All of this writing and data analysis is a lot of work! So after more than five years of posting, I've finally launched a Patreon to help pay the bills.

11/27/19

Medicare for All isn't tanking Warren

"Democrats," according to Sam Stein, have found "a universally agreed upon culprit for [Elizabeth Warren's] stall in the polls: her embrace and handling of Medicare for All." Or perhaps that's putting it a little strong, since six paragraphs in we find out this has merely "become the topic of intense debate in Democratic circles." But either way, we know that at least four people think Warrencare has tanked her campaign:
  • former Harry Reid staffer Adam Jentleson;
  • Biden spokesman T.J. Ducklo;
  • an anonymous aide to another one of Warren's opponents; and
  • a "senior Democratic Party member" (whatever that means)
I'm not sure why it's news that two professional opponents of Medicare for All - along with (for all we know) your aging Blue Dog grandpa - think that it's a political liability for Warren; but let me propose an alternative explanation.

11/25/19

The legend of the sexist Warren defector

Every so often, you can see a take emerge in the takesphere that is so striking - so penetrating in its insight, so damning in its criticism - that it doesn't really matter if it is actually true. And as far back as 2016, you could see this happening amid the "Bernie bro" complaints. In the early months of that year, Sanders supporters were parrying allegations of sexism by naming women who they preferred to Clinton - among them, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren. 

At first, the response to this was to suggest that Sanders supporters were simply being opportunistic: they're only saying nice things about Warren, we were told, because she isn't running for president. But by the end of that year, that line had evolved into a hypothetical: what if Warren did run for president, and all of the Bernie bros who are saying nice things about her now refused to support her?

The irony was too good to not be true. And so, in the years since then, a new kind of Bernie bro was born: the Sexist Warren Defector.

11/15/19

Warren's plan would destroy the fight for single payer


A recurring argument for Bernie Sanders in this primary is that he understands our obstacles are primarily political, not technocratic, and that he would bring a movement of activists with him to fight for his agenda.

Elizabeth Warren's new health care proposal, released today, presents a direct contrast to that approach. NBC News describes its basic architecture:
Warren, D-Mass., released her plan for transitioning the country to a Medicare For All health care system Friday, splitting the effort into two legislative pushes that would happen over her first term in office, but holding off — at first — on ending the role of private insurance companies.
It is perfectly obvious to anyone who thinks about this for five seconds how it would actually play out.

11/5/19

Rep. Espaillat's international climate funding bill is a major step forward

Congressman Adriano Espaillat (NY-13) has introduced The Green Climate Fund Authorization Act of 2019, which commits the United State to fulfill its responsibility to fund international climate adaptation and mitigation through the United Nations.

11/4/19

Yet another study on economic factors driving Trump voters

Just getting around to an important study on the factors behind political alignment published in Politics & Society a few months ago. The paper, by Herbert Kitschelt and Philipp Rehm, discusses the roles played by income and education among white voters.

11/3/19

Bernie still leads the class war coalition

There's been enough turbulence in the polls in recent months that I've hesitated to make any strong claims about demographics. Nevertheless, some persistent trends continue to stand out:

10/14/19

More evidence of economic factors driving the Trump vote

The next election is only a year away, and yet we are still trying to understand the last one - and in particular, the roles that economic drivers and racism played in Trump's victory. A new analysis over at Policy Tensor has a stark warning for Democrats:
Democrats in particular need to get their act together...In order to do so, they must abandon the idea that racism is the key to 2016. It is not. Widespread despair is the key to 2016.

10/10/19

Still little evidence that Warren is taking voters from Sanders

About two months ago, I looked at some polling data to see what was going on with the Sanders / Warren crossover vote. My main finding is that nobody really knows, since we aren't collecting the specific kind of data we'd need to find this out. But given a few assumptions, I was also able to arrive at a second conclusion: their crossover vote was mostly a wash.

In the two months since then, things have changed, however - Warren's numbers have jumped, propelling her past Sanders outside of early states, and even into the lead according to some polls. With that in mind, I decided to run the numbers again. Here's what it looks like now:

9/30/19

On this Sanders-Warren "truce"

D.D. Guttenplan, writing in The Nation, echoes what has become a recurring call for a "truce" between supporters of Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. For Sanders supporters, this truce - as far as I can tell - can mean one of two things:
1) It is okay to argue that Sanders is preferable to Warren, even though this implies that she is the inferior candidate - but we should simply try to do so in a way that avoids unnecessarily alienating Warren supporters. Or,
2) Our priority is to avoid alienating Warren supporters. And since implying that she is the inferior candidate risks offending them, we should therefore avoid arguing that Sanders is the preferable candidate.

9/25/19

Data for Progress's climate finance problem

Data for Progress has developed a series of scorecards that aspire to "determine the thoroughness of each candidate's climate platform in addressing the features of the Green New Deal and allow for some basis in comparison". They do this by rating climate platforms in 48 different categories - for example looking at their plan for "electric vehicles," for setting an "economy-wide emissions target," and for promoting "sustainable farming".

But inexplicably, their scorecard does not rate candidates on a central question of any climate platform: funding levels for international climate adaptation and mitigation.