I have enjoyed schadenfreude at the Democrats' soul-searching at how they can recover the dominance they thought they had due to demographic changes in the country. They figured that they could appeal to minorities and women and ride those groups into the White House on a permanent basis. Sure, the Republicans could pick up the white men's vote, but the future was The Emerging Democratic Majority as John Judis and Ruy Teixeira called it...until it wasn't. And now they have to figure out what to do. Sean Trende analyzes Judis and Teixeira's plan in an essay he calls "The God That Failed."
Progressive centrism was never thoroughly fleshed out, but the basic idea was to combine the goals of populism—harnessing the power of government to do good for the “little guy”—with the New Democrats’ recognition of markets as a powerful tool for achieving those goals. Combined with an incrementalist approach, Judis and Teixeira argued, Democrats would form a new majority coalition. This coalition would be an expansion of the old “McGovern” coalition, and would consist of working-class whites, women, African-Americans and Hispanics, as well as professional whites living in what they called “ideopolises” – high-tech areas filled with state employees and professional workers.
As Trende writes, the Democrats moved beyond that idea of combining those voting blocs into a victorious coalition into simply celebrating the demographic trajectory that was going to spell the end of the Republican Party.
ut the “hard” version of the theory that prevailed bore little resemblance to the nuanced view promoted by Judis and Teixeira. In the wake of the 2006 and 2008 elections, books like Dylan Byers’ “Permanently Blue,” James Carville’s “40 More Years,” Sam Tanenhaus’s “The Death of Conservatism” and Morley Winograd and Michael Hais’s “Millennial Makeover” emphasized the demographic shifts, with less attention paid to the limitations the Ur-text placed upon governing philosophy. Countless journal and website articles – indeed entire websites – sprouted up dedicated to a view of American elections characterized by red outposts being swamped by a blue demographic tide. There were different variations of the argument, but the central theme was the same: Republicans were doomed to spend quite a lot of time in the wilderness.
The Emerging Democratic Majority debate increasingly became an almost theological one, whose fundamental theories became nearly impossible to falsify. As it became clear that the 2010 elections were going to go poorly for Andrew Jackson’s party, we were reminded that elections were all about the economy, even as Barack Obama’s party suffered the worst loss in a midterm since 1938. This, while economy-based models were predicting that Democrats would keep the House.
After the 2012 elections, when Barack Obama became the first president re-elected with a lower vote share than he received in his first bid, it was declared a great 10th anniversary present for the theory, notwithstanding reminders from political scientist John Sides that “a realignment doesn’t take midterms off.”
After the 2014 debacle, where Obama became the first president since Ulysses S. Grant to face two midterm waves, it became a “Known Truth” that these differences could be described by a “midterm-electorate-versus-presidential-electorate” dichotomy, notwithstanding the fact that the demographic differences between the two electorates mathematically accounted for at best a portion of the differences in outcomes, and notwithstanding the fact that, as of 2007, Judis and Teixeira argued that the theory actually worked much better for congressional elections than presidential ones. The 2014 elections were enough to persuade Judis to abandon the theory, although most of the other followers carried on.
But after the 2016 elections, this god is dead. While I still believe that the “soft” version of this theory, as originally described by Judis and Teixeira, has much to commend itself (Democrats looking for a path forward would do worse than to re-read the book) and continue to hold that the “Emerging Democratic Majority” is one of the most important books on elections of the past 20 years, the hard version of the theory has little merit. (Links in original)
Trende then analyzes why the theory failed. First of all, there was no realignment. Elections turn on contingency events more than on discerning some grand realignment after the fact. As Trende writes, we've never had such party dominance last in a permanent state as they were predicting. Also, there was no sign that a candidate other than Obama could get the same levels of turnout among African Americans. We have seen no evidence of that in the midterms and we now just saw that with Clinton's vote.
Now, it was possible that we had entered a period with a “presidential” electorate and a “midterm” electorate, but it was foolish to dismiss the possibility of a mean reversion once a charismatic history-making candidate such as Barack Obama didn’t top the ticket. With the African-American share of the electorate declining to 12 percent in 2016, I think it’s pretty clear that something along these lines occurred.
Likewise, with Donald Trump winning a larger share of the black vote than Mitt Romney or John McCain did, and with the midterm electorates looking more like the electorates of 2002 to 2006, we have to take seriously the possibility of a mean reversion there as well.
