate policy details.

    A friend of mine, during the ACA debate, said “I don’t understand why Congress doesn’t just pass the stuff that people are supporting, like getting rid of the pre-existing condition stuff, and leave the requirement that makes people buy insurance out.” I had to check and see if she was kidding, because I couldn’t believe that she didn’t understand the connection. She’s actually very bright, but didn’t know/understand enough to get that the stuff people don’t like is what pays for the stuff that people do like, and that a bill full of costs to the insurance industry without a source of income would have been DOA, no matter how much the general public liked it.

    I’ve had similar interactions over the years with other not-dumb people on a lot of issues. They frankly just don’t care for the policy details. Those who do, and know what they are talking about, get labeled as “too smart for their own good,” or “too big for their britches,” and we end up with this “not in touch with the average Joe” garbage.

  24. michael reynolds says:

    @Jen:

    Government is one of these professions where everywhere a-hole thinks he can do the job better than whoever is doing it now. It’s a bit like writing where every third person thinks ‘Oh, I could do that.’

    You don’t get this in astrophysics or neurosurgery or even plumbing. But when it comes to governing, writing or teaching school everyone’s a fwcking expert. Right up the moment when they actually try to do it. Then it’s, “Who knew X could be so hard?” Well, everyone who ever actually did X for a living, that’s who.

  25. al-Alameda says:

    Consider this: A billionaire businessman raised in New York City was able to successfully cast his Democratic opponent as the candidate of the elites in this country. How? Because there was already a preconceived notion within the populace that Democrats were coastal snobs — shopping at Whole Foods, sending their kids to private school and viewing the rest of the country with utter disdain. That sentiment still very much exists in the country.

    And yet, these so-called less out-of-touch people arguably elected the most embarrassing and appalling president in American history? Okay, just checking.

    Please continue.

  26. MBunge says:

    Can someone get this thread submitted to be the new definition of “cognitive dissonance?” What else can you call accusing other people of being dumb while willfully rejecting factual information because you just don’t want to believe it?

    And I would guess the only reasons there is any difference between the GOP and Democrats when it comes to “in touch with the average person” is because…

    1. Republicans are more comfortable pandering to white people.
    2. Republicans are more comfortable pandering to Christians.

    Mike

  27. MBunge says:

    @al-Alameda:

    People who nominate glass candidates like Hillary Clinton should probably not throw stones.

    Mike

  28. al-Alameda says:

    @MBunge:

    People who nominate glass candidates like Hillary Clinton should probably not throw stones.

    Please feel free to point in what way Hillary Clinton is NOT a better person than Donald Trump.

    ____________________________________________
    Okay I’ll give you one freebie – Hillary Clinton murdered Vince Foster and, to my knowledge, Trump has not murdered any one yet.

  29. Gustopher says:

    @Mr. Bluster: He offered hope and someone to blame, and he was pretty competent at turning the economy around once he got into office. That’s pretty much everything in one package.

    I’m not a big history buff of that specific country and period, but I’ll bet his first hundred days were successful and accomplished, and that he had a much greater message discipline.

    The whole package — hope, blame and competence — doesn’t come around very often. We don’t have to beat that, we have to beat Republicans.

  30. Gustopher says:

    @michael reynolds:

    You don’t get this in astrophysics or neurosurgery or even plumbing. But when it comes to governing, writing or teaching school everyone’s a fwcking expert. Right up the moment when they actually try to do it. Then it’s, “Who knew X could be so hard?” Well, everyone who ever actually did X for a living, that’s who.

    You would get it in astrophysics if people cared enough. Look at global warming.

    Neurosurgery and plumbing show you how incompetent you are almost immediately. You can’t be standing over the dead patient or the mass of leaking pipes and say “I did a great job!”

    Government and teaching take years to figure out what made a difference, and there are so many other possibilities to blame when it goes wrong. So lowering taxes raises revenue even if we cannot point to a single case where that happened.

    As far as writing goes… there is so much bad writing out there, that each person who ever thought “I could do better than this” was probably pointing to something that they could plausibly do better than. For fwcks sake, a professional writer got paid for the script to the GI Joe movie, where the climax is an underwater escape from an arctic lair as icebergs are splitting and falling around them… ice doesn’t sink! And the characters were worse than the physics!

  31. Mikey says:

    @Gustopher:

    You can’t be standing over the dead patient or the mass of leaking pipes and say “I did a great job!”

    I’d bet you a dollar the President could.

  32. Mike in DC says:

    The problem with the poll is the wording. It asks if the group/person is in touch with the average person, not the person being asked. I would suspect that there are a lot of people who think that the party or person might be similar to them, but are assuming/projecting whether the party/person represents the mythical “average person”.

    The way to find out really is to ask whether they are in touch with the problems of the person being polled, and then average those responses.

  33. john430 says:

    “…the efforts of people such as Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren to push the party further to the left to assuage the progressive wing of the party that is largely dominated by elites from the two coasts is also not exactly the key to success either.”

    The people are beginning to realize that “progressives” actually stand for coercing people into the “correct” way of thinking. and always cloak it in doublespeak. They are learning that “Progressive” is shorthand for “progressively dictatorial.”

  34. the Q says:

    Wow, look no further than some of the above comments to prove the point of out of touch Dems.

    Obama insisting the TPP was “family friendly”…was that not a tad out of touch? when the chief negotiator was Mike Froman, the point man in getting rid of Glass Steagall in the 90s? The right hand man of Bob Rubin who bailed gov’t to “earn’ $360 million as the head of Citicorp which the Gramm Leach Bliley Act made legal? This set up the derivative/CDO calamity as Froman/Rubin backed the deregulation of these financial instruments. And we are supposed to trust this azz to protect the middle class? Then we run the candidate who made upwards of $200 million giving speeches to rich people? Nothing out of touch about Hillary apparently.

