Democrats In A Box

Wow, this election is becoming crazy entertaining. I continue to think that while it’s damn important that we elect a Democrat this cycle (for foreign policy as well as domestic policy reasons), and am kind of bemused that both Democrats candidates are doing their best to make that less likely.

I won’t move to France if McCain is elected – he strikes me as a less smooth, more bellicose version of my Governator Arnold, who I like – but I do think the Democrats have put themselves into a bit of a box, and it makes me worry.

Here’s the deal. My initial enthusiasm for Obama has waned a bit – not nearly enough to make me change my mind, but enough to comment on. That enthusiasm was driven by my taking at face value his rhetoric about what kind of politics he thinks America needs – an inclusive one, rather than one that drives off and demonizes opponents, one that at least tries to break the mold of the traditional, ossified politics we see in Washington and get us past demosclerosis. I’m not at all bothered by his arrogance – you don’t get to run for President unless you’re insanely arrogant. I’m not notably bothered by the fact that he’s buddies with corrupt developers; the essence of modern government is that it sells it’s favors and politicians are the brokers through which that’s done. Someone has to be the buyer. I’m not even bothered by the fact that he has associations with ex-Weathermen, or that he used to go to a church run by a liberation theologist. Look into my past, and I’ve associated with all kinds of people who are happy to disagree with me today.

But…his flatfootedness in not seeing that those things would be issues to the vast majority of Americans, and his political ineptitude in handling these issues do bother me. Look, he didn’t wake up one day last year, roll over in bed, and say “Guess what, honey! I think I’ll run for President!” This is a guy who has been singing “Hail to the Chief” to himself at least since he was in law school. And you’d think he would be bright enough not to make Pauline Kael’s mistake (which is deep down what I think he did in all these things). The fact that he isn’t gives me the willies, and may well mean that he’s going to get beaten.The fact that he’s beatable is an immense problem. Because as well as Hillary has been doing – finding an almost-authentic sounding voice, and hitting him hard on his vulnerabilities. But she can’t be nominated. She can’t because to nominate her at this stage of the process would be perceived as an amazing insult to African-American voters – who vote 90% Democratic. Add the impact of them sitting on their hands in the general with the core group of rabidly anti-any-Clinton conservatives who would come out of the woodwork, and she is a lockin to lose even if she were nominated.

So we have a beatable and a beaten candidate on the Democratic side. How do we get on the other side of that?

Well, one positive is that the liberal intelligentsia behind the curtains of the party are saying things that – with all due respect – I’ve been saying (along with a bunch of other smarter people like Joel Kotkin) online since 2002 and in person for longer. That the party needs to engage with and engage with respect the large chunk of people who are not urban loft-dwellers, not public employees, not people who directly rely on government programs for their well-being (unlike, say defense workers, who tend to vote Republican).

When people like John Judis, who co-who wrote the piece that suggested that a combination of urban BoBo and minority voters meant that the demographics guaranteed a Democratic plurality are saying things like this:

My colleague Noam Scheiber attributes Clinton’s success among these suburbanites to the influence of Governor Ed Rendell, who campaigned with Clinton, but I wonder whether Obama’s gaffes and his suspect associations–whether with Wright or former Weatherman Bill Ayers or real estate developer Tony Rezko–began to tarnish his image among these voters. If so, the electoral premise of Obama’s campaign–that he can attract middle class Republicans and Independents–is being undermined.

Indeed, if you look at Obama’s vote in Pennsylvania, you begin to see the outlines of the old George McGovern coalition that haunted the Democrats during the ’70s and ’80s, led by college students and minorities. In Pennsylvania, Obama did best in college towns (60 to 40 percent in Penn State’s Centre County) and in heavily black areas like Philadelphia.

Now, I’ve argued for a while that for all his rhetorical flourish, Obama is coming up short. What he needs to do is come up with a grounded, nondismissive explanation for the fact that every marker in his early political life places him well to the left of Cynthia McKinney, while he talks like Dwight Eisenhower. Both of those can’t be true, and people tend to, when challenged, believe the evidence in front of their eyes.

So acknowledge that it’s true – that when young you were, like lots of us – a would-be radical, and explain that today the most radical thing you can imagine isn’t blowing up the Federal Reserve Bank, but sitting all Americans down around a table and acknowledging that all of us are the heirs of a great project that we are in debt to – the American project – and that we need to start talking about the ways the each of us can start paying off that debt, rather than pointing at ‘that man under the tree” and expecting him to do it. Yeah, metrico, I’m just shilling – kind of like Judis does here:

But if Obama doesn’t find a way now to speak to these voters, he is going to have trouble winning that large swath of states from Pennsylvania through Missouri in which a Democrat must do well to gain the presidency. That remains Obama challenge in the month to come.

Losers try. Winners get to move to the White House and try and shape history. Keep that in mind when you jump up and down and insist on kicking millions of Americans to the political curb, OK?

65 thoughts on “Democrats In A Box”

  1. Hey now, don’t give up on Obama just yet. Thanks to this election cycle, he’s become a _bona fide_ miracle worker: He actually made me cheer for Hillary Clinton in a campaign.

    If he can make a diehard conservative actually root for Hillary, even temporarily, maybe he really _can_ deliver on all his pie-in-the-sky rhetoric. Maybe he’ll even fulfill John Edwards’ 2004 promise to magically have the lame walk and the sick be healed if a Democrat is elected!

  2. Obama is the logical outcome of the Democratic Party.

    It is the coalition of hard-left rich whites (Ayers, Dorhn) who hate the white middle class the way the French Aristocracy hated the merchants and craftsman. Dorhn celebrated the Manson Family murders of Tate and others, the fact that the Manson lunatics ate dinner with their corpses and stuck a fork into the body of 8 months pregnant Tate. Obama has defended both Ayers and Dohrn.

    Obama owns her quote, along with Ayer’s that he regrets not bombing America more.

    No white middle class Americans are going to vote for Obama in any appreciable numbers. He doesn’t even pass the minimum requirements.

    The other part of the Democratic Coalition are Angry Minorities, led by millionaire con-men like Rev. Wright. Safely set up in his multi-million dollar mansion, he screams obscenities against whites and America.

    Obama’s defended Wright, at length. “He is black like me. So it’s OK.”

    Forget it, no white working/middle class voters will vote for Obama in appreciable amounts.

    No one for a second believes that any tax dollars Democrats raise (always on the middle/working class — their Billionaire backers don’t pay taxes) will go to white middle/working class people. It will go to Wright (for another mansion). Or to save the Polar Bears.

