Vox's laughable piece on what Democrats are doing wrong against Trump

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#1 Posted by nintendoboy16 (36467 posts) -

Here's the link and the article (excerpt below)

Many progressives have what they believe to be a knock-down answer to nervous Nellies who fret that talking about desegregation busing, decriminalizing illegal entry into the United States, banning assault weapons, and replacing private health insurance will kill them at the polls in 2020: Donald Trump is president.

If Trump is president, the thinking goes, it’s the ultimate proof of “lol nothing matters” politics. And if anything does matter, it’s riling up your base to go to war, not trimming and tucking to persuade precious swing voters. The old rules no longer apply, or perhaps they were never true at all.

Activists are pressing candidates to take aggressively progressive stands on broad issues like Medicare-for-all but also narrower ones like including undocumented immigrants in health care plans and providing relief from graduate school debt.

This is, however, precisely the wrong lesson to learn from the Trump era.

It’s true that Trump is president, but it’s not true that Trump ran and won as an ideological extremist. He paired extremely offensive rhetoric on racial issues with positioning on key economic policy topics that led him to be perceived by the electorate as a whole as the most moderate GOP nominee in generations. His campaign was almost paint-by-numbers pragmatic moderation. He ditched a couple of unpopular GOP positions that were much cherished by party elites, like cutting Medicare benefits, delivered victory, and is beloved by the rank and file for it.

The research case that moderation matters for electoral wins, meanwhile, remains pretty solid. Lots of other things matter too, and it would be foolish to label any particular position or candidate as categorically “unelectable.” But overall, moderate candidates are more likely to win; more precisely, candidates who take popular positions on the issues are more likely to win than candidates who take unpopular ones.

Of course, politics matters because policy matters, so taking a calculated risk on an unpopular position for the sake of getting something important does make sense. But adopting an unpopular position that you won’t be able to deliver on even if you win the election is not just costly, it’s reckless — jeopardizing the interests of the people you’re supposed to be helping.

Moderate candidates do better

The hoary old chestnut that moderate candidates do better at the polls than relatively extreme ones is well supported in the academic literature. In 2002, for example, Brandice Canes-Wrone, David Brady, and John Cogan found that the more an incumbent House member breaks with party leadership on roll call votes, the better he does on Election Day.

Andrew Hall in 2015 looked at very close congressional primaries and found that moderate candidates who narrowly win the nomination do better in the general election than extreme candidates who narrowly win the nomination. A follow-up paper he wrote with Daniel Thompson suggests this is because certain folk theories about base mobilization are mistaken, and extreme nominees “fire up” the other side’s base and increase opposition turnout.

A new paper by Devin Caughey and Christopher Warshaw extends this literature by looking at races for state legislature and governor as well as Congress and finds, again, that ideology matters. Quantitatively measuring ideology is, of course, complicated. Consequently, Caughey and Warshaw look at a number of popular methodologies and find that you get the same result no matter which one you use.

They also find that the extent to which moderation helps varies according to which office you’re talking about. It’s only very slightly helpful in state legislative elections, perhaps because normal people don’t pay any attention to state legislative elections (as David Schleicher has argued, this is a significant problem for federalism) and have no idea what’s really going on in them. But it’s very helpful in gubernatorial elections, which helps explain why there are popular Republicans running Vermont and Massachusetts while Democratic governors hold down the fort in Louisiana and Montana.

Congress is somewhere in between.

Presidential elections are too infrequent to study in a statistically rigorous way. But it would be very strange for issue positioning to matter a lot in gubernatorial races and a modest amount in congressional races but then not at all in presidential politics. And while it’s true that Trump won the election, it’s also true that he won as a moderate.

Trump ran and won as a moderate

When I was a young blogger in the mid-aughts, the big issues in national politics were Social Security privatization, marriage equality, and the war in Iraq.

Trump ran as an Iraq War proponent who vowed to avoid new Middle Eastern military adventures, as an opponent of cutting Social Security and Medicare (and Medicaid), and as the first-ever Republican candidate to try to position himself as an ally to the LGBTQ community — going so far as to actually speak the words “LGBTQ.”

And during the 2016 campaign, it showed. Even though people who paid close attention to the obsessive sniping of Bernie Twitter have an impression of Hillary Clinton as the ultimate centrist Dem, voters saw her as largely liberal on the issues. Trump was perceived as conservative, to be sure, but also as less uniformly conservative than Clinton was liberal.

Trump was, similarly, seen as much less conservative than Mitt Romney, John McCain, or George W. Bush, perhaps for the very sensible reason that he’d abandoned the conservative positions on the main issues of Bush-era politics.

