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Horse race: E.J. Dionne: PUMAs part of key voting block for 2014 and 2016

This is too funny. Of course, Dionne doesn't actually say PUMAs.

The roughly one-eighth of voters who disapprove of Obama but nonetheless support Clinton for 2016 may be the most important group in the electorate. If Democratic candidates can collectively manage to corral Clinton’s share of the national electorate this fall, the party would likely keep control of the Senate and might take over the House of Representatives. The latter outcome is now seen (even by most Democrats) as a virtual impossibility. These Hillary Difference Voters, as we’ll call them, could find themselves the most courted contingent in this year’s contests.

Who are they? A comparison of those who back Clinton but disapprove of Obama with the group that is both pro-Clinton and pro-Obama suggests that the swing constituency is much more likely to be blue-collar and white — 71 percent of the mixed group are white, compared with only 57 percent of the pro-Obama, pro-Clinton group, and it is also somewhat more Latino. Whites without college degrees constitute 47 percent of the Hillary Difference Voters but only 30 percent of the pro-Clinton, pro-Obama group. In keeping with this, 62 percent of the Hillary Difference Voters have incomes of less than $50,000 annually.

These are exactly the "bitter" / "cling to" "folks" Obama's rump Ds threw under the bus and kicked out of the party in 2008.


NOTE For those who came in late, I can do an exegesis of the whole "bitter" / "cling to" 2008 controversy if requested, but my take was and is that Obama and his faction deny working class voters the moral agency they are very happy to award themselves, and very visibly, too.

NOTE Also, I don't think the Dems are going to do what Dionne suggests. They're going to double down on identity politics, as the results of their recent meeting at the Chicago Ritz-Carlton show.

No votes yet


V. Arnold's picture
Submitted by V. Arnold on the acronym PUMAs? I know it doesn't mean mountain lion in this context...

Barmitt O'Bamney's picture
Submitted by Barmitt O'Bamney on

PUMA = Party Unity My Ass

PUMA is a term that came into being in the latter stages of the 2008 Hillary vs. Odubyah nomination fight to indicate Clinton supporters who would not quietly concede the victory to Obama and endorse his nomination and his run in the general election. It was, and still is, used as both a disparaging epithet and a rallying cry by warring sides in the great spat over which token "liberal" would get to sell us out to the 1% . I don't know which side came up with it first, and I don't care to know.

Submitted by Dromaius on

The rally cry folks came up with it first, over at Riverdaughter's place.

The "party loyalists" then decided that PUMA=Republican. Apparently, if you don't blindly support whoever the Dems put out there, you must be a Republican..... because nuance cannot exist. I once accused Republicans of being black and white thinkers, but thought dichotomies are apolitical, apparently ;-).

I am proudly NOT a PUMA because I don't belong to a P as in party. However, I clearly saw good Democrats sacrifice much of what I thought they stood for when it came to respecting women to promote Kennedy's favored candidate, so I'm more a PUMA sympathizer.

"Periodically when she's feeling low...the claws come out." Remember that? Straight out of Obama's mouth.

It cracks me up to see the Dem establishment supporting Hillary now. Gosh, wasn't she a racist and a "ball breaker" in 2008 ? -- not to mention hormonally imbalanced, thus incapable of being trusted with the red button when "periodically, she might be feeling low!" What changed? Now she's old as dirt too!?

I wouldn't be surprised if she's acting as shiny object to confuse things in the race. Hillary is nothing if not a party loyalist, to the point that I've lost much of the respect I ever had for her. Some people thinks she's uber strong. When I look at her now, I see doormat.

Submitted by lambert on

Oh, sheesh, I forgot that one. "Dry pussy brigade" is the one I remember, but then that wasn't from The Lightbringer himself, was it?

UPDATE I don't see her as a doormat and who knows from personality anyhow? But I do see her as a party loyalist, and that's not what we need. The Dems up here in Maine are still covering up for Baldacci and his crooked landfill deals.

Alexa's picture
Submitted by Alexa on

candidate "will do."

