PPACA and PVI

The Cook Political Report Partisan Voter Index is an attempt to categorize how much more red or blue a state is compared to a national average.  It works by taking the average national two party vote share of the past two elections and calling that the zero index value.  States with vote shares for the Democrats that are above that index value are considered to have a D+x PVI.  States that vote more Republican than the index value are considered to have an R+x PVI.  It is very closely related to the hypothetical uniform swing.

It is a decent indicator of partisan lean of a state although it lags on fast changes (The eastern mountain states probably have an actual PVI above the reported PVI).

I want to point out some of the states whose Senators voted for PPACA and what their 2010 PVI was as a public service announcement:

Alaska R+13

Nebraska R+13,

North Dakota R+10 *

North Dakota R+10

Louisiana R+10

Arkansas R+9

Arkansas R+9

South Dakota R+9,

West Virginia R+8

West Virginia R+8 *

Only two of those seats are still held by Democrats.  None of those seats are on the top tier of the Democratic target list for 2016.

These ten seats were a minimal majority blocking coalition.  Another 8 Democrats were sitting in Republican leaning seats and plus the asshat Lieberman as a massive opportunity cost in Connecticut.  That is 19 Democrats in the Senate including any plausible majority combination where fulfilling major liberal policy goals was either personally distasteful (at least 1) or  politically challenging giving their home turf.  The actual policy space was severely constrained.






78 replies
  1. 1
    Mike J says:

    Arkansas and the rest of Appalachia

    Arkansas is several hundred miles from the Appalachians.

  2. 2

    @Mike J: My bad, I was going off my memory of the ARC maps, and the nearest counties in the ARC are in Northern Mississippi… so let me rephrase it

  3. 3
    Sherparick says:

    Also, it is very hard for me to imagine any Democratic senator from Connecticut voting to put a major part of the insurance industry in Hartford out of business with a single payor plan (although as Annie Lowery’s article in N.Y. magazine points out, a lot of those jobs have been outsourced).

  4. 4
    catclub says:

    The actual policy space was severely constrained

    You are telling us something that most of us know, and that those who deny will continue to deny.

    It reminds me of Ritholtz explaining in depth that neither the Community Reinvestment Act, Nor Fannie and Freddie,
    were the primary causes of the housing/CDO bubble collapse.

    The same people who disagree will continue to disagree in spite of all evidence. They will also return after a while and claim the same thing that was refuted in a previous post.

  5. 5
    Bobby Thomson says:

    The problem was that Obama was elected normally. If he had been elected through a revolution and people power the Senate wouldn’t have mattered.

  6. 6
    FlipYrWhig says:

    Lieberman might be sui generis, but throw into the mix Evan Bayh. Plus Jim Webb. Plus Bill Nelson. Plus Tom Carper. Plus Mark Warner. Plus Arlen Specter (right?). They might be from slightly friendlier D territory than the highlighted states, but we also know that their leanings are to the right side of the Democratic spectrum.

    ETA: Whoops, some of these are probably covered by your “another 8 seats.”

  7. 7
    Dan says:

    b-b-but bully pulpit! Sellout! Sputter!

  8. 8
    WarMunchkin says:

    @catclub @Dan @Bobby Thomson: This site is quite literally the only place I’ve seen that seems to think that Sanders supporters are Green Lanternists. I wish to be educated by my progressive betters.

  9. 9
    BGinCHI says:

    @WarMunchkin: Reading Krugman’s blog posts on BS’s healthcare plan, etc., is not a bad idea.

  10. 10
    catclub says:

    @Mike J: The Ozark mountains are one of the few mountain chains in the Western Hemisphere that run predominantly east-west rather than north-south.

  11. 11
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @WarMunchkin: not all of them are Green Lsnternists. Some are paid Republican AstroTurf. And some accept that he’s a protest candidate.

  12. 12
    Mike J says:

    @WarMunchkin: He’s very pragmatic when it comes to addressing the concerns of black people though.

