Blog Credo

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

H.L. Mencken

Monday, February 13, 2017

This Could Be Important

I've worried about the Democratic base talking too much to itself.  Here is a paragraph from the National Journal that reinforces my fears.
A sign of the dif­fi­cult times Demo­crats face: One of their top poll­sters, who re­ques­ted an­onym­ity to speak can­didly, lamen­ted that most of the is­sues that the Demo­crat­ic base is ex­er­cised about have little ap­peal to voters who voted for Obama and then flipped to Trump. “Noth­ing he’s do­ing is de­priving people who voted for him. He’s simply check­ing off the boxes of cam­paign prom­ises,” the poll­ster said, cit­ing the pres­id­ent’s travel ban and anti-free-trade pos­ture. He dis­missed the fury over Edu­ca­tion Sec­ret­ary Betsy De­Vos’s nom­in­a­tion as a product of the clout of teach­ers’ uni­ons, doubt­ing it would res­on­ate with the broad­er pub­lic. Ac­cord­ing to the poll­ster, the only is­sues that have the po­ten­tial to res­on­ate with per­suad­able voters are: de­fund­ing Planned Par­ent­hood and po­ten­tially Obama­care, if Re­pub­lic­ans roll it back in a way that would cause people to lose health cov­er­age.
The poll­ster’s frus­tra­tion is en­dem­ic with­in the Demo­crat­ic Party’s pro­fes­sion­al class. So far, the party is hop­ing that tweak­ing its mes­sage could help woo back Obama voters. But the Demo­crat­ic base’s cul­tur­al dis­con­nect from these oth­er­wise-win­nable voters is mak­ing that re­build­ing pro­cess all the more dif­fi­cult. As I’ve ar­gued in this column, the party’s more lo­gic­al path back to power runs through win­ning GOP-lean­ing sub­urb­an voters dis­af­fected with Trump. But the base’s no-holds-barred op­pos­i­tion to everything Re­pub­lic­ans do is mak­ing that op­tion more dif­fi­cult.

Here is the disconnect created by the Big Sort.  The extraordinary energy of the anti-Trump movement is a great thing to behold.  But to what degree is it changing suburban Republican voters to Democratic voters?  I think they are convincing them to vote against Trump in 2020, but the Democrats need to win the House in 2018.  This would give them subpoena power over the Trump Administration.

If they don't create a wave that delivers some suburban districts, they have lost a tremendous opportunity.

Sadly, the best opportunity for Democratic gains would entail the following:

A complete repeal of Obamacare.

A "border tax" on Mexican goods.

Combine those things, and you will destroy the lives of many Trump voters.  And many non-Trump voters.  In doing so, you will create the wave that you need to oust the GOP from power.

The cost, however, could be very, very high.

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