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Divided We Stand

Divided We Stand
New book about the 2020 election.

Monday, May 20, 2024

Left and Right

In Defying the Odds, we talk about the ideological, social and economic divides that enabled Trump to enter the White House. In Divided We Stand, we discuss how these divides played out in 2020.  

David Leonhardt at NYT: David Leonhardt at NYT:
Americans lean left on economic policy. Polls show that they support restrictions on trade, higher taxes on the wealthy and a strong safety net. Most Americans are not socialists, but they do favor policies to hold down the cost of living and create good-paying jobs. These views help explain why ballot initiatives to raise the minimum wage and expand Medicaid have passed even in red states. They also explain why some parts of Biden’s agenda that Republicans uniformly opposed, such as a law reducing medical costs, are extremely popular. “This is where the center of gravity in the country is,” Steve Ricchetti, a top White House official, told me.
The story is different on social and cultural issues. Americans lean right on many of those issues, polls show (albeit not as far right as the Republican Party has moved on abortion).
The clearest example in the Biden era is immigration. A core tenet of neoliberalism, once supported by both parties, is high immigration. Along with the freer movement of goods and capital, neoliberalism calls for the freer movement of people.
Most voters, especially working-class voters, feel differently. The soaring level of immigration during Biden’s presidency, much of it illegal, has become a political liability, and it nearly led to another piece of neopopulist legislation this year. Senate Democrats and Republicans put together a plan to strengthen border security. It was the mirror image of Republicans’ agreeing to support the semiconductor and infrastructure bills: This time, some Democrats abandoned a policy stance that was out of step with public opinion.