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I've come to believe that in the post 2016 world we are watching less a contest of who is trying to win, but who is trying harder to lose. The funny thing is there probably is a pretty hard to displace Democratic majority out there. It's just that it's composed mostly of people who think everyone should have social security when they get old, healthcare should be affordable (however we get there), needy children should have free lunch at school, and that sort of boring stuff. They're live and let live and support the social changes of the 60s and 70s but are not animated at all by the identitarian and other more out there theories coming out of universities and grad schools, that are... well self evidently stupid.

These people are of course available to the GOP as well, which is doing its own disservice by putting itself in thrall to a megolomaniac who wherever possible gets crazy, clearly incompetent people nominated. However as long as the GOP's core commitment as a party is to gutting the welfare state I think it would be harder to sustain.

What's baffling to me is that no one seems ready to pivot despite how obvious this is.

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Ultimately, the GOP has an easier, more achievable change to make: alter the behavior of its elite.

The Democrats have a much harder one: alter the behavior of the masses of one of its three major factions.

It’s why my priors point me to the GOP drifting towards social moderation and economic populism while the Democrats fail to regain the cultural mainstream.

But the wild card… is that option of just tilting the playing field might be irresistible to the GOP elite, rather than making its elite faction take a financial hit. And once you get started down that road there’s no good way to stop.

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On the social policy stuff, it's not coming from the elites on the Republican side. It's very much their base.

And I think the extent of the Democrats base that agrees with the more extreme version of left identity stuff keeps being overestimated basically because of Twitter and how skewed online that faction is.

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10% is enough to be very, very loud, as per my post below.

To channel Matt: it’s legitimately not good when the top most-liked 50 comments on every mainstream news article are demeaning half the country.

But, you’re right about at least one thing: when the GOP realizes it cannot give its own abortion hardliners what they want and still win elections, those people are going to start playing the same undisciplined, loud spoiler role on that side.

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I don't hang out in extremely pro-life circles, but I am moderately pro-life and live in Alabama, and I don't see any strong desire to ban abortion nationally.

It may very well be that I'm just overlooking some of the flaws of my teams, but I would be shocked if the GOP brought a total abortion ban to a vote, should they win both the House and Senate.

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Them *not* doing so is going to be regarded as a betrayal among a lot of folks. Remember my (former) religious background and why I left…

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The idea of spending time looking at top comments on mainstream news sites is frightening in and of itself, but I don’t think you can judge mainstream thought based on that because most people don’t read newspapers, let alone burrow into the comments sections. All it shows is that there are more right-wingers with too much time on their hands, or that the left wingers with too much time on their hands spend it on Twitter instead.

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Sorry, my original point was not clear here. Quoting myself elsewhere:

“The reality is that regardless of what the [Democratic] politicians say or do come election time, we are all working against a backdrop whereby the top twenty comments on every Washington Post article all boil down to “these hicks don’t know what’s good for them” or some similarly demeaning, pejorative sentiment about the other side. And half of the non-pejorative views are the ones you quote in Tweets, which simply have no broad appeal.”

I mean that the left-winger tribal takes are *killing* us. Sure, the right-wing tribal takes are killing them, but the nature of our presence in all the cultural lodestones means our nutjobs are more visible and louder.

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Never. Read. The. Comments.*

*Except in Slow Boring.

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I think they're referring to e.g. the NYT comments section, which is filled with vicious hatred towards noncoastal people on any article involving the Midwest, the South, religion, or children.

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I guess everyone sees they expect to see, I don’t see that. I see there are plenty of places where conservatives call liberals pedophiles or communists, no one has a monopoly on rudeness these days.

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But the GOP has already given its abortion hardliners what they want.

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No, they want a blanket ban at the federal level and don’t give a damn how unpopular it is or what kind of brutality is needed to enforce it.

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The % of the base that are single-issue pro-life is tiny.

Most of them value lots of other issues and know that pushing for the total abortion ban will ruin any hope for the other issues to be addressed.

I think the 'illegal under any circumstances' % of the population is ~20-25%, and I would guess that only 1/5 to 1/4 of them are single-issue voters on it.

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>>On the social policy stuff, it's not coming from the elites on the Republican side. It's very much their base.<<

This seems outdated. Stephen Miller, Steve Bannon, Tucker Carlson, Clarence Thomas, sundry Evangelical megachurch pastors and right wing RC bishops—these people are very much an important part of the Republican base in 2022.

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The GOP legal elites are a good proxy for this because they're basically the GOP elites but without electoral incentives. Despite #resistance conspiracies, even the most out-there conservative judges disdain the election stuff, and most only thinly veil their #nevertrump sympathies (The Dispatch is the #1 most-read outlet in the conservative legal world). But Ted Cruz or Josh Hawley is what happens when you take a conservative legal elite and give them primaries to win.

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Oct 20, 2022·edited Oct 20, 2022

What? Gop behavior is entirely in thrall to their deranged base: not the gop voter but the gop primary voter; who is far worse than the dem primary voter (not that the latter is god’s gift either…)

It’s the gop base who drives them to election denialism (hence the backtracking from the Damascus conversion most of them seemed to have in the first few weeks post Jan 6th- to give the most egregious example), hence the shift in their position on vaccines, the change in their immigration and economic policies etc .

If anything, Dems have the elite problem, if by elites we include pressure groups and the cadre of advisors/interns/staffers. The dem primary voters after all are the ones who elected Biden. Gop primary voters elected trump against the clear and explicit wishes of their elites. That’s the story in a nutshell.

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I used to think that but then saw the way Trump performed in office. My belief is that all that has happened is they found a new sales pitch, or maybe perfected an old one. Give them power and they still revert to cutting taxes, finding ways to starve Medicaid, and throwing wrenches into the administrative state that make it harder to regulate big business.

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I’m unsure. In the short-term, agreed. But in the medium-term there are now enough people voting on that side of the aisle that believe it to start shifting who makes it through the primaries, maybe.

But yea, at the end of the day I think the GOP elite will take the easy way out and just start rules-lawyering/stealing elections.

Of course… Truss provides a view into how 15-20 years in power ends, and that was with a real mandate for most of the time.

Nothing is forever, but god only knows how much damage they’ll do before their anti-democratic measures are overwhelmed in a wave year.

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On basically all economic measures, as well as on abortion and gay rights, the median of the GOP electorate is well to the “left” of the elite views held by politicians which make it through the gauntlet of their primary electorate.

Democratic leadership is consistently left of their median voter on just one issue: climate change.

