Discover more from The Intersection
The emerging working-class Republican majority
Plus: What changed at the third debate, behind Kennedy's poll numbers, Gen Z's formative experiences, tipping culture, swing voters depicted by DALL-E 3
No. 292 | November 10, 2023
🐘 Party of the People
“A historic realignment of working-class voters helped Trump defy the odds and win in 2016, and brought him to within a hair of reelection in 2020. The polls show a tied race or even a narrow Trump advantage with one year to go until the 2024 election, an advantage that extends to Trump’s fellow Republican contenders. And digging deeper into the data, we can see why: Joe Biden is faltering among the core Democratic groups that were once the mainstay of “the party of the people” —working-class voters of color. Numerous polls have shown Trump reaching nearly 20 percent of the Black vote and drawing to within 10 points of Biden among Hispanic voters. Even if these shifts were to only partly materialize in November 2024, they would signal a lasting realignment poised to upend the party system we’ve known since Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal.
For decades, Democrats were identified above all things with the blue-collar worker. Over time, they have begun to shed that identity. The old economic struggle of the many against the few has figured less prominently in the party’s Trump-era messaging, as it has surged in wealthy former Republican strongholds repulsed by the 45th president. Issues such as abortion rights and high-minded rhetoric about defending democracy against “MAGA extremism” are now center-stage for the party. Biden may have been the first president to stand on a picket line, as he did with striking UAW workers in Michigan in September, but the visit felt more like a distant echo of the party’s tone in the 1970s and 1980s than a reflection of where the Democratic coalition is today.”
Some podcast appearances from this week…
Pro Politics: Author Patrick Ruffini on the Pro Politics Podcast (Pro Politics with Zac McCrary)
Faithful Politics: Understanding the Shifts in Black and Hispanic Voting (Faithful Politics)
Rob Bluey: How a Working-Class Coalition Is Remaking the Republican Party (The Daily Signal Podcast)
Matt Lewis: Patrick Ruffini on Party of the People (Matt Lewis and the News)
“However, despite their clear feelings about who won and lost the debate, most Republicans aren’t changing their mind about whom they might vote for. When we asked likely primary voters (including both debate watchers and non-watchers) after the debate whom they were considering voting for (respondents could say they were considering multiple candidates), their answers were within 2 percentage points of their pre-debate answers for every candidate. Former President Donald Trump, who skipped the debate, remains in first place with 63 percent of voters open to supporting him, followed by DeSantis at 48 percent and Haley at 38 percent. Potentially interesting, though, is the fact that Haley and Christie were the only two debaters who gained potential support after Wednesday night.”
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“A looming rematch next year between President Biden and former President Donald J. Trump has left voters deeply dissatisfied with their options, longing for alternatives and curious about independent candidates like Robert F. Kennedy Jr., according to new polls of six battleground states conducted by The New York Times and Siena College.
Both Mr. Biden and Mr. Trump are viewed unfavorably by a majority of voters in these states, one-fifth of voters don’t like either of them, and enthusiasm about the coming election is down sharply compared with a poll conducted before the 2020 contest.
That frustration and malaise have prompted voters to entertain the idea of other options. When asked about the likeliest 2024 matchup, Mr. Biden versus Mr. Trump, only 2 percent of those polled said they would support another candidate. But when Mr. Kennedy’s name was included as an option, nearly a quarter said they would choose him.”
Nathaniel Rakich: Joe Manchin was a unicorn. Now he's retiring (FiveThirtyEight)
“A bleak Senate outlook for Democrats just got bleaker.
On Thursday, Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin announced that he would not run for reelection in 2024. That's significant because Manchin occupies the reddest Senate seat currently held by a Democrat in the entire country: West Virginia.
West Virginia voted for former President Donald Trump by a whopping 39 percentage points in 2020. Democrats were already going to have a hard time holding the seat with Manchin as their standard bearer; now, Republicans are virtually guaranteed to flip it, giving them a big head start in their race to recapture a Senate majority.”
