Monday, February 24, 2020

Democratic candidates from left to center for the 2020 primaries

I concluded Bye-bye Booker as Cory climbs down from his campaign by noting that I've been delaying on making good on a promise I had made late last year.
I had one final comment on Booker's ideological scores at On The Issues at the end of Kamala Harris heading home came as a complete surprise.
While I'm retiring this chart because Harris has dropped out, I would have had to been retired even if she were still running.  First, Harris left the campaign with a more moderate social score of 73, which, combined with her economic score of 10 places her closer to Amy Klobuchar than Joe Biden.  Harris ended her run as the fourth most liberal member of the field according to On The Issues.  Second, Biden himself has become more moderate with an economic score of 15 and a social score of 80.  The two no longer share the same point on the Nolan Grid.  Time to make a new graph for Biden, Cory Booker, Julian Castro, Tom Steyer, and Andrew Yang, who now share a spot.
That prompted me to ask "Now, do I hurry to make new memes for all the remaining candidates for tomorrow's entry, or wait until Booker drops out?  Decisions, decisions" at the end of Julian jumps from the plane as Castro campaign crashes.  By not making the memes before Booker dropped out, I made my decision through inaction.  I guess I have no excuse now.
Now that there are only eight major Democratic candidates after Andrew Yang, Michael Bennet, and Deval Patrick all dropped out, I think it's time to fulfill that promise, as I told my readers yesterday in John Lewis earns Chairman's Award plus movie and TV winners about politics and government at the 2020 NAACP Image Awards.

I begin by being a good environmentalist and recycling to explain my methodology.
[I] rank[ed] the candidates by economic score from low (left) to high (right, or in this case center) to make it comparable to the liberal-moderate (there are no true conservatives running for the Democratic nomination) ranking I used last [month and again earlier this month] which was based on the economic dimension [of Voteview's DW-Nominate scores].  I then used the social score to break ties in the economic score with high scores being considered more liberal and low scores being considered more conservative.
For the four remaining candidates who are sitting members of Congress, I'm also recycling my methodology for their Voteview scores.
Voteview allows users to view every congressional roll call vote in American history on a map of the United States and on a liberal-conservative ideological map including information about the ideological positions of voting Senators and Representatives.
Ideological positions are calculated using the DW-NOMINATE (Dynamic Weighted NOMINAl Three-step Estimation). This procedure was developed by Poole and Rosenthal in the 1980s and is a "scaling procedure", representing legislators on a spatial map. In this sense, a spatial map is much like a road map--the closeness of two legislators on the map shows how similar their voting records are. Using this measure of distance, DW-NOMINATE is able to recover the "dimensions" that inform congressional voting behavior.

The primary dimension through most of American history has been "liberal" vs. "conservative" (also referred to as "left" vs. "right"). A second dimension picks up differences within the major political parties over slavery, currency, nativism, civil rights, and lifestyle issues during periods of American history.
...the scores of liberals are all negative and the more liberal they are, the more negative the scores, so the most liberal candidate will have the lowest or most negative score.
I last updated both the the Vote Match scores from On The Issues and first dimension DW-NOMINATE scores from Voteview in August, so it's been half a year.  Follow over the jump to see how the remaining candidates rate from left to center.

Bernie Sanders has remained at the point on the Nolan Grid he occupied in August, an economic score of 3 and a social score of 98.  That means that Sanders retains his position as the most liberal according to On The Issues.  According to Voteview, Sanders has become ever so slightly more liberal, moving from -0.526 to -0.527 over the past six months.  Because both Booker and Harris have dropped out, while he is still the fourth most liberal member of the current Senate, but now the second most liberal candidate running according to Voteview.

Elizabeth Warren has moved to the left economically since August, when her economic score was 10.  It's now 5, so she has moved 5 points to the left.  Her social score has remained at 88 since July, so she is now the second most liberal candidate according to On The Issues, thanks to a whole bunch of candidates dropping out over the past six months.  On the other hand, her Voteview score has migrated ever so slightly to the center from -0.769 in August to -0.767 now, but she is still the most liberal member of Congress and the most liberal candidate running according to Voteview, remaining to the left of Sanders according to this measure.

