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Joe Biden’s false optimism The Democrats still suffer from their 'Fox News Fallacy'

Biden has been blinded by the cultural Left. (Samuel Corum/Getty Images)

Biden has been blinded by the cultural Left. (Samuel Corum/Getty Images)


January 19, 2023   6 mins

Thanks to a spate of legislation passed at the end of the last Congress, combined with better-than-expected election results, the Democrats are feeling optimistic. That optimism very much extends to Biden himself. As he put it, when asked after the election what he might do differently in the next two years to change voters’ perceptions: “Nothing, because they’re just finding out what we’re doing. The more they know about what we’re doing, the more support there is.”

Since then, Biden has embarked on a road trip to help voters “know about what we’re doing”. He has visited Michigan, Arizona, Kentucky, Ohio and Baltimore, Maryland, touting the job-creating wonders of three big bills his administration has passed: the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act; the Chips and Science Act (semiconductors) and the Inflation Reduction Act (climate). Moreover, in a play for the working-class vote, he has been at pains to emphasise the blue-collar benefits of these bills: “The vast majority of [the] jobs 
 that we’re going to create don’t require a college degree.”

This week marks two years on the job for Biden and his administration, the halfway point of his presidential term. As he scrambles to limit the fall-out from the discovery of classified documents at his home, now seems an appropriate time to assess whether the Democrats’ early optimism was justified and whether Biden’s presumed strategy for the next two years is likely to work.

There are reasons for scepticism, the most obvious being the problem of the cultural Left, which cheerful propaganda about blue-collar jobs fails to address. The cultural Left has managed to associate the Democratic Party with a series of views on crime, immigration, policing, free speech, race and gender that are far removed from those of the median voter. This represents a victory for the cultural Left, but has proved an electoral liability for the party as a whole.

From time to time, senior Democratic politicians attempt to dissociate themselves from unpopular ideas such as defunding the police, yet progressive voices within the party are still more deferred to than opposed. They are further amplified by Democratic-leaning media and non-profits, as well as within the party infrastructure itself. In an era when a party’s national brand increasingly defines state and even local electoral contests, Democratic candidates have a very hard time shaking these associations.

Biden clearly intends to do very little, if not “nothing”, about this problem. His administration is much happier talking about gun control than actually getting criminals off the streets and into jail. The burgeoning backlash against ideological curricula in schools, the undermining of academic achievement standards, the introduction of mandatory, politically-approved vocabulary, the absurdities of “diversity, equity and inclusion” (DEI) programmes and the excesses of “gender-affirming care” are uniformly characterised by his party as nothing more than “hateful” bigotry rather than serious concerns. The out-of-control southern border, which is experiencing historically unprecedented levels of illegal immigration, has finally provoked an administration response, but its complicated mix of looser and tighter restrictions seems likely only to muddle things further, while provoking howls of outrage from allies in the influential immigrant advocacy community.

Peeking beneath the hood of the Democrats’ relatively good 2022 election results, it’s easy to see how this problem is likely to undermine their prospects in 2024 and put a ceiling on their longer-term political support. Consider the following: the Democrats lost the nationwide popular vote by 3 points (48-51) in 2022, along with control of the House; they lost the overall working-class (non-college) vote by 13 points, down 9 points from 2020; Hispanic support declined 11 points and black support declined 14 points. The Democrats did, however, clean up among white college graduate women in competitive House districts, carrying them by 34 points.

This sounds more like a stalemate, at best, rather than a surging Democratic Party. And a stalemate that was above all based on distaste for nutty Republicans rather than love for what Democrats have done or stand for. As several studies have shown, Trump-endorsed, Maga-ish candidates managed to wipe out a good chunk of the expected swing toward Republicans, paying a penalty of about 5 points in their support levels relative to more conventional Republicans. On the other hand, Democrats went into the election with double-digit disadvantages on immigration and the border (-24), reducing crime (-20), focusing enough on the economy (-20), valuing hard work (-15) and being patriotic (-10). Another pre-election survey by Stanley Greenberg found that voters’ top worries if Democrats won full control of government were “crime and homelessness out of control in cities and police coming under attack”, followed by “the southern border being open to immigrants”. As Greenberg noted: many Democrats “assumed that battling long-standing racial inequities would be [minority voters’] top priority. But that assumption becomes indefensibly elitist when it turns out these voters were much more focused on the economy, corporate power, and crime…” These voters, he added, cared more about soaring crime rates than the rise in police abuse, “yet Democrats throughout 2021 focused almost exclusively on the latter”.

This is why Republicans were able to pillory the Democrats on crime in 2022, including using the issue to great advantage in New York state, where they flipped four Democratic-held House seats. If the Democrats had held on to them, they would have come within a whisker of holding the House. But the party, under the sway of the cultural Left, persisted in seeing the issue of crime as little more than an excuse for racialised attacks by the Right, rather than as an actual concern of voters. In New York, Democrats angrily blamed New York City mayor Eric Adams for their problems, because he has treated crime like a real issue and dared to suggest there might be problems with bail reform, a pet cause of the progressive Left. In Washington, DC, the completely Democrat and very liberal city council has just passed a law, over their own Mayor’s veto, drastically reducing punishments for violent crimes such as car-jackings, home burglaries, robberies and even homicides.

In truth, not much has changed since before the election when pro-Democrat commentators were retailing articles such as “Crime is surging (in Fox News coverage)” — despite the fact that firearm homicide deaths among black men have reached highs not seen since the early Nineties. I have termed this tendency among Democrats to resolutely disregard a real problem if conservatives are talking about it as the “Fox News Fallacy”. In the aftermath of last year’s midterms, it is alive and well.

This is the problem Democrats and Biden refuse to address. They apparently think the legislation they are focusing on, plus the association of the GOP with unpopular Trumpian antics, will function as a get-out-of-jail-free card with the electorate, and that their cultural problem can be safely ignored. This is foolish. Trump’s influence is clearly diminishing within the Republican Party and other, less flawed messengers lie in wait to pick up the working-class populist banner. They will not make as easy a target. And meanwhile, even the Democrats’ ability to pillory the Republicans through focusing on Trump’s misdeeds has been undermined by the recent discovery of classified documents in Biden’s Delaware garage and other unauthorised venues.

Nor is it so clear that voters, particularly working-class voters, are going to be an easy sell on the virtues of the Democrats’ economic programme. Real wages, due to high inflation, have actually decreased for most workers since 2020. Biden’s administration touts the projected openings of several semiconductor and electric battery plants, which are tied to provisions of the administration’s semiconductor and climate bills. But these new plants, while highly desirable, will only affect a small sector of the country’s services-dominated working class.