Trende also is very skeptical that Hispanic voters were going to grow and make victory of Republicans impossible.
White and liberal analysts are far too reductionist when it comes to these voters, and for some reason have decided that immigration reform is a make-or-break issue for them. This ignores an awful lot of contrary evidence, such as the fact that a majority of Hispanic voters told exit pollsters in 2008 that immigration reform wasn’t important to them, or voted Republican anyway. It ignores the fact that sizeable minorities of Hispanics voted for anti-illegal immigration candidates such as Jan Brewer and Sharron Angle. It ignores the fact that a large number of Hispanic voters backed Propositions 187 and 209 in California, and so forth.
I was always skeptical (though not entirely dismissive) of the idea that Hispanic voters were on their way to voting like African-American voters. Given that Donald Trump has likely out-performed Mitt Romney among Hispanics, I think it is safe to say that 27 percent represents something of a floor for Republicans. It could be the case that Republicans will suffer further erosion here over time, but given that, over the long term, the Hispanic vote has gradually become more Republican (Bill Clinton, Michael Dukakis, Jimmy Carter and George McGovern all won larger shares of the Hispanic vote than Obama did in 2012), and that Hispanics become more Republican as they move from the border to the burbs, and that Hispanic immigration has for now leveled off, it may also be the case that the Republican share of this vote will grow.
He also points out that the idea that the Republicans becoming the party of white voters was a stupid plan.
White voters are still 70 percent of the electorate (probably more). Winning around 60 percent of those voters will win a party an awful lot of elections.
The gender gap wasn't as much of a killer for Republicans as thought.
All these mistaken assumptions about the arc of history bending toward Democrats' permanent majority lead to a lot of overreach.
Such hubris destroyed the Republican coalition in 1910 when they thought they had won a mandate to pass the self-serving Payne-Aldrich tariff. It weakened the Democratic coalition in 1937 when FDR believed he had a mandate to pack the Supreme Court and pass the Third New Deal. It destroyed the Republican coalition in 2005 when George W. Bush famously quipped that he had earned political capital and intended to spend it.
I have little doubt that a belief that demographics would save them at the presidential level led Democrats to take a number of steps that they will soon regret, from going nuclear on the filibuster to aggressive uses of executive authority. But one thing deserves special attention. A good deal of e-ink has been spilled describing the ways in which the culturally superior attitudes of the left drove Trumpism. This too, I think, derived from a belief that history had a side and that progressives were on it, combined with a lack of appreciation of just how many culturally traditionalist voters there are in this country.
Consider these factoids: In 2004, white evangelicals were 23 percent of the electorate, and they cast 78 percent of their vote for fellow evangelical George W. Bush. In 2012, they were 26 percent of the electorate, and gave Mormon Mitt Romney 78 percent of the vote. In 2016, Donald J. Trump, a thrice-married man who bragged about sleeping with married women and whose biblical knowledge at times seemed confined to the foibles of the two Corinthians, won 81 percent of their vote. Notwithstanding the fact that I have been assured repeatedly that these voters represent a shrinking demographic and that Republicans had maxed out their vote share among them, they were once again 26 percent of the electorate.
Trende then goes on to point out that Trump got more votes from white evangelicals than Clinton got from the combined African-American and Hispanic vote.
This single group very nearly cancels the Democrats’ advantage among non-whites completely. This isn’t a one-off; it was true in 2012, 2008 and 2004.
And it is Democratic overreach on cultural issues that has led such voters to not vote for Clinton and then vote for such an unlikely candidate as the thrice-married, self-admitted philanderer Donald Trump. This doesn't mean that the Republicans will have a permanent majority. Politics changes and the pendulum swings. But it does point out a problem that the Democrats need to face. It's not enough to control the culture while relying on minorities to keep them in the White House.
Josh Kraushaar writes a column with a startling headline: "Democrats Are Losing the Culture Wars." How could that be when they control so much of the culture? Krashaar argues that liberals are so caught up with the rightness of their positions on so many issues that they didn't notice how they were turning off so many voters.
No one is pointing a finger at the most glaring vulnerability—the party’s cultural disconnect from much of the country. On issues ranging from the president’s hesitance to label terrorism by its name to an unwillingness to criticize extremist elements of protest groups like Black Lives Matter to executive orders mandating transgender bathrooms, the administration offended the sensibilities of the American public. Among liberal-minded millennials, President Obama’s actions were a sign that he was charting “an arc of history that bends towards justice.” But to older, more-conservative Americans, it was a sign that the administration’s views were well outside the American mainstream.
