What if it has something to do with the alternatives?

What if those Democrats are currently prioritizing electability because they're playing defense against something they perceive to be truly unacceptable? Negative partisanship has been increasing moderately over the last 3 decades, but I think the number of us political scientists saying "umm, the GOP is something different" since 2016 should be taken into account. The Democrats might just be really terrified of the alternative.

While I think there's something to this, I can't think of a good way of testing it historically. So, I'm very cautious about drawing this conclusion, because it leaves me with a "how do you explain anything before 2014" problem.

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Good analysis. Maybe also it has something to do with the fact that the status quo generally favors the left: bigger budgets, more regulation, socially progressive. Moderate Republicans have proven to not have the reserve to stand up to the Big Government project, or much of anything that happens in Washington. A vote for a moderate Republican is basically a vote for the Leftist agenda.

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