Lessons for 2020 from 2012

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honorentheos
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Lessons for 2020 from 2012

Post by honorentheos »

Interesting article proposing Democrats should be looking at what Romney did to fail in 2012 more than why Clinton lost in 2016 -

https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/ ... ons-115340

Rather than obsess over 2016, Democrats should focus on 2012—the last year a challenger took on an incumbent. There are more parallels than you’d think: Barack Obama was a president hugely unpopular with the opposing party, but the economy on the upswing; the Republicans had a big field and took a while to coalesce around a consensus choice. In the end, that choice was Mitt Romney—and his campaign misread and misplayed the election in ways that the Democrats desperately need to pay attention to now.

Long before he became a hero to Never Trumpers and the #Resistance for having the courage to fulfill his constitutional oath, Mitt Romney was the last politician to take on an incumbent president. A year before the election, Nate Silver famously asked on the cover of the New York Times Magazine “Is Obama Toast?” I was working for the Obama re-election campaign at the time, and in our internal polling, Obama was losing to a generic Republican in most of the battleground states. We hoped the Republican voters would nominate anyone other than Romney, because Romney might be unbeatable. We were wrong, because while Obama benefited from an economy that strengthened over the course of the campaign season and a messy, overly long primary, Romney also made a series of strategic miscalculations. And the Democratic nominee cannot afford to repeat those mistakes in 2020.

...

The Democratic nominee needs to recognize that a lot of the voters we need see Trump very differently than most of us that populate liberal Twitter, watch MSNBC and listen to Pod Save America. According to polling and focus groups, despite a Cheesecake Factory menu’s worth of scandal, they still see Trump as someone who represents change. Despite multiple bankruptcies and investigations into his finances, they believe that Trump’s business experience makes him qualified to deal with the economy. And despite a plethora of plutocratic policies, they see Trump as a populist. Voters are not naïve. Outside of the MAGA base, most have a pretty nuanced view of Trump. These impressions can and must be changed—in some cases with only a modicum of new information. But only if Democrats run against the person these voters see, not the person they know Trump to be.
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Re: Lessons for 2020 from 2012

Post by honorentheos »

Of all the points in the article with which I agree, and I agree with most of them, the first is the one that really resonated with me most:

First, do not make this election solely about Donald Trump. The idea that the challenger wants a campaign to be a referendum on the incumbent rather than a choice between two candidates is a staple of political conventional wisdom. It is also a mistake. From the very beginning, Romney’s primary goal was to make the race all about Obama. His campaign ran virtually no ads that introduced Romney to voters. He rolled out very few policies. All of his messaging firepower was focused on Obama. This was a fundamental misunderstanding of the contours of a modern presidential campaign and a fatal strategic error. Romney left a vacuum of information that the Obama campaign, and other Democratic groups, were more than happy to fill with information about Romney’s far-right positions, his pro-corporate policies and his long career of carrion capitalism. Remember the Obama campaign ad with Mitt Romney singing “America the Beautiful” that featured his record of shipping jobs overseas and using off-shore tax havens?

By the time the Romney campaign got around to telling the story of Romney’s life, how he saved the Olympic committee and other good works, it was far too late. The damage was done. Romney famously made a number of historic gaffes, but Obama’s campaign-trail performance was far from gaffe-free. The reason Romney suffered more from saying “Corporations are people” and “I like firing people” than Obama did for saying “You didn’t build that” is because voters knew Obama. They didn’t know Romney, and Obama’s campaign was happy to tell people who he was.
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Re: Lessons for 2020 from 2012

Post by EAllusion »

I think this article, with Politico being the perfect venue for it, is an accurate representation of the views of the Democratic consultant class. I think it's by and large wrong. My preferred poli sci and commentators sources are besides themselves with frustration over this, which I appreciate in the abstract, but I'm more fascinated by how one gets to believe this kind of folk wisdom.

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Re: Lessons for 2020 from 2012

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You think that a Democrat running abstractly as not Trump is a guarantee to win? Hmm. Seems like just yesterday you were discussing the odds of incumbent Trump winning given the macros. So, since you disagree with it, what do you disagree with, specifically? I mean to be both representative of the consultant class AND have nailed down the folk wisdom angle...huh.
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Re: Lessons for 2020 from 2012

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honorentheos wrote:You think that a Democrat running abstractly as not Trump is a guarantee to win?


