INFIRMITIES AND DELUSIONS: What are Iowa voters like?


How Do We Look to The Others?: By our reckoning, Democrats won last November's elections by remarkably small margins.

By our reckoning, the elections followed four years of The Crazy from President Donald J. Trump—but that's just the way we saw it. Apparently, many voters didn't see it that way on the presidential level:

Nationwide vote, presidential election, 2020
Biden (D): 81.3 million votes (51.3%)
Trump (R):  74.2 million votes (46.9%)

Biden won by seven millions votes—by 4.4 points. By our reckoning, that was a strikingly small victory margin after four years of President Trump—especially since five million of the votes in that seven million vote margin were wracked up in California alone.

(By our reckoning, the total vote in the other 49 states was amazingly close after four years of Trump. Biden won those states by just two million votes. Why were those totals so close?)

We've already shown you the nationwide vote in last November's 435 House elections. Here too, by our reckoning, the Democratic victory margin was strikingly small, given those four years of Trump

Nationwide vote, House elections, 2020
Democratic candidates: 50.8% of the nationwide vote
Republican candidates: 47.7% of the nationwide vote   
Resulting membership: 222 D, 213 R

Even after four years of Trump, Democratic candidates won the House vote, on a nationwide basis, by only a bit more than three points! By our reckoning, that was amazingly close.

How might our politics look today if Democrats had been able to do even a little bit better? If each of those nationwide numbers had moved by only two points, the House election totals would have looked like this:

Nationwide vote, House elections, 2020
Democratic candidates: 52.8% of the nationwide vote
Republican candidates: 45.7% of the nationwide vote   
Resulting membership: Unknown

Presumably, the Democratic margin in the House would look better if we'd won by seven points nationwide, rather than by three. Also, if nationwide totals had bumped by two points, we would have won the North Carolina Senate seat—and we might have had a shot in Iowa, the second-closest Senate race which Democrats lost last fall.

Sinema would be an afterthought. Possibly Manchin as well.

Attention (some) Iowa voters! On what basis were (some of) you willing to vote for Trump last time, and also for a Senate candidate from his Republican Party?

(We won't be trying to flip all their votes. We're just looking for ways to flip some.)

It seems to us that our vastly self-impressed / self-satisfied tribe should be wondering about such questions. We should also be asking related questions, including such questions as this:

What kinds of stupid things do we constantly dostupid things which may turn off (some) Iowa voters?

In two consecutive recent posts, Kevin Drum took a stab at imagining The Way We Look to Iowa (and Ohio) voters.

We don't necessarily agree with Drum's assessments in those particular posts. But he was asking a very good question, a question which goes like this
How Do We Look to Others?
Needless to say, The Others will never be as brilliant, as perfect or as fine as we admittedly are.

They will never be as smart. They'll never be as morally good. Their human worth will never be the equal to Ours.

That said, if we could have peeled even a few percentage points away from last fall's Republican totals, we might be facing a much better political situation today.

On a human basis, The Others will never be our equals—will never be fully human. Still, is it possible that Our Team is absent-mindedly doing stupid things—on a daily basis, let's say—which may tend to drive a chunk of reachable voters away? 

It seems to us that our team does such things every day of the week, and twice as often on Sundays. In truth, these behaviors occur on a daily basis as top major experts despair.

How Do We Look to Others? Even given the obvious fact that The Others will never be as smart or as good, that seems like a very important political question.

How Does Our Tribe Look to Others? We expect to start exploring that question on a regular basis next week. 

One of our infirmities may be this:

Like human tribes of every stripe, we may not be especially skilled at answering that key question. Disconsolate scholars have even claimed that there may be delusions at work here!


  1. "Presumably, the Democratic margin in the House would look better if we'd won by seven points nationwide, rather than by three. "

    Not necessarily, dear Bob. Dead people voting in big cities affect the presidential election, but not the result for the House.

  2. We look like dumb, pretentious assholes. Just look at the moronic troll here. They are wrong and stupid about almost everything they say. It's a perfect example of who we are. We've trained ourselves to avoid all criticisms with trite ripostes that don't hold up to logical scrutiny. We trained ourselves not to think at all, let alone think critically. Party affiliation is emotional. That turns one into a dumb, pretentious asshole.