Clinton tried to win over moderates by raising red flags about Trump’s foreign policy and his racially charged, misogynistic rhetoric. But she didn’t have a Sister Souljah moment to criticize the excesses of the Left—as Bill Clinton famously did during the 1992 campaign—for fear of alienating the Obama coalition. In fact, her line that “implicit [racial] bias is a problem for everyone” during the first debate was a moment that couldn’t have been more repellent to those white Rust Belt voters who deserted the Democrats this year.
If the Democrats respond to the election results by moving further to the left and by giving their party over to the Elizabeth Warren, Barry Sanders, Keith Ellison wing of their party, they're not going to recapture those votes.
Schumer’s positioning will be fascinating to watch in the coming months. If he truly believes that the socialist agenda championed by Sanders is the party’s best political option, he may be in for a rude awakening in two years. Democrats are betting that red-state voters in states like Missouri, West Virginia, Montana, and Indiana—where Democratic senators are facing reelection in 2018—will be born-again Elizabeth Warren boosters. It would be entirely at odds with the strategy that Schumer championed to take back the Senate in 2006, when he recruited candidates with diverse views on issues such as immigration and abortion rights. That year, Virginia’s Jim Webb was the Democratic majority-maker in the upper chamber.
Now Democrats are torturing themselves wondering if they can appeal to minorities and still attract the white working vote. Eric Levitz writes about this in New York magazine.
It’s important to note that virtually no one in progressive politics is (currently) arguing that the Democrats should compromise on issues of racial justice. The Sanders wing contends that forthright advocacy for social democracy would peel off enough downscale whites, by itself, to make such compromises unnecessary. And this faith is affirmed in the Sandernistas’ support for Keith Ellison — a black, Muslim congressperson — for DNC chair.
Still, in light of the history Surowiecki highlights, it’s both reasonable and important for progressives to guard against the possibility that Democrats will pair a renewed focus on economic populism with a surrender to white racial resentment.
But some liberal commentators have gone beyond warning against this possibility to lamenting its inevitability....
Democrats now face a renewed white-identity politics whose appeal will be immensely difficult to neutralize, and the notion that a more vigorous, left wing economics will return the white working class to the Democratic fold is likely a fantasy. The last Democrat to come close to winning the white vote was Bill Clinton, who combined his economic populism with promises to “end welfare as we know it” and advertised his willingness to use state violence against black Americans, turning the execution of Ricky Ray Rector to his political advantage.
His conclusion is that the only way to appeal to the white workers' vote is to make a racist appeal.
The uncomfortable truth is that, whether you’re Donald Trump or Bill Clinton, economic populism is most effective in American politics when it is paired with appeals to racism. Maybe the Democrats can and will find a way to do so without such appeals. By the time they do, it may simply be too late to stop what is coming.
Jamelle Bouie in Slate asserts that "There's No Such Thing as a Good Trump Voter." They're all racists who voted for a racist. That sounds like they're beyond being deplorable. They're, as Hillary Clinton told her donors, irredeemable.
Well, that's not a winning approach. Calling a large segment of the electorate racist is not going to win their votes. Ben Domenech writes,
This is the sort of extremist reaction one can expect from people who have never had to deal with the idea that they are not positioned on the right side of history. When exactly did these voters become no good? Was it in 2016? Was it in the primaries, if they cast a vote for Trump then? Was it earlier?
It can’t have been that much earlier, after all, because back in 2012, many of these voters were voting for Barack Obama, not itself a sinful besmirching of their personal morality. When 209 of the 700 counties that voted for Obama twice shifted to voting for Trump, was that the point of no return?
Consider: How did Trump win over so many Obama voters? Was it by appealing to their basest elements of racism and a desire for white supremacy? Or was it?
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Daniel Henninger writes about the media's sudden discovery that there are reasonable-sounding people who would have voted for Trump.
Will the progressive websites publish their annual advice column, “How to talk to your uncle at Thanksgiving dinner”? Maybe this year they should just listen.
Somewhere inside this Democratic mess may be the beginning of wisdom. But for all the commitment to rediscovering the lives of blue-collar Americans, Tiger Woods is more likely to figure out his golf swing before the party relearns the realities of the American economy.
