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What Swings the Swing Voter?


What Swings the Swing Voter?

Les Leopold

According to conventional wisdom, the Democrats must appeal to middle-of-the-road swing voters in order to defeat Trump in 2020. Supposedly these voters want a moderate who “crosses the partisan divide,” “finds common ground with all classes and income groups,” “removes barriers to advancement,” “builds public/private partnerships,” “works for the common good against all special interests,” “avoids the extremes of the right and the left,” and “shuns costly pie-in-the-sky programs.”



The eternally tone deaf corporate lackeys known as the d-party will trot out their usual strategies:

Not being Trump

And while I sympathize with this article, the true motherlode of votes lies in those who don’t bother going to the polls. I can guarantee that triangulation and not-being-Trump won’t light a fire under their asses.


So elections depend on the swing voter? To a degree I suppose, but to at least as big a degree they depend on random factors. Is that entirely a bad thing?

The fact is that our habit of using the archaic plurality voting system means that voters really don’t get much of a chance to express their real opinions about the candidates. Unless there are just two candidates that is.

But rarely are our primary elections contests between just two candidates and the primaries are really where we winnow down the number of candidates to just two (serious ones that is). Plurality voting is a bad idea in general elections but it is a quite terrible idea in primaries where there are nearly always more than two choices. There are alot of better ways we could use to vote - and they would surely lead to more democratic outcomes, not to mention more political parties.


One method of taking these numbers higher is honest voting. There are a lot of people who wont vote because the system is rigged. Get rid of corruptible voting machines, and these numbers will climb.


Back in my “radical” days we wore shirts that proclaimed “Eat The Rich”. I think its time to bring that back…


The obsession of the Democratic party establishment for pushing swing voters is really their way of disguising their reluctance to piss off big money donors. Got to keep things fiscally conservative for those swing voters, right? BS. Got to keep it fiscally conservative not to spook their corporate sponsors. Going after swing voters sounds a bit less corrupt, though.


Hey Les,

Seen this piece about the 12% of ‘primaries’ Sanders supporters who voted for Trump in the general?

Embittered progressives? Nupe - economic populist/cultural conservative Democrats.

There’s your upper left quadrant in action. Evidence that this ‘swing’ demographic will, indeed, choose a progressive populist over both right wing candidates and right liberal ones; evidence also that without an economic populist, a lot of those swing voters will go right.


The percentage of swing voters in the USA has dropped over the past decades. It estimated it now around 5!!! percent.

(Keep in mind that a swing Voter is not deemed an Independent by defintion as the article explains)

The percentage of people who do not vote in US elections is over 40 percent. It my opinion that the vast majority of those in that 40 percent group do not vote because they are on the left of the Political spectrum and see no candidates representing them. The Republicans are about as far to the right as one can possibly imagine so I can not imagine there a heck of a lot of voters of that side of the spectrum who would vote because the candidates do not reprsent their viewpoints.

THAT said. The DNC spends all of its money and efforts to formulate policies so as to get AT most 5 percent of the voters when they claim they have to be “Moderate” or “Centrist” in ordet to win an election.

This is absolutely absurd on the face of it. If there a pool of voters that dwarf the swing voters 10 to one that is the group you would go after. The DNC does not do this because it would mean giving up those Corporate dollars and giving up life after politics working as a lobbyist for one of those same Corporations.

Anything else they tell you is a lie.


You make some good points. But it’s important to realize that among that suspiciously large number of people who are described as progressive populists are quite a number who are economically challenged, but who want better jobs (or jobs at all). Redistributive taxes are OK with them, but not the main focus of their desire for change. As Joan Williams said, they want jobs, not services – even if in fact they need and use services. And its also important to realize that their tolerance for identity-based messaging is limited – even among identity-group members. As Progressives, we have done a terrible job of maintaining a disciplined narrative that doesn’t vilify large sections of the working and lower-middle classes.


Bipartisanship meas nothing can be done that the elites the Republican Party serves will not allow to be done. To want that is to want no end to the injustice and suffering prevalent within the masses.


I apologize in advance for the length of this post. (not that anyone’s required to read it)

Excellent piece, good to see a follow up to last week’s which I’ve been echoing. The data from the Voter Survey Group you reference is the most eye opening study I’ve seen since the one proving that the actions of congress align with the will of the people exactly 0.0% of the time. The Dems (or the Greens, or the DSA) would do well to pay close attention.

The divisions among populists are both artificial and deliberately provoked. The desire to get money out of politics, reclaiming our voice in our own government, a fair shake and a living wage for working men and women, affordable healthcare and education, protecting our environment, scaling back our armed aggression across the globe have all been PROVEN to be the population’s priorities. The ONLY reason that this supermajority of the electorate cannot get representation is because they are being blocked by both of our two political parties, both of whom exist solely to compete for the “benjamins” of a small financial elite.

Allowing ourselves to be pulled into another false argument about ‘taxing the rich’ is another ploy by the elite to divide us. Years ago I read an interesting article about how neither raising taxes on the very rich nor cutting spending on entitlements could, by themselves, balance the budget or reduce our national debt. While raising the top tax rate somewhat will raise some money, more important would be: 1- the elimination of corporate welfare, 2- more equitable distribution of corporate profits, 3- spending more of our federal budget on improving citizens’ lives (more on infrastructure and amenities and less on military adventurism). This last item includes a universal group health insurance plan for every American (single payer health insurance), increasing the salary cap on social security taxes, as well as subsidizing public education (K-university) to regain our status as a paragon of public education and innovation. A healthy economy requires well paid workers and fair and equitable taxation. A healthy democracy requires a level playing field that prohibits oversized bullies, and requires everyone to pitch in and pay attention. This is both DO-ABLE and SELL-ABLE. We just need to look past the small divisions and seize the gold ring. NOW IS THE TIME.