Polling the Left Agenda — Finally
Click this link. Data For Progress decided to ask people about policy proposals which very serious centrists consider way too far left for America. American voters respond differently.
As should already be clear from existing polls (click and search for “fair”), there is strong support for egalitarian populist redistributive public policy. At Data For Progress, they chose to emphasize the positive — four proposals with overwhelming support, but I think it is just as striking that opinion is almost equally split on a top marginal income tax rate of 90% (2% more oppose than support) and universal basic income (2% more oppose than support).
In particular, a (very narrow) plurality of whites without a bachelors degree support a universal basic income. One way to summarize the results is that pundits’ guesses about public opinion match the opinions of college educated whites (surprise surprise). That is the group least enthusiastic about universal basic income (by far) (OK I admit I am white and have university degrees so I should say “we are” but like hell i’m going to be classed with my fellow White American College educated opponents of UBI).
I suppose it is important that an overwhelming majority support a jobs guarantee. The problem of finding useful work for millions of people (and not crowding out unsubsidized private sector employment) doesn’t worry people anything as much as the risk that one lazy person takes advantage of cash welfare once.
The key question for Democrats (and the USA) is why did most of a group of people more of whom support than oppose UBI vote for Trump ? How can there be such a huge gap between bread and butter big dollar issue polling (where the median US adult is to the left of the mainstream of the Democratic Party) and voting ?
I think the explanation is that the partisan gap is a partisan gap in beliefs about matters of fact (what has happened) not on policy proposals. Do click the link (I can’s summarize all the data) but one of the key patterns is that responses are surprisingly similar for rural and urban voters, the white and non-white working classes, and Trump voters and Clinton voters. It is clear that opinions the polled issues are not key to deciding votes. I’m sure that the authors are sure this is because Democrats are too timid to appeal to the public (at least that’s one of the things I think). But I want to stress another point.
There are some fact polls — people are asked to answer questions which have a correct answer (where was Barack Obama born — what fraction of the US Federal Budget is spent on foreign aid). On those questions, the answers given by Republicans and Democrats are very very different.
I want to see polling data on 2 dimensions — not the usual equaltiy on the x axis, liberty on the y axis, but values (or priorities or policy preferences) on the x axis and questions of fact on the y axis. Dataforprogress.org makes more convinced than I used to be (which is barely possible) that the Republicans are a coalition of the rich and selfish (college educated white Republicans) and the misinformed (patriotic populist voters who support universal basic income and voted for candidate bone spurs next to his golden toilet).
The thing is this, Rep voters get their news from Fox, and Fox does not care about facts. Or if they cannot avoid the facts, they do not cover the story. I remember when Obama was first elected he held a meeting with Rep Congressmen to talk about healthcare.
Just Obama, without any written material, talking to these people. In five minutes it became apparent that Obama knew more than the total number of congressmen, and quite frankly some of them were being embarrassed. Fox cut away instantly.
Meanwhile, all of these polls really mean nothing when it comes to Rep votes. Racism is the basis of the GOP. The southern strategy worked, and still works.
“The key question for Democrats (and the USA) is why did most of a group of people more of whom support than oppose UBI vote for Trump ? How can there be such a huge gap between bread and butter big dollar issue polling (where the median US adult is to the left of the mainstream of the Democratic Party) and voting ?“
During the Republican primaries, candidate Trump lost in the polls and won on the ballots. In the run up to the Republican convention, mainstream Republicans were searching for any way to deny the nomination to candidate Trump. (Without ruining the party.)
So candidate Trump was not a traditional mainstream Republican presidential candidate. Candidate Trump espoused most of the mainstream Republican party position. But what separated him from the pack were his positions on illegal immigration and free trade treaties. And Republican voters chose him.
His positions against illegal immigration and free trade also beat Hillary Clinton. Hillary Clinton was a very experienced and savvy politician but she was tied to NAFTA thru her husband. And the Democratic party’s defense of allowing ANY foreigner to walk across our borders without ANY sort of background check whatsoever, and remain in the country, was a losing proposition.
Candidate Clinton could have beaten any of the other Republican candidates.
Unbridled immigration into European countries has caused enough problems for the native born citizens that it has become a huge political issue. Angela Merkel successfully oversaw the uniting of east and west Germany. (A triumph!) But on immigration, her reach exceeded her grasp, she completely misunderstood the magnitude of the problem. And she is splitting the European Union.
Politicians in Europe and the United States speak of populism as if it was some sort of new influence. That voters have never been seen to vote their own interests! European and American voters have allowed their politicians almost a free rein for decades. They seemed to assume that the political class knew best. But that period is coming to an end.
