1.That isn't the controversial part @harryenten. What's controversial but shouldn't be based on data is that 1. the true swing voter pool is small in any competitive race outside the NE 2. along w vote choice swings, Indies have massive turnout swings & are ideologically diverse.
3.although perceived moderation can be an adv, it the perceived part is key. GOP paints all Dem nominees as radicals while Ds fail to return the favor and 4. what matters the most is the perceived vitality of the candidate by the party orgs, which signals IE support as well.
4. Moderate candidates get massive party and IE investment because of the deep seated belief they are stronger electorally. In the polarized era, people can't accept that candidate effects are typically non-factors. Case in point Amy McGrath. 5. and that's because we have a
5. post-sorting, coalitional electorate where party loyalty is much stronger than it was 20 years ago. So what becomes "controversial" is the idea that the party composition of any given competitive electorate is equally important to winning over the "swing" vote and indeed, bc
6. the true pure Indies tends to be less engaged they are mainly motivated by national trends. Great when that's on your side (out of power party) but much tougher when in-power as Ds are already seeing now in polling data. If you don't make your party popular, the prevailing
7. certainly won't do it for you. If the electorate changes, your electoral strategy and the tactics deployed to execute is must change with it. keep in mind, one party, the GOP, has already internalized this & won 14 seats in the House under the worst fundamentals imaginable.
8. and did so largely with ideologues as nominees. That seems weird if candidate effects are what matters, yes? That's bc what matters is the marketing (perceived) and in the deployment of campaign resources to dominate coalitional turnout.
9. Novel thinking, I realize, but when data tells you the world ain't flat- you gotta adjust your thinking.

(Side note: lots of grey area BT Ds old school embarrassed Dem model of "moderation" (Sinema) and the new school (Kelly)/ & running a liberal platform (Ossoff & Warner)

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