More fundamentally, the entire theory is just wrong. The idea that Democrats can just turn up the volume on economic issues and ignore their unpopular stances on sociocultural issues is absurd. Culture matters and the issues to which they are connected matter. They are a hugely important part of how voters assess who is on their side and who is not; whose philosophy they can identify with and whose they can’t.

Instead, for working-class voters to seriously consider their economic pitch, Democrats need to convince them that they are not looked down on, that their concerns are taken seriously and that their views on culturally freighted issues will not be summarily dismissed as unenlightened. With today’s party, unfortunately, this will be difficult. Resistance has been, and remains, stiff to any compromise that might involve moving to the centre on such issues, a problem that talking more about economic issues simply ignores.

A more sophisticated — yet equally misguided — version of this idea holds that the Democrats’ progressive economic programme, by producing material improvements in the lives of less sympathetic voters, will, given enough time, overcome their cultural suspicions and lead a significant portion of them to embrace the party, thereby breaking the current ceiling in Democratic support. This theory has some merit over the medium to long term. But it does not follow that cultural Leftism can be ignored as a problem. Cultural views and values are not reducible to material circumstances; therefore, even if the material circumstances of these voters improve, cultural resistance to a party whose views seem antithetical to their own will likely continue.

But perhaps the biggest problem faced by the Democrats is a more simple one: time. It will, after all, take considerable time to restructure the American economy away from the reigning neoliberal model and deliver substantial, widely distributed benefits that could change voters’ lives so profoundly that their loyalties shift. Many and far-ranging changes will be necessary, spread out over years, not one session of Congress. To implement them will require a significant period of political dominance, which cultural Leftism makes very difficult, if not impossible. This, ultimately, is Biden’s dilemma: the Democrats cannot have both cultural Leftism and political dominance. Eventually they will have to choose.


Ruy Teixeira is a nonresident senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) and the author The Optimistic Leftist. His forthcoming book, co-authored with John Judis, is Where have all the Democrats gone?

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Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
1 year ago

Everytime I read something like this, I ask myself how the hell we got here? How do issues like gender surgery for children, bail reform, open borders, defund the police and censorship actually gain an ounce of political traction?

I literally don’t know anyone who supports this stuff. I would consider myself semi-libertarian with conservative leanings, but I know lots of lefties and none of them support these radical policies.

It’s like we’re living in some kind of alternate universe.

Last edited 1 year ago by Jim Veenbaas
Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Leftwing activists support this stuff. They work hard, give them that. The humanities in academia fell to them a long time ago. Even without gaining political power they manage to browbeat weak and pusillanimous institutions into accepting their analysis, prescriptions and policies, especially in HR departments.

This is in the UK too by the way, I was recently asked on a local government survey ‘what gender I was assigned to at birth’! After making a bit of noise on the issue (all it ever does) the supposedly ‘Conservative’ government has pathetically agreed to prohibit ‘gender conversion therapy’ and we can take that as meaning any advice that discourages gender transition. The Right has completely misunderstood what is going on for years, and some parts of it even have the same views.

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

People vote!
Republican might win the next presidential election but they will still lose the popular vote (yes, I know how elections work in USA).

D Walsh
D Walsh
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

You can forget about another Republican president (What difference would it make) the Democrats can rig all the states they need to win

Rosie Brocklehurst
Rosie Brocklehurst
1 year ago
Reply to  D Walsh

Fell for it didn’t you. Rigging or what we call gerrymandering, and lies about it has been entirely from the populist Trumps side.

0 0
0 0
1 year ago
Reply to  D Walsh

They’ve had lot of practice. Around 160 years worth!

Rosie Brocklehurst
Rosie Brocklehurst
1 year ago
Reply to  D Walsh

Fell for it didn’t you. Rigging or what we call gerrymandering, and lies about it has been entirely from the populist Trumps side.

0 0
0 0
1 year ago
Reply to  D Walsh

They’ve had lot of practice. Around 160 years worth!

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

I’m pretty sure the GOP just won the popular vote in 2022. They got hammered in races with Trump extreme guys.

Dianne Bean
Dianne Bean
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

It’s ballot harvesting that lost the races not trumpism. Until our election process is cleaned up There won’t be another Republican President

Dianne Bean
Dianne Bean
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

It’s ballot harvesting that lost the races not trumpism. Until our election process is cleaned up There won’t be another Republican President

D Walsh
D Walsh
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

You can forget about another Republican president (What difference would it make) the Democrats can rig all the states they need to win

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

I’m pretty sure the GOP just won the popular vote in 2022. They got hammered in races with Trump extreme guys.

Rosie Brocklehurst
Rosie Brocklehurst
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

Some leftwing activists do support self identification. I don’t and we and women like me who are against these policies but not against trans at all but embracing of, but are silenced by aggressive trans women. Defunding the police as an argument arose after a series of publicised news stories of black profiling and murders by police (which has been going on for years and years) when BLM started to gain more ground. It is not a realistic or reasonable ask or a viable policy – but it certainly got people thinking about reform and examining recruitment checks and culture – (even in this country with most recent vie story of Carrick)

Mike Michaels
Mike Michaels
1 year ago

Rosie you appear to support a social contagion that leads to the bodily mutilation and sterilisation of confused gay and autistic children. I’d keep quiet about that if I was you. Enjoy your stay on the right side of history cos it won’t last.

Mike Michaels
Mike Michaels
1 year ago

Rosie you appear to support a social contagion that leads to the bodily mutilation and sterilisation of confused gay and autistic children. I’d keep quiet about that if I was you. Enjoy your stay on the right side of history cos it won’t last.

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

People vote!
Republican might win the next presidential election but they will still lose the popular vote (yes, I know how elections work in USA).

Rosie Brocklehurst
Rosie Brocklehurst
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

Some leftwing activists do support self identification. I don’t and we and women like me who are against these policies but not against trans at all but embracing of, but are silenced by aggressive trans women. Defunding the police as an argument arose after a series of publicised news stories of black profiling and murders by police (which has been going on for years and years) when BLM started to gain more ground. It is not a realistic or reasonable ask or a viable policy – but it certainly got people thinking about reform and examining recruitment checks and culture – (even in this country with most recent vie story of Carrick)

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

I consider myself a paleoconservative but it is not very hard to understand why Biden won. Election in USA are binary, so the choice is Biden or Trump – not very difficult choice.
Look at the opposition!

Last edited 1 year ago by Jeremy Smith
Andrew Dalton
Andrew Dalton
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

Do you think this was also true of Trump vs Hilary?

Personally, I suspect it was. However, it does raise the question of how these binary choices always end up being a Hobson’s one. I’m in the UK, and I thought that the EU referendum was (somehow) the same.