On basically all other issues including racism, policing, and gay rights they’re acting as a brake on the party’s left wing, which absolutely will not shut up about that fact.

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I believe Jonathan Chait says something like "Democratic voters are smart but their donors are morons and Republican donors are smart but their voters are morons."

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I think y'all are using different definitions of 'elites'.

Party/political elites vs wealthier voter elites.

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I think you're pointing in the right direction but the distinction is more subtle than that. My guess is that Democratic *thought leaders* - a group that includes some elected officials and lots of staffers, think tank people, activists, journalists, academics - are well to the left of the median Democratic voter. Democratic *elected officials* aren't so much (though they might be a little).

Notably, the group "Democratic thought leaders" would include a lot of people who fit that survey's definition of "political elites" but do not necessarily hold elected office. Of course, I have no special knowledge of this, I'm just armchair theorizing here.

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Isn’t that exactly what mainstream Democratic politicians are offering? Name a statewide Democrat in a swing state who embraces fringe social justice views.

Sadly I think the reality is there are a lot of people who like Democrats on economic issues but also like Trumpism on immigration and law enforcement. Winning then over is possible but not so simple as just almost about social security and education.

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A lot of Democratic politicians in marginal races have taken really out-there positions on abortion. E.g. in Iowa (!) the Democratic gubernatorial candidate could not name an abortion restriction she favored in the debate last week, even though she said the normal atmospheric stuff about how she understands the complexity of the issue as a devout Christian, etc.

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Aren’t there plenty of would be statemen who tried to pivot and got defeated in primaries, often by huge margins, after getting crushed in fundraising?

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The primaries are part of the problem. It’s a stupid system that produces unrepresentative and consistently extremist results.

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Oct 20, 2022·edited Oct 20, 2022

The primaries are obviously a problem for the reasons you state, but the flip side of that coin is arguably that strong parties just aren't particularly good on their own merits. Is a world where Andrew Cuomo types dictate who the Democratic party candidate is with no accountability to anyone a particularly good one? (This being the ostensible alternative to primaries). Party systems seem like a dominant solution that's extremely hard to get rid of -- more infrastructure, more funding, convenient caucus options -- but if we want to prioritize a combination of local electability and responsiveness to local concerns with some set of broad ideological commitments that nevertheless aren't actually nailed down by the national brand, it seems like it's really hard to do that while parties are a thing.

Given that I think parties almost certainly aren't going anywhere for the aforementioned reasons, I guess the dominant solution is for the Democrats to start standing for fewer things so that local candidates with diverging viewpoints can more credibly not be tarred with the national brand, but good luck deciding whose ox gets gored there...

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“Is a world where Andrew Cuomo types dictate who the Democratic party candidate is with no accountability to anyone a particularly good one?”

Yes? A casual glance at any of the major pre-Progressive urban machines shows that they *worked*.

The corruption and patronage were smaller relative to budgets than the make-work, endless consultation, and mindless outsourcing of today, and more importantly the corruption aligned everyone to get work done quickly and produce results so as to not draw attention to the skimming in the next election.

Today’s institutionalized, ritualized, “not-corruption-but-still-corruption” incentivizes every actor to accomplish nothing for as long as possible while sticking a hand in the till.

The Tammany Hall model would have been “give the contract for 40,000 machine-operable trash cans to a cousin who’d skim 10% off the top and then deliver a workable product in 18 months by stealing the idea from a company one immigrant worker used to work at in Milan, pay the union boss $5m to cajole his guys into accepting changes to their garbage collection contract mid-cycle, buy them off at the next contract negotiation with friendly pay increase, and win the next election on the back of improved public sanitation.”

How the hell is that supposed to be *worse* than “spend a decade and millions on consultant-mediated public stakeholder discussions, another few million on environmental impact consultants, then issue a pilot contract to reinvent the wheel for a few million, fail abysmally, hire a consultant to tell you what you already know about global best practice for a few million more, and still be without a basic public sanitation need after a decade and upwards of $10 million”?

Like, sorry, the “corrupt” model worked better and cleaning it up and making every detail of policymaking directly accountable and transparent to the public in real-time is killing us.

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George Washington Plunkitt should be required reading

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Doesn't the party pick the candidates in the parliamentary democracy world?

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Oct 20, 2022·edited Oct 20, 2022

Yes, it does. My point is that that isn't a particularly great system in the abstract, either - the people who are effective at leading parties as a matter of machine-politics have (as a class) a well-deserved reputation for frequently being exemplars of personal venality, corruption, and overall bad-person-ness. See, e.g. the Cuomos, Boris Johnson, Donald J. Trump, Boss Tweed, and the entire state of Illinois.

Something like a ranked-choice jungle primary seems like a better system for getting candidates who are reasonably in tune with the electorate-at-large without handing control over to a largely unaccountable class of persons selected for political effectiveness at the expense of anything approximating personal probity.

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Trump isn't a machine politician, and the average British MP has horsepower way above the average American politician. Boris Johnson, who's correctly seen as a bit of a buffoon, was president of the Oxford Union and recites classical poetry from memory in Greek as a party trick.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mQKRAJTgEuo

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Once upon a time primaries worked pretty well at least at the presidential level. And one major reason for that is, a pretty decent predictor of whether or not a candidate is going to win millions of votes and perform competitively in a general election is: whether or not he/she is able to get millions of votes in the primaries.

The primary system was never very good below the presidential level. And it's obviously bad at the presidential level these days as well, at least on the GOP side.

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When did primaries at the presidential level work well?

The first modern primary was 1972, and it returned a Democratic candidate who was very left-wing and out of touch with the country as a whole who got crushed by the incumbent president.

The second modern primary was 1976, and it returned a Democratic candidate who managed to win because he was the only person who understood the importance of the early stage primaries (Carter). After being elected thanks to the incumbent's unpopularity due to the Vietnam War and Watergate, his unusual background and lack of connections to the party establishment led to a lot of governance problems and his presidency is generally considered to be a failure.

I guess you could say that the 1980,1984,1988 primaries went well, but they also weren't too dissimiliar to the smoke-filled rooms era.

1992 returned an obscure governor who definitely wouldn't have won in the smoke-filled rooms era, and like 1976 this president governed poorly. Unlike 1976, economic conditions were better and so his poor governance (and scandals) didn't prevent him from being popular.

