I mostly agree with Jonathan Chait’s big article.
I’ve covered the same ground at length here on this website. Progressives have pulled the Democrats to the Left on dozens of toxic cultural issues. Centrists have pulled the Democrats to the Right on neoliberal economics. The combined effect is to pull the Democrats away from the real Center.
“It is scarcely an exaggeration to say that the fate of American democracy may hinge on President Joe Biden’s success. If his approval rating sinks too far below 50 percent, it becomes more likely than not that the next election will reinstall into power his exiled predecessor, who has never relinquished his claim and by all appearances is intent on running for a second term in 2024.
The Democrats had a plan to rescue their party and the country: Biden would steer clear of the faddish slogans and radical demands that had seized his party’s base and focus relentlessly on practical benefits desired by the working-class voters who had deserted Democrats for Donald Trump. The elegance of this plan was that polls showed support not only for the new social provisions that would form the heart of his legislative agenda in his first year — child care, community college, expansions of Medicare and Medicaid, and so on — but also for the sources of their funding. The money would come from taxing the rich, bargaining down the cost of prescription drugs, and going after wealthy tax cheats.
This was the vision that entranced liberals in the heady months after Biden’s inauguration. He would usher in a New New Deal that would end the long Reagan era in which Republicans painted government as an enemy of normal Americans. The Democrats seemed to have the means to do it: control of Congress, a pandemic-induced national emergency that cried out for robust government intervention, and relative unanimity between their warring wings. …”
If you are an Independent swing voter, you are getting an endless pandemic, inflation, higher gas prices, Wokeism, open borders, surging crime, censorship, an Orwellian assault on civil liberties, etc. The Democrats also made all kinds of huge promises which they failed to deliver on.
The true Center of the electorate is this group:
PMCs are not the “Center.”
The typical voter in the Center of the electorate is a White working class woman without a college degree who is financially stressed, politically disengaged, somewhat conservative on social issues and who doesn’t have strong ideological views. Wajahat Ali is done with these handmaidens of white supremacy.
“About four-in-ten Stressed Sideliners (43%) live in lower-income households, higher than most other political typology groups. And they are the group most likely to describe their personal financial situation as only fair or poor (63% say this). Stressed Sideliners are also one of the least highly educated groups. …
About two-in-ten Stressed Sideliners consider themselves Republican (23%), while a similar share identify as Democrats (19%), but a majority say they are either independent (34%) or identify as “something else” (20%). …
On economic issues, this group generally leans liberal. About seven-in-ten (72%) favor making tuition at public colleges and universities free to all American students. Majorities also say that the federal government has the responsibility to provide all Americans health insurance (74%) and an adequate standard of living (64%).
Stressed Sideliners are somewhat more conservative on some social issues. Seven-in-ten favor the death penalty for people convicted of murder. And Stressed Sideliners are 11 percentage points less likely than adults overall to say that there are still significant obstacles that make it harder for women to get ahead than men. …
A majority of Stressed Sideliners (56%) are women. Roughly six-in-ten (57%) are White, while 21% are Hispanic, 10% are Black and 5% are Asian. They generally look similar to U.S. adults overall in terms of age: 18% are under the age of 30, 34% are between 30 and 49, 31% are 50 to 64, and 17% are 65 and older. Stressed Sideliners’ religious affiliation and practices largely parallel the population as a whole.
Stressed Sideliners have less formal educational experience and lower household incomes than other groups. Nearly half (48%) have only a high school diploma or less education, while 29% have some college experience but no degree and 22% have a college degree. About one-in-four (43%) live in lower-income households, with just 10% living in upper-income households. And Stressed Sideliners are the most likely of any group to say they don’t have a savings account; a third of this group says this. …”
It isn’t hard to figure out why Democrats are slipping with these voters: high gas prices, high grocery prices, inflation and school closures along with their usual smug attitude of racial and cultural contempt. Combine that with the fact that nothing is being done about housing, education and health care costs.