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Theda Skocpol Responds to Judis

Theda Skocpol responds to John Judis's article on why Trump won ...

John, your piece is an elegant example of a genre of post-election autopsy that works no better, I fear, than those polling models.

You offer speculative interpretations of exit poll responses (known to be problematic data) presented as margins for various voter blocs in an aggregate national election. A lot of creative argument that HRC was a poor candidate because voters did not hear the economic message you wish she had delivered. Two problems: national polls showed that voters said she was better than Trump on plans for the economy. That is a small problem, however, because virtually no real policy discussion occurred in this election. Second, huger problem: HRC actually won the national aggregate election you are imagining in the TPM piece by a whopping 2.5 million or more votes. If America were what you measure here, she would be President-Elect.

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Ellison Vs Dean

A few thoughts about Keith Ellison vs Howard Dean as DNC Chair.

First, I like Keith Ellison a lot. I like him and I like him for the position. Major Dem party leaders seem to be coalescing around him and for good reason. But Howard Dean is also making a bid. Dean has been fairly removed from the political tussle for a few years, at least in the high profile way he had been in the late Bush and early Obama years. (He was DNC chair from 2005 to 2009. In other words, he was DNC chair during their two big wave elections.) He's also done a decent amount of lobbying. I don't know the details on that front. And he certainly wouldn't be the only out of office pol to do lobbying. But in the present climate that seems like a significant liability.

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Keep a Close Eye on the MSM

Yesterday, the White House Correspondents Association raised a flag on President-Elect Trump's refusal to allow a so-called 'protective pool' for his visit to DC. A protective pool is a small group, often just one reporter, who goes with the president virtually everywhere they go outside the White House. Go to a fundraiser, go to play golf, go out for dinner, there is at least one reporter assigned by the pool system to be there with the president.

Why? Anything can happen. Some incident of great historic moment can happen, there can be a threat on the president, anything. The idea is that you want at least one journalist there to report what happened. Needless to say, in the overwhelming number of cases that person just records the exact time the President arrived and departed, a few pieces of color and that's about it.

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Coalescing around Keith Ellison

Yesterday Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) announced his candidacy to be chair of the DNC. Ellison is one of the most humane and decent people in Democratic politics today. When a party is in power, and especially when it holds the presidency, the chair of the DNC largely works for the president. Not technically and not officially, but the President is the head of the party. That person is the one who is in charge. When the party is out of power the DNC chair position is much more consequential. Last night Elizabeth Warren essentially endorsed him. This morning Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is too. Those are essentially the heads of both wings of the Democratic party at the moment, at least near to being heads of them. Hard to see where that doesn't make Ellison's bid for the position essentially a done deal.

And Here We Go

Paul Ryan just announced that as part of repealing Obamacare he plans to phase out Medicare and replace it with private insurance for retirees.

Near Differences, Big Consequences (or Buck Up and Move on)

The election of Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States is a hugely consequential and, to my mind, hugely negative event. But I want to say a few things about how we interpret this election and particularly why we shouldn't over interpret it.

Going into Tuesday many Democrats believed that the rapid growth of the non-white voting population - and the deep liberalism of millennials - made it increasingly difficult if not impossible for Republicans to win national elections if they continued to pursue a politics that had little traction beyond white people. That was one basis of the confidence that Donald Trump would have an extremely hard time beating Hillary Clinton. Clearly that was wrong.

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