Benjamin Studebaker

Yet Another Attempt to Make the World a Better Place by Writing Things

Tag: Ohio

What the Midterms Tell Us About How to Oppose Trump

The Midwest is increasingly the critical region in American politics. It is the only region in which large numbers of states flipped from Obama to Trump in 2016, and in the 2018 Midterms the Midwest was once again the site of many of the most interesting results. For me, this region includes Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. I don’t include agricultural red states like the Dakotas or Missouri, which have voted Republican in every presidential election since 1996.

Despite their shift toward Trump in 2016, many of these Midwestern states demonstrated a willingness to support Democrats in 2018. In the Senate, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, Democrats held the line against Republican challengers, losing only in Indiana. In governor races, Democrats retained Minnesota and Pennsylvania, and took Wisconsin, Illinois, and Michigan from the Republicans. The Republicans were able to defend their hold on Iowa and Ohio.

In much of the writing about the midterms, the focus has been on Democratic successes in the Southwest. Observers praise Beto O’Rourke for nearly beating Ted Cruz in Texas and are excited about the Democrats’ performance in the Arizona and Nevada Senate races. But I think this emphasis is a mistake. We are repeating the errors of the Clinton campaign–trying to compete nationally by demographically changing the South instead of creating messages that can win in the Midwest.

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The Southernization of the Midwest

Amidst the talk of House and Senate races in the midterms, there are a number of Midwestern states in which there is a significant chance that Democrats will take governorships. In 2008, Barack Obama won Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. In 2016, Hillary Clinton won only Illinois and Minnesota, and Minnesota was a close call, decided by just a single point. This is the region that has changed the most politically in the last decade. Most of these states have, at some point in the last 10 years, fallen under control of a Republican governor who has attempted to radically reform their labour laws and pension systems in bids to remodel these Midwestern states after the states of the deep south. Their strategy is simple–lower taxes, stifle wage growth, strangle unions, kill regulations, and pirate jobs and investment from the states that fail to do the same. It’s a great Midwestern race to the bottom. But at the midterms on Tuesday, there’s an opportunity to throw some sand in the Republican gears. Here follows the story of each of these states, to inspire you and your friends to do what you can to save each of them from southernization.

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How We Let the Orange Monster Win

Somehow Donald Trump is going to be President. Trump campaigned tremendously poorly, feeding us a steady stream of horrific gaffes, flip-flopping on policy, and taking political positions that sounded crypto-fascist. We managed to lose anyway. This is an existential moment for all opponents of Trump, whether you count yourself on the left or in the center. We need to have an honest conversation about what we did wrong so that we can make sure nothing like this ever happens again.

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What Really Happened on Super Duper Tuesday

Bernie Sanders did not have a good night on Tuesday, losing all five contests in Florida, North Carolina, Ohio, Illinois, and even Missouri. The major networks are writing his political obituary–they chose not to broadcast his speech, instead choosing to stand by for more Donald Trump. So how bad is it really?

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Bogus Claims and Broken Arguments: The First 2016 GOP Presidential Debate

The pundits are out in force today arguing about which republican candidate performed best in yesterday’s debate. But the pundit definition of “best” is, well, not the best. They evaluate politics descriptively, disputing who will get the most support, not who should. There’s precious little serious reflection on the quality of the arguments presented. Candidates know this, and consequently every election they behave more theatrically, trying to score cheap points with burns and put-downs instead of engaging in nuanced policy discussion. So instead of discussing whose personal anecdote was the most touching or whose one-liner had the most zing, I invite you to join me in a dissection of the substantive claims and arguments we did see.

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