Democrats dreamed of a crushing victory. But something kept this close.
Teixeira’s main points can be most easily understood by taking account of the two elephants dominating this election — negative partisanship and the biggest turnout since 1900.
The most accepted observation about our present state of polarization is that it has shifted voters into a state of negative partisanship. Can anyone doubt that the main motivator for the huge Democratic turnout was hatred of Trump rather than love of Joe Biden?
According to data on negative partisanship, which is confirmed by Trump’s negative campaign strategy, the main reason for the huge Republican turnout would have been fear of and hatred of the Democrats. So what about the Democrats provoked fear and hatred intense enough to boost Republic turnout by about 20% — that’s truly enormous.
Well we know it wasn’t Joe Biden. Neither was it the moderate Democrats who espouse programs that are fairly bipartisan. Adopting the negative partisanship framework makes the title question trivially easy to answer … Yes, the woke did help Trump! “Woke” is a Democratic label that provokes Republicans enough to seriously boost their turnout.
There are a few other Democratic positions that hit hot buttons — open borders, socialism, etc. All of them are, of course, on the extreme left. Moderate positions just do not stir up enough negative partisanship to send turnout through the roof.
So this is why Teixeira’s main points are right (even though he did not mention either elephant). But he sometimes shifts to positive-partisanship issues, for example when discussing the Latino vote: “they feel that Trump is still a guy who can shake things up, make things work. And they don’t really get what the Democrats are going to do for them.”
These points ring true, but I would stick with the insistence of political scientists that negative partisanship is dominant. And I would look to the impact of Bernie’s socialism in Miami-Dade, and the impact of open borders — a hot button for those who came legally and don’t want a flood of competition in the labor market. And I’d wonder about the demand that people say only “Black lives matter” and never “all lives matter” — a demand that is blindly accepted by the entire Democratic Party.
Negative partisanship doesn’t provide all the answers, but we know it’s 90% of the story among Democrats. And forgetting to think about it when analyzing Republicans is surely a mistake.
The Democrat’s attitude from 2000 (or whenever) has been worse than believing they controlled the future: it’s been disbelief that conservatism was still a viable trend in American politics. That’s continued despite Bush vs. Gore, McConnell’s crushing of Obama’s agenda and Trump’s 2016 win. The woke movement is the inevitable culmination of that belief. More than that, too many liberals were narrow-minded enough to write off all Trump supporters as racist, even those who supported Obama in 2008-2012 and who Biden is currently bringing back into the fold. Again, this was despite the many stories of Trump voters who genuinely cringed at Trump’s rhetoric, who identified themselves as non-racist, or were fed-up with politically correct moralism.
I believe that Trump is a mendacious, maniacal . Apparently a lot of people don’t. I want to know why that is. I want to learn how to defeat this type of demagogue now before it’s too late.
It’s stunning to me how many liberals would quietly accept an America where the Republicans are identified as the ‘white’ party and the Democrats as the ‘minorities’ party with a finite number of college-educated whites thrown in. Yes, similar perceptions have been true for decades but they’re more entrenched than ever.
These are not presciptions for effective governing in a multi-racial population like ours. The author declares; “Most Latinos are working class and their issues are primarily around material things about their community….it’s less that the more flamboyant Trump rhetoric around immigrants and race is hugely appealing to those voters…Trump is still a guy who can shake things up…’
This idea that all Trump voters are racist makes CRT or ‘race reductionism’ easy to fall into. In reality, however, the Republican weakness is their dependence on divisiveness to hold on to their white voters. Teixeira (and Biden), on the other hand, know that the black, Latino, and white populations in America are predominantly working and middle class with similar hopes and asperations for themselves and family. Democrats need to shake things up, too.
I hope politicians from both parties take the lessons from this election to heart. Identity politics is over, demography is not destiny, and what will persuade voters is policies that lead to prosperity, safety, and liberty for the most people. Notice I did not say equality or equity- while I am sympathetic to the arguments that inequality is destabilizing, I truly think that it is prosperity, safety, and liberty that can motivate persuadable voters. If people can live their lives comfortably the way they want they don’t care what Jeff Bezos has or who’s smoking weed. A party platform focused on market based strategies for the progressive aim of increasing prosperity across the board and safeguards of constitutional rights along with expanding liberties on hot-button social issues would have broad support from the persuadable center. Rhetoric like “safe, legal, and rare” was able to capture these voters for the Clinton coalition, and “compassionate conservatism” took them back for Bush. It would be wise for both parties to look to recent history and try to fight for the center once again.
Wonderfully thought provoking conversation -- and I hope that last note ("Interview condensed and edited for clarity") is not just a tease, and there might be more.
But what was most provocative was Teixiera's comment that wokeness has helped brand the Democratic party. Given the long-developing weakness of both parties that has been discussed for a couple of decades now -- including their lack of any control over candidates because they've effectively given the primary process over to their voters -- what does it mean now for either party to have a brand? Aside from vague generalities that don't do much more than nod to the party's past, how much do each party's activists control the branding? Stated another way, how much does the media's addiction to extreme activists impede any party efforts to disseminate a message or a brand?
Which is not to say parties don't try. But the erosion of the parties as institutional managers of a larger guiding philosophy has left each of them hollowed out and vulnerable to the melodramatics that our narrative-obsessed journalists cannot get enough of.
I would be interested to see a poll of Biden voters who cringe, as I do, at identity politics in general, and gag at AOC and the 1612 project in particular. Further, a poll of their thoughts on the nuts and bolts of the green new deal. What makes me nervous is that the democratic congress won’t realize what the majority of their constituents want.
I live on the border of red and purple states. TV ads against Biden and Dem Senate candidates from both states focused almost exclusively on "the far left". Wokesters absolutley pull down Dem support. But this is nothing new. The radical left has been doing so for 55 years. Burn baby burn.
A few people I follow who don't love Biden and do hate woke began publicly advocating for people to not vote for Biden this fall. (Eric Weinstein for one) These are not conservatives. They don't love Trump or Trumpism. I've no idea how many people they might have persuaded, do any of you? In any event, I think incessant BLM marches and the absurdity of Portland and Seattle did play a role. I also wonder if the prospects of a Biden landslide gave some the freedom to vote for Trump, not to re-elect Trump, but the prevent a landslide. Any thoughts on that?