We’ve written a lot about David Shor here. He’s a liberal. He’s a data scientist. He’s a 2012 Obama campaign veteran who is now with the Center for American Progress Action Fund. He’s also grounded in his analysis, which has irked the Left. It cost him his job. Last year, amid the rioting over George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis, he noted that the unrest that occurred after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1968 reduced the Democratic voter share enough for Richard Nixon to win handily. In other words, he was making the point that rioting and the appearance of being pro-crime is not a winning issue. It cost him his job at Civis Analytics.
Post-MLK-assasination race riots reduced Democratic vote share in surrounding counties by 2%, which was enough to tip the 1968 election to Nixon. Non-violent protests *increase* Dem vote, mainly by encouraging warm elite discourse and media coverage. https://t.co/S8VZSuaz3G. pic.twitter.com/VRUwnRFuVW— (((David Shor))) (@davidshor) May 28, 2020
Shor has been direct about how ‘defund the police’ hurt Democrats in 2020. How there are parts of Trumpism that liberals should be aware of concerning Republicans obtaining institutional dominance for years if the next election is a good one for the GOP. And how the reason why the Trump moment will stick around is that it’s a very efficiently dispersed band of voters concerning political geography. Oh, and we hate to be polled.
For those of the Left, he’s very blunt in how liberal America is simply insane to think they can win elections with their desired progressive vs. conservative model. Shor notes simply they’d lose—badly. We’re not a liberal country. There aren’t that many liberals in real life. Most nonwhite voters do not describe themselves as liberal, voting trends aside. On the issues, white liberals who have swelled the Democratic Party ranks, are far more ideological than the typical core voter blocs that usually back Democrats. Case in point, the ‘defund the police’ antics caused a ton of black and Hispanic voters to back Republicans.
In his deep-dive of the 2020 election which he discussed with New York Magazine, Shor added there’s a crisis brewing if white liberals continue to take the helm on messaging. They simply have narratives for which the data doesn’t exist, like immigration. Hispanic voters are not liberal on the issue, with a pathway to citizenship barely breaking 50 percent which Shor added has remained constant for years. With Democrats now wholeheartedly endorsing an immigration agenda that is pretty much a lawless open-border policy, that also cost them tons of votes with Latinos. This route is fraught with danger and while there are data points Democrats must comb-over, Shor added there’s another reason why Democrats shouldn’t really push this one too hard: political people are an overall weird, weird group of folks (via Politico):
BARACK OBAMA approvingly tweeted out one such interview from New York Magazine in March. And some Biden White House officials have taken notice, too. Some aides in the White House pay close attention to Shor’s analysis and have talked with him about his data, according to two sources familiar with the matter.
That may be because Shor sings from the same hymnal as many — but not all — of Biden’s political advisers. He’s advised Democrats to stand against “defund the police,” not talk too much about immigration, assume that Twitter is not real life, and talk about things that already have approval instead of trying to make unpopular things popular.
The White House declined to comment. Shor declined to comment on any conversations with clients or talks with the White House but agreed to talk about politics generally.
“The advice I give to every Democrat that I ever get a chance to talk to is talk about popular things that people care about using simple language,” Shor said. “I think it's as simple as that.”
Shor, however, has been at odds with some of the grassroots of the party when it comes to understanding and talking about voters of color, racial justice issues and discrimination. At one point, his analysis on these topics cost him his job.
Shor has argued or amplified studies that contend that “defund the police” rhetoric and the riots last summer that spun out of protests against Floyd’s death hurt the Democrats in November.
And he has been particularly outspoken on the issue of immigration, calling it “probably the least popular part of the Democratic policy agenda.” Shor says he strongly disagrees with some pollsters who argue that Democrats can and should lean into immigration issues, or at least not be scared to talk about them.
While Shor believes immigration is a place where Democrats shouldn’t focus too intently, he also sees a larger problem afflicting the party. The people running it are just, well, odd.
“I think the biggest fundamental problem in American politics is that the people who work in politics are super, super weird,” he said. “The people who actually staff, all of these organizations are very different, you know, obviously, than the people we're trying to persuade.”
For him, it’s a no-brainer. For most Americans, it’s a no-brainer either. But for the snobby, condescending white liberal—speaking to someone who is of a different opinion or background is a waste of time. It could be viewed as endorsing views that are problematic in these warped circles. These are folks with a moral superiority complex. They cannot be bothered with the hoi polloi. The common folks are stupid. The rural poor deserve it because they vote Republican. These are the folks who are going to craft messaging over popular things that’s in plain language. No. Second, the liberal agenda isn’t popular. It never has been. And the Left’s inability to be self-critical due to their moral righteousness will always be a roadblock.