Thursday, August 07, 2014
Good news, in terms of the short-term political fortunes of the Democratic
Party, comes from an article in the New Republic. Said article warns the Democrats that its "white
working class problem" can't be solved simply by writing off the South. I think the warning will go unheeded despite the fact that the article
supports its contention by re-analyzing the data the Democrats are betting on. Crucial to this re-analysis is a breakdown of the country into "a
set of regions that more closely mirrors the basic, underlying sociological and
political divisions in the nation" -- rather than just Central-Northeast-West-South.
The article concludes:
Many Democrats would prefer not to have to face this monumental organization challenge, hoping instead that the existing Obama coalition and demographic changes in America will prove sufficient to elect a president in 2016, hold the Senate, and weaken GOP control over the House of Representatives. But the harsh reality for Democrats is that they cannot achieve all three of these objectives without increasing their support among white working class Americans--and if Democrats keep telling themselves that "the problem is just the South," that support may decrease instead.I'd go further, based on my experiences of growing up in the South and of living in the Northeast for several years. From what I can tell, from encounters with angry leftists (e.g., "Republican people" used as a direct insult (I am not a Republican.)) and from overhearing conversations in public (e.g., "some hick from Texas" as shorthand for "white Southerner"), many Democrats like to imagine that nothing has changed in the South in the past half-century plus, and are quite happy to write off any fair-skinned individual from that part of the country. And, based on my reading of left-wing commentary, I think that most Democrats would also prefer not to question their policies or why they don't appeal to large swaths of "working class whites". It's easy to be smug when one can assume that the whole problem is due to a bunch of easily-marginalized hicks.
May the donkey keep its blinders on! Perhaps this will buy more time for cultural change and the emergence of a significant pro-individual rights electoral bloc. I hold out little hope for an improvement from the GOP, but perhaps its short-term profit can stall our headlong march into tyranny.