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As long as the primary electorates were mostly representative of their parties, sure, worked fine. Now that the parties have gerrymandered everything to hell and gone and are highly sorted ideologically and geographically, it’s a recipe for a narrow slice of one party to preselect most House representatives and push terrible national candidates farther than they should reach.

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When Trump was running for President the first time and people around me were running too and fro screaming about the facism and the evil to come, I got annoyed because that was all they were doing.

When he won, the screaming got louder, but behaviors did not change. When I got fed up and asked a friend who was bemoaning loudly for the 1000th time about fascism and the end of Democracy if they were buying guns or selling their home and changing jobs to move to another country before the jackboots start stomping they got quite indignant with me. When I told them to act or stop complaining so loudly they got really mad with me... but history certainly tells us that if you see fascism coming you need to leave before it arrives and the borders are closed and your bank accounts are taken or prepare to fight it in the streets...

For all that ANTIFA and the Jan 6th rioters are insane they heard and believed an unacceptable evil was/is about to occur to our form of government and society and acted to stop it. That in some measures makes them far better than everybody else who won't pivot and don't seem to take things seriously.

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I was also in the “you don’t really think Trump is a fascist because you are still here” camp until January 6. However, January 6 proved, at a minimum, that Trump would rather be a Latin American style jeffe than a private citizen. The Trump haters may have overrated Trump’s efficacy, but they came close to nailing his depravity.

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Oct 20, 2022·edited Oct 20, 2022

It baffles me that progressives aren’t being more cautious given the US’ status as a democracy is literally under threat (and in states like Wisconsin is already significantly eroded). There’s a massive risk impatience over social progress irrecoverably sets us back. By contrast a more incremental approach seems to have been working pretty well in recent decades.

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Progressives tend to imagine that there are lots of alienated/nonvoters who have very left-wing tendencies and would vote if only someone left-wing enough was running—there are doubtless people like that out there, but they tend to be few in number. Also, they imagine “people of color” to be naturally left wing, which is wrong in many ways.

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Drives me nuts. Yes, once in a blue moon you’ll get a politician or issue that inspires new voters. Obama did, but he was a once-in-a-generation phenom. Trump did too, but he was also…unique. That can’t be your permanent organizing strategy. It’s going to be delusional 90% if the time.

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And not only are the people like that very small in number, they're also almost certainly never going to be satisfied that anyone is left-wing enough to actually motivate them, and anyone who was would be so extreme that just about the only people who would vote for them would be the tiny minority who won't vote for anyone else. So trying to motivate those voters is a fools errand, but one that an absurdly high number of left-wing activists seem completely wedded to.

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I think the 2016 version of Bernie who was a bit more moderate on some social issues came *pretty* close to hitting the mark of drawing out apathetic leftists while still maintaining centrist support. Of course, even then it wasn't enough to win the democratic nomination, much less the general.

Still I think the lesson for progressives should be that if you're going to make the "inspire the disaffected leftist base" strategy work then it's probably not impossible but it needs to be extremely carefully calibrated and be willing to make choices that will piss of some segments of the leftist coalition (who still probably will vote for you).

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I’m struggling with this a lot. Here’s a new hot take. Is it possible that your typical woke bubble person is literally incapable of political imagination , I.e. simply cannot grasp even in the slightest what *real* authoritarianism looks like, why it’s so dangerous, why we ought to sacrifice a lot to prevent this outcome ? That they truly believe that virtue signaling from their comfortable bubble is all there is and could be, and that the outcomes of politics have no more stakes than the outcome of their favorite sports team?

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I don't think that view is unique to "woke bubble person"s.

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To be fair, that’s not always the case. I believe George Orwell got famously disillusioned when he saw the infighting on the left *during* the Spanish civil war agaisnt literal fascism, blaming Franco’s victory on that.

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Oct 20, 2022·edited Oct 20, 2022

Although to be fair there, a large part of the left infighting in Spain was driven by deliberate Soviet intervention (NKVD agents orchestrated the execution or assassination of literally thousands of Trotskyites, socialists, liberals, etc.), and the native Spanish leftists might have held together absent that. (Or at least held together long enough to defeat the Phalangists.)

A more on point, albeit obscure, example might be the struggle between different Tamil separatist movements in Sri Lanka in the early 1980s -- literally an order of magnitude more Tamils were killed in intra-Tamil fighting (the LTTE eventually coming out on top in by 1985 or so) than were killed by central government forces during the period.

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(1) I did say, "might have held together."

(2) The fact that the Republicans held the capital for 2.5 years despite the Nationalists having the overwhelming advantage in terms of professional military personnel, plus substantially more foreign assistance, strongly suggests to me that the Republicans could plausibly have defeated the Nationalists without too many changes to the historical timeline.

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But during the civil war, the fascists hadn't won yet, so the loyalists could still imagine that they could somehow win without having to compromise?

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It's always good to be king.

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RemovedOct 20, 2022·edited Oct 20, 2022
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Oct 20, 2022·edited Oct 20, 2022

Yes. On reflection the dynamics within the progressive movement almost force extremism, consequences be damned.

It still surprises me the audience doesn't have second thoughts. I'm scared even my decidedly non-extreme progressivism will prove a catastrophic over-reach

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It's particularly ironic/frustrating given your last sentence. The years between Stonewall and Will & Grace were pretty rough. At some point around 2000, we all kind of agreed to try out acting really normal and inoffensive for a bit and we got everything we wanted in less than a generation. It was basically a conservative argument, it worked, and no one learned any lessons from it.

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Yes, and it was morally and politically correct to sideline that issue until it gained traction with the electorate. In 2004, I remember Biden himself saying it’d be absurd to sacrifice the election - with its implications for millions of Iraqis - on the altar of gay marriage. Sorry, but some things are more important than others.

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Yeah, the extent to which that all depended on Kennedy so happening to have liberal views on gay rights seems to have been retconned out.

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It really did not. States were going that way for years and the scotus decision was made when public opinion already had majority support. It’s quite different from historically liberal scotus ruling that went *agaisnt* public opinion (eg loving)

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Oct 20, 2022·edited Oct 20, 2022

It really did. All 5-4 decisions. No Kennedy, no Lawrence v Texas, etc. You have a Sam Alito type in there instead and you think he gives a shit about public opinion? Nah, it would still be illegal in a whole mess of states, and the standard conservative line would be "this is a matter for the states." They don't rule against the grain of public opinion if they can avoid it, but thinking they rule with it is wishful thinking (Edit: to add, I think that may have held true up to Dobbs, which may, as many are now concerned, indicate the Court now has a dominant "watch the world burn" faction).