    This problem is structural, dates back to the mid 1960’s, won’t change anytime soon. Obama highlights it (his social attitudes mirror his fiscal ones), but the main problem remains.

    Dems want to take money from the middle/working class and give it to angry, resentful, racist minority “leaders” like Wright and spend it on pet causes like global warming (to control and limit the lives of people that rich white Billionaires hate). Which is ordinary Americans.

    Hillary would have hid this problem better. But it’s still a massive problem. And it is what is the Matter With Kansas.

  3. The left has already ‘won’ to the extent that Obama is the furthest left Democratic candidate in a long time, and McCain is the furthest left GOP candidate in a long time.

    Thus the center of gravity has moved leftward no matter what.

    However, this also means John McCain resides exactly in the political center of gravity of the nation. At least 70% of the voter population will find that John McCain mostly agrees with them, which is far more than any Presidential candidate since Reagan could possibly claim.

    The side effect of this is : the civil war in the Democratic Party, that I was looking forward to after a Democrat was to win in Nov. 2008, is already happening now.

    The Civil War between, you know, the sane, normal people who happen to vote Democrat, vs. the shockingly anti-US, illogical beyond belief fifth column, just has to happen. The only thing that prevented it from happening in 2002-03 was the existence of GWB as a unifying force…

    Thus, the civil war is happening ahead of schedule, which thus could lead to exhaustion even before Nov. rolls around.

    Thus, what was once supposed to be a landslide with Democrats winning 400+ electoral votes and 55% of the pop, vote, is now an election where the Democrat’s chances of winning are at best, 50/50. This, even despite more factors working against the GOP since 1976.

    Think about it : two candidates with few policy differences are locked in a vicous battle that is 100% about identity politics. If the fight between the black man and the woman is this fierce, what happens in the future, when the two Democratic contestants for the nomination are a lesbian and an Imam?

  4. The left has already ‘won’ to the extent that Obama is the furthest left Democratic candidate in a long time, and McCain is the furthest left GOP candidate in a long time.

    You’re half-right, Obama may in fact be the further left Democrat candidate in a long time but McCain is pretty clearly to the right of last two (possibly three) Republican presidents.

  5. I’ll add that Hillary crushed Obama in PA among everyone but College Students, Blacks, and rich white urban dwellers. That’s McGovern 1968.

    But again, personalities may skew things one way or another, but won’t set the direction. That Obama was in San Francisco’s Billionaire Row at the Getty MANSION to raise funds speaks for itself. As does San Francisco.

    You can watch old films up to the 1950’s where San Francisco is presented as a mostly working man’s town, with a smattering of rich people in ritzy neighborhoods. Dashiell Hammett stories also echo this. Even the “Streets of San Francisco” echo this social reality — San Francisco before it became dominated by wealthy hard-left elites, gays, and a smattering of minority interest groups. Where you would find average working people.

    The interests of the core of the Democratic Party: guys like Ayers (rich hard-left Radical) and Wright can never be reconciled with that of the average American. If the Average American wins, gets policies that benefit them, the Democratic coalition loses. Ayers loses because he doesn’t get to control and destroy the middle class. It’s the same impulse Sheryl Crow has. Wright loses because he doesn’t get federal and state and city funds flowing into his bank account through hefty salaries and such for his “charitable” organizations. Ditto Jessie Shake-down Jackson. Who will leave corporations alone in exchange for a donation.

    It cannot be done AL. Rich lefties at Obama’s fundraisers hate that ordinary people own guns and are determined to take them away. The gun owners are determined to keep them. There is no compromise here. Same with federal spending. A dollar spent on Trinity United organizations is a dollar not spent for college for the average American’s kid. Who anyway won’t get the goodies that minorities get. In College Admissions, aid, or hiring post-College. Affirmative Action being another winner-loser issue.

    There is just no possibility of such a compromise. Interests are diametrically opposed. Government acts as a sort of “Landless Estate” for rich white yuppies and blacks. Average people are the enemy. Shrug. That’s just the way it is.

  6. I am beginning to think that the Democratic Party after the death of the Kennedy’s and MLK, has devolved into just one purpose : to help the GOP get its house back in order by occasionally giving the GOP an intermission from power.

    Think about it. Nixon/Ford was weak, so Carter came in, did such a bad job that it led to 28 years of GOP dominance. After 1976, the Democrats never again won 50% of the pop vote in SEVEN attempts, while the GOP did so 4 times 1980, 84, 88, 2004).

    Part of what made Reagan great was that Carter preceded him.

    Similarly, Clinton won in 1992 with just 41% of the pop. vote. His first two years involved a tax increase, and appointing two far-left SCOTUS justices. As a result, the GOP regrouped and won big-time in 1994, forcing the last 6 years of Clinton’s Presidency to be one of a free market fiscal conservative (tax cuts in 1997, welfare reform, balanced budget, NAFTA).

    Similarly, I agree with AL that a Democrat winning in 2008 could help us in the WOT long-term, simply because 2008 being like 1976, 2012 will be like 1980. After the disaster of Barack ‘Jimmah’ Obama, we will get a 2012 GOP landslide that brings in a genuine iron-man who really puts Radical Islam in its place.

  7. bq. If the fight between the black man and the woman is this fierce, what happens in the future, when the two Democratic contestants for the nomination are a lesbian and an Imam?

    Wow, GK, I guess you believed this comment was important and insightful enough to put in bold.

    I would express outrage about this kind of idiocy if it weren’t for the fact that there were, are and will always be bigots and racists living among us. Some can even type into little windows over the internet and make sure lot’s of people get to learn this about themselves.

    But just for fun, I thought I’d match your question with one of my own (pardon the boldface):

    If the best the Republicans can do is nominate a hotheaded, lying warmonger, what happens in the future when the candidate is a Fascist, Pedophile or Felon?

    Funny thing is that for my question to be answered, the Republicans only need draw upon their current ranks…

  8. I suppose Obama can come up with some sort of narrative which explains that he isn’t really still a raving liberal, but is there any reason to suppose it would be an honest narrative? That is to say, is there any real reason to suppose he isn’t just a raving liberal who decided he had to shade the truth a bit to get elected?

  9. Sepp,

    If that is what you think John McCain is, keep talking loudly and often. It will do more for the GOP than Karl Rove ever could.

