162 Comments

Sometimes our best efforts fail. Sometimes this failure is due to a misunderstanding by the potential recipients. Maybe we need to rephrase what we are trying to do. We will never convince everybody, but perhaps we can reach enough people to make a difference.

I thought the money spent preaching to the choir would be better spent trying to reach those in the middle. Also, reaching out to those who don't vote, either because they don't care or think the system is rigged and their vote doesn't count.

Many people are involved with their day-to-day living and ignore politics. We need to show them how politics affects their daily lives and how they can make a difference.

Expand full comment

There is minimal visible support here for Mastriano. Trump signs were everywhere in 16 and 20. He's going to lose by double digits.

Expand full comment

Yikes, just what I did not want to hear

Seriously, I am going to have to stop reading any or the bad news about this, I can't take it for two more months

Expand full comment

Ahhh, but do you have one of these in your county? I do . . . complete with its own Wiki and FB pages. https://www.ydr.com/story/news/2020/10/27/trump-house-western-pa-attracts-political-tourists-worldwide/6051086002/

I don't count every time I see Trump paraphernalia but I do know that I observe a whole lot of it in my neck of the woods. Thank goodness for the blue specks of Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.

Expand full comment

I started to read Mastriano's War College Thesis, and it made me really worry about what was going on at the Army War College... The paper is awful and reveals a great deal about his thoughts. Creepy. The paper is linked in this article: https://www.padems.com/washington-post-doug-mastriano-warned-of-left-wing-hitlerian-putsch-in-2001-paper/

Expand full comment

Full disclosure - I am a liberal who is a dedicated reader of your newsletter. Why? Because you report political events in a balanced manner, I always come away with new things to think about. "Fifty-foot Sharks, anyone?"

Your question about whether we should look at a 7-point win or the 40 percent who voted for the loser points up the failure Democrats make in every election. They always preach to the choir and ignore all the people standing outside the building. The 40 percent are real people with real concerns, and they feel ignored, and their concerns remain unaddressed.

The people outside the building represent the base of opposition, and we ignore them at our peril. Many of their concerns are justified and need to be addressed - not ignored and swept under the rug.

The example I always refer to was the demonizing of coal with no concern for the people who lost their jobs as coal miners. I'm not defending coal, but I am defending the concerns of coal miners and their families about their loss of income and a future for themselves and their children. No serious efforts have been made to provide re-training and new jobs for these people. They feel looked down upon by the "elites," and their problems have never been adequately addressed.

Why does West Virginia have such a high rate of opioid abuse? Could it be that many in this coal mining state don't see any future for themselves or their children? Are these people any less valuable than those with college educations, living in large cities, and being envoirmently conscious? In Pennsylvania, we have some people with similar concerns. Out-of-work coal miners, small family farmers who have lost out to big agriculture, and the non-college educated who feel marginalized.

I have spoken with some people who fall into these groups. They are afraid for their future and don't like or understand the cultural changes that are taking place. Their minds are closed to thoughts about people who they feel don't care about them. They like Trump and his cohorts as they think his attacks on the media, the "deep state," and the Democratic Party's conspiracy to give the country over to "others" expresses their feelings and fears.

By reaching out to people who our government is underserving, we help people to understand a different view and, possibly, create a resurgence of the old Republican Party. Our democracy needs a robust, two-party system, and by helping those who feel ignored, we are helping the entire country.

Expand full comment

The problem with your example is the Democratic policy is a robust social safety net. If those coal miners were offered no-cost training, job placement, and adequate supplemental income until they found work in a workplace that had a robust union, I think they’d choose it over getting black-lung from being forced to work in a coal mine.

Democrats offer everything these “underserved” voters say they want; Republicans attempt to kill all those things in the crib by appealing to voters’ worst natures.

When the “underserved” continually vote against their own interests, yes, you need to ask why. But when the answer often is ignorance or bigotry, the takeaway shouldn’t be “start catering to ignorance and bigotry”.

Because that’s how you get the modern GOP and this stupefying rise to fascism we’re currently living in.

Expand full comment

The other problem is that when Democrats do something good at the federal level, like expanding Medicaid through Obamacare, the Republicans at the state level won’t go along. Why do the “underserved” people in these red states continue to support Republicans? Do they think they’re being protected from something?

Expand full comment

Good thing you added the footnote, JVL. I go to the end of that sentence and just thought, “umm… that movie sucks”.

Expand full comment

This piece misunderstands the square-cube law. Put simply, things get heavier much faster than they get bigger or stronger, which limits growth in the real world more than you might think. (The idiot-savants in finance tried to escape this sort of thing by making everything into mathematical derivatives in finance, and we saw how well that worked out in 2009.) The strength of an object is proportional to it's cross-sectional area, which is the square of its size. But the MASS of it is proportional to the cube of its size, which increases much faster.

If the biggest shark you ever saw was 24 feet, you should be fantasizing about seeing one that's 37 feet, because that's already VASTLY bigger than a 24-footer. A 50-footer is about 9 times bigger, and that's ridiculous.

Expand full comment

This is why there is a HUGE difference between a 30 foot boat and a 40 foot boat.

Expand full comment

Thanks for getting me all cheered up. I only have one vote. Doesn't sound like it will do much good.