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Oct 20, 2022·edited Oct 20, 2022

Wanted to drop in a comment applauding pre-registered takes and odds. Good to see you keeping it honest and getting out there in advance. It's a way more honest approach to political commentary, and it's they type of thing that is why I subscribed to this column.

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I want to agree with your comment, but is there any outcome that would falsify our hosts predictions?

Probabilistic forecasts are appropriate for 538, because they claim to be summarizing the polling data using a simulation-based model. But the "pre-registering" rhetoric conveys the impression of accountability when, in fact, there is none – due to the probabilistic framing, which always offers an escape hatch, regardless of the election outcome. [Example: Dems win the Senate ... "Hey, dummies, I told you there was a 10% chance".]

At least that's my cynical read of the column's probabilistic non-prediction "predictions". Viewed more charitably, the column does make some falsifiable claims in the non-probabilistic discussion, so I should probably give Mr. Yglesias more credit. I guess I mostly want him to drop the rationalistic trappings, which aren't adding much of substance.

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Oct 20, 2022·edited Oct 20, 2022

It’s a repeated game. One 10% prediction is ok, if it keeps happening that’s discrediting.

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Oct 20, 2022·edited Oct 20, 2022

In 538's case, it is a repeated game. They've written articles analyzing their own track record in such terms.

But the case at hand is not framed that way at all. For example, this sentence is illustrative of the column's tone: "So that’s my forecast — we’ll see who’s right." But we won't. If you wrap a "prediction" for a specific event (2022 Senate outcome) in rationalist mumbo jumbo, you get wiggle room, not rigor.

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It would be equally honest to saw nobody knows—there is more uncertainty than usual this year, but that’s no fun. Most of the important factors are beyond anyone’s control.

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> Dobbs, meanwhile, delivered a big jolt to Democrats and continues to be a millstone around the GOP’s neck. But individual Democratic Party candidates keep squandering it by staking out a very odd “no restrictions on abortion under any circumstances”

As a Georgian, I was quite dismayed when Abrams brought up abortion as a solution when asked about inflation. [1]

> Stacey Abrams, the Democratic nominee for governor in Georgia, floated abortion as a solution to voters’ concerns about inflation on Wednesday, explaining to Morning Joe viewers that “having children is why you’re worried about your price for gas, it’s why you’re concerned about how much food costs.”

>

> “But let’s not pretend that women — half the population — especially of childbearing age, they understand that having a child is absolutely an economic issue. It’s only politicians that see it as just another cultural conversation,” she added.

Georgia is still a very conservative state and I think this is a counterproductive way to discuss abortion. Here’s an example of how Republicans are weaponizing this to their advantage. [2]

> @BrianKempGA’s plan to fight inflation: suspend gas tax, another $1B tax refund, property tax rebate, and more.

>@staceyabrams’ plan to fight inflation: abortion without limits. #gapol

[1] https://www.nationalreview.com/news/stacey-abrams-floats-abortion-as-an-inflation-fix-having-children-is-why-youre-worried-about-rising-prices/

[2] https://twitter.com/CodyHallGA/status/1582736690552000517

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Good grief. Who decided this woman was a political genius? I heard her speak live in 2017 and thought she was very charismatic, so there is talent there. But Kari Lake has talent. Lots of people have talent. It needs to be paired with good judgment.

Liberals correctly disdain the political cult of Trump, but the left-wing media creates cults around people too. Obama, at least, could live up to it electorally. But AOC is a dud who will never win statewide. Abrams is a dud. The cult of Greta was always absurd. When did the press become simpering fangirls?

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Oct 20, 2022·edited Oct 20, 2022

This is really risky given that half of black people in Georgia, Democrats base in the state, oppose abortion.

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Black views on abortion are very complex and cross pressured. Abortion rates for block women have been sky high, so any black person who knows some statistics feels personally grateful not to have been aborted. Black people with an activist bent understand their coalition would be much bigger and more powerful if Roe had never been law. I have similar feelings. I was born to an 18 year old mother shortly after Roe, and so feel almost like I survived Verdun just to make it into this world. I am very proud that I have never financed or advocated an abortion and that the only woman I have gotten pregnant (to my knowledge) is my lawful wife. That being said, forced birth sucks and women who have their act together and want to terminate a pregnancy early on, should have that option. A young woman’s potential is more important than a blastocyst or an embryo, but killing a healthy, second trimester fetus is just ugly and indecent and something I will never support. I suspect many black voters feel this way, and I know that many have a strong distaste for abortion even if they don’t want outright bans.

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Democratic jurisdictions in Georgia are much less efficient than Republican jurisdictions. Fayette County has good schools and efficient government. Fulton and DeKalb counties are shit shows staffed with incompetent, entitled bureaucrats. Sheriff Victor Hill (Clayton County) behaves like a West African dictator. There is a huge flag saying “Victor Hill, Sheriff” at a major junction on Tara Boulevard. There isn’t any kind of sheriffs office there, he just wants every passer by to know who’s in charge. There is also an armed deputy carrying a fucking AR 15 at the entrance to the Clayton County courthouse. Hill is personally corrupt, yet he brags about running “Georgia’s toughest military jail” and that’s enough for black voters to keep him in power.

Then there’s the coercive masking, which Democratic counties kept up for way too long.

I think Abrams is much better than Victor Hill and will vote for her, but county level Democratic coalitions have not inspired confidence.

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founding

San Francisco says "Hello!"

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I don't buy that for a dollar.

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I suspect, though I may be wrong, that just about any regular reader of The National Review was never ever ever going to vote for Abrams no matter what she said about abortion or inflation.

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I read TNR sometimes to try to understand what cultivated conservatives think, but most of it is more pompous than wise.

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TNR is The New Republic. National Review is simply NR.

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Both pompous

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If you say so.

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Isn't Abrams getting shelled in the race, especially if the polls have a Democratic tilt?

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She’s an election denier. What’s savvy about her?

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Is she especially savvy? Zaid Jilani’s done some interesting reporting on her time as GA minority leader. His read is that she was not particularly progressive or effective.

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I’ve seen her speak four times and was electrified every time. You see a picture of Abrams and you think she’s too fat to be an effective politician. Then you see her speak to a small group and you practically fall in love.

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How did that work? I've heard this many times before, but what is a voting infrastructure? I'm genuinely curious and genuinely ignorant. I'm also naturally skeptical about arguments about what caused voters to turnout or vote a certain way, so I'm also skeptical about this claim, but that's tempered by my ignorance.

