What Liberals Mean By “Swing Voter”

 

DemocraticLogoAs much as I try to avoid this kind of thing — “liberal MSM!” — this just can’t go unremarked. On Face the Nation, National Journal‘s Ron Fournier — who is, by my lights anyway, a pretty good reporter — showed that he has a problem understanding what “independent” means:

JOHN DICKERSON, FACE THE NATION: Ron, you’ve covered the Clintons since the mid-’80s.What’s your take on it?

RON FOURNIER, NATIONAL JOURNAL: I don’t — I don’t disagree with anything you’re saying, but it’s not the only issue. Covering politics isn’t just about who’s winning and losing and who’s going to win or lose. The same bigger issues involved [sic].

Look, I’m a swing voter, an Independent voter. I’ve known and respected her for a long time. A year ago, if you had asked me, hey, would you consider working for Secretary Clinton, I’d say, yes, I’d think about it. Six months ago, if you had said, hey, would you vote for her, I’d say, yes, I’m likely going to vote for her.

Um, okay, that’s not a “swing” voter, or an independent or an undecided or anything. That’s a Democrat. If a year ago, before any Republicans were in the race, you’d have seriously thought about quitting your job to work for a specific Democratic candidate, that’s what being a Democrat means. If six months ago you would have voted for her — before any Republican had jumped in — that’s not what an independent would do.

Nothing wrong with it. But I wish reporters like Fournier would stop lying to themselves and face facts: They’re Democrats.

Later, he adds this:

I don’t know if I can trust Hillary Clinton anymore and it doesn’t make me happy to say that.

But we all know what this means. It means he’ll vote for her anyway. Or for another Democrat.

Because he’s a Democrat.

 

 

There are 35 comments.

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  1. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    Rob Long: Because he’s a Democrat.

    Yup. It’s Party before country.

    • #1
  2. Chris Campion Coolidge
    Chris Campion
    @ChrisCampion

    Look, I’m a swing voter, an Independent voter. I’ve known and respected her for a long time.

    You’re not an independent, nor a “swinger”, if you’ve known and respected her for a long time.  I’d actually ask him the question “Why?” after this last statement.

    Unfortunately this guy’s statements fit perfectly well with what the right generally assumes to be true of the media – because it’s mostly true.  They see themselves as independent and thoughtful politically, but vote Democrat 90% of the time.

    As Rob said, it’s because you’re a Democrat. So stop trotting out fig leaves to cover your shame.

    • #2
  3. Pencilvania Inactive
    Pencilvania
    @Pencilvania

    I think he means he might ‘swing’ as far as the socialist candidate in the race, and he’s ‘independent’ of objective analysis.

    • #3
  4. BuckeyeSam Inactive
    BuckeyeSam
    @BuckeyeSam

    “I’m not a real swing voter, but I play one on TV.”

    • #4
  5. Umbra Fractus Inactive
    Umbra Fractus
    @UmbraFractus

    What he means is if Joe Manchin (D) was running against Arlen Spector (R) he’d consider voting Republican.

    • #5
  6. FightinInPhilly Coolidge
    FightinInPhilly
    @FightinInPhilly

    I think for a lot of people identifying as a “swing voter” or “independent” is an important signifier, that they’re above the rabble, making informed choices. It’s as much a party of their identity as the clothes they wear and the city they choose to live in.

    • #6
  7. Casey Inactive
    Casey
    @Casey

    I’ll raise you one. I’m sick and tired of independent and undecided being the height of intellect.
    Surveying the world and not having an opinion on it doesn’t make you some kind of moral genius. It makes you a dog.

    • #7
  8. ctlaw Coolidge
    ctlaw
    @ctlaw

    As alluded to, “swing voter” and “independent” are two separate things with only partial overlap.

    Swing voter includes many nominal Democrats (e.g., the Reagan Democrats) and likely some nominal Republicans.

    Many “independents” are committed to one party or the other but do not want to admit it. Republicans (like Rob’s underground Hollywood Republican friends) are scared of discrimination. Democrats do not want to have to defend their positions. Many want the air of moral superiority they think it provides them.

    • #8
  9. Brian McMenomy Inactive
    Brian McMenomy
    @BrianMcMenomy

    Umbra Fractus:What he means is if Joe Manchin (D) was running against Arlen Spector (R) he’d consider voting Republican.

    If those are the choices, I vote for Joe Manchin every day of the week.

    • #9
  10. Casey Inactive
    Casey
    @Casey

    This is something that just burns me up so I’m going to keep commenting. (After all, it’s my right as a member and could be yours too for the low low price of whatever it is I pay to be here.)

    Have you ever been in one of these conversations where you’re discussing some political issue and the person asks you what party you belong to and when you say Republican they kind of give a dismissive shrug and drop off their end of the conversation as if they’ve just realized they’ve been talking to a tree?

