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Thornton Hall

The Revolution Will Be Kuhnian.

My New Favorite Journalist

Long suffering readers know I don't like journalists. In fact, I think they are exactly one third of this nation's problems. I really don't like the way "objectivity" creates a world where partisan issues are labeled "ideological" as if Americans used different "systems of ideas" to come to policy conclusions. Instead, I argue, we agree on ideology but are separated by interests and identities. 


This is is not an original idea. The problem is that when a reporter needs a good quote for "balance", he's always going to call the political scientist who sees elections as left vs right. Others labor in obscurity, politely submitting far more useful ideas to journals and conferences. 

But in walks Marc Ambinder! 

Check out his analysis of how Thad Cochrane enlisted the votes of black democrats:

Republicans are beginning to understand why Democrats became successful voter microtargeters before Republicans did, even though the same technology was available to both parties. Why? Because non-voters were willing to become voters in order to vote certain Democrats into office. Because Democrats figured out how to convince non-voters that voting for Democrats, and for specific candidates in particular, was worth their time. Because Democrats learned that the key to microtargeting wasn't technology at all: it was persuasion. And persuasion had to rest on a foundation of reality. That reality: there were more reasons for people who didn't vote to vote for Democrats than to vote for Republicans. Democrats fielded much more attractive candidates for non-voters.

As I said in the comments:

More election analysis like this and we just might return to a functioning two party democracy! Gone are the press obsessions that actually have zero explanatory value (ideology and swing voters); here to stay are ways of understanding elections that are a) actually used by political actors and b) are actually empirically coherent ways of categorizing voters (interests). No need to resort to the epicycles of "operational liberal" and related nonsense. Well done!!!

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