This generation of Democrats doesn’t even know what the economy is anymore.
For the Democrats, America’s daily life of work, profit and loss across 50 states is essentially an alien phenomenon that sends them revenue, the way a pipeline transmits natural gas. This pipeline fuels their “economy,” which is the thousands and thousands of spending and line items in the $4 trillion federal budget.
Some would call this redistribution. The Democrats would call it their life’s work. Truth is, it isn’t working for them anymore.
There is no possibility that the Democrats are going to gain back enough of these Trump voters unless someone in their party stands up and shouts that these emperors of “economic fairness” aren’t wearing any clothes.
Rich Lowry rejects the idea that the entire country should be a safe space to protect people from Donald Trump. Once again we're witnessing the contrast between how leftists behave when they're upset and how Republicans behave.
Prior to the election, liberal commentators obsessed over Trump’s rumblings about not accepting the outcome, and they worried about his supporters lashing out. Trump shouldn’t have preemptively declared the election rigged, but the specter of Republican mayhem was always far-fetched. When was the last time that GOP protesters ran out of control and burned down local business establishments? Tea-party rallies were famous for their orderliness — participants in a massive rally on the Mall in Washington, D.C., even picked up their own trash.
It is left-wing protests that invariably devolve into lawbreaking, and so it was that the same kids who think that Donald Trump is too divisive were soon smashing windows and throwing projectiles at police in behalf of their supposedly more open-minded vision of America. (The Left’s street protesters act as if there is no social or political problem that can’t be addressed by hurling things at cops.)
The same media that would have denounced pro-Trump protests as a threat to democracy have treated the anti-Trump protests as a natural symptom of a divided country. Erupting in rage at the result of an election went from a grave offense against our system to the latest front in the battle for social justice right around the time that the Upper Midwest was called for Trump.
The level of self-awareness of the protesters isn’t high. Some hold signs reading “This is what democracy looks like.” It is true that the right to peaceful assembly is a key aspect of any liberal democracy (even if some protesters need to work on the “peaceful” part), but as an illustrative exercise in democracy, you can’t beat the national election last Tuesday that has so outraged anti-Trump protesters.
I haven't heard much condemnation from Democrats of this behavior. I don't hear the media asking every Democrat about the riots and protests.
The post-election mayhem could be written off as the work of an unruly fringe, if it weren’t that the Democratic party is so beholden to the sensibilities of its cosseted youth, whom it mistakes for the shock troops of the future. A party that considers it forbidden to say “all lives matter” because it will offend the enforcers of political correctness is a party that is going to have trouble appealing to Middle America.
One anti-Trump protester was seen the other day holding a sign reading “Your vote was a hate crime.” It’s hard to imagine a better distillation of the coercive small-mindedness that prevails on college campuses. This attitude ensures a state of perpetual shock and outrag...e at the lived reality of a continental nation of more than 300 million free men and women.
The anti-Trump protests will in all likelihood continue. They aim to associate the president-elect with chaos and to delegitimize him from the outset. But it is fully in Trump’s power, so long as he doesn’t show irritation or anger, to see that they backfire. One petulant tweet aside, he has struck a unifying tone, while it is his adversaries who are unhinged.
Trump’s critics are certain that he is the champion of a blinkered worldview. But the election and its aftermath show that it is the self-styled citizens of the world who need to get out more.
Dahlia Lithwick writes in Slate that the "Republicans stole the Supreme Court" and the Democrats should just not let them get away with it. In her view, the Scalia vacancy was Obama's to fill and Republicans stole it. She dismisses the idea of a recess appointment as "the kind of stunt-nomination Obama has eschewed throughout his presidency." Hmmm. Does Lithwick, a reporter on the Supreme Court not remembern 2014 when the Supreme Court unanimously struck down a supposed recess appointment of Noel Canning that President Obama made to the NLRB when the Senate wasn't in recess? Yup, try to pull another leg in persuading us that Obama eschews such stunt nomination.
Jonathan Adler points out that the Democrats have brought all this on themselves. First Harry Reid used the "nuclear option" to get rid of the filibuster for lower court and executive branch nominees. Then Reid said a month ago that, assuming the Democrats gained control of the Senate and Hillary were in the Oval Office, that they would get rid of the filibuster for the Supreme Court. And the refusal of the Republicans to vote on the Merrick Garland nomination is not as unprecedented as the Democrats are pretending. Adler wrote back in February about the history of Democrats blocking Republican nominees.