(Too pushed today to dig it out, but there is an excellent FDL diary, and even a DKos posting [not by Kos, himself--he's too busy trying to tamp down Warren supporters, LOL!]--on Wall Street's assessment of a Bush/Clinton Presidential contest.)

I have run across several articles which quote Republicans stating that they will NOT continue to vote to "appeal" ObamaCare (after the 2016 elections), but will look to "work with" the next President to "fix" ObamaCare.

And anyway, how can anyone not see that this is an ultra-conservative health insurance system (individual mandate). If not, why on earth would the Roberts' Court have upheld it, for cryin' out loud.

This has all been Kabuki, regarding ObamaCare.

And it has been orchestrated as an excuse to implement even more right-wing "fixes."

The Politico piece I was copying from, didn't get "substituted" for no reason.

Which Democrats are going along with, apparently. I suspect that the "employer mandate" was never intended to go into effect (although it may not be possible to substantiate this.) I'm sure that it will be "spun" as an unintended consequence.

If people don't wake up, I think that many of mellon's predictions will come true--and sooner than most of us can even imagine!

[Pls excuse typos, syntax.]

mellon's picture
Submitted by mellon on

Alexa, without the individual mandate, or with a weak mandate in place, in states that make sure insurance policies really are insurance, individual insurance can easily cost $2500-3000 a month for a couple. Which means that less than 10% of American families will be able to afford it.

There is no way to make the private insurance thing work. No matter what they do it can't work. The complexity and lack of ability to set prices to global average rates makes it impossible. Also, a majority (more than 50%) of Americans have not made enough money to afford the private insurance system since the late 1980s or early 1990s.

mellon's picture
Submitted by mellon on

Well, if it isn't already impossible, buying our freedom will soon become extremely expensive, extremely expensive...

Read this

You're welcome to go to Geneva and take it up with the WTO tribunal-

Google "GATS Article XXI procedure"

We'll then have to pay the insurance companies compensation based on the size of the lost potential business though, thats new.


How much do you think they would lose?

maybe (I'm guessing) $300,000 per capita, times 360,000,000?

Submitted by lambert on

... the 30 or so comments remaining on the 2008 primary, which is where to go to (re)litigate that topic.

Suffice to say that I'm a little less dismissive of genuinely spontaneous grassroots uprisings (I was there, I know) than you are, even considered as an object of study with no electoral implications. There were good and not shameful or ridiculous reasons for the PUMAs to come to be, and people like Riverdaughter and Katiebird deserve all the credit in the world for their involvement. (Like Dromaius, I am not good at parties, so I can't call myself one.)

I think of the PUMAs as an outraged voice ground under a boot -- the voice of the last Democrats who thought the party could remotely resemble the New Deal Democrats, ground under the boot of the FIRE sector, as personified by Obama (at that time). There is also the grotesque and vile misogyny of the Obama campaign (two examples on this thread) for which the PUMAs also provided a voice.

hyperpolarizer's picture
Submitted by hyperpolarizer on

I started as a PUMA -- thanks to river daughter and katiebird-- whom I still much admire. I sold out and voted for Obummer in 2008, because Palin scared me so; but I sat out the 2012 presidential, for the first time since I started voting-- in 1972, for McGovern. (I could have voted for Humphrey in '68, but personal issues left no room for politics that year.)

As for re-litigating 2008, I still haven't forgotten the wretch Michelle on the campaign trail tweaking Hillary over Bill's infidelities...."If you can't manage your own house, you can't manage the White House..." (Good luck with that one, Sweetie.)

I am an engineer -- not what you call blue collar, tho' I do run a lathe--and would still support Hillary in 2016, despite her corporatism, her blind support for Israel, her carrying Obummer's water as Secretary of State, and a whole list of other things.

The broad is whip smart, genuinely interested in policy (as Obummer is not), served as a staffer on the Senate Watergate committee, and still has one corner left of a human heart-- which would make her (should she run and win) the first president not a pure sociopath since Bill occupied the Oval Office.

Submitted by lambert on

"Doesn't matter" isn't the same as "don't care to know."

Personally, I'm not in favor of cultivating ignorance, either tactically or strategically. Does it never occur to either of you that the legacy parties have good reason to suppress this history?