No, I do not. I don't think a Democrat is guaranteed to win no matter what strategy you plug into that sentence. What do you think guarantees a Democratic win?

I do, however, think running against Trump is the most likely path to victory given that Presidential elections are largely referendums on the incumbent and the public's discomfort with Trump is the main reason why he is under water in approvals despite having strong reelection fundamentals at his back. I also think that messages about Trump's unfitness for office have room to depress his numbers even lower, because, despite what you might have raad, voters are indeed fairly naïve and they are responsive to that message when you hit them with it.

Will it be enough to win? Idk. Hillary Clinton's spending on anti-Trump advertising was effective in PA, but she didn't win PA. Election strategy only matters so much.

Hmm. Seems like just yesterday you were discussing the odds of incumbent Trump winning given the macros. So, since you disagree with it, what do you disagree with, specifically? I mean to be both representative of the consultant class AND have nailed down the folk wisdom angle...huh.

Do you think the Democratic consultant class are operating off of mainstream political science? If so, lol. They're to political science what old time baseball coaches are to sports analytics.

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Re: Lessons for 2020 from 2012

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How about having a plan?

What will the Democratic candidate print out on their Hat?

I think one of the most telling signs of the problem is this... “ expound on who are are pulling for and why, and expound on their plan...?”

I am waiting for anyone to go on the record here and get excited.

I can ‘t believe doing a “Uncle Rico” and going back in a time warp will help you out much...you are basically saying, “man, if we only had Obama, we could win!”

Trump in no way is Romney, not even close...Romney ran a weak race it was his fault...Trump is coming out swinging and is going to get all the free attention he needs to build on his base.

I said this the other day, and it is apparent, that he has the left so confused and panicked, they having nothing to fire up a base, and no plan other than getting Trump out, which those beyond the hard core base are over with, long again.

But, go back in time and study Obama and Romney, instead of getting a candidate that excites the independents and minority voters, because at this point it seems that Trumps is stealing a lot of those once guaranteed votes. Get a candidate that excites you.
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Re: Lessons for 2020 from 2012

Post by honorentheos »

I...yeah.

Welp. It looks like that's about the sum of it from both sides.
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Re: Lessons for 2020 from 2012

Post by moksha »

They said Reagan was the Teflon President in that nothing stuck to him. I am thinking of Trump as the Selective-Odor President in that his followers cannot smell his poop.
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Re: Lessons for 2020 from 2012

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EAllusion wrote:I do, however, think running against Trump is the most likely path to victory given that Presidential elections are largely referendums on the incumbent and the public's discomfort with Trump is the main reason why he is under water in approvals despite having strong reelection fundamentals at his back. I also think that messages about Trump's unfitness for office have room to depress his numbers even lower, because, despite what you might have raad, voters are indeed fairly naïve and they are responsive to that message when you hit them with it.

These are discussed in the article. They are even discussed briefly in the snippet or three I shared. The author, former Obama staffer Dan Pfeiffer, makes the case that the issue isn't running against Trump, but drinking the Kool-Aid that comes out of left-wing sources of hat Trump is so bad and so many people find him repulsive that all one has to do is run against Trump. You'll note that even in your reply you acknowledge the exact same thing the author says is necessary - engaging people's views of Trump where they are to inform their naïvety.

Do you think the Democratic consultant class are operating off of mainstream political science? If so, lol. They're to political science what old time baseball coaches are to sports analytics.
What I think is this was almost as bad an engagement in discussion as we got from Markk, who entirely missed the point of the article by so much he appears to not be able to pass a simple quiz about the subject, object, and theme of the article. And now moksha is here to making poop jokes about Trump.

