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The Coalition That Defeated Trump Has Shattered – HotAir

Jonathan Chait has a lengthy piece at New York magazine arguing that it’s not the right that is about to reelect Donald Trump so much as it is the progressive left. Of course he doesn’t mean that leftists are suddenly going to switch parties and pull the lever for Trump. What he does mean is that the fragile coalition between moderate liberals and leftists which joined together in 2020 with the goal of defeating Trump seems broken. His starting point is the fact that Biden’s poll numbers only seem to go down.

At the moment, the state of the anti-Trump coalition looks far more grim than it did in 2020 or even 2016. Biden has an anemic approval rating, far worse than Trump, Barack Obama, or any other incumbent at this stage…

By November, Biden’s approval rating fell below 40 percent with some polls showing it in the low 30s. We continue to assume every new all-time-low mark represents the bottom. But the floor keeps sinking.

From here, Chait introduces the idea of the “vibecession,” the idea that Biden’s polling numbers seem uniquely disconnected from the economy. The gist of this theory is that, prior to Biden, any president would be riding high in the polls based on the current economy. Biden’s stubbornly low numbers suggest that people have become confused or distracted. Often this confusion is blamed on the media, specifically the right-wing media. But Chait takes this in the opposite direction. Instead of blaming the right for Biden’s poor showing, he blames the left and social media.

The political left is the most obvious place where support for the anti-Trump coalition has evaporated. Leftists constitute a tiny portion of the electorate, but since they are disproportionately represented in both traditional and social media, this outsize voice serves as a force multiplier in public opinion…

The left likely has an especially important influence on the views of younger voters, who rely more heavily on social media than on traditional mainstream news. A Times survey found TikTok users, regardless of age, were especially scathing of Biden’s support for Israel during its invasion of Gaza. Worse, it found that younger voters may even prefer Trump over Biden because of the issue: “The young Biden ’20 voters with anti-Israel views are the likeliest to report switching to Mr. Trump.” The Times has also speculated that young voters are convinced Biden’s economy is a wasteland of despair, despite feeling satisfied about their personal economic prospects, in part because of the doomer and “vibecession” memes they absorb from Instagram and TikTok.

According to Chait, the bad feelings left over from the 2016 election, in which Hillary was believed by many to have unfairly beaten Bernie Sanders in the nomination race returned again in 2020. Leftists were just as unhappy with Biden as they had been with Clinton, which Chait argues is why so many leftists spent months arguing about Biden’s mental fitness and the Tara Reade allegations. But Biden eventually made nice with the left by adopting a “unity platform” co-written by Sanders. And it worked. Biden won the election, albeit narrowly. Now, nearly four years later, that coalition is gone. It was strained by many things but the final straw was Biden siding with Israel in the war in Gaza.

Many issues have strained the alliance of convenience between Biden and the left: immigration, student loans, the administration choosing cheap gasoline (the fastest way to mollify voters) over kneecapping the oil industry. But what has caused the schism between Biden and the left to crack wide open is the conflict between Israel and Hamas. Israel’s military response to the Hamas terrorist strike on October 7 has mobilized large segments of the progressive movement, which supports the Palestinian cause, into a state of war against the Democratic Party, which mostly supports Israel. Democratic staffers have endorsed a series of letters denouncing their bosses and even attended a protest rally in Congress. Pro-Palestinian organizations have announced plans to organize opposition to Biden in swing states…

The progressive habit of casting every issue in absolute moral terms makes compromise difficult. “It’s still just hard for young people to justify to themselves, morally, voting for someone after seeing these images, after seeing what’s been going on in the Middle East,” Anish Mohanty, the 22-year-old communications director of Gen-Z for Change, told ABC News. One Democratic voter told the Times, “If it’s Donald Trump, we can kiss our democracy good-bye,” before adding, “but I can’t support someone who supports genocide.” Even people who believe a Trump victory may be the last free and fair election of their lifetime want to use it to teach Biden a lesson rather than ensuring they will have future elections to participate in.

As Chait sees it, Israel puts Biden in a no-win situation because he can’t win young leftists with his current pro-Israel position but he also can’t switch sides in a way that would satisfy those young voters without losing support from from pro-Israel moderates in the party. He suggests that Biden’s only hope would be for some moderate Republicans to come across the aisle to make up for the missing leftists. But of course people on the right, even those who aren’t MAGA, aren’t fans of Biden in other ways. But Chait does his best to scold the moderate right for not coming to his rescue.

Maybe you think he’s too old or too pro-Israel, or you really want to use your vote to express your hatred for the campus left, but that could hardly justify empowering a monster, right?

As always, the problem with Chait’s analysis is his unassailable certitude that the right is always wrong, not only wrong but more wrong, more dangerous and more monstrous than the left. In this case, he dismisses the right’s rejection of wokeness as “hatred for the campus left” completely missing the point that the young leftist Democrats he has just spent many paragraphs excoriating are the campus left.

Why would the center right side with Biden when he’s still doing his best to hold onto a coalition with extremists?

It’s actually worse than that. Leftist Democrats, especially the online, woke variety have spent the past decade calling everyone on the right racists and fascists at every opportunity. The establishment left has been fine with that, at least until some of their more extreme ideas like defunding the police turned off their own voters. Right now, these far left elements are not limited to college campuses. They are in the streets blocking traffic, trying to shut down Manhattan, chanting anti-Semitic slogans and even recently taking their protest to a cancer hospital. If the right had done any of those things, Joe Biden would be out before the cameras calling them dangerous racists and monsters. But as Chait points out, he needs their votes so he doesn’t dare.

Chait expects moderate Republicans to denounce Trump as a monster and side with Biden while not expecting Joe Biden to denounce his own extremists and side with moderate conservatives. Frankly, if Biden did come out and flatly denounce these woke protesters, people on the right eventually would reassess him. Does that sound fantastical and impossible to you?

Consider the strange case of John Fetterman. Fetterman won the election for Senate as a seeming leftist and like Biden he was mocked as being mentally incompetent because he’d suffered a stroke. But check out the coverage he’s been getting from the right in the past 2-3 months and you’ll find it’s all quite positive. Fetterman has repeatedly told the woke, anti-Israel protesters to stuff it. He’s also called for the resignation/ouster of Sen. Menendez and the right increasingly loves him for it.

Could Biden do the same? That’s harder to say. As the leader of his party there would be more much more resistance to signaling approval for him but I honestly believe it could happen if he were as outspoken about the corrupt left and the woke left as Fetterman has been. But that’s the point, Biden hasn’t been any of those things.

Chait wants to have it both ways. He wants to fault the right for not abandoning Trump while he won’t fault Biden for trying to make nice with the extremist wing of his party. If Biden really wants a replacement coalition that is more moderate he would need to earn it and he just hasn’t come close to doing that.

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