The libertarian vs. populist trade-off in the 2020 election and beyond
The libertarian vs. populist trade-off in the 2020 election and beyond
A few weekends ago I wrote that “the Democratic ‘brand’ is ‘socially liberal, economically moderate,’ while the US electorate as a whole is socially moderate and economically progressive” citing a scatterplot graph of the 2016 electorate; and that:
The path forward is to embrace, and pass, some simple economic fixes … that materially improve – and are *seen* to materially improve – average Americans’ lives, while allowing for some flexibility on issues that people perceive as ones of morality (and hence are hard to compromise about) in such a way that nobody’s ox gets gored too much.
This past week that scatterplot diagram was updated and improved for the 2020 electorate. Here it is:
Biden got about 93% of the economically and culturally progressive vote. (Democratic congressional candidates got 91%.)
While Biden and Democratic congressional candidates did relatively well with the “libertarian” vote (socially liberal but economically conservative), they did poorly with the “populist” vote (economically progressive but socially conservative).
The problem for Democrats is that the “populist” vote is more than 3x as large as the “libertarian” vote. If Democrats were to trade their vote shares between those two groups (I.e., if conservatively Biden were to get 23% more of the populist vote and lose the libertarian vote by 47%), here’s how the math would work out:
Of *total* votes, Biden would give up 3.1% from the libertarians and 4.7% of the populists, for a total of -7.8%, in exchange for 1.9% from the libertarians and 10.5% from the populists, for a total of +12.4%. In short, Biden’s net vote gain would be 4.6%. Using similar math, Democratic Congressional candidates’ shares would improve by 2.9%, 10.3% of the total vote vs. 7.4% presently.
It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that doing this trade would be tremendously advantageous to Democrats.
The upside is that Democrats could enact a thoroughly progressive economic agenda. But it’s certainly fair to ask, what the downside would be.
Start with the idea that “social issues” in most cases really are seen as “moral issues” by most people, and that’s why it is so difficult to find a compromise on them.
For example, 38 States allow 17 year olds to get married; of those 27 allow 16 year olds to be married. In 9 of those States a person over 21 years old can marry a person age 17 or even 16.
Suppose one of those married couples – say a man aged 24 and a teenage girl age 16 – moved into your State and into your neighborhood. Under the “full faith and credit” clause of the US Constitution, your State would have to recognize that marriage. It is a very open question to say the least whether your State’s laws criminalizing sex between those two persons could be enforced.
How does that “social issue” look to you?
Suppose you are the proverbial baker, who is a proprietor of your own business. If that couple wanted you to bake a cake for their first anniversary, do you think you should be able to lawfully refuse?
How does that “social issue” look to you?
The point I am trying to make in the above hypothetical situation is that the situation looks very different when it is *your* moral code that is being infringed upon.
To take another issue of recent contention, if I recall correctly even a majority of Democrats were against the forced removal of Confederate statues from all locations.
So, what would a “socially moderate” platform look like? It would probably entail two parts:
1. Allowing different States to make different moral choices within reason, even when it means some people who choose to live in some morally conservative States don’t have all the freedom you think they should have.
2. Allowing freedom of conscience for solo proprietors and family-owned small businesses that do not take advantage of the corporate form to deny service to some customers to whom they have a moral aversion (but *not* on the basis of race).
The bottom line is, not forcing one portion of society’s version of morality down the craw of another portion of society, allowing breathing space, but ensuring that reasonable accommodations are made. As I said in my first post several weeks ago, ensuring that “nobody’s ox gets gored too much.”
Commenters here have asserted that there is no such thing as a voter who voted for Obama nut switched to Trump. David Leonhardt at NYT disagrees:
And (directly on the posted topic) he says:
It is the economy. stupid.
As long as you believe you can convince people by having better economic policies, you are going to miss a huge part of the electorate.
sounds like what i have been trying to say, especially for the last year.
the details get sticky.
i think you’d have a hard time selling the ‘policies’ (especially while ignoring the “social” issues). but if you could manage to win an election or two and deliver economic Results ( while finding a way to be not quite so strident and hate-filled about “social” issues), you might get….well what people thought they were voting for with Obama and Clinton, and got, for one brief shining moment with Roosevelt.