    And what about that call Obama made to Carrier or Ford to not move jobs to Mexico. That was sure in touch with the blue collar workers of PA MI OH and WI no? Oh, wait, Dems back globalization and the H1 visa mess, hence zero concern for laid off blue collar stiffs. They should retrain as app engineers of course.

    And lets not forget the Black lives matter folks hijacking Bernie’s speech since he had the temerity to state that “All lives matter”….which as we all know is verboten in the PC identify politics of the neo libs.

    And finally, the total carte blanche elitism of “who gives a schitt about the white vote” as if this is just a small minority of disgruntled ignorant red necks.

    The out of touch, idiotic GOP has more seats in gov’t than ever before. And this is with women and minority voters participating at rates unseen.

    So, who is out of touch now?

    The Dems should have nominated Bernie and gone down with a fight. He would have won since Comey and the emails would not be an issue. Taxing the rich, socialist democracy, a fair deal and a thriving middle class would have been the debate, not health issues and goldman sachs.

  35. Liberal Capitalist says:

    @Jen:

    A friend of mine, during the ACA debate, said “I don’t understand why Congress doesn’t just pass the stuff that people are supporting, like getting rid of the pre-existing condition stuff, and leave the requirement that makes people buy insurance out.” I had to check and see if she was kidding, because I couldn’t believe that she didn’t understand the connection. She’s actually very bright, but didn’t know/understand enough to get that the stuff people don’t like is what pays for the stuff that people do like, and that a bill full of costs to the insurance industry without a source of income would have been DOA, no matter how much the general public liked it.

    Jen – That really shows how well propaganda is when applied over decades.

    The simple idea of shared burden / shared rewards becomes… SOCIALISM !!!11 !!

    That’s what the main argument was against Obamacare: Why should the government make me buy insurance? I’m not sick, and I don’t want to pay for some freeloaders!

    Face it: the only person that could make that as a valid argument is Clark Kent, and since Superman likely has good benefits from the Daily Planet, that argument is moot.

    The message more honestly could have been:

    There are only two things in life that you can count on: Death and Taxes.

    We want to help lower one, and avoid the other as long as possible! 🙂

  36. gVOR08 says:

    @Gustopher:

    We need to offer some hope for rural America. Something. I don’t know, cheaper opioids?

    I did see a story yesterday that said opioid abuse seems to be significantly down in states that legalized Marijuana.

  37. Guarneri says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl:

    Heh. Things that don’t sell usually end up at Dollar General, the discount bin, or the trash. But you keep firmly grounded in wishful thinking now…….y’hear?

  38. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @Jen:

    A friend of mine…

    I’ll bet she’s the same friend who doesn’t understand why we can’t balance the budget by getting rid of all the “waste, fraud, and abuse” in government contracts and programs, too. We can see a similar disconnect in the “small government” crowd. Nobody really wants smaller government, fewer programs, lower protection, or a smaller army (well maybe a few on this point).

    The only thing we don’t want is to pay for it. And that’s why “deficits don’t matter (as long as my team is in charge),” too.

  39. Liberal Capitalist says:

    @the Q:

    The out of touch, idiotic GOP has more seats in gov’t than ever before.

    You could have said the same thing about the KKK in the 20’s – 40’s, but that doesn’t make their views and goal one to which we should aspire.

    You’re argument goes back to: We won, so we’re right !

    Governing isn’t about being right. It’s about compromise, and success that benefits “we, the people”.

    You know, the boring stuff.

    That’s why conservatives, in the last 50 or so years, get elected through bullying and feigned outrage, and then fall on their face when elected.

    Greed and selfish self-interest doesn’t lend itself to compromise.

    * W Bush – Crashed the economy, invaded the wrong country

    * George Bush – Promised “No New Taxes”… was wrong. Supply Side “voodoo economics”.

    * Reagan – Promised tax cuts, raised them, Iran Contra

    * Ford – Whip Inflation Now, as the economy was trashed due to vastly expanded war. .Nice guy, WAY wrong place.

    * Nixon – Just a whole lot of hell in a handbasket. Likely could not tell the truth to the country if his life depended on it.

    * Dwight Eisenhower – Can’t say anything bad here… I like Ike…which makes sense, as he probably would NOT be a conservative in today’s zeitgeist.

    Now we have POTUS Trump looking for a 100 day win saying that he will cut corporate taxes from 35% to 15%, and CHOOSE to increase the deficit.

    Which brings us back to “deficits don’t matter” and “voodoo economics”

    Maybe this is why Democrats seem out of touch… we don’t seem to crash the car quite so often… we just clean up the mess.

  40. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    Way, way, way, OT…
    Robert Pirsig, who wrote “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” has died.
    Reynolds will like this; the manuscript was rejected 121 times before someone agreed to publish it. It has since sold over 5M copies.
    http://www.latimes.com/local/obituaries/la-me-robert-pirsig-obituary-20170424-story.html

  41. Mikey says:

    @john430: Yawn. Come back and talk to me about “dictatorial” after Republicans start supporting Colin Kaepernick’s right to sit for the National Anthem, or any other affront to Patriotic Correctness that gets all the right-wing types so exercised.

  42. Monala says:

    @Gustopher:

    There’s no reason that Veterans Affairs has to be headquartered in DC, rather than Cleveland OH, or whatever Missouri has.

    Hmm… The Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) is an agency of the United States Department of Defense (DOD), headquartered in Indianapolis, IN. It also has offices in Cleveland, OH. Among other things, it handles veterans’ pensions.

