SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 9, 2019
Four items from that Times survey: What the heck do Trump voters think? When the occasional journalist decides to ask, we liberals tend to get mad. We tend to tell these journalists to stop.
As part of a recent survey in the six states Trump won by the narrowest margins, the New York Times took a different approach. The Times asked Democratic voters in those states to state their view about several topics.
We thought the answers those Dem voters gave were very much worth considering.
In this report from yesterday's Times, Nate Cohn reports what those Democratic voters said they think about a series of topics. He also reported the views of registered voters who lean Democratic but didn't vote in 2016. By staying home in 2016, these Dem-leaners helped Trump win.
What do Democratic voters in those swing states think? We'll consider four different topics:
So-called political correctness: In what struck us as a startling rate of response, 61 percent of Democratic voters said they agree with this statement: "Political correctness has gone too far."
Additionally, 68 percent of Democratic leaners who didn't vote stated the same view.
What do these people have in mind when they state this view? We can't answer that question. But claims about "political correctness" largely originated, decades ago, as a fusillade from the right.
When 61 percent of Democrats who voted for Clinton express that view about "political correctness," we can only imagine how many votes may have been lost among others who hold such views.
Media condescension: According to Cohn, 28 percent of Democratic voters said they think "the media looks down on people like them." A walloping 39 percent of Dem-leaners who didn't vote stated the same view.
We don't know what these people would say if they were asked to explain this view. For ourselves, we wouldn't be inclined to respond to such a broad question.
Racial discrimination: Citizens, get ready to howl! According to Cohn, 24 percent of Democrats who voted for Clinton in these states believe that "discrimination against whites has become as big a problem as discrimination against blacks." 33 percent of Dem-leaning non-voters stated the same view.
We don't know what these people would say if asked to explain this view. But over here in our liberal tribe, we like to associate this view with the snarling racists widely found in the other tribe. For whatever reason, a large contingent of people who voted for Clinton say that they hold the same view.
Likable hopefuls: The fourth question is one of those survey questions which seem to have been designed to separate us by tribe. On its face, the question is worded in such a convoluted way that you'd think it would mainly serve to separate thoughtful people like Us from horrible people like Them.
In this case, that didn't quite happen. According to Cohn, 25 percent of Democrats who voted for Clinton said they agree with this statement: "Sometimes, it feels like most women who run for President just aren't that likable." 37 percent of Democratic non-voters agreed.
The statement these people were asked to assess includes a remarkable string of qualifiers. In theory, though, well-trained people will know that they shouldn't agree with the statement. The Others would blunder ahead.
In this case, one-fourth of Democrats who voted for Clinton said they agreed with the statement. Cohn doesn't tell us how many Republican voters agreed with the statement, and no one was asked to respond to a similar question about candidates who are men.
So how about it? What do we the Democrats think?
In our view, the size of the response about "political correctness" is extremely striking. But all these matters should be examined further, unless our progressive thought leaders just don't care what our "Joe and Jane Lunchbuckets" think.
By the way, how many black and female Democrats agreed with the statements about discrimination and likability? It's our impression that pollsters generally don't publish such data.
We Democrats think the darnedest things. But so do we people in general!
Concerning some basic confusion: As we read Cohn's report, we found its basic lack of clarity maddening. We're especially thinking of the way he jumbled two separate questions together:
How would Candidate Clinton have fared with a larger Democratic turnout? Versus, How would Candidate Clinton have fared with a larger overall turnout?
Many people have said that Clinton failed to inspire a large turnout among Democratic constituencies. It seemed to us that Cohn created a lot of confusion when he seemed to run those two questions together.
We struggled to make out what he was saying. Valuable minutes ticked away as we tried to figure things out!