Jared Polis’ Success Shows That Democrats Can Win Without Embracing Big Government

“While Colorado was once considered a solid swing state, Polis’ continued success as governor, as well as the state’s other electoral outcomes, have entrenched the state’s Democratic leanings. However, Polis’ popularity shows that Democrats can receive solid victories without relying on the increasing technocratic impulses of the party as a whole. While other Democrats—and increasingly Republicans as well—turn to government to solve problems, Polis has found success by wanting to reduce government power.”

“While other Democratic governors were enacting strict COVID-19 regulations, Polis lifted mask mandates. While other Democrats scoffed at school choice, Polis, the founded of two charter schools, praised polices that increase educational choice. While other Democrats called for wealth taxes, Polis called on an end to Colorado’s income tax.
“I respect freedom,” Polis told Reason in July 2022. “It’s great because you’re free to be the way you want. That’s the way it should be.”

While the Democratic party—not to mention American politics as a whole—is trending towards embracing government control, Jared Polis offers a rare story of a politician that wants to reduce state power. His success offers evidence that an alternative approach, one where Democrats embrace rather than attack personal liberty, can be a wildly successful strategy.”

Pay Attention to Policy, not ‘Narratives’

“opinion leaders create narratives about how the world works—and then voters essentially buy into one that suits their biases. They pick a team. Social media reinforces each side’s thinking habits. As the election arrives, most voters aren’t doing a cost-benefit analysis—but embracing the candidate who touts the story their team tells (whether it’s true or not).

“Narratives … provide a rich source of information about how people make sense of their lives, about how they construct disparate facts and weave them together cognitively to make sense of reality,” explains a 1998 UC Irvine study. They can be helpful for understanding the world, but they can also send people down a rabbit hole.”

“fewer people can be persuaded by evidence. If you subscribe to the narrative that your opponents want to destroy everything that you find holy and dear, then you’ll put up with anything from a candidate from your tribe. During the 2016 election, Republicans embraced the “Flight 93″ theory—it’s time to rush the cockpit because a Hillary Clinton presidency would crash democracy.

Democrats believe something similar about a Donald Trump re-election, although they’re on more solid ground given that he did indeed try to steal an election and his election-denying acolytes filled the GOP ticket this year. Polls show most GOP voters have bought into that denialism narrative—and no evidence likely will sway them from their vote-stealing fantasies.”

“Jumping on the narrative bandwagon can take you to some morally dubious places. I don’t expect voters to adopt my balls-and-strikes voting strategy. But unless there’s a movement back in that direction, the story of our democracy might not have a happy ending.”

We’re in a new era of attacks on political leaders

“Ahead of the 2020 election, there was increasing concern about political violence perpetrated by the far right, fears that cascaded following the January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol. Since then, members of Congress, judges, and other public officials have faced pointed threats of violence, often from those espousing extremist ideologies.
Pelosi’s attacker subscribed to such beliefs, blogging about antisemitism, anti-Democrat and pro-Trump musings, conspiracy theories about pedophilia, and anti-white racism, as the New York Times reported.

That line of thought, and the way it’s disseminated, are key parts of what’s changed about political violence in recent years. The proliferation of social media — and its use by former President Donald Trump, his acolytes, and those with extremist far-right views — has deepened existing polarization. In part, that’s because consistent contact with extremist messaging on those platforms can make individuals more likely to justify immoral actions, research from Nathan P. Kalmoe and Lilliana Mason has found.

All that has contributed to the uptick in violent threats against political leaders.”

“Threats of political violence have increased tenfold in the five years since Trump’s election, with 9,625 incidents documented in 2021”

“A key source of this vitriol is the demonization of one’s political opponents. That makes people already predisposed toward this kind of behavior more likely to act”

“stochastic terrorism, or violent events which are not individually predictable on their own, but reliably occur due to seeding by a trusted leader.”

The Never Trump wing of the GOP never had a chance

“The bad news for Never Trump Republicans this week wasn’t just that Liz Cheney lost the primary for her Wyoming congressional seat on Tuesday. It wasn’t even that she lost by such an overwhelming margin. It was that her loss fit a pattern in which the GOP’s voters have roundly rejected Republican after Republican who voted to impeach Trump. Only two of the 10 House Republicans who did so will even be on the ballot in November — one of whom is running in a district that Joe Biden won by more than 10 percentage points in 2020.
It’s clear at this point that the Republican Party is a pro-Trump party, and that its voters recoil from candidates who are ardently opposed to the former president. The results of this primary season — and Cheney’s loss in particular — show a Never Trump wing on the verge of extinction.”

