Abigail Adams, Polly Jefferson, Sally Hemings, etc....

I missed this when it first came through: Lessons from special elections, especially PA-18: Josh Barro: Why Pennsylvania special-election result should terrify Republicans: "Should Democrats seek to build a coalition of college-educated suburbanites plus white urbanites and minorities, or should they try to win back blue-collar white voters...

...The likely winner Democrat Conor Lamb showed Democrats don't have to choose. He managed to do three things at once.... Consider, for example, Mt. Lebanon, an affluent and highly educated Pittsburgh suburb that is included in the 18th. Obama took 54% of the two-party vote there in 2012.... Clinton improved strongly on Obama's performance in Mt. Lebanon.... She got 64% of the two-party vote. On Tuesday, Conor Lamb got 72%.

Now consider Franklin Township in the rural Greene County, where the median family income is less than half what it is in Mt. Lebanon.... Recent Democratic presidential nominees have done poorly here. Obama got 34% of the two-party vote, and Clinton got just 28%. Conor Lamb managed 43% on Tuesday. That is, he did better than Clinton where Clinton did better than Obama, and better than Obama where Obama did better than Clinton....

This is just one election result, though it's in line with many other special-election results.... But it's one that should make Republicans feel bad about their odds in November — and one that should make Democrats reconsider how much they really need to fight among themselves about the future direction of the Democratic coalition...


Kevin Drum: Which Party Has Been Better for the White Working Class?: "Sean Illing interviews Robert Wuthnow...

...Why, Illing asks, do small-town folks think that Washington is threatening their way of life? According to Wuthnow, it’s not because of economic stagnation:

WUTHNOW: A lot of it is just scapegoating. And that’s why you see more xenophobia and racism in these communities. There’s a sense that things are going badly, and the impulse is to blame “others.”… They recognize that the federal government controls vast resources, and they feel threatened if they perceive Washington’s interest being directed more toward urban areas than rural areas, or toward immigrants more than non-immigrants, or toward minority populations instead of the traditional white Anglo population.

ILLING: But that’s just racism and cultural resentment, and calling it a manifestation of some deeper anxiety doesn’t alter that fact.

WUTHNOW: I don’t disagree with that. I’m just explaining what I heard from people on the ground in these communities. This is what they believe, what they say, not what I believe.

This is a political problem for Democrats: if small-town residents were driven by economic concerns, there might be something they could do to help.... Ronald Reagan crushed Jimmy Carter in the 1980 election.... The Reagan Democrats who helped put him in office got nothing in return. Since then, two Democratic presidents have delivered good wage growth for blue-collar workers, while a Republican president delivered an enormous recession. And yet, many white—and only white—working-class voters continue to be loyal Republicans. Democrats have been pretty good for these folks, but it hasn’t translated into reliable votes. This suggests that Wuthnow is right. But if the real problem among the white working class is anxiety over blacks and immigrants and changing cultural mores, that’s no better. These are core principles that liberals just aren’t willing to compromise about. Either way, Democrats have a big problem...


Steve M.: IT WILL NEVER BE MORNING IN AMERICA FOR TRUMP VOTERS: "Democrat Conor Lamb leads his Republican opponent, Rick Saccone, by 641 votes...

...The GOP... largely abandoned what we've been told will be the party's main talking point in this year's elections:

Republicans backed away from their signature tax-cut law.... Since the beginning of March, tax ads have been essentially nonexistent.

Greg Sargent adds:

In the race’s final days, much of the GOP’s messaging appears focused not so much on the Trump/GOP tax cuts, or even on Trump’s tariffs, but rather on immigration, crime and Nancy Pelosi.... Dave Weigel and Josh Kraushaar both reported that Republicans had previously aired ads touting the tax cuts but cycled them out of the messaging, because, as Kraushaar put it, they were “barely moving the needle in the district’s working-class confines”....

I think Republican voters are so conditioned by the fearmongering of Fox News and the rest of the right-wing media that they can no longer respond to positive messaging. What matters to them is "owning the libs" and finding new enemies to smite. (Or even finding old enemies).... The right-wing media message is echoed by the president, who boasts about his accomplishments but really rouses the crowds when he attacks kneeling football players or Chuck Todd or Hillary Clinton, or when he promises a wall to keep out rampaging hordes of gangsters and a flood of drugs. Never mind how the rest of us feel about the state of America today—Republican voters are said to be pleased with the president's performance in office. And yet it's unimaginable that they'd ever respond to a modern "Morning in America" ad...

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