I look forward to having this study cited to me once a week for the next two years
There are countless academic studies out there. When one of them -- especially a narrow one like this -- becomes a talisman in The Discourse, it's usually about something outside of the study itself
Among other things, my issue is with the idea that politics is so mechanical that, faced with the need to build wider support, Democrats can A/B test their way to the perfect message.
Political rhetoric by parties and media change the political environment in ways that cannot be predicted or modeled, and you cannot poll-test messages for a political environment that doesn't exist yet! This is a FUNDAMENTAL and UNSOLVABLE issue with this sort of analysis.
The idea that the ideal national political message or emphasis can be determined in randomized controlled experiments is just bogus, it makes no sense.
This isn't some kind of anti-intellectual viewpoint either, anyone seriously interested in understanding the purpose, strengths, and limitations of poll-driven political science or political strategy should realize it makes no sense. The tool is not sufficient for the purpose.

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More from @whstancil

29 Apr
As I have suggested many times, the core belief motivating a lot of white peoples’ exhaustion with “race issues” is the idea that race is a parochial topic that affects nonwhite people but is basically a subset of a more universal, more fundamental politics (often economic).
This belief underlies a lot of political choices of white people. I am convinced it is a large part of the appeal of old-style socialism to young men, since that worldview promises to subordinate confusing race talk to a simple, class-based universality.
White people often find it very hard to resist minimizing the role of race or talk of race. It’s an intellectual knot that is difficult or impossible to fully untangle and it’s hard to resist ideas that promise to cut right through it.
Read 18 tweets
28 Apr
"Stop talking about racism because some people are racist and you'll upset them" is the very essence of short-termism, though. We need to be talking about how racism is bad specifically BECAUSE some people are racist. nymag.com/intelligencer/…
You can't eliminate the effects of race in politics by unilaterally refusing to acknowledge race. The other side will still push those buttons as hard as it can. All an avoidance strategy does, long-term, is create space for racists to spread their politics unchallenged.
Empirical, poll-based political science really has nothing to contribute here, either. Polls cannot predict future ideological changes in the body politic. No pollster or political scientist could have reliably predicted the civil rights movement or its effects on the country.
Read 5 tweets
25 Apr
Man, to think that everyone just spent days shouting at me for saying that Matt Yglesias and other 'contrarian' white guy writers are increasingly pandering to white dudes who see themselves as liberals but also have vaguely reactionary cultural resentments Image
"Will, it's completely unfair for you to suggest that these types of writers are receiving too much positive reinforcement from each other and that it might be encouraging them to indulge in a distinctly white, male set of prejudices and grievances"
A take that would be perfectly at home on a far-right reddit or Breitbart Image
Read 6 tweets
23 Apr
basically what's happening is that you have a bunch of ideas that have always appealed to comfortable people at the top of society - mostly white dudes - about how you should be allowed to be a little racist and homophobic and political correctness is out of control and whatnot
but over the last few years the people who became most associated with those ideas became intrinsically rather toxic among the educated set. like you can't admit to listening to ben shapiro and jordan peterson and expect to be taken seriously
so what's happening is that a bunch of moderates and liberals - who just so happen to be white dudes themselves - have started advancing suspiciously similar arguments with a liberal gloss. "this is just an argument about politics, it's not like I don't believe in racism"
Read 13 tweets
20 Apr
Here’s a piece that defends the effort to eliminate and replace the Minnesota education clause, and seems to attempt to rebut my criticisms of that effort.

Frankly, it doesn’t even begin to come close to addressing the concerns of me and others. default.salsalabs.org/T55026e5e-1f89…
First off, it's rarely a good sign when the thing you're supposedly defending isn't even mentioned until the 11th paragraph, halfway through the piece. Image
The author admits that "quality education" is a legally undefined term. This is a key problem with the proposed amendment: you're replacing a guarantee of "adequate education," with the force of precedent behind it, with an undefined generality. Image
Read 11 tweets
12 Apr
Suburbs get a tiny fraction of the attention that major cities do, but they're really becoming the hub of civil rights conflict in America
The primary reason is the process of suburban demographic change, and the eventual resegregation that results. Most American suburbs are currently moving across a spectrum from fully white segregated to fully nonwhite segregated.
At present, many suburbs are in fact racially integrated, but it's not a stable state of affairs - the integration is a side effect of the demographic move towards nonwhite segregation, and will collapse eventually if steps are not taken to preserve it.
Read 15 tweets

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