Warren’s Same-Sex Marriage Joke Raises Concerns

Elizabeth Warren's comments at an LGBT rights forum late last week were cheered by the audience, but some Democrats are raising concerns about their impact on the General Election.

A quip by Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren regarding same-sex marriage is garnering support from within her base of supporters and no small amount of criticism from outside it by those concerned that it belies an attitude that could cause Democrats to turn off the voters they need to win in 2020:

About 90 minutes into Thursday’s forum on LGBTQ issues in Los Angeles, a gay rights leader posed a question to Sen. Elizabeth Warren: How would she respond if a voter approached her and said, “I’m old-fashioned, and my faith teaches me that marriage is between one man and one woman?”

Warren (D-Mass.) responded with a theatrical seriousness. “Well, I’m going to assume it’s a guy who said that,” she deadpanned, pausing a beat for the audience to catch the joke. Then she added, “And I’m going to say, ‘Then just marry one woman — I’m cool with that.'”

She finished with a zinger: “ ’Assuming you can find one.’ ”

After landing her punchline, Warren turned, took a few steps and smiled broadly as the room exploded in laughter. Her response went viral online, and by Friday afternoon, Warren’s campaign team, which rarely brags about such things, was crowing that the clip had garnered more than 12 million views on Twitter.

As Annie Linskey at The Washington Post goes on to note, though, some political observers think that remarks like Warren’s could come back to haunt Democrats, especially if she is the nominee:

Republicans and some Democrats warned that the quip at the CNN-sponsored forum would play poorly among a big swath of voters.

“It’s about telling people who don’t agree with you that they are backward by definition,” said Hank Sheinkopf, a Democratic strategist who advised Bill Clinton’s presidential reelection campaign. The line was a “stab” to those who don’t agree with her, he said, and “it is a battle cry for men to turn out against Elizabeth Warren.”

The 44-second exchange captured the promise and peril of Warren’s candidacy. She is quick-witted and sharp-tongued in a way that has played well in the Democratic primary and could prove effective against President Trump. But conservatives warn that she can come off as condescending and dismissive.

(…)

For many liberals, the rapid-fire answer showcased her ability to take on Trump. “It was genius — it shows the real Elizabeth Warren,” said Mary Anne Marsh, a Democratic strategist who is not affiliated with a presidential campaign. “It was off-the-cuff and it was devastating, with a smile, a wink, a turn of the heel and a chuckle. Everybody got it.”

But Sheinkopf suggested Warren was playing to her liberal studio audience, and he warned that such comments could alienate voters in the South and upper Midwest. “Would she say the same thing at a dinner in Birmingham, Alabama?” he said. “The answer is no.”
Republicans noted that Warren’s comment went beyond stating a position to ridicule those who have a different view on same-sex marriage.

As a preliminary matter, I would note that we’re at the point now where the debate over marriage equality is basically over as a political matter. Thanks to the Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges and the strong support that it enjoys according to those polls that still ask the question, it is unlikely that we’re headed back to an era when gay and lesbian Americans will be unable to get legally married. This is important because, realistically speaking, the question that prompted Warren’s response is essentially irrelevant. As long as they are aren’t taking any action to deny gay and lesbian Americans their rights under the law, then whether or not an individual American approves or disapproves of same-sex marriage ought to be irrelevant.

The question that Warren’s remarks prompt, though, is whether or not they could potentially backfire. In the context of a Democratic primary, of course, they resonate quite well, which explains the positive response to her remarks from the audience at the forum last week. At the same time, though, there are some voters that could be turned off by the way Warren ridiculed people who disagree with her, including one important voting bloc inside the Democratic Party:

Older and more religious black voters in particular may be less likely to find Warren’s joke funny, several strategists said.

“I’m not sure how that resonates with older African American voters, especially African American women,” said Antjuan Seawright, a black Democratic strategist based in South Carolina. “I’m especially not sure what discussions might carry over to the barbershops this weekend.”

He added, “That’s the place in many communities that everyone comes to talk politics and the happenings of the day.”

In addition to older African-Americans, the remarks may not resonate so well with the white, working-class voters in the Midwest that Democrats lost in 2016 after winning them in 2008 and 2012. Many of these voters are culturally conservative and regular churchgoers, though, and even though they might be responsive to the right message from the right Democratic candidate, it’s just as possible that they will be turned off by a candidate who ridicules what they consider to be sincerely held religious beliefs. In that case, these voters could be susceptible once again to the argument that Donald Trump made to them in 2016 that the coastal Democrats like Warren don’t really care about them and that they have contempt for them because of their beliefs. That could be just enough to send them back into the Republican camp again even if they have doubts about Trump himself.4

This is one of the many reasons that Warren seems to me to come across as being not unlike Hillary Clinton in 2016 in that she seems to come across as having contempt for those who disagree with her. As an academic one would think she’d have at least some respect for other points of view, but this response reveals otherwise at least on this topic. That’s not a good look for a politician who is going to have to count on people who disagree with her on many issues for support.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2020, Elizabeth Warren, LGBT Rights, Politicians, 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. DrDaveT says:

    I would note that we’re at the point now where the debate over marriage equality is basically over as a political matter. Thanks to the Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges […]

    You are much less afraid of the Trump Court than I am. I don’t think any precedent is safe at the moment, and we know popular opinion is irrelevant to ‘conservatives’.

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  2. DrDaveT says:

    I think I’m missing something here. Is the part that may backfire supposed to be the “just marry one woman” part, or the “if you can find one” part? The former is as succinct a statement of the Democratic position as I’ve ever heard — to wit, you are free to practice your religion, and not free to impose your religion’s rules on other people. Every Democratic candidate is going to take that position; some of them won’t phrase it as well. If that’s the problem, then it’s not a Warren problem, it’s a Democrat problem.

    The latter seems like a gratuitous personal insult, but not aimed at any particular belief system. I think it was unnecessary, but I don’t see how it would (say) turn off African-American women.

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  3. Teve says:

    (rolls eyes emoji)

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  4. gVOR08 says:

    The GOPs do this sort of thing every day and the supposedly liberal MSM are upset by Warren’s remark?

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  5. An Interested Party says:

    It’s funny how everyone is so worried about what older white working-class voters think but we don’t see nearly as much concern for, say, college students or middle-aged professionals or black women…and as far as having contempt for those who disagree with them, that certainly doesn’t seem to have hurt any number of Republicans who regularly sneer at “coastal elites”…

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  6. Hal_10000 says:

    @DrDaveT:

    There are a few dozen things that have to happen, in order, for SCOTUS to even address the issue. No state has tried to outlaw gay marriage since Obergefell and it’s unlikely Court would do anything other than strike it down immediately. It’s highly unlikely SCOTUS wants to revisit it. One of the nay votes — Roberts — definitely won’t. And I don’t see Gorsuch wanting to touch it either. Obergefell isn’t going anywhere.

    While this remark of Warren’s will be forgotten by next week, it is a reminder that we haven’t seen her challenged or tested yet. She’s now tied for the lead based on media worship and an enthusiastic progressive wing. But we’ve seen hyped candidates whither the second they were attacked — Rubio, Harris, Jeb!, Edwards, etc. Let’s wait until she take a few hits in debate before we crown her.

    Warren is the candidate who most worries me right now. Apart from her terrible Far Left ideas, she crosses me as one quite likely to send moderates and conservatives back to Trump.

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  7. Han says:

    @DrDaveT:

    You are much less afraid of the Trump Court than I am. I don’t think any precedent is safe at the moment, and we know popular opinion is irrelevant to ‘conservatives’.

    That’s because as a cis white male, Doug has nothing to worry about.

    And you know, just once in my life I hope to hear concern expressed about a Republican politician’s statement/actions that will play poorly with liberal voters.

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  8. Teve says:

    @An Interested Party: it’s always ‘what must Democrats do to appeal to this mildly racist forklift operator in Iowa City?’, never ‘How are Republicans going to attract single women of color in Miami?’ White people are catered to and treated as valid.

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  9. dmichael says:

    Another day, another post by Mataconis, Joyner, et al, trying to argue some significance by negatively characterizing the behavior of a Democratic Party candidate. Or, as Scott Lemieux put it after describing the Republican video showing Donald Trump stabbing and killing journalists and opponents: “I don’t see how Democrats can appeal to middle Americans after Elizabeth Warren made a mild joke about opponents of marriage equality.”

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  10. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    But conservatives warn that she can come off as condescending and dismissive.

    Ouch…I hurt my neck, rolling my eyes so hard…
    Are these the same conservatives who refuse to condemn Trump? Right…so consider the source.
    Intentionally or not, this was a throat punch to Trump…who committed adultery during all three of his marriages.
    Have evangelicals changed their line to marriage is between one man and three women and a bevy of porn stars?

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  11. Scott says:

    If she had stopped at “Then just marry one woman”, it would have been a perfectly fine answer. But adding the snark just contributes to the nasty environment.

