News Article: The Moderate Middle Is A Myth

selmaborntidefan

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I've known this for years but hey, what do I know?

The assumption that any candidate - regardless of whether we're talking right or left - has to "move to the center" is based on the assumption (proven wrong almost every single election) that voters are actually ISSUES voters that sit down and count up, "I agree with R on this and D on that" or that there is one central silver bullet that decides the election like we're in the movies.

Most of the "issues" voters know how they're going to vote the moment they know who the nominees are (nowadays anyway - it wasn't always like that back in the pre-Internet days).

(Another dirty little secret is that despite all of the hand-wringing and emotional baggage on abortion, it rarely even makes the top ten of issues, and it never is the arbiter that decides victory or defeat. The country was no more "hard pro-life" when Reagan and Bush won 3 landslides than it was "hard pro-choice" when Obama won big twice).
 

TexasBama

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I have a good friend and former colleague that is an independent and I could fill his ballot out for him. But just the thought that 20 percent or so of voters actually think things through seems awfully optimistic
 

selmaborntidefan

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I have a good friend and former colleague that is an independent and I could fill his ballot out for him. But just the thought that 20 percent or so of voters actually think things through seems awfully optimistic
The basic accepted "rule of thumb" across the board is that each of the two major parties begins with 40% of the vote, which leaves the so-called "centrist 20." The problem, however, is that this centrist 20 doesn't always vote the same issue - and you have to remember that it changes every single election because: a) some people who voted die; b) you have new 18-22 year olds that weren't eligible to vote the previous election.

The Tide Fans non-sports board is probably NOT representative of the electorate as a whole - not because there's anything wrong with anyone but because most of the posters here (even those with whom I disagree strongly) have thought things through.

The political consultants are well aware - and have long known - that the 20% centrists are not monolithic, so they stake out territory to pick off voters here and there to compile their win. The part that never ceases to amaze me is that almost every single member of the press is friends with all of the consultants in both parties and yet cannot bring themselves to tell the truth about this subject - and they "have" to know the truth (this is one of many reasons why their sudden adoption of the idea they have a role to "speak truth to power" is a farce that not even they can be dumb enough to believe - which makes them liars just like the ones they cover).

There is a middle; in fact, there ARE centrist voters who (usually based on where they live) 'lean right' or 'lean left,' but they won't ever show up in the analysis. Reminder: not only the press and not only the President - but the people also lie when they're asked poll questions. The pollsters know this and try to calculate it (and they can up to a point), but it still leaves their polls a bit squishy.


A lot of people who identify as centrists aren't centrist, either.

And quite frankly a LOT of people who identify as conservatives (and then support Trump) aren't really conservative, either; they're tribal Republicans.
 

TexasBama

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The basic accepted "rule of thumb" across the board is that each of the two major parties begins with 40% of the vote, which leaves the so-called "centrist 20." The problem, however, is that this centrist 20 doesn't always vote the same issue - and you have to remember that it changes every single election because: a) some people who voted die; b) you have new 18-22 year olds that weren't eligible to vote the previous election.

The Tide Fans non-sports board is probably NOT representative of the electorate as a whole - not because there's anything wrong with anyone but because most of the posters here (even those with whom I disagree strongly) have thought things through.

The political consultants are well aware - and have long known - that the 20% centrists are not monolithic, so they stake out territory to pick off voters here and there to compile their win. The part that never ceases to amaze me is that almost every single member of the press is friends with all of the consultants in both parties and yet cannot bring themselves to tell the truth about this subject - and they "have" to know the truth (this is one of many reasons why their sudden adoption of the idea they have a role to "speak truth to power" is a farce that not even they can be dumb enough to believe - which makes them liars just like the ones they cover).

There is a middle; in fact, there ARE centrist voters who (usually based on where they live) 'lean right' or 'lean left,' but they won't ever show up in the analysis. Reminder: not only the press and not only the President - but the people also lie when they're asked poll questions. The pollsters know this and try to calculate it (and they can up to a point), but it still leaves their polls a bit squishy.