Far from being a counterexample to the theory that moderation pays off, Trump’s election is, if anything, a testament to its power. The millions of progressives baffled that someone as coarse, ignorant, and scandal-plagued as Trump could win an election should reflect on the fact that he was able to partially recover from those things due to his positions on the issues.

That’s not to say that Trump ran a sober-minded, issue-oriented campaign. Far from it. His main themes were dedicated to mobilizing ugly racial sentiments. But racism is not new to American politics. Had Trump ran on a conventional Republican platform of cutting Social Security and Medicare, Democrats would have hammered him for it — just as they hammered Bush and McCain and Romney — and won the votes of many older non-college whites who are racist enough to like Trump but sufficiently non-racist to have voted for Democrats in the past.

To an extent, it’s natural that both parties are moving somewhat to the left because underlying public opinion is also moving to the left. But failing to recognize that Trump does in fact represent a kind of moderation on the issues can lead to both too much complacency about the risks of taking unpopular stances and too little excitement about the prospects of beating him.

Yes, the writer in "leftist" Vox, just called Donald Trump a moderate.

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#2 Edited by jeezers (3153 posts) -

@nintendoboy16: hes right, if he wasnt they would have nominated jeb bush or ted cruz, Trump is the most liberal conservative in my lifetime as president. He was registered as a Democrat in new York. Classical liberals are no longer liberal to many on the left. They are seen as moderates and conservatives.

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#3 Posted by comp_atkins (35802 posts) -

whether or not he was/is a moderate, if voters saw him as a moderate and used that as a reason to vote for him over a very liberal clinton, what's the difference?

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#4 Posted by mattbbpl (17345 posts) -

@comp_atkins: The difference is one of messaging in that case.

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#5 Posted by Master_Live (19656 posts) -

Author said that Trump ran as a moderate. Like, it is right there in the article.

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#6 Posted by ad1x2 (7650 posts) -

If you disagree with the conclusion that Donald Trump is a moderate, than what is your opinion? That Trump is far-right? Support from some of the far-right =/= being far right; they could simply support him because the alternative is supporting a Democrat that will try to legislate their desires out of existence. Trump was literally a registered Democrat for years and still has some of the views he had before he switched to the GOP.

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#7 Posted by HoolaHoopMan (10874 posts) -

How did Trump run as a moderate? You can argue he ran as an outsider, but moderate? lol

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#8 Edited by Zaryia (9432 posts) -
@jeezers said:

@nintendoboy16: hes right, if he wasnt they would have nominated jeb bush or ted cruz, Trump is the most liberal conservative in my lifetime as president. He was registered as a Democrat in new York. Classical liberals are no longer liberal to many on the left. They are seen as moderates and conservatives.

His stance on climate change, abortion, immigration, guns , and foreign policy are extreme to the right.

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#9 Edited by texasgoldrush (12896 posts) -

@nintendoboy16: Trump ran to the left of most of the GOP field on economics and maybe as well, Clinton. He was far right on social issues however. While I would not call him "moderate", he was left of his party when it came to issues like trade and the economy. Definitely fits a "nationalist" style campaign.

But since then he has shifted to full Ted Cruz hard right on the economy as well, minus trade.

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#10 Posted by texasgoldrush (12896 posts) -

@ad1x2 said:

If you disagree with the conclusion that Donald Trump is a moderate, than what is your opinion? That Trump is far-right? Support from some of the far-right =/= being far right; they could simply support him because the alternative is supporting a Democrat that will try to legislate their desires out of existence. Trump was literally a registered Democrat for years and still has some of the views he had before he switched to the GOP.

Democrats as recent as the 70's had some very far right members.

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#11 Posted by N30F3N1X (8923 posts) -

"the more an incumbent House member breaks with party leadership on roll call votes, the better he does on Election Day"

In case you don't remember, Republicans were the first ones to oppose Trump, long before your stupid ass MSM jumped on the bandwagon and started giving voice to random totally unsubstantiated rape accusations and went off the rails crazy when they had to face the reality that he was the President Elect after 11/9. So yeah, if you define "moderate" as "breaking with the party leadership" he was about as moderate as you could get.

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#12 Posted by SOedipus (11548 posts) -

I'm glad that you specified on which laughable piece they shat out.

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#13 Posted by nintendoboy16 (36467 posts) -

@texasgoldrush: We still have a few now (Tulsi Gabbard, David Clarke).

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#14 Posted by texasgoldrush (12896 posts) -

@nintendoboy16 said:

@texasgoldrush: We still have a few now (Tulsi Gabbard, David Clarke).

Tulsi Gabbard was this, but on social views, she changed her stance.