    As an example, I really respect the work, details, and research that Rachel Maddow puts into her show but the snark just puts me off. I’m tired of the WWE aspect of politics.

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  12. James Joyner says:

    @An Interested Party:

    It’s funny how everyone is so worried about what older white working-class voters think but we don’t see nearly as much concern for, say, college students or middle-aged professionals or black women

    It seems to me that most national campaigns are aimed at middle-aged professionals. After all, the candidates themselves are mostly middle-aged professionals. College students tend not to vote. Black women are 99% Democratic.

    Older, white blue-collar folks are, like it or not, the key to the so-called “swing states.” And I think plenty of them are willing to vote Trump out of office given a plausible alternative.

    I think Warren’s response was perfect, right up through “Then just marry one woman — I’m cool with that.” (Although I think it would have been funnier if she’d stopped at “Then just marry one woman!”) But the “Assuming you can find one” came across as insulting. It gained her no votes but potentially cost her tens of thousands.

    Democrats are, generally speaking, on the right side of LGBTQ issues. But sneering at those who haven’t adapted quickly enough to a rapidly changing social landscape is just unhelpful.

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  13. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    So is this how the 2020 race is going to be covered? Democrats are going to be analyzed by one set of rules, and Trump will be analyzed by another?
    Seriously…this is utter fuqing nonsense.

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  14. James Joyner says:

    @Teve:

    never ‘How are Republicans going to attract single women of color in Miami?’

    This gets asked all the time. It’s been an article of faith for going on two decades that the GOP won’t win another national election unless they can broaden their appeal beyond rural and older whites.

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  15. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @James Joyner:

    sneering at those who haven’t adapted quickly enough

    BS, James, bullshit.
    She is sneering at the hypocrites who support Trump in spite of his history.
    And if you don’t like being sneered at as a hypocrite, then don’t be hypocritical.

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  16. Moosebreath says:

    @James Joyner:

    “But sneering at those who haven’t adapted quickly enough to a rapidly changing social landscape is just unhelpful.”

    It comes off to me as sneering at incels. None of whom are going to ever vote for her.

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  17. Hal_10000 says:

    @James Joyner:

    Democrats are, generally speaking, on the right side of LGBTQ issues. But sneering at those who haven’t adapted quickly enough to a rapidly changing social landscape is just unhelpful.

    This is a very good point. What’s going on now crosses me less as fighting for LGBTQ rights then going back and conducting mop-up operations on previously won battlefields. The amount of attention given to Warren has distracted from what was, to me, a far far worse gaffe, which was Beto threatening to pull tax exemptions from churches that refuse to support same sex marriage. Apart from needlessly antagonizing the Right Wing and betraying the promise that, “You don’t have to accept gays; you just have to treat them equally” it is doubly unconstitutional. It would probably be unanimously struck down by SCOTUS.

    (Edit: of course, at this point, Beto isn’t running for President as much as an MSNBC commentary gig, so he’ll get less attention than the front-runners.)

    The energy spent defending SSM from a largely non-existent threat would be better spent trying to get LGBTQ protection written into federal anti-discrimination law, repealing the defunct anti-gay laws that SCOTUS struck down and cementing equal status in all manner of federal statutes. But that would require work from [checks notes] the six sitting Senators currently running for President.

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  18. James Joyner says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    Democrats are going to be analyzed by one set of rules, and Trump will be analyzed by another?

    Democrats are going to be analyzed by the conventional set of rules. Because Trump is such an outlier, that he’s crazy and malicious is pretty much baked in. There are tons of stories about it on a daily basis, as there should be, but they no longer dent Trump’s ~35% base approval rating.

    Unless we just assume that, because he’s so unpopular, Trump is automatically going to lose, it seems perfectly reasonable to question whether the Democratic nominee is doing things that will alienate potential swing voters. Or drive up enthusiasm among Trump voters. This sort of thing falls into both camps, potentially.

    And, again: I’ll enthusiastically vote for Warren if she’s the nominee. But I’m not the target audience here.

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  19. James Joyner says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    She is sneering at the hypocrites who support Trump in spite of his history.

    There’s nothing in her snipe that’s remotely about Trump. It’s a shot at tens of millions of religious Americans who are still where the Democratic Party was a decade ago. (And, again, I’m neither religious nor anti-gay marriage.)

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  20. mistermix says:

    Whether or not DM or JJ find it palatable, Democrats are trying out candidates to see who can get under Trump’s skin. Warren showed that she can do it with that remark – he would have been knocked off his game if she said it during a debate with him.

    If there are conventions and norms in public discourse, and those norms are regularly being violated by Republicans (not just Trump, his main supporters in the House and Senate are just as nasty), Democrats can’t be expected to act as if they are participating in a Fall cotillion. Like it or not, Trump has lowered the standards and changed the game. Democrats either play the game or they get beat. What this means in practice is that there has to be some tolerance of tough talk from Democrats, who are far more restrained than their political opponents. And, once in a while when someone like Warren lands a punch, perceptive observers should disregard some of the whining that comes from feckless cowards like Marco Rubio. Trump Republicans are like the basketball team where players are fouling out left and right, who then start crying when one of their players gets fouled.

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  21. DrDaveT says:

    @Hal_10000:

    Apart from her terrible Far Left ideas, she crosses me as one quite likely to send moderates and conservatives back to Trump.

    If you can be sent back to Trump, you’re not a moderate. The only way a would-be moderate could vote for Trump is if they have bought into the lies on FNC, at which point nothing Elizabeth Warren actually says will matter.

    I think people should stop worrying about how statements from Democratic candidates will play with Trump-leaning voters and start worrying about how to airlift some facts to them. Radio Free Oklahoma, or something. As it stands, come next November those voters will not be basing their choices on anything you or I would recognize as reality.

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  22. Jay L Gischer says:

    Well, I thought when Trump said Mexico was going to send us its rapists and murderers, that would hurt him with Hispanic voters. But it didn’t to any discernable effect.

    We saw where a “bloodless” style of campaigning gets someone – they can do well, but they lose ultimately, and on the way get labeled as untrustworthy, because they aren’t showing any emotion.

    And yeah, I get it that it kind of stings for certain people who engage here and whom I like. I want to note that these aren’t the politics I would prefer or carry out. I’m just convinced that I would likely lose, given what I’ve observed in recent history.

    And when one person or party is successful with electoral tactics, you can be sure others will imitate it.

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  23. Jon says:

    Being opposed to marriage equality is an expression of bigotry and/or prejudice (distinction without a difference?). Trying to use religion to defend said bigotry/prejudice means you are an a$$hole. Elizabeth Warren responded with, at worst, a mildly dismissive joke.

    Why is the outrage focused on her response, rather than the clearly prejudiced framing of the question and assumptions that treat that framing as if it is “normal”?

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  24. DrDaveT says:

    @James Joyner:

    And, again: I’ll enthusiastically vote for Warren if she’s the nominee. But I’m not the target audience here.

    Actually, I think you are part of the target audience. Trump’s core will never hear anything Warren says except in carefully (and maliciously) edited snippets on Fox News, embedded in lying commentary. They aren’t the audience, and we know what they will do next November. The only possible response is to get out the vote — and you are part of that audience. If her comment prompts a few more liberals to vote, and doesn’t turn you away, it was successful.

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  25. mistermix says:

    @Jay L Gischer:

    Well, I thought when Trump said Mexico was going to send us its rapists and murderers, that would hurt him with Hispanic voters. But it didn’t to any discernable effect.

    You might want to check this out: https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2018/11/09/how-latinos-voted-in-2018-midterms/ Younger and new Hispanic voters are energized against Trump and a number of Hispanic districts flipped in 2018.

  26. Here are some bullet points to consider:

    – Why should anyone care what another person thinks “in their heart” about same-sex marriage? As long as they aren’t advocating for the restriction on the equal rights of others then what they think in private is their business.

    – Warren’s comment seems to suggest that unless you not only agree that gays and lesbians should have equal rights but also agree that there is nothing wrong with same-sex marriage then you are guilty of “wrong thinking” and should be mocked in the manner that she did with her “joke.”

    The only thing that should matter here is whether or not gays and lesbians have equal rights. Thanks mostly to the courts and also to the massive change in public opinion on this issue, they do. That is a good thing. Whether or not some minority of Americans disapprove of same-sex marriage is irrelevant. You may not agree with the people who don’t approve of same-sex marriage, but just as you (and I) ask them to have toleration for same-sex couples we also should have toleration for people who, because of their faith, disagree with us.

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  27. Argon says:

    I’ve seen similar concerns expressed. I’m afraid those arguments constitute an example of “concern trolling” at its finest.

    It’s not about scaring away likely voters in a general election, it’s about undercutting a candidate in the primaries with “concerns” about “electability”.

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  28. @Jon:

    Unless they are trying to change the laws that guarantee marriage equality or otherwise enforce their opinion on others, why should I care if they are bigots?

