Monday, June 24, 2019

Joe Sestak at Voteview and On The Issues

As if there weren't enough candidates in the contest, Newsy reported yesterday Joe Sestak enters Democratic Primary Race.

The former Pennsylvania congressman served in the Navy for 31 years.
Actually, including either Mike Gravel or Wayne Messam, one or the other of whom gets ignored, there are now 25 candidates, not 24.  That makes the field even more crowded.

Now that Sestak has announced, it's time to see where he fits with the other candidates ideologically, both at Voteview since he's a former U.S. Representative and at OnTheIssues.orgVoteview lists Sestak's first-dimension DW-Nominate score as -0.271, which was more conservative than 77% of Democrats in the 111th House.  It also places him to the right of John Delaney, whose ideology score of -0.276 had made him the most moderate (conservative) former member of the House of Representatives running this year.  No longer.  However, Sestak is still more liberal than either Amy Klobuchar, who had an ideological score of -0.253 at the start of June, but has moved slightly to her left since with a score of -0.265, and Michael Bennet, who had an ideological score of -0.209 at the start of the month and has also moved slightly to his left to -0.211.*

While Voteview shows Sestak to be a moderate, On The Issues classifies Sestak as a Hard-Core Liberal with an economic score of 8 and a social score of 88.  That portrays him as the second most economically liberal candidate next to Bernie Sanders with an economic score of 3 and to the left of Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Joe Biden, and Amy Klobuchar.  His social score ties him with Beto O'Rourke, which means he also has the second highest social score, ranking him under only Sanders and Mike Gravel.

There is as much of a mismatch between On The Issue's rating of Sestak and Voteview's scoring of his votes as there is between Klobuchar's or Cory Booker's scores.  This time, I don't think it's the passage of time.  Most of the data at On The Issues comes from Sestak's time in Congress, so it's not the result of him moving to the left.  Instead, I think it's the topics selected for assessment at Voteview, which probably highlight differences between the parties, as well as their likely non-independence from each other.  That I suspect the people choosing the questions and scoring the answers have a Libertarian slant doesn't help.  Just the same, it's still the only data that ranks just about all the candidates (Wayne Messam's page is still unscored) until I get the fundraising data next month.  Stay tuned.

*Klobuchar moved farther to her left mostly by voting against confirming a bunch of nominees, mostly judges, and a defense construction bill.  Voteview apparently scored these votes as making her more liberal economically, even if they don't seem to be explictly about economics.

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