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If Ronald Reagan were to come back to life, he would probably be disillusioned by the leftist tone the early 2024 Republican presidential campaign has taken at times.

After Ron DeSantis announced he was holding a fund-raiser at the Four Seasons Hotel last night, an official close to Donald Trump mocked the event as “uber elitist” and “out of touch.” Trump has criticized DeSantis for supporting past Republican bills in Congress to partially shrink the government by cutting Medicare and Social Security.

DeSantis, for his part, has come out in favor of government action To reduce health care costs. He criticized the Biden administration for blocking cheap prescription drugs from Canada — a country that used to be a symbol of big-government inefficiency among Republicans. This month, Florida Governor DeSantis signed a bill that seeks to lower drug costs by cracking down on companies known as pharmacy benefit managers.

What’s up?

Trump’s vacillation of the Republican establishment in 2016, and his continued popularity among the party’s voters, has exposed the weakness of the laissez-faire economic approach known as Reaganism. Namely, it is not particularly popular with most voters, including many Republicans.

Together DeSantis announced his candidacy last night, I want to use today’s newsletter to highlight arguably the most important fact about American politics: Americans tend to be more progressive on economic issues than they are on social issues. If you can remember this, you will understand the 2024 campaign better.

This explains why DeSantis and Trump are competing with each other to sound populist, even if it means supporting government regulations and benefits. It explains why Trump’s criticism of free trade resonated with voters — and why President Biden has promoted his “Buy America” ​​economic policies, breaking ties with centrist Democrats. It also explains why today’s Republicans campaign on social issues such as immigration, crime, gender and religion; Most Americans are more conservative on these topics than the Democratic Party.

It is true that there is a subgroup of voters, many of them affluent, who prefer to describe themselves as “socially liberal and economically conservative”. If you’re reading this newsletter, you probably know some people in that category. Yet it also happens to be the least common combination in American politics. The typical swing voter is instead “socially conservative and economically liberal”.

The 2024 presidential election is likely to be at least partially a battle for that voter.

This chart — originally created by political scientist Lee Drutman, using a large survey taken after the 2016 election — remains the best view of the situation:

It places the respondents, each represented by a dot, on two scales. One scale is based on economic issues such as trade, taxes, and safety-net programs, while the other is based on social issues such as abortion, immigration, race, and pride in the United States. Economic progressives appear on the left side of the chart, and economic conservatives appear on the right. Social conservatives appear in the top half, and social progressives in the bottom half. The dots are colored based on their 2016 vote, whether it was for Trump, Hillary Clinton, or a third-party candidate.

Not surprisingly, people who are liberal on both types of issues (bottom left quadrant) overwhelmingly voted Democratic, and those who are consistently conservative (top right quadrant) were solid Trump voters. The socially liberal and economically conservative quadrant is mostly empty. And the opposite quadrant is the battleground of American politics.

These socially conservative and economically liberal voters — you might call them Scaffles for their acronym — have voted for progressive economic policies when they appear as ballot initiatives, even in red states. For example, Arkansas, Florida, Missouri, and Nebraska have passed minimum wage increases. Idaho, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Utah have expanded Medicaid through Obamacare. Republicans without college degrees are often the ones who break ties with their party on these ballot initiatives.

Also, the scuffle is the reason why a Times poll last year showed that most voters, including many latinos, Prefer the Republican Party’s stance on illegal immigration to the Democratic Party’s. or consider Recent KFF/Washington Post Poll On transgender issues, a majority of Americans said they opposed puberty-blocking treatments for children.

Yes, there are nuances of public opinion. The KFF poll showed that a majority of Americans also support laws prohibiting discrimination against trans people. Sometimes parties go beyond limits. When Democrats talk positively about socialism, they alienate swing voters. On abortion, Republicans have gone so far right—passing almost outright bans—that the issue has become a pressing issue on the party.

But don’t confuse the specifics and exceptions with the big picture. DeSantis and Trump understand that the old Republican approach to economic policy is a vulnerability, which is why they often sound like populists. And when they espouse cultural conservatism, they’re not just serving their base. They are also often appealing to swing the voters.

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  • Listen to 11 of his best tracksWhich shows his mastery of R&B, rock and pop.

  • Jacob Bernstein writes, It is difficult to imagine that Turner did not break the boundary. See his life in pictures,

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