  43. gVOR08 says:

    @john430:

    They are learning that “Progressive” is shorthand for “progressively dictatorial.”

    Thank you for the example of the difficulties faced by the Democrats. Once people have marinated for years, as you have, in the Bizarro World witches brew of the RW media, how to you get them to recognize any glimmer of reality?

  44. Mikey says:

    @Gustopher: @Monala: About 80% of Federal employees already work in areas that aren’t metro DC. Yes, the headquarters of many agencies are here, but most of the employees aren’t.

  45. george says:

    @CSK:

    You’re kidding, right? You have to be joking ….

  46. george says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl:

    The analogy refers to public perception; ie what it takes to get elected. I agree the Dem platform is much sounder than the GOP one, but that’s not what the poll refers to – its a poll about perception, and right now, given that the GOP have control of the Presidency, both Houses and most of the states, that’s what’s failing the Democrats. It has to be looked at, because if you can’t get elected then it doesn’t matter how sound your platform is, it’ll never be implemented.

  47. Monala says:

    @george: Actor Chris Pine recently said in an interview that Hollywood doesn’t represent him, by not making movies about working class white guys. He got pretty trashed for in on Twitter, with people posting reminders about the multitude of such movies, including the one that won for best actor this year (Manchester by the Sea), and the movie Pine starred in last summer, Hell or High Water. He had the decency to apologize.

  48. george says:

    @michael reynolds:

    You don’t get this in astrophysics or neurosurgery or even plumbing.

    Couldn’t speak to neurosurgery or plumbing, but I know some astrophysicists who run into flack for saying the universe is 13.8+ billion years old (as opposed to say 10,000 years) – they’re told in no uncertain terms that they don’t know how to do science. Not on the same level as the flack biologists get, but its there.

  49. grumpy realist says:

    @george: A lot of the US seems to feel that if you know how to solve a Diff. Eq., you’re a horrible commie elite and should be shouted down from expressing your opinion.

  50. wr says:

    @michael reynolds: “It’s a bit like writing where every third person thinks ‘Oh, I could do that.’”

    Nothing wrong with “I could do that.” “I could do that” is where every writer starts.

    It’s “I could do that better than you, easy, if I could be bothered…”

  51. wr says:

    @al-Alameda: Also, Hillary is a lesbian, while Trump only hires lesbians to pee on him.

  52. CSK says:

    @george:

    No. not really. I invented the name for the occasion, as you probably guessed. But yes, I have listened to this kind of self-absorbed inanity from people whose most recent working-class ancestor was the lead oarsman on one of William the Conqueror’s longboats.

    But maybe you gotta live in Planet Cambridge to hear it.

    It’s sort of like the nostalgie de la boue of the early nineteenth century French and English aristocrats.

  53. gVOR08 says:

    @michael reynolds:

    It’s a bit like writing where every third person thinks ‘Oh, I could do that.’

    I’ve often said I should have gone into controls engineering instead of mechanical because every fool who ever changed a tire thinks he gets to kibitz what I do.

  54. Matt says:

    @gVOR08: I could believe it as the last time I went to visit family in the rust belt it was much easier to find black tar heroin, meth, and pills (Vicodin Oxycontin etc) than it was to find regular weed. The war on pot has been going fairly well in those areas so people switched to other easier to get options. From a dealers perspective pills and black tar heroin are WAAAY easier to hide and more profitable. Meth of course can be made locally which eliminates the most dangerous part about selling which is the transportation of the drug.

    Legalized pot would certainly decrease the usage of pills, heroin, and meth. I have no idea by how much though. People have a tendency to like to alter their consciousness occasionally via a multitude of ways from running to chemical ingestion. Living in the rust belt in one of the thousands of dying small towns really sucks. Chemicals help relieve that feeling of suck some.

    @george: Yeah you see that in basically every field. Where some know nothings are convinced they know it all. That’s why people argue with their master ASE certified mechanic about a car problem even when the OBD report agrees with the mechanic. Hell I’ve had a couple people tell me I was wrong about their computer when I’ve been repairing computers since the early 90s. In those cases the problem was straightforward and clear to anyone with real experience in the field.

    People tend to overestimate their capabilities.

  55. Liberal Capitalist says:

    @Matt:

    People tend to overestimate their capabilities.

    See: Dunning–Kruger effect

    ’cause I KNOW I would rock it as an astronaut, and my bachelor of arts proves it !

  56. Terrye Cravens says:

    The American people certainly believe that Trump is out of step. I think they feel that both parties have lost touch.

  57. Jen says:

    Asked whether the Democratic Party is in touch with the concerns of the average person, just 28% of respondents said it is — as opposed to 67% who said Democrats are out of touch. Those numbers are worse than the “in touch/out of touch” numbers for either the Republican Party or Trump in that same poll.

    The more I think about this, the more it resembles the problems with the “right track/wrong track” question, especially during the last two administrations. On any given day, you have supporters who will say “right track”, detractors who will say “wrong track” and then supporters who don’t think an administration is doing enough (say, all of the Dems who were angry that Obama didn’t push for single-payer, even though he didn’t have the votes, etc.) who say “wrong track” because, frankly, they are bent out of shape.

    The problem with asking “are the Dems out of touch” is that there are going to be those who look at the election loss in November as proof they are out of touch, and until the Democrats have a win, there is a fairly reasonable argument to make that folks will continue to say “they’re out of touch”–until they can prove they aren’t. A circular argument to be sure, but until a Dem wins a special election or there is some kind of cohesive movement that actually looks like strategy at the national level, people will criticize.

  58. Ratufa says:

    Given the election we recently endured, I can understand why some people think the Democrats are out of touch.