  13. 13
    Baud says:

    @Bobby Thomson:

    I wouldn’t think Sanders could win a general election in a normal year, but with the Trump/Cruz show on the other side, this year is harder to predict. But…

    If the nominees are Sanders and Trump or Cruz, I wonder if some rich guy like Bloomberg would run as an independent and have a shot. Sanders would be vilified by the media and we all know about Trump’s and Cruz’s issues. I could see it. Bloomberg has made noises before, and the Village would piss on themselves with glee.

  14. 14
    catclub says:

    @WarMunchkin: So that is why Richard brought this up.

  15. 15
    catclub says:

    @Baud:

    If the nominees are Sanders and Trump or Cruz

    … we are through the looking glass here, people.

  16. 16
    Baud says:

    @catclub:

    On this blog? Inconceivable.

  17. 17
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @Baud: that would elect Trump.

  18. 18
    Germy says:

    Bloomberg has apparently been making inquiries about a presidential run.

  19. 19
    cmorenc says:

    @Baud:

    If the nominees are Sanders and Trump or Cruz, I wonder if some rich guy like Bloomberg would run as an independent and have a shot.

    The most likely outcome of such a run by an independent “savior” would be what happened in the 2000 Presidential election, or more recently (twice) in the Maine Governor’s race. The end result will be destructively counterproductive to what the independent “savior” was supposedly accomplishing. True, this perverse result is due to the design of the current US electoral system geared to the two entrenched establishment parties, and could be fixed by switching to an “instant runoff” type system where a first-preference vote for e.g. Bloomberg wouldn’t risk such disastrously counterproductive results.

  20. 20
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @WarMunchkin: less flippantly, my response to the “do you want us all to just give up” argument is that we are fighting a rear guard action until we can replace one of the five justices on the majority in Citizens United. Otherwise people can rail all they want about the influence of money in politics and it won’t matter.

  21. 21
    Baud says:

    @Bobby Thomson:
    @cmorenc:

    It might elect Trump, but I don’t think it would be like 2000. Nader didn’t get a huge showing, but the election was close enough for him to make a difference. I can see a Bloomberg getting a showing at least as much as Ross Perot in 1992.

  22. 22
    oldster says:

    So is this another way of making the point of your post?

    Passing Obamacare required 10 Dem senators to vote far, far to the left of what was politically safe in their states–off into political suicide territory. Eight of those ten paid with their senate seats.

    All ten knew that they were being asked to play Russian Roulette with many chambers loaded. Only 2 of 10 got lucky.

    Thinking that Obama could have passed something even further to the left is as stupid as thinking that they would have played Russian Roulette with a guillotine.

  23. 23
    oldster says:

    cannot imagine what got me into moderation, but there I am.

  24. 24
    Baud says:

    @Germy: If he wants it, it’s probably his best year to try.

  25. 25
    BGinCHI says:

    @Baud: What if Bloomberg decided to run as an R? Too late to get on ballots, I suppose.

    Irony is he could never win in the R primaries.

    Tiny violin.

  26. 26
    Felanius Kootea says:

    @Baud: Really? I only see Bloomberg peeling off moderate Republicans – no way Trump wins. People who aren’t gaga about Bernie are still not going to vote for Bloomberg.

    I am leaning towards Bernie in the primaries because I don’t want Hillary to get too comfortable and I want her to pay attention to why some of his proposals are resonating with young people especially. I’m perfectly happy with Bernie as a candidate in the general because I think people are greatly underestimating him, but I think it is far more likely that the nominee will be Hillary, and I’m happy to vote for her (I honestly believe she is more liberal than Bill and her whupping on healthcare early on made her rethink everything and become more of a centrist).

  27. 27
    Germy says:

    Triumph the Insult Comic has hit the campaign trail.

    In TRIUMPH’S ELECTION SPECIAL 2016, Triumph the Insult Comic Dog hits the 2016 presidential campaign trail. Viewers will be taken from Iowa to New Hampshire to South Carolina in a tenacious news-gathering journey in the heat of the primary election season. Triumph has already visited a Democratic Debate, a Tea Party Convention, and followed a string of Ted Cruz bus appearances. In addition to crashing campaign events and mocking the press for their thirst for controversy, Triumph will take on hard-hitting issues of concern to voters on each side of the spectrum.

