Patterico's Pontifications

2/27/2012

It’s Now or Never?

Filed under: 2012 Election — Karl @ 8:27 am

[Posted by Karl]

Jonathan Chait plays the hits in a lengthy diatribe for New York magazine:

The GOP has reason to be scared. Obama’s election was the vindication of a prediction made several years before by journalist John Judis and political scientist Ruy Teixeira in their 2002 book, The Emerging Democratic Majority. Despite the fact that George W. Bush then occupied the White House, Judis and Teixeira argued that demographic and political trends were converging in such a way as to form a ­natural-majority coalition for Democrats.

The Republican Party had increasingly found itself confined to white voters, especially those lacking a college degree and rural whites who, as Obama awkwardly put it in 2008, tend to “cling to guns or religion.” Meanwhile, the Democrats had ­increased their standing among whites with graduate degrees, particularly the growing share of secular whites, and remained dominant among racial minorities. As a whole, Judis and Teixeira noted, the electorate was growing both somewhat better educated and dramatically less white, making every successive election less favorable for the GOP. And the trends were even more striking in some key swing states. Judis and Teixeira highlighted Colorado, Nevada, and Arizona, with skyrocketing Latino populations, and Virginia and North Carolina, with their influx of college-educated whites, as the most fertile grounds for the expanding Democratic base.

Obama’s victory carried out the blueprint. Campaign reporters cast the election as a triumph of Obama’s inspirational message and cutting-edge organization, but above all his sweeping win reflected simple demography.

Outside Chait’s world of fantasy and delusion, the 2008 results reflected a nationwide swing as the country plunged into a deep recession.  This was equally true in the case study of Colorado.

The people responsible for the Emerging Democratic Majority theory, being marginally less deluded that Chait, have already been considering their fallback positions for 2012:

Teixeira, writing with John Halpin, argues in “The Path to 270: Demographics versus Economics in the 2012 Presidential Election,” that in order to be re-elected, President Obama must keep his losses among white college graduates to the 4-point margin of 2008 (47-51). Why? Otherwise he will not be able to survive a repetition of 2010, when white working-class voters supported Republican House candidates by a record-setting margin of 63-33.

Obama’s alternative path to victory, according to Teixeira and Halpin, would be to keep his losses among all white voters at the same level John Kerry did in 2004, when he lost them by 17 points, 58-41. This would be a step backwards for Obama, who lost among all whites in 2008 by only 12 points (55-43).

Not many pollsters regularly break down their data this way, but Quinnipiac does.  Their latest national poll shows Obama in striking distance with these demographics, but the fact that Obama is now considered a known quantity must worry more savvy party insiders about the incumbent’s ceiling.

Chait rambles for four pages of straight-line projection, assuming that the GOP is fighting “history.”  It as though the USSR had not disappeared, the PRC had not retreated from communism to fascism, and the social democracies of Europe were not slowly collapsing under the weight of their transnational progressive ambitions.  There is not a word of how the Emerging Democratic Majority holds up when we run out of money.  For someone who can spot magical thinking in other liberals, Chait is bad at spotting it in himself.

–Karl

56 Comments

  1. Ding!

    Comment by Karl (6f7ecd) — 2/27/2012 @ 8:27 am

  2. Does Texeira’s and Halpin’s fallback position assume Obama will win his core groups in the same percentages as 2008? If so, do you think he can turn out enough of that vote to win?

    Comment by DRJ (a83b8b) — 2/27/2012 @ 8:47 am

  3. All this groupthink pisses me off. “90% of ________ support this position!” well I’m a _________ and I find that position abhorrent. There must be something wrong with me.

    I have yet to find one white, black, Asian, Latino, gay, straight, pothead, straight edge, bald, blonde, brunette, or whathaveyou that thinks exactly like me. I’ve never met two people who think exactly alike, not even twins.

    Yet we’re supposed to believe that everyone is in lockstep? Something stinks.