NOTE Adding, we have many long-time readers who came to Corrente out of that battle. If they decide to stomp all over you, it won't be pleasant, but you might learn a lot.

Alexa's picture
Submitted by Alexa on

I'm not dismissing the "topic" (that wasn't my intention, at any rate).

B O'B's words were:

I don't know which side came up with it first, and I don't care to know.

I was simply agreeing with the sentiment that I don't care (or, as I put it, it does not matter to me) "which side" came up with PUMA, "first."

In short, I'm saying that I'm not personally concerned about the "origin" of the word PUMA, or which side that it should be attributed to. But, that's not to say that others don't care.

I can only give a view from my own perspective (as is true of most people).

And I'm certainly "not about cultivating ignorance on this, or any topic."

[Readers may have noticed that I provided a link (for VA) to previous Corrente PUMA posts. That is because "PUMA" was a completely new term to me, at one time. And I'm pretty sure that I'm not the only person who lived through the 2008 election cycle without hearing about this Group. Hopefully it is helpful.]

Submitted by Dromaius on

The other meme Dionne used without using was "low information voters," which in 2008 equaled "white, uneducated racists."

ABC News published a poll recently (not the latest one, the one before that) showing that Obamacare was WINNING the approval race. That poll was slapped down by a whole bunch of other polls, and then suddenly ABC published another poll that was more in line with what the other polls stated. ABC polls are less trustworthy to me right now than other polls are.

Submitted by lambert on

people who didn't take whatever the front pagers at Kos said for gospel, and besides were voting for Hillary and WWTSBQ?

The Clinton supporters I knew were high information voters; we had to be, as a matter of sheer survival.

mellon's picture
Submitted by mellon on

Agreed. My impression of the average Obama voter was that they were young, often excited about supporting somebody but not really knowing much about that candidates positions, or the issues generally.

they made faulty assumptions that just because Obama was half black, he would be more progressive than other candidates and not less so, due to his lack of political capital/independence.

Submitted by Dromaius on

Sorry to spam your post, just one more point

If Democratic candidates can collectively manage to corral Clinton’s share of the national electorate this fall, the party would likely keep control of the Senate and might take over the House of Representatives.

(snarkfont for text belowz)
IMHO that is why they're dangling Hillary out there -- to bait those low information, right leaning, bitter, gun-toting, racist Hillary voters. So I think they ARE courting that category voters, just via keeping the unstable, rightie bitch Hillary around.
(end snarkfont)

Once Election 2014 is over, I suspect Hillary will go back to being a grandma and they'll bring out a real candidate.

Also, any poll that pits Hillary against...Jeb Bush... means something? All I can say is "heckuva job Brownie ABC", at creating a poll that tells the story you want to tell. At least they didn't run her against Osama bin Laden....

Submitted by lambert on

What I would say is that the common factor for those voters is that they need government to work. That's not like pandering to the self-actualization fantasies of the creative class.

So even if the Dems took Dionne's advice, which I'm not sure they will, I don't think they can close the sale.

If you had to choose between a government that didn't work for you and high taxes, and a government that didn't work for you and low taxes, what would you do?

quixote's picture
Submitted by quixote on

It's not just blue-collar or "low information" voters. The group also includes FDR Democrats, and some for whom B0's smarm quotient was obvious before the 2008 election.

There were also not a few 2L4O ("too liberal for O") because, let's face it, her ideas (and actions where applicable) on things like health care, HOLC (home mortgage mess), women's and gay and human rights generally, and on and on, were way less corporate-friendly than B0. He was already doing his best to give Illinois health care to the insurance industry way back when he was a State Senator.

The only reason he *seemed* less Establishment is because he made sure to lie as much as possible, which is obvious to everybody not just Correntians, at this point. The avalanche of sexism and misogyny thrown at Clinton was, I'm convinced, corporate-sponsored because they knew she'd be a lot harder to control than Obama.

The lesson for the future in all that is that these are now the tactics of reactionary forces: make any threatening candidate seem uncool. If he's not female, they'll have to use something besides sexism, but whether it's sneering at gun-toting racism or whatever, it'll be something that works on our lizard brains. And all they have to do is get enough of the lizard brains, and they're done. I am not optimistic (to state the obvious.)

mellon's picture
Submitted by mellon on

to get nominated in 2008 and then screw Americans with bad healthcare?

