As Bacon points out, so-called moderates like Howard Schultz (and Michael Bloomberg) criticize candidates like Warren because of her economic views, which they claim are too far to the left. Schultz and Bloomberg will try and convince us that being a liberal means fighting the culture wars while embracing neoliberal economics, and they are not alone. Gov. Andrew Cuomo clearly thinks his decision to light up the World Trade Center in pink because he signed legislation vastly expanding access to abortion will help protect his left flank while he is busy making nice with Wall Street.
Nicholas Phillips, writing at National Review, pointed to the sheer stupidity of the Schultz/Bloomberg thesis that there is a vast center of the electorate just pining to vote for someone who is fiscally conservative but socially liberal. Phillips included a graph created by political scientist Lee Drutman that plots voters based on their ideological preferences on both economic and social issues. One quadrant has those voters who are conservative on both economic and social issues, and it is almost exclusively Republicans. Opposite is a quadrant of those who self-identify as liberal on both economic and social issues. A third quadrant has those whose views are socially conservative but economically liberal, and it accounts for 28.9 percent of the 2016 electorate. The quadrant opposite, the Schultz/Bloomberg quadrant for those who are socially liberal but economically conservative, is the smallest of the four, with only 3.8 percent. Phillips calls it a “ghost town.” There is not, it turns out, a vast center of the electorate clamoring for what Schultz and Bloomberg offer. It is just their friends from the club.
Other polling confirms the fact that the only way for Democrats to win is to avoid extremism on social issues and run to the left on economic ones. A recent Business Insider poll registered 54 percent approval for Warren’s proposal, compared to only 19 percent disapproval. A Politico/Morning Consult poll asked a more generic question — should the rich pay more in taxes — and a whopping 76 percent agreed. And, even a Fox News poll asked about taxing people making more than $10 million and found that 70 percent of registered voters and 54 of Republicans gave the idea a big thumbs up.
Conversely, late-term abortions are singularly unpopular…While a majority support permitting a late-term abortion to save the life of the mother, only 20 percent indicate wholesale support for a third trimester abortion for virtually any reason….
Inclusivity has become an increasingly important moral theme in the politics of the left, especially in the face of the ugly nativism emanating from the president. Inclusivity is most often discussed in social terms, but there is an economic aspect to it as well. There are people in rural America whose occupational aspirations are thwarted by a lack of access to broadband. There are children in both rural and urban America whose dreams are clouded by poverty. Blessings on the candidate who finds creative ways to unite the social and economic inclusionary themes.
Addressing the growth of income inequality by taxing the uber-rich is a political winner. It may not occur to most of the wunderkinds who run campaigns these days, but they should memorize the numbers cited above: 28.9 percent versus 3.8 percent. If the Democrats are smart, and that is a big if, they will recognize that the way to defeat Donald Trump is to cling to the center on social issues and to the left on economic ones.