    Comment by Ghost (525593) — 2/27/2012 @ 8:48 am

  4. for Obama to win, a majority of voters are going to need to crave four more years of rape and condescension

    that’s a tall order

    Comment by happyfeet (a55ba0) — 2/27/2012 @ 8:52 am

  5. Obama’s problem is the economy. But one way to get the vote out is manufactured outrage at our nominee.

    One way to rally the low info voters would be a war.

    Comment by Dustin (401f3a) — 2/27/2012 @ 9:00 am

  6. DRJ,

    Yes, the fallback position this year assumes Obama wins non-whites on the scale of 2008, and that they represent 2% more of the electorate (while whites represent 2% less). That’s a questionable assumption, as the Hispanic vote fluctuates a fair amount in turnout and affiliation. Team Obama knows this, too — that’s why they’re trying to build campaign offices in Colorado like they’re Starbucks.

    Comment by Karl (f07e38) — 2/27/2012 @ 9:09 am

  7. Ghost,

    It’s a mentality that will ultimately bite Dems in the behind. In The Lost Majority, Sean Trende takes a long look at the EDM theory, noting, among other things, that Hispanics vote more Republican as they get wealthier. So the Dem strategy only works if the welfare state can suck Hispanics in like quicksand.

    Comment by Karl (f07e38) — 2/27/2012 @ 9:15 am

  8. Obama can’t win another national election, at least not one on the up and up anyway. That should become crystal clear fairly early on in the campaign.

    Then, he’ll have to decide to manufacture a major crisis, a threat so imminent and of such magnitude as to justify suspending elections, or get beat and go home.

    Comment by ropelight (76fddd) — 2/27/2012 @ 9:15 am

  9. Mr Chait wrote:

    The Republican Party had increasingly found itself confined to white voters, especially those lacking a college degree and rural whites who, as Obama awkwardly put it in 2008, tend to “cling to guns or religion.”

    Except, of course, that is wrong. In both 2004 and 2008, the Democratic nominee did best among those people who had not been graduated from high school. High school graduates with no college were slightly favorable to the GOP in 2004, and not as heavily favorable to the Democrats in 2008, and people with both some college, but no degree, and a BA but no graduate school were increasingly Republican. People with graduate degrees favor Democrats, but they are a restricted group, dominated by unionized teachers and college professors.

    Generally speaking, the smarter you are, the more probable it is you will vote Republican.

    Comment by The Dana who can read the numbers (f68855) — 2/27/2012 @ 9:22 am

  10. I remember all those myths about a white male Tea Party… such as those from MSNBC (which is quite white). Then I went to a Tea Party rally and saw quite a diversity of people.

    There is a very rich way to break the demographic mold for those who cater to these protestors.

    Comment by Dustin (401f3a) — 2/27/2012 @ 9:25 am

  11. Karl,
    God I hope so.

    Comment by Ghost (525593) — 2/27/2012 @ 9:49 am

  12. Dana,

    In fairness to Chait (tho the courtesy is unlikely to be mutual), Obama won college grads and non-grads by the same 53%. True, he won 50% of “just” college grads and postgrads by 58%, and 63% of those w.o a HS degree. But McCain won 51% of white college grads and 58% of white non-grads. So Chait has a point about the white working class being the GOP’s stronghold in 2008 (and even more so in 2010).

    Also, I wouldn’t be so dismissive about postgrads, who made up 17% of the 2008 electorate. That’s more than teachers. That’s doctors, lawyers, people in business and finance — many of whom should be available to the GOP on fiscal grounds in most cycles (tho obvsly not in 2008). Indeed, one of the stronger points about EDM theory is that the white working class is a relatively shrinking demo, which suggests the GOP will have to appeal more to college grads and postgrads to win going forward.

    Comment by Karl (f07e38) — 2/27/2012 @ 10:44 am

  13. 9. Comment by The Dana who can read the numbers — 2/27/2012 @ 9:22 am

    Mr Chait wrote:

    The Republican Party had increasingly found itself confined to white voters, especially those lacking a college degree. . .

