Coalition of the optimistic

I forget where I read it (and pretty sure posted about) recently, but I have been really struck about the Democratic coalition of cosmopolitan, college-educated, urban dwellers and racial minorities ultimately being joined by having a positive view of the future.  Things really are much better than the “great again” days if you are a college graduate.  And most definitely, if you are a minority.  And for sure, if you are a woman (alas, for the non-college-educated women, that realization may not be so clear).  I don’t put too stock in many of the exit polls “I voted for moral values!” but there’s more than a nugget of truth in this item:


The chart of 2016

So, I already mentioned the decline in turnout, but this image (which has been super-widely shared from Reddit and is easily falsifiable, so I’m just going to assume it’s correct) is really compelling:

I made a chart showing the popular vote turnout in 2008, 2012 and 2016. Hillary didn't lose because the Republicans grew their base; she lost because the Democrats didn't come out to vote. [OC]

Wow.  Yes, Obama is a popular and charismatic figure, but that sure is a lot of Democrats (even from the much less popular 2012) who simply did not show up for Clinton.  Counter-factual are so damn tough, but its not unreasonable to really wonder how Bernie would have fared.  Or Biden.  Anyway, I think this differential turnout (now, of course, this doesn’t have any third party votes), has to be considered an important part of understanding the 2016 election.

Clinton 2016 < Obama 2012

Interesting piece in Reason making the point that HRC basically did just a little worse than Obama 2012 with pretty much all groups (though, probably more than “a little” worse with non-college whites):

Exit-poll data is far from precise, but it does at least give us an informed idea of why things went the way they did. And all signs indicate that it wasn’t some radical realignment of voting blocs nor new and unique conditions that drove Donald Trump to victory. Like so many GOP leaders before him, Trump’s support was derived largely from older, white, and middle- to upper-class voters, with young people, non-whites, and working-class voters overwhelmingly choosing Clinton. But Clinton couldn’t get as much support from these groups as she needed to counter the predictable wave of older, white voters for Trump.

Across every key Democratic demographic, Clinton’s numbers were down compared to Barack Obama’s in 2012. According to CNN exit polls, 88 percent of black voters chose Clinton this year, while 93 percent of black voters went with Obama in 2012. Black voters also made up less of the total electorate this year—12 percent, down from 13 percent…

Latinos, too, showed less enthusiasm for Clinton this year than they did for Obama, who won 71 percent of the Hispanic vote in 2012, compared to 65 percent this year for Clinton. And Asians were also less Democrat-positive in 2016, with 65 percent choosing Clinton this year, compared to 73 percent for Obama four years ago.

Among millennials, there wasn’t any more love for Trump than there had been for Mitt Romney. But young voters did show less love to Clinton than they did when it came to Obama. CNN’s polls showed Trump and Romney captured the same percentage of 18- to 29-year-old voters—37 percent—but Obama won 60 percent of this age group in 2012 while Clinton got just 55 percent this year.

And while 52 percent of Americans who earn less than $50,000 per year voted for Clinton (compared to just 41 percent for Trump), Obama fared better among low-income voters in 2012.

Meanwhile, slightly higher percentages of some key Democratic demographics went for Trump than did for Romney in the last go-round. While Romney got 27 percent of Latino voters, Trump got 29 percent. While Romney got 7 percent of black voters, Trump got 8 percent…

By all early indications, Trump won by winning exactly the Republican status quo; Clinton lost by failing to capture enough of either her party’s traditional base or the coalition of young and non-white voters that proppelled Obama to power. While many will call this a mandate for Trump, it’s probably better read as an anti-mandate for Clinton. For all the irregularities of Trump’s campaign and character, he hasn’t forged radically different demographic ground here than did Romney or other Republicans (something that, alas, doesn’t bode well for GOP reflection and reform). And for all Clinton’s potential power as the first female candidate, she could have won by simply hanging on to Obama’s status quo.  [emphasis mine]

Why?  1) Trump–completely absurdly– ended up being almost entirely normalized.  2) Presumably Clinton was significantly abnormalized.  Gender?  Just not as good a politician as Obama?  Scandal (whether worthy or not)?  We’ll never completely know, but this election is not quite the sea change many want to see in it.

That said, Democrats absolutely have to find a way to better reach out to non-college white voters (they don’t have to win them, just not get killed) in economic ways that will not do anything to diminish their urban/cosmopolitan coalition.

My son had a horrible day and it made me happy

I know, I’m a monster.  My oldest (just 17) has always been kind of interested in politics, mostly because he’s an inquisitive kid and likes to have me explain things to him.  Nothing I’m better at explaining, than politics (I think).  So, he knows a lot about it, and is a good liberal, but has never shown any particular interest.  Yesterday, he came home from school and told me he had had a bad day because he was so upset about the election.  He said he was anti-social because he was afraid he’d say some things he would regret.  He used all his free time in school to read up on the election in the New York Times, the Guardian, and the Raleigh News & Observer.  Whoa!

Yes, of course I wish that he didn’t feel so bad, but I was so pleased to see he is not only intellectually interested in politics, but that he cares enough to take this hard.  And, yeah, he’ll tell me he really enjoyed reading something that I left open on the computer, but I’ve never known him to see out political information on his own.  Okay, I suppose I would trade a Clinton presidency for more disinterest in my son, but if Donald Trump has gotten him to take a real and genuine interest in politics, that’s a very nice silver lining for me.

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