Goose the Turnout, or Persuade the Persuadable?


Turned on the teevee for a few minutes while I ate my croissants and sampled the Kroger French roast coffee I bought yesterday. (It was on sale. Turns out there’s a reason why it was so cheap.)

Saw Bernie castigating Bloomberg—who, apparently, in many ways, richly deserves to be castigated. Bernie went on to explain how “increased turnout is the only way to defeat Trump.” I drank the last mediocre drop and turned off the tube.

Went to read the pundits. This morning, the Washington Post is serving up someone named Ruy Teixeira, who wrote a book called The Optimistic Leftist. Sounds like my kind of guy. Mr. Teixeira’s thesis this morning is No, radical policies won’t drive election-winning turnout: Despite what Sanders says, Democrats still have to persuade voters in the middle. Ruy writes,

No myth is stronger in progressive circles than the magical, wonderworking powers of voter turnout. It’s become a sort of pixie dust that you sprinkle over your strenuously progressive positions to ward off any suggestion that they might turn off voters.

He then offers actual data to support his argument.

Think of that! Trying to support an argument—possibly an unwelcome argument—by using actual data to persuade. How quaint! Does this man not know what century we are living in?

So, sarcasm aside, we have a choice:

  • Find some other data that support the workability of Bernie’s strategy
  • Or, accept that the way to win is by persuading a good number of previous Trump supporters, not by goosing up the socialist turnout
  • Or, embrace the pixie dust and plan to move to Costa Rica or Finland if it doesn’t work.