Digby's Hullabaloo
2801 Ocean Park Blvd.
Box 157
Santa Monica, Ca 90405

Facebook: Digby Parton

@BloggersRUs (Tom Sullivan)

thedigbyblog at gmail
satniteflix at gmail
publius.gaius at gmail
tpostsully at gmail
Spockosbrain at gmail
Richardein at me.com


Mother Jones
Raw Story
Huffington Post
Crooks and Liars
American Prospect
New Republic

Denofcinema.com: Saturday Night at the Movies by Dennis Hartley review archive

January 2003 February 2003 March 2003 April 2003 May 2003 June 2003 July 2003 August 2003 September 2003 October 2003 November 2003 December 2003 January 2004 February 2004 March 2004 April 2004 May 2004 June 2004 July 2004 August 2004 September 2004 October 2004 November 2004 December 2004 January 2005 February 2005 March 2005 April 2005 May 2005 June 2005 July 2005 August 2005 September 2005 October 2005 November 2005 December 2005 January 2006 February 2006 March 2006 April 2006 May 2006 June 2006 July 2006 August 2006 September 2006 October 2006 November 2006 December 2006 January 2007 February 2007 March 2007 April 2007 May 2007 June 2007 July 2007 August 2007 September 2007 October 2007 November 2007 December 2007 January 2008 February 2008 March 2008 April 2008 May 2008 June 2008 July 2008 August 2008 September 2008 October 2008 November 2008 December 2008 January 2009 February 2009 March 2009 April 2009 May 2009 June 2009 July 2009 August 2009 September 2009 October 2009 November 2009 December 2009 January 2010 February 2010 March 2010 April 2010 May 2010 June 2010 July 2010 August 2010 September 2010 October 2010 November 2010 December 2010 January 2011 February 2011 March 2011 April 2011 May 2011 June 2011 July 2011 August 2011 September 2011 October 2011 November 2011 December 2011 January 2012 February 2012 March 2012 April 2012 May 2012 June 2012 July 2012 August 2012 September 2012 October 2012 November 2012 December 2012 January 2013 February 2013 March 2013 April 2013 May 2013 June 2013 July 2013 August 2013 September 2013 October 2013 November 2013 December 2013 January 2014 February 2014 March 2014 April 2014 May 2014 June 2014 July 2014 August 2014 September 2014 October 2014 November 2014 December 2014 January 2015 February 2015 March 2015 April 2015 May 2015 June 2015 July 2015 August 2015 September 2015 October 2015 November 2015 December 2015 January 2016 February 2016 March 2016 April 2016 May 2016 June 2016 July 2016 August 2016 September 2016 October 2016 November 2016 December 2016 January 2017 February 2017 March 2017 April 2017 May 2017 June 2017 July 2017 August 2017 September 2017 October 2017 November 2017 December 2017 January 2018 February 2018 March 2018 April 2018 May 2018 June 2018 July 2018


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?


Friday, August 12, 2016

No Trump's not destroying the Democratic Party

by digby

I wrote about the ongoing pundit obsession with the votes of white men for Salon:

Ever since Ronald Reagan enticed many traditionally Democratic white working class voters over to the Republican Party political observers have been intensely interested in what makes this particular faction tick. Indeed, one might even call it an obsession.

There have been different ways of looking at this group over the years. The so-called Reagan Democrats were studied like a lost Amazonian tribe for decades, most famously by Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg who focused on one county in Michigan and found that these voters believed the Democratic party didn't care about their needs and instead were working on behalf of people of color, feminists, poor people and those who refused to work. They also believed that America was weak, wanted to bring back law and order and hated paying taxes, mostly because they believed they went to help all those other people the Democrats cared about more than them. Sound familiar?