    “A quote? I don’t have time for this shit,” said Triumph.

  28. 28
    Baud says:

    @Felanius Kootea: I don’t know how it would play out. I don’t want to underestimate the number of moderate to conservative Democrats out there. They might not vote R, but may feel like Bloomberg is a neutral vote if they are not into Bernie.

  29. 29
    Cacti says:

    @WarMunchkin:

    This site is quite literally the only place I’ve seen that seems to think that Sanders supporters are Green Lanternists. I wish to be educated by my progressive betters.

    Start with Krugman and Ezra Klein’s analyses of the Sanders plan.

  30. 30
    goblue72 says:

    So what precisely is the point of this post?

    Or are we living in some fantasy-land where President Hillary is going to accomplish something amazing with a GOP Congress? If the opposition is going to be the opposition, I’d rather have an occupant in the White House that I am steadfastly sure won’t triangulate to the right.

    And let’s keep in mind that almost the entirety of any accomplishments that President Obama has achieved since the GOP nuts took control of both Houses of Congress in 2014, were not achieved through legislative action but through executive order, rule-making and other tools of the executive office. Which tools will be available to the next President regardless of who it is.

  31. 31
    Germy says:

    More Triumph on the 2016 campaign trail

    “Question for Ted Cruz. Your wife works for Goldman Sachs. We all want to punish Wall Street, but isn’t sharing a bed with you a little extreme?”

  32. 32
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Richard Mayhew: The Ozarks are Western Appalachia.

  33. 33
    Cacti says:

    @goblue72:

    So, is it your position that hypothetical President Sanders can executive order the country into free college, $15/hour minimum wage, and single payer healthcare?

    Or do you mean that he can use the executive powers of the Presidency to make incremental changes at the margins? The sort of thing for which his loyal followers excoriate the current POTUS.

  34. 34
    Mnemosyne says:

    @WarMunchkin:

    I can think of at least two Green Lanternist Bernie supporters who comment prolifically on this very website (not meaning you, obviously). Our view may be distorted because of them.

  35. 35
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @goblue72: Hillary Clinton has a solid chance of winning a general election. Bernie Sanders does not.

  36. 36
    Vhh says:

    @Felanius Kootea:Let’s just hope there are not too many clever folks like you who outsmart themselves and give us Bernie in the general. A 75 year old socialist with unfunded pie in the sky health care ideas and the avowed intent to demolish the finance industry and raise everyone’s taxes leads to Springtime for der Trumpenführer and Winter for women, gays, brown people, and democracy in America.

  37. 37
    Mike J says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    The Ozarks are Western Appalachia.

    In spirit if not geography. I say that as someone with relatives on Crowley’s Ridge.

  38. 38
    Princess says:

    I have been thinking for a while that a Trump vs Sanders match would inspire a run by Bloomberg or someone like him. And I think the Bloomberg candidate would have an excellent chance, no worse than the other two, peeling off both Democrats and Republicans from their party nominee.

    I don’t welcome that, which is another reason I am leaning Hillary.

  39. 39
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @WarMunchkin: and if you don’t think they are, check out the comments on any Facebook post. They say things like “things are different now because sellouts like Max Baucus are gone.”

  40. 40
    Mnemosyne says:

    Also, too, as a general comment to the crowd, if as a presidential candidate you’re going to propose that we switch to a single-payer system, you kind of have to explain exactly how you plan to get that shit through Congress and not handwave that whole process away.

    And to re-emphasize: there is NO COUNTRY ON EARTH that has switched from a for-profit system to a single-payer system in one step. Not one. They all had to go through a series of incremental steps. It really seems like a weird manifestation of American Exceptionalism when people insist that we can make the switch in one step if we just really, really want to. I would like to see what Sanders’s proposed steps are between for-profit and single payer.

