From Data to Demagoguery

On Wednesday I wrote a post on Sean Trende’s extended analysis on the “missing white voters of 2012” and worried about “the meme that may emerge from over-simplistic repetition of his bottom line by conservative gabbers with a big ax to grind.”

I can’t say I had one particular gabber in mind, but this Facebook post from you-know-who doesn’t surprise me at all:


You’ve just abandoned the Reagan Democrats with this amnesty bill. It was the loss of working class voters in 2012 that cost us the 2012 election, not the Hispanic vote. Legal immigrants respect the rule of law and can see how self-centered a politician must be to fill this amnesty bill with favors, earmarks, and crony capitalists’ pork, and call it good. You disrespect Hispanics with your assumption that they desire ignoring the rule of law.

You will notice that St. Joan of the Tundra hijacked Trende’s data to buttress an appeal to “Reagan Democrats” (actually Trende called them “Perot voters,” a slightly less anachronistic description), and then sorta kinda threw the data out the window in asserting that Hispanics are disrespected by the idea that they might favor comprehensive immigration reform.

I’m not sure what’s worse: a “derp” who ignores data entirely, or a crypto-derp who uses data only when it’s convenient. In any event, I’m reasonably sure Palin is just a minute ahead of the wingnut zeitgeist in doubling down on the white man’s party.

Washington Monthly - Donate today and your gift will be doubled!

Support Nonprofit Journalism

If you enjoyed this article, consider making a donation to help us produce more like it. The Washington Monthly was founded in 1969 to tell the stories of how government really works—and how to make it work better. Fifty years later, the need for incisive analysis and new, progressive policy ideas is clearer than ever. As a nonprofit, we rely on support from readers like you.

Yes, I’ll make a donation

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.