    Except, of course, that is wrong. In both 2004 and 2008, the Democratic nominee did best among those people who had not been graduated from high school.

    So that’s right. Well, maybe not right because
    the Republican Party hasn’t had very any black voters for a long time, since about 1936, with some remnants through about 1960.

    “confined” would mean they get no significant votes anywhere else and “increasingly” means it is a growing trend.

    He’s trying to say they are losing votes, without saying why. It’s Hispanics over the immigration issue. (National Review magazine’s response to that is to claim they don’t have Hispanics anyway and that it has nothing much to do with the immigration issue, which Mr. Chait seems to concur with.)

    The other idea was that with the most education, also voted for Obama.

    Meanwhile, the Democrats had ­increased their standing among whites with graduate degrees, particularly the growing share of secular whites, and remained dominant among racial minorities.

    Generally speaking, the smarter you are, the more probable it is you will vote Republican

    ” I have heard it confidently stated, for instance, that the American troops had been brought to Europe not to fight the Germans but to crush an English revolution. One has to belong to the intelligentsia to believe things like that: no ordinary man could be such a fool.”

    George Orwell.

    http://www.resort.com/~prime8/Orwell/nationalism.html

    Comment by Sammy Finkelman (d2951c) — 2/27/2012 @ 10:51 am

  14. Indeed, one of the stronger points about EDM theory is that the white working class is a relatively shrinking demo, which suggests the GOP will have to appeal more to college grads and postgrads to win going forward.

    Which gets back to the idea that the GOP should be focusing on the higher education bubble and how it serves no one’s interest except for a liberal elite who gets jobs in academia due to their predictable support of a whole host of lefty causes which always include more money and authority for themselves and their ilk. This blog has addressed and debated the notion that a law degree no longer pays for itself in increased earnings and prestige, and it has been some time now since a master’s degree could be considered a safe investment (except in engineering and science). When a lot of over-educated and under-employed liberals realize that they have been had, perhaps the whole idea of post-grads trending Democrat will collapse.

    Great column about this from a Canadian journalist who was addressing the Occupy crowd. She was focusing mostly on worthless undergraduate degrees, but it is even more applicable to worthless graduate degrees.

    Comment by JVW (4d72aa) — 2/27/2012 @ 10:54 am

  15. Correction: I transposed what I meant — she is talking about worthless graduate degrees but it is just as applicable to worthless undergraduate degrees (hello San Diego State’s new Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Studies major).

    Comment by JVW (4d72aa) — 2/27/2012 @ 10:58 am

  16. Once Romney becomes the nominee for the GOP — I predict that he will take the kid gloves off. Mitt will take it to the POS POTUS ASAP!

    Comment by Scope (bd1415) — 2/27/2012 @ 1:09 pm

  17. Once Romney becomes the nominee for the GOP — I predict that he will take the kid gloves off.

    He has to become the nominee first.

    But if he is, he better do just that. Of course, Obama will do the same to him. And probably more effectively, even though Obama’s case will be weaker. This is what they do. The advantages Romney has now in these bridge burning attacks will simply not exist after the primary.

    What Romney actually needs is a positive case that he can run the USA totally differently than he ran MA. Someone who can cut through the BS and actually fix it instead of negotiate a slightly less awful problem (inspiring the left to push for much more than they had before… making the whole mess get much worse).

    Proposed budget increases of ten percent in a single year… That’s not a starting position of a conservative.

    Comment by Dustin (401f3a) — 2/27/2012 @ 1:15 pm

  18. For someone who can spot magical thinking in other liberals, Chait is bad at spotting it in himself.

    He says without irony, after Karl has moved several steps toward the loon coalition since 2008.

    Comment by timb (449046) — 2/27/2012 @ 2:09 pm

  19. timb often comes here, insults people without showing any basis, and then congratulates himself for exposing how unreasonable everyone but timb is.

