Democrats like to argue that Republicans have attained power through the undemocratic quirks of our system (meaning constitutonal republican features like the electoral college), gerrymandering, and worse‚—racism, misogyny, nefarious Koch brothers plots, the talismanic properties of Citizens United, etc. It’s the political equivalent of sticking your fingers in your ears and chanting aloud so as not to let any discordant noise bother your thoughts.
Last week the Wall Street Journal ran a terrific news story about one very interesting fact of the shifting political landscape over the last 25 years:
By Bob Davis and Dante Chinni
WASHINGTON—The Republican Party has become the party of blue-collar America.
After the 1992 election, 15 of the 20 most manufacturing-intensive Congressional districts in America were represented by Democrats. Today, all 20 are held by Republicans. . .
That’s not a shift that can be explained by clever election tricks. Maybe Trump is on to something when he says that if you don’t have manufacturing, you don’t have a country. Delve a little deeper:
“My image of Republicans is of a blue-collar type,” says Larry Smith, a 68-year-old weave room supervisor at Greenwood Mills Inc. in South Carolina’s third Congressional District. He voted for Democrats before, including Barack Obama in 2008, but sided with Mr. Trump in 2016. “Democrats come from more financially successful groups.” . . .
“A lot of our workers voted for Trump,” says Neil Douglas, a Democrat who is president of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers in Middletown, Ohio. “The Democrats around here—sometimes we do feel like the party left us.”
Democrats are now the party of the rich! Not all kinds of rich people, of course. Mostly so-called “creative class” types in the coastal regions, in tech, finance, and entertainment. People who make things out of raw materials—not so much.
Voters for Democrats now tend to be better educated, more urban and less likely to identify themselves as blue-collar than Republicans and Independents, according to pollsters. . .
We should, of course, understand “better educated” to mean “mis-educated” given the nature of higher education today in the humanities and social sciences. No wonder Democrats want “free” college for all. It’s their best bet for recruiting new voters.
As the economic core of metropolitan areas has changed from manufacturing to services, finance and technology, the party has made little room for the conservative cultural views of many blue-collar workers and has embraced gay rights and increased immigration. The 2016 Democratic platform, for instance, had 19 mentions of rights for LGBT people. The 1992 platform had a single mention of the word “gay.”
Democrats used to pride themselves as the champions of blue collar workers. Now their message seems to be: “Dems to Blue Collar Workers: Drop Dead.”
Chaser: From the regular email of Robert Kuttner, the smart lefty editor of The American Prospect (which I follow so you don’t have to):
Feminists Against Nominating a Woman Democrat for President (#fanwdp). OK, there is no such group, but there might as well be. You have undoubtedly been part of such a conversation, and it usually involves heartbroken Hillary supporters of a certain age:
“As a feminist, I hate to say this, but we need to nominate a white male who can win. There is just too much misogyny in America to elect a woman.”
Jesus wept! (Or maybe Mary wept.) Call me a mansplainer, but here goes:
People, get real. Hillary lost because she was a horrible, badly blemished candidate, not primarily because she was female. What blemishes? Let us count the ways:
- The Wall Street speaking fees and failure to run as an economic populist
- The email server
- The ghost of Bill’s serial infidelities, which made it impossible for Hillary to exploit Trump’s vulnerabilities as a grotesque sexist and worse
- Her failure to distance herself from her closest aide, Huma Abedin, wife of yet another pathetic sexual predator, Anthony Weiner
- Her campaign’s taking for granted states where Trump was plainly making inroads, and failing to send the candidate to workplaces in Michigan and Wisconsin
- Lots of other unforced errors—plus sheer bad luck in the destructive, self-serving actions of then-FBI Chief James Comey
So this doesn’t mean that a woman can’t win.It means that Hillary Clinton couldn’t win.
Nobody would deny the depth of America’s racism. Yet Barack Obama won.
Yes, America is misogynist, but it isn’t that hopelessly misogynist. Look at all the gains women candidates have been making at all levels.
Feminists of all genders should resist gender stereotyping. Hillary Clinton does not stand for all women.
~ ROBERT KUTTNER
Methinks Kuttner is terrified that Hillary is going to run again—and lose again. #Adlai’sGhost/Bryan’sReincarnation.