Or the fact that Bill Clinton did the same thing to pass NAFTA and GATS?

I think that ONE party is trying to hog TWO spots on the ballot.

Submitted by lambert on

... in open primary states (not all). I think more important is the Democratic platform, which was in essence a plan to rehabilitate the Republicans. Which Obama carried through on!

UPDATE Adding, I think "alliance" really overstates the matter. They don't call it a two-party system for nothing. It is true there's only one system.

Alexa's picture
Submitted by Alexa on

reference above.

Been searching for material to backup the claims about "No Labels" being an organization formed as a Bush/Clinton alliance.

Will post after they announce (if either/both do).

Hint: Mark McKinnon is not only a "No Labels" co-founder, he is the Bush family "proxy." He is all over the place--on TV, in print pieces, etc., especially when Jeb Bush is pushing the Dem corporatist memes on "education reform" and "immigration reform"--bemoaning the fact that the Republican Party is not a corporatist neoliberal party like the Democratic Party, and like the "Party of Reagan." [This, of course, is due to the dastardly Tea Partiers who have stood in the way of slashing Social Security and further cutting the Medicare program.]

So, yeah, I think that Lessig is fundraising for "No Labels," but hope that no one bother to ask (like you did, Lambert--good for you!!!).

Notice "how little" is mentioned in McKinnon's Wikipedia entry (compared to Jacobson's). Here's all that is said about it:

Mark McKinnon

In 2010, McKinnon became a founding leader of No Labels, a 501(c)(4) citizens movement of Republicans, Democrats and Independents[31] whose mission is to address the politics of problem solving.[32]

Compared to Jacobson's DLC/Third Way/No Labels ties and "exploits," so to speak. Here's a brief excerpt, since her funding and support of corporatist Dem ventures is as long as my arm, LOL!

Nancy Jacobson

. . . Finance Chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) under President Clinton.

She has helped launch political organizations to support centrist Democratic Party ideas and candidates,[2] and engage women in the political process.[3]

In 2010, she (along with Mark McKinnon) co-founded No Labels, a 501(c)(4) citizens movement of Republicans, Democrats and Independents[4] whose mission is to address the politics of problem solving.[5]

Just read the rest on Jacobson--she is clearly "up to her eyebrows" in support of both Clintons, the DLC, the DNC, Third Way, No Labels--IOW, EVERY corporatist neoliberal Democratic organization that has existed over the past thirty years. (Including a global trade association PAC.)

As Wikipedia put it:

Jacobson was named one of the 50 Most Powerful People in D.C. by GQ Magazine in 2007.[6]

Bottom line: I predict that McKinnon will continue to "pop up" in all kinds of so-called centrist (corporatist neoliberal) "bipartisan" organizations between now and 2016.

And when he does, bear in mind that he is a stand-in for the Bush family. Then whatever you're reading, will make more sense.


Submitted by lambert on

I don't think "alliance" has been true in the past .The ratchet effect, to work, does not require an alliance to account for it; a formal construct. So, by Occam's razor....

However, that doesn't mean that an "alliance" won't be true in the future, and perhaps No Labels (with Lessig providing an OFA-like front for it) could be the formal construct that enables it.

One thing I like is that "alliance" conjures up dynastic alliance, as between the Bushes and the Clintons, for example. Not sure how that would work out in practice, though.

Another thing is that it was very clear, and discussed at the time, that there was a deal at the 2008 Democratic National Convention between the Clinton and the Obama camps. We know now that Hillary got SoS and Obama got Bill Clinton's overt support in 2008 and 2012; we also know that Hilllary made no floor speech -- wasn't even placed in nomination? -- and there were no procedural challenges, for example on the TC caucuses or the RBC decision. So the minimum contours of the deal seem evident.

What we don't know is what else went down in the deal. It may be that the relation between the legacy parties was reconfigured in a way that we don't know about yet; these people think in generations, at least, after all, like the Lannisters.

