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.


The quiet death of the "white Bernie Bro" attack

Bernie Sanders faced ferocious criticism in the media throughout the 2016 primaries - and central to that critique was what The Washington Post called Bernie Sanders' big black-voter problem. Black voters, we were told, decisively rejected Sanders' politics - and, by extension, left flank challenges to the Democratic establishment. And the proof was in the polls: overwhelming majorities of black voters preferred Hillary Clinton.


What's going on with the Sanders / Warren crossover vote?

In short: we don't know. Because to measure this directly, you would need to ask respondents "have you switched from Sanders to Warren, or vice versa?" - and no one is actually asking this. There is, however, an indirect way to look at this: ask voters who their second choice is. If we then suppose that first choice votes are "stolen" from a respondent's second choice, we can get rough idea of what the crossover vote looks like. Here's a graph of how this has played out since Warren began her micro-surge in June:


Medicare for All's opponents are playing language games because they are losing

The public loves Medicare because it is a reliable government program, in contrast to private insurance, which is unreliable. But Neera Tanden argues that "Medicare for All" is misleading, since one can supplement Medicare's government coverage with private coverage.


Yet another study debunks the popular "biased electorate" myth

Conventional wisdom on the liberal-left holds that bias among voters is so prevalent that it creates a disadvantage at the polls for women and people of color running for office. The numbers, however, beg to differ. In The Electability Myth, a new study of the 2018 US election, The Reflective Democracy Campaign (RDC) has found that other groups have a slight advantage over white men among the voters - and systematic disadvantages that have historically kept them off the ballot.


Socialism isn't the opposite of liberalism - and it isn't liberalism 2.0, either.

Ideologically, capitalism relies on one simple proposition: that property can be held privately. As Marx put it, all criticism of capitalism "is ultimately reducible to criticism of private property as a barrier and obstacle" to collective management. It is the right of private property that the bourgeoisie exercises in its control of the means of production, and in its accumulation of capital; it is the right of private property that denies the rest of us access to the commonwealth. With private property, capitalism inevitably follows; without private property, capitalism cannot survive.


Libertarians always try to co-opt the left. Why haven't we learned from this?

There's a simple way to recognize how class struggle is demoted to a secondary concern among the US left: look at how we fight other forms of oppression, and consider how it would look if we fought capitalism the same way. Sometimes you see parallels - for example, in left organizations that exclude avowed capitalists just as they exclude avowed racists and sexists - but quite often you see clear double-standards.


Can't stop alienation by trying to end automation

An extraordinary amount of our interactions with other humans takes place in the context of economic activity - while we are consuming, working, conducting transactions, exploiting labor, and so on. And because these activities proceed according to the rules of capitalism, capitalism exercises a profound influence on our social lives. When I am shopping and I strike up a conversation with a service employee, for example, the rules of capitalism impose a powerful incentive on the way they respond to me: they need to try to get some of my money for their boss.


Daily polling drama isn't teaching you a thing

Seven polls of the Democratic primaries that have rolled out since the most recent debate:


The oligarchs won't give you peace

George Soros and Charles Koch have announced "a new foreign-policy think tank" - the Quincy Institute - that "will promote an approach to the world based on diplomacy and restraint rather than threats, sanctions, and bombing." What can we actually expect?