Will They Vote Policy?

I guarantee you that if you go into most rooms – sort of running your own (but uncontrolled) focus group – and don’t identify a political persuasion but just talk policy you will find a tremendous amount of common ground and agreement with progressive leaning policies. It’s when the labels get attached that too many Americans become partisans. The best recent example of this is that the Affordable Care Act had a nine percentage point higher approval rating than Obamacare did. If you are scratching your head, you are correct – they are the same thing.

Despite the facts that there are genuine regional differences and the urban/rural divide is a real thing, most Americans have the same basic priorities. They want jobs, food, clothing and shelter, along with safe workplaces, safe places of worship and safe schools for their families. One of the lessons that I learned during the 2008 campaign was that some things are hot button issues for a few even though I may not care about them. I ran into someone who was upset over the placement of the flag on Barack Obama’s airplane. I wasn’t even aware of the facts in the case and basically dismissed the complaint out of hand. A compatriot rescued me, placated the person and then taught me a lesson that what I might not even consider as a relevant issue was a big deal to someone else. (Thanks, Judy!) My antidote aside, the main point is that we generally agree on the big stuff.

You will have a hard time convincing people who are brainwashed by the right wing media, but jobs and the economy are better than they have been in years, many years in some cases. Housing is less stable but that is a lagging economic indicator. Good luck getting Bubba to understand that one! The biggest threat to safety in schools, workplaces and houses of worship is America’s gun problem. The Democrats are the only ones doing anything to try to bring that under control and make you and your family safer in the process.

The only policy issue that has broken through is choice. Rhetoric aside, Republican have pushed and continue to push flat out bans on abortion and contraception. This is definitely a case of ignore their words and heed their actions. The vast majority of Americans (including many who identify as pro-life -what a misnomer!) want some leeway and exceptions in abortion and contraception laws. The proof of this is that every related issue that has been presented to the voters post-Dobbs has gone the way of the progressives, including in red states and often by wide margins.

Will women (and to a lesser degree men) remember in November? My fear is that when the election comes around too many will forget the policies and retreat into tribalism voting for “their color”. Remember if you find yourself in the “missionary” role you can’t and shouldn’t aim to win them all; just win a few of them. 2024 will be won or lost on the margins.

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