Misunderstanding the Opposition–and Your Supporters

Democratic candidate Joe Biden said something very disturbing this week (boldface mine):

“It’s not like there’s going to be some great epiphany and people are going to wake up and go, ‘Oh my god, I’m now a Democrat.’ And if you hear people on the rope line saying, ‘I’m a Republican,’ I say, ‘Stay a Republican.’ Vote for me but stay a Republican, because we need a Republican Party.”

He later added that he’s concerned about what would happen if the Republican Party were totally “clobbered.”

“I’m really worried that no party should have too much power,” he said. “You need a countervailing force.”

The problem isn’t the overall sentiment–we should realize people have different views and we won’t always agree. And I’ve never been a big fan of the electoral strategy of “You’re a horrible person, now vote for me.” But has he looked at that particular “countervailing force” recently?

It shows how much Biden is out of touch with part of the Democratic Party. A significant fraction of Democratic voters view the Republicans as an existential threat. Before Il Trumpe issued his executive order about Jews and nationality, Paul Krugman (who is Jewish) wrote a piece, “Donald Trump Is Bad for the Jews.” One thing he sort of mentioned but didn’t go into detail is that very few groups of any kind routinely vote like Jews or blacks do (Jews routinely vote eighty percent Democratic, while black voters usually reach ninety percent or higher) based on policy alone. Groups vote like this because they view the opposition as an existential threat (and white evangelicals vote the same way for Republicans for similar reasons).

After Charlottesville and so damn many other insults and dog whistles (not to mention air raid sirens), it’s hard to say that a Republican Party that resembles its current form is worth keeping. There is so much work to do to fix things, and I don’t see how the current crop of Republicans should be part of that.

Of course, Biden’s statement makes much more sense if he views his role as protecting ‘common sense’ people from the Left (such as it is in the U.S.).

Meanwhile, the ‘frontline’ Democrats–the ones who were dragging their feet on impeachment–are now panicking. They seem to think the platform they ran on (‘common sense’ moderation and other argle bargle) was why they won. That is the platform they ran on, but there’s no reason to think that platform is what put them over the top was their platform. It was likely just Democratic anger leading to atypical turnout*. Obviouslt, the response is, therefore, to demoralize your own supporters.

There’s a really good chance Democrats are going to fuck up 2020.

*In D.C., there’s circumstantial evidence that voters–in a city that is familiar with politics on the whole–voted the Democratic ticket and sat out the local Independent at-large contest, which was arguably as, if not more, important and closer.

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1 Response to Misunderstanding the Opposition–and Your Supporters

  1. Markk says:

    African Americans who vote might vote Democrat but most don’t vote. They “don’t have a dog in the fight” according to a famous quote. That is a real problem.

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