Feb

18

  An Unsettling New Theory: There Is No Swing Voter

Rachel Bitecofer's radical new theory predicted the midterms spot-on. So who's going to win 2020?

Bitecofer's theory, when you boil it down, is that modern American elections are rarely shaped by voters changing their minds, but rather by shifts in who decides to vote in the first place. To her critics, she's an extreme apostle of the old saw that "turnout explains everything," taking a long victory lap after getting lucky one time. She sees things slightly differently: That the last few elections show that American politics really has changed, and other experts have been slow to process what it means.

Stefan Jovanovich writes: 

Only half of them. Bitecofer has no respect for the notion that people's partisan loyalties shift because of their changed views of their interests. She thinks there is a permanent division between leftist Geulphs and tightest Ghibbelines, and elections are entirely a function of which side sends more soldiers to the battlefield. She is convinced that the Children's Climate Crusade will triumph because they will show up to protest Trump's love of carbon. She could be right. But the evidence is against her. The Democrats won the House in 2018 because the power of incumbency was nil, and the Democrat candidates were the new faces. They lost in the Senate for the same reason. Even the new Democrat faces were old ones in terms of media exposure. Candidates do matter. So do interests. I am increasingly confident the Trump Republicans will run the table because the Trump brand is now JFK liberalism with debt doesn't matter Galbraith economics. There is nothing in Trump's labor policy that George Meany could object to, and the "fiscal conservatives" are all gone. It is guns and butter, preserve Social Security and Medicare and bring the troops home. Against that you have what - abortion rights and gun control and debt forgiveness for graduate students? Really?

anonymous writes: 

Oh, but it's much more than abortion rights and gun control and debt forgiveness for graduate students! Bernie promises to double union membership in his first term, switch to 100% renewable energy, impose national rent control, guarantee everyone a job, provide free high-speed internet for all, give prisoners the right to vote, rebuild Puerto Rico, turn the post office into a bank, and so much more.


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