Did voter suppression decide 2016?

Not likely.  One easy way to gauge the impact would be to look at rates of change in Black turnout in states that passed laws making it harder to vote versus states that did not.  I assume somebody has or will do that.  For now, though, I found this recent tweet from Nate Cohn interesting:

2016 in maps

Nate Cohn with a really cool set of maps via twitter that shows shifts from earlier elections (areas that became more Democratic in blue, of course, and more Republican in red).  This really needs to be all consolidated in the Upshot.  But, here’s a few of them:

As Cohn notes on twitter, 1996-2016 represents a massive urban/rural shift:

Everything mattered

Loved this post in Vox from David Roberts about what mattered in the election.  Of course, in an election this close, most anything you can point to potentially made a difference in the outcome.  Roberts systematically looks at the evidence for all the commonly-offered explanations and gets to this sort-of summary:

The most agonizing implication of the narrow loss is that everything mattered.

Every decision to hype Clinton’s emails. Comey’s extraordinary violation of precedent. WikiLeaks. Clinton’s Goldman Sachs speeches. Her refusal to dissociate from the Clinton Foundation. Her poor retail politics. Trump not releasing his tax returns. Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan hiding out. Sanders tarnishing Clinton’s image among young people. Institutions standing by and doing nothing as Trump shredded democratic norms. The gamble that Trump’s misogyny and racism would render him unacceptable.

Fake news on Facebook. Epistemological bubbles. Elite self-absorption. Hot take after hot take delivered to the choir. Americans making the contest into a crass reality TV show fueled by Facebook memes. The press refusing to cover policy.

And whatever else you can name. The Electoral College turned on a 107,000-vote margin. All of it mattered. If you’re prone to haunting, crippling regret (luckily I don’t know anyone like that), that’s where you should focus your energy.

And I really like this part, because it certainly applies to what I got wrong:

Many people assumed that certain norms and standards still transcend the partisan divide. Surely being accused of, and admitting on tape to, serial sexual assault. Surely swindling poor people with a fake university. Surely crude racial stereotypes. Surely running a charitable foundation as a slush fund. Surely encouraging violence at rallies or threatening to reject unwelcome election results. Surely celebrating torture or vowing war crimes.

Clinton bet most of her chips on there being some floor, some violation of norms too low even for today’s radicalized Republican Party. She thought responsible Republican officeholders would rally. She thought at least well-off, well-educated Republican women would recoil in horror.

She was wrong. There is no floor. Partisanship has been revealed as the strongest force in US public life — stronger than any norms, independent of any facts. [emphasis mine]

Ezra Klein sums it up:

Political scientist Julia Azari has written the single most important sentence for understanding both Trump’s rise and this dangerous era in American politics: “The defining characteristic of our moment is that parties are weak while partisanship is strong.”

Here is the problem, in short: Parties, and particularly the Republican Party, can no longer control whom they nominate. But once they nominate someone — once they nominate anyone — that person is guaranteed the support of both the party’s elites and its voters.

And I’m particularly frustrated because I study partisanship and know how damn strong it is.  But even I didn’t realize it was that damn strong.  Among other things, as discussing with Jon K via email today, it is clearly stronger than religious faith (how else to explain so many Jesus-loving Evangelicals whole-heartedly embracing a man like Trump).

Anyway, lots more good stuff in Roberts article– I especially like the part on how Clinton was victimized by the media– but the biggest takeaway for me from this election was that a candidate as fabulously flawed as Trump still got 90% of his partisans to vote for him.


Damn, did I love this from Jay Rosen on how reporters should respond when politicians, like, say, The President-elect, make entirely baseless allegations.  This storify has several embedded tweets that show reporters/editors just not getting it, but you’ll have to click over to see those:

This article in USA Today came across my social feed a few days ago: Trump supporters target George Soros over protests. It’s about the accusation in some quarters on the right that Soros is behind the protests that sprang up after the election that made Donald Trump president-elect. On Apple News the headline was: George Soros blamed for secretly funding Trump protests.

None of the 1,300 words in the article presents any evidence that this charge is true. (Seriously: none.) The entire “plot” of the piece is that accusations have been made, the people accused say the charges are baseless, and USA today found zero evidence to undermine their defense. The accusers include some of the least reliable people on the internet, including the notorious fantasist, Alex Jones of the Infowars…

If you are evidence-based you lead with the lack of evidence for explosive or insidious charges. That becomes the news. If you are accusation-driven, the news is that certain people are making charges. With the details we may learn that there’s no evidence, but the frame in which that discovery is made remains “he said, she said.” (See my 2009 post about that.)

After the 2016 campaign, in which the winner routinely floated baseless charges — including many about the press — the unsuitability of accusation-driven news coverage should be obvious to mainstream journalists. It should be, but it is not…

The takeaway is that some journalists may be completely unprepared for what’s coming, even after Donald Trump used “people are saying” to such insidious effect.

Instead of defining public service as the battle against evidence-free claims, they will settle for presenting the charge, presenting the defense, and leaving it there, justifying this timid and outworn practice with a “both sides” logic that has nothing to do with truthtelling and everything to do with protecting themselves against criticism in Trump’s America.

Yep.  Some of the coverage I saw of Trump’s baseless allegations about voter fraud, of course, fit into this standard news formula, but the challenge clearly is to simply report that story as “Trump makes baseless allegation,” (which several outlets seemed to do) not, “Trump says something; other side says it’s not true.”

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