Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Blog in the strict sense: The people cry So? So? But there is no so

A deeply bizarre original title—"The GOP fought the future"—for the election assessment of Monsignor Ross Douthat, Apostolic Nuncio to 42nd Street, survives in the piece's URL and in the teaser line below his name:


The Evaporating Democratic Majority

The G.O.P. fought the future, and the future lost.
The thing about the future being (as the Monsignor must have realized before he filed the copy) that in the long run it always wins, whatever setbacks it may encounter on the way. That's why they call it the future, futurus, "that which is to be". And on the other hand that we don't actually know what it is.
from a lot of the commentary after Obama’s re-election, you would have thought that the combination of ethnic-interest appeals on immigration policy, “war on women” rhetoric on social issues, and brilliant get-out-the-vote operations run by tech-savvy Millennials (who, we were told, were too liberal to ever build a website for a Republican) posed a kind of immediate and existential challenge to the G.O.P., requiring immediate capitulation on a range of fronts, with no time for finesse or calculation and no room for resistance.
No so, as it turned out. Events have intervened, Republican politicians and their party have managed to adapt...
So there may be some there there, but there isn't any so? Do I detect some overexcitement?

Anyway he's making stuff up here. Nobody ever suggested after Obama's 2012 victory that the Republican party would die this year; the particular mix of senate seats on offer and the radical success of the Republican state legislatures in gerrymandering the House districts made that impossible, and the immigrants and younger women are not yet ready to do their magic anyway (there was only one close Senate contest where the immigrant vote was really important, Colorado, and it seems clear for Colorado that in addition to the administration's failure to act on immigration over the past two years, Democrat Mark Udall's refusal to talk about immigration during the campaign combined with vile Republican Corey Gardner's willingness to act like a "moderate" on the issue left the voters really confused).

If the Democratic majority has "evaporated" then it is certainly recondensing into Democratic clouds, and a hard, Democratic rain's a-going to fall. The Democratic wave in the Senate is still scheduled for 2016, as it ever was, after Obama does whatever it is he's hoping to do for immigrants. The only pity of it is that Barack Obama won't be president for it, and we'll have instead a candidate who is still more maddeningly cautious on ideological statement, far more willing to look militaristic, and much more anxious to be on the good side of the Chuck Todds of the world.

We have seen the future, and it's NSFW. By Grey Carter, via The Escapist.

The biggest winner, as virtually always in American midterms, was the "fuck you can't you see I'm trying to get some sleep" caucus, which stayed home. The average turnout in the nation as a whole (United States Election Project, via ATinNM at BooMan's) was 36.6%, meaning almost two thirds of the voting age population decided it didn't want to bother. In the states with really tight Senate contests, it was generally higher than that, but if you compare the numbers to those of 2012 (from WaPo), when we elected Obama, they are still pretty low across the board.

State2012 turnout2014 turnout
North Carolina65.2%40.7%

So many people don't vote that they do, in most cases, make up a substantial majority. And I'm not saying that if those people had turned out Pryor and Udall and Braley and so on would have won, necessarily, but that knowing who didn't show up is an indispensable part of understanding what did happen.

For instance one of the most dismaying things in the exit poll breakdowns (CNN, cited by Zandar) is the way young white people seemed to be almost as Republican as older white people.

  • OTHER /
  • White 18-to-29 year olds: 8%
  • 43%
  • 54%
  • 3%
  • Latino 30-to-44 year olds: 2%
  • 56%
  • 42%
  • 2%
  • Latino 45-to-64 year olds: 3%
  • 62%
  • 37%
  • 1%
  • Latinos over 65 years old: 1%
  • 64%
  • 34%
  • 2%
  • All others: 5%
  • 49%
  • 49%
  • 2%
  • White 30-to-44 year olds: 15%
  • 40%
  • 58%
  • 2%
  • White 45-to-64 year olds: 32%
  • 36%
  • 62%
  • 2%
  • Whites over 65 years old: 19%
  • 36%
  • 62%
  • 2%
  • Black 18-to-29 year olds: 2%
  • 88%
  • 11%
  • 1%
  • Black 30-to-44 year olds: 3%
  • 86%
  • 12%
  • 2%
  • Black 45-to-64 year olds: 5%
  • 90%
  • 9%
  • 1%
  • Blacks over 65 years old: 2%
  • 92%
  • 7%
  • 1%
  • Latino 18-to-29 year olds: 2%
  • 68%
  • 28%
  • 4%

What the hell? This is not what we've recently been led to believe, according to which our young people are very significantly less "conservative" than previous generations.

But then those white 18-29s ought to constitute a lot more than 8% of the voting population, oughtn't they? Like around 20%? (Because 18-to-29s of all races make up 21% of the population.) The reason they don't is that people in that age group are failing to turn up at more than twice the rate of their elders. And the ones who are staying home must be disproportionately "liberal" in attitude, quite a bit more so than the group as a whole, because the ones who went to the polls are so very disproportionately the other way around.

And they did, a lot of them, come out for Obama in 2012. But they didn't come out for Alison Lundergan Grimes, who refused to mention Obama except to say how deeply she disagreed with him.
There must be some lesson we can learn there.

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