Thomas Edsall: Is Wokeness Kryptonite For Democrats?

Thomas Edsall has a new article on our current focus on writing the “far right” script and attacking the Democrats from the Center on intensely polarizing cultural issues.

New York Times:

“As Republicans well know, Democrats are divided on a host of volatile racial, cultural and sexual issues.

Take a look at the polls.

In 2019, the Democracy Fund Voter Study Group commissioned a survey asking for agreement or disagreement with the statement: “There are only two genders, male and female.”

In the full sample, a decisive majority, 59 percent agreed, including 43 percent who “strongly agreed,” 32 percent disagreed and nine percent who said they weren’t sure. Among Republicans, it was no contest, 78 percent agreed and 16 percent disagreed. Independents mirrored the whole sample.

Democrats were split: a plurality, 48 percent, disagreed, and 44 percent agreed.

The survey itself arguably embodied what critics might call “transphobic framing” — transgender issues are among the most polarizing in contemporary politics and much contemporary cultural conflict in fact stems from framing disputes.

An August-September 2017 Pew Research survey asked respondents to choose between two statements: “whether a person is a man or a woman is determined at birth” and “whether a person is a man or a woman can be different from the sex at birth.”

A 54 percent majority of all those surveyed said sex “is determined at birth” and 44 percent said it “can be different from the sex at birth.” Republican voters and those who lean Republican chose “at birth” 80 to 19. Democratic voters and those who lean Democratic said sex can be different from the sex at birth 64 to 34.

Or take the public’s view of the “defund the police” movement that gained momentum after the murder of George Floyd a year ago.

A March 1-2 USA Today/Ipsos Poll found that voters were opposed to defunding the police 58-18, with the strongest opposition among whites (67 percent to 13 percent support, the rest undecided) and Republicans (84 to 4 percent), while a plurality of Democrats were opposed (at 39 to 34), which was also true among African-Americans (37 to 28).

These surveys are complemented by others that measure the fear that our public dialogue is too constricted. A Harvard/Harris survey in February asked, “Do you think there is a growing cancel culture that is a threat to our freedom or not?” By 64-36, a majority of voters said they thought there was. Republicans see a threat by 80-20; independents by 64-34, but Democrats were split, with a slight majority, 52-48, saying they do not see a threat. This basic pattern is observable across a number of issues.

Although centrist Democrats make up the majority of the party in the polls I cited above, the fact that a substantial minority of Democrats takes the more extreme stance allows Republicans to portray the Democratic Party as very much in thrall to its more “radical” wing. …”

The mainstream Right and particularly the rightwing populist wing in the Tucker Carlson sphere is sensitive to trends and talking points which get started in our circles.

Since Joe Biden was sworn into office, we have gone out of our way here to help these people by identifying the issues which we think will work to attack him on and providing feedback. We came up with immigration, political correctness or wokeness, crime, civil liberties, censorship, trans and historic monuments. These are the issues which people in our sphere care about and which have the greatest traction on the Right and Center and which are maximally divisive among Democrats.

We will never know what kind of impact our pro bono work is having on getting everyone in our sphere on the same page. It is likely that given the border crisis and the crime wave and the proliferation woke insanity over the past six months that it is just obvious that this is the most potent line of attack. I’m pleased to report though that the populist conversation is being steered into these issues and framed much as we want it as “woke progressivism” run amok in the professional class.

It is vital that we throw the strongest punches in the weakest spots of the opposition. Normally, Republicans want to throw weak punches on unpopular losing issues like drawing a line in the sand on withdrawing troops from Afghanistan or preserving the 2017 corporate tax cut.

Note: We will continue to search for and develop new potent lines of attack on issues like climate change extremism. We’re increasingly optimistic that progressive activists will force the dreaded meat eating issue in which case we will happily take polarizing the electorate along dietary lines.

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  1. In the short term it will be bad for the left, it may cost them in the 2022 midterms.

    A word or warning though, the attempts to legalize gay marriage was blamed for Democratic losses in 2002, and 2004.

    Long term with conservative ineptness, I think the odds are the left eventually winning long term despite “wokeness”

    • Democrats lost in 2002 and 2004 because they found themselves on the wrong side of the “War on Terror.” 9/11 had just happened, and Bush was a much more popular President in his 1st term compared to his 2nd term, when our prolonged stay in Iraq, his attack on Social Security, and his support of Amnesty caused his poll numbers to crater. But in that 2004 election, he was the only Republican in the last 40 years to win an outright majority of voters. That’s because he was the National Security President, whereas Democrats like Howard Dean were pounding the drums of “Blame America.”

      Your take is premised on the dubious notion that conservatives of the 2020s and 30s will act like the conservatives of the 80s and 90s. It’s a new era. The Boomers are dying. Conservatism will change as its core demographics change, and the core demographics are heavily anti-woke and anti-shitlib. It’s not the party of Newt Gingrich or Mitt Romney anymore. I don’t see a future in which the conservative base embraces wokeness. National Review? Sure. But no one reads National Review.

  2. None of this f-in matters because the left just STOLE THE ELECTION AND GOT AWAY WITH IT. So it doesn’t matter what voters think!!!! Ultimately they will add or delete however many ballots they need in order to retain and maintain the most important offices in our land.

      • Atlanta, Philadelphia, Detroit, and Milwaukee. Every major metro area of the swing states that decided the 2020 election stopped counting at the same time, then committed midnight ballot dumps that in some cases went 90%+ for biden. This was after trump was leading by 100’s of thousands of votes prior to the leftist controlled cities all shutting down the ballot counting that night.

        Every bell weather county that has accurately predicted the winner of the presidential elections all went for trump. But lo and behold, biden still ‘won’.

        These people don’t give a flying fk about polls, because they have now perfected stealing our lections, while congress and the media provide them the head over to get away with it.

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