The lost Obama voters Democrats need to focus on

Not those who voted for Trump, but those who did not turn out at all in 2016.  Some excellent and interestinig analysis from Brian Schaffner and others.  Here’s the key chart:

And the analysis:

We grouped all 2012 voters into one of five categories, three of which we focus on in this essay: Obama-to-Trump, Obama-to-nonvoter and Obama-to-Clinton. (We used validated voter turnout data rather than self-reported turnout, which tends to overstate actual voter participation and which one of us used in a preliminary analysis.)

So who were the Obama-to-nonvoters? Fifty-one percent were people of color, compared with 16 percent of Obama-to-Trump voters and 34 percent of Obama-to-Clinton voters. Twenty-three percent of Obama-to-nonvoters were under 30, compared with 11 percent of Obama-to-Trump voters and 10 percent of Obama-to-Clinton voters. More than 60 percent of Obama-to-nonvoters make less than $50,000 a year, compared with 45 percent of Obama-to-Clinton voters and 52 percent of Obama-to-Trump voters…

Two clear patterns emerged. First, it will come as no surprise that Obama-to-Trump voters adopt the most conservative positions. In fact, Obama-to-Trump voters express the most conservative views of any Obama voters in each of the seven areas examined in this analysis…

Second, the preferences of Obama-to-nonvoters are almost always closer to the preferences of Obama-to-Clinton voters than they are to Obama-to-Trump voters…

Democratic strategists should recognize that Obama-to-Trump voters do not represent the future of their party. Obama-to-Trump voters diverge from the Democratic Party on many core issues, and in any case they are not particularly loyal Democrats: Less than one third of Obama-to-Trump voters supported Democrats down-ballot in 2016, and only 37 percent identify as Democrats.

In stark contrast, Obama-to-nonvoters share the progressive policy priorities of Democrats, and they strongly identify with the Democratic Party…

Getting these voters to the polls on Election Day is the most important task for progressives. And given their outlook on the important issues of the day, Obama-to-nonvoters are also likely to be easier to mobilize after two years of a Trump presidency — never mind four. [emphases mine]

Give up on Obama-Trump voters?  No.  But a more promising strategy is probably getting these former Obama voters back into the electorate.

The reality of welfare

Love this from Derek Thompson, “Busting the Myth of ‘Welfare Makes People Lazy’” (Somebody tell Paul Ryan)

“Welfare makes people lazy.” The notion is buried so deep within mainstream political thought that it can often be stated without evidence… Even today, it is an intellectual pillar of conservative economic theory, which recommends slashing programs like Medicaid and cash assistance, partly out of a fear that self-reliance atrophies in the face of government assistance.

Many economists have for decades argued that this orthodoxy is simply wrong—that wisely designed anti-poverty programs, like the Earned Income Tax Credit, actually increase labor participation. [emphases mine] And now, across the world, a fleet of studies are converging on the consensus that even radical welfare programs—including basic-income programs and what are called conditional cash transfers—don’t make people any less productive.

Most notably, a 2015 meta-study of cash programs in poor countries found “no systematic evidence that cash transfer programs discourage work” in seven different countries: Mexico, Nicaragua, Honduras, the Philippines, Indonesia, or Morocco. Other studies of cash-grant experiments in Uganda and Nigeria have found that such programs can increase working hours and earnings, particularly when the beneficiaries are required to attend classes that teach specific trades or general business skills.

Welfare isn’t just a moral imperative to raise the living standards of the poor. It’s also a critical investment in the health and future careers of low-income kids.

The great news, is that since Republicans are all about following empirical evidence than what they just know (e.g., climate change) we can expect this to make a real difference in how they approach policy ;-).  Okay, not so much, but Democrats need to be a lot more zealous in countering this line from Republicans and arguing the importance of that last point.

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