Good Friday Morning! We’re getting close to hitting the summer horse race months for Presidential politics. Democrats outside the top of the field are working towards qualifying for the debates. The DNC knew they’d have a plethora of candidates, so they limited the debate field to the top 20 (following pollings/donations rules). Since anyone can jump into a top-20 field, just about everyone is running these days. But, the Democratic field isn’t what people on Twitter say it is… so it’s worth examining just how unrepresentative people like Bernie Sanders, AOC, and others are compared to Biden. Links follow.
Oh, and to answer a question I keep getting: No — nothing about the Bill Barr controversy in the media matters. Eric Holder got held in contempt by the House, and the case against him settled in court the same day the House held Barr in contempt — a lawsuit that took seven years. It’s interesting as a nerdy legal issue, but it’ll have no impact politically. Most of this will vanish once Mueller testifies. The media and Democrats need a narrative, and they’re pushing Barr.
Where you can find me this week
Make sure to sign up for the Conservative Institute’s daily newsletter. You can also go to their Facebook page. You can join Ricochet here. And I do recommend their ever-growing network of podcasts, which you can find on all popular podcast platforms. They have a show for every topic you can imagine, and the list continues to grow.
Alabama Democrat John Rogers said is was better to kill a child in the womb through abortion than it was to use the death penalty when the kid goes to prison. He’s refused to back down. And his reasoning goes back to an old form of progressivism: eugenics.
One of my more popular recent pieces is a reminder that Venuzuela enacted full gun confiscation laws less than a decade ago and now the people have no means of fighting back. Worth remembering when new gun control debates come up.
The Democratic Field enters the summer slog
As I mentioned above, the DNC capped the Democratic field to roughly 20 people. I say roughly because the rules leave some wiggle room:
The party has capped the number of debate participants at 20, and to qualify to take the stage, a candidate will need to get at least 1 percent support in three national polls or polls of early primary states, or raise money from a minimum of 65,000 donors from 20 states, including at least 200 unique donors per state. If more than 20 candidates meet this criteria, the party will give preference to candidates who clear both the polling and fundraising thresholds, and if that’s still too many people, invitations will go to candidates who have the highest polling averages. And if the number of qualifying candidates is too unwieldy for a single debate, the Democratic National Committee said it’ll hold primary debates on multiple nights if necessary, assigning candidates randomly to the two debates rather than dividing them based on polling like Republicans did in 2016. The DNC told FiveThirtyEight in an email that this criteria only applies to the first two debates; later debates may have different thresholds for inclusion.
It’s going to be a monster debate stage and a debacle. For instance, under these rules, on the stage will include the author and speaker Marianne Williamson — who cleared the bar of having 65,000 donors from 20 states. It’s not hard to meet these standards.
The key this summer for most of the candidates: maintain polling numbers or get enough donors to ensure a place on the debate stage and drive donations. That’s hard right now with Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders combining for between 50-60% of the vote depending on the poll.
Right now, the race is Biden’s to lose. For all the extremist headlines the freshmen trio of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, and Rashida Tlaib put out, they are remarkably unrepresentative of the Democratic coalition that won in the 2018 midterms (and the country overall).
Harry Enten, formerly of FiveThirtyEight and now at CNN, wrote a critical piece examining the Democratic electorate, finding it older, whiter, and more conservative than what most cable news pundits and Twitter imagine:
[M]oderates and conservatives make up about 50% of all Democrats. In the 2018 midterms, the exit polls found that moderates and conservatives made up 54% of those who voted Democratic. Pew similarly put moderate and conservative Democrats as 54% of all self-identified Democrats and independents who lean Democratic voters in 2018. Gallup’s 2018 figures had moderates as 47% of all adults who self-identified as Democrats.
And while liberals make up about 50% of Democrats, many of them are only “somewhat liberal.” In a Quinnipiac University poll taken last month, people who identified as “very liberal” were only 19% of all Democrats and independents who leaned Democratic. Very liberals made up the same 19% of those who said they were voting Democratic in Suffolk University’s final 2018 pre-election poll. The 2016 primary exit polls discovered that about 25% of Democratic primary voters called themselves very liberal.
That’s not all; the most crucial bloc of voters in the Democratic Party is black voters, especially in the South. Black voters make up roughly 20% of Democratic voters (1 in 5). And what’s most interesting here is that blacks and Latino voters are nowhere near as liberal as whites in the Democratic Party. The Brookings Institute (a liberal think tank) did a study and found:
[H]ighly educated white Democrats are far more likely to self-identify as liberal than are African-Americans (or Hispanics) at equivalent levels of education. In fact, the 25-point gap between highly educated whites and highly educated African-Americans is identical to the gap between highly educated and less educated whites.
Once you controlled for variables, blacks and Hispanics self-identified as more moderate and conservative than whites.
One of the ways you can tease this issue out is looking at freshman Representative Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez. National Democrats like touting her as a sign that they’re diverse and moving with the times. But in reality, her support in the primaries came from wealthy, white districts. Minorities voted for the white establishment candidate.
But the ultimate way to measure the lack of power the far-left/socialist faction has in general elections: all their progressive candidates lost in the 2018 midterms:
Before the midterms, the socialist activist Sean McElwee and center-right journalist Josh Kraushaar mutually agreed on a list of nine races that would determine the left’s electoral viability — and in all nine races, the progressive Democratic candidate lost.