Is infrastructure registering new voters? Mailing lists? Organizing money and staff?

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I think it had something to do with forcing Georgia to switch from DRE voting machines that did not create a paper record of each vote (just totals, like a cash register receipt), to machines that print a paper ballot for each vote. This made it possible for there to be the statewide recount of the Presidential vote in 2020, which incidentally disproved (not that it changed any minds) the conspiracy freaks on both sides who claimed voting machines were “rigged”/easily hacked.

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If that's what it is then I guess I'm pretty skeptical. Georgia seems to have some of the strongest demographic winds blowing in its favor for Democrats, with big increases in urban voters, educated voters, Black voters, Asian voters, etc. I'm guessing that's why they are so purple nowadays.

I guess I'm just skeptical of that other stuff. Political emails and "can we count on your support" text messages mostly bother me and don't move my vote at all, and ad spending seems to barely move the needle. Maybe new voter registration is important, but I don't know.

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Georgia implemented automatic voter registration in 2016. That had much more to do with increased turnout than anything Abrams did

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It is legitimately extraordinarily difficult to square the circle between “hold the center” and “don’t lose the base,” when a significant fraction of the base holds sentiments like the three you’ve quoted.

Frankly, looking at the way things are playing out, I don’t think any amount of Ryan-esque triangulation (which is, I agree, the best we can do) would suffice to really do the trick. It works marginally better in House races than in Senate because generally candidates are running in smaller areas where they can choose to either court the middle or not. For a typical Senate race… I don’t have data but my gut says that for every swing voter Fetterman could pick up by acting more like Ryan, he’d lose close to one base voter.

The reality is that regardless of what the politicians say or do come election time, we are all working against a backdrop whereby the top twenty comments on every Washington Post article all boil down to “these hicks don’t know what’s good for them” or some similarly demeaning, pejorative sentiment about the other side. And half of the non-pejorative views are the ones you quote in Tweets, which simply have no broad appeal.

As long as it’s clear to the vast majority of voters living outside cities that the main motivating factors for *many* reliable Democratic voters are not the national interest and compassion, but disdain and tribalism, this problem is going to be damned difficult to solve.

And in an era of universal access to social media and mass media amplification of the worst views thereon, I am unsure how to stop making that crystal clear on a daily basis.

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"I don’t have data but my gut says that for every swing voter Fetterman could pick up by acting more like Ryan, he’d lose close to one base voter."

I think that's wrong on two counts: first, I think you're overestimating what his messaging would cost him. Base voters will turn out to vote against the other side (I actually think that describes a huge number of voters on both sides nowadays- tons of people voted against Trump rather than for Biden in 2020, and that's true down ballot as well), so I don't think you're costing yourself a base voter for every gained voter by moderating your tone much. I'd say it's probably closer to every 5 voters you pick up you lose one base voter who suddenly decides that you're no better than the other side.

But secondly, even if it were correct, you'd still be way better off sacrificing the base voter to gain a more moderate voter. And that's because the voters you pick up are ones that would likely vote for the opposition, so you're gaining one AND the opponent is losing one. A voter who is persuaded to change sides is worth 2x as much as a base voter who would never consider voting for the opposition. So moderating your tone to try and pick up moderate swing voters is a much more valuable strategy.

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I sincerely doubt that in a state like PA the trade-off is anything like 5:1. You’re correct that tacking to the middle is the right choice, I’m just hitting back against the notion that it’s easy or without trade-offs, or even all that effective.

My entire point, really, is that the vast majority of this situation is outside the control of the politicians. There are just too many people “on the left” who are getting their tribalistic rocks off by demonizing people who don’t agree with every jot and tittle of their (insane, objectively incorrect) worldview for any politician with a D after their name to effectively disassociate themselves. The media makes it worse by raising the salience of all the obscure, annoying shit about which those folks care.

Ironically, the GOP seizing control over various bits of the cultural high ground by coercion, a la Iran’s conservatives, would rebound entirely to their detriment, because suddenly their own base’s batshittery would be the loud backdrop against which we all exist.

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I'm sure we agree on most of this. My only pushback in defense of the 5:1 is I think you're underestimating how motivating someone like Oz (with his Trump endorsement) is to people inclined to vote for Fetterman. I have lots of family in PA, and you could nominate a dead man against Oz and they'd show up to vote for the corpse. And I think that's uniquely true of any republican candidate for whom Trump has taken an interest, but especially for a bizarre tv personality like Oz. The kinds of voters who would be turned off by a centrist democrat are the same kinds of voters who are disgusted and horrified by someone like Oz, so they can be turned off by the dem and still vote (just less enthusiastically) against Oz.

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Could be. I feel like these anecdotes are helpful, but in the end they are just another version of tea-leaf reading.

Personally I've never seen Dr Oz before this and just had a vague recognition of his name. I sort of associated him with Dr Phil and Oprah. I'm still very fuzzy on his pre-politics background. Maybe I'm an outlier, but it adds up to me not thinking about him no differently than a typical Trump-backed Republican.

This is also anecdotal, but the latest attack ads against Fetterman have been pretty well done. I could see them moving a right-leaning person to vote OZ with the rationale of "they're both weirdos".

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Oz is a werido for sure, but he is not flagrantly insincere like Blake Masters nor a moron like Herschel Walker. If I was forced to pick one of those three to be Senator I would pick Oz over the others. He seems the least dangerous.

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I'm not saying I would vote for Oz and I'm not in PA anyway, but my opinion of Fetterman has been monotonically decreasing since I first heard of him. This isn't necessarily a knock on him - he just started too high, kind of like Beto, I think.

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Gotcha - what's brought your opinion down?

My opinion on him hasn't changed because I don't spend much time doing candidate research until a day or two before I vote. And I obviously can't accept attack ads at face value. But that's just me, and if I was inclined to be less skeptical of the ads they would certainly make me think of him as a weirdo with a checkered past.

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Well, sure. I never said Oz was THE WORST of all possible kinds of candidates. Just that for voters who would be turned off by a dem candidate tacking to the center, candidates like Oz provide enough motivation that those voters will almost certainly still turn out to vote just to cast a vote against Oz even though they’re less excited to vote FOR Fetterman.

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founding

You think that there are as many Democratic base voters who are wavering on Fetterman as there are swing voters who are wavering on Fetterman?

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Oz was polling in the 30s a couple months ago. There are a lot of Republicans who'd much rather have Mitch McConnell as senate majority leader than avoid having someone who says "crudite" in a campaign ad.

