Statistical Impossibility: why are the exit polls so off
Suskinds Oct '04 article
This is a copy of Ron Suskind's article on GW Bush's intellectual underpinnings. More precisely, the messianic, confidenct & faith based approach that guides his thinking. Very sobering!
So perhaps the nation didn't want to give Mass-a-two-shits a trifecta: superbowl, world series, and a president... all in 1 year. And though, in retrospect, I woulda swapped the first two for the last, that trade wasn't being offered.
So what now?
It would appear that progressives, liberals, or whatever groups ally with the democrats, need to rethink their strategy. There just isn't enough votes going our way, and its not getting better. In consideration of so what now, we need to think about basics. Lots of basics.
One basic is: what direction to go? Perhaps that is too naive, perhaps there are more fundamental questions. Nevertheless, one can identify two basic directions.
Plan 1 is depressing. At best, it consigns American politics to a realm of scant effectivness. At worst, it merely hastens the slide toward reaction, it plays into the republican strategy of redefining the terms of debate in an ever receding direction.
- Go to the center. Heck. go to the right-of-center, in an Eisenhower sense.
The argument behind this is that the US electorate really has become conservative. Not blow-up-the-new-deal conservative, but mighty skeptical and/or uninterested in detailed government response to broad social concerns. Since this viewpoint is deeply held by the majority, it is pointless to hold out for a revival of interest in something like the Great Society. By moving hard to the center, at least the democrats can preserve the basics of welfare and regulation; and avoid the risk of true takeover by the robber-baron revivalists.
- Move to the left. The problem with the democrats is their fear of being labeled as liberals, as effete experimenters with the lifes of the hard-working/god-fearing/white "middle" class. This fear has led to a spineless and ultimately unprincipled inability to advocate meaningful programs for this middle class. Has lead to the democrats being so similar to the republicans, that a significant chunk of the white working class has seen little reason to vote for them. More precisely, the costs of entertaining their cultural conservatism (hence accepting the relatively worse social program package of the republicans)have been slight. By going left, and widening the gap between what the republicans offer, entertaining this indulgence will become costly, and a big chunk of this cultural conservative block will come to their senses.
Plan 2 is risky. It assumes that a significant chunk of republican voters, or non-voters, really can be motivated by the promises of a robust welfare state. If that's not true, and if a chunk of moderates might decide that they don't like these nanny-state socialist ideas, then the current republican slight advantage could become a rout.
Since McGovern's loss of '72, plan 1 seems to be operative. And it seems to have failed in just the way predicted: it has led to a continual rightward drift of the center.
In addition, plan 2 is more conducive to a coherent workd view. Plan 1 yields endless compromises, all within a constrained and bloodless language. A rhetorical style that just doesn't excite the imagination of the casual voter, that leaves the casual voter emotionally unimpressed. Plan 2 is much more flexible, and thrives in a coherent world-view of the government correcting the venality and corruptions that our inevitable in a society driven by distant corporate powers.
Really? Really? Is this move-to-the-left really going to attract those culturally conservative working/middle class voters into a progressive coalition. Or is something more needed? Do the cultural liberals have to give up something, to compromise something of real importance.
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