Some personal news:
Three cheers for normalcy
This seems a point worth emphasizing. ICYMI, Mona Charen wrote yesterday:
Isn’t it interesting that Democrats appear to have forgotten how to manipulate voting machines, stuff ballot boxes, engage in the wee-hour ballot dumps, collect ballots from dead people, and coordinate with Chinese/Venezuelan governments to change the outcome of elections? Two-thirds of Republicans believe that’s what happened in 2020. And yet, only one year later, Democrats have lost the knack?
Democrats lost in Virginia, and everybody behaved . . . normally. The losing candidate, Terry McAuliffe acknowledged that “last night we came up short” and offered congratulations to the victor, Glenn Youngkin, adding “I hope all Virginians will join me in wishing the best to him and his family.”…
McAuliffe is not filing spurious lawsuits. There are no stop-the-steal demonstrations in Democratic strongholds. The state capitol in Richmond is presumably secure.
The Democrats’ “dark night of the soul”
I usually save our letters from listeners for our Sunday newsletter, but I thought I’d share this one the day after the day after the Election. It’s from across the pond and offers an interesting perspective about what the Democrats are about to go through.
I am an American / British dual national who is a regular listener to your podcast; I live in Norfolk, England.
I have also worked extensively with the UK Labour Party. I ran as a candidate for local government three times and served as Head of Communications for a Parliamentary campaign in the East of England in 2017.
I believe the Democrats are about to go through a "dark night of the soul" that we in the UK Labour Party endured and from which we are still emerging. Our party was captured by the hard left; the same is true of the Democrats. The hard left was convinced that their policies were popular; reality proved to be a brutal teacher.
Most people look to government to educate their kids, stop crime, build roads, and they want to live peaceably. No one wants to be forever agitated; however the hard left in its pursuit of being "woke" or "class conscious" apparently wants everyone on edge.
This led to catastrophic results in Britain in 2019; we are still paying a terrible price because we have Boris Johnson as Prime Minister, a mini-Trump in his intellectual lassitude and adherence to cheap, populist tropes if there ever was one.
I would implore my Democrat colleagues to look at our experience: think carefully about what you are doing. Stop saying nonsense like "de-fund the police", because that sounds like you are removing any semblance of law enforcement from communities which desperately need it. I believe this is why the results in liberal Minneapolis and elsewhere turned out as they did.
A new centre-left politics should be focused on merit and opportunity. It should not preach, nor lecture people on pronouns, unleashing inquisitorial behaviour if someone speaks "incorrectly". It should be focused on improving the quality of life in general. We in the UK Labour Party learned this the hard way. I wish the Democrats would choose an easier path. I have limited confidence that they will. This bodes ill for 2022, unless more sensible politicians like Eric Adams can quickly gain control of the agenda.
Thank you for your programme.
Dr. Christian DeFeo
Bonus: Listen to Democratic Representative Abigail Spanberger in today’s NYT:
“We were so willing to take seriously a global pandemic, but we’re not willing to say, ‘Yeah, inflation is a problem, and supply chain is a problem, and we don’t have enough workers in our work force,’” said Representative Abigail Spanberger, a Virginia Democrat facing a bruising re-election. “We gloss over that and only like to admit to problems in spaces we dominate.”
More pointedly, Ms. Spanberger said Mr. Biden must not forget that, for many voters, his mandate was quite limited: to remove former President Donald J. Trump from their television screens and to make American life ordinary again.
“Nobody elected him to be F.D.R., they elected him to be normal and stop the chaos,” she said, alluding to the sweeping agenda the president is seeking to enact with the thinnest of legislative majorities.
Bonus bonus. Veteran Dem strategist James Carville had some thoughts:
"What went wrong is just stupid wokeness. Don't just look at Virginia and New Jersey. Look at Long Island, look at Buffalo, look at Minneapolis, even look at Seattle, Wash. I mean, this 'defund the police' lunacy, this take Abraham Lincoln's name off of schools. I mean that — people see that," Carville said.
"It's just really — has a suppressive effect all across the country on Democrats. Some of these people need to go to a 'woke' detox center or something," he added. "They're expressing a language that people just don't use, and there's backlash and a frustration at that."
Definitely clip and save:
The Trump Effect?
Will Saletan writes, “Republicans Say Trump Helped Them in Virginia. The Polls Say They’re Wrong.”
It’s true that Trump has a lot of supporters, and many turned out for Youngkin. In the network exit poll, 42 percent of people who cast ballots in the Virginia gubernatorial race said they had a favorable view of the former president, and they voted almost unanimously for Youngkin. But these people were outnumbered by the 54 percent of respondents who expressed an unfavorable view of Trump. If that majority had voted for McAuliffe with anywhere near the same degree of unanimity, Youngkin would have lost. Instead, the Republican won by peeling away one of every six anti-Trump voters….
On average, in these polls, Youngkin got more than 7 percent of Biden voters, while McAuliffe got only 2 percent of Trump voters. Biden voters, not Trump voters, were decisive.
This is important, because, as Saletan writes, “The real miscalculation is coming now, as Trump and his sycophants in the GOP misread the results.”
“If they seriously believe that the former president was an asset—and are thinking of featuring him in other states in 2022—Democrats should encourage them.”
Via Matt K. Lewis: “Blasting White Women Won’t Help Democrats.”
