(Some) People Have Always Sucked, We Must Choose to Ignore Them

(from here)

When I read something like this post by Amanda Marcotte rightfully decrying the dehumanization of the 99 percent by Limbaugh and his ilk, I always remind myself that people have always sucked. During the era of segregation (and a couple of decades following its official demise), lots of people openly believed that non-whites were inferior. And it was the law of the land (or part of it) too. Dehumanization of the other, sadly, is an essentially American (if not human) activity.

In the current context, there seem to be two major drivers. First, the media has decided that political coverage should resemble episodes of the Jerry Springer show, but that’s a subject for a whole series of posts. Second, the Democratic Party, as the bastion of occasional sanity, has, for too long, been concerned with those who oppose it. Instead of delivering the boodle to its supporters, the Democratic Party pisses on them and helps those unlikely to support them (which is why I have called the Democratic Party the Stupidest Political Organization in Recorded History™). So I’m happy to read that the Democratic Party, after two decades of hitting itself in the head with a hammer, has decided to focus on those who actually support them:

For decades, Democrats have suffered continuous and increasingly severe losses among white voters. But preparations by Democratic operatives for the 2012 election make it clear for the first time that the party will explicitly abandon the white working class.

All pretense of trying to win a majority of the white working class has been effectively jettisoned in favor of cementing a center-left coalition made up, on the one hand, of voters who have gotten ahead on the basis of educational attainment — professors, artists, designers, editors, human resources managers, lawyers, librarians, social workers, teachers and therapists — and a second, substantial constituency of lower-income voters who are disproportionately African-American and Hispanic.

…The 2012 approach treats white voters without college degrees as an unattainable cohort. The Democratic goal with these voters is to keep Republican winning margins to manageable levels, in the 12 to 15 percent range, as opposed to the 30-point margin of 2010 — a level at which even solid wins among minorities and other constituencies are not enough to produce Democratic victories…

There are plenty of critics of the tactical idea of dispensing with low-income whites, both among elected officials and party strategists. But Cliff Zukin, a professor of political science at Rutgers, puts the situation plainly. “My sense is that if the Democrats stopped fishing there, it is because there are no fish.”

While it’s not clear how the trade unions will fit into this, I think this strategy recognizes that, for many reasons having to do with race, class, education, the culture war is driving disaffection with the Democratic party among working whites. Before people argue this is wrong, the Republicans also target some voters and write off others: does anyone really believe that the Republicans are trying to win the African-American vote? Trying to appeal to people who typically don’t vote for you has a cost, if you end up adopting positions that alienate and demotivate your supporters.

Have to see how this plays out, but there’s the potential here for Democrats to avoid diluting their message.

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1 Response to (Some) People Have Always Sucked, We Must Choose to Ignore Them

  1. Art says:

    As a blue collar, union member in the deep south (N Florida) I can tel you a lot of the guys I work with fit the description on the poster. They vote Republican. Thirty years ago they voted Democratic. They have always been leery of racial and sexual equality, religion and tradition play a part, but the one thing the Democrats had going for them was they supported labor, workers rights, and the little guy getting a fair shake. They put up with the racial and sexual equality because the Dems were in the trenches with them making sure they got a fair shake, or a somewhat fairer shake, on economic and consumer protection issues.

    This changed when the Dems capitulated on labor and consumer issues. When they gave in to corporate desires to use pension funds as operating capital. Shifted from defined benefits with a benefits manager that had enough clout to keep the sharks at bay to trying to swim across a shark tank alone with your 401-K. From companies with employees, with rights and protections, to hiring individuals as “independent contractors”, with a no rights or protections. Not to mention when Democrats made sure any fight with the union was on level ground, if not actually fair. Unions were used to being the underdog. They won just enough for the corporations to fear the bite.

    Used to be the Labor Relations Board had teeth and Democrats kept those teeth sharp. There were lines no employer would cross for fear of a legal and financial shit-storm descending on them. The right to unionize and get a fair wage for work was protected.

    Under Reagan unions were busted and the long slide began in protection of labor while the Democrats went along. So the one defining characteristic remaining for the Dems is the one thing that annoyed the blue collar worker the most. Equality issues are important and entirely on the sides of the angels. Many a country boy, with a warm feeling from a belly full of beer will admit as much privately. But they are conflicted. They could overlook it as part of a package deal as long as the Dems were clearly and decisively on the side of labor. When the Dems capitulated to corporate and financial interests the deal lost its sweetness.

    I am not saying the Democrats should give up on civil rights and equality issues. I am saying that labor needs a champion and the Dems need the working class. If the working class sees the Dems fighting the good fight, swinging for the fences even when they cannot win, they will return. Even if the southern males aren’t entirely happy with the civil rights agenda. It won’t happen soon enough for 2012. It took thirty years to get into this funk and it is not unreasonable to think it might take thirty years to get out of it. Hopefully it doesn’t take that long, things do shift more rapidly with all the connectivity, but for planning purposes …

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