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  29. Hal_10000 says:

    For those of you saying, “But Trump is so vile …” well, yeah. That’s why he lost the popular vote in an election fundamentals had going to Republicans by 6 points. That’s why his approval never rises above 42% despite a strong economy. That’s why he’s the first incumbent in almost two centuries to be vulnerable despite a good economy.

    Moreover, if you stoop to Trump’s level, you will lose. It’s like that old saying of never mud-wrestle with a pig. You get dirty and the pig *likes* it. Trump would *love* to have a Democratic opponent engage in an Insult Off. He’d clean house.

    It might be unfair, but the structural realities in his country (more electoral weight in rural areas) and the center-right tendencies of this country gives Dems a bit less margin for error.

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  30. Blue Galangal says:

    @mistermix: Agreed; I was heartened to see that snark. It gave me confidence she can hit out when needed. This is why AOC is GOP Enemy #1: she hits back and she hits back hard. This is also why the Parkland survivors’ message got out so well. They hit back and they kept it simple. The GOP is used to behaving horribly, especially with Trump, and then holding the Democrats to some pearl-clutching “higher standard,” enabled by the Beltway pearl clutchers in the media, and they are not used to getting pushback. I don’t expect Warren to have the game AOC has but I’m glad to see she’s got some.

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  31. mistermix says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    The only thing that should matter here is whether or not gays and lesbians have equal rights. Thanks mostly to the courts and also to the massive change in public opinion on this issue, they do.

    Let’s try this with another issue in oh, say, 1978:

    “The only thing that should matter here is whether or not women have a right to abortion. Thanks mostly to the courts and to the massive change in public opinion on the issue, they do.”

    I could see someone writing that back then. Not today. Ever since Roe v Wade, there’s been a massive effort to push back and erode that decision. The same will happen with LGBTQ issues – certainly the recent efforts against transgender rights is a great example. So this is why we need to keep fighting and, hey, a little bit of minor ridicule is one way to fight. Ridicule is how humans show that certain ideas are out of bounds.

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  32. Jon says:

    @Doug Mataconis: I didn’t say you should. Elizabeth Warren was asked a specific question and gave a specific response. My point is that folks should be offended by the question and its underlying assumptions, not the response.

    And really, we should all care if people are bigots because all bigotry can lead to harm; just because it isn’t us directly doesn’t lift our obligation to make society work better for everybody.

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  33. Andy says:

    In a competitive election, it’s just stupid to purposely alienate potential voters. It was dumb when Romney did it, it was dumb when Clinton did it and it’s not any less dumb today.

    But I’ll pushback a bit against Doug’s post because we are still in the primaries. In terms of the primary voter, this may have helped Warren, but it potentially comes at a high cost for her down the road.

    And this just highlights the nature of our partisan candidate selection process, where the primary voter represents a distinct political minority. It’s an old hat that candidates have to appeal to the “base” and then “move to the center” in the general election, but partisanship is so extreme now that the base and the center are further apart than they used to be.

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  34. Jon says:

    I guess my point is:

    Swap ‘gay marriage’ for ‘interracial marriage’ and tell me we’d be having the same conversation.

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  35. Teve says:

    I won’t be happy until I see David Brooks, Bret Stephens, and Chuck Todd spend 15 minutes discussing how unpresidential this is.

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  36. steve says:

    This will play well in the primary. Will be forgotten by the time the general comes along. Besides, as quips go it was pretty mild. I dont see it changing the minds of anyone. Note, that won’t stop some on the right from raving about it. Remember when Obama said “elections have consequences” and it was hailed by the right as the most awful most divisive thing ever said?

    Steve

  37. @Andy:

    Yes we’re still in the primary season but video clips like this can be, and are, easily resurrected for a General Election.

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  38. Jay L Gischer says:

    I have been wondering why y’all think her remark was about Trump, but this is probably related to me only reading the quote, not seeing/hearing it.

    When Warren says, “Well, I’ll assume it’s a man asking it”, the audience (and y’all) takes her to be talking about Trump. So the zinger at the end “If you can find one” was meant for Trump. It doesn’t seem that much of a zinger, he obviously has been able to find women who want him.

    But it’s red meat for the Trump haters. At the same time, if it takes me 15 minutes to get the joke, it’s probably not that good of a joke.

    Still, I stick to what I said earlier – this kind of thing hurts you less than I thought it did.

  39. Modulo Myself says:

    It was a very mild joke. If it were a 20-year vegan activist who was being made fun of, the response would be lighten up. Guys like Rod Dreher regularly run stuff about how disgusting specific trans people are, Trump mocks the disabled, and conservatives are neck-deep in stereotypes about effete elites, but really no jokes allowed on Real Americans, the toughest people on earth.

    But unlike dumb stuff aimed at minorities or marginalized people, this is actually true. If you’re of the marrying age and not hot or rich, good luck finding somebody who shares your traditional views on marriage.

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  40. Jay L Gischer says:

    @mistermix: Oh, Hispanics are energized against Trump now, but that’s based on a lot more than one remark.

    I dug through demographic breakdowns of the exit polls in 2016, and there wasn’t much movement at all from 2012 in Hispanic voting patterns. Far less than the shift in blue collar whites.

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  41. DrDaveT says:

    @Hal_10000:

    What’s going on now crosses me less as fighting for LGBTQ rights then going back and conducting mop-up operations on previously won battlefields.

    Kinda like we did after the Civil War, with all of those freed slaves now safe and secure?

    I think winning the legal battle was huge, but the remaining fight for the social victory is anything but over. We’re on a secure beachhead; we haven’t yet come close to winning the war.

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  42. DrDaveT says:

    @Jay L Gischer:

    I have been wondering why y’all think her remark was about Trump

    FWIW, I didn’t think it was about Trump at all.

  43. Gustopher says:

    This fake controversy is being pushed by the right wing, and it’s showing that this is all they can come up with.

    I hope no feinting couches were harmed with the fake outrage.

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  44. Michael Reynolds says:

    Someone needs to prove to me that this, ‘I’d vote against that pig in the White House except for this woman who made a joke’ constituency exists. What percentages are we talking, here? How many people in Michigan? Show me the votes, because I strongly suspect we’re pandering to ghosts.

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  45. Modulo Myself says:

    @Gustopher:

    It’s amusing that four years ago a dolt like Milo would go to a college campus and call trans people ugly and feminists evil and the entire response was that you snowflakes should get a thicker skin. Fast forward and stuff that’s 10% of the meanness of a Bob Newhart routine is going to cause traditional Christians to vote for Donald Trump.

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  46. DrDaveT says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Unless they are trying to change the laws that guarantee marriage equality or otherwise enforce their opinion on others, why should I care if they are bigots?

    Doug, they ARE trying to change the laws that guarantee marriage equality, and otherwise trying to enforce their opinions on others. And occasionally succeeding — remember Hobby Lobby? So yes, you should care.

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  47. MarkedMan says:

    @James Joyner: Couldn’t agree more. As for “Is it fair for dems to be judged by different rules?“ the answer is “Yes”. I’m a Democratic voter because the party leadership isn’t like Trump. That’s the difference that matters. If the Dems were just left leaning versions of Trump I’d be looking to a third party.

  48. DrDaveT says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Someone needs to prove to me that this, ‘I’d vote against that pig in the White House except for this woman who made a joke’ constituency exists.

    THIS.

  49. James Joyner says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Someone needs to prove to me that this, ‘I’d vote against that pig in the White House except for this woman who made a joke’ constituency exists.

    Trump narrowly won among white women in 2016. Despite being a pig and running against a white woman. There are too many factors in there to point to any one but I’d guess that Hillary’s condescending tone played some part in that.

    I find Warren more likable than Hillary and think this less harmful than, say, Hillary’s “deplorables” line. I nonetheless think it’s an unforced error on her part. It’s a reminder that she’s one of the elites who hold people like them in utter contempt.

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  50. DrDaveT says:

    @James Joyner:

    Trump narrowly won among white women in 2016. Despite being a pig and running against a white woman.

    The question stands: who are the white women who voted for Trump then, have seen what he’s really like, and would now vote for Warren except for this joke (and perhaps others like it), but instead will vote for Trump again? Or abstain?

    ETA: In a normal election, it would make sense to talk about effects at the margin. As best I can tell, with Trump there is no margin — there is a wide gap between being OK with Trump (or actually approving of him) and being horrified by Trump and desperate to get rid of him. The only people anywhere close to being “on the fence” are GOP Senators, who haven’t finished calculating which stance will benefit them the most personally.

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  51. wr says:

    @Hal_10000: “But that would require work from [checks notes] the six sitting Senators currently running for President.”

    Yes, it’s obviously the fault of these six selfish bastards that progressive legislation can’t pass through the Senate. If only they would stop running for higher office and come back to the Senate chamber, Mitch McConnell would start allowing votes on things like this and even encourage his majority to vote their consciences instead of giving him a rubber stamp.

