Obama-Trump (Sanders) Voters

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Over at the conservative Power Line blog is a post titled, "Could Trump Destroy the Democrats for a Generation?" The gist of the piece is that, in its efforts to understand why it lost the presidential election, the Democratic Party has learned that a large bloc of voters who helped put Barack Obama into office switched allegiances and went for Trump this time around. Particularly disturbing to me are some of the reasons these voters turned on the Democrats, according to the Washington Post, which Steven Hayward quotes:

One finding from the polling stands out: A shockingly large percentage of these Obama-Trump voters said Democrats' economic policies will favor the wealthy -- twice the percentage that said the same about Trump...

In one [focus group], Obama-Trump voters were asked what Democrats stand for today and gave answers such as these:

"The one percent."

"The status quo."

"They're for the party. Themselves and the party."

One woman, asked whether the Democratic Party is for people like her, flatly declared: "Nope."
It is disturbing to hear the same zero-sum game sentiment of the Occupy movement, down to the slogan, being cited as a cause for discontent by this bloc of voters. Hayward proposes that, like FDR, Trump can profit from the fact that whatever he does won't really work, except to give him an excuse these voters might believe to do more of the same. That may be the case, and I suppose it might keep the Democrats out of office for a while. But what's the point of "winning" when so many of Trump's policies are watered-down versions of what the Democrats would do, anyway? And what of our long-term prospects for freedom if so many people in the Land of Opportunity fail to see that one man's prosperity, if built on productivity and trade, does not come at the expense of another's? The Democrats' destruction, even if real, is not the same as a victory for freedom.

On top of that, I think Hayward overestimates how much the new DNC chairman's emphasis on abortion and identity politics will turn such voters away. They may be social conservatives, but if they buy into the adversarial worldview of the left, everything else he's doing (i.e., push even harder to the left) will bear electoral fruit when Trump's failed policies are mislabeled as "capitalism" and someone runs against them.

-- CAV

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