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Dalton

Back then, people assumed that Trump in power might not be as dumb as his rhetoric.

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Dalton

Back then, people assumed that Trump in power might not be as dumb as his rhetoric.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

Trump is a disaster, but Biden is just as awful, creepy and slimy. He says the right things though.

carl Blackwood
carl Blackwood
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

All of Trumps policies were on spot but no one liked his personality. I’ll take mean tweaks with good policy any day over nice talk however stupid and full of direct lies. Created millions of new jobs…. haha the people went back to work after needless shutdown. The problem is workforce participation dropped 2 % points

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

You mean his cue cards say the right things.

Last edited 1 year ago by Warren Trees
taek kenn
taek kenn
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

You mean like ”
The highly classified documents were housed in the same garage as my prized Corvette, not on the street.

Helen E
Helen E
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Does not. He thinks transwomen are actual women. That’s enough to prevent many female Dem voters to vote for another Dem candidate, at federal, state or local level, ever again.

carl Blackwood
carl Blackwood
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

All of Trumps policies were on spot but no one liked his personality. I’ll take mean tweaks with good policy any day over nice talk however stupid and full of direct lies. Created millions of new jobs…. haha the people went back to work after needless shutdown. The problem is workforce participation dropped 2 % points

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

You mean his cue cards say the right things.

Last edited 1 year ago by Warren Trees
taek kenn
taek kenn
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

You mean like ”
The highly classified documents were housed in the same garage as my prized Corvette, not on the street.

Helen E
Helen E
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Does not. He thinks transwomen are actual women. That’s enough to prevent many female Dem voters to vote for another Dem candidate, at federal, state or local level, ever again.

Andrew Dalton
Andrew Dalton
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

Do you think this was also true of Trump vs Hilary?

Personally, I suspect it was. However, it does raise the question of how these binary choices always end up being a Hobson’s one. I’m in the UK, and I thought that the EU referendum was (somehow) the same.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

Trump is a disaster, but Biden is just as awful, creepy and slimy. He says the right things though.

Will Rolf
Will Rolf
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

If you notice that Democrats won white college educated women by 34 points in this piece you’ll get a good idea who supports these policies.

Dianne Bean
Dianne Bean
1 year ago
Reply to  Will Rolf

The colleges have done an amazing job of brain washing their students into believing their crazy beyond liberal ideologies and yet we are giving them our hard earned tax payer dollars

0 0
0 0
1 year ago
Reply to  Dianne Bean

See my comment above.

0 0
0 0
1 year ago
Reply to  Dianne Bean

See my comment above.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago
Reply to  Will Rolf

Because many are single issue voters and were thoroughly convinced that their privilege (no, it’s not a right) to kill their unborn children might be in jeopardy.

Dianne Bean
Dianne Bean
1 year ago
Reply to  Will Rolf

The colleges have done an amazing job of brain washing their students into believing their crazy beyond liberal ideologies and yet we are giving them our hard earned tax payer dollars

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago
Reply to  Will Rolf

Because many are single issue voters and were thoroughly convinced that their privilege (no, it’s not a right) to kill their unborn children might be in jeopardy.

Dustin Needle
Dustin Needle
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

You and #metoo, as a recent buzz-hashtag once said. Feels like there are 2 sections of adults in society, those who experienced adult life pre 1992 (approx.) and those for whom adulthood started afterwards with it’s rock star politicians, cheap money and a 24/7 media cycle at the whims of producers, media moguls all with allegiance for hire. Orwell’s Animal Farm and 1984 were on my school curriculum back in the day. A warning that was interpreted as an instruction manual.
It’s worrying.
(Whilst “Down and out in Paris and London” showed me what actual poverty and austerity look like and it’s consequences).

Last edited 1 year ago by Dustin Needle
Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Look no further than UnHerd itself. Every day we get articles about “trans” as though it’s a legitimate thing, Ukraine as if it’s not a money laundering scheme replacing Afghanistan, Covid as if it wasn’t planned in October 2019 and executed two months later, moans about Tories, and pieces like this one pretending that Joe Biden isn’t a doped-up semi-alive marionette. Don’t get me wrong: I love this site and read it every morning. But even an outlet as varied and diverse as UnHerd delivers the “message”: these are the issues. You must care about them.

0 0
0 0
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

I know. I would suggest that in part it’s because of the Democrat Party’s never-ending love affair with tenured professors ensconced in the Ivies, Cal/Berkley as well as theoreticians in so-called “think tanks. They depend upon this class to provide the theoretical framework upon which the modern Democrat Party is based, The problem is that the disconnect between the Thinking Class (if you will) and mainstream American society is so wide as to be unbridgeable.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

The answer lies in the quote from above, which is completely laughable in it’s understatement. They are further amplified by Democratic-leaning media and non-profits,…” This is like saying a hurricane is a rain shower. The legacy media and social media is hook, line and sinker in bed with the democratic narrative. Whatever is reported, you can be assured the complete opposite is true. To call a bill “The Inflation Reduction Act”, when all it will do is the complete opposite, is the perfect example.

laura m
laura m
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

I live in the Bay Area, registered NPP a few years ago, done with the Dem lunacy. Everyone we know will vote Dem pretending the radical policies are benign.

Last edited 1 year ago by laura m
Anuschka K
Anuschka K
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

I live in a solid Democrat county in California. One look at the opinions on crime and homelessness on the Nextdoor platform will dissuade you of the notion that people don’t support this stuff. Democrats will rage against vehicle thefts, home break-ins, smash-and-grabs and catalytic converter thefts in one post only to turn around in another post and defend lesser or no penalties for criminals. Democrats will complain about the homeless, their trash, and the fires they set in the community only to label anyone who criticizes the homeless as a soulless hater, bigot, or racist. The cognitive dissonance is amazing. It’s frightening to watch people rage against policies and then continue to vote for the politicians responsible for them. Something is very, very wrong.

James Stangl
James Stangl
1 year ago
Reply to  Anuschka K

It’s a suicidal impulse. The smarter ones get disillusioned enough (or tired of the crime and dodging human feces) to pack up and leave. CA lost 700,000 people over the last two years, and isn’t attractive to businesses. My only wish is that the CA expats leave their destructive political views behind and stop Californicating the decent states they’re moving to.

James Stangl
James Stangl
1 year ago
Reply to  Anuschka K

It’s a suicidal impulse. The smarter ones get disillusioned enough (or tired of the crime and dodging human feces) to pack up and leave. CA lost 700,000 people over the last two years, and isn’t attractive to businesses. My only wish is that the CA expats leave their destructive political views behind and stop Californicating the decent states they’re moving to.