    Yawn.

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  52. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @James Joyner:

    There’s nothing in her snipe that’s remotely about Trump.

    I misread the quote; thinking it was referring to being able to find someone who had married just one woman.
    That said…after re-reading the quote, I still think this is much ado about nothing.

  53. Stormy Dragon says:

    @James Joyner:

    Older, white blue-collar folks are, like it or not, the key to the so-called “swing states.”

    This is BS. Trump got nearly the same number of votes as Romney and McCain and far less votes than George W. Bush. What happened in 2016 is that Clinton got far less votes than Obama.

    The key to winning swing states is not a fools errand to appeal to people who are never going to vote for a Democrat anyways (and if you got offended by Warren’s joke, you’re never going to vote for a Democrat), but in energizing the Democratic base.

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  54. wr says:

    @Michael Reynolds: “Someone needs to prove to me that this, ‘I’d vote against that pig in the White House except for this woman who made a joke’ constituency exists.”

    I think it basically comes down to people who hate Trump, but hate the thought of paying one more penny in taxes much, much more. It’s like that “progressive” billionaire who owns Equinox and Soul Cycle and got in trouble with his customer base for giving Trump tons of money at a fundraiser. And I’d guess a certain sentient computer around here who keeps warning against Warren’s horrible leftist ideas. When he ends up voting for Trump, it won’t be his fault — it will be hers, and that of all the thoughtless people who felt they had the right to change the tax code so it didn’t benefit the wealthy quite so heavily…

    11
  55. Stormy Dragon says:

    @DrDaveT:

    It also seems odd that Doug is so sure that Obergefell isn’t going to be overturned in the future by a more Republican SCOTUS

    11
  56. Andy says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Unlike all of us here, most of the country isn’t completely engaged with politics, political fights, and endlessly parsing this stuff. Like it or not, marginally attached and poorly informed voters will decide the next election and they don’t subscribe to your binary framing of what it means to vote for Trump.

    No one can give you a definitive number for the same reasons we can’t know, even with hindsight, how many votes were affected by Clinton’s “deplorables” comment.

    The point here is about strategy, not the relative merits of candidates or precise estimates of the effect on voters. A lot of this, in the age of social media, is emergent and can take on a life of its own. Therefore it’s just dumb to insult people who could potentially vote for you.

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  57. Hal_10000 says:

    @wr:

    There have been now been several close votes on Trump nominees that Democratic Presidential candidates couldn’t be bothered to even show up for.

    I know I’m alone on this, but I can’t stand sitting politicians running for President. Right now, six states effectively have one Senator. Six people are drawing salaries to run for President when only one maybe two still have a shot at it. I don’t think it’s proper, when you have an actual job, to neglect it in favor of a vanity campaign for another one. If the federal govt passed a law that you can’t run for one office while holding another, I’d support it in a heartbeat.

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  58. DeD says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    This is one of the many reasons that Warren seems to me to come across as being not unlike Hillary Clinton in 2016 in that she seems to come across as having contempt for those who disagree with her.

    Doug, it’s not so much contempt for those who disagree as much as it is contempt for those who would deny others their Constitutional rights. Those who do so deserve contempt, and they deserve to experience it publicly, regardless of whether or not they feel shame, for they so richly deserve it. Or, to put it in my normal terms, “F*** those guys.”

    My two cent welfare opinion is thus: There is nobody – NOBODY – on the fence about Trump at this political juncture. There are those who are going to vote for him and those who are going to vote for the Democratic nominee. I know I talked s*** about Beto and his stupid “hell yeah, we’re gonna take your guns” remark, but I’d vote for him over Trump in a NY second, largely because I know there aren’t enough votes in the world that will establish such broad firearms confiscation. And though I’m not religious, I’m 57-y-o and black, and I thought Warren’s quip was funny as well as goddamned appropriate.

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  59. dmichael says:

    @James Joyner: I am pleased to read that James finds Warren “more likable than Hillary.” Now, that’s a low bar. I’m guessing that James voted for George W. Bush because “he’s the kind of guy you might like to have a beer with.”

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  60. Teve says:

    Florida’s a swing state with 29 EVs, and there are plenty of single moms of color in South Florida who don’t get the consideration that Jethro the Forklift Operator in Iowa City gets.

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  61. Stormy Dragon says:

    I’d also like to note today that Trump gave a speech at the Family Research Council, and organization that still advocates for laws against LGBT people.

    Odd that Doug isn’t getting the vapors over whether this will seem intolerant to swing voters.

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  62. DeD says:

    @James Joyner:

    Democrats are, generally speaking, on the right side of LGBTQ issues. But sneering at those who haven’t adapted quickly enough to a rapidly changing social landscape is just unhelpful.

    So, what you’re saying, JJ, is that we have to treat the right-wing with kid gloves so as not to offend them, while simultaneously enduring their snark, racism, mean-spiritedness, and misogyny? Okay.

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  63. DeD says:

    @Hal_10000:

    (Edit: of course, at this point, Beto isn’t running for President as much as an MSNBC commentary gig, so he’ll get less attention than the front-runners.)

    I hope not; I couldn’t fqn stand it.

  64. Steve V says:

    @Hal_10000:

    While this remark of Warren’s will be forgotten by next week

    I don’t think anyone forgot about “57 states” and “clinging to guns and religion,” so I don’t think it will be forgotten.

    I don’t think Warren needs to get in the mud with Trump (thank goodness); she just needs to have a solid counterpunching game (see, e.g., Obama and Pelosi). I think she already looks pretty good in that department so she’ll be fine. But this was unnecessary.

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  65. DeD says:

    @mistermix:

    If there are conventions and norms in public discourse, and those norms are regularly being violated by Republicans (not just Trump, his main supporters in the House and Senate are just as nasty), Democrats can’t be expected to act as if they are participating in a Fall cotillion.

    That’s g-damned right. We need Democrats from the Tammany Hall days: those roughneck, red-nosed, ham-fisted fighters who’d knock the s*** outta you as soon as talk to you.

  66. DeD says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    – Why should anyone care what another person thinks “in their heart” about same-sex marriage? As long as they aren’t advocating for the restriction on the equal rights of others then what they think in private is their business.

    That’s just it, though, Doug; that religious right sect is openly and actively trying to reverse the trend and deny LGBTQs their Constitutional rights, because Geebus.

    – Warren’s comment seems to suggest that unless you not only agree that gays and lesbians should have equal rights but also agree that there is nothing wrong with same-sex marriage then you are guilty of “wrong thinking” and should be mocked in the manner that she did with her “joke.”

    C’mon now, Doug; she suggested no such thing. That was your inference, derived from your own thoughts on the matter. Stop Fox News-ing the thread.

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  67. DeD says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Yes we’re still in the primary season but video clips like this can be, and are, easily resurrected for a General Election.

    Well, if it’s videos that’ll make the difference, hay un CHINGO de videos that can be dragged out of Trump and Republicans saying stupid and vile stuff!!!

  68. Andy says:

    So much whattaboutism – no one has yet refuted the main point that this wasn’t smart strategy, much less explained how it actually benefits her in beating Trump.

    Let’s imagine Warren saying this, instead, to a rally of blue-collar people in the midwest. We’d have to imagine it because Warren would never be stupid enough to actually say something like that in front of that kind audience – which illustrates the point.

    Our modern media environment results in everything a candidate does becoming “national” news and thus candidates playing to one audience risk alienating others. In fact, that’s where most these gaffes have come from, including Romney’s “47%” and Clinton’s “deplorables” – made to groups who were already in the tank for the candidate but were then effectively used by the opposition to damage the candidate.

    Over-pandering to a particular audience can come back to bite you in the ass – this is not a new phenomenon and is demonstrably risky political behavior. If anyone here actually believes this is not the case, or believes that Warren’s joke would play well in front of a less progressive audience, I’d like to hear the argument.

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  69. DeD says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Someone needs to prove to me that this, ‘I’d vote against that pig in the White House except for this woman who made a joke’ constituency exists. What percentages are we talking, here? How many people in Michigan? Show me the votes, because I strongly suspect we’re pandering to ghosts.

    I don’t know what the percentages are, MR, but every other farging Bulwark podcast, Charlie Sykes is saying it. Pisses me off to no end.

  70. Fortunato says:

    @Moosebreath:

    It comes off to me as sneering at incels. None of whom are going to ever vote for her.

    Agreed, Moosebreath.

    And if these hordes of offended incels and their kin, the barely bipedals, yet again outnumber sane Americans at the ballot box next fall – we as a nation (and most particularly our educational institutions) deserve every unspeakable horror a second term of Trump will visit upon us.

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  71. SKI says:

    Concern trolls gonna concern troll.

    James and Doug take it as an article of faith that there are millions of voters who will actually be impacted by that mild remark.