Johnson presents a whole other problem.
Yes, no open borders and no affirmative action. Obama opposed both. Yet starting with the 2014, the party began subtle running on those things………….why???
I think Warren’s poor performance and liberal activists joining BLM shows how weak of voting bloc this is. Even nonwhites weren’t turning on by them. The Republican brand is too inbred right now. Its there for the taking. But Democrats need to bring a actual plan to parts of the Midwest and parts of the south that have been ignored.
Agribusiness/land reform, gaslighting the rich’s role in illegal immigration along with evangelical/dominionists role in that. A humane zero tolerance for illegal immigration. Pointing out of how activists that police reform has netted a large drop of police to persons homicides since 1999. This is especially true of black people. That means BLM is a racist fraud. Period. Blacks make up 1/4 of the prime age population, occur about a 1/4 of total police homicides. Sounds like they have improved their lot quite a bit there. No wonder the black voter isn’t inspired by BLM. If you want future reforms, it can’t be racial. Media gaslighting of this must end unless they do all of the big 5 racial classes.
I think this would help Dems a lot with whites across the board while continuing their work on health care, higher wages, tax policy that opposes offshoring(something Biden worked to improve and got little credit for it) and union busting.
Liquify your plot.
If we do not want to cram morals down to the district or state level then revenue sharing is the answer. Revenue sharing hand ut cash at the district and state level, pure unadulterated ready to spend cash account in the bank. With revenue sharing, our government chain at each link can make change, buy now or a little later, change plans and buy into another plot. Cash is liquid. I
f you do not like cash then you will be forever trying to exchange one moral idea for half or quarter of another moral idea, but there is no savings and loan system for moral ideas. And that is your problem, and you will never accept cash and you will always return to pushing morals down some portion of the government value chain. You, and we, are hopelessly confused. The discussion is hopeless, a waste of time, we know where this is going, more moral persuasion.
i don’t know that i can make much out of the preceding paragraphs.
but if revenue sharing means giving cash to georgia, say, while they disenfranchise their black population, i’d say no.
moral persuasion is a part of life. just as religious belief is a legitimate part of politics. the problem is to lear to do it without making enemies that you don’t need to make.
from my point of view the Left could stand to stop shouting about certain “moral” issues (like statues) and concentrate on delivering a better deal for working people: a living minimum wage, better protection from predatory businesses, medicare (worker paid) for all with honest oversight to control prices and unnecessary procedures,
and just to make a few enemies here: i can’t see why gay people can’t find a gay baker to make their wedding cake… this is an issue you don’t have to shove in people’s faces. i don’t see why the police can’t be restrained from killing unarmed people, black or white. i don’t see why we need to jail people for selling drugs,…
i don’t see where any of this needs to threaten someone’s closely held religious or moral beliefs. abortion is a problem because half the population believes, sincerely, that it is murder, and the other half believes, passionately that the government has no business in their most private affairs. I would agree with the first group while reminding them that Jesus said, “What is that to you? Follow thou me! And I’d agree with the second group… but then i’d have to remind them about personal privacy issues they are not so sure about.
and get stoned for my trouble.
perhaps, only just thinking out loud, the answer for the democrats would be to just not talk about it. which might mean enfocing a civil rights ban against the states looking at what happens between a person and his/her doctor.
maybe this is a can’t win situation, but it seems to me the Dems have been playing a game of winning votes by appealing to people’s moral (emotional) beliefs, by spitting in the face of those people the R’s are winning votes from by appealing to their emotional (moral) beliefs. while neither party really gives a damn about the beliefs themselves.
Amen, Brother Coberly.
Unfortunately, it is not just science that progresses one funeral at a time. Commitment bias is strong in anything where preferences and beliefs are held by heavy personal investment. IOW, the louder that one shouts their opinion then the less likely that they are to ever change that opinion. People do not just shout down others, but they shout down their own ability for reason as well.
Leonhardt is an idiot.
Meanwhile, I love this sort of comment that works to ignore the obvious racist basis for GOP white working class voters.
“But Democrats need to bring a actual plan to parts of the Midwest and parts of the south that have been ignored.”
Can you point to any single example of an actual plan that has been promoted by the GOP?
Of course not.