    1. The left shall fail if they cede skepticism to the right.

      That's my short answer.

    2. I'll explain for you then.

      The left (as in Democrats) will fail (as in lose elections) if they cede (as in give up) skepticism (as in first reaction to things is to doubt and seek verification, not trust the information) to the right (as in Republicans).

    3. Then calling bullshit on the economic anxiousness of Trump voters is a winner.

    4. At this point, they have ceded skepticism. Look at how they got fooled on Russiagate. Years and years of believing every word that came out of intelligence community operative's mouths. And even to this day they still believe it and don't realize that Mueller found no evidence of a conspiracy between Russia and Trump. It's now been pretty much proven that Hillary Clinton started the whole Russia Trump thing herself! But they turn a blind eye to any kind of criticism. Look at Bob somerby, a skeptic. Look how they treat him. With complete scorn and ridicule and the lowest of accusations. Accusations of racism all the time! These people have lost the plot for a long long time now. The Democratic party is their religion and any skepticism at all is blasphemy.

  3. 2016 Pew Research poll
    Trump and Clinton on the issues

    Which candidate would do the better job of ... (%)

    Clinton preferred:
    Dealing with race relations
    Reflecting your views on abortion
    Making wise foreign policy decisions
    Dealing with health care
    Selecting Supreme Court justices
    Dealing with immigration
    Managing the federal government
    Making wise trade policy decisions
    Dealing with gun policy

    Trump preferred:
    Improving economic conditions
    Defending future terrorist attacks
    Reducing special interest influence

  4. The moon jumped over the cow in American politics in 1981 i.e. say any insane thing, and people will agree.

  5. “They will never be as smart. They'll never be as morally good. Their human worth will never be the equal to Ours.”

    “we might have had a shot in Iowa”

    There was nothing wrong with the Democratic candidate from Iowa last fall. She was a perfectly good candidate. She wasn’t going around demonizing the Republican voters of Iowa. She didn’t question their morals or proclaim her superior human worth.

    She couldn’t help it if conservatives choose to think in generalities and believe that every Democrat/liberal is identical to every other, and equally ‘hitlerian.’ They are constantly told that all ‘liberals’ think exactly as Somerby has stated it here.

  6. Some people did not vote for Biden because they worried that he was too old. With a younger Democratic candidate, perhaps that 7 million vote margin would have been substantially larger.

  7. Somerby apparently seems to think that only Kevin Drum is taking a look at how to win more voters. Drum’s complaint in the link that Somerby provided wasn’t that liberals are self-righteous, condescending assholes, but that the Congressional Dems were trying to be too progressive, “insisting that these voters will love us if we adopt the Bernie agenda lock, stock, and barrel. I don't understand why even delusional progressives would believe this, but I can only assume it's because they live in a bubble and have never actually met a moderate voter from Iowa or Ohio.” (Has Drum?)

    Drum keeps urging Democrats to be more “moderate” (whatever that means), even on economic issues, ignoring all the moderate Democrats who did run. Apparently, he’d be happy with more Manchins.

    But then, Somerby doesn’t “necessarily” agree.

  8. Democrats lost some House seats in 1992 when Clinton was elected. There was no change in the Senate.

    Then in 1994, Democrats lost the House and Senate.

    Democrats gained in the House and Senate in 2008 with Obama, then lost both in 2010.

    Apparently this means that Democrats for sure weren’t condescending assholes in 2008, and probably weren’t in 1992, but were in 1994 and 2010. Now, despite their wins in 2020, they must have been condescending assholes then, because Biden’s popular vote margin over Trump wasn’t big enough.

  9. The white male vote elected Trump. No one ever talks about that.

    1. It's not "identity politics", because white people aren't a "special interest" group. Instead they're the "default" important people in the country.

    2. Women are half of the “default important people” yet they went strongly for Biden while men went for Trump. Someone looking for votes on the right should address women’s needs. Somerby never talks about how to do that.

    3. Corby, Biden could have started by saying that we should be able to go pee without critics following us into the bathroom.

      As much as men complain about the length of time women spend there, those people knew that Sinema had to come out at some point.

  10. I agree it was a very close election. If people like Bob hadn’t spent 4 years making excuses for the Right, we might have done better.

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