When did discussion completely collapse in the forum?
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Re: Lessons for 2020 from 2012

Post by EAllusion »

honorentheos wrote:These are discussed in the article. They are even discussed briefly in the snippet or three I shared. The author, former Obama staffer Dan Pfeiffer, makes the case that the issue isn't running against Trump, but drinking the Kool-Aid that comes out of left-wing sources of hat Trump is so bad and so many people find him repulsive that all one has to do is run against Trump. You'll note that even in your reply you acknowledge the exact same thing the author says is necessary - engaging people's views of Trump where they are to inform their naïvety.


As long as you don't strawman this into a position absolutely no one will argue, then it is the case that the main thing you need to do is recognize the public already really dislikes Trump, but it is important to continually remind them why so they don't lose the message in an election. The public by and large doesn't see Trump as a change agent with business expertise who is an advocate of the people. They see him as a dishonest, embarrassing man-baby. Does everyone see him that way? No, but a critical mass do. Some of them will vote for him anyway, but it's a good strategy to get that number as low as possible by reminding people of their discomfort with him.

Will it work? Maybe, maybe not. The reason approximately 2 million people decided to run against Trump this cycle is because of a widespread recognition among Democrats that Trump is a terrible candidate and they saw it as a golden shot to be President. Trump's got some advantages, though, not the least of which is he'll be cheating. We'll see how it goes.

What I think is this was almost as bad an engagement in discussion as we got from Markk,
[/quote]I responded to you misguidedly attempting to point out a self-contradiction when I described the consultant class as trading in political folk wisdom.

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Re: Lessons for 2020 from 2012

Post by Xenophon »

Thanks for sharing the article, honor. Although I found a lot to chew on and agree with in the article I think I have a few nitpicks.

This paragraph (that immediately followed some you highlighted that I think were really good) didn't quite track with me:
Trump has dominated the national conversation for 5 years. His flaws are known by all. The Democrats should want this to be a choice between competing, starkly different visions for the country. If it’s all about Trump, Democrats will lose.
First, I don't think the section I bolded is completely true. I reside in a place that went heavily for Trump in 2016 and interact daily with what I consider to be his key constituency. I'd argue that the message has not sunk as to the depth or breadth of this administration's corruption and toxicity. They aren't immune to fact either, they just exist in the same media vacuum that the author warns of in point 3 and/or they don't even perk their heads up until just before the election. Campaign messaging, particularly adverts, are one of the only ways to pierce through that bubble (even if the impact isn't huge). You may not be able to persuade a lot of these voters to switch sides but you might convince a few that they shouldn't pull the lever for Trump. As EAllusion has suggested I also think there are large openings around his fitness office that are conversations that need to be had.

Second, I think the author may be overselling the influence the future Dem candidate will have on steering the conversation away from Trump. IMO, the media is the primary problem on this topic and they don't seem to have learned any lessons. Whether it is just for the ratings boost or some sick fascination with the train wreck, the major outlets just can't seem to help but make it "all about Trump". I hope whoever the nominee is can break that cycle but I see no indication from the media that they plan to change their playbook following 2016. I think you can look the way most of the big players framed the Ukraine discussion (particularly early on) to still include some ominous allusions to the Biden's hand in the matter even after the conspiracy theory around them had been thoroughly shredded.

One of the points I haven't seen brought up that I actually thought the best was the OP's 2nd point about framing the economic discussion in a different way. I may be heavily biased by my anecdotal experience on the topic but I've found that by getting people to examine their own personal economic situation vs the Economy-at-large you can make some serious dents in that "positive" for Trump.

My own father is a pretty solid example. He is an aging white guy from the South whose financial solvency was heavily impacted by the Great Recession and who never really got back on top during the recovery years. Although that was due primarily to his lack of secondary education and being in a field that was moving at light speed to greater technological solutions he just didn't understand, it didn't stop him from pinning the blame on Obama. Trump was supposed to be the savior in this regard but so far hasn't delivered much. His wages are still stagnant, he isn't invested enough for this ginned up market to be any benefit to him and he actually saw his tax bill go up under the latest changes to the law. Trump is more vulnerable on this topic than you would think at first glance and I think any Dem candidate that can both hammer home his unfitness for the office and pair that with a solid plan that resonates with people like my father has a solid chance even given all the incumbent advantages.
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Re: Lessons for 2020 from 2012

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In regards to politics...the collapse in discussion, on this forum, is and has always been objectivity towards the conservative point of view. There is none, if one starts a positive thread on Trump or a conservative topic it is instantly attacked along with the author...LOL...I think you are getting a little of what Bach, SG , and Ajax get when they start a thread .