This is kinda confused rambling, since an Obama + Clinton ≠ Clinton + Bush, but maybe No Labels is the kind of platform where an "allance" of both all the clans/families/factions would be consummated. (The Obama kids, unlike Chelsea, aren't old enough to even think about running, so they can't be said to be a dynasty.)

Alexa's picture
Submitted by Alexa on

before the private "kickoff," which occurred in mid-2010.

The "official" kickoff occurred in December of 2010 in New York City.

[And remember, Bloomberg is responsible for much of the seed money for this organization. So, it's not to say that this bunch has only to do with the two families.]

Now, nothing that I have read [so far] indicates that PBO and/or his family are part of the actual formation of "No Labels."

Of course, this organization "suits him" ideologically, "to a tee"--since he is also a corporatist neolibera!

So, I think that it is obvious that he would "support" the formation of this Group.

Notice, it was timed with the release of the Bowles-Simpson "The Moment Of Truth" release. (Almost to the day!)


Submitted by lambert on

Lessig was on the board of Americans Elect (IIRC a sibling of No Labels). Letsgetitdonehas done great work on both, you might want to look at it.

Alexa's picture
Submitted by Alexa on

Thanks for pointing this out.

Or course, Lessig is only a tool.

Americans Elect appears to possibly be the electoral arm of "No Labels." (I'll elaborate on Peter Ackerman's connections to No Labels, etc., later.)

And this crowd is leaving nothing to chance.

Just this week, Chris Van Hollen was on a "special series" (sponsored by No Labels, in their usual weekend time slot). It was hosted by a millennial, Matthew Segal, who co-founded yet another [DLC/Third Way/No Labels] millennial organization.

The topic Van Hollen discussed was the Grand Bargain (although he didn't use the "term"). Shut your eyes--could have been Pete Peterson speaking. (Won't post his Q&A again, since I think that his--and the corporatist neoliberal Dems'--agenda are well-known by now.)

John Avlon of the Daily Beast is a "No Labeler," of course.

From what I've gathered, I see no connection to OFA, however (to No Labels--not to McKinnon).

[But I'll continue to research this for months to come.]

Submitted by lambert on

I don't mean a lineal descendant of OFA, which after all Obama discarded with unseemly haste when their task was done.

I mean "OFA-like" in the sense of a fresh-faced group of disposable young people on the ground.

Alexa's picture
Submitted by Alexa on

sounds like what I've read. [This does not mean that I agree with this strategy.] But it is consistent with what many of the so-called talking heads and Democratic shills and strategists say on C-Span, XM, print media, etc.

According to some Dem consultants, there remains little choice.

For instance, it's not worth Landrieu's time to heavily pursue the [blue collar] white conservative vote. That's been long lost (in the South).

SO, Landrieu and other Southern conservadems are targeting the black vote. Just look at how this Administration has so successfully micro-targeted minority and youth voters.

Bottom line: Pryor's race (partly because of the huge black population in Arkansas) may be "saved." Same may happen for Landrieu--she is heavily pushing (although we all know her DLC/Blue Dog ideology) a "populist" agenda, especially targeting the [relatively] substantial black population in her state. (True of Hagan's strategy, as well.)

Therefore, it's Mark Begich--because of demographics (and I did live in Interior Alaska for years) whose seat appears to be one of the Senate Dem's most vulnerable.

Minority voters (and youth voters) will be the key to victories in 2014 and 2016. At least many of the Dem strategists believe this. (That's what I'm hearing and reading, anyway.)

And, I think Charles Cook is right when he says:

"There are no Reagan Democrats--they're called Republicans, now."

Add to that, the fact that the Democratic Party is largely "bifurcated" in regards to class, whereas the Republican Party is more homogeneous--you've got another factor that requires Dems to "micro-target" voters in order to win elections.

Alexa's picture
Submitted by Alexa on

Matt Miller: A ‘money bomb’ for 2016

I would consider Lessig to be the equivalent of a "courier" for No Labels [on this particular topic].

The "faces" of No Labels, put out for public consumption, are Jon Huntsman (Repub) and Joe Manchin (Dem) who are "Honorary Co-Chairs."