Brian Villanueva
Brian Villanueva
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

The Bolsheviks were an uber-educated minority in Russia too. They managed to create 70 years of hell on Earth because they were more willing to destroy their enemies than their enemies were willing to fight back.
We could learn something from this. I hope we do before it’s too late.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Leftwing activists support this stuff. They work hard, give them that. The humanities in academia fell to them a long time ago. Even without gaining political power they manage to browbeat weak and pusillanimous institutions into accepting their analysis, prescriptions and policies, especially in HR departments.

This is in the UK too by the way, I was recently asked on a local government survey ‘what gender I was assigned to at birth’! After making a bit of noise on the issue (all it ever does) the supposedly ‘Conservative’ government has pathetically agreed to prohibit ‘gender conversion therapy’ and we can take that as meaning any advice that discourages gender transition. The Right has completely misunderstood what is going on for years, and some parts of it even have the same views.

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

I consider myself a paleoconservative but it is not very hard to understand why Biden won. Election in USA are binary, so the choice is Biden or Trump – not very difficult choice.
Look at the opposition!

Last edited 1 year ago by Jeremy Smith
Will Rolf
Will Rolf
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

If you notice that Democrats won white college educated women by 34 points in this piece you’ll get a good idea who supports these policies.

Dustin Needle
Dustin Needle
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

You and #metoo, as a recent buzz-hashtag once said. Feels like there are 2 sections of adults in society, those who experienced adult life pre 1992 (approx.) and those for whom adulthood started afterwards with it’s rock star politicians, cheap money and a 24/7 media cycle at the whims of producers, media moguls all with allegiance for hire. Orwell’s Animal Farm and 1984 were on my school curriculum back in the day. A warning that was interpreted as an instruction manual.
It’s worrying.
(Whilst “Down and out in Paris and London” showed me what actual poverty and austerity look like and it’s consequences).

Last edited 1 year ago by Dustin Needle
Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Look no further than UnHerd itself. Every day we get articles about “trans” as though it’s a legitimate thing, Ukraine as if it’s not a money laundering scheme replacing Afghanistan, Covid as if it wasn’t planned in October 2019 and executed two months later, moans about Tories, and pieces like this one pretending that Joe Biden isn’t a doped-up semi-alive marionette. Don’t get me wrong: I love this site and read it every morning. But even an outlet as varied and diverse as UnHerd delivers the “message”: these are the issues. You must care about them.

0 0
0 0
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

I know. I would suggest that in part it’s because of the Democrat Party’s never-ending love affair with tenured professors ensconced in the Ivies, Cal/Berkley as well as theoreticians in so-called “think tanks. They depend upon this class to provide the theoretical framework upon which the modern Democrat Party is based, The problem is that the disconnect between the Thinking Class (if you will) and mainstream American society is so wide as to be unbridgeable.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

The answer lies in the quote from above, which is completely laughable in it’s understatement. They are further amplified by Democratic-leaning media and non-profits,…” This is like saying a hurricane is a rain shower. The legacy media and social media is hook, line and sinker in bed with the democratic narrative. Whatever is reported, you can be assured the complete opposite is true. To call a bill “The Inflation Reduction Act”, when all it will do is the complete opposite, is the perfect example.

laura m
laura m
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

I live in the Bay Area, registered NPP a few years ago, done with the Dem lunacy. Everyone we know will vote Dem pretending the radical policies are benign.

Last edited 1 year ago by laura m
Anuschka K
Anuschka K
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

I live in a solid Democrat county in California. One look at the opinions on crime and homelessness on the Nextdoor platform will dissuade you of the notion that people don’t support this stuff. Democrats will rage against vehicle thefts, home break-ins, smash-and-grabs and catalytic converter thefts in one post only to turn around in another post and defend lesser or no penalties for criminals. Democrats will complain about the homeless, their trash, and the fires they set in the community only to label anyone who criticizes the homeless as a soulless hater, bigot, or racist. The cognitive dissonance is amazing. It’s frightening to watch people rage against policies and then continue to vote for the politicians responsible for them. Something is very, very wrong.

Brian Villanueva
Brian Villanueva
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

The Bolsheviks were an uber-educated minority in Russia too. They managed to create 70 years of hell on Earth because they were more willing to destroy their enemies than their enemies were willing to fight back.
We could learn something from this. I hope we do before it’s too late.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
1 year ago

Everytime I read something like this, I ask myself how the hell we got here? How do issues like gender surgery for children, bail reform, open borders, defund the police and censorship actually gain an ounce of political traction?

I literally don’t know anyone who supports this stuff. I would consider myself semi-libertarian with conservative leanings, but I know lots of lefties and none of them support these radical policies.

It’s like we’re living in some kind of alternate universe.

Last edited 1 year ago by Jim Veenbaas
J Bryant
J Bryant
1 year ago

Here’s my very unsophisticated theory about what I perceive to be the Democrats’ unsophisticated approach to hanging on to power.
It will be almost impossible for the Dems to retain power without the cultural left. It’s just too hard to cut them loose at this point and pick up enough votes elsewhere to replace them. So the Dems are counting on the Republicans continuing to tear themselves apart over Trump and what is loosely referred to as the MAGA right. That approach worked pretty well for them in the midterms, as the author of this article notes.
The key question now is whether, by 2024, the Republicans can dump, or neutralize, Trump and persuade enough of his core supporters to back another candidate. I’d love to see them succeed, but I suspect Joel Kotkin might have been right, in an earlier Unherd article, when he wrote that maybe the Republicans need the sting of defeat in 2024 to unify their party.
It’s an experiment in progress. We’ll see what happens.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
1 year ago
Reply to  J Bryant

I agree with a lot of this. Wokeism is really like a religion and most of its proponents really mean it and will fight hard. (Many institutions on the other hand rather cynically adopt it). It’s opponents can’t be lily livered and weak in response, as they have been so far. They also need to up their game in UNDERSTANDING what is going on. Douglas Murray is right, it is a ‘War on the West’.

I just wonder if it will be too late to resist after 2024; we have to understand that this is a complete takeover of all the important institutions in US, and it seems, increasingly British society, it’s not a relatively superficial change that can be easily reversed with a change of government.

Last edited 1 year ago by Andrew Fisher
Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

No worries Mark Francois is the man to save UK.
You should consider the suggestion that JS Mill was right about conservatism and IQ?!

Last edited 1 year ago by Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

No worries Mark Francois is the man to save UK.
You should consider the suggestion that JS Mill was right about conservatism and IQ?!