In 1992, then Senator Joseph Biden explained why he believed Senate Democrats were justified in delaying action any prospective Supreme Court nominee due to the pending election and why, after the election, the Senate majority would be justified in demanding a more moderate or centrist nominee from a President of the opposite party.
He links to a column by Mark Thiessen about how Joe Biden killed President George H.W. Bush's nomination of JOhn Roberts to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in January, 1992.
[H]is nomination to the federal bench was dead on arrival at Biden’s Senate Judiciary Committee. Biden refused to even hold a hearing on Roberts’s nomination, much less a vote in committee or on the Senate floor. Roberts’s nomination died in committee and was withdrawn on Oct. 8, 1992. It was only about a decade later that he was re-nominated to the federal bench by President George W. Bush — and we all know the rest of the story.
Roberts was not alone in being denied a hearing or a vote by Biden. According to a report by the Congressional Research Service (CRS), in 1992 Biden killed the nominations of 32 Bush appointees to the federal bench without giving them so much as a hearing. And that does not count an additional 20 nominations for the federal bench where Biden did not hold hearings that year, which CRS excluded from its count because they reached the Senate “within approximately [four] months before it adjourned.
And Biden didn't limit himself to nominations during the election year.
Another, more galling, example of Biden running out the clock to keep a judicial vacancy open in an election year is the case of Professor Lillian BeVier at the University of Virgnia. A remarkable scholar, BeVier was also the first full-time female faculty member at UVA. In October 1991, President Bush nominated her to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit and, as with Roberts, the Senate Judiciary Committee took no action whatsoever on her nomination. The same is true for Terrence Boyle, who was also nominated to an open seat on the Fourth Circuit in 1991.
Senator Biden’s obstruction in anticipation of an election was not confined to 1992, however. He chaired the Judiciary Committee from 1987-1995, and he used that power to prevent action on some of President Reagan’s nominees in 1988 for the same purpose. Among those stalled was Judith Richards Hope. As both the Washington Post and New York Times reported at the time, the reasons were simple: Senate Democrats did not want to allow a Republican president to alter the balance of an important court in the year before an election.
Nomination slowdowns in an election year were not entirely new. Frank Easterbrook was first nominated to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit late in 1984, but had to wait until after that year’s election and a subsequent renomination before the Senate Judiciary Committee would act. With rare exceptions (such as President Carter’s nomination of Stephen Breyer to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in 1980), the Senate rarely rushes to confirm in the second half of an election year, particularly if the Senate is controlled by the opposite party.
But whatever the histor of election year slowdowns, Senate Democrats turned it up a notch in 1988 and again in 1992. The degree of obstruction in those years was unprecedented. Senate Republicans retaliated while President Clinton was in office, making it particularly difficult to fill seats that Senate Democrats had not allowed President Bush to fill. Then, after the election of 2000, Senate Democrats retaliated in turn, upping the level of obstruction in 2003 with the first-ever filibusters of qualified judicial nominees who enjoyed majority (and bipartisan) support.
What do you bet that Dahlia Lithwick didn't find anything wrong with Biden's behavior back then. The irony is delicious that Joe Biden was the one leading this obstructionism. Perhaps he has already explained to Barack Obama how what goes around comes around.
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Do Californians care at all about their government? It's supposed to be financially strapped and raising taxes on the rich. Well, how about public employees? This is an astounding statistic.
But as California endlessly passes progressive laws that are intended to combat wealth inequality, public employees rake in lucrative salaries. In 2015, 220,000 public employees earned six-figure salaries, costing taxpayers $35 billion. Some of these employees earned salaries north of $400,000.
It’s not only public-sector executives who make these sizable salaries. Open the Books, a non-profit dedicated to disclosing government spending, found that 171 assistant city managers earned an average salary of $201,550 (in other words, some of California’s assistant city managers were in the top 6 percent of income earners nationwide). In the City of Riverside, not one, but two, assistant city managers made over $200,000. What’s more absurd is the income of their bosses: City managers in nine cities, including Escondido, Fremont, Napa, Ontario, and Palm Springs, made over $300,000, two of which (Escondido and Fremont city managers) cleared $400,000.