  41. 41
    dr. luba says:

    I just shared the immortal TBogg Mumia Sweatshirt post with a stranger on FB who won’t vote unless Bernie gets the nod. NeoNaderites.

  42. 42
    Brachiator says:

    @Baud:

    I can see a Bloomberg getting a showing at least as much as Ross Perot in 1992.

    Bloomberg does not have as much of a national presence as people think. I can’t see him mounting a credible campaign. Or if he could, it would only help Trump.

    If Cruz were the GOP nominee, he could resurrect all the New York values crap against Bloomberg.

    And Bloomberg v Trump. The All Plutocrat Election.

  43. 43
    pamelabrown53 says:

    @catclub:
    We would be looking through the glass darkly: it would be the left white man vs. the right white man antidisenstablishmentarism.! Oh, and FU Planned Parenthood.

  44. 44
    Baud says:

    @Brachiator:

    Bloomberg does not have as much of a national presence as people think.

    He’s got cash, a media shop, and it’s hard to believe that the Village won’t promote him.

  45. 45
    chopper says:

    @Cacti:

    you’re forgetting about the power of the bully pulpit, as usual.

  46. 46
    Mike J says:

    @Bobby Thomson:

    They say things like “things are different now because sellouts like Max Baucus are gone.”

    And they’re right, sort of. The senate is actually worse with reliable Republicans instead of unreliable Democrats.

  47. 47
    Cacti says:

    @chopper:

    you’re forgetting about the power of the bully pulpit, as usual.

    Are we talking about the bully pulpit where President Sanders fires his machine gun in the air in response to Congressional objections, a la President Camacho?

  48. 48
    daveNYC says:

    @Mnemosyne: I love how people keep saying that Sanders needs to explain how he’d manage to get his legislation through Congress. As if there is just some assumption that if Hillary wins the Republican House won’t still be the same bunch of obstructionist gits they’ve been for the past six years.

    Yeah, Sanders has some pie in the sky wishlisting going on that won’t get passed. Guess what, Hillary’s far more pragmatic and realistic ideas ain’t getting passed either. The only area where the President is going to have a relative free hand is foreign policy. Everything else is going to be executive orders and tweaking the focus of the various regulatory agencies as best one can. And as far as all of that goes, I’d prefer Sanders pushing the envelope on the domestic front and holding back on the military action over Hillary likely doing the opposite.

  49. 49
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Baud: I don’t know how popular Bloomberg was at the end, but he had three (no? changed the rules for himself, didn’t he?) terms as mayor of a city with a larger population than a lot of states. I could imagine, not predict, him winning New York, NJ and CT in a three way race, and making things confusing in Illinois, Florida, even California (Gov Terminator, two terms)– MA? MN? PA?. Though I agree with@Brachiator: that he’s not a great candidate. I remember when he announced one of his gun safety campaigns, one of the worst uses of “I” instead of “we” I’ve ever seen.

  50. 50
    catclub says:

    @Mnemosyne: Have you read my plan. Medicare eligibility age goes down
    one year, every year. Also, all newborns are enrolled, and their families have the option to enroll.
    About 20 years and then it just takes over.

    How to pay is still being determined. Expanded medicare payroll tax?

  51. 51
    Cacti says:

    @catclub:

    Have you read my plan. Medicare eligibility age goes down
    one year, every year. Also, all newborns are enrolled, and their families have the option to enroll.
    About 20 years and then it just takes over.

    That sounds like a realistic timeframe for the size of the project.

    Anything less than 10-years for implementation would be hopelessly optimistic.

  52. 52
    Baud says:

    @daveNYC:

    I love how people keep saying that Sanders needs to explain how he’d manage to get his legislation through Congress.

    It’s a natural reaction to extraordinary promises. More incremental changes are easier to envision, particularly if we can take back the Senate.

  53. 53
    Brachiator says:

    @Baud:

    He’s got cash, a media shop, and it’s hard to believe that the Village won’t promote him.

    The Village is a lot more feeble than Balloon Juicers imagine. And if cash supporting a candidate was all that effective, Jeb! would be heir presumptive right now.

