Why doesn't our tribe win more elections?


Kevin Drum's seven ideas: Tomorrow night, we'll start to learn who won this year's elections.

For now, a quick review:

The Democratic Party's candidates have won the popular vote in seven of the last eight presidential elections. That dates back to Bill Clinton's first win in 1992. 

That said, the GOP may hold control of the Senate and the House by the time this year's elections are over. Part of the reason is this:

Under present conditions, quirks and anomalies of our electoral systems tend to favor Republican candidates on all three federal levels—presidential, Senate and congressional. 

In part, this helps explain why the GOP may emerge victorious this week. But it also raises an important question:

What sorts of things can our blue tribe do in search of better outcomes?

One way to get better outcomes is to win over centrist / swing / independent voters, or at least to stop driving them away. (That isn't the only way to get better outcomes, but it's certainly one of the possible routes to success.)

How can blue tribe members win over more of these voters? In a post he offered over the weekend, Kevin Drum listed seven "things centrist voters don't like about us liberals."

Drum identified seven such items. For the record, he was simply offering his view about what centrist voters think.

Here are Kevin's seven items. We'll replace his bullets points with numbers:

"Things centrist voters don't like about us"

1) They think we're too lax on crime.

2) They think we're constantly making up stupid new rules.

3) They think we want to let in too many illegal immigrants.

4) They think we want to spend money endlessly and drive up the debt.

5) They were appalled by the looting and rioting during the BLM protests of 2020 and think Democrats should have denounced it more vigorously.

6) They think wokeness is ridiculous. They want us to stop talking like academics from another galaxy.

7) They do not like being called racist.

Regarding point #2, we're not sure what kinds of "new rules" Kevin has in mind. That said, there are several items on that list we regard as extremely important—as tragic and unyielding routes to persistent tribal defeat.

Drum listed those seven perceived imperfections. Commenters began pushing back.

Some commenters offered the oldest reaction in our species' dog-eared book. More on this topic to follow.


  1. "1) They think we're too lax on crime."
    Treason is still a crime, correct?

    1. Crime is down other than murder.

  2. People don't like Democrats because they are arrogant.

    1. They think they're smarter than ignorant bigots.

    2. I rest my case.

    3. You have no case, so give it a rest.

  3. It makes more sense to get out our base. Somerby’s strategy is what Republicans do, being in the minority. It is a mistake to dilute our message.

    1. Anonymouse 3:49pm, so Drum has gotten your message right, huh?

    2. Drum is a centrist. Of course he wants people to court him.

  4. If we win the popular vote, why do we need more voters?

    1. Representative democracy. How does it work?

    2. 9:09, I'll explain.
      In republican controlled states, the representatives choose their voters rather than allowing the voters to choose the representatives. It's easier that way.

  5. What is "wokeness"?
    Is that anything like cancel culture (criticism)?

  6. Where's the list of things the centrist voters DO like about the Democratic Party? Wouldn't that tell you a better way for Democrats to get centrist voters?

    1. bigots think if they complain about wokeness they won’t get called bigots any more.


  7. tl;dr
    "Why doesn't our tribe win more elections?"

    Tsk. Yeah, what a mystery...

    Yet, may we humbly suggest Colonel Gabbard's explanation? Y'know, the one where she says that "today's Democratic Party that is now under the complete control of an elitist cabal of warmongers driven by cowardly wokeness, who divide us by racializing every issue & stoke anti-white racism, actively work to undermine our God-given freedoms, are hostile to people of faith & spirituality, demonize the police & protect criminals at the expense of law-abiding Americans, believe in open borders, weaponize the national security state to go after political opponents, and above all, dragging us ever closer to nuclear war"

    ...we hope this helps...

    1. If you can’t read the article, you can’t comment

    2. Mao,
      Give me the name of the pacifist Republican, who wants a $100 Million annual Defense budget, and I'll vote for them.

    3. 9:10 whataboutism.

    4. 8:04,
      My apologies. At the time I wrote it, I didn't realize Comrade Gabbard was only kidding about the warmongering stuff.

  8. We will probably do better than expected tomorrow. That will make Somerby very unhappy. Why?

  9. Surprise!


    1. https://www.politico.com/news/2022/11/07/6-election-security-threats-to-watch-for-on-election-day-00065277

