Two reporters switch jobs and learn a lot about both parties. graph via Vox.com

Two reporters switch jobs and learn a lot about both parties.
graph via Washington Post

SO, TWO MSNBC reporters, Benjy Sarlin, covering the Republican drama, and Alex Seitz-Wald, reporting on the Democrats, switched jobs. What was the difference they saw in covering the other side.

One snippet from MSNBC (h/t Ezra Klein)

What stood out most talking to voters?

Benjy: I was caught off guard by how specific and personal Democratic voters’ issues tended to be. One woman told me she had lost a job because she had to take care of a sick relative and wanted paid family leave. Another woman told me her insurance stopped covering a certain medication that had grown too expensive and she liked how Clinton and Sanders talked about lowering drug prices. One man told me his wages were stagnant at his hotel job and he was looking for policies to increase them.

“We’re talking about bread-and-butter issues,” Phyllis Thede, an Iowa state representative backing Clinton, told me when I asked about her constituents’ top concerns.

By contrast, Republican voters tend to be excited by more abstract issues: One of the most common answers I get from Cruz voters when I ask about their leading concern is “the Constitution.” There are fewer “I have a specific problem in my own life, and I’d like the government to do x about it” responses.

Klein points to research that bears out the same findings.

So what explains the reported (alleged) “20% of Democrats” who would vote for Donald Trump?

The crossover vote reported by the surveying firm, Mercury Analytics, works both ways. In their estimation, 14 percent of Republicans go for Hillary Clinton. [Washington Post]

There are always fickle voters in presidential elections cycles because every four years people come out who don’t vote any other time. They’re usually looking for a personality, someone they feel a connection with even if their issues don’t align. They can also be protest votes.

Activists on both sides require feeding from their candidates. They’re in a separate category. Partisans also have very strong demands, which we’ve seen in action.

Politicians need an emotional connection to be truly successful, and it’s a lot easier to get your hooks in a once-every-four-years voter if the only thing they want you to do is channel their rage.

Republicans voting for Clinton? Protest, baby.