    Warren’s “joke” was that a male who believes that they should be able t0 enact laws to prevent same sex marriage will have a problem finding a woman to marry them. If they are of typical marrying age (under 35), that is probably pretty accurate. And folks who have those beliefs, know that. Haven’t they heard of all the whining from College GOP folks about how they are undateable? This isn’t new. I remember Spicer complaining about it repeatedly in the early 90s’ and I can’t imagine it has gotten better.

    More to the point, it is almost like they think that, if Warren hadn’t made that joke, the people who believe that the government should ban SSM would somehow vote for any Dem or that anyone who doesn’t fit that profile would be offended by her observation.

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  72. Mark Anderson says:

    @Hal_10000: It’s simple, the war against gay marriage will simply assume all the things that can be done will be done. Fired from your job, ok, displaced from your home, ok. There are a lot of things that will happen so don’t go all Biden on us.

  73. HelloWorld! says:

    if the president can say “you can get women to do anything when your famous…grab them by the p*ssy”, the this should hardly be an issue for Warren, especially since it was a joke. I realize some people, like Bret Kavanaugh, will try to turn it into a she hates men thing, but take it for what it was: a joke.

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  74. @HelloWorld!:

    For God’s sake I’ve spent the last four years criticizing Donald Trump in far stronger language than anything I said in this post.

    Based on the blowback James got for his post last week I suspected I’d get this kind of reaction. And I understand what he meant when he wrote later about the impossibility of discourse.

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  75. @Andy:

    No she wouldn’t say this to a crowd in Ohio, Wisconsin, or Michigan.

    She doesn’t need to, though, thanks to the wonder of video. You can guarantee that this clip is saved on all kind of hard drives all over the country just waiting to be useed.

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  76. SKI says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    You can guarantee that this clip is saved on all kind of hard drives all over the country just waiting to be useed.

    We get that, Doug. We question whether (a) it will be material and (b) whether, if it wasn’t this, it wouldn’t be something else for the subset of the population that it would be effective for.

    Can you answer Michael’s question? WHO are the people that this will prevent voting Democrat but would have absent this? How big is that number?
    Now add up all the people who will be more likely to vote for her having made this explicit statement.

    When we do the math and look at the turnout numbers and demographics, we don’t see the doom and gloom you and James are so concerned about.

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  77. de stijl says:

    @Teve:

    Iowa City is the most progressive city in the state and voted for Hillary overwhelmingly.

    It’s the home of the University of Iowa.

    It definitely isn’t Gooberville.

  78. Gustopher says:

    @Doug Mataconis: You have a dumb, bad take about a fairly mild comment by a politician who you dislike, and you’re attempting to use it to justify your dislike of her. You and James would rather the Democrats nominate a Republican, would be mostly happy with Biden, and will be looking for reasons to vote against Warren.

    But this is weak tea.

    Also, I heard about this comment before it was picked up by the right, mostly because it was picked up by the left, who love it. And it’s likely to be a base election rather than a persuasion election.

    @Andy:

    So much whattaboutism – no one has yet refuted the main point that this wasn’t smart strategy, much less explained how it actually benefits her in beating Trump.

    And that’s how it helps her defeat Trump. By throwing out a little red meat for the base that at best leads to weak tea complaints from the conservatives.

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  79. Teve says:

    @de stijl: yeah but this forklift operator is a townie who dropped out of 8th grade. 😛

  80. @SKI:

    I spoke to that issue in the post. I am referring to the generally culturally conservative working-class voters who voted for Obama in 2008 and 2012 and Trump 2016.

    Obviously, I am sure you’ll all disagree with my hypothesis but I expected that. Carry on. I’m a little too busy to participate fully in the thread this afternoon. Just remember to stick to the Comment Policy.

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  81. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    “I’m not sure how that resonates with older African American voters, especially African American women,” said Antjuan Seawright, a black Democratic strategist based in South Carolina. “I’m especially not sure what discussions might carry over to the barbershops this weekend.”

    Then ask them. It may be important to know. (I specks not, but…)

    Warren is the candidate who most worries me right now. Apart from her terrible Far Left ideas, she crosses me as one quite likely to send moderates and conservatives back to Trump.

    Dude, if you want to vote for Trump, go ahead. It’s your vote and your conscience. Always follow your conscience. The ballot is secret.

    it’s always ‘what must Democrats do to appeal to this mildly racist forklift operator in Iowa City?’, never ‘How are Republicans going to attract single women of color in Miami?’

    😀

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  82. SKI says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    I spoke to that issue in the post. I am referring to the generally culturally conservative working-class voters who voted for Obama in 2008 and 2012 and Trump 2016.

    How many of these “generally culturally conservative working-class voters” are opposed to SSM enough to (a) want a law preventing it and (b) make voting decisions on that basis?

    Answer: pretty much none. They don’t exist.

    The Obama ->Trump voters aren’t defined by their anti-SSM attitudes, they are anti-elite and pro-outsider. They are anti-Wall Street.

    Who do you think will resonate with those voters (who were willing to vote for Obama, mind you) better: NYC Real Estate Tycoon and Reality Star Donald Trump or Oklahoma, self-made populist Elizabeth Warren?

    c’mon…

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  83. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @James Joyner:

    never ‘How are Republicans going to attract single women of color in Miami?’
    This gets asked all the time. It’s been an article of faith for going on two decades that the GOP won’t win another national election unless they can broaden their appeal beyond rural and older whites.

    And the GOP responded, after being fairly well hammered by the 2012 result, by nominating Trump? If that doesn’t say to you that the answer to “this gets asked all the time” is who gives a fuq about single women of color in Miami, you’re not paying enough attention. Sorry, but no sale here. 🙁

  84. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    I am referring to the generally culturally conservative working-class voters who voted for Obama in 2008 and 2012 and Trump 2016.

    I’d like to see evidence such voters exist in significant numbers, as opposed to “Trump voters who lie about voting for Obama so they can ‘some of my best votes are for black people’ accusations of racism”

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  85. wr says:

    @Andy: “no one has yet refuted the main point that this wasn’t smart strategy, much less explained how it actually benefits her in beating Trump.”

    I don’t think there’s any use in debating what you call the main point. I don’t believe that every syllable a candidate utters is scripted in advance — although Kamala Harris might qualify — and I don’t think that every word is part of a strategy. She was asked a question, she answered it, she threw in a little joke. It doesn’t feel like one of Harris’ scripted zingers but something more impromptu.

    And while you’re free to criticize her for it, it seems to me that we can have candidates we hate because who say what they think without calculating the precise weight of every syllable or we can have candidates we hate because they’re too scripted. What we can’t have is a candidate who is completely perfect at every single moment and not only never makes a wrong choice, but never makes a choice that seems wrong at any given time.

    In other words, geeze, lighten up.

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  86. Jay L Gischer says:

    As far as most Democrats can see, playing nice got them Trump, and the Freedom Caucus, and a media ecosystem that spreads lies daily to a huge audience. They are very angry, and they want their candidate to reflect some of that.

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  87. de stijl says:

    @Teve:

    If Jethro lives in a +22 D precinct, his unwinnable vote is essentially meaningless.

    Btw, most of the townies are alums.

    Iowa City is a really nice town. Great restaurant scene. Visit. Quintessential Midwestern college city. A less fratty Madison.

  88. Kathy says:

    Deep breaths.

    Whoever the Democratic candidate happens to be, here’s a good line they should use:

    “Look, I give lots of speeches, interviews, and attend rallies. That’s a lot of talking, much of it spontaneous. I’m bound to say a few stupid things. My opponent, Mr. trump, has a similar but opposite problem. he also talks a lot, much of it extemporaneously. He’s bound to say some smart things now and then.”

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  89. wr says:

    @Doug Mataconis: “And I understand what he meant when he wrote later about the impossibility of discourse.”

    But this kind of discourse — nitpicking over tiny things and blowing them up into major issues — is pretty much one of the worst things the internet culture has brought about. I’m sorry if you feel like you’ve been jumped on, but Democrats have spent the last 16 years watching as tiny, insignificant things have erupted into disqualifying horrors… like Al Gore sighing at W’s stupidity or the exact location of John Kerry’s swift boat or whether he was justified in holding a purple heart or Obama’s mustard or beige suit or 57 states. Or Hillary’s fucking emails.

    So if this kind of discourse has become impossible because people have become hyper-sensitized to it — it’s about fucking time.

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  90. wr says:

    @wr: “He’s bound to say some smart things now and then.”

    “At least that’s what the law of averages suggests. So that’s one more law Trump has broken!”

  91. Raoul says:

    Ok – how do I put it…. ITS A FREAKING JOKE! albeit not a very good one. Nothing else needs to be said.

  92. Teve says:

    @de stijl: I lived in Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill. College towns in red states are not the same as other parts of a Red State. I would live in Iowa City. The winters probably suck though.

  93. steve says:

    I said earlier that I thought this would not amount to much. This is incredibly mild compared with what conservatives, especially Trump, say about liberals. However, I completely forgot about how dedicated conservatives, especially religious conservatives, are to victimhood. Disagreeing with their views on gays, and joking about, is proof positive that ALL liberals hate religious conservatives and want to persecute them. Have spent part of the day looking at responses to this and the response is shocking.

