Dissecting the Vote

Eric Levitz, David Shor on Why Trump Was Good for the GOP and How Dems Can Win in 2022

An absolute must read, for those interested in the topic of this blog. It’s a summary of electoral insights, and a summary of a summary, prepared by me, would not do it justice. So read it for yourself. A few thoughts here.

Trump’s Vile Character and its Effect. In 2020, 74.2 million people voted for Trump (up from 63 million in 2016). Curiously, the article, though chock full of insights, doesn’t address the effect of Trump’s personality—his criminality, his delusional thinking, or his sociopathy. How many of those 74.2 million voters chose him in spite of his character? How many were so angry that they chose him, at least in part, because of his character? How many—as the article implies—cast their 2020 vote based on other considerations, and largely disregarded character?

“Conservatism” Among Racial Minorities and the Poorly Educated. The piece has many interesting things to say on this topic. Those who want the progressive side to win in 2020 would do well to listen. Key issues include attitudes toward the police and “law and order.” Immigration is huge.

Developing a winning position is partly a matter of communicating our position: we’re for a $15/hour minimum wage, whereas they think that it’s just fine and dandy for you to live on starvation wages. The message is true, it’s easy to understand, it’s highly salient to people’s lives, and we have the majority on our side. So what we mainly need to do is communicate the message.

Likewise, we desperately need to help Americans of Cuban, Venezuelan, and Colombian heritage think more rationally about the term “socialism”—and whether the Democratic position is at all “socialistic,” as they understand the term.

Immigration. But immigration is a tough nut to crack. If Republicans do well in the 2022 and 2024 elections, it will largely be because of immigration. We need to have the right position and the right message and the right message on immigration. And we might begin by figuring out just what our position is. Do we, for example, favor enforcing the laws, as currently written and as fairly construed, as long as the current laws remain on the books? Or do we propose enforcing the law only some of the time?

What should be the legal test for asylum? And are we prepared to deport people who came illegally and who don’t meet the legal standard for asylum, even if they have a morally compelling story to tell?