Monday, September 23, 2019


Axios's Alexi McCammond reports on a disheartening focus group:
APPLETON, Wis. — Elizabeth Warren's left-wing populism is gaining popularity among some swing voters here, but they're not ready to embrace her for 2020.

... In a small, all-women focus group, some participants suggested President Trump would win on personality if the contest was between him and Warren — and that their doubts about her aren't based on substance.

These were the main takeaways from our Engagious/FPG focus group last week, which included 7 women who flipped from Barack Obama in 2012 to Trump in 2016, and 2 who switched from Mitt Romney to Hillary Clinton.
This is a tiny group of people who may not be at all representative of Midwestern female swing voters. Nevertheless, what they said was dismaying:
... Most of the group preferred a left-leaning set of policies to a right-leaning set when no names were attached. But when listening to Warren talk about them in clips from the last debate, they were skeptical of her....

"I like what she had to say, but I still think she's — sorry — a bitch," said Jill T., a 56-year-old Trump voter, who later indicated that she preferred the left-leaning policies to right-leaning policies....

"Everything she said was great, but to me it's like, right, that's not going to happen," said Sandy D., a 62-year-old Clinton voter.

"I think she brought across good points, but it's whether or not she'll be able to follow through on what she's saying," said Alicia K., 44.
These women appear not to think a woman can be president:
"Warren won’t be looked upon as a leader because she’ll be presiding over a House and Senate full of men," said Nicole W., a 33-year-old Trump voter. "I’m worried she won’t be taken seriously."

Others brought up foreign leaders, like North Korea's Kim Jong-un, who might view Warren as weak and therefore think "we can do whatever we want and they can’t stop us," as one woman put it.

And one of these female voters said Warren might fail as president because she'd be "too emotional," and others worried she'd be viewed as a "pushover."
Let me put this another way: These focus-group participants think Warren might be seen as "too emotional" and a "pushover," and might be taken advantage of by Kim Jong Un -- at a time when our president is Donald Trump. But for people with 1950s-style gender views, only women are ever "emotional."

Here were the two sets of ideas the participants were told about, with no candidate names attached:
The left: Imposing an annual 2% tax on every dollar of net worth above $50 million, and 3% on every dollar of net worth above $1 billion; taxing at 7% corporations with profits above $100 million; canceling $50,000 in student loan debt for every person with a household income under $100,000; and passing a Medicare for All plan and make large corporations and wealthy people pay for it.

The right: Building a border wall, banning citizens from certain countries from traveling to the U.S., imposing tariffs on goods coming from China and Mexico to force more favorable trade deals with the U.S., and weakening the Affordable Care Act to ultimately dismantle it.
Seven of the nine participants preferred the left-wing ideas. (And one of the participants who chose the right-wing ideas was a Romney/Clinton voter.)

The panel like Warren's ideas, but...
Alicia K., 44. ... likes Warren "because she seems strong-willed." But if Trump started talking about helping people pay for student debt and taxing corporations, she said be on the Trump train next year.
During the campaign, Trump might actually "start talking about helping people" that way. How do we break it to Alicia K. that if he does that, he's lying to her?

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