I want to take a few moments to step back from the flood of revelations and commentary and try to get some perspective on where we are. As I was turning things over in my mind, I recalled the work of an old Political Scientist from the 50s, Samuel Lubell. I may have this wrong [it was well over 50 years ago], but I recall him arguing, on the basis of his detailed examination of voting behavior, that it was a myth that there were middle of the road unaligned moderates who listened carefully to political arguments and then sometimes swung a little left, at other times a little right. Actually, the so-called moderates were as closed minded as those on the left and those on the right. They just happened to be closed minded about issues that were pushed sometimes by Republicans and at other times by Democrats.
I thought about this as I tried to assess honestly the claim that Democrats in 2020 must choose a middle-of-the-road candidate who can win back the Obama voters whose votes for Trump put him over the top in three or four crucial states.
We all know the terms of the debate. Those pushing Biden or Klobuchar [or Buttigieg or Bloomberg or Yang] point to the data that clearly show that if Trump had not won those Obama voters, he would not have won the Electoral College. We on the left counter that the Obama voters of color who stayed home in those states in 2016 vastly outnumber the Obama/Trump voters, and that if Clinton had been able to mobilize the stay at home Democrats, she would now be President.
I don’t want to argue about which policies are best. I know where I stand on those questions. I want to try to guess what the shape of the actual electorate is going to be in 2016. At least some of the evidence is favorable to the preferences of those of us on the left. The elections since 2016 have shown a steady and very deep erosion of Republican support in the suburbs, especially among previously Republican White women [a small slice of the overall electorate, let us remember.] Even more important, Democratic turnout is through the roof, and seems to suggest that 2020 will see the largest percentage of eligible voters turning out in a century. On the other hand, leftwing candidates have been winning principally in reliably Democratic districts.
I am terrified that I am allowing my passion to cloud my judgment, and since I really do think another four years of Trump might put paid to progressive dreams for a generation.
What do you all think?