    Or not even something specifically political. Maybe you are making a philosophical or scientific or sporting claim. And this person is disagreeing with you and says “oh, you just read that in a book.” Or maybe they ask where you get your information. The minute you say Internet they roll their eyes.

    Oh, so if I don’t pull all of my ideas independently from the clouds they are invalid? And your independently constructed, unresearched, fly by night,contradictory nonsense is evidence of superior intellect?

    So annoying.

    • #10
  11. Kate Braestrup Member
    Kate Braestrup
    @GrannyDude

    Umbra Fractus:What he means is if Joe Manchin (D) was running against Arlen Spector (R) he’d consider voting Republican.

    Seriously though: under what circumstances would you vote (not just consider voting for, but actually vote for) a Democrat for president?

    Trump v. Webb?

    It’s hard to overestimate the power of tribalism when it comes to politics (religion, too). I know, because I can’t vote for Hillary and will probably (absent Trump) vote Republican for the first time in my life this time around …and it is not comfortable.

    • #11
  12. gts109 Inactive
    gts109
    @gts109

    Yeah, he probably is a Dem, but he’s being pretty hard on Hillary right now, which is fine by me. I mean, take a look at this piece: If it appeared on this website, it’d receive a standing ovation.

    • #12
  13. RyanFalcone Member
    RyanFalcone
    @RyanFalcone

    Casey:I’ll raise you one. I’m sick and tired of independent and undecided being the height of intellect. Surveying the world and not having an opinion on it doesn’t make you some kind of moral genius. It makes you a dog.

    You know better than that. In the post-modern world, having an opinion means making a judgement. Making a judgement means saying one thing is better than another. Assuming you have any such authority makes you a racist, homophobic, racist, puppy mill enabler. Everyone knows that the truly evolved people have no beliefs and anyone that believes otherwise is a dangerous fundamentalist.

    PS: Are you using the word dog as an insult? You need to maybe check your human privilege.

    • #13
  14. A-Squared Inactive
    A-Squared
    @ASquared

    Kate Braestrup: Seriously though: under what circumstances would you vote (not just consider voting for, but actually vote for) a Democrat for president?

    In 04, if the Democrats had put up a serious candidate, I would have voted for him/her.  I was pretty angry at the first Bush term and the way the Iraq war was being handled.

    Instead, they nominated a self-acknowledged war criminal who ratted out his comrades in arms for a career in politics.

    • #14
  15. Casey Inactive
    Casey
    @Casey

    They are making judgments too. But somehow not considering the issue at all prior to making the judgment makes their judgment fairer. Thoughtful consideration is now considered a kind of bias.

    • #15
  16. Casey Inactive
    Casey
    @Casey

    Back to Fournier, he obviously has considered things quite a bit and chosen a side. But his modern instinct tells him he must disavow his thoughtful consideration and claim his judgment is of the fair independent sort.

    • #16
  17. gts109 Inactive
    gts109
    @gts109

    I’d urge those who want to turn this into a generic slamming of MSM reporters to read the guy’s work on Hillary’s email. He’s one of her harshest critics.

    • #17
  18. ctlaw Coolidge
    ctlaw
    @ctlaw

    RyanFalcone:

    Casey:I’ll raise you one. I’m sick and tired of independent and undecided being the height of intellect. Surveying the world and not having an opinion on it doesn’t make you some kind of moral genius. It makes you a dog.

    You know better than that. In the post-modern world, having an opinion means making a judgement. Making a judgement means saying one thing is better than another. Assuming you have any such authority makes you a racist, homophobic, racist, puppy mill enabler. Everyone knows that the truly evolved people have no beliefs and anyone that believes otherwise is a dangerous fundamentalist.

    That mainly applies to un-PC opinions. For the left, moral relativism is a tool, not an ideology. Thus, it is used to dismiss valid un-PC opinions or, the flipside, avoid having to defend invalid/indefensible PC opinions. When the left has an opinion they even remotely think they can defend, then there is no moral relativism.

    • #18
  19. Casey Inactive
    Casey
    @Casey

    Yes, and those criticisms are completely valid now that he’s established that he’s an independent who would vote for her.

    If those same criticisms were made by someone with a worldview who may not have voted for her then the criticisms would have been completely invalid.

    This is how we judge things nowadays.

    • #19
  20. FightinInPhilly Coolidge
    FightinInPhilly
    @FightinInPhilly

    Casey:They are making judgments too. But somehow not considering the issue at all prior to making the judgment makes their judgment fairer. Thoughtful consideration is now considered a kind of bias.

    Jonah Goldberg devotes a lot of time to this topic in The Tyranny of Cliches. Which is, I suppose, where I got the idea from in the first place.