    I remind you that the Democrats have not won 50% of the pop vote since 1976, while the GOP has done so 4 times. Democrats have won only 2 of the last 7 elections, and just 3 of the last 10, since the year the sane Democrats died (1968). That is an utterly shambolic performance.

    I have only one question for your tiny mind : Is anyone who opposes Barack Hussein Obama, a racist?

  10. Jim Rockford #6,

    You are right. “This funny picture is only half-joking in terms of visualizing the phenomenon you describe”:http://futurist.typepad.com/my_weblog/2006/12/a-picture-is-wo.html

    Similarly, “the inability of Democrats to get a majority of the vote of any group earning over $30,000 a year itself is revealing”:http://futurist.typepad.com/my_weblog/2006/06/a_take_on_the_l.html

    I would point out to you, however, that the majority of the wealthy vote Republican. “72% of the Forbes 400 (incl. Bill Gates) supported Bush, while only 28% supported Kerry.”:http://www.forbes.com/free_forbes/2004/1011/068a.html?rl04 We just don’t hear about them.

  11. Here’s the deal. My initial enthusiasm for Obama has waned a bit – not nearly enough to make me change my mind, but enough to comment on.

    Isn’t it obvious from the last few weeks that it is now too late for anyone to change their mind?

    The puzzle of this election, to me, has been the level of disaffection with Hillary Clinton. This is where my predictions have gone wrong. I had no idea that so many people would turn their backs on her.

    Some of this ire is genuine. Back in the 90s, when Hill and Bill were running amok and seeming to get away with it, other Democrats were soaking up the damage. Even the ones who weren’t got tired of defending them over totally unnecessary things. Some people are very glad to see them put in their place. Also, the far left never really liked the Clintons, and the war has amplified their voice out of all proportion with their numbers.

    But some people turned their back on Hillary just because Obama looked like a better deal. “I love you honey, but don’t you think we should date other people?”

    Some of those wish they could do that one over now, but now it’s too late. If anybody steps between Obama and the nomination now, there will be the mother of all backlashes. The damage will last for decades, and I exaggerate not.

    Since it’s now impractical to stab Obama in the back, there are plans afoot to do Hillary in – like a “superdelegate convention” to kick her out of the race. It’s all so elitist, underhanded, and slimy – I guess Clintonism lives after all.

  12. GK:

    I remind you that the Democrats have not won 50% of the pop vote since 1976.

    Actually only four Democrats in history have won a majority of the popular vote against a Republican opponent: FDR, Lyndon Johnson, Jimmy Carter, and Samuel Tilden (who never served).

    No wonder Karl Rove has convinced them that the electoral college should be abolished. BTW, is it possible that Karl Rove and Howard Dean are the same person? Has anybody ever seen them together?

  13. “in not seeing that those things would be issues to the vast majority of Americans”

    Umm, where’s you’re proof of this? You may choose to fall victim to the upside-down notion that the trivial is what is truly important. You may agree that the press should pre-Swift Boat a candidate in order to vet them for the actual Swift Boating (thereby making the actual Swift Boating unnecessary and redundant). You may think that people actually care about lapel pins (last time I saw a survey I think Iraq, the economy and health care were near the top 3 – didn’t see lapel pins) and other such tripe.

    But if not, please, if only for the sake of variety, pick a less played-out method to concern-troll Obama to appeal to your GOP blog-mates.

  14. Ed Kilgore on this subject.

    I agree with Chait’s two main objections to Judis’ use of the McGovern analogy: (1) the “McGovern coalition” of younger voters, minorities, and upscale professionals is arguably a whole lot bigger than it was in 1972; and (2) Obama’s voter base in primaries isn’t necessarily going to be his voter base in a general election campaign.

    The reasons go on from there, including the fact that Obama won’t be giving his acceptance speech at 2:45 in the morning. (I remember staying up to hear that.)

    I notice no one else commenting on the Democrat being the front-runner in the by-election for MS-01. Quite remarkable for a party on its last legs. And now that I have brought it up, I’ll be hearing how he’s a Blue Dog Democrat. Yeah, Dennis Kucinich is a bad match for that district. But he’s a Democrat and proud enough of it to run as one.

  15. I ran across this piece earlier. I liked it so much I had to cut and paste it to a Word file. Here it is.

    Obama as the Walking Man

    h/t LC HOGHEAD V @ “The Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler”:http://www.nicedoggie.net/2008/ This site is not for the faint of heart. It may be labeled as “hate” for those of said faint hearts. And yeah, we hate. Stupid people.

    I put the post in between quotes marks because I cannot predict when cutting and pasting here when the block quote tag will work or not. Too sad for a geeky kind of guy. (Engineer)

    “Please take the time to read all of this; it is kind of lengthy but well worth the read. Ken Blackwell is the former Lt. Governor of Ohio; his wife is the superintendent of the Cincinnati schools. He also played pro football with Dallas. Yes, he is black.

    Ken Blackwell – Columnist for the New York Sun

    It’s an amazing time to be alive in America. We’re in a year of firsts in this presidential election: the first viable woman candidate; the first viable African-American candidate; and, a candidate who is the first front running freedom fighter over 70. The next president of America will be a first.
    We won’t truly be in an election of firsts, however, until we judge every candidate by where they stand. We won’t arrive where we should be until we no longer talk about skin color or gender. Now that Barack Obama steps to the front of the Democratic field, we need to stop talking about his race, and start talking about his policies and his politics.

    The reality is this: Though the Democrats will not have a nominee until August, unless Hillary Clinton drops out, Mr. Obama is now the front runner, and its time America takes a closer and deeper look at him.

    Some pundits are calling him the next John F. Kennedy. He’s not. He’s the next George McGovern. And it’s time people learned the facts.

    Because the truth is that Mr. Obama is the single most liberal senator in the entire U.S. Senate. He is more liberal than Ted Kennedy, Bernie Sanders, or Mrs. Clinton. Never in my life have I seen a presidential front runner whose rhetoric is so far removed from his record. Walter Mondale promised to raise our taxes, and he lost. George McGovern promised military weakness, and he lost. Michael Dukakis promised a liberal domestic agenda, and he lost.

    Yet Mr. Obama is promising all those things, and he’s not behind in the polls. Why? Because the press has dealt with him as if he were in a beauty pageant. Mr. Obama talks about getting past party, getting past red and blue, to lead the United States of America. But let’s look at the more defined strokes of who he is underneath this superficial “beauty.”