Note: Abbey Huntsman has a TV show; Master Of Ceremony of The No Labels Public Kickoff, Michael Smerconish just got his own CNN political show; there's the kid with the millenial radio show "series," etc.

These people "mean serious business."

And, there is another "new" program on POTUS Channel--with a Dem and Repub that "there's no daylight between"--"Unfiltered Political Talk," with Michael Steele and Rick Unger.

Not to mention that Chuck Todd has a new corporatist neoliberal radio program on POTUS.

He just interviewed billionaire TN Governor Bill Haslam this past weekend--another Repub who is in the "Jeb Bush mode."

The topic was education. Don't forget--top winners of "Race To The Top," winning $501 million dollars to privatize education, was the State of Tennessee!

At this rate, we'll be literally hearing (I'm afraid) Democrats and Republicans singing "Kumbaya" on the White House lawn before the 2016 Election plays out.


Alexa's picture
Submitted by Alexa on

my point is that Democrats (read Democratic demographer Ruy Teixiera for background) have been focusing on a coalition of youth, minorities and women (especially lower income, single women) for a number of years, now.

And according to many of the Dem Party talking heads, this will remain the "target group" for the Party for years to come.

For a couple of reasons, Democrats need to play to people who are mostly peripherally engaged in politics. This is partly because of the Party's "economic austerity measures and agenda," which they present (and oftentimes, successfully so) as "populism."

[Lest we forget, there are a bunch of "heavily engaged--politically" people who blog; and we are probably not very representative of "the American People." All one has to do is check out C-Span videos--the view count--to see how few people watch them, LOL! Mr A and I are among a "handful" that do, I assure you.]

To me it's obvious that many Americans--especially those still in the workforce, and especially those working "day and night" to make ends meet--don't necessarily have the time, or the inclination, to "examine issues" the way that we do.

And then there's the advantage to Democrats of "moving to youth, away from seniors."

If a Party is wanting to dismantle the Social Safety Net--who would they rather have as their constituents?

Those who will be robbed? Or those who [believe they] will benefit from "entitlement reform"?


mellon's picture
Submitted by mellon on

So they don't have to dismantle one that doesnt exist. All they have to do is keep things the way they are, be obstructionist, and pervent care(tm) prevent change.

jjmtacoma's picture
Submitted by jjmtacoma on

Was that you chezmadame? I remember when...

I don't believe the party support for Hillary Clinton at all. One of the many noted crimes of her previous run was being the so called "inevitable candidate". Seems to me this is Lucy with the football, act II.

I have a hard time not being insulted every time Hillary Clinton's name is trotted out as a remedy for my bitter, clingy attitude.

Alexa's picture
Submitted by Alexa on

and if you haven't had a chance, you might want to glance at the link that I provided above (I know that I often don't, because of lack of time), or at least check this out the excerpt below about the "star" demographer of the Democratic Party--who long ago advised the Establishment Democrats to abandon white voters (except for the professional class).

Teixeira’s book, The Emerging Democratic Majority, written with John Judis (Scribner, 2002), was the most widely discussed political book of that year and generated praise across the political spectrum, from George Will on the right to E.J. Dionne on the left.

It was selected as one of the best books of the year by The Economist magazine.

Teixeira’s recent writings include “The Obama Coalition in the 2012 Election and Beyond”; “The Path to 270: Demographics Versus Economics in the 2012 Presidential Election” (with John Halpin); “From Welfare State to Opportunity State: How Progressives Should Respond to Demographic Change” and “The European Paradox” (with Matt Browne and John Halpin); “Demographic Change and the Future of the Parties”; “New Progressive America”; “New Progressive America: The Millennial Generation” (with David Madland); and “The Decline of the White Working Class and the Rise of a Mass Upper Middle Class” (with Alan Abramowitz).

Teixeira holds a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

The DLC (and all corporatist neoliberal Dems) consider his works to be "the Bible" for Democratic politicians, and the pathway to electoral victory in the future.

Note: He's with both the Center For American Progress and The Century Foundation.

The fact that it is so difficult for many Democrats to win [blue-collar] white voters, today, is definitely (partly) of their own making--because they listened to this dude!