November 28, 2021

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The radicalization (no exaggeration) of Trump supporters continues

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Max Boot/WaPo:

Democrats can win the debate over critical race theory. Here’s how.

The absolute worst thing you can say is what McAuliffe said: “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.” At some level, he was right; there would be chaos if every teacher had to run every lesson plan by the parents of every student. But his comment came across as tone-deaf after parents had spent 18 months supervising their kids’ education at home — and stewing about shuttered classrooms. McAuliffe paid the price for not feeling parents’ pain.

It’s also not productive to argue, as many on the left have, that critical race theory, or CRT, isn’t being taught and that raising the issue is nothing but a dog whistle to racists. It’s true that “parental control” has become the new “states’ rights” — a deceptively anodyne slogan for tapping racist fears. It’s also true that even those who are most hysterical about CRT have trouble defining it. Fox News host Tucker Carlson just admitted: “I’ve never figured out what ‘critical race theory’ is, to be totally honest, after a year of talking about it.”

But as a practical, political issue, none of that matters. CRT might have started off as an esoteric academic theory about structural racism. But it has now become a generic term for widely publicized excesses in diversity education, such as disparaging “individualism” and “objectivity” as examples of “white supremacy culture” or teaching first-graders about microaggressions and structural racism. You don’t have to be a Republican to be put off by the incessant attention on race in so many classrooms.

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Danny Barefoot/Twitter:

We’re starting out with some temperature checks to see where these voters are more generally before we dig into what drove them to Youngkin. 64% disapprove of Biden. 86% don’t want Trump to run again. 79% agree with the statement “Trump is a racist” 

We start out by asking what the most pressing issue is facing these women. One volunteers gas prices. Everyone shakes their heads in agreement. 

We ask who here would describe gas prices as negatively impacting their finances. 76% say gas prices are. 

This sorta naturally brings us to inflation. One of the Black women says her grocery bills have doubled (no way to fact check this and seems dubious but still her impression). 70% of participants say their grocery bills have gone up “significantly”

David Leonhardt/NY Times:

A creative new poll tries to understand.

Political pundits often talk about swing voters as if they were upscale suburbanites, like “soccer moms” or “office-park dads.” And some are. But many are blue-collar. They are the successors to the so-called Reagan Democrats, who let Republicans win the White House in the 1980s and Democrats retake it in the 1990s.

This century, blue-collar swing voters helped elect Barack Obama twice, Donald Trump once and Joe Biden in 2020. They have also played a deciding role in congressional and state elections, including in Virginia last week.

In the current polarized political atmosphere, many college graduates follow politics obsessively — almost as if it were a sport — and identify with one of the two parties. Many working-class voters, on the other hand, vote for both parties and sit out some elections.

Figuring out what moves these swing voters is a crucial question in American politics. It has become an urgent question for the Democratic Party, which is struggling to win working-class votes in many places, including some Asian and Latino communities.

Jonathan Bernstein/Bloomberg:

Blame Virus and Economy for Biden Popularity Slump

The president’s approval rating keeps falling in polls, though not yet to historical levels. The reasons are hard to pinpoint, but timing provides clues.

Why has Biden’s popularity fallen? It’s hard to prove anything about such things; there are too many possibilities at play. But it’s certainly suggestive that the pandemic case count bottomed out in the first week of July, so Biden’s slide began right around the time that people started noticing that things were, once again, getting worse. And it continued as economic numbers deteriorated throughout the third quarter…

If the current plateau in Covid-19 case counts turns  out to be a blip on the way down, and if there is no significant winter wave, and if the recent jobs news and other economic indicators are evidence of a revived economy, we’ll have a test of this soon. The one thing I’d still doubt would be any conclusion that voters have already made up their minds against Biden for good. That’s one thing that the historical record strongly suggests doesn’t happen. Instead, the history of approval ratings says that Biden could recover all he’s lost, and more, if perceptions of the economy improve dramatically — or fall quite a bit more if they don’t.

Axios:

Why it matters: Republicans are weaponizing dissatisfaction around schools to shape elections. But when it comes to COVID issues specifically, the survey finds discontent is being driven by a vocal but small minority. Fewer than one in 10 parents said schools have done a “very poor job.”

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Murad Antia/Tampa Bay Times:

Huh, so the economy performs better under Democratic presidents

Should pro-business Republicans consider changing their party?

What is clear is that there is zero evidence that tax cuts, deregulation, trickle-down economics — or whatever Republican policies were prior to Ronald Reagan — has led to superior economic growth. Republicans talk a good game, but as the old Wendy’s commercials asked, Where’s the Beef? Their pro-business, lower taxes, fewer regulations, or any of their prior policies have not translated into superior economic numbers. The proof of the pudding is in the data.

Lastly, the trade deficit was worse over the past four years (Trump) compared to the prior four years (Obama). What happened? The greatest dealmaker in history was going to win-win-win on trade deals. Didn’t happen. Given all these measures, I hope attendees at this weekend’s Conservative Political Action Conference switch their party affiliation. Pronto.

Sarah Binder/WaPo:

Three reasons Congress finally passed an infrastructure bill

And what happened to Build Back Better, the social and climate infrastructure bill?

So what led the House to pass the infrastructure bill at last? A cocktail of election surprises, lawmakers trying to avoid blame, and vexing Senate budget rules.

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Magdi Semrau/WaPo:

Think Democrats can’t talk about race effectively? Biden shows why that’s wrong.

In 2020, Biden spoke candidly about systemic racism and grim episodes in American history — while also attracting swing voters. There’s a lesson there.

The presumption that frank discussions of racial inequity will backfire on Democrats neglects one recent, prominent example: President Biden, who during his campaign and since then has spoken with candor about the challenging topic. Given his electoral success, he offers an example other Democrats might consider emulating.

[examples from Biden speeches]

Democrats can do better — in part by learning from Biden. It’s easy to imagine, for example, how Biden would handle the issue of critical race theory — which was devised as a tactic for misleading voters about Democrats’ agenda and leaving a fog of negative connotations. He might dismiss it as “malarkey,” before moving on to more important issues.

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