People here like to project their feelings onto the entire electorate.
2018 was a success because of healthcare, not Russia or Mueller:
Democrats ran hard on the preservation of key aspects of the Affordable Care Act, a choice that many in the party credit for their House victory. A handful of states also voted to expand their Medicaid programs under Obamacare.
The ACA is polling near its highest level ever. And many of the law’s provisions, including protections for people with preexisting conditions, remain significantly popular. The rising popularity and the GOP’s legislative attacks on Obamacare allowed Democrats to draw a stark contrast with their Republican opponents.
Healthcare ranked as the top issue for voters in exit polling, and Americans generally trusted Democrats more than Republicans. According to an exit poll of 75 competitive, GOP-held districts by the left-leaning Public Policy Polling, 52% of people said they trusted Democrats more on healthcare, compared to just 44% who trusted the GOP more.
Half of the political advertising spent by Democrats running for office in midterm elections this fall is on healthcare, a new analysis shows.
“Public polls, Google Trends, and analysis of advertising has painted a clear picture: health care is the issue of this year’s midterm elections,” Protect Our Care said in its report, which is based on an analysis by the Wesleyan Media Project. “Voters overwhelmingly trust Democrats over Republicans on the issue, and advertising shows that this trend has not gone unnoticed — 50 percent of Democratic advertising is on health care, and Republican incumbents have taken to scrubbing their websites to soften their language about the Affordable Care Act.”
Republicans had reportedly hoped to defend their majority status in Congress by reminding voters of the positive economic growth and tax cuts achieved in the prior two years. Democrats’ message seemed centered on protecting Obamacare, in particular the pre-existing medical conditions clause, as a counterweight to Republicans’ economic messaging. The immigration issue, which the GOP tried to capitalize on late in the campaign, proved too weak of a salient to alter this dynamic.
Not only was healthcare a top influencer in the recent congressional elections, but it may have been the key activator of a significant “swing vote” that went largely undetected by party professionals.
People here also forget the increase of grassroots doorknockers who used policy, not Trump, to engage voters:
Today’s Democratic foot soldiers — the folks out knocking on doors, not the ones posting on Twitter — started out ideologically diverse and pragmatic and have just gotten more so. Canvassing on behalf of midterm candidates, they met voters like the suburban mom who is a pro-union feminist but is struggling over late-term abortion. And the center-city African-American family who does not vote at all because it’s against their religious beliefs. And the man with the pickup truck and Trump-loving neighbors who was already sold on the Democratic woman in the race by the guys in the plumbers union.
These are real stories from progressive door knockers — and lots of progressives knocked doors. Last year, the number of Democratic volunteers was higher than for any midterm cycle for which we have nationwide data. In the midterm year of 2014, volunteers and paid canvassers working with progressive groups and Democratic campaigns knocked on 96 million doors, according to data provided by NGP VAN, Democrats’ shared voter database source. In the presidential year of 2016, that rose to 111 million. In 2018, the total was 155 million.
In other words, the Democratic presidential primary electorate has not encompassed this much personal experience with recent voter outreach since at least 2008, and possibly long before that. And nothing builds pragmatic knowledge of the American electorate like trying to win votes face to face.
Canvassers have discovered that markers the pundits have taught us to identify with the opposing party are a poor guide to who is persuadable. “Young NRA guys — those were my best conversations on the doors!” recalls one progressive woman who made a valiant run for state legislator in a southwest Pennsylvania district Donald Trump won by double digits and which hadn’t had a Democratic challenger since 2010. “I’d say, ‘We gotta protect schools and make sure people can own guns safely,’ and they’d say, ‘Okay, tell me. Concretely, how are you going to do that?’ It turned out there was common ground.”
That’s quite a different perspective than assuming the nation is full of swing voters just waiting for the low-tax, low-ambition centrist of their dreams. But it’s also far distant from the claim that America is full of passionate Leftist non-voters who have waited years for the revolutionary platform that will pull them to the polls.
The actually-door-knocking Democratic base knows better. Unlike the political hobbyistsburning up the internet with hot takes, they have a hard-won and deeply pragmatic understanding of the regional electorates around them, in all their messy contradictions.
Outside of social media, Russiagate is not important:
Americans have not been nearly as attuned to news about the Mueller investigation as the political and media worlds have been.
Just 39 percent said they had read or heard “a lot” of news coverage of the end of the probe.
People here also forget the online voters are a loud minority:
Today’s Democratic Party is increasingly perceived as dominated by its “woke” left wing. But the views of Democrats on social media often bear little resemblance to those of the wider Democratic electorate.
The outspoken group of Democratic-leaning voters on social media is outnumbered, roughly 2 to 1, by the more moderate, more diverse and less educated group of Democrats who typically don’t post political content online, according to data from the Hidden Tribes Project. This latter group has the numbers to decide the Democratic presidential nomination in favor of a relatively moderate establishment favorite, as it has often done in the past.
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