    Recent successful Democratic Presidential candidate campaign themes:

    1992 Bill Clinton, during a sluggish recovery from a recession: “For people, for a change.”, “The man from Hope”, “It’s the economy, stupid”

    2008 Obama during a time when the economy was going into the crapper: “Hope”, “Change”.

    Compare to:

    2016 Hillary during a time when the top issues people cared about were the economy and terrorism[*], and populist sentiments were rising : “Stronger together”, “I’m with her”.

    2016 Trump: “Make American great again”, “Drain the swamp”, along with a lot of talk about jobs and trade. ” (yes, I know he was just telling people what they wanted to hear, but that’s politics).

    Some evidence for the “what people cared about” claim:

    http://www.people-press.org/2016/07/07/4-top-voting-issues-in-2016-election/

  59. Pch101 says:

    Donald Trump is out of touch with the concerns of most people: 58%

    The Republican Party is out of touch with the concerns of most people: 62%

    The Democratic Party is out of touch with the concerns of most people: 67%

    Sounds like a three-way tie for last.

    It shouldn’t be surprising that Democrats are more likely to find fault with their own party than are Republicans with theirs because Republicans are more monocultural while Democrats comprise a broader, more fragmented coalition. (That’s Poli Sci 101.)

  60. Pch101 says:

    @john430:

    You give fruitcake a bad name.

  61. Mr. Bluster says:

    …doublespeak…

    Repeal and replace Obamacare…
    we’re going to be living with Obamacare for the foreseeable future.

    “I said it [Nato] was obsolete,”
    “It’s no longer obsolete.”

    Trump repeatedly pledged to label Beijing a “currency manipulator” on his first day in office…
    He later told the Wall Street Journal in April that China had not been “currency manipulators” for some time and had actually been trying to prevent the yuan from further weakening.

    “Mexico will pay for the wall, believe me, 100 percent. They don’t know it yet, but they will pay for the wall.”
    “Eventually, but at a later date so we can get started early, Mexico will be paying, in some form, for the badly needed border wall.”

    …singlespeak…
    “I did try and fvck her. She was married,” “I moved on her like a b!tch, but I couldn’t get there. And she was married,”

  62. Davebo says:

    @the Q:

    And what about that call Obama made to Carrier or Ford to not move jobs to Mexico. That was sure in touch with the blue collar workers of PA MI OH and WI no? Oh, wait, Dems back globalization and the H1 visa mess, hence zero concern for laid off blue collar stiffs.

    Who convinced you that H1(H1-B) visa holders are stealing jobs from blue collar workers? Is it one of those Trump things? “People are talking about it”? “I read it somewhere”?

  63. James Pearce says:

    Instead of doing that, they need to find ways to convince the people in the vast middle of the country that they aren’t the out of touch with their concerns and values

    Scanning the comments, the “convince the people” project is going to be somewhat difficult until the “out of touch with their concerns and values” part is first acknowledged.

  64. KM says:

    Because there was already a preconceived notion within the populace that Democrats were coastal snobs — shopping at Whole Foods, sending their kids to private school and viewing the rest of the country with utter disdain. That sentiment still very much exists in the country.

    In other words, jealousy and bitterness.

    Let’s not beat around the bush here: if they had the money, they’d want to send their kids to private school. That’s why they scream for vouchers. If they had the money, they buy expensive items they wanted and valued from stores that hold social values similar to their own. See the arguments over Chick-fil-A and Hobby Lobby. They view the coasts with disdain under the notion that they are somehow Real Americans (TM) because they decided their values alone represent America but god forbid anyone look down on their way of life. They WANT to be able to do what these elites supposedly do but in their own specific cultural ways.

    There are some real hellholes in this country where poverty is grinding and hope is all but lost. The only way you can wake up in the morning to face the dreariness is the unshaken belief that you are the salt of the earth and thus better somehow then that rich, successful MF in the city. This is a lie that’s been told for generations to placate the poor – you are more moral, you are more hardworking, your values are closer to God’s, etc. That gets internalized into a conflict once referred to as God, Guns and Gays. So their bitterness and disdain is somehow OK because “elites” (people doing better then they are) are mean to them, screw that they are being mean right back!

    How do you convince people then when they are convinced they are intrinsically right and you’re some heathen come to sully their values and culture? How do you convince people who scream about elites sending their kids to private schools with one breath then demand tax money (vouchers) so they can do it too? How do you convince someone who stubbornly clings to a dying job that their way of life is ending and here’s a better opportunity to live? YOU DON’T. And that’s the hard lesson Democrats are going to have to accept: we may not be able to sway them, only let them fall and then pick up whatever pieces are left.

  65. george says:

    @grumpy realist:

    A lot of the US seems to feel that if you know how to solve a Diff. Eq., you’re a horrible commie elite and should be shouted down from expressing your opinion.

    That explains the resistance to accepting the scientific consensus on climate change – the models are based on systems of non-linear partial differential equations; it doesn’t get any more commie elite than that.

  66. KM says:

    @Matt:
    Ditto. Going back home is depressing because of all the needles scattered around in public. Playground, along the right of way, etc – everywhere you look is paraphernalia in plain sight and nobody gives a damn anymore. They’re give narcan to kids in school in case Mommy or Daddy OD’s, for christ sake. The local news had a story about someone surviving their eight overdose like it was some badge of honor.

    These places are dying ugly deaths. It makes sense that their citizens are abusing painkillers to make the process hurt less.

  67. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @george:

    The analogy refers to public perception;

    Exactly. Democrats have to figure out how to explain their agenda, which by and large works, to a fourth grade intellect.
    There are a lot of comments above about being condescending and calling Republicans stupid. well if you deny climate change, if you think tax cuts pay for themselves, if you think single celled arganisms are people…then you are fvcking stupid.
    Democrats need to be able to talk to dumb people about smart things.