I have no knowledge of Leonhardt beyond this article. Here he does not seem to be an idiot. Unless you think I am an idiot for saying much the same thing to you at Angry Bear from time to time.
We have always had racism. I think we always will: it is a default position of human brains, perhaps all brains. But dogs can learn to get along with cats.
Meanwhile you seem to ignore economic facts, and massive propaganda from the Right, and self-defeating propaganda from the Left.
The GOP have an actual plan to beat the Democrats if not turn the country into something like a fascist dictatorship.. though no doubt one pretending to be a democracy while controlled from behind the scenes by something like a conspiracy of the very rich. Not exactly a “secret” conspiracy, but a well funded and sophisticated system of getting what they want within the trappings of a democracy…. even a “one man one vote” democracy that the Founders rejected because they knew something about the history of “democracies” controlled by “strong men” or well organized oligarchy.
I think the “all racism all the time” meme is self defeating.
Yeah, let’s not call a spade a spade.
Can you come up with the GOP’s efforts to appeal to voters in the Rustbelt and in the South?
Since Reagan they have been the anti-labor party. Implementing right to work laws, killing legislation to enable unions to increase. And this current admin has been absolutely resolute to hurt labor in every way they could.
“On Monday, the Trump administration finalized a sweeping new regulation that allows federal contractors to discriminate against racial and religious minorities, women, and especially LGBTQ people in the name of protecting “religious liberty.” It effectively abolishes critical workplace protections for these contractors that have been in place for decades, reframing religious freedom as a near-limitless license to discriminate. Monday’s move will force the Biden administration to waste countless hours and resources reversing this radical rewrite of federal law.
The rules restricting discrimination by federal contractors springs from Executive Order 11246, which President Lyndon Johnson signed in 1965. Johnson’s order barred discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, or national origin. Presidents later added sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity to the list of protected traits. Today, there are about 4 million employees of federal contractors who benefit from these protections. The Department of Labor enforces presidential prohibitions against discrimination in these workplaces.”
It is what it is.
Can you name what the GOP has done for the white working class the last 50 years?
Nothing. Except for their constant attacks on labor in every way possible.
You need to tell me when your comments are being trashed. Reply to me in any comment of mine and I will see it.
Stimulus Deal Stalls As McConnell Balks At Bipartisan Bill
Do not get hysterical about the ZH link, it is a reasonable repeat of other news.
But, the point is, cash, revenue sharing balances the wobble between senate and house. Remember, moral persuasion does not over come the Constitution, revenue sharing to balance government wobble happens, every time, it is the Law, else you get sudden stop.
How much revenue sharing? The Fed measures it quarterly, they have the natural government wobble account, we call it seigniorage, but it is really the Fed imposing a VAT to cover Senate/House wobble. It will be over 1.5% of GDP for ten years, it ids a very regressive tax. How should that 1.5% VAT tax be used? Vermont get a billion, each district gets about 3/4 billion in cold hard cash each year. The split varies a bit and the total varies a bit. One can actually estimate the split using state vs house distributions.
We attempted moral persuading on this for 250 years, and we get either sudden stops or revenue sharing. Let me repeat, this is a liquidity issue, every link in the total government chain needs the same relative liquidity or the Fed will impose a larger and more repressive VAT tax, the Fed has no choice. If the government value chain comes short, the whole chain stops, a characteristic of value chains.
Go for the cash handouts, go for a revenue sharing agreement, make legislation a lot simpler..
we seem to be talking past each other. it’sone thing to call a spade a spade, its another thing to call a shovel a spade, or a scoop, garden trowel or silver spoon. the essense of “racist” thinking is the failure to distinguish between “looks like” and “is.”
i know the R’s have been anti liabor since at least 1954 when they brought “right to work” to California. I was a Republican then (I was ten years old) and I thought “right to work” sounded reasonable. I knew nothing about the history of labor and labor unions. I am tolerably certain that very few voters today know any more about these things than I did when I was ten.
it seems futile, if not a little rude, for you to demand I tell you what theGOP has done for the white working class in the last fifty years. when I have just told you “they have a plan.” You’d have to ask the white working class what they think the R’s have done for them… or what Trump has done for them.
