Doing the Hamlet Act

In true Remnant fashion, Jonah speaks to Seth Masket – a political scientist at the University of Denver – in an attempt to understand why so few people in American life actually get what they want out of their vote. In Seth’s new book, Learning from Loss, he traces the Democratic Party’s inability to come up with a coherent “autopsy” post-2016 as Republicans did post-2012 (which is not to say that the GOP actually followed its own advice; we wouldn’t have Trump if it did). There’s some debate punditry at the beginning, before Seth and Jonah swiftly move into the explanations that Democratic organizers and activists have developed for why Clinton lost to Trump. The primary explanations often focus on a contentious topic: identity politics. As Seth says, “Doing this research helped to remind me that all identity claims are essentially a construction,” but for something so artificial, they have a very outsized effect on our politics. While Seth and Jonah effectively take opposite sides on this issue, they generate much more light than heat, while also arriving at an answer to the fundamentally important question in 2020: For a party so concerned with diversity, how is it that the Dems ended up nominating a septuagenarian white guy?

Show Notes:

The Dispatch30-day trial at

Learning from Loss: The Democrats, 2016-2020Seth’s new book,

White liberals have moved farther to the left

Overdetermined phenomena

Weather’s effect on elections

The RNC’s 2012 “autopsy”

The invisible primary

The Party Decides

White Identity PoliticsAshley Jardina’s

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