    • #20
  21. Casey Inactive
    Casey
    @Casey

    FightinInPhilly:

    Casey:They are making judgments too. But somehow not considering the issue at all prior to making the judgment makes their judgment fairer. Thoughtful consideration is now considered a kind of bias.

    Jonah Goldberg devotes a lot of time to this topic in The Tyranny of Cliches.

    Ok, I’ll add it to my to read list. But I’m already preparing to have people dismiss me because I’ve read something Jonah wrote.

    • #21
  22. gts109 Inactive
    gts109
    @gts109

    Casey, I think he was probably just being honest about his political leanings, although he mis-labeled them as independent / swing.

    Regardless, it’s a good thing that “respectable” MSM liberals, who think that anyone not on the Hillary campaign payroll is a “swing” voter, believe her conduct on the email issue is dishonest, contemptible, and likely criminal.

    • #22
  23. Theodoric of Freiberg Member
    Theodoric of Freiberg
    @TheodoricofFreiberg

    “But I wish reporters like Fournier would stop lying to themselves and face facts: They’re Democrats.”

    He’s not lying to himself. He knows he’s a Democrat. He’s lying to the audience.

    • #23
  24. Casey Inactive
    Casey
    @Casey

    I understand, gts. It just drives me crazy that we can no longer make an argument without first declaring that our heads are completely free of any potentially contaminating ideas.

    • #24
  25. Al French Moderator
    Al French
    @AlFrench

    On a slightly tangential note, why is it “news” when one reporter interviews another?  Pet peeve.

    • #25
  26. gts109 Inactive
    gts109
    @gts109

    Casey, at least here at Ricochet you need not preface your statements as such.

    Plus, I think you should view his statement–that he didn’t have prior beef with Hillary and may have actually been a political supporter of hers–as a premable to the gist of his comments, which is that Hillary is a liar with terrible judgment. Many speakers use similar rhetorical ploys to make their criticisms appear more objective.

    • #26
  27. Sabrdance Member
    Sabrdance
    @Sabrdance

    This is not limited to reporters -though I agree it is particularly aggravating in them.  The studies of American political leanings have long established that the majority of Americans know nothing about the parties most of the time (come elections, most are able to figure out which party matches their desires and vote for them, but then they forget).  The avowed partisans are fairly rare.  The two other groups are “moderates” and “independents.”  The moderates are usually completely uninformed, and they aren’t actually all that moderate, they’re usually just extremists with incoherent views.  “We need to expand social security and medicare, and also cut taxes!” is a moderate position in the US.

    Independents are a different story.  Some of them actually are moderates in the usual sense.  Most of them, though, are more partisan than the avowed partisans.  People who call themselves Democrats/Republicans are actually more likely to have voted for a Republican/Democrat in the last 4 Presidential Elections than independents, who tend to say they “lean” one way or the other, but then voted party-line tickets as far back as we ask.

    • #27
  28. Rightfromthestart Coolidge
    Rightfromthestart
    @Rightfromthestart

    Fournier considers himself independent because after careful consideration he votes, that its for the Democrat every single time doesn’t occur to him, it’s like flipping a coin that comes out heads every single time and still thinking the coin is fine. The New York Times (and it’s congregation) still considers itself objective and unbiased even though it hasn’t endorsed a Republican for President for 60 years.

    • #28
  29. Umbra Fractus Inactive
    Umbra Fractus
    @UmbraFractus

    Kate Braestrup: Seriously though: under what circumstances would you vote (not just consider voting for, but actually vote for) a Democrat for president?

    In 2008 I would have voted for Clinton over Paul. (Not my proudest statement, but this was pre-Benghazi.)

    And, there’s also the hypothetical I mentioned in my original statement; if the Democrat is more conservative than the Republican, I will vote Dem. I always follow the Buckley Rule; I vote for the most conservative candidate who can win. Right now and for the foreseeable future that means voting Republican 99 out of 100 times.

    • #29
  30. Kate Braestrup Member
    Kate Braestrup
    @GrannyDude

    Casey:Yes, and those criticisms are completely valid now that he’s established that he’s an independent who would vote for her.

    If those same criticisms were made by someone with a worldview who may not have voted for her then the criticisms would have been completely invalid.

    This is how we judge things nowadays.

    It is true, though, that we tend to take criticisms of Republicans more seriously if they come from other Republicans, and Thomas Sowell and John McWhorter (or, for that matter, Bill Cosby)  have more credibility when critiquing aspects of African- American life than Moynihan did.

    I was disappointed in how the Obama administration responded to Ferguson in large part because this represented such a valuable and (so-far) unique opportunity. Because the president’s  sympathies could be presumed to bias him in one direction, he would be trusted to attest to the facts on the ground when they pulled in the opposite direction.

    • #30
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