  10. From a public post by someone I follow on FaceBook:
    "Yesterday, one of the last homes I canvassed on Staten Island was a 47 year-old female white registered Democrat who told me she still hadn't made up her mind about which way to vote on Tuesday. I asked her what her key issues were and she said, "crime."
    Had she experienced an increase in crime in her neighborhood? "No." On Staten Island generally? "No."
    What was the source of her concern, then? "The City."
    Does she go into the City much? "No."
    I do, I live in Brooklyn and work in Manhattan, and actually the crime in most categories isn't really much different from pre-pandemic, and I don't feel any less safe, am wondering how she feels about not having any right to make her own reproductive care decisions? "That's a huge issue for me."
    Is she planning on retiring in the next 15 years? "Yes."
    Does she intend to rely on Social Security and Medicare? "Yes, of course!"
    How does she feel about the Republicans' vow to cut it and if not to privatize it so that their cronies will decide what happens with the money and profit off it? "I know, it's awful, I don't want that."
    Does she support lower drug prices? "Yes."
    Does she know Rs voted against the Inflation Reduction Act that Dems passed that caps insulin prices? [looks at me, sort of nods]
    Does she know that Republicans have voted against SNAP benefits, against food for poor children? "Yes."
    Does she know that every single piece of legislation that helps people in this country, from Social Security to Medicare to anti-poverty legislation to school lunches and SNAP to the Affordable Health Care Act to raising the minimum wage to unemployment insurance, everything that is to help ease people's lives and that people rely on was passed by DEMOCRATS over Republican opposition? "Yes" [sighs]. "Health care is another big problem."

    1. Yes, it is, and what do Republicans have to offer you on that?  They opposed the Affordable Care Act lockstep and tried to repeal it, they voted against the Inflation Reduction Act, they oppose expanding Medicaid, they want to slash Medicare.    She knows that right?  "Yes."
      I feel like when it comes to your actual life, what happens in your life, there's only one party, the Democrats, who do anything to help -- what do Rs have but cutting taxes down to nothing on the rich and on corporations, and then using that as a reason to slash all the programs people need, which is all they ever promise to do?  They have that and spreading guns so we have more shootings, and taking away our constitutional rights and attacking teachers; those are their "ideas."  And they're going after teachers all over the country, how does she feel about that?  "I don't like it, it's just awful." [says a few more things in agreement]
      Prayer in schools?  "Terrible.  and the guns.  They're crazy."
      So what does she think Republicans can possibly do to help address her crime concern, when all they talk about is guns everywhere all the time?  "God, I know, it's awful."
      Has she considered that they actually don't have any answers, they just want to scare people into voting for them?  [Looks at me]
      Does it occur to her this is a tactic, basically Republicans shouting "look over there!!!" and pointing to "crime!" while they deprive us of our rights, plot to go after contraception and the entire social safety net?   [Looks at me]
      What about democracy and the courts, how does she feel about that?  "It's awful they have packed the courts...they've become extremists."
      Right?  It's frightening how extreme they are.  So why would she trust them with government, then? . . . Shouldn't she vote for the party which is aligned with her on every issue we have just talked about?  "Thank you for talking with me.  I'm thinking about it all."
      Will she please think about our conversation and consider voting straight blue on Tuesday, given everything that is at stake?  "I will."
      I took "I will" to mean "I will consider it".  I definitely wasn't at my best yesterday as I know there are better approaches I could and should have used to try to persuade her.
      It's so f-ing demoralizing how people will literally vote against everything they think they believe in and claim to care about if crime is demagogued enough.  How can people fall for this nonsense every couple of years? . . .
      I tried, and maybe succeeded, without arguing with the voter, to show her that on every single issue she actually cares about, the Democratic candidates are the ones who are aligned with her.  And on the "crime" issue that Rs are so good at exploiting, I also tried to show that Rs have nothing, just guns and demagoguery. I couldn't exactly say to her face that what this really is, is the time-tested appeal to implicit bias, with "crime" coded as a proxy for race, since every R advertisement and discussion of crime is about crimes committed by people who are not white.
      I know Ds are far from perfect but practically every R is an extremist shit-show, and even the few who aren't are totally unwilling to stand up to their party.  Every R vote is a vote to end our rights and our democracy and to revert to an even more racist and inequitable society."

  11. Kevin Drum asks the question we all want answered:


  12. Well, Kevin Drum is part of the media
    I guess, but the point of the post is not
    examine his work.
    The point is to explore why people
    hate liberals.
    There is no sure way of knowing.
    But how typical in our commercial
    media are people like Bob? That
    being people who pose as liberals
    but spend the overwhelming amount
    of their time bashing , as opposed
    to offering justified or constructive
    criticism, of the left? Whose southern
    Condescension is sometimes so
    pronounced he seems to be yearning
    for the good old days of Jim Crow?
    Who, at this absolute crisis moment,
    ties himself up into absurd knots
    making laughable defenses of the
    Trump movement and Trump
    Nobody with half a brain is in
    Bob’s “tribe” at this point. He is
    an amoral, ridiculous person.

  13. interesting anecdote about Trump displaying sociopathy, starting at around the 1:55 mark: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1u7P9ZZ4hpA

    1. Liberals need to listen more to Jordan Peterson's 12 Rules for Living a Proper Life. He takes snake meat and makes a wad out of it.

    2. Peterson is a joke. You only like him because he gives pseudo-intellectual support for your bigotry. Btw, if your wife or daughter were all dressed up at a party (not in a bathing suit), and a man shoved her into the pool and laughed maniacally, I'm guessing your response wouldn't be, "Calm down everybody. You just need to read some Jordan Peterson."

    3. That or the audiobook.

    4. Dude just follow the rules for life.