It should be, but it’s not. Sean Trende:
In 2016, Democrats have as their likely nominee possibly the single strongest candidate for putting the old Democratic coalition back together again. I think with an adequately strong economy and a campaign founded in progressive centrism[*], Hillary Clinton could very well put together a broader coalition than Obama’s, and a victory that eclipses his. Whether her party allows her to run such a campaign is probably the most important question of 2015; this book[**] explains why.
…And the reason is simple: the Democratic party will not allow Hillary Clinton to run such a campaign. The party elite may love Bill Clinton as an administrator, but their base will not tolerate being told that they will have to revert back to 1993-style ideological levels (i.e., move sharply to the Right). It’s going to be interesting to see how far they make it through the primary without anybody going furniture-chewing crazy.
*Essentially, a kinder, gentler progressivism. Progressivism with a human face. Compassionate progressivism. …Have I given enough examples to give my largely Righty audience an idea why the Democratic base kind of hates that term?
**The Emerging Democratic Majority. I should note that Sean Trende has a much more favorable opinion than me on the use of this book. That’s a problem, because Sean is smarter than I am on this topic.
Sean Trende consults the entrails…
We’ll either see a heavy, last-minute break for Republicans, resulting in a wave, as undecided voters decide to cast their votes as a referendum on the president, or these voters will opt to stay home, the electorate will be made more heavily Democratic, and the Republicans will be left somewhat disappointed.
…and oh, the implications of ‘somewhat disappointed.’ ‘Somewhat disappointed,’ in this context, is us not netting more than six or seven seats in the Senate. Which is to say: we flip the Senate, and remove four Democratic incumbents (Begich, Landrieu, Pryor, & Udall would be the short list, here) from office. And that will put the kibosh on that stupid talking point Republicans can’t beat incumbent Democrats once, and for all*.
I’ll take that. And, of course, flipping the Senate/throwing all those suddenly-surplus Democratic staffers out on the streets.
*A factoid that has been help immeasurably by the fact that Democrats have been good about ‘convincing’ their Dead Men Walking to retire. Unfortunately, the problem with telling your people that you’re bulletproof is that there’s a nontrivial chance that your people might start believing you. This can be awkward when they base their defensive strategy on what was essentially a magic spell…
Moving on, my random thought on this part of Sean Trende’s analysis of the 2014 Senate map:
Likewise, the tendency of the president’s party to fare poorly in midterm elections is so well-known as to require only an asterisk here: While the president’s party has lost House seats in all but two post-World War II midterm elections (1998 and 2002), it has gained or broken even in Senate seats in five (1962, 1970, 1982, 1998, and 2002). That’s somewhere between a third and a quarter of the postwar midterms, so our rule here is not really as “real” as it is for House elections.
To be honest, I don’t know whether 1998 or 2002 ‘count’ for anything. The 1998 results were skewed by Clinton’s impeachment; 2002’s, by the 9/11 attacks. Sure, I know, every election cycle is unique – but those two were particularly unique. Well. You know what I mean.
My eyes keep skittering over this Sean Trende piece about likely 2014 Senate losses. Not because it’s bad news: it’s not.
[Sean’s calculation table] is a grim picture for Senate Democrats, suggesting that the president would have to get his approval above 50 percent by Election Day before they would be favored to hold the chamber. This is also consistent with what we’ve seen in polling, which shows the seven “red state” Democrats in truly severe states of distress, while Democrats in Iowa, Michigan, New Hampshire and Colorado are exhibiting surprising weakness. If these 11 seats are showing similar signs of weakness in November, Democrats will have an extremely difficult time holding the chamber. At Obama’s current 44 percent approval rating, we’d expect Democrats to lose somewhere between nine and 13 seats.
Continue reading @SeanTrende runs the numbers on the 2014 Senate, nearly suffers total protonic reversal.
Interesting analysis here from Sean Trende, especially at the end:
If the president’s job approval is still around 43 percent in November — lower than it was on Election Day in 2010 — the question would probably not be whether the Democrats will hold the Senate, but whether Republicans can win 54 or 55 seats. Given the numbers right now, that should not be unthinkable.
But there’s a flip side to this. If Obama’s job approval does bounce back — which is exactly what happened in 2012 — there’s a reasonable chance that Republicans could walk away from this cycle with just a handful of pickups.
Continue reading But where can @barackobama expect to get a bounce?