Democrats can beat Republican candidates, but first they have to accept that politics is the art of the possible.
“And the Democratic party’s defense of allowing ANY foreigner to walk across our borders without ANY sort of background check whatsoever, and remain in the country, was a losing proposition. ”
You forgot the racism. The secret sauce that motivates the working class to side with boss hog.
There is a practical, doable way to re-institute American labor unions (to German density level) tomorrow.
Labor unions can claw back the “missing 10%” of overall income that a unionless labor market has squeezed out of the bottom 40% of earners; raising the bot 40% back to 20% income share — through higher consumer prices at Target, Walgreen’s, etc. No doubt about this: if fast food can pay $15/hr with 33% (!) labor costs, Target(‘s consumers) can easily pay $20/hr with 12% labor costs and Walmart(‘s consumers) can easily pay $25/hr with 7% labor costs.
Easy practical way to do this: amend the NLRA to mandate regularly scheduled cert elections at every private workplace (I would suggest one, three or five year cycles; local plurality rules).
Practical because no other way to rebuild American unions. Illegal (effective-penalty free) union busting disease has so permeated our labor market that there is no normal organizing going back. Even if we made union busting a felony, millions of businesspersons across the country could just say: “What are you going to do, put us all in jail?”
Tear a page from the Rebublican’s union busting playbook — skip over organizing — skip right to elections on a regular basis:
Why Not Hold Union Representation Elections on a Regular Schedule?
Andrew Strom — November 1st, 2017
“Republicans in Congress have already proposed a bill [Repub amend] that would require a new election in each unionized bargaining unit whenever, through turnover, expansion, or merger, a unit experiences at least 50 percent turnover. While no union would be happy about expending limited resources on regular retention elections, I think it would be hard to turn down a trade that would allow the 93% of workers who are unrepresented to have a chance to opt for unionization on a regular schedule.”
Wheels within wheels of poetic justice: a Democratic proposed labor market-make-over would corral a lot of blue collar voters (Obama voters, remember?) back into the Democratic win column – so we could pass said amendment in the first place.
Robert Kuttner recently pointed out that Dems can lean left economically as far as they please — they will only pick up blue collar workers when they lean left economically.
All said, all you have to realize is that there is no other way back — do this or do nothing forever.
Stealing a page from Scott Walker’s playbook is “the” win-win-win issue.
Your description of Republicans is spot on. However, other than their maniacal obsession with divisive identity politics, Democrats are hardly much better given the that they ALSO kowtow to the Wall Street and the wealthy. Neither major party represents working people–it just too bad that working people allow themselves to be forever divided by two corrupt political parties who view them with little but contempt.
“It’s not true that in rural districts you have to be conservative, or in the middle of the road,” Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO, told news reporters Wednesday at a Washington breakfast hosted by The Christian Science Monitor. He said that in Pennsylvania’s suburban/rural 18th District, “Conor Lamb spoke of our issues. He spoke of collective bargaining, he spoke of joining a union, he spoke of protecting Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid. And he got elected in a district that was computer-designed so that no Democrat could ever win. A computer said no Democrat could ever win this district, and he did.” [my emphasis]
“To hold President Trump accountable, the Center for American Progress Action Fund’s American Worker Project is tracking every action the president takes to weaken job protections for Americans.
Our list includes legislation and orders signed by the president; procedural changes and regulations enacted or proposed by his administration; and official statements of policy, such as the president’s proposed budget. The list does not include political nominations and appointments of individuals with records of enacting anti-worker policies, since these actions happened outside their role in the administration.”
There are 36 so far.
On divided opinion, along with the division are positions not strongly held. So people may like UBI but not think it worthwhile, or dislike it thinking it wouldn’t really work but not believing it would make much difference.
“Neither major party represents working people–it just too bad that working people allow themselves to be forever divided by two corrupt political parties who view them with little but contempt.”
That’s the kind of bullshit that allowed Trump to sneak into office. The Democrats may not be your idea of pro-worker or anti-Wall Street, but the difference in voting on bread-and-butter issues between Republicans and Democrats is dramatic. On just one issue, with a Democratic President and a Democratic Congress, there is no doubt we already would have seen a minimum wage to at least $10 per hour. That’s not sufficient, but it’s almost 40% better than what the Republicans are happy with. Tell a family with two minimum wage workers that an extra $11,000 in their pockets is worthless!
We also would not have seen a Janus decision, because Gorsuch would not be on the Court.
We probably would have already had a public option added to ACA — at least for people aged 50-64 without employer-provided insurance having the right to buy into Medicare. Consideration of a broader public option for everyone in the exchanges would be on the table, too, with very strong public support (and, therefore, likely passage).