    Comment by Dustin (401f3a) — 2/27/2012 @ 2:12 pm

  20. Gee, timmah. We sure have missed your ad homs around here!

    Comment by Icy (cbf9f2) — 2/27/2012 @ 2:13 pm

  21. Icy – at this point, should we not be calling them ad timminems, in homage to our very own timb ?

    Comment by Alasdair (8d96c9) — 2/27/2012 @ 2:25 pm

  22. Last seen being a human piñata for Treacher.

    Comment by JD (448fa8) — 2/27/2012 @ 2:27 pm

  23. 16- after kid gloves, mittens, for mittens.

    Comment by sickofrinos (44de53) — 2/27/2012 @ 2:38 pm

  24. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TEA PARTY. Here is your IRS AUDIT package. Hugs and Kisses, Barak.

    (Hopeful PS. — Tea Party groups have conference call planned to respond).

    Comment by Mutnodjmet (c4995d) — 2/27/2012 @ 2:40 pm

  25. Also, I wouldn’t be so dismissive about postgrads, who made up 17% of the 2008 electorate. That’s more than teachers. That’s doctors, lawyers, people in business and finance

    Doctors are becoming more left wing as new graduates who plan to work for HMOs or Obamacare replace the older entrepreneurial docs like me. I have seen this in my students the past ten years. They are all on salary now and worry about benefits, not ethics. The American College of Physicians has just rewritten medical ethics to justify what they call “Parsimonius Medical Care.” That means not much care and good luck.

    Comment by Mike K (326cba) — 2/27/2012 @ 2:50 pm

  26. “What Romney actually needs is a positive case that he can run the USA totally differently than he ran MA. Someone who can cut through the BS and actually fix it instead of negotiate a slightly less awful problem (inspiring the left to push for much more than they had before… making the whole mess get much worse).”

    This never gets old! Yay!

    Comment by Colonel Haiku (9080eb) — 2/27/2012 @ 3:34 pm

  27. 25. People, for the most part, vote their pocket book. Academics and teachers, all government employees, may talk political propaganda but they get continual feedback from their unions on proposed legislation.

    They know their bottom line’s immediate consequences are better served by voting Democrat and they don’t care about the big picture.

    There is no point in going after their vote. The GOP is doomed trying to appeal to Indies with a big business focus. Farmers, small business operators, mostly S-chapter tax payers need a positive to turnout.

    Comment by gary gulrud(MN#6, Anabaptist) (d88477) — 2/27/2012 @ 3:40 pm

  28. With Santorum robo-calling Democrats in Michigan and asking for their vote, who knows what’s in store…

    Comment by Colonel Haiku (9080eb) — 2/27/2012 @ 3:49 pm

  29. I don’t understand why Team R isn’t explaining that President Rapeydoodle compromised America’s credit rating and that this is by all measures a Very Bad Thing for him to have done

    Comment by happyfeet (a55ba0) — 2/27/2012 @ 3:52 pm

  30. It sho’nuff appears the Santorum robo-calling the Dems is true… http://ace.mu.nu/archives/327041.php

    Comment by Colonel Haiku (9080eb) — 2/27/2012 @ 4:01 pm

  31. Yet he approved the sacking of the GM board, that gave us the bond cramdown, the UAW/Gov Mo takeover, the Auto Task Force, so there is that.

    Comment by narciso (87e966) — 2/27/2012 @ 4:12 pm

  32. That’s not the only robocall mischief in Michigan, Colonel:

    Fraudulent Robo-Calls Feature Santorum Endorsing Romney In Michigan

    Comment by DRJ (a83b8b) — 2/27/2012 @ 4:30 pm

  33. Interesting… using Santorum’s 2008 endorsement of Romney vs. calling registered Democrats and asking them to do what no Republican in my lifetime has ever asked of a Democrat (and I’ll paraphrase)… “please, Mr. & Mrs. Democrat, won’tcha muck up our primary… please?”

    Comment by Colonel Haiku (9080eb) — 2/27/2012 @ 4:38 pm

  34. Doctors are becoming more left wing as new graduates who plan to work for HMOs or Obamacare replace the older entrepreneurial docs like me. I have seen this in my students the past ten years. They are all on salary now and worry about benefits, not ethics.

