Jonathan Chait has some bad news for the Left, courtesy of the New York Times swing state polls.
The polls find that, in six swing states — Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Florida, North Carolina, and Arizona — Trump is highly competitive. He trails Joe Biden there by the narrowest of margins, and leads Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.
Translation, if Biden’s collapse continues on track, and the Dems end up nominating a more unlikable and socialist version of Hillary, they’re toast.
All this is to say that, if you’ve been relying on national polls for your picture of the race, you’re probably living in la-la land. However broadly unpopular Trump may be, at the moment he is right on the cusp of victory.
What about the fact Democrats crushed Trump’s party in the midterms? The new Times polling finds many of those voters are swinging back. Almost two-thirds of the people who supported Trump in 2016, and then a Democrat in the 2018 midterms, plan to vote for Trump again in 2020.
I think that Chait’s explanation for this phenomenon is wrong.
In my Tea Party trips, I sought the elusive Obama-Trump voter. And he or she was typically an independent, highly distrustful of Washington D.C., and did not care much for political candidates, but voted for politicians who seemed likeliest to disrupt the system.
Warren is trying to tap into those voters. But I don’t think her chances against Trump are all that good. Especially with impeachment.
And then there are the more conventional Rust Belt union voters who will still vote Dem, but who liked Trump’s message, and couldn’t bond with Hillary.
The debate has taken shape within a world formed by Twitter, in which the country is poised to leap into a new cultural and economic revolution, and even large chunks of the Democratic Party’s elected officials and voting base have fallen behind the times. As my colleague Ed Kilgore argues, the party’s left-wing intelligentsia have treated any appeals to voters in the center as a sign of being behind the times.
Cancel the white working class and all that.
The Dems are an urban left-wing political movement dominated by activists and academics. Warren and Sanders are their candidates. And they relate poorly to much of the rest of the country. Especially because they’re focused on their online political and financial supporters.
Biden’s paper-thin lead over Trump in the swing states is largely attributable to the perception that he is more moderate than Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders. Three-quarters of those who would vote for Biden over Trump, but Trump over Warren, say they would prefer a more moderate Democratic nominee to a more liberal one, and a candidate who would find common ground with Republicans over one who would fight for a progressive agenda.
Chait is warning the Dems about going over the cliff. But the cliff is there. Ironically, Obama had tried and is trying to warn his party about it. So is Pelosi. But no one is listening.
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