Democrats Honor Dr. King, Republicans Rally Behind A White Supremacist

It’s Been A Good Week of Polling For Us/The Electoral Data I’m Looking at Now


JAN 15

Voting In the 2024 Begins Tonight – I did a long post on Saturday about why I think, if we do the work, we will win this November. This morning, I want to drill down a bit on recent polling and electoral data. While Trump may have lead for a brief period a few months ago, he no longer leads. Today polling is telling us it’s a close, competitive election. A majority of the independent polls taken since Thanksgiving have Biden tied or ahead. The Morning Consult weekly tracking poll this week had Biden gaining 3 points from the week before, and now leading 43%-42%. Credible polls released this week in 3 important states have Biden leading and even beating his 2020 results (all polls via 538): 

MI – 45%-41% (+4) – Biden won MI by 2.8 points in 2020 – MIRS

NH – 42%-34% (+8) – Biden won NH by 7.4 points in 2020 – USA Today/Suffolk

PA – 49%-46% (+3) – Biden won PA by 1.2 pts in 2020 – Quinnipiac

I am comfortable with where the race is now. We are in the earliest days of the general election. I think once our coalition starts to engage and really paying attention in the coming weeks/months, and the Biden campaign starts to really turn on, some of our wandering coalition will come home and we will open up a 3-4 point lead. Can we win the election by more, high single digits, as I imagined in my Get to 55memo? Yes, I think we can. One bit of evidence for this Get to 55 theory comes from the new NBC News Iowa poll. It asked Haley voters who they would vote for in the general election if it were Trump/Biden, and they said Biden 43%, Trump 23%. Wow. Trumpy candidates bled Republicans in battleground states in 2022 and lost. Trump, more degraded, extreme, dangerous this time will almost certainly do so again in November. As we like to say: 

Joe Biden is a good President. The country is better off. The Democratic Party is strong and winning elections across the US. And they have Trump. 

I would like this community to try to resist freaking out over a single bad poll in the coming weeks. It is something we all should have learned from the 2022 red wave fiasco. Polling is all over the place these days, far less reliable than it used to be, and what I try to do here is to not center my understanding of our politics around polls. 

I also don’t know that any of the third party candidates will amount to anything, and we should not give them power in this election that they have not earned themselves. Perhaps they will amount to something, but we should take heart that the most consequential of the third party/splinter party movements out there today, the NeverTrumpers/former Republicans, is aligned with us and can potentially bring us 2-3-4 points in the general election. 

Finally, I don’t know that we will need to win by 3-4 points this time to win the Electoral College. Might happen, but we also know Rs did really poorly in the battlegrounds in 2022, and their brand may be more diminished there than in 2020. We won’t know that for some months, but because it happened in 2020 doesn’t mean it will happen again in 2024. Every election is unique, sui generis, no election is ever like any other. 2024 is 2024, not 2000, 2016 or 2020, and we will have to stay close to the data in this election to understand what is happening this year. Here is some of that other data that I’m most interested in right now:

  • We Keep Winning Elections – Democrats won in 2018 and 2020, outperformed all expectations in 2022, and did so again in 2023. As it did in 2022, very noisy polling is having a hard time capturing what is really happening in American politics. This recent wave of polling feels a bit red wavy to me as even though Biden was down a bit we had what was in essence a blue wave election on November 7th, which was proceeded by strong Dem electoral performances across the US throughout 2023. In 2022 Republicans could point to a few places they did well, despite our overall success. There was no place they could point to in 2023, anywhere in the country, on any day, in any election, where they did better than expected. To me our continued strong performance in elections across the US the most important electoral data out there, and is the central reason I am optimistic about 2024. When people vote, we just keep outperforming expectations, and they keep struggling.
  • A Reminder of How Strong Our Post-Dobbs Performance Has Been – In 2022, a “red wave” year, post-Dobbs Democrats outperformed 2020 in 5 US House special elections in AK, MN, NE NY by an average of 7 points; we got to 59% in the Kansas statewide abortion referendum; we outperformed 2018 and 2020 in the 2022 early vote all across the country; we gained a US Senate seat, won 4 state legislative chamber, gained 2 governorships net and won enough seats in the House to deny Republicans ideological control. We gained ground over 2020 in AZ, CO, GA, MI, MN, NH and PA, and got to 59% in CO, 57% in PA, 55% in MI, 54% in NH. In 2023 we flipped the WI Supreme Court Seat, getting to 56% in this critical battleground. We flipped Colorado Springs and Jacksonville, two of the largest Republican held cities in America. We got to 57% in Ohio twice, and took away its six week abortion ban. We flipped the state house in Virginia, and proved that even the 15 week abortion ban, backed by a popular governor and lots of money, cannot provide a safe haven for Republicans on abortion. We gained state legislative seats in New Jersey, Gov Beshear grew his margin in KY, and we won cities and school board seats all across the country. According to the Daily Kos special election tracker,Democrats have outperformed 2020, an election we won by 4.5 points, by an average of 5 points in 38 special state house elections across the US. For the party in power to keep doing this well, in race after race, in elections of all kinds, in every region of the country, over two election years, augers very well for the Democrats in 2024.
  • Democrats Are In A Remarkable Period of Popular Vote Dominance – A new theory out there is that even though Dems keep performing well in these special elections, off year elections, mid-term elections, school board elections, run-off elections, mayoral elections, ballot initiatives in red states, and every type of election one can imagine, somehow when the electorate gets bigger next year we will struggle. But what has actually happened as the electorate has gotten bigger in recent years? Dems are in a period of unprecedented dominance in the popular vote. We’ve won more votes in 7 of the past 8 general elections, something no other political party has done in American history. In the last 4 Presidential elections we’ve averaged 51% of the vote, the GOP 46% (51%-46%, +5). The last time we did that well was during FDR’s 4 elections all the way back in the 1930s and 1940s. For Trump to win the popular vote next year he will have to do something only a single Republican has done since 1992 and I just don’t believe this disgraced, despicable, insurrectionist is going to be the one to pull that off. We are a center-left country today, and the extremism of MAGA has made it even more so in recent years. The Democratic Party is very strong right now.

