Why do progressive candidates seem to better in inelastic districts?

Politics Asked on December 18, 2020

I have noticed a phonomenon where progressives typically win in urban, heavily Democratic, and inelastic districts.

An example of this manifesting itself could be Alex Morse losing a primary in one of the most elastic districts while Jamaal Bowman won his in an inelastic district.

Why is this? Is it because geographically small districts are inelastic? (They are.) Is it because swing voters don’t like progressives or value incumbency more? Something else?

One Answer

Progressive candidates tend to win mostly in safe left leaning districts because voters in those districts are more progressive themselves, and because the conventional wisdom among political party operatives is that moderate candidates have a better chance of winning a swing district than progressive candidates.

Safe left leaning districts tend to also be "inelastic" because a shift in political sentiment from far left to moderate left, for example, doesn't influence candidate preference much for most of these voters.

Correct answer by ohwilleke on December 18, 2020

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