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I think that Pennsylvania is a richer and more urban state than OH, with a lot more trade-offs involved. I don’t think many are wavering on Fetterman but I do think a lot would waver if he acted and talked much more like Ryan.

I know some folks who claim to have not voted for Biden in 2020 because he was too far “to the right”.

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"I think that Pennsylvania is a richer and more urban state than OH,"

I guess that's right given Philadelphia and the SE section, but outside of the SE corner it matches with Ohio really well, and outside of the SE is around 55-60% o the state population.

So I think the Ryan analogy / strategy probably does apply to most of the state, but possibly not around Philly.

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I don’t disagree, but a Senate election takes the whole state, of which Philadelphia is a part. There are 3 million votes in the Philly metro, so in aggregate PA is substantially richer and more urban than OH. Columbus doesn’t compare.

A fair assessment of PA would be “OH with CT bolted on in the southeastern corner,” lol.

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Sure - but for the purpose of analyzing voter behavior I think the urban areas are pretty different. There's nothing comparable to Philly in Ohio. Likewise, the average GDP may be the same but Philly contributes a disproportionate amount on both the very high and very low end, and again I'm not sure anywhere in Ohio compares.

I am mildly surprised the GDP/cap numbers are so close, though.

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It’s pretty difficult to implement a media strategy in house races. Most TV and radio markets are much bigger than House districts, so candidates are paying to reach 5 or 6 times as many people as can actually vote.

House races tend to be more partisan than Senate races because it’s harder for candidates to differentiate themselves from the party brand.

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This is very much on the money.

But I think it misses the salience of the crime issue for the GOP.

Yes, the GOP is not really offering solutions.

However, I was at a Democratic meeting and the candidates only take on crime was that it "Republican Fearmongering" or "Race-baiting."

That would have flown in 2014 for example, when crime was at all time low. It is not flying now. People are legitimately concerned about crime, and the "vibe" given off is Democrats are unaware of this.

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Yes - progressives miss the point when they get into the specifics of what republicans or democrats would actually do on crime.

If I care about crime (which I do), the first thing I want is to have politicians that agree that crime is really bad. Not because of the second order effects on the perpetrators lives or whatever, but because crime is really bad for victims and other non-criminals. I believe that this is Republican's, but not progressive's starting point.

To me personally, the crime stuff is outweighed by Republicans staging likelihood of staging a coup, etc, but it does make me hold my nose voting for Dems.

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Couldn't possibly agree more. I am anxiously awaiting the day it is safe to vote Republican again, but I'm worried that day is a long way off. Is this really the best we can do?

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Crime? I would urge you think about order/disorder instead of civil/criminal.

The last 3+ years have taught us all the world can be radically disordered in sudden, surprising ways. Today your average voter is reading news about possible nuclear war with Russia, Ukraine being invaded, the global economy sliding into recession, inflation, COVID is surging in places (and research labs are making worse-COVID for some reason), supply chains are still screwed up, Europe is going to freeze in the dark this winter, criminal behavior is rising, borders are stressed...

What average voter wants is order in a time if disorder. Criminal behavior is not order. Supply chains not working is not order. Prices soaring is not order.

Do people want justice? Sure. Do they want a harmonious fair future that is green? Sure. But that is less important than order today and order tomorrow, because disorder makes things worse and dangerous today for the voter and their loved ones. An unjust but orderly world is better than a disorderly and just world, so long as the injustice is happening to somebody else or you are used to it so it hurts less.

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I don't think crime has much influence on elections for federal office. I think most voters understand that crime is very much a local problem and they only really expect solutions from local politicians. That's why Ann Davison, a Republican, can win on an anti-crime platform for city attorney in Seattle of all places, despite the fact that Republicans have zero chances of winning the 7th Congressional district basically ever.

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I don't think that is entirely accurate.

The GOP here in PA is running ad after ad on crime against John Fetterman for Senate.

I am old enough to remember how deadly the crime issue was against Dukakis (See the infamous ad with the turnstile of criminals going in and out of prison). Bill Clinton worked hard in his campaigns and presidency to neutralize these attacks.

The bigger point Is that Democrats as a brand are seen as clueless on crime. There is a huge gap that is growing on this issue on who can better handle crime and the salience of the issue is rising.

It is not enough for Dems to poo-poo people's concerns.

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Yeah.

It's hard for me to see it really motivating many voters, though. I feel like pocket-book issues are just a lot more motivating. Abortion will also have an unusual salience this election. As bad as the increase in crime is, it's probably less impactful to most voters than those other things.

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Broadly this is true, but I think it has to do with which is impacting you. If you're dealing with inflation, but hearing about crime, then you care more about inflation. If you're experiencing crime - your car is broken into, your neighbor got mugged, etc. then it jumps ahead of inflation.

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I think this is true up to a point. Most people don’t expect the Feds to fix local crime. But if Dems seem dismissive or disdainful of people’s concerns, it hurts. Nobody likes being gaslit, and people HATE being gaslit and accused of racism at the same time.

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Exactly right.

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That would be true if voters were purely rational and aware of how government works and what level of government is responsible for dealing with crime—but that’s not the world we live in. Republicans have run and won nationally on “law and order” since the 60s at least.

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The Democrats never, ever admit that their policies have had unintended (bad) consequences. Instead it’s always just a messaging problem.

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has any political party ever, though?

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Not in the short term.

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The best predictor of seat loss in a midterm is the size of the incumbent party’s majority. In 2010, Democrats lost 63 seats. The biggest reason is they started with 256 seats and had to defend a lot of Republican leaning districts. Still, Democrats lost the House popular vote by almost seven points, so they can’t really complain that they only held 44% of the seats after the 2010 election.

One factual quibble with Matt: Georgia polling has also been pretty solid and it shows a Warnock win.

I think the likeliest Senate result is no net change, with Democrats swapping Pennsylvania for Nevada and no other seats changing party hands. I want to think Wisconsin is too wholesome to re-elect an insurrection aligned candidate, but that’s just an idle wish.

There is much less House polling than in 2018, so uncertainty is high. 538 actually predicts Republicans will overperform the generic Congressional ballot by three points (net) so Matt’s concerns are reflected in the 538 forecast and 227 Republican seats is a fine expected value.

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I really hate being “this person” but you have a major cognitive dissonance between assigning probabilities for many different outcomes and then saying that if any one of those outcomes happen you would be proven right or wrong. Totally fair points about thinking 538 is miscalibrated due to skewed polling inputs but the proof of that is not whether Democrats keep the Senate or not.