Other noteworthy high-income earners in the public sector were the “motor coach operators” and the “animal collection curators” who earned over $100,000, the lifeguard supervisors who made $250,000, the Los Angeles harbor-boat-pilots who made $483,000, and the city librarians who made $220,000. And the list goes on.
If four in ten California residents are living in or near poverty, and the progressive ideology is to redistribute the wealth as widely as possible, why are 220,000 public-sector employees earning these substantial government-funded salaries that place them in the top 25 percent of salary-earners nationally.
There are similar reports out of the bankrupt state of Illinois. Ordinary citizens are paying taxes so that these supposed public servants can live in luxury. They should be outraged.
Jonah Goldberg writes about how everything these days seems to be about race. Everything.
Some recent headlines:
“The Electoral College Is an Instrument of White Supremacy — and Sexism,” exclaimed Slate magazine.
CNN: “Math Is Racist: How Data Is Driving Inequality.”
From the NBC affiliate in Oklahoma: “‘To Be White Is to Be Racist,’ Norman Student Offended by Teacher’s Lecture.”
Wow, things are bad here in America. Maybe I should move to Canada? Uh oh, from Heat Street: “Canoes Reek of Genocide, Theft, and White Privilege, Says Canadian Professor.”
....In other words, going by the headlines, you’d think everything is about race. Or, as the Harvard Crimson put it, “Everything Is About Race.”
And, of course, the search for racism has kicked into high gear with the election of Donald Trump.
The election of Donald Trump, a man I could not have been more critical of, has turned the safe spaces into kinds of internal refugee camps where the weeping delicate flowers can wilt in terror.
I did not like how Trump talked about issues of race. Some of his most ardent supporters have views on race that I find abhorrent. But they constitute a tiny minority of his coalition. Just consider that if you subtracted from Trump’s column all of the voters who had also previously voted for Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton surely would have won.
If you think everything you don’t like is racist, then of course the election of a president you don’t like has to be racist.
And then Democrats seem shocked, shocked that some white voters are sick of being labeled racists and then refuse to vote for the candidate the bien pensants tell them is the obvious choice to prove you're not racist..
Ericka Andersen writes at NRO to remind us that many whites don't feel that they are privileged or that society has done much for them.
For a good many white people in the U.S., “privilege” is not a word they relate to. And equality — as far as attention to the problems they are facing — is something they too want our leaders to give them.
And it’s hard for members of the media, the cultural elite, and many minority groups to grasp that. The intent in focusing on white privilege (which I do believe is real for many) is not wrong — but it’s sometimes misguided. To understand where that focus has gone wrong is not to downplay the very real problems that do face minority groups in this country. But let’s talk about another side of the coin when it comes to white privilege.
Part of what drove the Trump takeover of 2016 was the fact that liberal culture is obsessed with identity politics based on race and sex, having all but forgotten anyone who isn’t a racial, ethnic, or sexual minority — and the bread-and-butter issues that exist outside of those categories.
Classism is a very real thing too — and this year, the white working class of America stood up and said very loudly: You’ve forgotten about us....
There’s another kind of privilege that is rarely discussed — but that I believe needs to be emphasized as we take into consideration all the reasons a person may or may not do well in this American life. The first and greatest privilege of all is for a child to be born into a marriage.
As this piece reports, children born to married parents “are more likely to thrive in school, to steer clear of encounters with the police, to avoid having a teenage pregnancy, to graduate from college, and to be gainfully employed as an adult.” Read the entire piece — the results of marriage privilege are unbelievable.
So yes, there is a place for discussion of white privilege. There’s also a place for discussion of a multitude of other privileges not based on race, ethnicity, or sexuality. And there’s a need to recognize all marginalized groups — and not to pretend that everyone in every group conforms to a stereotype painted with a wide brush.
Not all women vote for liberal “women’s rights” policies. Not all black people vote Democratic. Not all white people reek of privilege. The lesson of this election should not be about white people or black people or Hispanic people. It should be about every group of Americans who are trying to make better lives for themselves.
The NYT has said that the results of the election were "humbling" to the media. Andrew Klaven has some suggestions of what the media could do if they truly felt humbled.