Amy Klobuchar had an economic score of 8 and a social score of 65 in August.  She has become slightly more moderate economically with a current score of 10, returning her to where she was in June and July.  On the other hand, she has become more liberal socially, moving 5 points to the left to 70.  Even after moving to the center economically, she managed to rank as the third most liberal candidate according to On The Issues, thanks to a whole raft of candidates dropping out and another, Joe Biden, moving to the center during the past six months.

Amy Klobuchar continues to move to the left according to Voteview.  Her Voteview score was -0.265 in July, which placed her as more conservative than 70% of Demcrats currently serving in the Senate then.  it was -0.269 in August, which was more conservative than 68% of Democrats in the current Senate.  Now, it's -0.276, which is more conservative than 67% of Democrats in the current Senate.  Once again, Klobuchar earned the largest score change to the left of any of the candidates.  Even so, she is still the most moderate current member of Congress running according to Voteview, although not by very much.

After evolving socially through the Summer, Joe Biden has found a comfortable social position for himself, as his social score has remained at 80 for the past six months.  On the other hand, his economic score shows that he has moved to the middle from 10 all summer to 15, where he had moved by November.  Even though he moved to his right, because of dropouts, Biden has returned to being the fourth most liberal candidate, where he was in June.

While Klobuchar has shown the most movement to the left according to Voteview, Tom Steyer has exhibited the most movement to the left according to On The Issues.  He went from scores of 38 economic and 60 social to 30 economic and 73 social in July to an economic score of 23 and a social score of 73 in August.  When I checked in November, his economic score had decreased to 20 while his social score had increased to 75.  Now, Steyer has an economic score of 18 and a social score of 83, placing him as the fifth most liberal candidate still in the contest and, rounding to the nearest multiples of 10, in the same general ideological location as Biden, although still being 3 points more moderate economically, placing him as the fifth most liberal.

When I first looked at Michael Bloomberg's ideological scores in November's Deval Patrick and Michael Bloomberg at On The Issues, On The Issues considered him to be a Libertarian-Leaning Progressive with an economic score of 33 and a social score of 78.  He has become more liberal since, with current scores of 30 and 80, a total of 5 points in the liberal direction.  Between his moving left and Pete Buttigieg continuing to move to the right, Bloomberg is no longer the second most moderate candidate in the race.  Just the same, On The Issues still rates him as a Libertarian-Leaning Progressive.

When I wrote above that "Pete Buttigieg [is] continuing to move to the right," I wasn't kidding.  While he hasn't shifted to the center as dramatically as he did between July and August, when his economic score increased 10 points and social score decreased 8 points to 28 and 70, respectively, he did drift to the right economically.  His economic score is now 30, 3 points lower and the same as Bloomberg's.  That his social score has returned to 73 doesn't matter, as it's still not to the left of Bloomberg.  Mayor Pete loses the tiebreaker, making him the second most moderate candidate still running.  On The Issues still considers him to be a Moderate Liberal.

Once again, Tulsi Gabbard is the most conservative candidate running for the Democratic nomination, at least according to On The Issues.  This is despite her economic score returing to 33 from 35, the highest of any candidate in the contest, while her social score remained at 85, making her both the most libertarian and most conservative candidate running among the Democrats.  Meanwhile, her Voteview score remained unchanged at -0.279.  Because the House Democratic Caucus has moved to her left, she is now more conservative than 79% of Democrats in the current House.  In August, her score made her more conservative than 78% of Democrats in the 116th House while in June, she was more conservative than 77%.  Her fellow Democrats are leaving her behind, in more ways than one.

There, promise fulfilled and procrastination over.  I feel better about myself.  I hope my readers think and feel they are better informed about the candidates as well.

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