A lot of people who identify as centrists aren't centrist, either.

And quite frankly a LOT of people who identify as conservatives (and then support Trump) aren't really conservative, either; they're tribal Republicans.
There was a documentary I watched several months ago. It was about the OKC bombing, and Peter Jennings (and maybe Bill Moyers?) put it together 20+ years ago. There was nothing really new to me, but I was struck by how McVeigh's ranting is near-mainstream conservative now. So "the middle" has seemingly moved.

I tend to believe that voter turnout and new voters drive the boat more than un-decideds and independents.
 

TIDE-HSV

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There was a documentary I watched several months ago. It was about the OKC bombing, and Peter Jennings (and maybe Bill Moyers?) put it together 20+ years ago. There was nothing really new to me, but I was struck by how McVeigh's ranting is near-mainstream conservative now. So "the middle" has seemingly moved.

I tend to believe that voter turnout and new voters drive the boat more than un-decideds and independents.
This is obvious, but there is substantial overlap in the groups, as the article points out. Trump won because of the lack of enthusiasm, particularly among younger and black voters, for Hillary Clinton. Trump's core, OTOH, was very enthused and turned out. His core is still in his corner and he has extremely high approval among those who identify as Republican. If he's not removed (and I give that less than a 50% chance) and he runs again, the same scenario could occur all over again, depending on the candidate the Democrats come up with. His biggest Achilles Heel is the economy. If there's a single issue upon which most "independents" vote, that's it...
 

rgw

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The moderate middle/undecided voter myth is something created by mainstream media to create strawman that is meant to signal what are the acceptable left and right bounds of political discourse. Effectively it is a way for those in power to maintain the status quo of whatever they're benefiting from at the moment.
 

TexasBama

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This is obvious, but there is substantial overlap in the groups, as the article points out. Trump won because of the lack of enthusiasm, particularly among younger and black voters, for Hillary Clinton. Trump's core, OTOH, was very enthused and turned out. His core is still in his corner and he has extremely high approval among those who identify as Republican. If he's not removed (and I give that less than a 50% chance) and he runs again, the same scenario could occur all over again, depending on the candidate the Democrats come up with. His biggest Achilles Heel is the economy. If there's a single issue upon which most "independents" vote, that's it...
Jill Stein was a factor in Hillary's loss, so the Green Party can note 2 major accomplishments - helping Trump and GWB get elected.

I fear that new voters are going to be turned off seeing two old white guys running. OTOH, a more progressive candidate may turn off the economy only people. Yes, it may be a tough row to hoe.
 
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rgw

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The problem with Hillary Clinton and Gore was the fact they were weak candidates who couldn't stitch together the more diverse constituency the Democrats need to maintain the executive branch. I don't think that problem is solvable for the democrats because it is a systemic flaw of our federal electoral structure (especially for the presidency). We're tied to a two party system and it is a lot easier for the party of the powerful to propagandize and misinform a constituency than it is for oppositional group to cobble together an energized constituency across many different interest areas. Conservatism has it easy in our political system which was the design of our government from the outset. Our constitution besets effective representative government because that was never the intent. Most of our founding fathers had a healthy fear and/or loathing of the public and set about making a political system that would dilute the public sway on governance as much as possible. It was intentional to make the federal government as weakly swayed by the population as possible because those in power thought it was the best way to keep the federal government from affecting their own personal and entrepreneurial concerns.
 
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selmaborntidefan

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Jill Stein was a factor in Hillary's loss, so the Green Party can note 2 major accomplishments - helping Trump and GWB get elected.
How do you figure this?

The election was lost (basically) in the so-called Blue Wall states.

Hillary lost PA by 44,292 votes, and Stein got 49,941. Every single Stein voter is not necessarily a Hillary voter otherwise, and she would have needed about 9 of every 10 votes, which never happens.....and it also ignores the fact that Gary Johnson probably took more votes nationally from Trump than he did from Hillary. But the gratuitous assumption is that, "Well, if X had not been on the ballot then they would have voted for one of the two main candidates." A LOT of people voted down ballot simply to do their patriotic duty/participate/whatever - and didn't want either one.