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#15 Posted by nintendoboy16 (36467 posts) -
@ad1x2 said:

If you disagree with the conclusion that Donald Trump is a moderate, than what is your opinion? That Trump is far-right? Support from some of the far-right =/= being far right; they could simply support him because the alternative is supporting a Democrat that will try to legislate their desires out of existence. Trump was literally a registered Democrat for years and still has some of the views he had before he switched to the GOP.

"Climate Change is a Chinese hoax"

"Deport all Muslims."

"Mexico ain't sending their best."

"I'm going to build a wall."

How "moderate"... :eye roll:

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#16 Posted by N30F3N1X (8923 posts) -

@nintendoboy16 said:
@ad1x2 said:

If you disagree with the conclusion that Donald Trump is a moderate, than what is your opinion? That Trump is far-right? Support from some of the far-right =/= being far right; they could simply support him because the alternative is supporting a Democrat that will try to legislate their desires out of existence. Trump was literally a registered Democrat for years and still has some of the views he had before he switched to the GOP.

"Climate Change is a Chinese hoax"

"Deport all Muslims."

"Mexico ain't sending their best."

"I'm going to build a wall."

How "moderate"... :eye roll:

The wall was Clinton's idea. In fact building the wall received bipartisan support until Trump gave you all Trump Derangement Syndrome and made you all delude yourselves into thinking that anything he does, you should do the opposite.

Also, [citation needed] for deport all muslims.

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#17 Posted by nintendoboy16 (36467 posts) -
@N30F3N1X said:
@nintendoboy16 said:
@ad1x2 said:

If you disagree with the conclusion that Donald Trump is a moderate, than what is your opinion? That Trump is far-right? Support from some of the far-right =/= being far right; they could simply support him because the alternative is supporting a Democrat that will try to legislate their desires out of existence. Trump was literally a registered Democrat for years and still has some of the views he had before he switched to the GOP.

"Climate Change is a Chinese hoax"

"Deport all Muslims."

"Mexico ain't sending their best."

"I'm going to build a wall."

How "moderate"... :eye roll:

The wall was Clinton's idea. In fact building the wall received bipartisan support until Trump gave you all Trump Derangement Syndrome and made you all delude yourselves into thinking that anything he does, you should do the opposite.

Also, [citation needed] for deport all muslims.

Okay, it's not a good idea from Clinton either. Enough with the "whataboutism". Just because we vote a certain Dem, doesn't mean we like EVERYTHING they do (hell, if this fascist loving DINO gets the primary, she'll only be voted in because it's easier to impeach a Democrat, which CLINTON showed, than it is a Republican, which TRUMP has showed).

Here's your citation on "Ban all Muslims." And this was back when Repubs apparently disliked him as much as the Dems did.

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#18 Edited by nintendoboy16 (36467 posts) -
@texasgoldrush said:
@nintendoboy16 said:

@texasgoldrush: We still have a few now (Tulsi Gabbard, David Clarke).

Tulsi Gabbard was this, but on social views, she changed her stance.

I don't believe her for a minute. She only apologized over her LGBT views because she's with a party that views LGBT with far less scorn than the other, nevermind that she hates her own party (like Clarke), which in and of itself is ironic because she defended a VP of a presidency she also hates. And the fact that she is running for presidency. That's it. She still doesn't give a damn.

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#19 Edited by N30F3N1X (8923 posts) -

@nintendoboy16 said:
@N30F3N1X said:
@nintendoboy16 said:
@ad1x2 said:

If you disagree with the conclusion that Donald Trump is a moderate, than what is your opinion? That Trump is far-right? Support from some of the far-right =/= being far right; they could simply support him because the alternative is supporting a Democrat that will try to legislate their desires out of existence. Trump was literally a registered Democrat for years and still has some of the views he had before he switched to the GOP.

"Climate Change is a Chinese hoax"

"Deport all Muslims."

"Mexico ain't sending their best."

"I'm going to build a wall."

How "moderate"... :eye roll:

The wall was Clinton's idea. In fact building the wall received bipartisan support until Trump gave you all Trump Derangement Syndrome and made you all delude yourselves into thinking that anything he does, you should do the opposite.

Also, [citation needed] for deport all muslims.

Okay, it's not a good idea from Clinton either. Enough with the "whataboutism". Just because we vote a certain Dem, doesn't mean we like EVERYTHING they do (hell, if this fascist loving DINO gets the primary, she'll only be voted in because it's easier to impeach a Democrat, which CLINTON showed, than it is a Republican, which TRUMP has showed).

Here's your citation on "Ban all Muslims." And this was back when Repubs apparently disliked him as much as the Dems did.