Last edited 1 year ago by Jeremy Smith
Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  J Bryant

Both parties seem to be ruled by their lunatic fringes. Whilst Trump and his band of merry men are a fading force on the right allowing the party to drift back towards more sensible politics, the identity politics brigade still hold considerable sway on the left. It will take an election drubbing for them to be jettisoned

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

 the party to drift back towards more sensible politics,

Sure, tell me the sensible policies that Republican party is going to roll out?
Repeal and Replace Obamacare? Where is the policy (no more empty words)?
Balance the budget (cutting taxes with borrowed money)?
Helping the working class by cutting taxes for Private Equity?
There is a reason why Trump took over the party…the party is intellectually bankrupt!

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

So you think the current slim-Republican-majority House of Representatives is moving away from the lunatic fringe of the party?

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

All the more mad Trumpists lost at the recent election, and his power and influence has been severely curtailed, so to me it looks a bit more centrist than it did

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Maybe and I hope so. I think so-called Trumpism lives on during Donald’s personal decline.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Maybe and I hope so. I think so-called Trumpism lives on during Donald’s personal decline.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

All the more mad Trumpists lost at the recent election, and his power and influence has been severely curtailed, so to me it looks a bit more centrist than it did

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

 the party to drift back towards more sensible politics,

Sure, tell me the sensible policies that Republican party is going to roll out?
Repeal and Replace Obamacare? Where is the policy (no more empty words)?
Balance the budget (cutting taxes with borrowed money)?
Helping the working class by cutting taxes for Private Equity?
There is a reason why Trump took over the party…the party is intellectually bankrupt!

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

So you think the current slim-Republican-majority House of Representatives is moving away from the lunatic fringe of the party?

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
1 year ago
Reply to  J Bryant

 the party to drift back towards more sensible politics,

sure. to do what?
Republicans controlled the White House, Congress and Senate. Trump incompetence aside (though to be fair he would have signed any bill in his desk!) what did the unified Republican Gov achieve?
Cut taxes with borrowed money ($1.5 trillion).
Did they repeal and replace Obamacare?
Did they reform immigration?
Did they pass the infrastructure bill?
The Republican Party (“conservative” movement) is intellectually bankrupt.

Last edited 1 year ago by Jeremy Smith
Dianne Bean
Dianne Bean
1 year ago
Reply to  J Bryant

I agree w some of your comments but still believe the biggest problem is the control the democrats have over the election process itself. Until elections are honest again, Republicans won’t regain the Presidency regardless of who runs.

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
1 year ago
Reply to  J Bryant

Trump is over. DeSantis will be President in 2024.

Stephanie Surface
Stephanie Surface
1 year ago

This is my wishful thinking

Can’t imagine and dread another 4 years of the current extreme left wing policies, because I believe that the US is the philosophical beacon of other Western Democracies. Once the nutty gender and NetZero nonsense is questioned and illegal immigration brought under control, it will make a big difference and hopefully influence other Western countries to do the same. DeSantis showed in Florida, that much of the left wing agenda can be stopped and that it will get huge voter approval in the end.

Stephanie Surface
Stephanie Surface
1 year ago

This is my wishful thinking

Can’t imagine and dread another 4 years of the current extreme left wing policies, because I believe that the US is the philosophical beacon of other Western Democracies. Once the nutty gender and NetZero nonsense is questioned and illegal immigration brought under control, it will make a big difference and hopefully influence other Western countries to do the same. DeSantis showed in Florida, that much of the left wing agenda can be stopped and that it will get huge voter approval in the end.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
1 year ago
Reply to  J Bryant

I agree with a lot of this. Wokeism is really like a religion and most of its proponents really mean it and will fight hard. (Many institutions on the other hand rather cynically adopt it). It’s opponents can’t be lily livered and weak in response, as they have been so far. They also need to up their game in UNDERSTANDING what is going on. Douglas Murray is right, it is a ‘War on the West’.

I just wonder if it will be too late to resist after 2024; we have to understand that this is a complete takeover of all the important institutions in US, and it seems, increasingly British society, it’s not a relatively superficial change that can be easily reversed with a change of government.

Last edited 1 year ago by Andrew Fisher
Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  J Bryant

Both parties seem to be ruled by their lunatic fringes. Whilst Trump and his band of merry men are a fading force on the right allowing the party to drift back towards more sensible politics, the identity politics brigade still hold considerable sway on the left. It will take an election drubbing for them to be jettisoned

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
1 year ago
Reply to  J Bryant

 the party to drift back towards more sensible politics,

sure. to do what?
Republicans controlled the White House, Congress and Senate. Trump incompetence aside (though to be fair he would have signed any bill in his desk!) what did the unified Republican Gov achieve?
Cut taxes with borrowed money ($1.5 trillion).
Did they repeal and replace Obamacare?
Did they reform immigration?
Did they pass the infrastructure bill?
The Republican Party (“conservative” movement) is intellectually bankrupt.

Last edited 1 year ago by Jeremy Smith
Dianne Bean
Dianne Bean
1 year ago
Reply to  J Bryant

I agree w some of your comments but still believe the biggest problem is the control the democrats have over the election process itself. Until elections are honest again, Republicans won’t regain the Presidency regardless of who runs.

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
1 year ago
Reply to  J Bryant

Trump is over. DeSantis will be President in 2024.

J Bryant
J Bryant
1 year ago

Here’s my very unsophisticated theory about what I perceive to be the Democrats’ unsophisticated approach to hanging on to power.
It will be almost impossible for the Dems to retain power without the cultural left. It’s just too hard to cut them loose at this point and pick up enough votes elsewhere to replace them. So the Dems are counting on the Republicans continuing to tear themselves apart over Trump and what is loosely referred to as the MAGA right. That approach worked pretty well for them in the midterms, as the author of this article notes.
The key question now is whether, by 2024, the Republicans can dump, or neutralize, Trump and persuade enough of his core supporters to back another candidate. I’d love to see them succeed, but I suspect Joel Kotkin might have been right, in an earlier Unherd article, when he wrote that maybe the Republicans need the sting of defeat in 2024 to unify their party.
It’s an experiment in progress. We’ll see what happens.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 year ago

Americans should count themselves lucky that, thanks to their relatively democratic local government institutions, they can, if they choose, do something about elite corruption of education, policing and the justice system. Not so easy in the highly centralised oligarchy of the UK.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

Soros has spent millions electing attorney generals and prosecutors across the country.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

He’s spending millions here too. As in the US our media have effectively been silenced on the topic for fear of being accused of anti-Semitism.

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

And?
democrats won Georgia because of Soros?

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

He specifically targeted attorney general elections because that’s where he thought his money would be most effective. These have generally been low-budget elections. He could vastly outspend his opponent with even a couple million.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

I’m sorry, I thought we were discussing local elections in this comment thread, not Georgia.