    That said, I hope that this mostly just affects those who weren’t going to vote for Warren or any Democrat under any condition anyway.

    Steve

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  94. de stijl says:

    @Jay L Gischer:

    The disparate rule-sets applied to Ds vs. Rs is quite astonishing.

    D’s are not allowed sharp elbows. Definitely not taunting!

    It’s like watching a WWE referee in a Face vs. Heel match. Different rules are enforced.

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  95. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Jay L Gischer:

    They are very angry, and they want their candidate to reflect some of that.

    Slightly different take; I want a candidate who is going to be able to stand up on the debate stage and go toe-to-toe with Trump, call him on his bullshit, and put him in his place. Someone who, when he lurks behind him/her, ain’t going to put up with that shit. Someone who can respond to his barbs and show him to be the 1/2 witted buffoon that he is.
    It’s not about anger. Anger is an emotion. Emotions gave us Trump. It’s about facts; Trump is a fraud, he is incompetent, he is corrupt, and he is likely suffering from dementia. Those are facts that I want the Democratic candidate to be able to prosecute.

  96. Scott F. says:

    @Andy:

    So much whattaboutism – no one has yet refuted the main point that this wasn’t smart strategy, much less explained how it actually benefits her in beating Trump.

    I’ll take a crack at refuting (though I think others have handled that even before you posted this specific comment).

    The ability to make a quip or show some wit will benefit anyone who ends up going against Trump. Belittle the Bully is a sound strategy. He won’t take it well and humor shows intelligence.

    Trump is going to be throwing around ham-fisted “jokes” and derogatory nicknames at every opportunity. An opponent who slips in the occasional barb (no matter how caustic) will show well to any voter who isn’t already bought in on crassness as a virtue.

  97. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    Bernie Sanders:

    I mean, Elizabeth considers herself, if I got the quote correctly, to be a ‘capitalist to her bones.’ I don’t.

    When he says “I don’t”, he is referring to himself.
    That quote is going to help Warren a lot more than a joke, blown all out of proportion, is going to hurt her.

  98. Gustopher says:

    @SKI:

    How many of these “generally culturally conservative working-class voters” are opposed to SSM enough to (a) want a law preventing it and (b) make voting decisions on that basis?

    Answer: pretty much none. They don’t exist.

    Probably plenty, but they already made their mind up on abortion.

  99. SKI says:

    @Gustopher: Sorry, I didn’t explicitly quote the descriptor that indicated they also voted for Obama in ’08 and ’12. But, yeah, anyone who is going to base their vote on Warren’s joke wasn’t ever going to vote for her and, to the extent that a few unicorns actually exist, they are likely to be heavily outweighed by the base voters that loved her comment.

    More to the point, Doug and James are exclusively focused on the General. That is understandable given they aren’t Democrats but all of these candidates have to win the primary first. So their concern-trolling about non-existent voters is even more misplaced.

  100. Andy says:

    @wr:

    And while you’re free to criticize her for it, it seems to me that we can have candidates we hate because who say what they think without calculating the precise weight of every syllable or we can have candidates we hate because they’re too scripted. What we can’t have is a candidate who is completely perfect at every single moment and not only never makes a wrong choice, but never makes a choice that seems wrong at any given time.

    In other words, geeze, lighten up.

    I’m not criticizing her for it, I’m more annoyed at “nothing to see here” pushback in the comments. I don’t actually care one bit about this joke and wasn’t the least offended by it. And one of my general gripes about politics is how little stuff gets too much exposure and blown out of proportion. I would never have heard about this at all if it weren’t for Doug’s post.

    But I’m not everyone and I know people who would take offense. The commentariat here seems to think that such people either don’t exist or are unswayable Trump supporters and come to the (in my view) overly self-assured conclusion that Warren’s joke could not possibly hurt her.

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  101. Matt says:

    Well based on the admittedly small sample size of people I know in real life and online the only people who care about this are those who will defend anything horrid said by a member of the GOP as a “joke”. LIGHTEN UP FRANCIS!!! That is when they aren’t complaining about safe spaces and snowflakes…

    If you’re offended by this then there’s something wrong with you. You’re the one choosing to somehow take it as a personal insult.

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  102. Andy says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    I’d like to see evidence such voters exist in significant numbers, as opposed to “Trump voters who lie about voting for Obama so they can ‘some of my best votes are for black people’ accusations of racism”

    Here you go. We’re talking millions of votes in a race decided by thousands of votes in a few states.

  103. Gustopher says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    And I understand what he meant when he wrote later about the impossibility of discourse.

    There are so many real issues that you should have with Warren — tax policy, health policy, environmental policy… why not start on one of them, rather than the trivial bullshit?

    Or one of your horse race posts, focusing on her support with black voters? (She’s weak there, but putting in the work, and her numbers are moving)

    Or what she campaigns on vs. what she can deliver, even if the Democrats win the Senate.

    Or the success or lack thereof of the CFPB, her highest profile accomplishment, and whether its an appropriate role for government from your libertarian worldview?

    Or the time she painted a ceiling purple?

    Ok, the last one is trivial and stupid.

    It’s not that there can be no discourse, it’s that when discourse starts with complete bullshit, people will point that out.

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  104. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Andy:

    Increased republican margin doesn’t tell us if the Republicans got more votes, the Democrats got less, or both. Only the both case qualifies as evidence that voters switched from Obama to Trump.

    And while that’s the media narrative is that it is both, most of the detailed analysis I’ve seen suggests that the Democrat votes went down without a corresponding increase in Republican votes, suggesting it was more Obama->None voters than Obama->Trump voters.

  105. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    e.g. suppose three counties all had 2.8mil Obama votes and 2.2mil Romney votes in 2012. In 2016 one has 2.8mil Clinton votes and 3.2mil Trump votes, one has 1.8mil Clinton votes and 2.2mil Trump votes, and one has 2.3mil Clinton votes and 2.7mil Trump votes. All have a 20 point increase in Republican margin, but there’s three very different stories as to what the issue was.

  106. DrDaveT says:

    @Andy:

    The commentariat here seems to think that such people either don’t exist or are unswayable Trump supporters

    Almost right. I think that such people either don’t exist, are unswayable Trump supporters, or are not such self-defeating morons as to let this joke affect their vote. You keep skimming past that last one.

    I can’t imagine having a low enough opinion of someone as to believe that they would have voted against Trump but for jokes like this one.

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  107. Andy says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    And while that’s the media narrative is that it is both, most of the detailed analysis I’ve seen suggests that the Democrat votes went down without a corresponding increase in Republican votes, suggesting it was more Obama->None voters than Obama->Trump voters.

    Except the studies in the link compared people who voted in both elections – ie. it specifically didn’t include Obama->None voters.

    Here’s the summary:

    Different sources offer varying estimates of Obama 2012-Trump 2016 voters. The ANES found that about 13% of all Trump voters cast a ballot for Obama in 2012. Meanwhile, the CCES found a slightly smaller figure of around 11%. Lastly, the UVA Center for Politics poll found that about 15% of Trump voters claimed to have backed Obama four years earlier. Using these percentages (not rounded) and Trump’s overall 2016 vote total, estimates of the raw number of such Obama-Trump voters range from about 6.7 million to 9.2 million. That’s a wide range, and considering the caveats regarding voter recall of past votes, it is important to be clear about the relative uncertainty of these figures.

    Even if those estimates are 3x too large (owing to the uncertainty), we’re still talking millions of votes.

  108. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Andy:

    he ANES found that about 13% of all Trump voters cast a ballot for Obama in 2012. Meanwhile, the CCES found a slightly smaller figure of around 11%. Lastly, the UVA Center for Politics poll found that about 15% of Trump voters claimed to have backed Obama four years earlier.

    The key word here is “claimed”. There’s no way of verifying any of that data. Trump voters have a vested interest in helping the narrative that the was a big shift to Trump rather than he just got lucky to have a singularly unpopular candidate running against him and have demonstrated no qualms about lying to media to push their narrative.

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  109. de stijl says:

    Anyone seen Kylopod recently?

  110. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    I’d love to see a poll right now of how many Republicans claim to have voted for Obama in 2008 and compare it to the existing results for the same poll question from late 2008.

  111. Stormy Dragon says:

    The Non-Voters Who Decided The Election: Trump Won Because Of Lower Democratic Turnout

    Wisconsin tells the same numbers story, even more dramatically. Trump got no new votes. He received exactly the same number of votes in America’s Dairyland as Romney did in 2012. Both received 1,409,000 votes. But Clinton again could not spark many Obama voters to turn out for her: she tallied 230,000 votes less than Obama did in 2012. This is how a 200,000-vote victory margin for Obama in the Badger State became a 30,000-vote defeat for Clinton.

