Princeton Election Consortium

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Awesome telling of the story of 2016

February 8th, 2017, 8:32pm by Sam Wang


A splendid telling of the story of 2016, by Mike Davis at Jacobin. Davis weaves together unbreakable party loyalty, evangelicals, redistricting and gerrymandering, and the hostile takeover of the Republicans into a coherent tale. I don’t know of a better telling of where we went – and where we may go next.

To be continued.

Tags: 2016 Election · President

12 Comments so far ↓

  • Bulgakov's Cat

    that polysci article doesnt even mention education as the most interesting part of the election debrief.
    it was a horrible highverbal waste of spacetime.
    polysci is as archaic as phrenology at this point– cognitive neuroscience and comlex adaptive systems dynamics are going to render it obsolete.

    the interesting thing to me going forward, is does Wang Polarization turn into psuedo-speciation under pressure?
    will we see any miscegeny between redbrain and bluebrain phenotypes?

  • Josh

    To me, this article does a great job of illustrating how the Democratic Party today lives and dies by how well it can motivate the various factions of its diverse coalition. Because GOP voters are in many ways homogenous by contrast (90% white, 90+% suburban/exurban/rural, largely religious), it’s easy to identify issues that get most or all of them to the polls; Democrats must bring together all sorts of different voters, which is harder to do.

    This may be reductive, but I think one of the biggest problems the Democratic party faces today is that many of their signature issues–climate change, civil rights, women’s rights–are framed in such a way that they mostly motivate potential voters in places that Democrats already dominate. Democratic votes are already scattered inefficiently among the states (as we saw when Hillary Clinton won 3 million more votes than Donald Trump but decisively lost the Electoral College), but this problem is exacerbated when the party focuses on issues that motivate potential D voters in Brooklyn, San Francisco and Chicago, but not voters in Detroit, Cleveland and Milwaukee.

    (Speaking of Milwaukee, and anecdotally: a close friend who lives there told me that he and his local friends–some of whom voted for Clinton, others for Trump–said that the biggest issues they heard people discussing were affirmative action, NAFTA, and illegal immigrants. If that’s representative of the larger body of voters in the Midwest, then Democratic candidates who run on a platform similar to the one Hillary ran on will be talking past millions of potential supporters.)

    There seems to be a clear solution to this particular problem, although achieving some degree of success will require hard work. Theda Skocpol addressed it directly in her appearance on your podcast: going forward, the Democratic party would best be served by forming bonds with, bolstering, and learning from, Democratic voters and their groups in all states–and especially in those states where the national party’s current major causes are perhaps less important or not particularly popular.

    The party should also formulate a plan to retake state and local governments across the country, with an eye 5-10 years down the line–in much the way the GOP’s resurgence began with planning in 2008/2009 that presaged winning midterms in 2010, redistricting in 2011, holding the House through that redistricting in 2012 and 2014, and maintaining a focus on winning state-level elections so that even when they couldn’t get parts of their agenda enacted at the Federal level they could get individual states to play ball.

    Democrats can do this, too: they can win governorships and state houses in 2017 and 2018 that stymie the kind of GOP voter suppression tactics that would keep turnout down in 2020. Success in 2018 and 2020 would set the stage for further success in 2022, 2024 and onward. It’s far from a given, but it’s entirely achievable.

    Anyway, sorry for rambling.

    • Bulgakov's Cat

      no one is talking about the most critical reveal of the 2016 election– correlation of education with liberal voting patterns.
      there will be an eventual liberal supermajority.
      education seems to be the one factor that turns red brain biochemistry into blue.
      even the “90% white, 90+% suburban/exurban/rural, largely religious” want their children to go to college.
      and its not just college– the scholastic poll had HRC at 65% and Trump at %35– maybe ANY educational attainment is enough.
      add in the hispanic demographic deathcross in ~2040 and conservatives become an endangered species.
      Maybe our pseudo-speciation into Morlocks and Eloi can be derailed with education.
      :)

    • Bulgakov's Cat

      c’mon guys science up.
      i hate this crappy what-more-can-we-do-to-appease-redbrains analysis.
      the two take-aways from the election are:
      1. education is the only way to change inherent conservative tendency and combat “alternative facts”
      2. Game theory 101– in iterated tit-for-tat Sinner v Saint is unbeatable
      cheaters always win– as long as liberals insist on being saints they will lose

      by 2050 “white” comprises 47% of US population
      thats a death cross for the GOP

    • Josh

      If you thought the point of my screed was that the Democratic party should try to win by appeasing GOP voters, you didn’t read it very closely.

      The point is that engaging all potential D voters across the country, and recruiting and running viable D candidates at all levels of government, is how things turn around in the near term.

      You love that stat about 2050, so should we just punt on the intervening 33 years?

    • Bulgakov's Cat

      pas du tout, Josh
      The death cross for conservatives happens much sooner than 2050.
      David Berreby–
      https://www.edge.org/response-detail/26646
      im just sayin’ libs have nothing to offer the other side– fascism is redbrains’ only option.
      so…what is better? Slowfall to a liberal supermajority or a civil war between h. sapiens red and h. sapiens blue?
      I dont think its polarization at all– its pseudo- speciation.
      also read Haidt–
      https://www.edge.org/response-detail/26766

    • Josh

      I liked you better when Ed Witten owned you.

    • Bulgakov's Cat

      i liked her better too.
      :(

  • LondonYoung

    Great article; my favorite paragraph:
    “However as the national Democrats became increasingly identified with the “the war on coal,” abortion, and gay marriage, local Blue Dogs were euthanized by popular vote. The United Mine Workers and Steelworkers, under the best leadership in decades, fought desperately in the 1990s and 2000s for a major political initiative to defend industrial and mining jobs in the region but were turned away at the door by the Democratic Leadership Council and the ascendant New York/California congressional leadership.”

    Davis’s labor oriented perspective reminds me of the differences between the European and the American left.

  • L Jean Camp

    Yes, discussing the election without addressing sexism is indeed an “awesome” achievement. Of course the shock and awe I experience at such blindness is not from admiration.

    • 21 Cards

      It’s hard to overlook that Clinton benefited from sexism as much as it cost her.

  • Likes Charts

    When does the Obama job approval chart turn into a Trump job approval chart? Obama appears to have finished with a 8% net positive, does Trump ever get above a 1% positive?

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