That said, I understand the point of the article, at least I think I did, which is basically don't be a Romney. Don't make those same mistakes that he did.

There is no comparison in my view between what happened then, and what is happening now. Trump is not Obama, or Romney, and the field that the right had to pick from can't compare to the the choices they have today. You can argue Ron Paul would take a different path from the "swamp." But he was never a serious candidate as I remember.

The lefts choices, are choices that don't offer the stability of the status quo party of the Clinton/Obama era, but one of "what the hell is going on."

The older candidates that preached socialist ideologies, but lived fiscally conservative, and as moderates socially, are now facing a real conclusion that unless Biden or Amy gets in...who knows what will happen, which is the uncertainty I believe folks like you and EAllusion appear to be dealing with. But Biden is a mess, and who knows about Amy...I am reading a chapter on her in a book on her currently, and she has huge baggage also...but might be the only status quo option, unless Joe does well in Nevada and South Carolina, that is if she can hang in.

I see absolutely no excitement here at all...I have tried several times to get folks here to expound on their choices and clarify the plan...and it is ducked like a free trip to China.

IMO... time is running out on this...you don't have time to go back and analyze anything given that you are pretty much stuck with what you have. I think Pelosi, maybe the face of the party, actually understands this, but is so snow blinded by Trump, she is not thinking about anything else.

There is a long way to go, and you have the media on your side, so while focusing on Trump, and waiting for something to stick to him might be your only hope, it will also be your bane if he keeps getting stuff done and keeps winning votes from blue states.

The only comparison I see from today and 2012, is that the right did not have any real excitement...but it stops there...you guys need to look at who is running and what they are saying...like...

"Open Borders, no immigration enforcement, basically shut down large corporations, give anyone who come here across an open border free medical, goverment funded abortion up to birth and possibly beyond, felons voting, legalize heroin, and cites like LA and San Francisco where the mentally ill and drug attics rule the streets."

They (current candidates) are also saying that Trump's economy is not really a strong economy...and then yesterday Obama came out and said the economy is strong because of him and Joe...like I wrote, get a plan. What is the motto printed on lefts hat besides "Stop Trump at all costs"
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Re: Lessons for 2020 from 2012

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Not great when you consider the board conservative presence to be a rather overt troll and a white supremacist...

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Re: Lessons for 2020 from 2012

Post by Doctor CamNC4Me »

Sophisticated gerrymandering, a 24/7 news cycle in which echo chambers and confirmation bias undercut the very idea of nonpartisan fact-finding, the declining engagement of an increasingly cynical and poorly informed electorate, and the infusion of enormous amounts of invisible money into public life all endanger the lifeblood of popular government, the integrity of our electoral politics. The president’s likely acquittal in his impeachment trial, despite overwhelming evidence demonstrating his corruption and obstruction of justice, shows how low the Republican Party has sunk into the swamp of hyper-partisanship.


https://www.commonwealmagazine.org/read ... ame=iossmf

The link above is well worth the read; it’s a former Buttigieg professor’s take on his student and some broader topics.

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Re: Lessons for 2020 from 2012

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Doctor CamNC4Me wrote:https://www.commonwealmagazine.org/read ... ame=iossmf

The link above is well worth the read; it’s a former Buttigieg professor’s take on his student and some broader topics.


Excellent piece. Thank you.

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Re: Lessons for 2020 from 2012

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EAllusion wrote:Not great when you consider the board conservative presence to be a rather overt troll and a white supremacist...


Its even sadder that he doesn't really seem to be able to distinguish trumpism from "conservatism" (shocking, I know). The unintelligent/ignorant seem to really like the cheeto-benito wannabe as long as he says the right things about abortion and people with brown skin...Im more conservative than the trumplican doofuses that post here.
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Re: Lessons for 2020 from 2012

Post by MissTish »

schreech wrote:
Its even sadder that he doesn't really seem to be able to distinguish trumpism from "conservatism" (shocking, I know). The unintelligent/ignorant seem to really like the cheeto-benito wannabe as long as he says the right things about abortion and people with brown skin...Im more conservative than the trumplican doofuses that post here.