    Start with national security, since the president’s most important duties are as commander-in-chief. Over the summer, Mr. Obama talked about invading Pakistan, a nation armed with nuclear weapons; meeting without preconditions with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who vows to destroy Israel and create another Holocaust; and Kim Jong II, who is murdering and starving his people, but emphasized that the nuclear option was off the table against terrorists – something no president has ever taken off the table since we created nuclear weapons in the 1940s. Even Democrats who have worked in national security condemned all of those remarks. Mr. Obama is a foreign-policy novice who would put our national security at risk.
    Finally, look at the social issues. Mr. Obama had the audacity to open a stadium rally by saying, “All praise and glory to God!” but says that Christian leaders speaking for life and marriage have “hijacked” – hijacked – Christianity. He is pro-partial birth abortion, and promises to appoint Supreme Court justices who will rule any restriction on it unconstitutional. He espouses the abortion views of Margaret Sanger, one of the early advocates of racial cleansing. His spiritual leaders endorse homosexual marriage, and he is moving in that direction. In Illinois, he refused to vote against a statewide ban – ban – on all handguns in the state. These are radical left, Hollywood, and San Francisco values, not Middle America values.

    The real Mr. Obama is an easy target for the general election. Mrs. Clinton is a far tougher opponent. But Mr. Obama could win if people don’t start looking behind his veneer and flowery speeches. His vision of “bringing America together” means saying that those who disagree with his agenda for America are hijackers or warmongers. Uniting the country means adopting his liberal agenda and abandoning any conflicting beliefs.

    But right now everyone is talking about how eloquent of a speaker he is and – yes – they’re talking about his race. Those should never be the factors on which we base our choice for president. Mr. Obama’s radical agenda sets him far outside the American mainstream, to the left of Mrs. Clinton.

    It’s time to talk about the real Barack Obama. In an election of firsts, let’s first make sure we elect the person who is qualified to be our president in a nuclear age during a global civilizational war.

    Subject: Kind of scary, wouldn’t you think Remember–God is good, and is in His time, on time–every time.

    According to The Book of Revelations the anti-Christ is: The anti-Christ will be a man, in his 40s, of MUSLIM descent, who will deceive the nations with persuasive language, and have a MASSIVE Christ-like appeal….the prophecy says that people will flock to him and he will promise false hope and world peace, and when he is in power, will destroy everything. Is it OBAMA?? ”

    For me the irrelevance of the Democrat party is reflected in who they chose to put up this part year.

    Obama – Jr Senator who said he would not run this year. Just the 1st of many lies.

    Hillary – The professional liars wife. Her duplicity in all things crooked just leaves me jaw gapingly astonished.

    Edwards – Ambulance chaser extraordinary. His dishonesty is just beyond belief.

    Richardson – I am from his home state and I know what a piece of work this wonk is. I could go on for hours.

    And the others who were so forgettable, I forgot them.

    Don’t take me wrong, the GoP was not much better. At least we ended up with the best of the limited bunch – McCain.

  16. Andrew, a) the Democrat in MS-01 is a Blue Dog (read his stuff); b) no one except the usual choir is saying the Democrats are on their last legs. They have managed to put themselves in an awkward position in the Presidential race, and I wish they hadn’t…

    A.L.

  17. AL, as I pointed out, of course the Democrat in MS-01 is a Blue Dog. That doesn’t stop Great Orange Satan from encouraging his minions to contribute to his campaign, nor the candidate from accepting the tainted lucre. When it’s time to vote for Speaker of the House, he’ll be empowering San Francisco liberal Nancy Pelosi, not Boehner or whoever her GOP shadow will be.

    When necessary the GOP runs moderate candidates like Arnold, and even more so Steve Poizner, but if there’s been a thread on how the GOP has to run more candidates like them and abandon any policies that Arnold doesn’t endorse, well, I missed it. Instead you have a commenter who seems, quite literally, to be repeating an Internet rumor (Google for other citations) that Obama is the Antichrist. You know, I don’t think Hillary Clinton would get many votes from people who think her Vice Presidential running-mate is the Antichrist.

    Obama may have more trouble winning PA, compared to Clinton. On the other hand, he runs much better than Clinton in CO, VA, NC (tied with McCain), etc. Maybe we should be thinking of a new map instead of trying to squeak those last few electoral votes out of Gore’s and Kerry’s.

  18. (1) the “McGovern coalition” of younger voters, minorities, and upscale professionals is arguably a whole lot bigger than it was in 1972; and (2) Obama’s voter base in primaries isn’t necessarily going to be his voter base in a general election campaign.

    Huh. I thought people were offended when I suggested Obama was the new McGovern; now it sounds like being McGovern is a good thing.

    On McGovern’s coalition being bigger – is it 10 or 12 states bigger? “Young voters” is a nice euphemism for hippies, yippies, and assorted freaks. Do you happen to know anybody with a son or daughter who recently ran away from home to live on the street in San Francisco? If anyone thinks they are a bigger portion of the electorate than they were then, I’d advise them to stay far away from the Democratic Convention this summer.

    There are two portions of the electorate that are proportionately greater than they were in 1972 – Hispanics and seniors. Obama has done poorly with both so far.

    McGovern’s base was different in the primaries than in the election. McGovern rode to the nomination on protest union votes, as the rank and file defied their leaders. In the election, the blue collar vote deserted him for Nixon.

  19. The problem with the “minorities” category is it includes a whole lot of minorities who don’t like Obama, at least vote-wise.

    In McGovern’s day, “minority” equaled “Black”. For a lot of pundits, it still does, especially if they live in what I call “Black & White” America, versus the part of the country with “Living Color”.

    Hispanics and Asians voted big for Clinton, and aren’t impressed by the “white guilt” appeal that Obama has for liberal whites. And the more Obama is seen as a “Black candidate”, the more he won’t win Hispanic votes.

    The gods smiled kindly on Republicans in that McCain is by far the most Hispanic-friendly candidate they could have picked.

  20. AL

    After getting over the loss and looking at the places Obama didn’t do well where he was expected to, I’ve come up w/ a different take. “It’s the economy, stupid”

    There is no doubt or shouldn’t be in any anybody’s mind that there are people of all colors whom are not going to vote for a black man nor matter what(I would raise the issue of if his mother was Jewish, would he be the Jewish candidate, but that is for another time). But this primary election turned on the economy. In the last three weeks gasoline prices have moved by $.40 to $.50 and in $.10 moves every couple of days in the week leading up to the election. The price of many staples such as eggs, milk, bread and the proverbial chicken have skyrocketed. The Clintons managed to convince everyone that they would take care of the economic woes of especially the lower middle class on these issues despite the reality of the Clintons record.