“American religion is shifting rapidly now. The nones are climbing every single year. Mainline Protestants are losing ground day by day. And evangelicals are still having a huge impact on American culture, religion, and politics. The purpose of this post is to give a broad overview of just how much the parties have shifted from the 1970s through today.
The coalition that elected someone the first Catholic president (John F. Kennedy) to the second one (Joe Biden) isn’t the same at all. In fact, the Biden coalition would have been hard to fathom for a Democratic strategist in the early 1970s. And, I wonder to what extent the leadership of both parties is really thinking about religious groups when they consider about how to win over voters in elections every two or four years.”
📊 Public Opinion
Daniel A. Cox, Kelsey Eyre Hammond, and Kyle Gray: Generation Z and the Transformation of American Adolescence: How Gen Z’s Formative Experiences Shape Its Politics, Priorities, and Future (AEI Survey Center on American Life)
“Compared to previous generations, Generation Z is more likely to have been raised in smaller families by older parents who are spending more time outside the home. Census data show that in two-parent households, young adults today are far more likely to have both parents working full-time, a shift from previous generations. Personal choices and professional demands altered the structure of family life in ways that profoundly reshaped young adults’ formative experiences. In a past study, we found that only 38 percent of Generation Z adults reported having meals with their family on a daily basis when they were growing up.[ii] In contrast, more than three-quarters of baby boomers (76 percent) said having regular family meals was part of their childhood experience.
If generational cohorts are meaningfully different, then it is worth identifying and measuring them in surveys. In cross-sectional studies like this one, reliably comparing generations is challenging because these categories are confounded by age. Baby boomers are substantially older than millennials and Gen Z, and therefore their financial circumstances, personal and professional responsibilities, and relationship dynamics are going to reflect that fact. As we age, our social context evolves in important ways as well. How we spend our time and who we spend it with changes a lot between our early 20s and late 50s. Accounting for life-stage differences is crucial if we want to understand the unique way that generation shapes people’s lives and experiences.”
“A broad majority of Americans say they’re being asked to tip service workers more frequently than in the past. Around seven-in-ten U.S. adults (72%) say tipping is expected in more places today than it was five years ago, a finding that tracks with anecdotal reporting and has even been dubbed ‘tipflation.’
Nor is there consensus on whether tipping – which is built into the pay structures and business models of many service industries – is more of a choice or an obligation for consumers. Around two-in-ten Americans (21%) say it’s more of a choice, while 29% say it’s more of an obligation. The largest share (49%) say it depends on the situation, underscoring the lack of a single set of rules or expectations.”
📈 Data Science
@cremieuxrecueil: This is a great way to illustrate the problems with plotting trends for groups people shuffle between over the years. This plot makes it look like average IQs have gone down across the board, but for the whole sample, the average was kept at 100 each year. (X)
🖥 Digital Data
“The popularity of pro-Palestine content on TikTok is being driven primarily by users in the Middle East and Southeast Asia, while U.S. consumption on the platform is roughly split between both sides, according to an analysis of TikTok hashtag data by Semafor.
U.S. critics have accused the Chinese-owned app of posing a national security threat over claims that it serves overwhelmingly anti-Israel videos to people. ‘By tweaking the TikTok algorithm, the CCP can censor information and influence Americans of all ages on a variety of issues,’ Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Wis., wrote in an op-ed this week.
TikTok has denied the claims and said in a blog post they were based on “unsound analysis.” The data reviewed by Semafor suggests that the imbalance on the platform is largely outside the U.S. — and may skew heavily toward the Palestinian side because of the app’s popularity in Muslim countries and the fact that it is blocked in India.”
🗺️ Data Visualization
@ryanburge: These are my favorite types of survey questions - place yourself and the two parties in ideological space. This is how religious groups view the political landscape from 2016-2022. Note how atheists see themselves as more liberal than the Democrats. (X)
🤖 Artificial Intelligence
@jburnmurdoch: NEW: Generative AI is already taking white collar jobs An ingenious study by @xianghui90 @oren_reshef @Zhou_Yu_AI looked at what happened on a huge online freelancing platform after ChatGPT launched last year. The answer? Freelancers got fewer jobs, and earned much less (X)