What This Dems In Disarray Story Needs Is Some Garbage Polling. Take It Away, Axios!

Hey, Democrats, knock that shit off! There is a place for members of Congress to hash out their differences, and it's called a closed-door caucus meeting. Donald Trump is locking babies in cages, and we have an election to win in fifteen months. So if we could stop hacking big chunks out of each other in public, that would be GREAAAAAAT!

We do not need Speaker Pelosi running to Maureen Dowd to air her thoughts on "The Squad" of headline-grabbing freshman congresswomen who have become the face of our party's progressive wing. We do not need to open Twitter and see that Rep. Ocasio-Cortez's chief of staff thinks other members of the caucus are racist. We do not need Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley wrapping up the latest "Dems in Disarray!!!!" story in a bow for the national press by giving a quote that's going to be yanked out of context to make it sound like she thinks her fellow African American representatives aren't black enough. And we sure as hell don't need to see blind items on Axios by "top Democrats" attacking AOC and Rep. Ilhan Omar by selectively leaking data points from a longer poll to somehow "prove" they're a drag on the party nationwide.

Seriously, Axios, WTF is this nonsense about Democrats "sounding the alarm that swing voters know and dislike socialism, warning it could cost them the House and the presidency"? Was this pearl of wisdom from one of the Tim Ryans currently running to be the Your Next White Dude President? The same guys who tried to shitcan Nancy Pelosi for being the socialist face of the Democratic Party Fox News had always said she was?

Mitch McConnell is out there telling Americans that everything from the estate tax to Puerto Rican statehood is "socialism." There is zero evidence that voters "know" anything about socialism other than that they're supposed to hate it.

More importantly, there is a rational argument to be made that the future leaders of the party should allow the current leaders to lead and stop using their platforms to criticize the policy stances of their Democratic colleagues who have to run in less progressive districts. But this ain't it, chief.

The poll — taken in May, before Speaker Pelosi's latest run-in with AOC and the three other liberal House freshmen known as "The Squad" — included 1,003 likely general-election voters who are white and have two years or less of college education.

These are the "white, non-college voters" who embraced Donald Trump in 2016 but are needed by Democrats in swing House districts.

So 1,000 "white, non-college voters" don't like Ilhan Omar, huh? Well, do they live in Sheboygan? San Diego? Saint Cloud? How many people did the survey include? What else were they asked? Was this prefaced by leading questions like, "Congresswoman Omar, a hijab-wearing Muslim from Somalia who has been highly critical of Israel, supports bringing Venezuelan-style socialism to God's own United States. Does this make you more or less likely to support her party's policies?"

Dunno! Because we didn't get to the see the rest of the poll. And while it's unprofessional for Democratic operatives to run to Axios like a common Trump official and whisper, "AOC needs to STFU about socialism because it's going to kill us in 2020," it's also journalistically crap to publish cherrypicked data points without releasing the larger survey set or even revealing the source of the poll. According to Axios, the pollster "shared the results with Axios on the condition that it not be named, because the group has to work with all parts of the party." Which is how you know they're totally legit!

P-hacking, or data-dredging, is the process of generating garbage stats by finding a blip in a larger data set and then blacking out everything but the blip. If you see a "study" that says something like, "Women between the ages of 29 and 41 who eat feta cheese twice a month are half as likely to report shin splints after running a mile," it's probably junk data, culled from a larger survey set to generate headlines. And without seeing the underlying info in the Axios survey, we have no way of knowing if it's a push poll, if the data has been manipulated somehow, or if the wider electorate was more likely to elect a party with young, outspoken progressives at the helm.

Although, the survey's finding that 32 percent of those "white, non-college voters" found capitalism "unfavorable" and 18 percent viewed socialism "favorably" might be interesting. Or it might not, because it might be garbage data. We have no way of knowing. We do know that "non-college-educated whites" is not a demographic that's voted for a Democratic president in decades, so WHAT IS EVEN YOUR POINT?

And we know that, after a bruising 2016 Democratic primary, Russian ratfuckers helped Trump get elected by flooding social media with propaganda to pit Democrats against each other. Beating the shit out of each other on social media is not helping. So, can we keep our eyes on the ball here, please? Particularly when Trump is waging a racist attack on "The Squad" of brown women in a naked effort to make them the hated face of the Democratic Party.



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Liz Dye

Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.


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