, 13 tweets, 3 min read Read on Twitter
1. Vote choice in the 2018 midterms was correlated w/ Trump approval at 0.98. If the same thing happens in 2020, it's going to be hard for POTUS to win re-election if he's below ~47(?)% approval. That's not impossible, but he's at 42% today and has never been above 45. <THREAD>
2. Related: I've said it 1e06 times since 2015, but it bears repeating: new poli sci says the assumptions underlying econometric election forecasts apply *MUCH* less under Trump. That's b/c of (1) a longer trend of polarization on economic evaluations & (2) POTUS's uniqueness.
3. A note: when people say "it's the economy, stupid" they typically infer that voters are making sociotropic (and retrospective) evaluations of the economy. But that's not 100% of it! Local conditions matter! Those that feel "left behind" by the pace of the economy grow anxious.
4. To be sure, the (old) theories also posit that economic evaluations don't matter as much when an incumbent is on the ballot. People go into a more referenda-driven mindset, even in presidential elections.

Again, I'm saying (mostly) ignore this: it's (mostly) old-hat now.
5. If you were to lay my case out with a (crappy looking) DAG It'd be that this:
6. ...should be replaced by this (roughly speaking):

Strength + order changes.

Okay, back on track....
7. It does seem likely that 2020 will descend into a battle over white working class (non-college-educated) voters, especially if Joe Biden gets his way. But don't mistake this for a battle over "economic anxiety." It's about white identity politics and whiteness more broadly.
8. If the Democratic nominee can effectively make the case that the country's more heterogeneous racial future doesn't leave whites behind just because they're white, that's going to be a big part of what brings them back into the fold — good economy or not!
9. FWIW I'm not convinced that Joe Biden is the best Democratic nominee to take this message to these WWC voters (especially the Obama -> Trump ones), but it does look like he's the most willing to put this message on the table.
10. Of course, when Biden invokes his whole a politics-as-it-once-was message (but for 2008, vs Trump's MAGA clear 1950s dog-whistling) he's still delivering a cue that non-college white voters take as being at least partially about pre-racial politics. Dangerous? Yes. Effective?
11. Anyways that's my Saturday rant and I'm sticking with it. A caveat to the first tweet: the relationship breaks down if a third-party candidate is able to draw a significant amount of support away from the major-party candidates. So if Schultz etc. runs.... look out.
(Oh and in the DAG when I say "economy" I really mean "FEELINGS ABOUT the economy")
In sum

ItS tHe EcOnOmY sTuPiD
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