My major takeaway from this Sean Trende piece [Link fixed] (“Gerrymandering Isn’t to Blame for D.C. Impasse”) is this: the Democrats lost one hell of a chance to fix their party’s own major structural problem in 2008. They had just finished a two-cycle program to seize and keep control of Congress, and they did it by electing a lot of people in swing-district territory. If they had taken those people, integrated them into their leadership properly, and not enacted the core Congressional Democrat holdouts-from-1993 wishlist, they’d probably still control Congress and the GOP would be talking up regionalism like nobody’s business.
Of course, that would have meant no stimulus, no Obamacare, no push for gun control, no Obamacare, no attempt at cap-and-trade, no Obamacare, the Keystone Pipeline, and of course no Obamacare – so there’s no way that was going to happen. Still, that was the way to go.
…And I didn’t address the actual article. Well, it’s good; and the Online Left’s going to hate it, because it doesn’t take their religious beliefs seriously. So it goes.
I guarantee that people are going to push back on this observation by Sean Trende:
…there’s something to be said for makeover efforts, at least as they relate to the occasional election where the parties really are evenly matched. What we need to avoid is what has become a biennial explosion of frantic analyses examining how the losing party needs to fundamentally remake itself or face extinction. If the Democrats can win a supermajority in the House less than a decade after the Civil War ended, or Republicans can win the popular vote in the House a decade after the Great Depression bottomed out, then neither party is going extinct any time soon.
Continue reading Quote of the Day, @SeanTrende’s Bucking The Conventional Wisdom Again edition.
…Which is to say: Sean apparently assumed that it was reasonable to expect good-faith disagreement from Democratic demographers.
In my recent four-part series on demographic changes, the 2012 elections and immigration reform, I suggested that census data and exit polls reveal that some 6 million white voters opted to sit out last November’s election. The data show these non-voters were not primarily Southerners or evangelicals, but were located in Northeast, Midwest and Southwest. Mainly, they fit the profile of “Reagan Democrats” or, more recently, a Ross Perot supporter. For these no-shows, Mitt Romney was not a natural fit.
I drew the conclusion that one path forward for the Republican Party could involve, in part, reaching out to these voters by altering the GOP’s economic platform and messaging. There are still valid questions that flow from this: How much do Republicans have to change to win these voters? Do they pay a price with upper-income whites for such a shift? Can they make these changes and still be Republicans? What is the best path forward? These are great questions for further debate, but my point in the series was simply that there really are multiple ways to skin the electoral cat, and that the much-uttered meme “Republicans must pass the Gang of Eight bill if they ever hope to win another national election” is sorely lacking, at best.
Some critics have not been content to argue these points. They have mischaracterized them as urging Republicans to ignore non-white voters. They then “double down,” if you will, by attacking their own mischaracterization.
Continue reading @SeanTrende has made a remarkably rookie mistake in this demographics post. #notreally
Justified, but cold:
There were some muted calls for George W. Bush to engage with the American people as his job approval numbers sank in his second term, but nothing like what we’ve seen with Obama. Even more intriguing is that these calls have been more or less a constant throughout Obama’s terms as president; my first encounter with them came in mid-2009, when a radio host asked me, “What happened to the guy I voted for back in 2008?”
And there, I think, is the answer to why we have this debate, and why I think it is almost a bit unfair to criticize those who wonder why Obama doesn’t engage Congress and the public more in order to accomplish his agenda. Many of the president’s supporters thought they were voting for the Green Lantern in 2008.
…Which is to say, a guy with magic powers that could do anything if only he wished hard enough. Which is kind of a redundant description, actually: one of the reasons that I wish that magic did exist is because then all those poly sci majors would instead go into Conjuration Studies, or something else along those lines…
Sean Trende, in the process of explaining, gently, how the Democrats in general and Obama in particular could have gotten a second stimulus going.
If the Democrats could pass a massive health care bill that was opposed by a majority of the American people, that was perceived as increasing the deficit and that managed to touch just about every hot-button issue under the sun, from immigration to abortion, they could have passed another stimulus. They might have had to exempt Nebraska in order to do it, but they could have done it.
In fact, I think the pitch would have been pretty simple. Show congressmen and senators the Romer-Bernstein chart, as adapted by conservative bloggers. Note that the dots were well above the worst-case scenario before the stimulus went into effect. And convey to them that, without more stimulus spending, those dots were going to remain above that worst-case scenario line well past the November midterms and that their opponents would be featuring this chart non-stop in 30-second ads beginning in September of 2010.
Continue reading #rsrh QotD, Sean Trende Knows Us Well edition.