Republicans, Donald Trump, Tessler discussed on The Ezra Klein Show

Automatic TRANSCRIPT

It's contrary to so much of what we know about what is actually persuasive in presidential campaigns and how much. Can't be persuaded. So that's a long answer. But we don't really feel pretty strongly that the prevailing view among a lot of people as really exaggerated the extent to which this could be consequential. And that sometimes the argument that is being made is that oh this sides Tessler fabric book says that identity really mattered and those Russian ads were about identity, therefore, they really mattered. And you know, we just want to say that that argument is not an argument, we're making right? So to wrap all this up about twenty sixteen at least this is something I am taking Larry Bartels. So by tells Vanderbilt political scientists, great political scientists, I went in not too long after the election, and I was like giving them all these theories about why things out the way the way they work 'cause over there for a talk, and he's like, yeah. There's nothing weird about this election at all. What do you mean is like, yeah? If you just look at the exit polls, everything's totally normal. And you guys have this line in here that the extent of partisan loyalty was almost identical from two thousand and eight twenty twelve and then it was roughly the same from twenty twelve to two thousand sixteen. And we talk a lot about what was different in this election. But the thing I can't get over is how much was the same. How much that this is part of a book, I'm writing, but we talk a lot about identity politics, and what people tend to mean as race and religion and things like that. But in part because of the stacking, it seems to me that the overwhelmingly the driver of identity politics is Republican democrat red blue left coalition right coalition, and that the lesson I take from two thousand sixteen is it even if you nominate someone as wildly out of step with historical norms. Donald trump. It is not strong enough to crack that fundamental path dependence. Yeah. I mean, that's that's mostly right? And that's why we spent three chapters on the Republican primary is that if you win the Republican primary in a twenty sixteen context, you had a very good chance of winning the election. And that is because you could count on ninety percent of your partisans. Voting for you. Would it have happened? If the democrat was a less detestable figure to Republicans than Hillary Clinton. I think still profitably. Yeah. Because at the end of the day who am I going to vote for Marco Rubio said am I gonna vote for somebody who I disagree with sometimes or am I going to vote for somebody who I disagree with all of the time. And I think that's the power partisanship. But I I don't wanna say everything was the same. And the reason where we get off is on these uniform swings. And usually win elections happen you see swings. Everybody move in the same direction. We didn't see that in twenty six teen particularly with education. And so it has never happened where you see high educated voters move towards the Democrats in low educated voters moved to the Republicans. They usually move in unison doesn't happen where you see some states become more democratic and other states become less democratic that's also tied to education. And so, yeah, I think that that was one of the hard parts about the book is there was a lot of things the made this enormous election. And there were some very important things that made it an unusual election that could have real consequences going forward. I'm curious having written this book having thought through twenty sixteen at this level of depth. How how are you thinking about twenty eighteen? It's a continuation of the identity crisis. And that's not just a branding opportunity for us it. But but I mean, it is also a branding opportunity. You know, there was a world in which we thought that maybe a Trump presidency would look different than the Trump campaign summed up in the phrase infrastructure week. Right. And we never got this week is this week. We never all the real infrastructure week was the friends we made along the way. It just hasn't happened. You know, it's clear that for Trump identity. Issues are his bread and butter not just as a candidate. But as president, and it's for anything from the policies themselves like family separation or let's building a border wall or trying to to limit Muslim immigration to the country to the symbolic stuff about continuing to criticize NFL players..

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