    By not speaking directly to economic issues Obama was unable to overcome his own self inflicted wounds in the debate. It was not enough to talk about helping steel workers in Ill whom last their jobs in the 90’s(where he could make the contrast w/ the Clintons economic history) or not taking oil company money, the undecided voters were purely looking for what is in it for them. Here he didn’t deliever.

  21. I remember seeing Obama speak at the 2004 DNC Convention and thinking WOW, this guy may be the one to save the Democrat Party. Because, rather than simply speak to how Dems could allow more “free” people to become dependent on government, Obama spoke of personal responsibility and such… However, once elected to the Senate he authored no legislation to back up his convention rhetoric and I began seeing a shrewd politician.

    He speaks of joining Americans through change and hope, without ever specifying the change. He speaks of his dislike for divisiveness within America but was more than willing to use the congregation of a divisive church to launch his Illinois political career. When confronted with his pastors “hate” he gives a speech comparing his grandmothers (no choice in grandmothers) mutterings to his pastors (plenty of choice) ravings. That slick comparison of two entirely different relationships moved into … well typical smooth glossing over and his ivy league law education showed through. He is a master of words who can get us lost in the nuance of saying nothing. While the nuance of saying nothing makes him a good democrat it does not make him a good leader. But then again democrats follow polls and emotions, they don’t lead.

  22. Jim Rockford

    Except on cetain social issues I do not see where the Republicans have done much of anything economically for peple making under $30,000. They have not brought back jobs for highs school grads that do not require a high school education. The criteria for these jobs is a pension and healthcare.

    You may argue the iron rice bowl is broken in America too. But do we want a plutocratic society. Despite racism and classism isn’t that growth of the middle classes the things that brought the country it’s greatest prosperity? Why do you object to that so much?

  23. “How Obama can avoid becoming the Democratic Mitt Romney,”:http://isteve.blogspot.com/2008/04/how-obama-can-avoid-becoming-democratic.html by Steve Sailer

    bq. As you’ll recall, last week, in the 21st Democratic candidates’ debate, the press finally got around to asking Obama repeatedly about some of the evidence that he is (or, perhaps, was) farther to the left than his expensively honed public image would suggest.

    bq. When Obama couldn’t come up with reassuring answers, this line of questioning was widely denounced by his supporters. Why is the press wasting time on trivia like who Obama really is, the pundits thundered…

    bq. [snip]

    bq. If [Obama] wants to go back on offense, though, he should play to his strength. He should give another 5,000 word speech. This one would be on: “I used to be way to the left, but now I’m not, because …”

    bq. Aye, there’s the rub: Why?

    bq. [snip]

  24. _”Except on cetain social issues I do not see where the Republicans have done much of anything economically for peple making under $30,000.”_

    Keeping the government off their backs is something.

    _” They have not brought back jobs for highs school grads that do not require a high school education. The criteria for these jobs is a pension and healthcare._”

    There is just a disagreement of terms here. Ideally Republicans don’t feel it is the governments role to ‘create’ jobs, much less ensure they have pensions and healthcare.

    Is it written somewhere in our constitution that people without so much as a GED deserve jobs with pensions and healthcare? Why not 3 bedroom, 2 bath, and a 2 car garage? Seriously?

    Its really, really easy to avoid poverty in this country. Graduate from high school, dont have kids out of wedlock, and dont get married too young. The problem is _your_ side of the aisle absolutely goes apoplectic every time somebody reminds us of this simple fact. You have no problem shoveling billions into the furnace to feel good about pretending to help the lower classes (when materially you are doing nothing), but if you talk about the social disasters that create and perpetuate these problems forget it.

  25. bq. I notice no one else commenting on the Democrat being the front-runner in the by-election for MS-01… he’s a Democrat and proud enough of it to run as one.

    I don’t recall if I have said it on this site before, but there is a very simple rule of thumb to sort out apparent regional conflicts with party identification: down here in the South our Democrats are a little bit saner, and our Republicans are a little bit nuttier. It’s one of the reasons the Dems get my vote on occasion at the state and local levels.

    But as AJL correctly noted, once they hit the national level they start empowering the national agenda by caucusing with the party even if they break on certain issues. This is a problem (for me) because at the national level the inverse of the above rule is true. The fact that a Democrat wins in the South can not be viewed as a validation of the national party platform, though I’m sure everyone over at Daily Kos will count every Congressional seat pickup as a newly minted mandate and validation.

    bq. You may argue the iron rice bowl is broken in America too.

    I like to think I’m up on all the hip political jargon and all the latest metaphors, but you’ve just spun a new one to me. What is this supposed to refer to?

    bq. Hillary! will undermine his campaign… and many of her supporters will either go to McCain, or sit it out.

    There’s been much discussion of the high number who claim they’ll vote for the Republican if their Democratic candidate gets jilted. Quite frankly I don’t believe it, I think whoever wins the nomination will make the usual “vote now or the evil other side wins it!” pitch that comes out every election. Plus the Dems have an additional “not another 4 years” pitch they can reasonably sell this year.

    No, I suspect the polls are just reflecting a temporary surge in candidate loyalty over party loyalty that will disappear once the candidate is no longer viable. I have no evidence to back it up, but I will Boldy Predict(tm) that most of those who are prone to one form of political loyalty are prone to the other, and the Dems won’t hemmorage as many votes as the polls are now claiming.

    Having said that, if they _are_ right, then my back of envelope estimations show the Dems losing about 4% of the _total_ voting population based on candidate bitterness. And the Republicans (willingly or not) are running a centrist this year with bipartisan appeal, who may steal some votes from across the aisle. However, previous calculations had Ron Paul pulling 2% of the general away from McCain, and there’s still the danger of the conservative base sitting out.

    I think the only safe prediction to make at this point is that this election will be incredibly chaotic, and the demographic data coming out of November will skew data and predictions for years to come.

  26. The fact that a Democrat wins in the South can not be viewed as a validation of the national party platform, though I’m sure everyone over at Daily Kos will count every Congressional seat pickup as a newly minted mandate and validation.

    Doubtless Newt Gingrich told everyone this, mutatis mutandis, about those relatively moderate Republicans who won in blue and purple states in 1994. Not!

