↑ comment by Viliam ·
2020-12-30T19:23:55.154Z · LW(p) · GW(p)
The episode is quite interesting!
The system is set up in the way that before a Democratic candidate can enter their final battle against the Republican candidate, first they have to defeat their fellow Democrats. And things that help them in the previous rounds (talking like a SJW, to put it bluntly) seem to hurt them in the final round, and vice versa.
The underlying reason is that within Democratic Party, the opinions of the vanguard got recently so far from the opinions of hoi polloi, that it became almost impossible for any candidate to make both happy. With the vanguard, you score by being extreme, by "pushing the Overton window". With hoi polloi, you score by being a relatable person, by (illusion of) caring about their boring everyday problems.
Julia: So, then would it be accurate to say that the kind of liberal bias or slant of the media is a double-edged sword for Democrats -- because on the one hand it helps them, obviously, but on the other hand, it creates this tough bind for them, where in order to play nice with the media and get the coverage and so on, they have to go farther left than their electorate actually wants?
David: I think that's absolutely true.
(Followed by an interesting explanation why Republican Party doesn't have the symmetric problem. Within both parties, the more educated and more politically active people are more left-wing than their average voter. In Republican Party, this pushes the candidates towards center, making them more attractive for voters in general; in Democratic Party, this pushes the candidates away from center, making them less attractive for voters.)
The part where I disagree with Julia's summary is that to Julia, if I understand her correctly, the vanguard is a more extreme version of hoi polloi. To me it seems like they often care about different things. Consider the television ads that were popular among elite Democrats, but actually made people more likely to vote for Republicans.
David: I think one reaction is to go, “Oh, well, these people are horrible.” I'm not going to pass judgment, but when we looked at the open-ends where we ask people, “What do you think of this ad,” something that really came through is there were a lot of working class people who were saying, “This election to me is about issues. Donald Trump is talking about immigration, he's talking about trade. I care about China. I care about jobs. And you're just trying to guilt trip me.”
I don't read this as "you represent my opinion too strongly", but rather as "you don't represent my opinion".
David suggests an interesting solution: Democrats should have more non-white candidates with less woke opinions, because (these are my words) the vanguard will hesitate to attack them because of their color, and hoi polloi will find them more acceptable because of their opinions. (Kinda like Obama.) Cool trick, but I suspect it will stop working as soon as you have two candidates from the same minority, so they need to compete for the ideological support again.
Part of the model in the episode is that Democratic politicians in fact have these unpopular extreme views, but it would hurt their electoral chances if that became known.
David suggests it helped Biden that he refused to join the "defund police" bandwagon. Made him less popular with vanguard, but more popular with hoi polloi (especially with Hispanic voters).
Julia dislikes "the fact that people increasingly vote [...] all Democrats or all Republicans [...] because politicians are increasingly judged by what other politicians in their party say and do". So not only are the politicians naturally more extreme, but they have to compete for opinion of other naturally more extreme people, which makes the winners even more extreme. So perhaps it is inevitable that the politicians will be one step more extreme than their voters, but we could stop them from becoming two steps more extreme. The problem is not that the voters will learn their opinions, but that the super-woke journalists will (and that the voters will ultimately take the journalists' verdict into consideration).
I share your preference for more transparency about powerful people. I think that at some moment Democratic Party will somehow have to address the issue of being disconnected from the average voter.Replies from: DanielFilan
↑ comment by DanielFilan ·
2020-12-31T01:44:15.536Z · LW(p) · GW(p)
And things that help them in the previous rounds (talking like a SJW, to put it bluntly) seem to hurt them in the final round, and vice versa.
I think this is false. Shor, from the transcript:
But we went and we tested these things [e.g. talking about how good slavery reparations would be]. It turns out these unpopular issues were also bad in the primary. The median primary voter is like 58 years old. Probably the modal primary voter is a 58-year-old black woman. And they're not super interested in a lot of these radical sweeping policies that are out there. And so the question was, “Why was this happening?” I think the answer was that there was this pipeline of pushing out something that was controversial and getting a ton of attention on Twitter. The people who work at news stations -- because old people watch a lot of TV -- read Twitter, because the people who run MSNBC are all 28-year-olds. And then that leads to bookings.
I don't have much to say about your take, but it was interesting!
Replies from: Viliam
↑ comment by Viliam ·
2020-12-31T19:40:01.501Z · LW(p) · GW(p)
You're right, the main difference is not between the primaries and the final round, but rather somewhere between Twitter/journalists and primaries.