In the 90s the concerns about this group were defined more as a regional problem and the loss of the Southern white rural male became more of a focus with much rending of garments over how to get them back into the fold. Acclaimed Democratic strategists such as Dave "Mudcat" Saunders explained the problem this way:
I don’t know how many northern Democrats who have tolerance for my kind...We’ve got an affection for big guns and fast cars. It’s a macho thing. I’ve not seen any attempt by the Democrats to get into that culture.”
But there was more to it than that, as Saunders explained in his colorful way:
Bubba doesn’t call them illegal immigrants. He calls them illegal aliens. If the Democrats put illegal aliens in their bait can, we’re going to come home with a bunch of white males in the boat.
The Democrats tried very, very hard to respect that culture but they were unwilling to "put illegal aliens in the bait can" to attract these disaffected white males. Neither were they willing to throw feminists, African Americans or any other member of their base over the side and all the NASCAR and bird hunting in the world couldn't make up for it. The more diverse the Democratic coalition became the less these folks wanted to be a part of it. (Saunders, by the way, was last heard from predicting that Donald Trump would beat Hillary Clinton "like a baby seal.")

In fact, in the last three presidential races the Democratic candidate lost among non-college educated whites by an average of 22 points. In 2012 it was a record 26 points. However, you'll notice that the Democratic candidate won those last two races pretty handily. Nonetheless, despite their winning record and a diverse coalition that looks like 2016 America, the Democrats are still seen to have a big "problem" because they are allegedly ignoring the plight of the white working class and failing to attract their votes. This season, with Trump electrifying this cohort with his calls for deporting Mexicans and banning Muslims, the genre is especially plentiful.

Just this week we had Thomas Edsall of the New York Times fretting that Trump was not only ruining the GOP but was also destroying the Democratic party by making it a party of urban and suburban dwelling high earning college educated whites and working class people of color. This is a coalition that apparently cannot work because the higher earning whites are socially distant from the lower earning people of color and somehow this will result in "a base split between the well-to-do, many of whom seek to protect their enclaves against the interests, needs and classically American ambitions of the other half of the party — low-to-moderate income African-Americans and Hispanics and the truly poor." It remains a mystery how or why Democratic pursuit of the white working class would make a difference in this scenario but it's clear these voters are still considered the holy grail. It's almost as if a winning majority doesn't count unless these white men are among them.

The fact is that the white working class is shrinking in size and is expected to drop to 30 percent of the voting population and 44 percent of white voters. And according to the Economic Policy Institute, these trends are accelerating, with people of color projected to become the majority of working class citizens very soon:
The age cohort projected to make the earliest transition to majority-minority is the one that includes workers age 25 to 34. These are today’s 18- to 27-year-olds and for them, the projected transition year is 2021.
In other words,  the Democrats have not abandoned the working class in favor of urban sophisticates. It remains the backbone of their coalition as it's always been. It's just that the working class is not as white as it used to be. (And neither is the white college educated cohort as conservative as it used to be.)

Throughout all these decades of stewing over the loss of the working man the Democrats have been the party that better addressed their economic interests. They have not been perfect by any means but there's no comparison to the trickle down, starve the government philosophy of the GOP. The Democrats have protected and expanded the safety net and supported unions, workplace safety, environmental regulation and legal protections for working people throughout the time that these same working people were refusing to vote for them. And they will continue to do so. It's fundamental to the party's ideology and the presence of this large group of working class people of color will ensure that they don't forget it no matter how many urban hipsters decide to become yuppies in the next few years.

And contrary to what Edsall says, Trump may have actually ended up having a salutary effect on the GOP.  The white working class that doesn't want to join any coalition that contains people of color and feminists has had its economic consciousness raised. They may just want their party to be a little less libertarian and a lot more populist going forward. And that may open up some areas in which the two parties can cooperate. If nothing else it might put to rest the deficit fetish of the past few years and allow some government spending on infrastructure to create jobs that would benefit working people of both parties.

White working class voters have been drifting to the GOP for decades. And Democrats cannot morally abandon their multi-cultural, female majority in order to attract them back if that the price they are expected to pay. You can't be all things to all people.  But the Democratic Party will worry about them and look out for their economic interests anyway because it's in the interest of everyone that the working class has jobs that pay a living wage and their children have education, health care and opportunity regardless of party, race, ethnicity, gender or religion. White working class Americans will get those same benefits --- whether they like it or not.