    Mike K, I also read that the mix of brand new doctors (especially general practitioners and pediatricians) is becoming more and more female every year. This in itself isn’t such a bad thing, except that female doctors are far more likely to work for HMOs and existing family practices where they can trade fewer hours for less money, and far less likely to start up their own clinics where they might find themselves working 70 hour weeks. That is an understandable lifestyle choice, but it certainly is going to impact the availability of consultation hours for all of us who might wish to escape Obamacare by contracting privately with a physician.

    Comment by JVW (4d72aa) — 2/27/2012 @ 4:43 pm

  35. It’s interesting. I thought Romney voted for Mondale against Reagan in 1984. Didn’t Romney financially support democrat campaigns as recently as the 1990s? I also seem to recall Romney supporting democrats as late as 2007 when he appointed them to the bench.

    I guess Haiku is a lot younger than I had originally thought.

    Comment by Dustin (401f3a) — 2/27/2012 @ 5:11 pm

  36. Colonel:

    Interesting… using Santorum’s 2008 endorsement of Romney vs. calling registered Democrats and asking them to do what no Republican in my lifetime has ever asked of a Democrat (and I’ll paraphrase)… “please, Mr. & Mrs. Democrat, won’tcha muck up our primary… please?”

    Michigan Democrats asked the Democratic State Central Committee for a waiver so they can crossover and (in your words) “muck up” the GOP election by voting for Ron Paul. All Santorum is doing is urging them to vote for him instead of Paul.

    Comment by DRJ (a83b8b) — 2/27/2012 @ 5:20 pm

  37. ‘a very cunning, cunning plan

    Republicans hold a four-point lead over Democrats on the latest Generic Congressional Ballot for the week ending Sunday, Feb. 26.

    Comment by narciso (87e966) — 2/27/2012 @ 5:22 pm

  38. Yes, DRJ, I know all about the KosKid Plan. I just don’t characterize the Santorum campaign’s efforts as a case of “all he’s doing” innocence.

    Comment by Colonel Haiku (9080eb) — 2/27/2012 @ 5:26 pm

  39. A lot of folks giggled when Rush had that Operation Chaos. I didn’t agree with that, and I don’t agree with such things now. A closed primary makes a lot of sense.

    But the democrats are probably stumped as to which of the GOP’s candidates are the weakest.

    Comment by Dustin (401f3a) — 2/27/2012 @ 5:28 pm

  40. Lets not forget, that Chaitred is a Journolister of the first order, which likely explains how often he gets things wrong;

    Comment by narciso (87e966) — 2/27/2012 @ 5:28 pm

  41. More a case of them being “desperately cynical” or “cynically desperate”, at least imho.

    Comment by Colonel Haiku (9080eb) — 2/27/2012 @ 5:29 pm

  42. By the way, Colonel, let’s assume for the sake of argument that Romney and Paul have a behind-the-scenes agreement to attack Santorum and not each other. Assume further this agreement ultimately leads to the loser of the two (probably Paul) endorsing the frontrunner (probably Romney). In that case, a vote for Paul would be a vote for Romney. At least Santorum is making this a real race.

    Comment by DRJ (a83b8b) — 2/27/2012 @ 5:30 pm

  43. My favorite parts of the 2008 campaign were Rudy correcting Ron Paul, the wink and nod truther.

    Comment by Dustin (401f3a) — 2/27/2012 @ 5:32 pm

  44. Dustin,

    The Michigan GOP has a closed primary (in name but not in practice). However, the Democratic State Central Committee authorized a waiver that allows voters who vote in the GOP primary to crossover and also vote in the Democratic primary. The only downside for those voters is they end up on a GOP mailing list.

    Comment by DRJ (a83b8b) — 2/27/2012 @ 5:35 pm

  45. At least Santorum is making this a real race.

    I guess that’s one way to look at it.