  68. RangerDave says:

    These numbers run counter to the traditional Democratic Party mantra that they are the party of the common man….

    Arrgh! I now have a half-remembered movie quote stuck in my head in which some rich American politician or society bigwig is waxing eloquent about doing right by the common people, and, in response to a charge of hypocrisy, he says that while he makes no claim to be of the common people, he does try to be for them. My memory and my Google skills are failing me though, so I can’t identify the source. Anyone know what it is? It’s driving me crazy.

  69. Pch101 says:

    Democrats need to figure out how to have an agenda that is inclusive of minority groups, while not alienating white voters.

    A lot of white voters are a sensitive bunch, perceiving anything that helps minorities as something that comes at their expense. Republicans speak directly to the most tribal of the bunch (even as they simultaneously deny that they are doing this), but Democrats can’t completely ignore them.

  70. KM says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl :
    In a past life, one of the many hats I wore was counselor. Usually end of life issues but occasionally I get other patients or family members sent my way. An interesting thing I saw time and time again was the anger at the doctors, how they were “talking down” or “condensing”. A simple follow up question (“What specially made you feel that way?”) almost always yielded the notion that the doctor was treating them like they were dumb annoyances, people who needed to be spoken to like children and have their hand held. When I asked if they wanted the full technical details and jargon, the answer was no. When I asked if they understood the technical details and jargon, the answer was no. I would then point out the obvious conclusion – they *are* “talking down to you” because you cannot or will not talk on their terms. It’s not a cruelty but a kindness to keep you in the loop. The problem was not with the doctor but with the patient / family members’ perception of the act.

    If you feel like someone is “talking down” to you, they very well might be. Instead of getting all pissed off about how rude they are, it might be better to take a second and think about why they are doing that. Americans by and large are not an intellectual culture – we do not value education or learning as a high priority other then to find employment. If you don’t understand, people have to find a way to *make* you understand and that often involves dropping the conversational tone to what can be seen as insulting limits.

    Nobody wants to believe they are dumb. Statistically, at least 50% of the country is less then average intelligence. Somebody somewhere is going to get condescension every day of their lives. You can only spare their feelings for long before reality sets in.

  71. Han says:

    @Monala:

    Actor Chris Pine recently said in an interview that Hollywood doesn’t represent him, by not making movies about working class white guys.

    What bugs me most about that, is Pine comes from a family of actors. He pursued acting as a profession. He was a working actor soon after finishing his studies. Exactly what does he think qualifies him to be considered a “working class white guy”?

  72. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @KM:

    Nobody wants to believe they are dumb.

    Least of all Comb-over Donnie.

  73. CSK says:

    @Han:

    He plays them in the movies.

  74. James Pearce says:

    @KM:

    we may not be able to sway them, only let them fall and then pick up whatever pieces are left.

    Your observations are spot on, but this “let them fall” conclusion is frankly why so many rural people are not Democrats.

    This is how you convince them: You listen, not lecture; you show compassion, not disdain; you give, you don’t take; you make some attempt to find common ground, not seek to exploit divisions.

  75. al-Ameda says:

    @Han:

    What bugs me most about that, is Pine comes from a family of actors. He pursued acting as a profession. He was a working actor soon after finishing his studies. Exactly what does he think qualifies him to be considered a “working class white guy”?

    Apparently, there is an endless supply of self-proclaimed aggrieved and victimized white guys.

  76. michael reynolds says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl:
    It never ceases to amaze me that in publishing you can reject something like Harry Potter and not lose your job. What other business is there where an employee can blow off what turns out to be billions of dollars and suffer no consequences?

    But I will point out that while I enjoy other people’s rejection stories, I have none of my own. The only time I was ever rejected was the very first, half-assed effort. The next 150 books were all published.

  77. wr says:

    This obsession with icky city libs shopping at Whole Foods is the kind of crap that pundits and Republicans like to spout that has no relationship with real life. How do they describe anyone left of Trump? “Latte drinking” — because we are so weak and corrupt we drink decadent European coffee instead of McDonald’s. (Quick: How do you spot a phony? He’s the guy saying McDonald’s coffee is better than Starbucks…) And they say this as Starbucks has spread into just about every corner of America… where salt of the earth real Amurkins are not only drinking lattes but rainbow frappucinos.

    It’s just another cultural signifier meant to divide by people who profit off division.

  78. James Pearce says:

    @al-Ameda:

    Apparently, there is an endless supply of self-proclaimed aggrieved and victimized white guys.

    Nah…just a preponderance of racist liberals playing movie critic again.

  79. george says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl:

    Actually I don’t think its a question of talking to dumb people, its a question of talking to uninterested people. Not a single person in the world is even mildly competent in every field of human learning … for that matter, not a single person in the world is even mildly competent in any single field.

    For example, Victor Weiskopf, Nobel Prize winner in physics and much smarter than most of us (certainly much smarter than I am), pointed out that by the 1950’s physics had specialized so much that he couldn’t understand except in the most general terms most of what was published in the better journals (though of course he had great understanding within his own specialty). And that’s just physics. Now spread that out over all the fields.

    Yet most of us could gain basic understanding in any single field if we devoted the effort to it. We don’t, because there are too many fields, and too many better things to do (biochem is very important – and I know almost nothing about it because I have too many other things to do … though considering I spend time posting on an Internet forum you might rightly argue some of that posting time might be better spent learning the Kreb’s cycle).