  27. I’ll go so far as to say that the main reason Obama even has a chance in 2008 is because of :

    1) The economic cycle working against the incumbent GOP.
    2) Bush having an approval of only 35%.

    If Bush’s approval was even as high as 45%, not only would McCain easily trounce Obama, but Condi could even haven been a viable VP pick.

    Unfortunately, the Bush baggage sinks Condi’s prospects, and hurts McCain to some degree.

  28. Kind of a predictable discussion; it’d be nice to see us all step outside of they typical roles (which I guess includes me…) once in a while.

    A few fast ones – Rand, don’t bet on him being unelectable. The things which make 20% of the electorate mouth-frothingly enraged don’t necessarily have the same impact on the rest of it, and he’s shown himself to be a tough and smart campaigner, with a strong base and a message that McCain will have a relatively hard time countering – except in foreign policy, which people aren’t paying attention to.

    I do have an October Surprise scenario that could change that dynamic, but that’s for a later post.

    Robert M – the GOP isn’t supposed to do anything for people making under $30,000/yr except grow the overall economy; that’s not what that party is about and it isn’t part of their core ‘message’.

    AJL – Kilgore is being foolish; when Judis – who cowrote ‘the emerging Democratic majority’ is backing away from his notion that BoBo’s and minorities are enough to create a winning coalition, you’d think that others would be more careful using his arguments.

    A.L.

  29. I’ll agree that the infighting among Clinton and Obama is not helping the Democrat’s cause against the Republicans/Mcain at this moment. That is to be expected. And it has hurt Obama more than Clinton, partly because Hillary’s camp is doing the punching and aiming below the waist, while Obama is trying hard to parry while at the same time stay on his positive message.

    This is something to be lauded, not disappointed about.

    And regarding whether this will hurt him in the fall against McCain, I will point out that the current polling on head-to-head matchups with McCains would be VERY worrisome to me if I were supporting him. After all, he can barely manage parity against 2 candidates that are in a heated and nasty primary fight with the media playing it for all it’s worth. That’s pathetic, really.

    The mood of the country is pretty clear to me (although of course I am cautious and appropriately skeptical about such judgments, and they can change) as being very anti-Republican everything. The only chance McCain will have, if he has any, is to convince the public that he is a “Non-Republican Republican”, a so-called Maverick who opposed opposes all the bad things that are currently associated with Republicans (you name it, just go down the list of top voter issues). (The very fact that you can see his campaign already engaged in this re-branding is proof positive that Republican-Conservatism is an albatross, the cause is hobbling and crippled, BTW).

    However, once the Dems can train their fire on him, this will seem ridiculous of course. He’s 4 more years of Bush.

  30. AJL: I hate to disappoint you but I am not, in fact, Newt Gingrich in disguise. I doubt he would agree with my southern rule in #28, though he would certainly acknowledge regional differences and the tried-and-true line that “all politics is local” when it comes to Congressional races.

    However you picked a bad counterexample, 1994 is an outlier because of the famous “Contract With America”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Contract_With_America that _explicitly_ told voters they were voting for a national agenda. All except two of the GOP candidates, incumbents and challengers, publicly signed on to it; and their sweep that year was clearly a mandate _for the positions in the Contract_. Obviously the GOP could not ignore local politics and rely solely on the national platform, and their success suggests that at least they “got it”.

    And it’s worth noting what was missing from the Contract:

    bq. During the construction of the Contract, Gingrich insisted on “60% issues”, intending for the Contract to avoid promises on controversial and divisive matters like abortion and school prayer.

    I would argue that the Republicans did _not_ have a mandate to move on those things in 1994, but that the intentional structure of a republic gave them credibility to do so as a party, not as individual members.

    Now if the Democrats write up a similar contract this year, get every single candidate to sign on to it, then have a similar sweep, I would say they effectively command national approval for their party platform. But I’ll bet good money they won’t do that, or at least not with any useful specifics.

  31. “However, once the Dems can train their fire on him, this will seem ridiculous of course. He’s 4 more years of Bush.”

    If that were the case, why would Arnold have won 60% of the vote in a blue state like CA, in 2006, when Bush’s approval in CA was only 25%? Why did Bobby Jindal, a staunch conservative, win in Louisiana even post-Katrina?

    It is clear that the GOP represents a much larger tent of ideological positions than Democrats represent. Voters know this, which is why McCain will successfully be able to run without much Bush baggage.

  32. “However, once the Dems can train their fire on him, this will seem ridiculous of course. He’s 4 more years of Bush.”

    Yeah good luck with that one. All McCain has to do is point out all of the times he was critical – but unlike Obama, constructive in his criticism – of the administration’s handling of the War, his frequent votes against out-of-control spending, and the numerous times he – again, unlike Obama – worked with people across the aisle on various important issues.

  33. As a high school dropout, and a kid who bought into the GREAT PEACE AND LOVE LIE of the sixties, and now a successful business owner, I will tell you what I want from Government-

    “Leave me the hell alone.”

    When the chips were down, I got what I needed from what my Mom and Dad taught me work hard, don’t complain, do not lie ,cheat or steal. And the most important “Take care of yourself, nobody else is going to do it for you.”
    The creation of the nanny state for all practical purposes enslaved the recipients, and made them beholden to the providers of the dole. What a perverse way to guarantee a vote.

  34. raven: I’ll fix that for you. I expect you were using dashes for emphasis. Winds‘s Movable Type implementation treats that as “overstrike”. I use i and /i tags (embedded in angle brackets) to get italics.

  35. Hmm. You might have been using dashes to break up text. In that case, to avoid confusing Movable Type’s tiny little mind, you need to separate text from dash with a space character. Sorry about that.

  36. Sometimes I really don’t understand conservatives’ arguments.

    If that were the case, why would Arnold have won 60% of the vote in a blue state like CA, in 2006, when Bush’s approval in CA was only 25%? Why did Bobby Jindal, a staunch conservative, win in Louisiana even post-Katrina?

    One reason Jindal won by such a wide margin is that tens of thousands of pre-Katrina NOLA Democratic voters have not returned to the state. Next question?

    Republicans running for state executive office are going to be judged in part on their performance or promise thereof. Arnold hasn’t been a bad governor, although he’s no more willing to confront the taxes/services imbalance than the Democrats.

    In contrast, Republicans running for Federal legislative office are associated with George Bush and they are paying a heavy price. Look at the by-election results. Look at the difficulty the GOP is having in recruitment (AR-Sen, nobody; NJ-Sen, nobody). Indeed, even Mary Landrieu is favored for re-election.