Dianne Bean
Dianne Bean
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

Ballot harvesting and they outspent republicans by some outrageous amount whether it was Soros money or some other rich liberal it doesn’t matter. Remember the Dems now have the rich elite money and republicans are the working class who can’t give millions of dollars to campaigns

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

He has a lot of politicians in his pocket. Check out Soros’ Open Society and how many organizations with ties to the Democrat party are affiliated with it. I understand your skepticism, Jeremy, but one man shouldn’t have so much power and influence in a nation’s political machinery..

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

He specifically targeted attorney general elections because that’s where he thought his money would be most effective. These have generally been low-budget elections. He could vastly outspend his opponent with even a couple million.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

I’m sorry, I thought we were discussing local elections in this comment thread, not Georgia.

Dianne Bean
Dianne Bean
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

Ballot harvesting and they outspent republicans by some outrageous amount whether it was Soros money or some other rich liberal it doesn’t matter. Remember the Dems now have the rich elite money and republicans are the working class who can’t give millions of dollars to campaigns

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

He has a lot of politicians in his pocket. Check out Soros’ Open Society and how many organizations with ties to the Democrat party are affiliated with it. I understand your skepticism, Jeremy, but one man shouldn’t have so much power and influence in a nation’s political machinery..

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

He’s spending millions here too. As in the US our media have effectively been silenced on the topic for fear of being accused of anti-Semitism.

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

And?
democrats won Georgia because of Soros?

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

Soros has spent millions electing attorney generals and prosecutors across the country.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 year ago

Americans should count themselves lucky that, thanks to their relatively democratic local government institutions, they can, if they choose, do something about elite corruption of education, policing and the justice system. Not so easy in the highly centralised oligarchy of the UK.

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
1 year ago

Fair points, in general, and the wider irony is that, underneath the chic slogans, many of the wokesters are pretty conservative. Trans ideology, for instance, entirely depends on the absurd notion that men and women can only dress and behave according to rigid, outdated stereotypes that few people take seriously any more, and they try to present such fading / faded cultural orthodoxies as being an a deductive biological reason why, e.g., a girl who likes to wear trousers needs to have invasive drugs and surgery, instead of just being a girl who likes to wear trousers. 
It’s an analysis failure by the centre left, the vast majority of who do not wish to have any truck with the woke idiots, but they’re petrified of the electoral consequences of not being seen to say along with the loonies.
The lazy thinking is – we support other minorities (e.g., gay people), so we must support these ones too. But gay people are obviously real and born that way, whereas trans people are merely gay people who are too conservative or too young and insecure to out themselves as gay.
As for BLM, well the ironies multiply. Ike the trannies, they’re also pretty conservative, and pessimistic in their thinking. King et al in the 1960s called for stuff I could get behind – equality and integration, and an end to e.g., apartheid / racial segregation.  But with their insistence of safe spaces etc, the BLM / CRC ideologues are openly calling for voluntary racial segregation. ML King spinning in his grave, but they’re too full of it to see how regressive their positions are.
If the centre left called these people out, and told them where to shove their woke nonsense, they’d do well at the polls.
But my perception is that they’re paralysed by fear of online pile-ons etc, and will continue cravenly to acquiesce to the wokesters.  

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
1 year ago

Fair points, in general, and the wider irony is that, underneath the chic slogans, many of the wokesters are pretty conservative. Trans ideology, for instance, entirely depends on the absurd notion that men and women can only dress and behave according to rigid, outdated stereotypes that few people take seriously any more, and they try to present such fading / faded cultural orthodoxies as being an a deductive biological reason why, e.g., a girl who likes to wear trousers needs to have invasive drugs and surgery, instead of just being a girl who likes to wear trousers. 
It’s an analysis failure by the centre left, the vast majority of who do not wish to have any truck with the woke idiots, but they’re petrified of the electoral consequences of not being seen to say along with the loonies.
The lazy thinking is – we support other minorities (e.g., gay people), so we must support these ones too. But gay people are obviously real and born that way, whereas trans people are merely gay people who are too conservative or too young and insecure to out themselves as gay.
As for BLM, well the ironies multiply. Ike the trannies, they’re also pretty conservative, and pessimistic in their thinking. King et al in the 1960s called for stuff I could get behind – equality and integration, and an end to e.g., apartheid / racial segregation.  But with their insistence of safe spaces etc, the BLM / CRC ideologues are openly calling for voluntary racial segregation. ML King spinning in his grave, but they’re too full of it to see how regressive their positions are.
If the centre left called these people out, and told them where to shove their woke nonsense, they’d do well at the polls.
But my perception is that they’re paralysed by fear of online pile-ons etc, and will continue cravenly to acquiesce to the wokesters.  

Saul D
Saul D
1 year ago

Center for American Progress is John Podesta’s baby with strong links to Clinton-ite funders. As such this reads like a call from the Democrat party barons to distance or disassociate from the ‘cultural left’ as it’s bad for business. It’s going to be interesting to watch what the follow-through will be.

Last edited 1 year ago by Saul D
Saul D
Saul D
1 year ago

Center for American Progress is John Podesta’s baby with strong links to Clinton-ite funders. As such this reads like a call from the Democrat party barons to distance or disassociate from the ‘cultural left’ as it’s bad for business. It’s going to be interesting to watch what the follow-through will be.

Last edited 1 year ago by Saul D
Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
1 year ago

Can optimism be false? It may be unfounded, but optimism itself is always a choice. To an accountant, all start-up businesses look to be terrible ideas – no track record, no last year’s sale figures etc – always a triumph of optimism over accounting reality. All optimism involves a denial of reality to some extent, but that still does not make it false.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

Yes, it can be false. Here are some examples:
Staying at your beachfront house during a hurricane, clinging to the bathtub, optimistic that the tidal surge won’t be more than a couple of feet.
Weaving through traffic on a crotch rocket at 100 mph, optimistic that your youth can outwit all the other drivers.
Holding a sign at a rally, optimistic that recycling cans and driving a Prius will change the earth’s climate.
Spending trillions of dollars that you don’t have, optimistic that it will buy you more votes in the next election to save your country from a tyranny that doesn’t exist.
Wearing a mask while riding your bicycle outdoors, optimistic that you are doing the right thing to prevent Covid.
Advocating for the removal of religion from society, optimistic that whatever fills the void will be better.
Eschewing marriage and childbearing, optimistic that you can have it all.
Fishing with an empty hook, optimistic that a dumb fish might swim by.