    The problem with politics is not that people are too dumb to understand it (most are more than capable), but that they’re not interested enough to do so. I have friends with a degrees (and even advanced degrees) who know nothing about politics, couldn’t tell you anything either Clinton or Trump said (were in fact unaware of the Mexico Wall, the server issues, even Pussy-gate), and nothing about any political issues. But, to take just one example, one (with a masters in physics and a Phd in computer science) could happily explain how Claude Shannon’s information theory derivation of entropy relates to Boltzman’s statistical mechanical derivation, and in a way that high school students would understand (if they could be induced to listen). He’s a very smart guy, happily married and as far as I can tell a great father, and definitely a good friend. And thinks politics is a waste of time because they’re all lying, or sometimes he says he’s just too busy with other things. And that’s 90% of the population right there.

    Its not intelligence that’s the problem, its interest. If you can understand the NFL wild-card play-off system, you are smart enough to understand basic politics. How to get people to care enough to try to understand politics is the problem. I have no solution.

  80. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @george:

    Its not intelligence that’s the problem, its interest.

    I get your point…but if you believe in death panels and tax cuts that pay for themselves and clean coal then you are operating on a fourth grade level, even if you are capable of more. And if people are going to insist on operating at a grade-school level then Democrats need to learn to explain that this stuff is nothing but pure BS at that level.

  81. Michael says:

    Two comments:

    1) Social and cultural issues “trump” (sorry!) economic issues for most people. Only candidates whose social and cultural positions are acceptable get their economic positions taken into consideration. This is why the GOP has done so well recently. Their social and cultural positions are more in line with most Americans so even though the Democratic Party’s economic positions are most in tune with most peoples, they never get past the social and cultural issues to recognize that. They only eat at the GOP’s “buffet table” of candidates and positions.

    2) Despite 1) above, if they were stocks, I would go long on the Democrats and short on the Republicans. The GOP will likely lose the House in 2018 as Trump will weigh down those up for re-election. Further, we already have the third longest economic expansion in history. We are due for a recession. Would not surprise me to see Dems take the House in 2018, recession in 2019 and Dems taking Senate and WH in 2020.

  82. Jen says:

    @george:

    The problem with politics is not that people are too dumb to understand it (most are more than capable), but that they’re not interested enough to do so.

    This is precisely what I was trying to get at in my comment earlier. Agreed.

  83. KM says:

    @James Pearce :

    This is how you convince them: You listen, not lecture; you show compassion, not disdain; you give, you don’t take; you make some attempt to find common ground, not seek to exploit divisions.

    We keep hearing this as a solution but the problem is Dems already *do* that, just not in a way Repubs accept. We listened to their concerns about failing economies and dying towns… only to get accused on “not getting it” when we didn’t agree with what caused them. We show compassion by passing laws to help alleviate their burdens and make sure they’re not being taken advantage of…. only to get accused of killing businesses and jobs they want but the market doesn’t. We try to find common ground by relying on the American ideal of equality and fair treatment…. only to be accused of favoring minorities with “special rights”.

    Pointing out facts isn’t lecturing even if it does hurt feelings and offend pride. The idea that Dems are arrogant stems from the old notion that rural people (usually Repubs) are inherently wiser and closer to common sense wisdom so its presumptuous to tell them what to do. A prime example is Michelle Obama’s food program. We’ve an epidemic of obesity and diabetes in our youth due to bad parenting choices but how &#&%$^* DARE that woman tell us what we should be feeding our kids! There’s no nice way to say you are making your kids fat. They’re still fat after you’re done having a fit about some elitist telling you they’re fat. Your down-to-earth rural great-grandmother would probably tan your hide for what you feed your kids but nope, no coastal Dems is going to lecture them. They’d rather have a diabetic child then listen to what FLOTUS suggested.

  84. george says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl:

    In the case of my friend, I doubt he’s ever heard of death panels or tax cuts that pay for themselves. In fact, I doubt he could tell you a single policy or claim by either party, other than that the Dems are more left wing and the GOP more right wing. He voted (for Clinton as President and for the local Republican for Congress and Senate … I’ve no idea what his basis was, when I asked him he just said the equivalent of “seemed to be as good as picks as any”), but not based on anything anyone said, at least not consciously.

    Basically, his approach to voting would be the same as mine would be if you asked me to pick between say Schoenberg and Ernst Krenek – random selection. The point is, that I got more or less the equivalent reaction from most of my family/friends still living in the states. Some are very well (if not over) educated, some haven’t finished high school, but none voted on death panels or any such issue. Many didn’t vote at all, most who did based it on some gut feel that had nothing to do with the issues or policies, because they weren’t paying attention to any of that in the first place. They probably picked up stuff by osmosis (background noise on TV or headlines in the paper on the way to the sports pages), but its not a question of believing any of it – if pressed they’ll to a person say all politicians are lying anyway.

    The problem is one of interest. If you can get them interested enough to pay attention I’m pretty sure they’d come to the conclusion that most of what the GOP says (and some, though considerably less of what the Dems say) is ridiculous. But I don’t think anyone’s figured out a way to get uninterested voters to pay attention.

    Look at climate change for instance. There are excellent scientific reasons to conclude its happening and that humans are playing a significant role. How many of the people on either side can explain said science, even at the level of high school physics/chemistry, let alone at say the Scientific American level (which is what you’d expect people to be reading at given that its arguably an extreme danger for the whole human race)? Is it that people are too stupid to understand at that level? I’d say no, they just can’t be bothered. Same with politics. Death panels, tax cuts, that’s policy wonk stuff that means nothing to most people; what goes on in political forums on the Net is really unrepresentative. Think about it – there are 300 million Americans. If even a million of them are posting on the various political websites I’d be shocked.

