A while ago, some asshole with a blog noted:
Something that afflicts the older parts of the left, construed very broadly, is the notion we’re the outsiders, the oddballs. That really was the case in the 1980s, when Republicans and conservatives won large popular victories (e.g., Reagan in 1984). There is an entire cohort (probably multiple cohorts) of Democrats who still reflexively act as if we have to convince a majority conservative country. But that’s no longer the case–on many issues, the leftist option has a plurality of support (and in the case of healthcare, depending who’s asking, a majority).
This is not a new con: even during the zenith of the Reagan years, the conservative Moral Majority was neither. The sooner we stop asking, and start demanding, the better off we’ll be. They’ll call us a mob for doing so, to which the response should simply be to ignore them and keep on going.
In the spirit of ‘great minds–and the Mad Biologist–think alike’, we turn it over to the Krugman (boldface mine):
And an opinion piece by Hertel-Fernandez, Mildenberger, and Stokes in today’s Times (which is actually social science, not opinion!) seems to confirm something I already suspected: misunderstanding of what voters want is distorting both political positioning and public policy.
What the authors of the piece show is that congressional aides grossly misperceive the views of their bosses’ constituents; this is true in both parties, but more so of Republicans. What they don’t point out explicitly is that with the exception of A.C.A. repeal, Democrats err in the same direction as Republicans, just less so. Specifically, both parties believe that the public is to the right of where it really is…
What I’m suggesting, in other words, is that there’s a shared inside-the-Beltway delusion: that America is a conservative, or at most center-right nation, a view that isn’t grounded in reality…
So what are the effects of this delusion of America as a center-right nation? It has clearly inhibited Democrats from taking bold policy positions, out of fear that they’ll be too far left for voters — a fear fed by journalists who keep insisting that the public wants centrists who are somewhere between the parties. Remember the Bloomberg for president bandwagon, which consisted of a number of prominent pundits and maybe three non-journalist voters.
But Republicans are even further out of touch. Hertel-Fernandez et al note correctly that the Trump tax cut has proved consistently unpopular; they don’t point out that at first Republicans were sure that it would be a big political winner: “If we can’t sell this to the American people, we ought to go into another line of work,” declared Mitch McConnell. But they couldn’t sell it, and the tax cut has virtually disappeared from G.O.P. messaging.
And Republicans appear to have been completely blindsided by the public backlash against their attempts to remove protection for pre-existing conditions, which is amazing if you think about it. How could they not realize that this is a sore spot?
Until professional Democrats have the courage of their convictions, they won’t be able to make their case, though a fair number of them could use better convictions. But to win, you really do have to show the flag.