I think they have lied to them; they think the Dems have lied to them.
The answer is to get past the lies and deliver policies that make a difference. I don’t think we can do this by shouting “racist” every time the wind blows. Or tearing down statues nobody ever thought about for the last hundred years.
As for Trump, I think his purpose is to cause as much human misery as he can before he goes back to hell. He has lots of supporters.
if moral persuasion doesn’t work, that doesn’t mean nothing will work and we just have to hand them the cash while they destroy democracy and violate the (federal) civil rights of the people who live in their states.
a little slective withholding of cash might be all the leverage it takes. on the other hand we need to avoid imposing policies so stupid that they backfire, and the people of those states say “keep your stinking money.”
one rule to rule them all was never a good rule.
In re: immigration:
1. The truly libertarian approach to immigration is open borders.
2. The solution to undocumented labor (not the libertarian solution, the actual solution is:
a. arrest, fine and imprison any employer found employing undocumented workers;
b. fine any consumer who benefits from undocumented labor (produce, hotels, golf courses, resort, etc).
The reason there is undocumented labor is because Americans don’t want to pay a fair price for documented labor. That will change when the price of goods and services from undocumented workers is high enough to change that.
I keep finding your comments in trash. Gonna have to ask the programmers why.
i would agree with you about fining employers heavily.
i’m afraid most consumers have no idea where their produce comes from, so it would be unreasonable to fine them.
meanwhile, another solution would be to NOT rrest or deport undcumented workers, so they will not be afraid to demand fair wages and fair treatment.
your ideas seem overly punitive to me. worries me a bit. the hot desire to punish everything we don’t like is bad for children, bad for dogs, bad for ordinary people…including “criminals…bad for business and bad for the nation
@Coberly,I didn’t say it was my preferred approach. But it would certainly solve the problem, just not to the liking of most consumers, who would prefer the immiseration of undocumented workers.There are companies who will verify immigration status. Employers have to pay them, but the cost can be passed to consumers along with the credential that the goods/services have been free of undocumented labor. For those purchasing goods/services without this credential, caveat emptor. My only point is if anyone is serious about ending undocumented labor, they either have to provide a route to being documented that doesn’t reward unscrupulous employers and consumers or you have to punish unscrupulous employers and consumers. Or both. But just being “worried” solves nothing.
I see, “Which of you can by taking thought add one cubit to his stature?”
So, lock them up. Lock them ALL up!
I was thinking that if you catch the employers, and that should be easy, fine them enough to cover minimum wage, social security, health care, and unmmployment insurance. Maybe even bus fare to Mexico.
On the other hand, we could set up free trade zones in Mexico so refugees could find jobs and housing there.
Coberly bleats “So, lock them up. Lock them ALL up!”LOL! We have laws, for example, against littering. When people are caught littering (pace Alice’s Restaurant), we don’t “lock them up,” we fine them. I remember when there was much more litter on the roads. I guess the laws were some kind of deterrent, and yet nobody is serving prison time for littering. If you had bothered to read my post, instead of flailing away at straw men, you’d have noticed that I called for fines for anyone who purchased good/services from undocumented labor. Not prison time.Prison time for employers who hire undocumented labor and benefits from the fruits of that labor. Yes, lock “them” all up. It will shut that thing down.I know this approach won’t be adopted because too many people would rather pay less for good and services, blame the undocumented workers, and bleat that to punish the people who exploit them means we’d have to “lock them all up.”
Did you answer the PCR comment in the Open Thread? What is baffling to me is I do not know whether the 842 means is the count within a much larger number such 842 out or 10,000 or blah, blah, blah?
Question; Would the Moderna vaccine prevent transmission of Covid?
you are an angry person. more angry than you need to be. and perhaps a little humor impaired.
what are you going to do with the people who refuse to pay the fine?
are you going to track down all the people who bought a head of ettuce without verifying that Juan Valdez was documented?
I did bother to read your comment. I can’t read your mind, or did I?
As for the litter, I sus pect you must be living on a different road that you lived on before. Or, if you live in Oregon, maybe the bottle bill has helped clean up the roads a bit. We get a lot of people on my street throwing trash out of their cars. I always said we need to string one of them up on a lamppost as a warning to others. Bleat. bleat.