  85. KM says:

    @george:
    To be fair, that’s why we have politicians in the first place. The job exists so people don’t have to worry about the complexities of governance or do anything just like plumbers exist so I don’t have to learn the ins and outs of household sewage management. It’s not that people don’t care per se as we tend to think we hired these qualified people to do this for us…. and as any hiring manager can tell you, what’s on a resume or presented in a interview is *rarely* the employee you end up with.

  86. george says:

    @KM:

    Okay, that’s a fair point. Its frustrating though, given that I’m now convinced that’s what got Trump (and much of the GOP) into office. It also means the Democratic Party is approaching things wrong – talking about policy to people who aren’t interested is inefficient. So is assuming its about workers discontent, or racism, or identity politics – there are issues for the 5% who pay attention to things like that, and of course spend too much time on political websites, anything from Slate to Breitbart. The other 95% of the potential (as opposed to actual) voters simply aren’t interested in any of that, its all “wah, wah, wah” (the sound from the adult voice in old Charlie Brown specials).

    For them voting is a chore they’ve been told they have to do, as interesting (and much less urgent) than taking out the garbage. There’s probably a way to tap into that; the first party to get to that 95% of uninterested voters (most of whom vote out of habit for whoever they’ve voted for in the past without being able to say a single thing about either party) is going to win a landslide. One way is a charismatic leader (like Obama was), but as Michael Reynolds pointed out, they’re few and far between. But something like that is needed.

  87. James Pearce says:

    @KM:

    We keep hearing this as a solution but the problem is Dems already *do* that

    They don’t, though. Dems have staked out their territory (urbanites, minorities, women, activists) and they’re sticking to it, and really, all they have is the minorities and the activists, since about half the urbanites and women vote GOP.

    Maybe we should re-orient the party to fight for every vote.

    A prime example is Michelle Obama’s food program.

    It is, but perhaps not in the way you think. Rural farmers don’t need to be told to eat fresh food. You know who that’s for? Urban people who buy prepared food from grocery stores.

    I mean, I found Obama’s food program harmless, but I can see how others might find it a bit condescending.

  88. Mikey says:

    @James Pearce: I think the Democrats can bring new emphasis to their outreach to the working class that used to be such a large part of their base, and they should.

    Clinton screwed up worst by ignoring them. I’m not saying the Dems should pander to the white working class, and especially not if that means drawing focus away from equality and civil rights. But they should renew their emphasis on worker rights and benefits, on unionization, on the 1% paying a reasonable portion of their income in taxation.

    The trick, of course, will be getting around 40 years of GOP bullshit that’s convinced so many these things are evil “socialism.”

  89. al-Alameda says:

    @James Pearce:

    Nah…just a preponderance of racist liberals playing movie critic again.

    I’m not aware of any of those

  90. wr says:

    @James Pearce: “You listen, not lecture;”

    Hey, why don’t you give this a shot for a change and let us know how it works out?

  91. James Pearce says:

    @Mikey:

    The trick, of course, will be getting around 40 years of GOP bullshit that’s convinced so many these things are evil “socialism.”

    That will be tricky, and you’re right, pandering won’t help. Civil rights are still important. But the economic message, frankly, has to change.

    We should start talking about increasing our manufacturing base here in the United States, with an emphasis on automation so we can free up a work force for construction, agriculture, and energy production. We have to prepare for a post-Trump world, which will be protectionist and tense.

    @al-Alameda:

    I’m not aware of any of those

    Oh they’re out there, man.

  92. Ratufa says:

    @KM:

    Pointing out facts isn’t lecturing even if it does hurt feelings and offend pride. The idea that Dems are arrogant stems from the old notion that rural people (usually Repubs) are inherently wiser and closer to common sense wisdom so its presumptuous to tell them what to do.

    If that first sentence is your way of defending Democrats against charges of being arrogant. that’s a hilarious way of going about it. It’s doubly funny as part of a post where you talk about how Democrats listen to people, try to find common ground, etc. The “old notion” you mention is far from the only reason why many people, not just rural people, frequently react negatively when strangers (or even acquaintances) tell them they are wrong. about something they care about. Also, hurting feelings and offending pride isn’t a good way to win votes.

    We listened to their concerns about failing economies and dying towns…

    And historically the economy has been an effective issue for Democrats. It has helped get Obama, Bill Clinton, and various other Democrats elected over the years. Of course, it helps if the candidate acts like she really cares about the issue…

  93. Mikey says:

    @Ratufa:

    Also, hurting feelings and offending pride isn’t a good way to win votes.

    Yeah, Clinton’s “basket of deplorables” comment was entirely correct, but really stupid at that point.

    I’m beginning to think Democrats should just accept that many Republicans are to some extent racist, nativist, and bigoted…and then shut up about it and treat them as though they aren’t. Go to them with a clear statement of what our party stands for: pro-worker, pro-equality, pro-economy that works for everyone and not just the 1%. Let them know they’re welcome. Some will choose to walk away, but some may join us, and when they do, they’ll meet people of color and LGBT people and strong feminists and get to know them, and figure out they aren’t the bogey-men and -women they’ve been led to believe they are.

  94. Pch101 says:

    In the 1890s, poor white Populist farmers and black Republicans in North Carolina formed a political alliance referred to as Fusion. They succeeded in pulling an upset and removing the Democrats from their majority in the state legislature.

    In response to that defeat, the Democratic party began to target the white members of the Fusion movement by emphasizing black inferiority. That use of race baiting contributed to the demise of the Fusion alliance.

    The GOP is doing now what the Democrats used to do: They use cultural arguments in order to break any alliances between white blocs and minorities. It worked in the 19th century, and it works now.

    Racism has long played a role in American politics, and ignoring it won’t make it go away, if only because there is always a political party — now it is the Republicans — that will actively exploit that racism.