Last edited 1 year ago by Warren Trees
AJ Mac
AJ Mac
1 year ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

Interesting notion. By that reckoning, it seems any mental framework could avoid being false by remaining internally consistent, including fatalism or outright delusion. Reminds me of one of Blake’s Proverbs of Hell: “If the fool would persist in his folly he would become wise”. Some rebel wisdom there I think, but of course not straightforwardly true, as many fools persist unto death, though maybe not persisting in the sense Blake intended. If optimum conditions come to pass, like hitting the lottery with the grocery money, the sponsoring hope is still pretty a false one. But now that you’re rich, who cares!

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

Yes, it can be false. Here are some examples:
Staying at your beachfront house during a hurricane, clinging to the bathtub, optimistic that the tidal surge won’t be more than a couple of feet.
Weaving through traffic on a crotch rocket at 100 mph, optimistic that your youth can outwit all the other drivers.
Holding a sign at a rally, optimistic that recycling cans and driving a Prius will change the earth’s climate.
Spending trillions of dollars that you don’t have, optimistic that it will buy you more votes in the next election to save your country from a tyranny that doesn’t exist.
Wearing a mask while riding your bicycle outdoors, optimistic that you are doing the right thing to prevent Covid.
Advocating for the removal of religion from society, optimistic that whatever fills the void will be better.
Eschewing marriage and childbearing, optimistic that you can have it all.
Fishing with an empty hook, optimistic that a dumb fish might swim by.

Last edited 1 year ago by Warren Trees
AJ Mac
AJ Mac
1 year ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

Interesting notion. By that reckoning, it seems any mental framework could avoid being false by remaining internally consistent, including fatalism or outright delusion. Reminds me of one of Blake’s Proverbs of Hell: “If the fool would persist in his folly he would become wise”. Some rebel wisdom there I think, but of course not straightforwardly true, as many fools persist unto death, though maybe not persisting in the sense Blake intended. If optimum conditions come to pass, like hitting the lottery with the grocery money, the sponsoring hope is still pretty a false one. But now that you’re rich, who cares!

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
1 year ago

Can optimism be false? It may be unfounded, but optimism itself is always a choice. To an accountant, all start-up businesses look to be terrible ideas – no track record, no last year’s sale figures etc – always a triumph of optimism over accounting reality. All optimism involves a denial of reality to some extent, but that still does not make it false.

AC Harper
AC Harper
1 year ago

On the other hand you could also argue that the current Democratic party is experiencing the Last Hurrah of the Silver Horde. The movers and shakers are all old and look foolish when supporting the trendy policies of the younger set.
Perhaps we are seeing a change of elites (old Democrats and not quite so old Republicans) – and the Republicans are less behind the curve than the Democrats.

AC Harper
AC Harper
1 year ago

On the other hand you could also argue that the current Democratic party is experiencing the Last Hurrah of the Silver Horde. The movers and shakers are all old and look foolish when supporting the trendy policies of the younger set.
Perhaps we are seeing a change of elites (old Democrats and not quite so old Republicans) – and the Republicans are less behind the curve than the Democrats.

JR Stoker
JR Stoker
1 year ago

Very interesting and informative article, thank you.
Looking at the 2022 midterms, the lesson is surely not so much that the Democrats remain strong as that Donald Trump is a rallying point – against himself. The Republicans did much better where their candidate was not identified with Trump; and the Democrats did best when running against a strongly Trump backed candidate.
Whatever one might think of Trump he is no longer A WINNER.

Dianne Bean
Dianne Bean
1 year ago
Reply to  JR Stoker

I don’t believe that is accurate. More Trump candidates won than lost. But even though I was a Trump supporter, it is time for him to step aside.

Dianne Bean
Dianne Bean
1 year ago
Reply to  JR Stoker

I don’t believe that is accurate. More Trump candidates won than lost. But even though I was a Trump supporter, it is time for him to step aside.

JR Stoker
JR Stoker
1 year ago

Very interesting and informative article, thank you.
Looking at the 2022 midterms, the lesson is surely not so much that the Democrats remain strong as that Donald Trump is a rallying point – against himself. The Republicans did much better where their candidate was not identified with Trump; and the Democrats did best when running against a strongly Trump backed candidate.
Whatever one might think of Trump he is no longer A WINNER.

Peter Mott
Peter Mott
1 year ago

I understand that Ron DeSantis is a strong contender for the Republicans while the democrats may choose Gavin Newsom. Newsom is super progressive – so he would keep the Democrats digging at the bottom of the hole they are in. The LA Times had a long piece which I have linked.
https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2023-01-18/florida-anti-california-newsom-desantis

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Mott

Gavin Newsom is a political weathervane whose greasy good looks and grating yet telegenic persona could enable him to move to the center with some success, and few pangs of conscience.
Not that this makes my opinion more factual but: I am a decades-long California resident–does that raise my credibility here?–who has disliked Newsom since he was mayor of San Francisco when I was living there. And yes, I voted for him anyway, given the electable alternatives.

Last edited 1 year ago by AJ Mac
Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Mott

I doubt any California Democrat can win. There are a lot of Democrats I would vote for, but I won’t vote for anybody from California, regardless of party, and that’s a fairly common view. That state has diverged pretty significantly from the rest of the country, to the point that they’re the likeliest candidate to eventually attempt secession, possibly with the rest of the west coast. This represents another problem the Democrats are starting to have. Outside of their bastions of California, New York, and Illinois, the pickings among Democrats are getting pretty slim. In America, geography matters as much as, if not more than numbers of voters, and it will be difficult and maybe impossible for a party that is ideologically and numerically concentrated in a small percentage of places to achieve anything like permanent dominance. This is a phenomenon that is likely to get worse and not better. It’s built into the American Constitution and changing the Constitution is nigh impossible in today’s political climate. As the most popular and prominent Democrats are increasingly coming from very limited areas, it’s magnifying the sense that the party is out of touch with most of America. The Democrats would be better off nominating a marginal figure from a neutral or Republican state, or at least a smaller state, somewhat like Biden (Delaware) than a governor/senator of any of the big three Democratic states regardless of how popular they may be within the party. DeSantis, being a popular governor from a swing state, if he runs, will be, IMHO, hard to beat, unless Trump torpedoes the race with a bitter third party candidacy.

Last edited 1 year ago by Steve Jolly
AJ Mac
AJ Mac
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Mott

Gavin Newsom is a political weathervane whose greasy good looks and grating yet telegenic persona could enable him to move to the center with some success, and few pangs of conscience.
Not that this makes my opinion more factual but: I am a decades-long California resident–does that raise my credibility here?–who has disliked Newsom since he was mayor of San Francisco when I was living there. And yes, I voted for him anyway, given the electable alternatives.