I guess one could argue that she wins Michigan without Stein (51,463 votes for Stein, HRC lost by 10,704) but we again can't assume that she wins all of those votes or the fact there were 25,000 votes for write-ins, another 11,000 for down ballot candidates plus the Johnson vote.


And then in Wisconsin - again - the math aligns if one adds Stein's votes to Hillary but that's also a state where if you simply add MacMullin's total to Trump (every bit as legit as simply adding Stein's total to HRC)......he still wins. Again, I'm not in favor of doing the math that way, but I think that's a specious case at best. In fact, it's a lot like Republicans who pull the same math tricks with, "If Perot hadn't been on the ballot then Clinton never would have been President."

It's just a bad argument all the way around.


As far as 2000, what cost Gore was not the Green Party, but the fact he lost his home state of Tennessee by 80,000 votes (Nader only got 19K there).

What has to be asked in both cases is not how can we do math and console ourselves but.....

1) how in the world do you take the record of the 90s prosperity and peace and wind up in a virtual tie with a guy who cannot even complete a sentence?

2) how in the world is your race with the worst candidate ever nominated even close enough for this to matter?

I fear that new voters are going to be turned off seeing two old white guys running. OTOH, a more progressive candidate may turn off the economy only people. Yes, it may be a tough row to hoe.
The bizarre part is the electorate AT LARGE doesn't really give a damn either about ideological labels or even program specifics; they just use a general guideline and what they feel based on what they view either on TV or online.

It's the hardcore partisans that control the primaries that force candidates into positions they have to try and get out of in the general election.
And it's the press that gives the ole, "How are you gonna pay for it" that (in general terms) nobody really examines closely anyway.
 

Crimson1967

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I agree there is no way to know who wins if there are only two people on the ballot. If Clinton had won the Trumpies would be blaming Johnson the way people are blaming Stein.


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selmaborntidefan

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I agree there is no way to know who wins if there are only two people on the ballot. If Clinton had won the Trumpies would be blaming Johnson the way people are blaming Stein.


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Yep, and in the case of HRC she'd STILL need every vote Stein got in 2 of those states.

Now let me be fair....SOMETIMES it's true that a candidate pretty much loses because of a split vote. Reagan won Mass in 1980 by less than 4,000 votes, and the liberal Republican John Anderson got 392,000 votes. At 15.5% of the vote, that was the highest % of the vote Anderson got in 1980 BY FAR. It IS reasonable to conclude that Anderson probably cost Carter the state of Mass, but it's not like he cost him the White House.
 

TexasBama

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How do you figure this?

The election was lost (basically) in the so-called Blue Wall states.

Hillary lost PA by 44,292 votes, and Stein got 49,941. Every single Stein voter is not necessarily a Hillary voter otherwise, and she would have needed about 9 of every 10 votes, which never happens.....and it also ignores the fact that Gary Johnson probably took more votes nationally from Trump than he did from Hillary. But the gratuitous assumption is that, "Well, if X had not been on the ballot then they would have voted for one of the two main candidates." A LOT of people voted down ballot simply to do their patriotic duty/participate/whatever - and didn't want either one.

I guess one could argue that she wins Michigan without Stein (51,463 votes for Stein, HRC lost by 10,704) but we again can't assume that she wins all of those votes or the fact there were 25,000 votes for write-ins, another 11,000 for down ballot candidates plus the Johnson vote.


And then in Wisconsin - again - the math aligns if one adds Stein's votes to Hillary but that's also a state where if you simply add MacMullin's total to Trump (every bit as legit as simply adding Stein's total to HRC)......he still wins. Again, I'm not in favor of doing the math that way, but I think that's a specious case at best. In fact, it's a lot like Republicans who pull the same math tricks with, "If Perot hadn't been on the ballot then Clinton never would have been President."

It's just a bad argument all the way around.


As far as 2000, what cost Gore was not the Green Party, but the fact he lost his home state of Tennessee by 80,000 votes (Nader only got 19K there).

