Thursday, August 13, 2020

UPDATED: Violence, Schools, Masks: Three Losing Issues For Dems?

As we approach the post-convention campaign season, three issues are taking shape that look to me like sure losers for Dems.

First is violence. There are two aspects to the violence, but they are intertwined and are closely connected to Dem politics. The first aspect is the overtly political violence of Antifa, trashing city centers, erecting overtly Communist "autonomous zones", etc. This violence has been embraced by both local and national Dem politicians. However, Antifa's role has, thanks to the media, been eclipsed to a significant extent. The media and the Dem party no doubt thought it was a smart move to link this political violence to an more articulable cause than Antifa--BLM. This is turning out, in my view, to be not such a smart move. The reason is that Blue cities across the country are now--quite predictably--seeing an explosion of crime and looting sprees that is now being connected in the public's eyes with Dem politicians. This has been combined with an anti-police movement that has also been embraced by both local and national Dems. Expect to see Pelosi and her "Storm Trooper" comments featuring in GOP ads, along with clips of violent rioting and looting.

This issue is a complete winner for the GOP. It has the potential to also cause both revulsion among a significant portion of ordinary Dem voters as well as to attract ordinary non-voters to turn out. Those ordinary non-voters who turned out in 2016, having eluded pollsters, voted 75% for Trump. There's every reason to expect similar results this time around. Violence may also be a significant issue for a demographic that is particularly violence averse--suburban women. Playing into this is the Dem plan to export low income high rise to the suburbs--in other words, to export crime to the suburbs.

Rasmussen has done a poll on violence as an issue, and it bodes ill for Dems. All this is happening far too close to the election to be quickly forgotten. The bottom line for voters is that Trump is identified as pro law and order, while Dems are pro violence and anti police.

Voters are ready for the police to put an end to the continuing violent protests nationwide. Most also say the protests will be important to their vote in the upcoming elections. 
When asked which is closer to their own thinking, 50% of Likely U.S. Voters say the police should crack down on the protests to bring them to an end. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 38% disagree and believe the protests should be allowed to continue until the protesters decide to end them. Eleven percent (11%) are undecided. 
There’s sharp partisan disagreement on this question, though. While 75% of Republicans and a plurality (47%) of unaffiliated voters think the police should crack down on the protests, just 31% of Democrats agree. Fifty-six percent (56%) of Democrats say the protests should be permitted to continue until the protesters want to end them. 

Presumably that 31% of Dems who want a crackdown also consider the issue important to their vote.

Seventy-two percent (72%) of all voters say they are concerned about the growing level of violent protest nationwide, with 43% who are Very Concerned.
Sixty-two percent (62%) say the growing level of violent protest is important to their vote in the next election, including 35% who say it is a Very important voting issue. 
The violent protests champion defunding police departments and using that money for social programs. But 66% of Americans oppose defunding the police in the community where they live. Sixty-one percent (61%) believe violent crime is likely to go up in communities that defund the police. 
The older the voter, the more concerned they are about the protests.
Whites are more concerned than blacks and other minority voters. But other minorities attach the most importance to the violent protests when it comes to voting.  

In other words, Asians and Hispanics attach the most importance to violent protests when it comes to voting. The Dems can't afford to lose any support in those demographics. As for seniors, they are the most likely group to actually vote.

Forty-nine percent (49%) of Republicans rate the protests Very Important to their upcoming vote, compared to 24% of Democrats and 36% of unaffiliated voters.
When it comes to the violent anti-police protests in several major cities, most voters agree that President Trump sides with the police, while Democratic leaders side with the protesters.

Second, we have the issue of schools. Political and racial violence have combined with the Covid lockdowns to cause significant dissatisfaction in affluent Blue areas generally. Upcoming with the campaign will be the return to school--or not. Dems appear to have initially embraced the political tactic of shutting down education and trying to blame it on Trump. The tactic was enthusiastically embraced by their most loyal allies, the teachers unions, but it appears to be backfiring. I've seen polling that as much as 80% of the public want kids back in school, and that may be why major Dem politicians and major Blue states (New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and the list will grow) are back pedaling. This seems to me to be a big losing issue with affluent suburbanites, whose lives revolve around preparing their kids for college. I expect it also to be a losing issue with middle class blacks, who will understand just how badly school shutdowns will affect their children compared to the children of affluent whites who may elect to send their children to private schools. Again, an end to education is an issue that is closely identified with Dems and big government. A return to education is Trump's issue, and it's a winner.

Third, for some reason Biden/Harris thought it was a good idea to start off their campaign with a call for a national mask mandate. While there may be some people who will like this, my sense is that most people yearn for a return to a normal life. Masks are a symbol of fear and non-normality. Antifa and BLM riot in masks. Mandatory masking up may not be a major issue in terms of voting, in and of itself, but as a symbol that Dems oppose a return to normality it could have a strong reinforcing effect with regard to dissatisfaction on the first two issues.

The Dem message to voters seems to be: Vote for us and will turn your lives upside down. Not smart. Are those the people voters will also want to entrust a recovering economy to? I don't think so.

UPDATE: Make of this what you will:


  1. As a general rule I try to minimize linking to tweets on your site, but these I've pasted below are all very relevant to this post and I think will be seen by all as a worthy contribution to it.

The general theme is the same: people who don't vote R but are feeling like Ds are giving them no other choice.


(These last two are more of a "this has to be turning even Democrats off" sort of thing.)

    1. Andrea Widburg had a good article on that general theme, including that many of these people aren't just holding their noses--they're actually looking forward to it.

    2. Those first three--really good.

    3. Oops, I meant to link to the start of that Doranimated thread, not the middle. Here it is:

  2. Mark, I think that mask survey is bunk. My wife and I walk in Lincoln Park in Chicago along Mich Lake. Miles and miles of bike and walk lanes. Only about 10-20% are wearing mask. Even on the street sidewalks only about 50% wear them.