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I think the proper way to interpret Matt's forecast is that he thinks the Dems are going to do worse than the polls suggest but he's aware he could be wrong so he gives some percentage to the outcome he thinks is probably not going to happen. So if the Dems match the polling and keep the Senate then his assessment of the environment was incorrect.

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You also can't look at a single outcome and evaluate someone's skill at forecasting, you have to aggregate the forecasts and check how often Matt's 20% outcomes occur. If they happen about 2 times out of 10 he's dead on! If they never happen or happen half the time he needs to recalibrate his methods.

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Right, one thing that Nate Silver stresses is that if he gives something, say, a 60% chance of happening, and it happens more often than that, then he's not being aggressive *enough* with the forecast.

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It bugs me that you say "we'll see who's right." We won't, not really. If I say a coin toss has a 50% chance of coming up heads and you say it's an 80% chance, and we flip it and get heads, that doesn't prove you right. Getting tails wouldn't prove me right either.

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Great post. The divergence between what progressives claim the stakes are (existential threat to democracy) and their behavior (insistence on unpopular positions) is nuts. When I bring the fact that it kills us with moderates/swings, they rationalize that there ARE NONE, because anyone who would vote for Trump is a fascist and not gettable. If this mentality prevails, we deserve to lose elections.

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Progressive Democratic political communication is about making themselves feel better. Conservative Republican political communication is about increasing their odds of victory.

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I have a theory. It is a completely unfounded, unscientific theory based not on polling data but on "anecdata" from a handful of people I know.

My theory is that Donald J Trump, piece of shit that he is, is a voter turnout machine. People love him or hate him; and they enthusiastically come out in droves to vote for him or against him. He broke polling, thusly.

My theory also is that without Trump at the top of the ballot; modern techniques of polling and data analytics will be restored to the place they were prior to 2016 which is to say they were pretty solid.

So I think the polling this time will hold up a lot better.

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Oct 20, 2022·edited Oct 20, 2022

I live in an urban-rural swing district. Trump has held so many rallies here (like 20 minutes from where I live) that I've lost count. It feels like he's been here once a month if not more. Every Republican in the primary had Trump's name on their lawn signs and every one removed it for the general election. I agree with you completely about him being a turnout machine; perhaps something polls miss is his omnipresence in districts exactly like mine, where he is not technically on the ballot, but it is abundantly clear that you are voting for or against his proxies.

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founding

Trump rallies are different.

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It's not that droves of people attend the rallies, it's that it puts Trump in the *local* news. Combined with the "Donald J. Trump endorses ${GOP primary candidate}" signs everywhere, you just cannot look at all those R's on the ballot without seeing orange.

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I think you could easily be right, but I also think that in a lot of ways Trump is still on the ballot. Primary voting was crazy high for a midterm so it seems like the Trump effect may still be there.

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I don't understand the mechanism you think this occurs. Trump supporters answer pollster's questions too. Is your theory that they all lie?

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Matt refers to this issue in the piece: there's pretty compelling evidence that, in fact, Trump/MAGA voters are markedly less willing than liberals and moderates to be polled (and/or in some cases deliberately give answers contrary to how they really feel). In short, the universe of polled Americans skews to the left, so you have to be leery of polling results in general these days.

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What does this have to do with Trump being a 'turnout machine'?

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Higher turnout = more data points = higher rate of sampling error

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Oct 20, 2022·edited Oct 20, 2022

That doesn't seem consistent with the data - first time voters (2016 & 2020) are twice as likely to be Dem voters than Trump voters.

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/2020-election/live-blog/election-day-2020-live-updates-n1245892/ncrd1246205#blogHeader

Additionally, 2016 turnout wasn't out of line with prior years and 2020 was substantially higher (due to rule changes making it easier to vote) but polling error decreased from prior years.

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Does "first time voter" capture "became disillusioned and stop voting years ago, but now that Trump is a thing I'm politically engaged again"? Because that is definitely a thing that happened... to people I know.

And the Trump is a turnout machine argument is that, once he was elected, it became impossible not to have a strong opinion about him. It was in 2018 and especially 2020 where people would crawl over broken glass to vote for/against him. In 2016, there were still plenty of "they suck equally so I'm voting third party" voters; what was the third party vote in 2020?

Where are you finding a causal relationship between rules changes making it easier to vote and voter turnout going up? Certainly there was more mail-in voting during the pandemic, but how can you separate the effects of rules changes (that I would assert had a very small effect) from the thesis of Trump The Turnout Machine?

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My theory, based on anecdata as I described, is that Trump got a ton of people engaged in politics who otherwise would not have been. Those people would not be talking to pollsters.

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That there's a "Shy Trump Voter" effect has been speculated about more than once by professional pollsters: https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2020/10/29/2020-polls-trump-biden-prediction-accurate-2016-433619

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"People are embarrassed to tell pollsters they are going to vote for Trump" is a different hypothesis than "Trump is a turnout machine"

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I was responding to your explicit statement: "Trump supporters answer pollster's questions too. Is your theory that they all lie?"

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Actions speak louder than words, and they conclusively show that the Democratic Party sees this election just like any other and does not in the slightest believe anything existential is afoot. The recklessness in actively supporting GOP extremists has been talked about at length, and MY correctly adds the reluctance to field moderates in key districts, but let me add a third data point : retirements.

Everyone knows that incumbency is an advantage. Yet it normal times congresspeople tend to retire in higher number when predicted to face a harsher contest. This of course makes their party’s overall outcome likely to be *worse*. If Dems really thought democracy itself was at stake, we would have seen a “all hands on deck” mentality, including significant pressure to minimize retirements to zero and max the incumbency advantage. After all running a tough re-election capmpaign should be considered a small sacrifice to make for the sake of literal freedom and democracy. The fact that, to my knowledge , there hasn’t even been the *thought* of pressuring incumbents to stay in the race, nor the slightest whiff of criticism towards the dozens abandoning ship tells you all you need to know.

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I think the democracy-destroying consequences of losing the House (and relevant state-level postions) are being undercalled because people saw that, when it came down to it in 2020, a number of key GOP officials were more faithful to democracy than Trump (e.g. Raffensperger in Georgia). People are ignoring the basic rule (of which Matt I think has been a proponent) that you should pay attention to what politicians say they'll do. Raffensperger and others had not actually committed to subvert democracy, and when it came to it, they didn't. The new batch *are* for the most part committing to subvert democracy, and should be taken at their word. (it's worth noting that large numbers of the 2020 GOP Congressional delegation were willing to subvert democracy *without* even promising to do so beforehand, so the likelihood that the new batch will keep their word seems very high.)