    Democrats need to get their own voters to show up as they win over a few more independents. They won’t succeed by appealing to hardcore bigots because the bigots are committed to the Republicans, so it really doesn’t matter what you say about them.

    The “deplorables” comment wasn’t smart, but those voters weren’t going to vote for Clinton, anyway. But it wasn’t helpful because it doesn’t inspire your own side to show up on election day. Clinton did a poor job of appearing to stand for something, and voters want a president to speak to their aspirations.

  95. Mikey says:

    @Pch101: Clinton didn’t inspire anyone who wasn’t already going to vote for her, and maybe not even them that much.

  96. Pch101 says:

    To put it another way, anger is a better motivator than fear.

    Most Democratic memes have the unfortunate effect of making the other side appear to be more formidable, which discourages your own side from voting because the effort seems futile. They talk a lot about fighting, but Democrats often don’t really mean it.

    Instead of fearing their opponents, Democrats need to want to beat the crap out of them. Democrats should want to destroy the Republicans and taste blood, with no remorse. However, that effort should entail attacking the politicians, not the voters (even the stupid ones.)

  97. Ratufa says:

    The “deplorables” comment wasn’t smart, but those voters weren’t going to vote for Clinton, anyway.

    Sure, Hillary said 1/2 of all Trump voters are deplorables, and by definition Trump voters aren’t going to vote for Hillary. But, the statement also reinforced various negative stereotypes about Hillary and Democrats in general, and some voters who were considering voting for Trump may have wondered if Hillary also thinks that they are in the deploreables basket. People who may not have been considering voting for Trump, but who have friends, relatives or spouses who are Trump voters, could also have been offended by the remark. Overall, there were more negative aspects to the comment than its failure to inspire her own side, and I’m not convinced that it didn’t cost Hillary some votes.

  98. Monala says:

    @James Pearce: Except most of what Michelle Obama did wasn’t geared toward parents, let alone rural people per se. Most of it was targeted at schools – trying to make sure they offered healthy lunches, and offered kids chances for recreation and exercise. And most of the complaints I remember hearing were about these efforts targeted at schools – how dare she try to dictate what our children eat for lunch! Etc. Do you honestly think there’s anything Mrs. Obama could have said or done that wouldn’t have made the rightwing resent and criticize her?

  99. Gustopher says:

    @Ratufa: Had she given an interview where she doubled down, and pulled up the figures that showed that half of Trump supporters believe that Barack Hussein Obama was a secret Muslim born in Kenya, and gone from there, it would have been fine.

    White nationalists… yup, they support Trump, and they’re pretty deplorable.
    People who believe Michigan is run by Sharia law… yup, they support Trump, and they’re pretty deplorable.
    People who believe racist thing X…

    Continue.

    Coal miner worried he’ll never get a job again… yup, they support Trump, but they’re not deplorable, they’re just desperate. Coal is too expensive, and those coal jobs aren’t coming back and we need to work together to find a way to bring the communities back, not just lie to people.

    Clinton was afraid to go on the offensive, and backed off too soon.

  100. Matt says:

    @george:

    Its not intelligence that’s the problem, its interest. If you can understand the NFL wild-card play-off system, you are smart enough to understand basic politics. How to get people to care enough to try to understand politics is the problem. I have no solution.

    This many times over has been my experience when talking to random people about politics. The sad fact is the majority of voters aren’t educated about the issues and don’t believe they have time to get educated either. So they pull the lever for the team their parents voted for and in my case that’s heavily Republican. Because Republicans are pro-growth and pro-murica!!

    I’m pretty convinced that on a federal level Republicans have figured this out which is why they seem to stick to simple slogans/talking points instead of complex real answers. The GOP has mastered the art of naming bills so they seem to be doing the opposite of what they really are doing.

    Dems need to get better at marketing their brand basically.

  101. DrDaveT says:

    @James Pearce:

    Rural farmers don’t need to be told to eat fresh food. You know who that’s for? Urban people who buy prepared food from grocery stores.

    Except, that’s not even close to true — and if it were, it wouldn’t matter because there just aren’t that many farmers these days.

    99% of farmers today only grow cash crops like soybeans or field corn, so apart from the kitchen garden at certain times of year, they don’t have a lot of home-grown fresh food to eat. They buy prepared industrial packaged food like everyone else, at the local Wal-Mart. It’s the coastal liberal elitists like me who have both the money and the leisure to actually prepare food from scratch most of the time. My white trash relatives back in rural Illinois eat frozen processed crap, or go out for fast food.

  102. al-Alameda says:

    @James Pearce:

    Oh they’re out there, man.

    So, ‘racist liberals playing movie critics’ is a big subset of the Democratic Party?
    I had no idea.

  103. al-Alameda says:

    @wr:

    @James Pearce: “You listen, not lecture;”
    Hey, why don’t you give this a shot for a change and let us know how it works out?

    Upvote PLUS 666.
    The current one-sided notion of “liberals need to listen to conservatives” seems like total bulls*** to me.

    I’m from a big Catholic Trump-voting law enforcement family – of my 9 siblings only 2 of us are non-Trump voters, plus many of our family friends are police/fire families, and they’re very conservative too.

    I’m quite accustomed to hearing their political opinions. I do most of the listening, my opinion is generally dismissed. My observation is that these days there is very little mutual respect for differing opinions, even among family and friends of family, and that’s a place where I know and like all of these people.
    I’d say that this is as bad as it gets, primarily and especially because one side (yes, THAT side) will not even agree on objective facts. To them facts are an inconvenience, one that is easily ignored for their desired greater good, which is to say total victory, roll back of the ‘liberal’ state.