... of what our Reno canvassers are encountering as they try to convince and turn out infrequent, mostly working class, voters for the Democrats.
|There are plenty of homes like this in Reno -- but canvassers report the house next door displayed a Trump banner. |
First from Nicholas Lemann, who bothered to come to visit Nevada (as well as New Hampshire):
The aggressive mundaneness of Democratic candidates around the country, at least in competitive races, shouldn’t be mistaken for simple centrist, difference-splitting caution. It comes from a reading of American politics right now as an open competition for the loyalties of voters who aren’t especially affluent and who don’t feel especially secure or in control of their circumstances. ...
... Nevada Democrats, whose constituents are mainly blue-collar nonwhite residents, and New Hampshire Democrats, whose constituents are mainly white residents with small-government leanings, have a few things in common. They relentlessly emphasize the everyday practical benefits that the Party provides for its constituents. They are obsessively concerned with organizing, and especially with door-to-door, in-person campaigning. They try their best to get extreme Republicans as opponents. And, at least when I was visiting, they hardly ever mentioned their support for the Biden Administration’s major legislation. That’s partly because Biden isn’t very popular, and partly because of their conviction that voters, particularly in closely contested states, don’t care about whatever great changes are afoot in American government.
But that doesn’t mean there is no connection between what the Biden Administration has been doing and the way Democrats in purple states run for office. Both are animated by a critique, implied rather than directly stated, of past Democratic Party policies and politics. As Biden himself put it in a speech last year, “We’re now forty years into the experiment of letting giant corporations accumulate more and more power. And what have we gotten from it? Less growth, weakened investment, fewer small businesses. Too many Americans who feel left behind. Too many people who are poorer than their parents.” Politicians on the ground and a rising generation of policymakers in Washington are trying to reposition the Democratic Party as more focussed on the daily lives of the working-class voters it has been losing. For the economic-policy branch of the Party, that amounts to a revolution, one that hasn’t been sufficiently noticed.
Realizing that this is what might be persuasive to an electorate skeptical about the Democrats is changing the Democratic Party without loud breaches with the past, Lemann argues. And that's what our candidates, Catherine Cortez-Masto for U.S. Senate and Steve Sisolak for Governor, are talking about. They might seem very conventional Democrats, but they know the direction they have to take to reach voters. They appeal to working people who know they are getting a raw deal and blame the bosses. Our Culinary Union canvassers, who work in the tourist industry, have no trouble believing they are being ripped off. And they've walked and knocked for several months in heat and smoke to try to convince people much like them to vote.
In the Atlantic, Ronald Brownstein lays out a view of what he labels The Double Negative Election.
Most Americans consistently say in polls that they believe that President Joe Biden and congressional Democrats have mismanaged crime, the border, and, above all, the economy and inflation. But roughly as many Americans say that they view the modern Republican Party as a threat to their rights, their values, or to democracy itself.
Based on Biden’s first two years in office, surveys show that most Americans are reluctant to continue following the policy path he has laid out. But polls also show no enthusiasm for returning to the programs, priorities, and daily chaos of Donald Trump’s presidency...
... [a] factor allowing Democrats to remain competitive is that, for all the doubts Americans are expressing about their performance, there is no evidence of rising confidence in Republicans. ... although half of voters said they disagreed with most of what Biden and the Democrats are trying to do, even more said they mostly disagreed with the agenda of congressional Republicans (53 percent) and Trump (56 percent).
On the ground, what our canvassers are trying to overcome is a pervasive cynicism about what any politician will do for ordinary people. If we pull our candidates through in Nevada, it will be because we convince enough of the disillusioned that their votes matter.