The people who won were moderates in purple House districts. Candidates like Ocasio-Cortez won their primary in a cakewalk general election. Don’t believe me? Try Nancy Pelosi:
“When we won this election, it wasn’t in districts like mine or Alexandria’s,” Pelosi said. “[S]he’s a wonderful member of Congress as I think all of our colleagues will attest. But those are districts that are solidly Democratic.” To drive the point home she picked up a water glass next to her and said: “This glass of water would win with a ‘D’ next to its name in those districts.”
What does this mean moving forward?
I think some candidates like Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren have severely mismanaged their approach. They’re trying to cut into the Bernie Sanders coalition when they should try to cut into Joe Biden coalition. Everyone in the Democratic Party entered the race trying to win over a small segment of the party: the hard-left activists flirting with socialism. In doing that, they left open something between 40-60% of the overall field.
If you ever wanted evidence of how the Twitter echo chamber is driving stupid decisions, look no further than these primaries. Social media should get ignored; it’s creating inaccurate bubbles.
So far, that looks like good news for Joe Biden.
That said — there’s a reason Joe Biden lost every Presidential race he entered in the past. He has the shine of the Obama years on him right now. Does he maintain that position? We’ll see after this summer.
Links of the week
U.S. officials: Iran official OK’d attacks on American military: Intelligence revealed Iran told some proxies and surrogates they could go after American military targets in the region, say 3 U.S. officials. – Courtney Kube, NBC News
The Hero Solution to the Mass-Shooting Contagion: As governments try to solve a crisis, heroes take matters into their own hands – David French, National Review
American Family Association (AFA) attacks David French: “Christians, Sign the Petition. Condemn . . . Me?” – David French, National Review
Will the Right Defend Economic Liberty? Capitalism is more than a tool – Jonah Goldberg, National Review
In a Tight Labor Market, Gig Workers Get Harder to Please: Companies like Uber, Lyft, Postmates and Instacart could run out of manpower as high turnover plagues the side-hustle economy – Christopher Mims, The Wall Street Journal
In News Industry, a Stark Divide Between Haves and Have-Nots: Local newspapers are failing to make the digital transition larger players did — and are in danger of vanishing – Keach Hagey, Lukas I. Alpert and Yaryna Serkez, The Wall Street Journal
Islamic Jihad allegedly admits baby, mom killed by their own rockets: The report was published in a Telegram account related to Hamas. – Rossella Tercatin, The Jerusalem Post
Increasing calls for Brian Sims to ‘immediately resign’ for harassing pro-lifers – Caleb Parke, Fox News
The Girls State Rep. Brian Sims Harassed Were 15 And 13 Years Old – John Sexton, HotAir
Does Brian Sims Hear Himself? | Political fanatics such as Representative Brian Sims fixate on terminology as a substitute for ideas, and for them buzzwords are a necessary intellectual crutch. – Kevin D. Williamson, National Review
‘The Guarded Gate’ Review: Bigotry and Bad Science: Advocates claimed eugenics was a step toward scientifically grounded policy making. – Stephen Budiansky, The Wall Street Journal
Larry Tribe Repudiates Larry Tribe on Senate Duty to Act on Supreme Court Nominee – Ed Whelan, National Review
Geneticists are showing much of what we know about depression is wrong: 5-HTTLPR: A POINTED REVIEW – Scott Alexander, Slate Star Codex
Drugs, guns and politics collided in the small town of Port Richey. Two mayors went to jail. A very Florida investigation. – Rebecca Woolington and Justin Trombly, The Tampa Bay Times
Synthetic Biology Could Bring a Pox on Us All – David Kushner, Wired
How Much of the Internet Is Fake? Turns Out, a Lot of It, Actually. – Max Reed, New York Magazine
 Could Conjoined Twins Share a Mind? Krista and Tatiana Hogan are craniopagus conjoined twins — joined at the head, they share a neural bridge. – Susan Dominusmay, The New York Times
Tracy Morgan Turns the Drama of His Life Into Comedy: After a near-fatal car crash, the actor got enough money from a settlement that he no longer has to work. But, with his own TV series and a return to standup, he has become even more ambitious. – Vinson Cunningham, New Yorker Magazine
Satire piece of the week
‘Down With Capitalism!’ Cries Man In Guy Fawkes Mask Ordered On Amazon – The Babylon Bee
SAN FRANCISCO, CA—Sporting a new hooded sweatshirt from J. Crew and a nice L.L. Bean backpack, local activist Wayne Hoffman cried out “Down with capitalism!” at a protest event Friday while his face was obscured by a Guy Fawkes mask he ordered on Amazon using their convenient app he downloaded to his iPhone 7, sources confirmed.
After the protest, Hoffman sat down with reporters over lunch at a Panera restaurant to discuss his views on society.
“We are the resistance,” he said stoically. “That’s why I wear this mask. The mask represents resistance against our commercial society. And thank God for Amazon Prime, because I was able to get it delivered in two days, for free—so it showed up just in time for today’s rally. No extra charge.”
“Prime is totally worth the money,” he added.
Thanks for reading!