    I’m also having a hard time following the Republican tent is bigger argument. In what sense? Are there more Republicans pro-choice than Democrats pro-life? (I don’t think so.) Is Arnold more liberal than Ben Nelson of Nebraska is conservative? Measured how?

    An interesting discussion of the electoral map here.

  37. Thanks, Thorley, but luck isn’t needed in this case, just a chance to make the argument.

    And regardless of how far you think McBush..I mean McCain has been from Bush in the past, he’s moved closer to him in the last year in preparation for scooping up all of you loyal Rightwingers who he may have somehow offended in the past with his meager dissention (talk about the Big Tent, eh? LMAO).

    And, and here’s the bit AND, he’s much much closer to Bush than either Obama or Clinton. And to the degree that he can be (rightfully) associated with the disastrous failure that the Bush Administration has been, in the eyes of voters, the worse off he fares.

    And that’s not even taking in to account all of the baggage he has that is uniquely his own….

    The only enduring advantage that McCain has over the Dems is that the media love him and will help him get elected at every step. You’d be sorely mistaken, however, if you think that Democrats (or more accurately in my case “Anti-Republicans”) don’t think this is a serious challenge to overcome.

    Thank the Lordy Lord for the internet, saviour of our Liberal Democracy!

  38. I, too, encourage the Democrats to run against Bush this fall. Third time lucky, right?

    In a sense, Bush has already been their downfall. He gave them the sense of overconfidence, the feeling that this time anything goes because we can’t lose no matter what.

    But that check has been cashed and spent. The Democrats have had nothing new to say about the war for five years. Obama and Clinton have little to say about it even now. Even with control of Congress, their attempts to stop it have failed. If it was ever a magic bullet, they used it on their own foot.

  39. bq. In a sense, Bush has already been their downfall. He gave them the sense of overconfidence, the feeling that this time anything goes because we can’t lose no matter what.

    “This time” Glen? The election hasn’t happened yet…not sure if you’ve noticed.

    I’m amazed at your ability to divine other’s “feelings”, and how often this type of specious rhetoric arises in places like this. You Right wingers are truly gifted in more ways than you imagine.

    However, I do appreciate the inclination toward bluster, especially coming from an apparent Republican supporter whose best hope lies in conflation and obfuscation. Even though in modern America these strategies have recently been proven highly effective at the electoral level through complicity of the MSM, I would hate to depend upon them alone. After all, reality has a nasty way of intruding upon people.

    I therefore think in this case you’re the one exhibiting overconfidence.

    Just my opinion.

  40. #32 from Armed Liberal:

    “Robert M – the GOP isn’t supposed to do anything for people making under $30,000/yr except grow the overall economy; that’s not what that party is about and it isn’t part of their core ‘message’.”

    That’s not so. The Republican Party has no less than three core messages. To some people, like Larry Kudlow, “grow the economy” is the main message, and it’s a good one. To some people, like John McCain, national strength is the main message, and that’s a good one too. His service and endurance illustrate what that’s about. And there’s a third key message, which people like Ramesh Ponnuru care about: the Republican Party is the Party of Life, in contrast with the Party of Death.

    The Republican Party is Rachel Cooper, in The Night Of The Hunter (1955).
    – “It’s a hard world for little things.”
    – “I’m a strong tree with branches for many birds. I’m good for something in this world and I know it too.”

    We were assured many times by various pundits and tacitly by at least one of the candidates in the Republican primary contest, Rudy Giuliani, that the Republican Party doesn’t need those three messages, that dropping the third one would improve it. I don’t think so.

    Barack Obama is a true opponent for the Republican Party. He’s for particular interests, especially Blacks, rather than about growing the economy for all. In foreign policy and war he has nothing to offer but fecklessness and red meat for MoveOn. He’s got his own Rev. Harry Powell, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright with a very special take on religion, which we’ve seen and heard: God Damn America! That’s in the Bible… And he, Barack Obama, is a fighter for abortion and infanticide. I’ve given chapter and verse on that before. It’s on public record.

    In this contest, Barack Obama has an excellent chance to be successful. If you’re worried about the economy, or America’s successful leadership of the West in the jihad wars and in general, or millions of innocent human beings that the medical killing industry will harvest, or just the right to bear arms as guaranteed by the Second Amendment, then you have reason to be concerned about Barack Obama. But if all you’re worried about is whether he has the potential to win: worry no more. I keep saying it because it’s true and vital: his money advantage will be huge. He has monolithic Black support, and a powerful coalition to go with it, led by the highly educated. He’s charming, handsome, young and clever. And his opponent is too old.

    The Democrats are not in a box, or locked in the barn. It’s John McCain and the Republican Party that have problems.

  41. To some people, like Larry Kudlow, “grow the economy” is the main message

    Economic growth under Bush is anemic compared to Clinton (and is receding as we speak). Mean wages in real terms? Down. Foreclosures? Up.

    What you meant to say was, “Growth of the wealth of a very small percentage of Americans at the top is the economic plan of the Republican Party”, and that has been executed very well indeed.

  42. “Economic growth under Bush is anemic compared to Clinton (and is receding as we speak). ”

    But the average unemployment rate under Bush’s 7+ years to date (5.2%) was lower than under Clinton’s 8 years (5.4%).

    Productivity Growth under Bush was higher than Clinton.

    But then again, Clinton did well because he was a Fiscal conservative. Tax Cuts for the Rich in 1997, Welfare Reform, a balanced budget, and NAFTA are all wonderful things that Obama would overturn.

    So stop to think about how Clinton’s economic legacy is very different from what Obama would inflict upon us.

    “”Growth of the wealth of a very small percentage of Americans at the top is the economic plan of the Republican Party”,”

    Of course, Democrats define the ‘top’ as anyone making over $50,000 a year, “as Democrats are utterly incapably of getting the vote of any income slice above this level.”:http://futurist.typepad.com/my_weblog/2006/06/a_take_on_the_l.html

    A party that repels people who make over $50K, breaks even with those between $30K and $50K, and can only get a majority of those earning under $30K (college students, felons, some angry minority groups, welfare queens, etc.), is an utterly shambolic party in economic terms.

  43. Sepp:

    I’m amazed at your ability to divine other’s “feelings”

    And I’m amazed at your ability to project hostility; it makes divination a trivial task. When the bull beats his head on the gate, he is angry – it doesn’t take a natural scientist to figure it out.

