I guess we have to do this: A high-level overview of my political views.
I think there's a general tendency that people dislike traitors/apostates more than people who have always been on the enemy side. In 2008/2012 Republicans kept attacking Nate Silver because they didn't like public polling results, and as a result Nate developed a generally left-leaning fanbase who assumed he was one of them. This fanbase then felt betrayed whenever Nate refused to endorse the most leftwing (or COVID-cautious) opinion on anything. That's why he came in for far more vitriol on Twitter than generic right-wingers saying far more right-wing things.
I'm guessing you may also be experiencing something that has happened to me over the past five years. I have always been similarly situated to you---often describing myself as a libertarian who more often than not sides with the liberals when faced with binary choices, but usually finds my exact policy positions unaccounted for by either political party, or their corresponding ideology.
What I've experienced is a not just a knee-jerk reaction from many on the the left to characterize everything even a shade to their right as right-wing--though I've certainly gotten that more than a few times--but also a new and aggressive anger at anyone who thinks policy involves trade-offs, or that the underlying values in dispute between left and right are reasonable to compare. Even when I've *sided* with the liberals on various things, the mere fact that I asserted the question was s balancing-test between legitimate competing values or resource allocation drew me a lot of heat.
And I'm not talking about abortion here, or even school closures during COVID. I'm talking about things like soft infrastructure spending on early childhood education (which I support, on balance, but usually with said caveats about trade-offs) or even sillier things to disagree with like "Mitt Romney might have been a successful president and might have been very popular, because he has a lot of popular mainstream ideas, has some past successes, and seems like a smart, decent person."
And I get the idea that some people believe (I think I might as well!) that the current GOP holds a handful of policy positions so counter to basic democracy/republic values that you shouldn't vote for them in national elections until they are punished enough to alter ideology. But that has translated for many people into the idea that *all policies promoted by the GOP are also bad, or even evil* which is plainly both not true, and also makes *policy* discussions that much harder to separate from partisan electoral discussions.
It's extremely frustrating, especially when, as you say, you just want to discuss things as policy, or even just comment on process/institutional considerations, and everyone needs to read partisan strategy into it and go from there. There are many people left who still care about the former and not all that much about the latter.
This is what Steven Pinker calls "The Left Pole". When you're at the North Pole, anything next to you is South. When you're at the Left Pole, anything other than you is right.
I'm sure this comment section will be sane, sober, respectful, and [dodges tomato]
“But what I find remarkable is that is that Molloy can’t even seem to imagine someone doing journalism for reasons other than trying to advance a political narrative for partisan reasons.”
That is why no one trusts corporate media anymore and why substack will continue to grow.
More or less what I expected, really. I don't always agree with your positions, but I'm exhausted seeing how many replies to your tweets take you in the worst faith, or attack you for something spurious (i.e "predicting" a Clinton win in 2016). I hope moving on from 538 can relieve that obnoxious element from your online life, though I kind of doubt it will.
Clearly you're a closet bolshie and would vote for Nicolás Maduro for President if given the chance.
Parker Molloy has some issues with recognizing biological reality and why it might be relevant sometimes. People with this particular viewpoint tend to be very rigid about keeping people on the left in line on all issues. Any divergence, or even attempts to have nuanced discussion, will result in being labeled a right-winger.
For what it’s worth, centrist with a strong libertarian bend is _exactly_ what I would have predicted if asked.
A lot of fiercely partisan commentators - nothing wrong with being one, inherently - also have an instinct to not just disagree with independent commentators, but to deny the existence of independent commentators. It moves them into the opposition basket.
It's one thing if, say, a movement conservative who plays to a movement conservative audience is critical of Democratic policy proposals on this or that. It's a kind of "sun sets in the west." But an independent commentator with a more mixed audience?
For the fierce partisan, this is something to deal with. "Here's why you're wrong" is one way (and in a more higher discourse sense, the ideal one), but "this so-called independent commentator is just a movement conservative commentator in disguise" is another one. And it's also a bit easier because, if that sticks, you just move on to arguing against the movement conservative as you always do. And if your framework is that these issues are very important, and that these intellectual debates seem small potatoes against the substantive policy impact of the other side winning (or something to that flavor), it makes a certain kind of sense.
(This is true of both left and right, but frankly I think the one with stronger cultural positioning is more likely to engage in this tactic; was something I noticed in the Bush era from the other side, more on the left now, in time will switch again)
I share the frustration with the kind of worldview that sees hidden agendas behind everyone who disagrees with them. Or deliberately raises the spectre of someone having a hidden agenda in order to discredit them. (In fairness, the article linked to did also engage with the arguments in the original piece.)
I have no reason to doubt Nate’s description of his political beliefs. But also, importantly: even if he *had* been a DeSantis supporter, it wouldn’t have made him *wrong* to say Biden’s age is an issue! Even Republicans with an agenda can be right about things; something can be true even though someone you hate is saying it!
IMO People these days view politics as a team sport and the purpose of all political discussion is to win and discredit the other side. Facts and policy discussion are just a means to the end and the end is to score points for your team/audience and against the other side. It doesn’t matter if what you say is true and/or valid. If it makes her own side look bad then it’s just rewarding points for the other side and thats unacceptable. She saw you were attacking her own side and saw herself as a goalie of sorts to defend her own side.
A lot of us ex progressives would agree with Nate's positions.
Trump is uniquely bad because trying to actively steal qn election is off the scale.
I have found you can get through to lukewarm Trump supporters by asking them to honestly answer if they think because of Trump's narcissistic personality- wasn't he always going to not accept defeat
That said: The Dems/left are nearly as bad l.
The response to Nate just mentioning Biden's age - illustrates their mindset.
We all know it's not just the number around his age. He can barely string a coherent sentence together.
His claim that climate change poses the same or more danger as nuclear war - is about as nonsensical and wide of the mark as you can get.
The left are now the end of days fundamentalists - no amount of empirical evidence like us never being safer from the climate/weather makes any difference.
They live in a counter factual world- where we are all doomed from future weather ( always in 10 years) and Biden's mental facilities should be airbrushed out.
Honestly- what a terrible choice.
So is this Substack going to be mostly about Nate Silver grievances? That will get old really fast.
I think people are much more likely to embrace extreme partisanship, that sees any concern or criticism for their party's standard bearer as evidence that someone is secretly "on the other side" when they are afraid. In this case Molley is afraid that bringing up a legitimate concern (Biden's age) might weaken support for Biden and make him less likely to win the election. But articles like Molley's just end up backfiring a lot of the time. Because if you defend your standard bearer at all costs, your reality based readers will cease to trust you, and you will increasingly attract the type of audience that also wants to twist themselves into knots defending their standard bearer. Take that far enough and you become the left wing version of MAGA, untethered to reality, deeply tethered to partisan loyalty.
I still have trouble understanding why people who are worried about fascism wouldn't want to vote for Trump. He is by far the candidate least likely to get support for his policies from the rest of the state apparatus. We've even had a four-year display of that played out in practice. his judicial nominees have fractured unilateral state action as well. Just from a purely pragmatic perspective for the freedom minded, he is the only choice at the present juncture. This is coming from someone, speaking of myself obviously, who can't even stand listening to his voice. The people to be worried about are those who will react to his election, and how they will advance their own totalizing views once he is gone and their rage can be operant rather than impotent screaming. I wish more people would take a step back from their social image and think about this pragmatically.