Last edited 1 year ago by AJ Mac
Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Mott

I doubt any California Democrat can win. There are a lot of Democrats I would vote for, but I won’t vote for anybody from California, regardless of party, and that’s a fairly common view. That state has diverged pretty significantly from the rest of the country, to the point that they’re the likeliest candidate to eventually attempt secession, possibly with the rest of the west coast. This represents another problem the Democrats are starting to have. Outside of their bastions of California, New York, and Illinois, the pickings among Democrats are getting pretty slim. In America, geography matters as much as, if not more than numbers of voters, and it will be difficult and maybe impossible for a party that is ideologically and numerically concentrated in a small percentage of places to achieve anything like permanent dominance. This is a phenomenon that is likely to get worse and not better. It’s built into the American Constitution and changing the Constitution is nigh impossible in today’s political climate. As the most popular and prominent Democrats are increasingly coming from very limited areas, it’s magnifying the sense that the party is out of touch with most of America. The Democrats would be better off nominating a marginal figure from a neutral or Republican state, or at least a smaller state, somewhat like Biden (Delaware) than a governor/senator of any of the big three Democratic states regardless of how popular they may be within the party. DeSantis, being a popular governor from a swing state, if he runs, will be, IMHO, hard to beat, unless Trump torpedoes the race with a bitter third party candidacy.

Last edited 1 year ago by Steve Jolly
Peter Mott
Peter Mott
1 year ago

I understand that Ron DeSantis is a strong contender for the Republicans while the democrats may choose Gavin Newsom. Newsom is super progressive – so he would keep the Democrats digging at the bottom of the hole they are in. The LA Times had a long piece which I have linked.
https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2023-01-18/florida-anti-california-newsom-desantis

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
1 year ago

“Democrats’ progressive economic programme, by producing material improvements in the lives of less sympathetic voters, will, given enough time, overcome their cultural suspicions and lead a significant portion of them to embrace the party, thereby breaking the current ceiling in Democratic support”
This article is pretty spot on until this comment. He should have said ‘IF the Dems economic program actually produces material improvements in the lives of less sympathetic voters, then it might eventually change some minds.’ That’s about the biggest IF I’ve ever seen casually omitted from a chain of logic. The only one of those bills that is anything different from the business as usual we’ve come to associate from the uniparty of the past three decades is the CHIPS act, which had broad bipartisan support because it was an economic warfare bill aimed directly at China, and China is about the only thing arguably less popular in America than American politicians. Other than that, the author’s assessment is great. The cultural left is a political liability that is a drag on the party in many places, but excising it presents its own difficulties, assuming they even want to. Unlike your parliamentary system, the American parties don’t have a lot of control over their membership at the grassroots level. Pretty much anybody can register and/or run as anything at the local level by filling out a form and maybe getting some signatures. The bar for entering a political primary, or even a local election directly, is pretty low. At the national level, the parties could theoretically bar someone like Sanders/Trump from running, but that can come with political consequences in the form of disaffected voters who supported that politician and even worse, can produce third party candidates, the dreaded nemesis of American political parties since forever. The whole reason they let Trump run as a Republican is that they feared he would run anyway as an independent.

Last edited 1 year ago by Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
1 year ago

“Democrats’ progressive economic programme, by producing material improvements in the lives of less sympathetic voters, will, given enough time, overcome their cultural suspicions and lead a significant portion of them to embrace the party, thereby breaking the current ceiling in Democratic support”
This article is pretty spot on until this comment. He should have said ‘IF the Dems economic program actually produces material improvements in the lives of less sympathetic voters, then it might eventually change some minds.’ That’s about the biggest IF I’ve ever seen casually omitted from a chain of logic. The only one of those bills that is anything different from the business as usual we’ve come to associate from the uniparty of the past three decades is the CHIPS act, which had broad bipartisan support because it was an economic warfare bill aimed directly at China, and China is about the only thing arguably less popular in America than American politicians. Other than that, the author’s assessment is great. The cultural left is a political liability that is a drag on the party in many places, but excising it presents its own difficulties, assuming they even want to. Unlike your parliamentary system, the American parties don’t have a lot of control over their membership at the grassroots level. Pretty much anybody can register and/or run as anything at the local level by filling out a form and maybe getting some signatures. The bar for entering a political primary, or even a local election directly, is pretty low. At the national level, the parties could theoretically bar someone like Sanders/Trump from running, but that can come with political consequences in the form of disaffected voters who supported that politician and even worse, can produce third party candidates, the dreaded nemesis of American political parties since forever. The whole reason they let Trump run as a Republican is that they feared he would run anyway as an independent.

Last edited 1 year ago by Steve Jolly
Garrett R
Garrett R
1 year ago

This is the danger when one party (Republicans) just loses it. It turns out that repealing Roe was very stupid. They were told this would be very stupid
and the election came and yes, it was in fact very stupid to repeal a policy supported by 65% of Americans.

The Republicans have no serious policy agenda. They’re proposing to abolish the IRS, force the US into default, and let Marjorie Green run committees. They’re weirdly obsessed with Russian and now Chinese militaries. It’s even worse at the state level where Missouri Republicans banned short sleeves for women or in other states that are proposing banning Plan B pills.

The Dems don’t have a hard job when the other side is ludicrous. The Rs are right on key issues like the border and SS/Medicare. Both need to be fixed. Unfortunately, these require grown up conversations and political compromise. That’s not rewarded.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
1 year ago
Reply to  Garrett R

I agree with you except in the detail of the Dems having it easy in this political climate. They Reps are the party of “no (nothing)” as much as they’ve ever been, and that appeals both to anti-any-government, and stick-it-to-the-liberal-elite voters, not an insignificant portion of today’s US electorate.

Last edited 1 year ago by AJ Mac
AJ Mac
AJ Mac
1 year ago
Reply to  Garrett R

I agree with you except in the detail of the Dems having it easy in this political climate. They Reps are the party of “no (nothing)” as much as they’ve ever been, and that appeals both to anti-any-government, and stick-it-to-the-liberal-elite voters, not an insignificant portion of today’s US electorate.

Last edited 1 year ago by AJ Mac
Garrett R
Garrett R
1 year ago

This is the danger when one party (Republicans) just loses it. It turns out that repealing Roe was very stupid. They were told this would be very stupid
and the election came and yes, it was in fact very stupid to repeal a policy supported by 65% of Americans.

The Republicans have no serious policy agenda. They’re proposing to abolish the IRS, force the US into default, and let Marjorie Green run committees. They’re weirdly obsessed with Russian and now Chinese militaries. It’s even worse at the state level where Missouri Republicans banned short sleeves for women or in other states that are proposing banning Plan B pills.

The Dems don’t have a hard job when the other side is ludicrous. The Rs are right on key issues like the border and SS/Medicare. Both need to be fixed. Unfortunately, these require grown up conversations and political compromise. That’s not rewarded.