  54. 54
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @daveNYC: one candidate is actually trying to get a Democratic congress elected. The other is backed predominantly by people who couldn’t be bothered to vote in 2010 and 2014. In all candor, fuck them.

  55. 55
    catclub says:

    @daveNYC: The near certainty of a GOP House, even with a small Democratic landslide, is left unsaid by both sides. It is a downer that almost no one wants to talk about.

    It does not help the crazy GOP candidates, either, since if they say:

    “Even if I am not elected, Hillary will not be able to do anything,”

    it takes away their:

    “The world is on fire, we must do something NOW,” urgency.

  56. 56
    Chyron HR says:

    @daveNYC:

    It’s so unfair that the candidate promising to lead a revolution that will cure all of society’s ills is the only one being asked for details about his revolution that will cure all of society’s ills. :c

  57. 57
    Baud says:

    @Brachiator: Maybe. It’s all speculation at this point.

  58. 58
    shomi says:

    @BGinCHI: Lol….Apparently you didn’t read the part where Krugmans says it’s not realistic to ever see any of Bernies ideas actually…you know…happen. At least not in the next 20 years or so. Ties in with the fact he could never win a general election.

    Thanks for the laugh though. Haven’t been to berniesanders.com…otherwise known as dailykos today so haven’t had my daily Bernie laugh yet.

  59. 59

    @Bobby Thomson: Yep, they are very different that the sell-outs like Baucus are gone; Mitch McConnell is the Majority Leader

  60. 60
    Peale says:

    @WarMunchkin: We aren’t your progressive betters. We’re just better than progressives.

  61. 61
    gene108 says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    It really seems like a weird manifestation of American Exceptionalism when people insist that we can make the switch in one step if we just really, really want to.

    For some people on the Left, destroying for-profit health insurance is the goal of healthcare reform. If everyone gets access to affordable healthcare, well that’s just a good side effect.

    EDIT: Therefore the one-step solution will be sufficient, as private for-profit health insurance will be destroyed.

    I remember reading those nutjobs posts on DKos, when the public option was up for debate.

    Universal healthcare does not have to equal single payer.

    You can have a single-payer system, which is so exclusionary on who qualifies you will not get anywhere near universal healthcare coverage. The USA managed to do this in 1965, with the passage of Medicare.

    I just don’t get the obsession on the Left with single-payer.

  62. 62
    WereBear says:

    I see campaign promises as a negotiating tactic. Of course you’ve got to start out asking for the moon!

    It may be the art of the possible, but campaigning is the dream of the heart.

  63. 63
    gene108 says:

    @daveNYC:

    As if there is just some assumption that if Hillary wins the Republican House won’t still be the same bunch of obstructionist gits they’ve been for the past six years.

    Yeah, Sanders has some pie in the sky wishlisting going on that won’t get passed. Guess what, Hillary’s far more pragmatic and realistic ideas ain’t getting passed either.

    Hillary is not proposing radical changes to what was passed in 2009-2010.

    She’s not talking about ripping up Dodd-Frank and creating a new regulatory regime for Wall Street.

    She’s not talking about ripping apart Obamacare and creating a new healthcare payment system.

    She’s not talking about funding a new pot of money to be paid to the states, so college tuition is free for everyone.

    The chances she could get interest rates for student loan debts, as well as refinancing student loan debts. passed, when say a budget bill is up for renewal, is not impossible.

  64. 64
    gene108 says:

    @Bobby Thomson:

    They say things like “things are different now because sellouts like Max Baucus are gone.

    I will forever and till the end of time wonder one big bigwhat if, with regards to health care reform: What if Ted Kennedy wasn’t out of it with brain cancer and could’ve spearheaded healthcare reform in the Senate, instead of having Baucus step-up and stall things to the point that the whole push to pass healthcare reform nearly died.

  65. 65
    Brachiator says:

    @Baud:

    Maybe. It’s all speculation at this point.

    Some speculation has a low probability.

    One other thing about Bloomberg. Historically, mayors of New York tend to fizzle out when they try for the presidency. Just one of those weird things.