Of course, the hottest issue in Virginia had to do with education and the teaching of Critical Race Theory (CRT). And based on the tweets I’m seeing from the left, progressives are doubling down on wokeness by declaring “White women voters are footsoldiers of white supremacist patriarchy,” whose win, they say, was merely the result of white supremacy, “whiteness,” and a “whitelash.”
This reaction to Youngkin’s victory tells you all you need to know about why he won—about why normie suburbanites feel threatened and under assault by the left.
Meanwhile, in Wisconsin
Badger State voters are in a cranky mood — and not just about Aaron Rodgers. A new poll finds that Biden’s approval rating has dropped from 49% in August to 43% now. But the Marquette University Law School also found a sour mood about other incumbents of both parties.
Approval for Democratic Gov. Tony Evers is down from 50% in August to 45% in the new poll. Asked if they would vote to re-elect him or vote for someone else, 40% said "re-elect" and 53% said "someone else."
Evers faces re-election next year. This is the first time in 17 Marquette polls that Evers has not had a positive approval rating.
Meanwhile, views are negative toward the leading Republican in Wisconsin, Sen. Ron Johnson, whose seat will be on the ballot next year: 36% viewed him favorably, 42% unfavorably and the rest didn't know….
Just 38% said they would vote to reelect Johnson, while 52% said they would vote for someone else.
And then there is this. Like Republicans around the country, the Wisconsin GOP is targeting the bipartisan state elections commission for a host of sins, both real and imagined.
That includes excommunicating Republican members of the commission. Check out this statement from the Green Lake County GOP, which announces that it is “formally cutting ties” with the long-time county clerk, who is now serving on the commission.
Here’s the part that’s worth highlighting. Feel the apocalyptic rage from rural Wisconsin:
1. The Sad, Weird, and Hilarious QAnon Gathering in Dallas
Don’t miss Thomas Lecaque’s account of the folks who thought a resurrected JFK and JFK Jr. would show up to make Trump president. And no, you can’t make this stuff up.
Stop me if you’ve heard this one. A dead man walks into Dealey Plaza. His father, a dead president, also reappears in the world for a week, alongside his dead wife, to anoint Donald Trump as either the king of kings—the Messiah, Christ himself—or one of seven kings mentioned in the Book of Revelation. The dead president then departs this terrestrial plane, leaving behind his dead son to serve as vice president to King Trump, or Trump the Christ. The dead president and his dead son were both Democrats, but apparently they returned from the grave so they could support the Republican leader.
This week, hundreds of QAnon supporters gathered in Dallas in anticipation of just that scenario. They reportedly expected President John Fitzgerald Kennedy to appear on Tuesday at the site of his 1963 assassination to ordain Donald Trump the king of kings. They believe that John F. Kennedy Jr. did not die in 1999 but has been in hiding in order to fight the deep state. Moreover, some of them believe that JFK Jr. may be “Q”—or may be one of the two potential QAnon influencers touted as being him—and that he will emerge (if he hasn’t already) to run as Trump’s vice presidential candidate in 2024.
2. The Limits of Liberal Science
In today’s Bulwark, Laura K. Field reviews Jonathan Rauch’s new book:
The problem with Rauch’s book arises not so much with the core of his argument—his account of modern science and its character, and of what he calls the “reality-based community” and the truth-seeking techniques it relies on—but rather with how he contends with the outer boundaries of the constitution of knowledge. Rauch is great at describing the overlapping practices and principles of those who devote themselves sincerely to truth-finding. It’s when he makes strong claims about who does and doesn’t belong in the model that things get more questionable.
I just can’t…
I'm with the Never-Trumpers, Dr. Christian DeFeo from across the pond, and James Carvelle on this, 100%. I tuned into MSNBC last night to be vehemently told that the GOP won because we're all racists who support White Supremacy. How lovely for Progressives and the show's moderator that they don't have to do anything but have a knee-jerk reaction devoid of any responsibility, and no delving into the weeds to see what the exit polls had to say.
I'm a life-long democrat in my seventies, and I have lived my entire life by MLK's maxim to judge a person by the content of their character and not the color of their skin. I resent being told that I'm racist simply because I'm white and might prefer a candidate not of their choosing.
Unless and until this changes, expect today's GOP to amass all power in the next 3+ years and kiss democracy as we've known it goodbye. The fight will continue, but if we can't save it with all of the levers of government in our hands, how in the world do we reclaim it when we don't?
A few things. First, this from the Matt Lewis take: "Of course, the hottest issue in Virginia had to do with education and the teaching of Critical Race Theory (CRT). And based on the tweets I’m seeing from the left, progressives are doubling down on wokeness..."
One of the biggest mistakes of far too many of those opining for a living is to mistake Liberal Twitter as being representative of the Democratic party and Democratic voters, like me. Well -- it's not. Twitter and Facebook are places where nuance and complexity go to die. I pay little attention to them. Newsletters like yours make up the bulk of my "social media" presence these days.
What made my city's election go in the completely opposite direction from the ones everyone's moaning about is that it was focused on the issues that matter to the people who live here. I'm sure there were voters who would willingly engage on all the social flashpoints, but none of the candidates running for any office engaged on anything other than issues. We had a Democratic sweep.
The current state of the media, with so many local news outlets decimated, means that almost all the news we consume these days is national and focused on relatively few media markets. How different and more nuanced the political climate might be if more reporting dug into the complete picture rather than cherry-picking the races they've already decided will be the national bellweathers for all political prognostication.
I don't know about you, but I'd sure like to know where things went well for Democrats, and what the national party can learn from us. I've yet to see much reporting on that, though.