Thoughts On Intensity: People Have To Like This Crap

Commandante Atrios ties together a lot of things I’ve written about (boldface mine):

The thing is that D politicians rarely try to inspire their own intense single issue voters who could be turned out on issues, including, yes, the gun issue. But you can’t turn out single issue reproductive health voters (I mean those who don’t necessarily vote all the time) on “safe, legal, and rare.” You can’t turn out anti-war voters on “kindler, gentler wars, mostly with your pal Droney.” You can’t turn out gun control voters on “um…more background checks and… [thinks hard] raise the age of legally buying a gun that shoots a round 45 times per minute to the Bud Light buying age?” And Dems tend to speak in pundit approved gibberish speak. “Let’s close the gun show loophole.” Um, sure, what the hell is that again? How about we just take away all the damn guns.

The problem with this is that conservative single issue gun nut voters are trained to think that any hint of more gun control is a threat to their penises, and so moderate proposals to castrate them just a bit bring them out to the polls in force. Gonna snip off just a bit, Jimbo. Lukewarm proposals inspire the opposition but not supporters.

Maybe these political calculations are correct. Maybe “an abortion cart on every corner” will turn off the totebagging moderates more than it will inspire intense single issue votes. But don’t be surprised when common sense rhetoric about “common sense proposals” doesn’t inspire your base to turn out at midterms. Also, too, stop blaming those voters for not voting for you. It’s your job to get them to the polls. Most people have better things to do than think about politics all the time. They don’t necessarily know that “slightly less evil than the other guys” is both true and important, and pundit-approved moderate language and policy isn’t necessarily going to reach them. Nobody’s going to vote to bend the cost curve. They’ll vote if you promise them they can go to the damn doctor.

Bending cost curves like Beckham isn’t a rallying cry.

Which brings us to this (boldface mine):

Should Democrats “repeal and replace” the Republicans’ massive tax overhaul? A number of party strategists apparently think so. They’re angling to make canceling Trump’s biggest domestic achievement a central Democratic plank in the upcoming midterms and presidential election, just as Republicans did against President Obama’s signature health-care law throughout his tenure. Jason Furman, head of the Council of Economic Advisors under Obama and one of the Trump administration’s loudest liberal critics on economic issues, just explicitly called for a “repeal and replace” campaign.

This is a bad idea…

No politician has ever been punished by voters for adding to the deficit. They have been punished for hiking taxes, starting stupid wars, and overseeing massive economic collapses. Voters respond when their lives become measurably better or worse, and when they can link that change to something politicians have done. If Democrats want to take away the GOP tax overhaul’s limited benefits for the poor and middle class, they better have some amazing stuff to offer in exchange. A “more sustainable fiscal trajectory” does not qualify.

The Democrats do have fairly good ideas that could work instead. Their premier think tank just released a plan to expand Medicare coverage beyond retirees. It’s not exactly Medicare for all, but it’s a big step in that direction. Major Democratic politicians have proposed a national plan to give everyone paid family leave, and a massive expansion of the child tax credit (CTC)…

If Democrats “replace” Trump’s tax cuts with some collection of those popular policies, that’s great. But those ideas all require big spending, so Democrats would bring money in only to send it right back out again. By making such a fuss over fiscal responsibility, the left might throttle its own agenda

If paid leave and a bigger child tax credit and more Medicare are good ideas, then why not just forget the GOP tax overhaul and make them the center of the Democratic agenda? Those are proposals voters can hear, and immediately understand how they’d make their lives better. Then hike taxes (or don’t) to whatever degree is necessary depending on how the economy reacts.

As we often write around here, people have to like this crap. And for too many people, there isn’t a whole lot to like. Give people–all of us, not just Don Jr. and Eric–the good stuff.

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