2024 Presidential Debate #1: so that happened

The implication of this is that there are voters who would vote for the Dem nominee if it weren’t Joe, but who will not vote for Joe if he is the nominee. Which is, well, kind of wow.

Thanks for sharing what you can. It’s always appreciated!

I’d also guess that there are Trump voters who won’t vote for Trump if someone other than Biden is the nominee. There are plenty of “looking for change”-type people who are unenthusiastic about Trump

I take it you haven’t been listening / reading any of the reporting from focus groups for the last year. There’s a large population of people that are referred to as “double haters” that don’t want either candidate, and would happily vote for almost anyone else.

This election needs a choice of “do better” where we start the primaries over with two new candidates.

I’m just expressing my amazement that there are still people who don’t grasp what it means to withhold a vote from the Dem candidate in this election, whoever that candidate is, Jim. I’ll never not be amazed by that.

That’s even more wow.

Weakly-aligned Dem voters, independants and low information swing voters. (I don’t know if the former two fall into the same bucket as the latter.) A lot of people simply don’t pay attention beyond a cursory glance at click bait headlines in their social media feeds.

That being said it amazes* me (*totally the wrong word) that donald fucking trump has a decent chance of getting elected. Again.

I think people also discount how unhappy people are with everything. Trump at the very least promises to burn it down. That is appealing to people. If given an alternative I won’t be shocked to find people with that mindset that couldn’t be persuaded maybe to remodel instead.

That’s the same kind of amazement I’m expressing!

This is an amazing circumstance.

FWIW people are telling us why. And not all of it is crazy I hate democracy or immigrants or trans people reasons.

The middle class has been mercilessly squeezed for years now. There is a lot of suffering out there. For those tracking it this has been…predictable is the wrong word…but inevitable. We’ve been on the wrong track for a long time. That is the opportunity for someone like Trump. He spins the immigrants stole your job story and people are ready to drink that up because they have been hurting for so long. Biden offers no real answer to that force.

And yet…

That aside, I doubt there is anyone in the country who doesn’t grasp what another Trump term means. If there are voters who oppose that, yet would make voting choices to bring that about, that’s…amazing.

There’s a difference between voting based on longstanding hatred of a group and voting based on fear for the guy he says he knows why you’re struggling (and it’s never your fault!) and is going to fix it. Yes, that almost always requires pointing the finger at an out group and pushing people to be against them.

There are many millions of them. A whole lot of them won’t vote, but many will.

That latter was just a point example but it is real. What I was getting at is they might not be anti-immigrant or whatever, However, they are hurting and that was fertile ground to buy into a boogeyman. The point was that there is fertile ground for hateful ideas to grow.

Anyway, the idea that everyone fully grasps what another Trump term means seems a stretch. People don’t understand authoritarianism. They’ve never experienced it. Many have never truly read about it. They don’t know what they are in for. Heck the reason it is here on our doorstep in the first place is because people at large don’t understand it. There are definitely plenty of people out there that are hateful in their bones, know exactly what they are “buying”, etc. Those people are Clinton’s deplorables. IMO it would be a mistake to think that describes everyone who’d pull a lever for Trump.

Ultimately it’s too late to lean entirely on the end of democracy as a rallying cry. We have reams of data telling us that many of them don’t think democracy is working in the first place. IMO we have to offer them an alternative vision that speaks to them in real terms and fix democracy over time as a secondary action. The candidate has to acknowledge the real ways in which the government has failed them, they have to be promised meaningful change, and they have to feel it and believe it. Otherwise we all lose.

IMO one of Biden’s substantial problems has been that he is not the right person to reach the core of people that need to be won over. He is the old centrist talking about everything he has accomplished, talking up a great economy, when they don’t feel it, and they don’t believe he will change things for them.

Sure, but I don’t really grasp the need to engage in subtle distinctions like sure they’re willing to fuck immigrants for their personal gain, but they don’t actually hate them. You can use that distinction to excuse the entire Jim Crow regime and the people who empowered it and voted for it. You can use it to defend people who voted to uphold the Apartheid regime. And I don’t think that’s reasonable.

Any such analysis – on my part at least – is not about justifying or defending them. It is about digging into their decision making and finding a way to reach them. The subtle distinctions? They are very important in that analysis.

Plenty of people just don’t care or have the time to care. On a NYT politics podcast they mentioned a group of independent voters who are undecided spend on average about 4 minutes a week thinking about politics. It’s just not something they’ve absorbed much information about (and are thus “low information”)

The latest results are from Gallup’s annual Governance survey, conducted Sept. 1-23, prior to Congress passing a short-term federal government funding measure to avoid a government shutdown. The news attention question has been asked on the Governance survey most years since 2001 (with the exceptions of 2010 and 2022) and had been asked on other Gallup surveys before that, starting in 1995.

In addition to the 32% who currently say they are paying very close attention, 41% follow national political news “somewhat closely,” 19% “not too closely” and 8% “not at all.”

27% of people are all


Yes, that’s fair. But it’s okay to be dismayed about that sort of thinking, isn’t it?

If you are detecting any judgement about feeling dismay, that is not the intent. I assume most people aren’t Steve Bannon.

Even closer to the immigrant example of blaming a specific group for your problems is people who supported or were complicit with what the Nazis were doing to the Jews. How did such a large population decide to go along with that? And a decade later the surviving civilian populace of Germany were normal members of a functioning liberal democracy?

And I’m not trying to excuse it. I just think it’s one of those human psychology things that’s easy to exploit as has been shown in countless examples throughout history. It’s another example of how fundamentally illogical humans ultimately are. It’s amazing what otherwise regular people can get suckered into supporting. And it’s similarly amazing how they can compartmentalize it and just switch back to not supporting something monstrous based on the winds. They are still ultimately responsible for supporting what they supported whether or not they believed their vote would lead to that or whatever.

I’m coming to realize that in national politics there is a certain abstractness to everything that people struggle with. By that, I mean, in their personal life they have some interaction with immigrants and minorities and it’s all fine. Those are the good ones. They aren’t voting against those minorities, they are voting against the ones somewhere else, the bad ones, the ones they keeping hearing about on TV that have teamed up with the socialists to destroy New York and California. They don’t comprehend that they are actually voting against the people they know that they like and don’t deserve any shit treatment.

Yes, this. And a bunch of this group simply don’t believe the stuff about Trump. It’s too far removed from the political norm. And when you aren’t engaging with politics and politicians are all the same and blah blah you simply throw out the data that says Trump is a real outlier. That he and the MAGA types actually mean some of this shit and its not just political theater.

Reminds me of this section of a movie speech, still relevant:

“We have serious problems to solve, and we need serious people to solve them. And whatever your particular problem is, I promise you Bob Rumson is not the least bit interested in solving it. He is interested in two things, and two things only: making you afraid of it, and telling you who’s to blame for it. That, ladies and gentlemen, is how you win elections. You gather a group of middle age, middle class, middle income voters who remember with longing an easier time, and you talk to them about family, and American values and character, and you wave an old photo of the President’s girlfriend and you scream about patriotism. You tell them she’s to blame for their lot in life. And you go on television and you call her a whore.“

Maybe not so much about character, but very much so of making you afraid of it and telling you who is to blame for it.

I love The American President.