Help us start 2024 strong by making GOTV calls for Tom Keen tomorrow. The early vote is telling is that this a close, competitive race, and the calls we make tomorrow could make the difference between us winning or losing this important election. Thanks for everyone who have donated or volunteered so far – the response for Tom in this community has been remarkable.

Republicans Honor Dr. King By Voting For Trump – Should not be lost on any of us that Republicans have chosen to honor Dr. King by holding an election on this day of remembrance and voting for a man who is fighting to roll back all the progress Dr. King helped bring about. Here’s a photo from Houston, Texas, yesterday: 

Excerpts from MLK’s Letter from Birmingham Jail – These passagesspoke to me this morning, helped remind me of the importance of the fight we are all in now, and how we are choosing to honor Dr. King in a very different way than the party of Trump: 

We have waited for more than 340 years for our constitutional and God given rights. The nations of Asia and Africa are moving with jetlike speed toward gaining political independence, but we still creep at horse and buggy pace toward gaining a cup of coffee at a lunch counter. Perhaps it is easy for those who have never felt the stinging darts of segregation to say, “Wait.” But when you have seen vicious mobs lynch your mothers and fathers at will and drown your sisters and brothers at whim; when you have seen hate filled policemen curse, kick and even kill your black brothers and sisters; when you see the vast majority of your twenty million Negro brothers smothering in an airtight cage of poverty in the midst of an affluent society; when you suddenly find your tongue twisted and your speech stammering as you seek to explain to your six year old daughter why she can’t go to the public amusement park that has just been advertised on television, and see tears welling up in her eyes when she is told that Funtown is closed to colored children, and see ominous clouds of inferiority beginning to form in her little mental sky, and see her beginning to distort her personality by developing an unconscious bitterness toward white people; when you have to concoct an answer for a five year old son who is asking: “Daddy, why do white people treat colored people so mean?”; when you take a cross county drive and find it necessary to sleep night after night in the uncomfortable corners of your automobile because no motel will accept you; when you are humiliated day in and day out by nagging signs reading “white” and “colored”; when your first name becomes “nigger,” your middle name becomes “boy” (however old you are) and your last name becomes “John,” and your wife and mother are never given the respected title “Mrs.”; when you are harried by day and haunted by night by the fact that you are a Negro, living constantly at tiptoe stance, never quite knowing what to expect next, and are plagued with inner fears and outer resentments; when you are forever fighting a degenerating sense of “nobodiness”–then you will understand why we find it difficult to wait. There comes a time when the cup of endurance runs over, and men are no longer willing to be plunged into the abyss of despair. I hope, sirs, you can understand our legitimate and unavoidable impatience….

….I must make two honest confessions to you, my Christian and Jewish brothers. First, I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action”; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a “more convenient season.” Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.

I had hoped that the white moderate would understand that law and order exist for the purpose of establishing justice and that when they fail in this purpose they become the dangerously structured dams that block the flow of social progress. I had hoped that the white moderate would understand that the present tension in the South is a necessary phase of the transition from an obnoxious negative peace, in which the Negro passively accepted his unjust plight, to a substantive and positive peace, in which all men will respect the dignity and worth of human personality. Actually, we who engage in nonviolent direct action are not the creators of tension. We merely bring to the surface the hidden tension that is already alive. We bring it out in the open, where it can be seen and dealt with. Like a boil that can never be cured so long as it is covered up but must be opened with all its ugliness to the natural medicines of air and light, injustice must be exposed, with all the tension its exposure creates, to the light of human conscience and the air of national opinion before it can be cured…

….I had hoped that the white moderate would see this need. Perhaps I was too optimistic; perhaps I expected too much. I suppose I should have realized that few members of the oppressor race can understand the deep groans and passionate yearnings of the oppressed race, and still fewer have the vision to see that injustice must be rooted out by strong, persistent and determined action. I am thankful, however, that some of our white brothers in the South have grasped the meaning of this social revolution and committed themselves to it. They are still all too few in quantity, but they are big in quality. Some -such as Ralph McGill, Lillian Smith, Harry Golden, James McBride Dabbs, Ann Braden and Sarah Patton Boyle–have written about our struggle in eloquent and prophetic terms. Others have marched with us down nameless streets of the South. They have languished in filthy, roach infested jails, suffering the abuse and brutality of policemen who view them as “dirty nigger-lovers.” Unlike so many of their moderate brothers and sisters, they have recognized the urgency of the moment and sensed the need for powerful “action” antidotes to combat the disease of segregation.

….I hope this letter finds you strong in the faith. I also hope that circumstances will soon make it possible for me to meet each of you, not as an integrationist or a civil-rights leader but as a fellow clergyman and a Christian brother. Let us all hope that the dark clouds of racial prejudice will soon pass away and the deep fog of misunderstanding will be lifted from our fear drenched communities, and in some not too distant tomorrow the radiant stars of love and brotherhood will shine over our great nation with all their scintillating beauty.

Yours for the cause of Peace and Brotherhood, Martin Luther King, Jr.

Keep working hard all. It’s how we honor Dr. King. By doing the work, taking action, and together lifting the deep fog of misunderstanding from our fear drenched communities – Simon

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