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Great News, Bad News

John Judis calls our attention to a Pennsylvania poll that shows Pat Toomey with an eleven point lead over Arlen Specter.  If Specter makes it out of the Democratic primary (which is no sure thing), it is tough to see how Specter makes this up.  Its not like people are going to learn to like him more.

The crosstabs of the Franklin and Marshall poll that Judis cites are similar to the PPP polls before the Scott Brown race in Massachusetts.  Toomey beats Specter by more that 2 to 1 among whites, but Specter beats Toomey by over 20 to 1 (yes, you read that right) among nonwhites.  Specter also has a tiny lead over Toomey among young voters.  The last PPP poll of Massachusetts saw Scott Brown winning whites by 12 (thats alot anyway, but huge for Massachusetts) but losing nonwhites by large margins.  The good news is that there seems to have been a stampede of white persuadables towards Republicans in two Senate races and potentially in others where there is a credible Republican candidate.  The bad news is that this Republican surge seems based on winning whites by margins that I doubt are sustainable past the conditions of 2010.  The margins by which Republicans are losing nowhites are, I fear, all too sustainable if something does not change in Republican strategy.

Categories > Politics

Discussions - 14 Comments


Julie, thanks.

Kate, thanks for tht terrific article. It really gives you a sense of the ambiguity of political labels and the complicated relationship between those labels and policy preferences and voting behavior. The relationship of the GOP with Latinos is complicated andin some ways can be seen in differences at the state level. I think I remember that Jeb Bush won a majority of noncuban Latino votes when he ran for reelection in 2002. Jeb Bush is much more "conservative" than the recent Republican nominees for governor in California, but he won a larger fraction of the noncuban Latino vote. I don't think that the answer for the national GOP (or conservatives interested in expanding the tent of conservative politics) will do much simply to nominateconservative to office - though that would be nice. There are probably some things to learn from Jeb Bush.

Non-whites are not brain-dead. They are just people. There non-white persuadables out there just waiting to be persuaded.

It is good news about Specter. We had dinner with Pat Toomey once just before the last time he ran for the Senate. He's a nice man, clear, if you know what I mean: not a lot of obfuscation. I have been watching him in the years since and have seen nothing to change my good opinion of him.

Missed an "are" after my "There" up there.

"Non-whites are not brain-dead. They are just people. There non-white persuadables out there just waiting to be persuaded."

Thanks for that Kate. Reminds me of the nuggets of insight offered by Bill O'Reilly after he had dinner at Sylvia's in Harlem.

Perhaps you're forgetting the volumes of conservative theory which indicate that, while they might not be brain-dead, they also might not be, well, intellectually capable of comprehending the superiority of the conservative vision, either.

No, I missed that. Or rather, the last I read it and heard it was from my grandparents and a couple of books they had on Social Darwinism. All are long gone. If there is such talk in current politics it is well lost in the flood of paternalistic flood that comes from the Left. My comment was delivered solely as a rhetorical response to Pete's comment about that Dallas News article. It had no greater significance, but I would expect you to miss that. Race has nothing to do with a person being intellectually incapable of comprehending the superiority of the conservative vision.

What "volumes of conservative theory" are we talking about here?

You missed that, Kate? Where were you in the mid-'90s?? Surely you didn't miss "The Bell Curve" and the numerous conservatives who celebrated it?

Owl - I'm not quite sure how your link applies, really, but in any case, 1913 is long over.

Kate, I'm not sure to respond because I don't see how the intelligence of anybody came into it. I do think that making gains among constituencies that, are suspicious of a political coalition is a difficult political problem - though not one that cannot be solved. It includes elements of rhetoric, policy development, messaging, an understanding of how different groups who might share basically similar policy preferences and values might still see the past and present very differently, and commitment of resources. I think that all of those are ways of showing respect.

Good. Then you can drop your crap about racist conservative theory.

No, Pete, it doesn't. I was responding (irritably and badly, with a touch of sarcasm) to Craig's comment and roamed off into red-herringville. Persuasion is about much more than any appeal to the intellect, as you say and I agree with what you say above. However, the current president and Congressional leadership appears to be doing all it can to turn all Americans into conservatives. I am trying to be grateful.

Kate, I fear that I might have written unclearly and given offense. I apologize. I was responding to your first comment rather than your comments to Craig. My point was that we could take the intelligence of any given constituency fr granted, but that, if that constituency is alienated frm your political coalition, the basic intelligence and decency of the people you are trying to win over and favorable circumstances might not be enough to make major gains. I think that it takes special, well thought out, and intense effort or the alienated constituency stays alienated (aside from some minor and probably temporary gains). I think that the polls in the Scott Brown and Toomey races would tend to indicate that as they seemed t show that a combination of favorable environment, good GOP candidates and either lousy or discredited Democratic candidated produced a huge GOP gain among whites and not much gain among nonwhites

Offense? No. We may be talking past each other.

The "brain-dead" line was from the cliche of "brain-dead liberal". I thought it was still common currency. David Mamet used it not long ago, to explain his political conversion. He got beyond his own assumptions, or saw through them, and found his own ethics, true liberalism and understanding of the world in the conservative ethos. No pointed effort from conservatives or the Republican party was required.

A great setback for conservatives was the mixed message given once Republicans held the two elective branches of government. Consistency on principle and a consistent message, especially when in power, so that Republicans were not apparently ready to spend like Democrats once in power would be a powerful persuader. Republicans discredited themselves. Democrats are going to have be mighty discreditable to wipe away the memory of all that. They appear to working on it really hard. I am worrying about what we are going to have to live with once voters put them out.

There's more, but my personal constituency has not stopped clamoring and I must go meet their demands.

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