You're the one who's doing the whataboutism. We're talking of an article that is arguing that he ran as a moderate and you're the one who said, literally said in this chain quote, but what about the border wall, as if that's not a moderate line to have despite the fact that border control has been a bipartisan position for two decades.

He didn't say ban muslims, he said shutdown muslim immigration until they can develop safer screening techniques. Dated december 2015, during the peak of the muslim immigration to the EU, 11 months after two legal algerian immigrants wasted 12 satirical writers and two weeks after 9 legal immigrants living in Brussels wasted over 130 people and injured over 400 in the Paris attacks. And the response from other republicans, in case you missed it, is further proof of his run as a moderate.

You're committing so many logical fallacies that they should make a clinical study out of you.

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#20 Edited by Jacanuk (18714 posts) -
@nintendoboy16 said:
@ad1x2 said:

If you disagree with the conclusion that Donald Trump is a moderate, than what is your opinion? That Trump is far-right? Support from some of the far-right =/= being far right; they could simply support him because the alternative is supporting a Democrat that will try to legislate their desires out of existence. Trump was literally a registered Democrat for years and still has some of the views he had before he switched to the GOP.

"Climate Change is a Chinese hoax"

"Deport all Muslims."

"Mexico ain't sending their best."

"I'm going to build a wall."

How "moderate"... :eye roll:

Citation is needed for that Deport all Muslims (the ban on some countries citizens entering is not deport all Muslims so nice try but you need to have a direct quote of Trump saying he wants to enact a policy that would deport all muslims currently legally in the US) and as to the Mexico comment, that is not politics that is rhetoric used in a campaign, so please learn the difference.

And as to the strong border security, all I have to say is this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GtJ4x1ycsPk

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#21 Edited by N30F3N1X (8923 posts) -

@Jacanuk said:
Citation is needed for that Deport all Muslims (the ban on some countries citizens entering is not deport all Muslims so nice try but you need to have a direct quote of Trump saying he wants to enact a policy that would deport all muslims currently legally in the US) and as to the Mexico comment, that is not politics that is rhetoric used in a campaign, so please learn the difference.

And as to the strong border security, all I have to say is this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GtJ4x1ycsPk

"Deport all muslims", when asked for a citation he changed to "ban all muslims", then provides a video in which Trump says "block muslim immigration until we can understand what's going on with them" dated two weeks after the worst massacre that happened in France since WW2 was carried out by muslim immigrants.

There's only one thing which is laughable here, and it's not the Vox article

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#22 Posted by ad1x2 (7650 posts) -

@nintendoboy16 said:
@N30F3N1X said:
@nintendoboy16 said:
@ad1x2 said:

If you disagree with the conclusion that Donald Trump is a moderate, than what is your opinion? That Trump is far-right? Support from some of the far-right =/= being far right; they could simply support him because the alternative is supporting a Democrat that will try to legislate their desires out of existence. Trump was literally a registered Democrat for years and still has some of the views he had before he switched to the GOP.

"Climate Change is a Chinese hoax"

"Deport all Muslims."

"Mexico ain't sending their best."

"I'm going to build a wall."

How "moderate"... :eye roll:

The wall was Clinton's idea. In fact building the wall received bipartisan support until Trump gave you all Trump Derangement Syndrome and made you all delude yourselves into thinking that anything he does, you should do the opposite.

Also, [citation needed] for deport all muslims.

Okay, it's not a good idea from Clinton either. Enough with the "whataboutism". Just because we vote a certain Dem, doesn't mean we like EVERYTHING they do (hell, if this fascist loving DINO gets the primary, she'll only be voted in because it's easier to impeach a Democrat, which CLINTON showed, than it is a Republican, which TRUMP has showed).

Here's your citation on "Ban all Muslims." And this was back when Repubs apparently disliked him as much as the Dems did.

I would like to know why you don’t consider it a good idea to defend our border. Maybe a wall will prevent us from having to overcrowd the border facilities. While there is no excuse for mistreatment of any kind, even if we do our absolute best to care for them overcrowding is something we simply can’t handle. The more Democrats demonize ICE and border patrol while praising sanctuary cities, the more immigrants are going to try and cross illegally.

And your hatred of Tulsi Gabbard is remarkable in my opinion. Calling her far-right is outright laughable when she is much farther to the left then Trump and only someone that is totally clueless of how bad parts of the far right is would consider Trump as part of it. She may be your best chance to unseat Trump since there is a good chance she could get the veteran and pro-military vote being the first Democrat since Jimmy Carter to serve in the military if she gets elected. But she said nice things about someone you don’t like so she is a fascist...