  112. de stijl says:

    Trump rallies routinely featured “Lock her up!” chants with Trump’s grinning approval.

    Give me a freaking break.

    Different rules apply.

  113. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Andy:
    It looked to me like Sabato’s numbers were all derived from surveys.

    You will of course have heard the old saw that success has many fathers while failure is an orphan. A year after Nixon went down in flames, you could hardly find a person who admitted they voted for him. Conversely I guarantee you that the number of people who claimed to have voted for Reagan when he was at his peak popularity wildly exceeded the number who actually did.

    It’s not even that people are lying, they’re translating the question from ‘did you?’ to ‘would you?’ or ‘do you wish you had?’ This tendency will be even stronger when you consider the need to virtue signal on race, and to counterbalance the admission that you’ve just voted for a racist.

    IOW: that’s not great data.

  114. Andy says:

    @DrDaveT:

    Almost right. I think that such people either don’t exist, are unswayable Trump supporters, or are not such self-defeating morons as to let this joke affect their vote. You keep skimming past that last one.

    Talking down, insulting or even making jokes at the expense of whatever group of voters is, at the very least, inherently risky. Many here are “skimming past” that, seemingly reluctant to admit an obvious political truth.

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  115. Andy says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Sure, the piece talks about the uncertainty of the data. How big is that uncertainty? Is it big enough to erase 7-9 million votes? Since no other data exists (that I know of at least), assuming them away seems unwise at best.

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  116. SKI says:

    @Andy: the issue is that the numbers don’t make sense in the context that Trump got less votes than Romney.

    If millions of Obama voters really switched to Trump (and far fewer switched to HRC), where did the rest of the voters go? The numbers they are projecting are greater than the drop in the electorate overall. The data is bad. Very bad. It doesn’t match what we know about reality.

  117. Andy says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    The key word here is “claimed”. There’s no way of verifying any of that data. Trump voters have a vested interest in helping the narrative that the was a big shift to Trump rather than he just got lucky to have a singularly unpopular candidate running against him and have demonstrated no qualms about lying to media to push their narrative.

    The actual experts who look at this and understand these surveys better than anyone agree there were millions of people who voted for Obama in 2012 and then voted for Trump in 2016. This isn’t made-up, the demographic groups have been identified and talked about for the last three years.

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  118. Andy says:

    @SKI:

    the issue is that the numbers don’t make sense in the context that Trump got less votes than Romney.

    Trump didn’t get fewer votes than Romney.

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  119. SKI says:

    @Andy: it is quite reasonable to presume that there were a lot of people who swapped from Obama to Trump. I doubt it was the millions projected in those surveys. As noted above, the numbers don’t add up.

    The part where your, or at least Doug’s and James’, argument falls apart is that you are projecting onto those people a motivation based on anti-SSM. That is completely without evidence or foundation. The best evidence, from exit polling, is based on populism and anti-wall street.

  120. Gustopher says:

    Here you all go, a longitudinal study of voters based on questions from 2012 and 2016.

    https://www.democracyfund.org/newsroom/entry/voter-study-group-releases-new-longitudinal-poll-and-reports-on-the-america

    17% of voters switched parties.

    Assume a huge margin of error because of small sample size and the type of study making some people uncomfortable with participating.

    Many of the Obama-Trump voters were swayed by Trump’s economic populism, by the way. Anyone hammering on massive tax cuts for the rich can blunt that.

    I don’t think snarky add on to “if you don’t like folks of the same gender getting married, go marry someone of the opposite gender” is going to rank very highly in voters concerns.

  121. SKI says:

    @Andy: sorry, I meant that HRC got more votes than Obama did against Romney.

  122. de stijl says:

    Considered within the context of the reflex / habitual chants of “Lock Her Up!” at Trump rallies, Warren’ s tiny poke is infinitesimal.

    Concern trolls are very concerned.

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  123. de stijl says:

    If Warren campaign rallies routinely featured the crowd chanting “Lock Him Up!” what would the reaction be?

  124. de stijl says:

    @SKI:

    You are intentionally being led down a side path.

  125. DrDaveT says:

    @Andy:

    Talking down, insulting or even making jokes at the expense of whatever group of voters is, at the very least, inherently risky. Many here are “skimming past” that, seemingly reluctant to admit an obvious political truth.

    Well, for values of “skimming past” that include “explicitly addressed it above”, I suppose.

    Let’s try this again: who exactly is it that you think voted for Trump last time but was going to vote for Warren this time, except that she poked fun at people opposed to same-sex marriage? You’re arguing from the (correct) generic “don’t piss off potential voters”, which is fine absent better information. I’m arguing from the specific “the number of people that match the description you are giving is approximately zero”. The number of potential Warren voters whose choice will be affected by that joke can be counted on one of Trump’s tiny hands — far smaller than the number of potential Warren voters who might be energized to actually go vote this time.

  126. de stijl says:

    @DrDaveT:

    When one interlocutor is desperately trying to lead you into a side path, stick to your main argument.

    Well done!

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  127. steve says:

    I still doubt this is likely to change many minds, but it could affect turnout. There are a lot of people who when polled will support Trump, but dont really plan on voting. This kind of stuff might be motivating. While this is incredibly mild compared with the stuff Trump routinely says you have to remember that there is a whole industry devoted to finding and promoting stuff that will keep conservatives angry and willing to donate/vote. For that industry there is no slight so small that they won’t be able to magnify.

    Steve

  128. Chip Daniels says:

    When they do find this elusive older, white, blue collar male who is terribly offended and hurt by Warren’s comment, I bet a hundred bucks he’s wearing a “Fuck Your Feelings” tee shirt.

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  129. Teve says:

    @DrDaveT:

    far smaller than the number of potential Warren voters who might be energized to actually go vote this time.

    as soon as that moment happened it lit up my social media accounts. Liberals were pumped about that answer.

  130. Andy says:

    @DrDaveT:

    Ok, first off, I’m arguing about the potential, I’m not saying it’s a for sure thing. I’ll just quote my first comment again:

    In a competitive election, it’s just stupid to purposely alienate potential voters. It was dumb when Romney did it, it was dumb when Clinton did it and it’s not any less dumb today.

    But I’ll pushback a bit against Doug’s post because we are still in the primaries. In terms of the primary voter, this may have helped Warren, but it potentially comes at a high cost for her down the road.

    Note the word potentially.

    Secondly, if we look at this in isolation in the clear light of day, in the full context of the situation, then I think you’re right, it’s not going to do much. It’s certainly not going to affect my vote.

    But the vast majority of people who aren’t political geeks won’t see it like that, but as a weaponized soundbite forming part of a narrative to attack Warren six months down the road. Asserting now that it cannot possibly be damaging ignores the history of using soundbites in political propaganda.

    Bottom line is that politicians should avoid doing this.

    @de stijl:

    Considered within the context of the reflex / habitual chants of “Lock Her Up!” at Trump rallies, Warren’ s tiny poke is infinitesimal.

    Concern trolls are very concerned.

    There is a difference between insulting an opposition candidate and insulting a cohort of voters.

    Ok, I think that’s it for me in this thread, I have real stuff to do and I think I’d just repeat myself at this point. Maybe we can revisit this next year and see if this amounts to anything.

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  131. de stijl says:

    @Andy:

    … “if this amounts to anything”…

    It’s an unprovable assertion.

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  132. An Interested Party says:

    I notice that the people in this thread who have the biggest problem with what Warren said are all heterosexual cisgender white men…what an amazing coincidence…”I’m going to assume it’s a guy who said that…” Indeed…

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  133. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @de stijl: It’s been a while alright. Maybe he’s on a trip and enjoying being away from the drama. Maybe he doing the political version of a colon cleanse. In any event, I expect we’ll see him back at some point, and if the discussions I’ve been seeing here are all he’s missing…

  134. Teve says:
  135. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Andy: I know that you have left the conversation now, but I’ll bring this up just in case. From a fairly cursory examination of the data that y’all been batting around like cat toys, it doesn’t appear that Hillary lost the election because Obama voters flipped to Trump. (This seems particularly true in WI, where Trump had no additional votes over 2016 at all. And this may be true in PA and MI, too, but I’m too lazy to bother looking it up.)

    Still, your argument makes some sense, except that you are directing it at the wrong candidate and party. If you will allow, it’s not Warren or the Democrats that would most benefit from not contaminating the pool of “independent” voters but rather Trump that needs the help on that issue. Warren–or whoever the Democratic candidate turns out to be–needs to get the 200,000 WI voters who didn’t vote for Hillary back from wherever they went (or stayed home at). Warren (for brevity) also needs to do that in MI and PA, but it appears that all of the votes that Warren needs can be had irrespective of whether she alienates Teve’s Iowa City forklift driver or not. Hillary’s failure was a constituency failure not a swing voter failure (she did win the popular vote after all).