How Biden Lost The Support Of Young Americans

“From my conversations with experts who study the political beliefs of young Americans and an examination of recent polling data, I’ve identified a few key factors that help explain the large drop-off in support. First, of course, they are concerned about the economy — a major driver of disapproval of Biden overall — and about the direction the country is headed. But young Americans also have some concerns that set them apart from older Americans. They are particularly worried about achieving financial independence and other markers of adulthood, for instance. They are also frustrated with the Biden administration’s limited progress on issues like tackling climate change and forgiving student debt, which many young people care a lot about. Moreover, Biden wasn’t the first choice of young voters in the 2020 Democratic primary, so his approval among this group may have been soft to begin with. The question now is whether this dissatisfaction with Biden will affect whether young Americans vote in the midterms, a potentially significant factor in determining how poorly the midterms could go for Democrats since young people voted at a higher rate in 2018 than in previous midterms and overwhelmingly backed Democrats.
In some ways, Biden’s decline among young Americans mirrors his standing overall. As Biden’s approval rating has fallen to 38 percent in FiveThirtyEight’s presidential approval tracker,1 18- to 29-year-olds’ approval of Biden has also slipped to 37 percent, with 53 percent disapproving of his job performance, based on data from FiveThirtyEight’s polling database.2”

The challenge of turning pro-choice Americans into pro-choice voters

“Pollsters say there are arguments in favor of abortion rights that can resonate across the ideological spectrum. The most popular messages, researchers find again and again, are those that emphasize freedom from government control, and those that stress that abortion should be a decision between a woman and her doctor.

For the past decade, these concepts haven’t always been prominent in abortion access debates. As the procedure came under increasing attack nationwide, reproductive rights supporters mobilized Democrats and allies to stand up more forcefully for abortion access, and challenged the idea that some abortions — like in the event of rape or incest — are more worthy than others.

Rather than accept the “safe, legal, and rare” messaging popularized by Bill Clinton in the 1990s, celebrities, lawmakers, and activists have encouraged amplifying abortion stories, even, or especially, less sympathetic ones. Activists have also emphasized that messages about a “woman and her doctor” could diminish the reproductive agency of the pregnant woman herself. As feminist writer Rebecca Traister put it earlier this week, “It’s at the heart of the attitude that a person who can be pregnant… cannot simply get access to that procedure by their own damn self, without consultation or permission from anyone.”

The issue now is that, although a majority of American voters have repeatedly said they believe Roe should be upheld, roughly one-third of that majority personally opposes abortion. Those who believe abortion should be legal only in some cases primarily cite rape, incest, or a threat to a woman’s life.

Navigator Research, a group that works to provide messaging guidance to progressives, including Planned Parenthood, has conducted a few surveys on reproductive rights over the last few months: one in April before the leak of the draft Dobbs decision, one in May after it, and one following the Supreme Court’s final ruling. They found that respondents found a few consequences of the ruling especially concerning and believable: that women would have to seek unsafe abortions and that victims of rape and incest would be forced to give birth.

These ideological tensions between reproductive activists and other self-identified pro-choice people were not of huge concern when Roe was the law and defending the decision was a collective rallying point. But it makes building a coalition in a post-Roe world a more delicate balance.”

Campaigns may have lost their most effective — and annoying — outreach tool

“Text messaging — with their markedly high “open rates” — is an especially potent form of political outreach: Since 2016, texting has become one of the most appealing ways for campaigns to engage voters or supporters, especially as so many have ditched their landlines.

But as part of a broader effort to crack down on the fast-growing problem of spam calls and texts, mobile carriers like AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon have been rolling out a new policy that affects any business, nonprofit, union, or campaign that intends to send at least 3,000 messages per day.

It means that political campaigns and advocacy groups have fewer rights to text you, if you haven’t affirmatively opted in to receive the messages — and it’s causing distress among those groups ahead of the midterms.

The changes — known as “10DLC” for the 10-digit long codes that high-volume businesses and apps use to text local numbers — will require organizations to register with the Campaign Registry, a subsidiary of the Milan-based communications firm Kaleyra. Carriers will impose higher messaging fees and slower delivery rates for any group that fails to register, and in some cases block them from delivering messages altogether.

Every registered group must also limit their texts only to users who have opted-in to receive them, a massive change from the status quo. Progressive groups warn this new requirement will yield dire democratic consequences — particularly for the most marginalized who are typically ignored by elites and politicians. Others suggest these groups have grown too reliant on unsolicited texting, and that it’s not essential to successful mobilization.”