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Should We Worry About the Polls?

Here we go again. Another comment by a political junkie (that’s me) aimed particularly at the Democrat(ic) political junkies who not only read my comments but get all excited the way I get excited when we can think about what we learn from political polls.

And the poll which caught my eye yesterday was a story in The Failing New York Times by Nate Cohn, one of the paper’s resident experts, who has put together data from the crucial swing states which determine who wins the general election every four years, and he finds that the narrow edge that Trump had in the states which won him the big prize in 2016 seems to have disappeared.

I have seen this argument made by other pundits in other media outlets, but what is new in Cohn’s piece is the finding that the GOP seems to be doing better in states which no matter how well they do, will not change the end results.

Specifically, there does seem to be not a wave but at least a new ripple for the GOP amongst minority voters (read: Latins) in blue states like California and New York, but this slight shift, even if it becomes somewhat more noticeable, won’t change the overall outcome because these states will always vote blue.

On the other hand, the GOP seems to be losing some of its advantage in among white voters in critical swing states like Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, three states which Trump grabbed in 2016 but then swung back to the blue pile in 2020, and right now appear that they might go blue again in 2024.

Too bad Cohn’s piece came out before a new Iowa poll was released by Emerson College today, because what it shows is Trump still well ahead of all the other GOP wannabees, but his number has fallen from 62% in May to 49% today. And what this basically reflects is a two or three-point growth in everybody else’s numbers, which basically tells us that name recognition in Iowa for anyone else back in May was basically zilch. Gee, what a surprise.

On the other hand (here goes the Eisenhower press conference again) many of the so-called experts are finding it difficult to understand why Trump continues to garner any degree of support, given how the indictments and charges continue to pile up. The latest such missive comes from a cognitive neuroscientist who claims that many Trump supporters refuse to engage in ‘critical thinking,’ which is a polite of saying what a defense attorney said about his client who was charged with behaving like an asshole on January 6th: “He’s retarded.” discuss

The idea that MAGA is comprised of people who sit on the left side of the IQ bell curve shouldn’t necessarily be dismissed out of hand as just another example of how liberals approaching this issue from their usual elitist stance. But I happen to believe that there’s a more fundamental issue which needs to be considered as we try to figure out who will be sitting behind the real Resolute Desk after 2024.

The Unted States is the only country which has a government elected every two years which requires that candidates usually get on the ballot by dint of being recognized by a political party but do not require that voters be members of whatever political party receives their vote. In other democratic countries, people enroll in a political party and then get involved in all sorts of organizational affairs – meetings, social events, GOTV activities, and so on.

There are also 22 countries in which voting is mandatory but these countries also give voters time off from work in order to stand on line at the polls. Only half the states in the U.S. provide any paid time for leaving work and going to vote, with the usual time off being one or two hours is you are working 8 or more hours on election day.

I love how people who run around with a MAGA flag or t-shirt refer to themselves as being members of a ‘movement.’ What does that mean in organizational terms? Not a goddamn thing.

In other words, for all the talk about how divisive politics have become and how MAGA represents such a big threat to American democracy and all that other crap, the fact is that we take politics and political action a lot less seriously than what goes on in other democratic nation-states.

Know why? Because this country is so wealthy and so stable that it really doesn’t matter who’s in charge.

More on that coming up so stay tuned.

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