That’s just three issues. This pox-on-both-your houses is truly toxic. It’s uninformed. Yes, it’s deplorable.
This line of thinking is well known as “What the matter with Kansas” line. It is true that “That’s … allowed Trump to sneak into office.”
But you ignored the fact that Democratic Party entered a profound crisis (aka “demexit” similar to Brexit) from which they still are unable to escape. Clinton ideas they workers do not have alternative and will vote for crumps Dems are willing to give them stop working.
In other words Dems lost their legitimacy, identify politics did not work this time as well as in the past. I would say that the whole neoliberal elite lost its legitimacy. That’s why Russiagate was launched, and Neo-McCarthyism hysteria was launched by Podesta and friends to cement those cracks that divide the USA.
The Dem Party became a grab bag of identity groups. But this election the dominant was anti-globalization discourse, and Dems suffered a humiliating defeat. With Republican Party grabbing the the tool they created. The collies of small town America led to collapse of Dems.
That people votes against their economic interest (“What the matter with Kansas” situation). But the level of alienation of working and lower middle class is really extreme. The opioid epidemic is just one sign of this. So Trump election was just a middle finger to the neoliberal elite.
We actually do not have left. Because there is no real discussion about neoliberalism and alternatives. Bernie called himself “democratic socialist’. Which was at least in sense transformational. But that’s it. Bernie is not anti-war and anti-American empire.
Hillary was a traditional neocon warmonger, defender of the empire in foreign policy and corrupt to the core, greedy politician in domestic policy (in the pocket of Wall Street and special interests).
As somebody noted here:
Anyone that links the Russia investigation and McCartthyism together knows nothing about either.
This kind of post would be better off elsewhere, it reads like a bunch of trump tweets with the same kind of attention to grammar..
Same as it ever was.
“As part of the discussion about democratic socialism and the past, present, and future of the Donkey Party, Josh Marshall made this interesting comment:
[M]ost of what is now branded “democratic socialism” in the USA in 2018 is more or less the Truman presidential platform in 1948.
I’m reasonably sure Josh was primarily alluding to the symmetry between today’s calls for a “single payer” health-care system and Truman’s call for national health insurance. But a stroll down memory lane to the 1948 Democratic platform shows more symmetry between the domestic policy views and concerns of Democrats 70 years ago and today than one might imagine.
Check this out:
We favor legislation assuring that the workers of our nation receive equal pay for equal work, regardless of sex.
We favor the extension of the Social Security program established under Democratic leadership, to provide additional protection against the hazards of old age, disability, disease or death. We believe that this program should include:
Increases in old-age and survivors’ insurance benefits by at least 50 percent, and reduction of the eligibility age for women from 65 to 60 years; extension of old-age and survivors’ and unemployment insurance to all workers not now covered; insurance against loss of earnings on account of illness or disability; improved public assistance for the needy.
There’s extensive and even militant language about union and collective bargaining rights, including a demand for repeal of the union-busting Taft-Hartley Act that remains on the books today. And 6 years before Brown v. Board of Education, and 16 years before the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Truman’s Democrats made this pledge which has yet to be fully redeemed:
The Democratic Party is responsible for the great civil rights gains made in recent years in eliminating unfair and illegal discrimination based on race, creed or color.
The Democratic Party commits itself to continuing its efforts to eradicate all racial, religious and economic discrimination.
We again state our belief that racial and religious minorities must have the right to live, the right to work, the right to vote, the full and equal protection of the laws, on a basis of equality with all citizens as guaranteed by the Constitution.”
“At the end of a century that has seen the evils of communism, Nazism and other modern tyrannies, the impulse to centralize power remains amazingly persistent.” ~ Joseph Sobran
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” The problem of finding useful work for millions of people (and not crowding out unsubsidized private sector employment) doesn’t worry people anything like as much as the risk that one lazy person takes advantage of cash welfare once. ”
Why does almost nobody notice that those two opinions are directly contradictory. Increasing the number of the indolent poor improves the chances of the genuinely keen of finding a good job.
We all understood what Robert was stating. This is why nobody called out the one word (“like”) which makes his statement awkward. Why would you use the word “almost” in your comment? Your sentence does not need it. How does increasing the numbers of “lazy” poor improve the chances of the genuinely keen ([insert] on finding a job) of finding a job? It is true, that people are more worried about one person on Medicaid, unemployment, workman’s comp, food stamps, disability, CHIPS; then they are about people finding a useful job which pays a liveable wage in the US.
nobody of indolent poor – number of indolent poor …