What has to be asked in both cases is not how can we do math and console ourselves but.....

1) how in the world do you take the record of the 90s prosperity and peace and wind up in a virtual tie with a guy who cannot even complete a sentence?

2) how in the world is your race with the worst candidate ever nominated even close enough for this to matter?



The bizarre part is the electorate AT LARGE doesn't really give a damn either about ideological labels or even program specifics; they just use a general guideline and what they feel based on what they view either on TV or online.

It's the hardcore partisans that control the primaries that force candidates into positions they have to try and get out of in the general election.
And it's the press that gives the ole, "How are you gonna pay for it" that (in general terms) nobody really examines closely anyway.
My post was more aimed at the absurdity that is the Green Party. And I said a factor, not the cause.

Of course all the Stein votes would have had to break for Hillary. But as you pointed out, she may have won Michigan were it not for Stein. So I think that would qualify as a factor.

Regarding 2000, 537 vote split in Florida vs. 97,000 or so for Nader, yeah probably.
 

rgw

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I don't think there is anything absurd about the Green Party existing. The absurdity is our electoral system that attempts to reduce the discourse.
 

Tidewater

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I think we are about to test this guy's theory in the 2020 presidential.
I think there is a good bit of the middle that will not, cannot hold their noses and vote for Trump. His behavior is just not acceptable.
If the Democrats nominate a sane person, they could well pick up a lot of those voters.
If, on the other hand, they nominate an extremist, they may fire up their base, but they stand to lose convince-able middle of the road voters.
 

selmaborntidefan

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My post was more aimed at the absurdity that is the Green Party. And I said a factor, not the cause.

Of course all the Stein votes would have had to break for Hillary. But as you pointed out, she may have won Michigan were it not for Stein. So I think that would qualify as a factor.

Regarding 2000, 537 vote split in Florida vs. 97,000 or so for Nader, yeah probably.

Except Gore didn't carry his HOME STATE.......

Everyone focuses on Florida, but the killer was a guy who had been both a Rep and a Senator and won as VP twice LOST his home state.

Nader might well have cost Gore Florida (that's a reasonable conclusion), but the fact remains that Gore lost because he couldn't even carry his own state.

I mean, you ARE technically correct on Florida, but the problem is that we can go look at a number of votes in those close states, pick any state we wish to make our case, and then say, "He lost because of X."

Gore lost West Virginia for Pete's sake, which was almost as Democratic (back then) as Minnesota or Mass.
 

TexasBama

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Except Gore didn't carry his HOME STATE.......

Everyone focuses on Florida, but the killer was a guy who had been both a Rep and a Senator and won as VP twice LOST his home state.

Nader might well have cost Gore Florida (that's a reasonable conclusion), but the fact remains that Gore lost because he couldn't even carry his own state.

I mean, you ARE technically correct on Florida, but the problem is that we can go look at a number of votes in those close states, pick any state we wish to make our case, and then say, "He lost because of X."

Gore lost West Virginia for Pete's sake, which was almost as Democratic (back then) as Minnesota or Mass.
Yes, this is all hypothetical. And I (almost) hate hypotheticals. I'm guessing in 2000 the south saw W as "one of us" much more so than Gore.
 

TexasBama

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I think we are about to test this guy's theory in the 2020 presidential.
I think there is a good bit of the middle that will not, cannot hold their noses and vote for Trump. His behavior is just not acceptable.
If the Democrats nominate a sane person, they could well pick up a lot of those voters.
If, on the other hand, they nominate an extremist, they may fire up their base, but they stand to lose convince-able middle of the road voters.
I rode the Railjet from Budapest to Vienna last year. A sweet ride!
 

Bamaro

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My post was more aimed at the absurdity that is the Green Party. And I said a factor, not the cause.

Of course all the Stein votes would have had to break for Hillary. But as you pointed out, she may have won Michigan were it not for Stein. So I think that would qualify as a factor.

Regarding 2000, 537 vote split in Florida vs. 97,000 or so for Nader, yeah probably.
Buchanan too since the erroneous votes for him in Palm Beach Co.
 

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