    The Republicans, on the other hand, really should be figuring out how to get Andy, Hal, James, and Doug into the fold. From what I can tell so far, only James will vote for Warren. The others will vote for anyone not named Trump, unless that person’s name is Warren (although I expect that most of them are unlikely to vote for anyone with a “D” next to his/her name–purely out of principle, of course, no partisanship at all, completely independent thinking in a search for the “best” candidate).

    If the GOP could throw Trump under the bus (although how they’ll get him to fit under it is beyond me) they would have a serious possibility of swinging this election regardless of who the Democratic candidate is. The economy is good (well, the Dow is up–not really the same, but…). A Democrat will have to raise taxes this time (or at least try, they have trillion-dollar deficits to address). And there’s the ongoing problem of the border, where millions of swarthy furriners are pouring over to take our jobs and our vital fluids. The Democrats can’t address that–they’re in favor of it! I don’t know how many Doug et als there are out there, but I would guess that it’s roughly the same number as the number that you’re warning the Democrats to beware of.

    This is a GOP issue. Not the other way around.

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  136. de stijl says:

    @An Interested Party:

    I’m a white cis-gendered heterosexual male, and I approve of her statement, wholeheartedly.

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  137. Pylon says:

    I laughed when I heard her say that. I guess I’m insensitive.

    That said, I think it will help her far far more than harm her. First, marriage equality is IMO not a hot button issue any more, and it’s not anything a moderate voter concerns him or herself about. In fact, I think marriage equality is at an all-time high in terms of acceptability across the board.

    Second, this quippy and aggressive remark paints her as a fighter, as a plain spoken person and not a humourless and pedantic academic. It’s also in direct contrast to the idiots who say old traditional marriage laws were equal because they applied to everyone.

    I’m tying hard to think of a voter who is anti-gay marriage but who would be otherwise attracted to Warren as a candidate and I’m having a hard time.

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  138. SoulBlaze says:

    And? I mean if Trump can get by with direct insults and overall horrific things I’m pretty sure Warren can get away with a hypothetical zinger. I thought it was funny.

  139. Jim Brown 32 says:

    Siiiiiiggghhh…..100+ comments (mostly delusional BTW) of how cute (or tough) her little quip was. It wasn’t–the timing and tone were off– leaving her playing the role of the condescending liberal white women. Its not going to hurt her because turnout, frankly, is already baked into the equation for every candidate. There is no Democrat running with a better than 40/60 shot to turn out the Obama coalition.

    Look, you can’t win the Obama coalition as the Party of single white women, older black women, younger latinos, and the Alphabet people. The only reliable vote in that group are the older black women. The single black mother in Miami? The GOP doesn’t need her. She is already less likely than not to vote because #Life. The GOPs pool is White men and married white women… 60% of the population.

    Trump is a master entertainer so if you believe anyone in this field, especially a liberal academic white women is going to score any points against him playing his bully and humiliate game, you clearly are deluded.

    The question for Warren is not who she will turnoff from voting for her…but who exactly is she going to turn out beyond the current Dem coalition AND how high a volume that coaltion comes out. Its entirely possible as well that the number of people that sat out in 2016 that wouldn’t vote for HRC will be offset by a number of people that wouldn’t vote for Trump in ’16 but will in ’20 to cast a protest vote against Muller, for Kavananh, and against impeachment.

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  140. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @An Interested Party: And the most spirited supporters of her comments here are liberals who’d like to see her win the nomination… another coincidence..

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  141. An Interested Party says:

    …and the Alphabet people.

    Awwww, isn’t that cute…bless your heart…

    The GOPs pool is White men and married white women… 60% of the population.

    Except for the fact that Trump’s boorish behavior is turning off many of those women…let me guess, Warren won’t appeal to them either…

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  142. DeD says:

    @Jim Brown 32:

    And the most spirited supporters of her comments here are liberals who’d like to see her win the nomination… another coincidence.

    That’s an asinine supposition. I am NOT a Warren supporter. I’m just pushing back on the handwringing that purports voters are gonna be “turned off” by her comment and turn to Trump. As I said before, I’m looking (hopelessly) for Jon Huntsman to come out of political retirement. I’d even vote Bill Weld over the current Democratic crop. So, your lumping those of us who are calling out DM for perpetuating this premise as liberals who want to see Warren get the nomination is without evidence, and a silly assertion at best.

  143. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @DeD: You also haven’t been particularly spirited on this thread in support of her clapback either which excludes you from my comment.

    I specifically said her clapback means nothing. It’s all about who she can turn out…not turn off.

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  144. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @An Interested Party: It doesn’t work that way anymore…voters vote for their person…or they stay home. The razor dance in avoid reverse enthusiasm. I think that cake is already baked. Married women may indeed hate Trump….most people do…but they will vote for him anyway to spite Democrats.

    There are only two roads to victory for Democrats: Turn out a larger percentage of the post Obama coalition…or Turn out the actual Obama coalition. The first road is unlikely…mostly because Black men are not going to rally to a liberal white woman in the percentages they did for Obama. The expansion area is in …surprise…guys (and gals) like Andy, Doug, and James. A very small percentage of flipped votes here would equal a Dem victory. It appears the appetite however, is to pursue the 1st road.

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  145. Pylon says:

    Married women may indeed hate Trump….most people do…but they will vote for him anyway to spite Democrats.

    Married women aren’t the bloc you think they are. And I doubt they are as libtard owning as you think. And I think they will be attracted to Warren as a person with real proposals for real problems, not a phony with false promises about fake issues.

    Expansion area?I don’t see the road to victory as narrow. The Dem candidate won by 3 million last time. Trump squeezed through an extremely narrow window once. Since then, he’s proven to be a big fat failure as president. Black voters see what Trump is, don’t worry. And any “moderate” who votes for Trump over Warren because she made a small snark at a dumb hypothetical questioner is not a moderate.

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  146. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Jim Brown 32: I don’t see your 2nd road as all that viable. There are too many 3rd party candidates available from which to make a “principled” selection. While James will realize that the third party route is throwing one’s vote away and refrain, the others will, as I have done in the past myself, see it as an opportunity to “send the establishment a message”–as if the establishment gives a crap about what a vanishingly small slice of the pie thinks. The establishment barely cares that 40% of the population doesn’t ever vote.

  147. An Interested Party says:

    Married women may indeed hate Trump….most people do…but they will vote for him anyway to spite Democrats.

    And that is based on…? Something or other, I guess…

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  148. Blue Galangal says:

    @An Interested Party: Not only that, but men telling women that we are being condescended to and that’s (for instance) Why Hillary Lost.

    Because nothing says “condescension” like a man telling a woman that she feels condescended to by another woman.

    For the record, I’m a cis white woman of a certain age, and neither I nor my cis white college-age daughter felt condescended to by Hillary. We felt frustrated that everyone focused on her EMAILS and her ILL HEALTH and her SNOTTY CONDESCENSION but neither of us felt that Hillary was condescending to us. We felt she had a firm grasp of the issues, she had policies we supported, and she was able to clearly lay out her positions (and Trump’s manifold failings). That somehow this comes across as condescension to some of the men in the room says a lot more about our society and patriarchal structure and misogyny than it does about Hillary, who was smart, well prepared on the issues, and thoughtful.

    ETA: Oh, and also: called Trump the puppet he is.

  149. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @An Interested Party: Its based on the same thing your analysis is based on.

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  150. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @Pylon: Laughable
    … HRC overperformed in states where a stale tuna sandwich would bear a Republican candidate. Tell me how Warren is positioned in States that will actually decide the election? She basically has to meet or exceed Obama’s performance in those states. Not likely. The average voter isn’t quite outraged at Trump to the level White Liberals are.

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  151. Pylon says:

    @Jim Brown 32: As I’m not a white liberal, I tend to disagree. There is a majority in the country in favour of impeaching trump. Not just voting him out. That doesn’t bode well for your hypothesis.

    Anyway, Warren is currently ahead of Trump in Wisconsin, Florida, Michigan, Ohio, Penn. Of the States Trump flipped, only Iowa is still in his favour. You see that changing? I don’t.

  152. Teve says:

    several million people who voted for Obama didn’t vote for Hillary, and I’m guessing a lot of that was that she wasn’t particularly inspiring to them but also so they didn’t think Trump could win.

    That is Not going to apply in 12.5 months. There’s going to be a lot of pressure on Dem voters to get to the polls.

  153. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @Pylon: Hmmmm the Democrat leading Trump in the polls. Seen that movie once before…it didn’t end well. No one should have a comfort level with polls until the turnout models get enough data to be more predictive

  154. An Interested Party says:

    Its based on the same thing your analysis is based on.

    No, it isn’t…

    Seen that movie once before…it didn’t end well.

    Although possible, it is highly doubtful that Trump will achieve a perfect storm again…many of those people in the Midwest that helped Trump to win the electoral college have been betrayed by him…just as they voted for Obama and Trump because they were looking for an outsider to help them, they will be looking for the same again…at this point, Trump is not an outsider…