Democratic electability? Don’t forget Trump looked unelectable in 2015


Ed Kilgore at New York magazine writes—Democrats, Don’t Forget How ‘Unelectable’ Trump Looked 4 Years Ago:

As the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination contest gets underway, there is understandably an almost neurotic preoccupation among party activists and voters alike about choosing someone “electable” to deny Donald Trump the terrifying prospect of a second term in the White House. […]

There is not, unfortunately, one crystal-clear way to determine “electability.” As I observed recently, multiple 2020 candidates have “electability” arguments based on different assumptions of what will work against Trump specifically or Republicans generally. But without question, general-election trial-heat polls matching this or that Democrat against the incumbent will get more attention than they probably deserve. Joe Biden’s generally strong performance in such polls is undoubtedly boosting his 2020 campaign.

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One of the ironies of trying to assess the viability of candidates against Trump is that Trump himself flunked every imaginable test of “electability” throughout much of the 2016 presidential cycle. I took a look at two polls taken at roughly this time in 2015, and they sure didn’t make the mogul look like someone likely to take down Clinton. A May 2015 Quinnipiac survey showed HRC leading Mike Huckabee by seven points; Scott Walker by eight points; Chris Christie by nine points; Jeb Bush by 10 points, Ted Cruz by 11 points — and Donald Trump by 18 points. A CNN survey taken the next month, shortly after Trump’s official announcement of candidacy, had Clinton leading him by 24 points; again, he ran more poorly than the rest of the field by a considerable margin. In July 2015, a McClatchy–Marist poll found an assortment of Republican candidates within single digits of HRC, and Trump down by 16 points. And Trump’s uniquely and universally poor standing had nothing to do with the name identification problem some of his rivals faced: A July 2015 Gallup survey found him to be the best-known Republican in the field.

So anyone paying attention to objective measurements of “electability” at this point in the 2016 contest would have written off Trump entirely. […]

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“But all our phrasing—race relations, racial chasm, racial justice, racial profiling, white privilege, even white supremacy—serves to obscure that racism is a visceral experience, that it dislodges brains, blocks airways, rips muscle, extracts organs, cracks bones, breaks teeth. You must never look away from this. You must always remember that the sociology, the history, the economics, the graphs, the charts, the regressions all land, with great violence, upon the body.”  ~~Ta-Nehisi Coates, Between the World and Me 

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BLAST FROM THE PAST

On this date at Daily Kos in 2012Georgia becomes the seventh state to cut off abortions at 20 weeks. No exceptions for rape or incest:

Acting on contentious legislation passed by the Republican-dominated state House and Senate, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal (R)signed a bill Tuesday that forbids abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy except when the woman’s life is at risk. No exceptions are allowed for rape or incest. The bill, HB 954, effectively cuts six weeks off allowable time when abortions are now permitted in the state.

It wasn’t the total victory the law’s drafters had hoped for, however. In spite of vigorous opposition from forced-birther lobbyists, abortions will be permitted in cases where there are “irremediable” fetal congenital or fetal abnormalities “incompatible with sustaining life after birth.” So hurrah for a small victory in two years’ of the worst series of defeats for the women’s reproductive rights since Roe v. Wade legalized abortion nationwide 39 years ago.


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