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Tipsheet

‘Mathematically Challenged’: Liberal Writer Torches Dems’ Play for Suburban Voters

AP Photo/Susan Walsh

Democrats are a lock in the cities. That’s a known fact. It’s also why they’re crime-ridden hellholes. There was some discussion about the suburban vote being a buffer for a party that seems destined to get shredded come November. We’re in a recession, and inflation remains high. Have gas prices dropped? A little bit because we’re in a recession. The Biden team is painting this crack-cocaine-addled picture of a prosperous economy. It’s not. This detachment from reality is very much in line with lefty thinking regarding elections. And it’s not conservatives who are making this point either. It’s a liberal.

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In June, Ruy Teixeira analyzed this gamble from the Left. It’s bound to implode. It’s not because Glenn Youngkin won Virginia’s gubernatorial race, thanks to Democrats going to war with suburban parents. That didn’t help, especially in an off-year election. It’s based on the distribution of the suburban vote. In 2020, Democrats were flush with victory, and old habits took root with the analysis. The suburban vote is not a lock for the Left. White working-class voters make up a substantial portion of this vote. As you already know, white working-class voters are no longer friendly to the Democratic Party. Teixeira added that it gets messier when you hurl abortion into the mix.

These aren’t bastions for the white, wealthy, and college-educated elite. Democrats are banking on these voters to get energized post-Dobbs ruling, but suburban voters are not die-hard pro-abortion supporters. We have encountered a problem plaguing Democrats for years on abortion. They never go down the line on the polling data regarding Roe v. Wade. Yes, most voters here opposed its overturning, but they also back a slew of restrictions. The latter of which is anathema to the Left now, who are pushing for taxpayer-funded abortion on demand (via The Liberal Patriot):

The Democrats have a plan…sort of. In the face of a dreadful political environment dominated by voters’ negative judgment on Democrats’ economic stewardship and further defined by strong disapproval of Democrats’ approach on issues like crime and immigration, Democrats propose to flip the script by focusing their message on abortion and guns. Here they feel they are on stronger ground and can win the all-important battle for the suburbs.

[...]

Start with who actually lives in the suburbs. Contrary to popular perception, less than a third of the suburban vote nationwide is made up of college-educated whites, the presumed locus of appeal for the suburban abortion/guns/very liberal on social issues vote. In fact, about three-fifths of suburban white voters are working class (noncollege).

[...]

And just how liberal are these college-educated voters anyway? Overall, according to Gallup, just 30 percent of adults with a four year degree only describe themselves as liberal and 36 percent of those with some postgraduate education (the less numerous group) do so. Putting this together with the data about suburban demographics, this implies that perhaps one-ninth (a third of a third) of suburban voters are white college-educated liberals. Perhaps the figure is a bit higher but I doubt that it’s much higher.

Looking at some states that will have high profile races, we see a similar story. In Pennsylvania, where the Democrats are seeking to wrest a Senate seat from the Republicans, suburban voters are either around urban cores in large metro areas (Philly, Pittsburgh, Allentown, Harrisburg, Scranton) or in small metro areas (Erie, Reading, Lancaster, York, etc). According to analysis by William Frey of Brookings, the former areas are 58 percent white noncollege to 29 percent white college, while the latter areas are 64 percent white working class to 23 percent white college.

In Wisconsin, another state where Democrats are seeking to capture a Republican-held Senate seat to balance possible losses by Democratic incumbents, the situation is no different. Suburbs around Milwaukee and Madison are 53 percent white working class to 37 percent white college while Wisconsin’s smaller metro areas (Oshkosh, Green Bay, Appleton, etc) are 65 percent white noncollege to 25 percent white college.

And in Georgia, where Democrat Raphael Warnock hopes to hold onto his Senate seat against Republican (and football legend) Herschel Walker, the Atlanta and Augusta suburbs are 49 percent white working class to just 19 percent white college, while the small metro areas (Savannah, Macon, etc.) are 42 percent white noncollege to 18 percent white college. The large proportions of black and secondarily Hispanic voters in these suburbs, who we know to be generally less liberal than white college graduates, seem more likely to be concerned with the very economic issues that are dragging the Democrats down...

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Teixeira concludes that the Democrats’ strategy in the suburbs is not grounded in reality based on the breakdowns. 

"The Democrats may be basing their strategy around an electorate that they wish existed but does not in the real world," he wrote. 

"The...plan to turn the election around by targeting suburban voters on abortion rights and gun control seems mathematically challenged and unlikely to work in the current environment," Teixeira added.

These issues ooze with nuance, and current Democratic Party orthodoxy does not afford such luxuries. It’s not enough to be pro-choice on abortion. You must be pro-abortion until the moment of birth. It’s not enough to support so-called sensible gun control measures; you must be for confiscating all firearms. That doesn’t play well.

And the irony is that Mr. Teixeira, a longtime fixture at the left-wing Center for American Progress, is bolting for the right-leaning American Enterprise Institute next month. He is known for his work on the emerging Democratic majority but adds that this is contingent on Democrats keeping a good share of white working-class voters in their ranks. That has collapsed. His writings about how the Left has become unspooled are viewed as offensive in liberal circles, who are now obsessed with making all things ‘woke.’ His work and analysis on these issues don’t mesh well with that type of ethos.

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He's a hardcore liberal, but he knows a bad idea when he sees one. The Democrats are oversimplifying the suburban vote.

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