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Polling is like making sports predictions. Both invite ridicule after the fact if your prediction ended up being wrong. "You said [shit team] only had a 10% chance of winning against [good team] - but they won! What an idiot!" Nate Silver gets abuse to this day on Twitter for saying Clinton was probably going to win in 2016, even though he was probably much more conservative than just about any informed commentator in that election.

Regarding bad polls, remember before the 2020 election when it looked like Texas might turn blue? And in hindsight, that looked absolutely absurd. Everybody should second guess clearly stupid polling. Listen to common sense when common sense is telling you something you don't want to hear.

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The only senate polls common sense tells you to disregard are in Ohio, and Ohio was a swing state as recently as 2012. Isn’t it just possible some material fraction of the white working class see Trump bamboozled them and return to their union roots?

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If the Latino vote nationally had been in line with expectations, Texas would have been very close.

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Texas Latino vote needed to be inline with expectations. Cubans in Florida and Puerto Ricans in NY didn't change the Texas outcome.

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fair. but Biden also underperformed with Texas Latinos. He hit it out of the park with white suburbanites in TX

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Isn't Texas where he did worst with Latinos? I can't recall with certainty if it was average bad or way worse than average bad, but that's the main reason I mentioned.

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D vote share collapsed in the Rio Grand Valley. It’s hard to know how he performed with Latinos in the big metros because Texas isn’t that segregsted.

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You seem to be doing the same thing you're criticizing- post hoc criticism of predictions based on outcomes rather than the quality of the prediction itself based on the information available at the time. Predictions that Texas MIGHT be turning blue was literally that- a low probability that MAYBE could happen. The fact that people said it could happen but that it didn't doesn't mean it was stupid to say that things could shake out differently.

If anything, it's the exact opposite of your initial example now that I think about it- people said Texas turning blue had a 10-20% chance of happening, and when it didn't folks like you called anyone an idiot for even talking about it. I think a better example of clearly absurd polling were places like Wisconsin where the polling showed Biden with a shockingly large lead and he instead won by a tiny margin. But folks don't really think like that because they view these things in outcome terms rather than statistical terms, so many people are less upset about Wisconsin because it got the direction right even if the polling was hugely skewed. IIRC, Nate Silver uses the 2012 election a lot to point out this problem. The polling error was more off in 2012 than in 2016, but it was off in the correct direction (Obama won by more than predicted) so nobody criticized the polls at all, whereas in 2016 everyone lost their mind because they thought HRC would win.

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The Democrats did nothing to change their messaging. Their polling went up when Dobbs was released, and up again as gas prices fell, and down again as gas prices have risen. That's it; those are the priors. To extrapolate that, therefore, Dems should moderate their ideology to win back swing voters is... unsupported.

Voters do not care about ideas. Every swing, low-info, and medium-info voter in this country thinks the economy and business do better under the GOP than the Dems. You can show them all the charts you want. You can change Democratic messaging as much as you want. It won't change what voters think. The brand is set. A candidate can only win by breaking the brand; by having a personality and persona that override the electorate's expectations of party branding. In every plausible universe where Lamb beat Fetterman in the primaries, Lamb is having his ass handed to him by Dr. Oz. Doesn't mean I think Fetterman will win, but Lamb would have no chance. And he was the moderate, cookie cutter candidate who tempered Party ideology.

This is, in my view, Matt's biggest blind-spot. He watched Trump fill convention halls with infrequent, low-info voters who would scream and cry and listen to him ramble about nothing but his hate and his penis for three hours, and then win an election. And Matt's takeaway has been "It must have been that moderating offhand comment about Social Security Trump made that won him the election." Ideology matters in policy and governance. But it is virtually irrelevant in getting elected.

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I think you're *dramatically* underestimating the amount of mileage Trump got out of even nodding toward preserving Social Security and Medicare. I only know a handful of actual Trump voters IRL, but that, along with Trump's criticism of the Iraq war, was clearly a huge motivator for them.

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You're conflating people who do not need to be won over (MAGA fans packing Trump rallies) with people who need convincing (a modest but critical slice of the electorate). Not worrying that Trump's going to slash their Social Security checks was probably pretty helpful in securing the votes of some of the latter. And even very modest shifts can obviously be crucial in a razor close election. Which 2016 was.

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I'm only slightly less pessimistic than MY, but my solution would be completely different than Matt's. I think nuanced policy moderation by candidates in purple districts would have approximately zero impact on results.

I think the better path would have been this:

1) Shut up about inflation and talk up the best unemployment in history. When pinned down, blame inflation on war in Europe and continuing Chinese lockdowns. Then go back to talking about how awesomely low unemployment is. If reporters keep coming back to it, accuse them of taking their questions from straight from [name out-of-favor conservative]. This is exactly what conservatives would be doing if they were in the WH. This seems painfully obvious to me.

2) Run ads associating the nuttiest R candidates with the national R brand. So make conservative Cubans in FL think they are choosing between Val and Walker. Make PA voters feel like they are voting against both Oz and Vance.

3) Run ruthless abortion ads like the one showing cops coming to a family's home and arresting mom. Make every suburban mom and college student see ads like that multiple times throughout October.

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Unemployment only hurts unemployed or underemployed workers. Inflation hurts, or appears to hurt, basically everyone.

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"Inflation hurts . . . everyone" is perhaps technically true (arguably), but "unemployment only hurts the unemployed" is technically untrue. I think the word "technically" is doing about the same amount of work in both statements.

But the greater point is that none of that matters. The media takes unemployment seriously, and it gives you a substantial applause line at rallies and premise for positive ads. When we let conservatives make the conversation about what they want it to be, we lose.

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Except for most of this year and last Democrats have basically been ignoring inflation (just like they do the border with Mexico) and look where it has gotten them. Pretty much the only prominent Dem who has been actually concerned about inflation the way voters are is Manchin, which is why the IRA ended up in its final form.

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Here is the appropriate campaign response to that regardless of whether the campaign thinks your assertion is nonsense or not:

"R's love to point fingers because their only answer to anything is tax cuts for the rich. Real Americans know that you aren't going to get through a worldwide pandemic and major European war without some difficulties, but sustaining record-low unemployment during these international crises is a massive accomplishment for the Biden White House and the American people."

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