    Comment by Colonel Haiku (9080eb) — 2/27/2012 @ 5:47 pm

  46. The shorter the primary, the quicker Mitt will revert to the same instincts that gave us Masscare
    and the RGGI, that’s just a fact.

    Comment by narciso (87e966) — 2/27/2012 @ 5:52 pm

  47. However, the Democratic State Central Committee authorized a waiver that allows voters who vote in the GOP primary to crossover and also vote in the Democratic primary.

    This doesn’t seem right to me. I know a lot of folks decided to vote for Hillary in 2008, so I guess the appeal is real. I was already thinking democrats have no presidential primary to keep them from doing this, but now they can vote in their primary anyway?

    Comment by Dustin (401f3a) — 2/27/2012 @ 5:53 pm

  48. I’m sorry, but ‘a lot of folks’ I obviously meant Republicans trying to cause problems.

    Comment by Dustin (401f3a) — 2/27/2012 @ 5:53 pm

  49. Nicole Gelinas shares her opinion of Rick Santorum’s “economic agenda”…

    http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/292068/santorum-housing-privatize-gain-socialize-loss-nicole-gelinas

    Comment by Colonel Haiku (9080eb) — 2/27/2012 @ 6:11 pm

  50. Wait … I thought to the electability crowd, being able to reach across party lines, and appeal to conservative Dems, independents, and the mushy middle was a good thing.

    Comment by JD (448fa8) — 2/27/2012 @ 6:36 pm

  51. may work well in the general election, JD. But you’re the expert.

    Comment by Colonel Haiku (9080eb) — 2/27/2012 @ 6:49 pm

  52. No, I am no expert. I just don’t understand why some appeal across the aisle and to the middle is good for one, and bad for the other.

    Comment by JD (448fa8) — 2/27/2012 @ 6:56 pm

  53. But for the notion that Romney is a proxy war over the direction of the party, I prefer Romney to Santorum based on experience (since neither are what I want ideologically). But I do think Santorum’s ability to appeal should be given a fair look. It often gets a cursory glance and Santorum is written off as unelectable even though poll after poll shows that perception is incorrect.

    DRJ thinks a lot of the folks Santorum can’t get due to social issues are single issue voters Obama already has in his pocket, and that does seem like a reasonable view in at least a lot of cases. Santorum looks honest and there’s something more consistent about his brand of centrism (because it isn’t pandering on *everything*). Perhaps this is a better way to reach the middle than being so obvious about it?

    Personally, I though this primary would lead to an inspiring candidate. I don’t know why I had my hopes up. This party doesn’t have a good track record.

    Comment by Dustin (401f3a) — 2/27/2012 @ 7:03 pm

  54. RGGI

    narciso – Romney pulled Massachusetts out of the RGGI. Deval Patrick put the state back in.

    Comment by daleyrocks (bf33e9) — 2/27/2012 @ 8:52 pm

  55. I’m curious as to the reaction of Republican conservatives in the latest attempt by the Santorum camp to join forces with the Democrat activists to flood the Republican primary with Democrats to vote against Romney by voting for Santorum. This is disgusting and cancels out Republican votes and affects the outcome of the Michigan primary in a way that does not reflect the wishes of the Republican voters in that state one way or the other. This is what career politicians do. I guess the Michigan Republicans are supposed to “take one for the team” by having delegates that they want to go to one candidate go to the other one as a result of votes made by people that will be voting for Obama in the fall.

    Comment by Dave B (982f20) — 2/27/2012 @ 10:35 pm

  56. I’m curious as to the reaction of Republican conservatives in the latest attempt by the Santorum camp to join forces with the Democrat activists to flood the Republican primary with Democrats to vote against Romney by voting for Santorum.

    They talked about that upthread.

    I said I think it’s wrong for people to vote in the wrong party’s primary.

    Though I disagree that these people will be voting for Obama. Some will find Santorum’s argument credible and want change that isn’t a pander.

    Comment by Dustin (401f3a) — 2/27/2012 @ 10:40 pm

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