Coming Soon:

The following books by Robert Paul Wolff are available on Amazon.com as e-books: KANT'S THEORY OF MENTAL ACTIVITY, THE AUTONOMY OF REASON, UNDERSTANDING MARX, UNDERSTANDING RAWLS, THE POVERTY OF LIBERALISM, A LIFE IN THE ACADEMY, MONEYBAGS MUST BE SO LUCKY, AN INTRODUCTION TO THE USE OF FORMAL METHODS IN POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY.
Now Available: Volumes I, II, III, and IV of the Collected Published and Unpublished Papers.

NOW AVAILABLE ON YOUTUBE: LECTURES ON KANT'S CRITIQUE OF PURE REASON. To view the lectures, go to YouTube and search for "Robert Paul Wolff Kant." There they will be.

NOW AVAILABLE ON YOUTUBE: LECTURES ON THE THOUGHT OF KARL MARX. To view the lectures, go to YouTube and search for Robert Paul Wolff Marx."





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Friday, November 22, 2019

GUEST POST

Chris Mulvaney wrote me a long email, quite interesting, which he has given me permission to put up as a guest post.  Here it is:

Given the 'great leftist fear' sweeping the country, I would expect somebody to publish a study proving a progressive can't win. I haven't seen anything like that and a quick google search didn't reveal any studies of the 2020 election authored by Dr. Benhabib.  The conclusion is, to my way of thinking, counter-intuitive.  All the fundamentals strongly favor the Democrats.  

Turnout in the 2018 election was huge in comparison to typical off-year elections and that increase has been attributed to the following groups:  young voters (18-29, 15.7%) (30-44, 13.2%),  Black, Hispanic and Asian voters (10.8%, 13.4%, and 13.3% respectively). To put this in context, it means that these groups voted at a rate comparable to general election turnout figures in an off-year election.  The dynamics driving that turnout haven't changed and the turnout next year will be higher than it has been in decades.  A forty seat gain by Dems in the House is indicative of a wholesale rejection of republican policies and leadership and it strongly suggests a political realignment is in progress.

For example, the Dems flipped seven seats in California. In four of those districts the Democrats now have a lead in party registration. In the district in Orange County won by Katie Porter, Republicans had 14.2% edge in 2016 which dropped to 4%. in 2018.  The republican advantage in Devin Nunes' seat (Tulare) has been cut in half as has the Republican minority leader Kevin McCarthy's seat next door in Bakersfield.  These are seats that were gerrymandered to ensure republican control for eternity!

Sixty percent of voters think the country is on the wrong track, a figure comparable to the a year before Obama was elected.  Fifty percent of voters identify as Democrat or leaning Democrat, the strongest lead (8-10 points) Democrats have had in years.

The above numbers indicate tectonic shifts in the electorate.  In 2018, republicans lost some of those who lean republican and the loss was greatest among republican women.  When I started writing this I thought I had figures on the suburban vote by demographic group, but I can't find them now.  I doubt that educated republican leaning women in the 'burbs who went Democratic in 2018 will revert to their old ways regardless of the democratic nominee, not when the republican candidate is Trump.

I also expect the Democrats to balance the ticket.  A Warren/pick your favorite moderate ticket will calm potential defectors. I should note that Biden said he would pick a moderate as his V.P. about two months ago. It was one more in a long list of cringe-worthy, and just politically stupid, comments.

I think this will be a brutal campaign unlike any other I have ever experienced, and frankly, I am not sure that any of the democratic candidates have figured out how to manage the phantasmagoric swirl of Trumpian bull that seems to overwhelm reason all too frequently.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

It will make little difference in the long run whether Trump wins or not in 2020. We on the Left control the future: all educational institutions and the most important bureaucracies, the courts, and the media are being staffed & directed by us, the women, who will finally have our day in the sun. The "Republicans" will have to shift to the Left or be permanently a minority. It is a question of power: and now we have enough numbers & rank even in the military to determine, with our LGBT auxiliaries, the genuine destiny of a country that soon will have "no borders". The white middle class males grasping for dear life onto the nostalgic memories of their past injustices are about to learn their proper place.

Anonymous said...

I don't think gender politics is a winner.

Howie said...

I no longer trust and common sense appraisals when it comes to Trump, no matter how uncommon and pedigreed. Remember the 99 % chance for a Clinton victory?
He is a black swan and wild card

LFC said...

I'm assuming the first comment in this thread is intended as satire (of some sort).

Trump has filled the federal district and appellate courts with conservative judges in frightening quantities. Most of these lifetime appts have sailed through the Republican- controlled Senate w.o much publicity. Gender here is less important than ideology, as, needless to say, not all women share the sentiments of the commenter, and there are plenty of right-wing women in legislatures and on the bench. While women taken in the aggregate vote more Democratic than men, key decisions in legislatures and courts are made by individuals, not aggregates or averages.

Christopher J. Mulvaney, Ph.D. said...

Thanks for the comments.

I believe Anonymous underestimates the damage that a second Trump term would cause and over-estimates the strength of the leftist women and or men. Most certainly the left does not control the courts, as LFC notes .

I remember the Nate Silver contribution to the field of flawed analytics. It is what happens when the sports betting craze infects political analysis. Lots of my friends stopped looking at the polling data and focused on his model's prediction of the odds. The polling data was right - it was a very close race. I do not consider myself a quantitative type at all. Polling data has certain uses in campaigning, as does the analysis of past election results for targeting campaign efforts. I think of the particular data I used in the post as being fundamental indicators. The right/wrong track, party identification, and one I didn't mention- the generic ballot question - have been asked by pollsters for decades. We can then look at what happened in the past when there was similar data. The same is true for the party identification numbers.

To steal a paradigm from Thomas Kuhn, there are periods of normal politics and revolutionary politics. Nothing is normal about 10% changes in voter registration in 2 years in gerrymandered districts, 11.5% jump in turnout over the last off-year election, or a 15.7 % increase in millennial voter turnout. In the last general election, only 15% of millennials turned out while 35.6% voted last year and I hope it goes up substantially next year. If my hunch is right, we will be entering a period of Democratic party dominance. Keep your fingers crossed.