    It also takes no divination to know what people have been talking about and saying for the past year. This requires only a periodic state of consciousness.

  44. AJL, seriously, you don’t want to get into an “our guy’s economy vs your guy’s economy” debate. The Clinton years are not a good counterexample for many reasons, not the least of which was that there were so many variables and government actions that run counter to the current Democratic national platform; but I won’t derail the thread to list them.

    David_Blue’s three defining messages of the GOP (and I agree with his characterizations) are not anything novel, they are merely that party’s answer to the three key dimensions of national policy: domestic, foreign, and social. You can win a national referendum without strongly addressing your base’s concerns on one dimension, perhaps, but you can’t win a _broad_ consensus without pitching an attractive policy in _all_ three dimensions.

    And that is where I disagree with David_Blue on Obama’s viability: he doesn’t have a broad enough appeal on those three dimensions. The Democrats are unable to move the debate on foreign policy, in part because of the surge in Iraq and in part because they suck on pretty much every non-Iraq issue (re: Jimmy Carter, Obama and Iran, etc). His domestic and social policies are the same we’ve been hearing for the past few decades.

    His charisma and rhetoric are the only things keeping him in a viable fight for the political center, an area McCain has inhabited for the past ~20 years, and once he hits the general election that is unlikely to hold up. His demographic appeal is limited, per the Pennsylvania numbers; he only holds a significant broad advantage in one demographic… but only fools rely on the youth vote to win elections.

  45. in part because of the surge in Iraq

    On Planet Earth, the popularity of the Iraq War sunk to an all-time low today. Below Vietnam.

    The Surge is like winning at pinball; we did so well, we get to keep playing.

    The GOP is bracing for a disastrous November at the state level. I doubt if the top of the ticket will fare any better.

    I will, though, agree that many of Bill Clinton’s economic ideas were not classically “liberal”. Since Clinton left the government in surplus, they appear to have worked much better than Bush’s—which, I would add, are not classically conservative. (Or do you want to take ownership of “borrow and spend”?)

  46. “On Planet Earth, the popularity of the Iraq War sunk to an all-time low today. Below Vietnam. ”

    “The popularity of the Iraq War is much higher than in 2007, and is at 53%. “:http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/03/13/politics/politico/main3933699.shtml?source=RSSattr=HOME_3933699 Somehow, Lazarus does not think supporting his belief with a link is necessary.

    Thus, I ask : Since when are you qualified to talk about Planet Earth? You are in denial of so many basic facts that it is laughable. In fact, your reference to ‘Planet Earth’ reveals your own doubts about your acquaintance with reality.

    Forget about jumping the shark, Lazarus has even jumped the sea cucumber.

  47. “And Basra was a success”:http://ace.mu.nu/archives/261018.php, at least for fact-oriented people. That they are desperately trying to downplay good news for America shows how vile they have become. I am glad I am not at the point that I reflexively ignore even the most obvious good news, due to support of some evil position.

    At any rate, Lazarus has conceded to the 53% approval number I submitted, thereby admitting that his ‘all-time low’ bluff was phony. My link is from an actual polling service, not ‘thinkprogress.org’.

    Lazarus has jumped the sea cucumber (a much greater humilation than merely jumping the shark).

  48. Your poll is also on a different subject: the question of an “original mistake” versus the continuing battle. Your analysis is useless if it doesn’t actually answer the question raised.

    I’ll indulge in a little stereotyping before I sign off tonight, acknowledging the risk of getting a _tu quoque_ flame in response, and note your response is endemic of the national Democrats’ approach to the three policy dimensions listed above: they tend to _look to the past_ instead of coming up with viable plans for the future.

    – Their foreign policy looks backwards and second guesses everything.
    – Their domestic/economic policy looks backwards for some “good old days” before capitalism, Wal-Mart, Republicans, or whoever the latest bugaboo of the left is, came along and upset class balance or the idealistic egalitarian utopia that only exists in their campaign rhetoric.
    – Their social policy is a unique combination of backwards-looking blame game, historically based identity politics, and a forward-looking radicalization of various societal institutions.

    If AL or whoever wants to move the Democrats out of a box, he could start by demanding _specific_ policies for the future out of his party. Not some rhetoric about unity, or speeches about “Yes we can”, or demands for “Change [into something we’ll think up later]”, or a litany of grievances ending with a general call to “do better”. It’s called _formulating a plan_, and AL has been denounced for demanding it before.

    (Note: plans for winning elections don’t count. We’re talking about _policy_ plans more substantial than a few bullet points of vague sentiments like “we should reduce oil dependence in the next 20 years” or “Social Security needs to be fixed”.)

  49. GK, are you really too lazy to see what Think Progress is citing, or just out on a snark hunt? Had you clicked, the article says…

    A new USA Today/Gallup poll found that 63 percent of Americans say “the United States made a mistake in sending troops to Iraq

    I agree with Nortius that polls are volatile, and I also note results are dependent on how the questions are put. At this moment, the Iraq War is unpopular. The surge is exhausted as a war strategy and as a PR maneuver.

  50. GK: AJL’s link was to ThinkProgress, but the poll was a USA Today/Gallup poll. An OK institution, but the wrong subject matter.

    And still irrelevant to the line he was responding to: since the Dems are unable to get a win based on the current state of the war, or on any non-Iraq foreign policy, they can’t make a lot of progress along winning that policy dimension this election cycle.

  51. Yes, I’d say that a poll on “going very well / fairly well” is a very different matter from a poll on “made a mistake [in the first place]”. Ain’t nothin’ simple.

  52. PS: And, just to put this matter out there, a poll with a question formulated as “do you approve…” would probably yield a yet different result from either of the first two. But what would “approve” mean?

  53. bq. It also takes no divination to know what people have been talking about and saying for the past year. This requires only a periodic state of consciousness.

    I see, you “know” how Obama feels, Glen, because of what “people” have been saying. Truly an amazing gift, which I agree is certainly associated with a periodic state of consciousness–arrogance.

  54. _GK:
    I remind you that the Democrats have not won 50% of the pop vote since 1976.
    Actually only four Democrats in history have won a majority of the popular vote against a Republican opponent: FDR, Lyndon Johnson, Jimmy Carter, and Samuel Tilden (who never served)._

    Huh?
    In the post-Civil War era, Cleveland (twice), Wilson (twice), FDR (three times), Truman, Kennedy, LBJ, Carter, Clinton (twice) have all won majorities of popular vote. Tilden (as you stated) and Gore did too.

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