I see this quite a bit, as well as lifelong conservatives now labeled as RINOs by the Trump Cult (often it's RHINOs, because these people are idiots)
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Re: Lessons for 2020 from 2012

Post by honorentheos »

Morley wrote:
Doctor CamNC4Me wrote:https://www.commonwealmagazine.org/read ... ame=iossmf

The link above is well worth the read; it’s a former Buttigieg professor’s take on his student and some broader topics.


Excellent piece. Thank you.

Agreed.

I wasn't sure what to expect going in from the title, or how it touched on the subjects of this OP. But it does in multiple ways.

First, it was nice to find an introduction to who Buttigieg is both as a human being as well as from someone equiped to comment on how political foundations without being a paid insider to his campaign. As noted in the OP article, it's important that candidates make voters aware of who they are, and what they represent in a positive way. I think Cam's link should be required reading and would be interested in similar sources on the other candidates.

To share a piece that resonated with me:

In one of the most powerful passages in Shortest Way Home, Buttigieg points out that there is no formula for resolving the tradeoffs required in government. Data cannot yield answers to questions about who should suffer, and how much, when competing policies are debated. Questions of efficiency must be weighed against considerations of mercy. Although Buttigieg concedes how tempting it is for officials to treat all issues as mere “technical problems,” as Robert McNamara did in Vietnam, Buttigieg insists that it is a mistake. “Elected officials earn our keep by settling moral questions, ones where there is no way to make someone better off without making someone else worse off.” William James observed that in any ethical dilemma, “some part of the ideal is butchered.” It is rare for elected officials even to admit that problem, let alone call attention to it, as Buttigieg does in his account of the promise of artificial intelligence to replace “the human function we call judgment.”
...it reflected a mind and understanding that I think is missing from political debate and discussion. That paragraph alone would be cause for me to want to look more closely at him.

But even more, his view that Democrats must be for something positive, and exort people to positive freedoms to do or be, rather than negative freedom "from" was a refreshing foundational view.

Thanks for sharing this, Cam.
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Re: Lessons for 2020 from 2012

Post by honorentheos »

Hey Xeno,

Thanks for the thoughtful reply. I can't disagree with your point that the author in the OP article overstates the idea voters do seem to know Trump and, except for his base, have a nuanced view of him. I read it at the time as reflecting how many people I know who voted Republican who are not favorable toward Trump the man, but seem ok with Trump the political enabler of conservative policies while not being quite sure where to land when it comes to so many other aspects of his effect on the GOP overall. It's a touchy issue in a sense, given I think most traditional conservative voters I know seem to see opposition to Trump as shallow while engaging with those complaints in equally shallow ways. Yeah. It's a tough issue made all the more tough because he seems very capable of turning the political discourse into discord and resentment.

As to the other points in the article, I felt each was deserving of discussion but also wasn't intending to copy the entire thing here. I naïvely thought the subjects of interest would rise out of it with a little less promoting.

The economic reframing is certainly key to the election, even more that it not descend into capitalism v. socialism, IMO. I think that will be too coarse, too offensive to have the value your more logical suggestion would enable.
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Re: Lessons for 2020 from 2012

Post by Doctor CamNC4Me »

honorentheos wrote:Thanks for sharing this, Cam.


You and Morley are more than welcome. I felt the article captured the spirit of the thread, in that Pete does a great job at finding the sweet spot in ethical politicking and is sorely needed. I believe EAllusion noted that Pete reminded him of Obama, is the 2020 equivalent of an Obama, although I'm not sure anyone believes he can win the Presidency.

That said, Honor, the portion you quoted above stayed with me, too. The whole article is very readable and I hope people who want to understand Mayor Pete will take the time to read it.

- Doc
In the face of madness, rationality has no power - Xiao Wang, US historiographer, 2287 AD.

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Re: Lessons for 2020 from 2012

Post by honorentheos »

I'd really like to get the reading list from those two courses he describes teaching. Wow.
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