    But you still have my vote.

  66. 66
    Mnemosyne says:

    @daveNYC:

    Other people beat me to it but, yeah, when one person is touting a continuation of our incremental progress and the other one says he’s going to bring on the revolution, it’s the second guy who needs to show his work, because we already know what incremental progress looks like.

  67. 67

    @WereBear: But if your moon shot is so far outside the zone of the possible agreement that the other party or parties think you’re a non-credible partner, the negotiation shuts down.

  68. 68
    Soylent Green says:

    The only area where the President is going to have a relative free hand is foreign policy. Everything else is going to be executive orders and tweaking the focus of the various regulatory agencies as best one can.

    I don’t think Hillary is going to direct the FBI to join hands and sing kumbaya the next time a band of armed insurrectionists takes over a government facility.

  69. 69

    @gene108: It would have helped a little bit but not by much in my opinion.

    Kennedy would have a lot of moral suasion to move votes a little more liberally, but the fundamental problem for PPACA was threefold.

    a) The Senate Republicans were filibustering and/or threatening to filibuster post office naming bills to deny the Dems a victory.

    b) The Dems had 60 somewhat reliable votes for a short time frame, in this counterfactual it would have been about 17 months (really 8-10 months as Red state Dems run like hell to distance themselves from the liberals)

    c) From A and B every Dem Senator was a marginally decisive vote so everyone had to be brought on board — that means 19 Dems who are either hippy punchers for fun or electoral survival had to be brought on board.

    The best case scenario would have been to get a bill out of the Senate before the August recess and minimize the blowback of the town halls. However, the Senate bill was being held obstentibly in an attempt to bring non-reactionary Republicans on board, but also to convince Baucus and other Red State dems that the GOP was not willing to take Yes for an answer.

    So maybe a few things would have been ironed out earlier for either better implementation or more liberal ends, but the structure of the problem was the same.

    And even with Kennedy still being alive and running 10Ks today, running the debate on PPACA into Spring 2010 increases the probability it dies in the House as well as the Senate.

  70. 70
    MomSense says:

    @gene108:

    He did shepherd it through the Senate HELP committee but he wasn’t on the Finance Committee so it was always going to be Baucus.

  71. 71
    NobodySpecial says:

    Although I’ll be voting for her in the primary, I’d love for all these people who love their hippie punching on BJ over unrealistic explanations to tell me exactly how Clinton will incrementally move health care forward. Claiming that she can hold the status quo, sorta, through vetoes doesn’t exactly fill anyone with confidence that she’ll be any better at vetoing things than Sanders would be.

  72. 72
    Felanius Kootea says:

    @Vhh: I live in California. Hillary will win the primary.

  73. 73
    Felanius Kootea says:

    @daveNYC: I think people are hoping that Hillary’s coattails will be longer than Bernie’s but I don’t see how the Dems win back the house until 2018 or 2020.

  74. 74
    Vhh says:

    @daveNYC: I don’t think nice Uncle Bernie stands a chance of election after Team Trump turns him into a 75 year old Commie coming for your money. Hillary at least could win if people in the left stop kidding themselves. And there would then be a chance of not going backwards with the GOP.

  75. 75
    Vhh says:

    @Felanius Kootea: Mark Shields pointed out that no Dem has ever won nomination without winning at least one of the Iowa or NH primaries. A worry

  76. 76
    Mike J says:

    @Vhh: Bill Clinton didn’t win either of those.

  77. 77
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @NobodySpecial: Claiming that she can hold the status quo, sorta, through vetoes doesn’t exactly fill anyone with confidence that she’ll be any better at vetoing things than Sanders would be.

    What she’ll be better at is getting hold of the veto pen. I’m sorry if that makes those who, by age or by choice, have no sense of the last twenty years of American politics feel “punched”, but hey, at least they get to pretend to be “hippies”

  78. 78

    […] (since Bernie had no real plan at the time Chelsea made her remarks), and they could have also made Richard’s good argument that single payer is a waste of time in the current or any near-term future Congress. And, after […]

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