Expand full comment

Every vote COUNTS. But if you can get some of your low propensity friends to go with you -- that is even better!

Expand full comment

Doing all I can. Thanks for the admonition, but I am in no danger of having missed the disgrace of the past 7 or 8 years.

Expand full comment

Sort of on topic, per Politicususa.com: "The Republican Rensselaer County (NY) Board of Elections commissioner was arrested by the FBI for 12 felonies related to election fraud." They can't find any D fraud, so they're doing it themselves!

Expand full comment

I live in Rensselaer County. A spec of blue in a red sea. County exec has been indicted; other R's under investigation. And so it goes...

Expand full comment

Republican accusations of voter fraud against Democrats are always based on weak anecdotal hooey, and the actual cases of Republican voter fraud are based on arrests, indictments, and convictions. Weird, huh?

Expand full comment
founding

Once again JVL goes for the "BIG SCARE". A reality check.....

White Christian Nationalism is a loser. Probably today, but certainly in the long run. Just today I saw a Pew polling analysis that predicts in 50 years only half of Americans will identify as Christian. (And that was the high end) Today it is only 64%, down from the low 90's just 30 years ago.

As we all know, the US in heading for a minority majority society in the not too distant future. Mastriano's base is primarily old, white and rural. Groups that are shrinking. Furthermore, these groups would have overwhelming voted for the candidate with the "R" next to the name regardless of who it was.

I would turn JVL's argument on its head. At 41%, Mastriano is at his high water mark. He is only holding onto the hard core Republicans. He is getting no Dem support and little of the Indy vote. He is cruising for a blowout loss, not on the edge of being a mythical giant sea creature.

Expand full comment
author

Couple things:

1) A lot can go wrong in 50 years. Hell, a lot can go wrong in 10 years. You have to get democracy to the long run.

2) Maybe 41 points is Mastriano's ceiling? But maybe not. I don't think either of us knows. Shapiro is under 50 percent, which is a sign that his support isn't where you'd want it to be if you thought he was heading to a blowout.

Todd Akin finished under 40 percent in MO. Laura Loomer finished under 40 percent in FL-21. I would be encouraged if this race finished at something like 60-40.

But that seems to me, at least based on currently available data, to be a less likely outcome.

The most likely outcome is probably something like Shapiro 52-45.

Expand full comment

I want to go along with the Demography as Destiny sentiment but Latinos seem to be increasingly voting GOP, and they are the fastest growing voter group.

Expand full comment

When I read the warning that this Triad was going dark, I didn't realize it was going to a Barton Gelman-level of darkness. Sentence after sentence, my eyes were squinting more and more--but didn't notice until my eyelashes were blocking the words on my computer screen. I had a list of things to accomplish this evening, but I need to go lie down for a bit.

Expand full comment
Sep 13, 2022·edited Sep 13, 2022

I refuse to engage in all this hand wringing over poll numbers. I remain hopeful that the vast majority of Americans are disgusted and exhausted by Trump and MAGA nonsense. I believe most Americans want a functioning government and will vote for the best candidates. Let’s have some faith in the electorate. MAGA is dangerous and violence is unacceptable. People will vote accordingly.

Expand full comment

PAM -- I pray that you are correct. But the deluge of terrified Democratic fund raising appeals I get daily is beginning to make me worry that their inside polls see something we don't.

Expand full comment

They always do that when it gets close....that is how they raise the money, unfortuantely the same way the right does...by scaring people.

I unsubscribed to them

Expand full comment

From your lips . . . MAGA Judge Cannon threw a monkey wrench into justice, but I have faith it will prevail. Won't be easy. The question at my age is will I live to see it. BTW, parts of Twitter are agog at a "secret" meeting Trump is having at one of his clubs with McCarthy, Hannity, Eric, Miller, Nunes and others. (For the record, I don't have an account, but Twitter does let people lurk, which I find interesting.)

Expand full comment
Sep 13, 2022·edited Sep 13, 2022

"But insisting that Donald Trump is the rightfully elected president in 2022 is largely acceptable to large swaths of the electorate."

Speaking of sharks, it is therefore reasonable that corruption, felonious criminality, sedition, and treason are more than acceptable, even badges of honor [sic]. Hell, carrying it further, there must be a significant proportion of MAGA who finds abject violence and murder (of the Other in particular) completely normal.

We live in strange times. Times that will not end soon. But they will end. Eventually. Once fashionable American fascism and consequent oppression burn themselves out but, alas, after destroying countless lives and the ruination of democracy.

Let's go dark. And I did.

Expand full comment

The felony 'badge of honor' thing is for real; for example embarrassing film maker Dinesh D'Souza, etc.

Expand full comment

Regarding Nate Cohn's article: It worth noting that Nate Silver has spoken in the past about how the polling misses seem to be exaggerated specifically in election with Trump on the ballot, but the 2018 midterms in particular had the polls pretty much dead-on. So I'm not sure applying 2020 misses to 2022 polls is likely to be accurate.

Expand full comment
author

Your lips to God's ears.

Expand full comment
founding

I think we often discount the pull of the tribe. Folks will vote for Mastriano just because he is not the other team. The real determinant will be after the big sort when Trump gets indicted. Then the “peaceful protest” that follows will for a true choice in folks.

Expand full comment