1. Stop calling people racist and sexist without solid evidence.
The media that demanded a smoking gun to prove that Hillary Clinton had destroyed the smoking gun ought to require incontrovertible proof that the people they disagree with are acting out of anything but practical, logical motives. If more blacks are shot by cops than whites, that is no proof of racism. It's not even evidence of racism. Call me crazy, but it could be, who knows, that blacks just commit more crimes than whites. Likewise, if a woman loses an election, that's no evidence of sexism. Could be, say, that a lifetime of corruption disqualified her. To call someone a racist without real evidence is a despicable, ugly and stupid thing to do. It's just a way of silencing opinions you happen to dislike. A humbled news media, a real news media, would never do it, ever.
2. Hire some conservatives. Hire a lot of conservatives.
When newsrooms say their staff ought to look like America, what they mean is they ought to get some women and colored folk in there. How shallow can you get? If newsrooms want to cover this country, they ought to think like America thinks. Half the reporters, half the editors, half the managers should be conservatives. The old lie that leftist reporters can be objective is just that, an old lie. They can't be objective if they're surrounded by other leftists. They will only succumb to groupthink and confirmation bias. Like they do now.
Politico profiles Salena Zito. I'm glad to see her get the recognition she deserves. Her reporting was some of the most interesting of the campaign, because she actually traveled around the areas where people supported Trump and talked to them about why they were doing so in a respectful way. She was just about the only person I read who said there was a chance he could carry Pennsylvania. Her distinction that his supporters take him "seriously, not literally" while his detractors take him "literally, not seriously" was quite insightful.
For several months, for outlets ranging from the liberal Atlantic to the red-blooded New York Post, Zito churned out pieces about the supposedly elusive Trump voters that the polls seem to have missed. She wrote that these people take Trump “seriously, not literally.” She wrote a piece about the many Trump signs she was seeing in Pennsylvania and Ohio. She wrote about the time Trump “won over a bar” full of undecideds and Democrats.
Along the way, Zito was mocked -- by fellow reporters and social media trolls alike -- for extrapolating anecdotes onto the electorate. There was even a parody Salena Zito Twitter account: “Oh I went to a bar there were three people who vote for Trump and he’s going to win Pennsylvania.” "Everybody, everybody thought I had lost my mind,” said Zito, a 57-year-old mother of two, grandmother of one, bicycle enthusiast and former political staffer whose resume includes work on all three Bush presidential campaigns and in Arlen Specter's Senate office.
No one’s laughing at her now. Zito attributes her bullseye to the fact that she lives in Trump country -- Pittsburgh’s outskirts just a few miles from the Ohio border. Not many fancy journalists from the national media had quite the same view. “I cover national politics, but I live in the Paris of Appalachia,” said Zito. “I always thought I was better at understanding Washington by not being in Washington."
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Well, this is nauseating. The Huffington Post looks at 34 times that "Barack and Michelle Obama's Love Affair Made Us Weak in the Knees." Yes, I agree that it is nice to have a first family who are in love with each other. But I don't think that anyone could have denied that the Fords, Carters, Reagans, or both Bush couples had very strong marriages and deeply loved each other. Yet, the media weren't so impressed with those marriages. In fact, a lot of the liberal press rather mocked the Reagans' strong marriage. Somehow the Obamas are the ones making us weak in the knees. I guess that the liberal media will never stop acting as if the celebrityhood of the Obamas is what makes them great.
James Taranto offers his own analysis of why Hillary Clinton lost.
Our first theory is that Trump’s manifest weaknesses as a candidate blinded the Clinton campaign to his strengths—the same effect they had had on his Republican rivals in the primary. Stolen emails published by WikiLeaks showed that people in Mrs. Clinton’s inner circle were eager to go up against Trump because they thought he was unelectable.
“We need to be elevating the Pied Piper candidates”—including Trump, Ted Cruz and Ben Carson—“so that they are leaders of the pack and tell the press to [treat] them seriously,” declared an unattributed April 2015 strategy memo quoted by RedState’s Brandon Morse in an Oct. 8 post.
That reminds me of how Jimmy Carter and his advisers thought that Reagan would be the easiest to defeat of the possible GOP candidates. Be careful what you wish for.
Michael A. Cohen writes in the Boston Globe about how he is hoping that Donald Trump does not succeed as president. That's perfectly reasonable. If someone opposes the opposite party and thinks that their proposals would be disastrous for the country, of course that person should hope that president is a failure. But remember the outrage when Mitch McConnell said that "the single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president." That was supposed to be totally despicable and un-American. I never saw why that was such a bad thing to say. Of course, a Republican leader would hope that a Democratic president would be defeated.
These parodies continue to amuse me. This one was especially funny.