Once Again, Intersectionality Without An Economic Plan Is Politically Harmful

One of the more vile election-season junk mailers (and junk emails) Jews receive is the “Dear Jew” letter, in which a politician proclaims his or her unconditional support for the current Israeli government, as if this is the only thing American Jews could possibly care about. Which brings us to some comments about a flyer released by the campaign of Alabama senate candidate Doug Jones.

The flyer, featuring a picture of a black man, reads “Think if a black man went after high school girls, anyone would try to make him a senator?” Michael Harriot responds (boldface mine):

It is an actual flyer circulating around from the Doug Jones for Senate Committee in his run against Elmer Fudd wannabe and schoolgirl aficionado Roy Moore for Alabama’s U.S. Senate seat, and it has upset black voters across Alabama.

Someone, probably a white man, thought that the image would resonate with black people and motivate them to get out the vote. It’s as if black people were considering voting for the child molester until some brilliant strategist posited, “What if he were black, though?” The flyer is reductive in its oversimplification of the black mind as only caring about black issues. While it might not be racist, it is certainly racist adjacent.

It is also the Democratic Party.

Part of the reason the Democratic Party has been marginalized as a party that only exists on the coasts and in urban areas is white-mannery like this. While the policies of the party may be more progressive and black-friendly, the Democratic leadership is often as prejudiced and shortsighted as its Republican counterparts, and next week’s Senate election is the perfect example.

The Democratic Party is trash. It is the reason Hillary Clinton lost. It is the reason Donald Trump is president. It is the reason I might be represented in the U.S. Senate by a grown man who probably went to see Twilight in the theaters and stood by the candy counter asking teenage girls if they wanted a sugar daddy.

Until the stories surfaced about Roy Moore’s predilection for prepubescent ponytail wearers, the Democratic Party had wholly abandoned Alabama. It treated minorities and Democratic-leaning whites in the South like every black character in horror movies: necessary casualties left behind for the greater good

On the rare occasions when the Democratic Party does address black voters, it only talks about the “black issues”: policing, mass incarceration, civil rights, etc. For the party leadership, black people aren’t whole people who have the same concerns about taxes, job creation, education initiatives, international policy and economics as other voters. They are simply bodies collected in the coffers of the party’s ineffective longing for power.

the only argument they have made in their efforts to convince black voters to vote for Jones is that one thing he did for black people that one time. Every solicitation is the same: “Remember when he convicted the racists who bombed the 16th Street Baptist Church? See? He’s down!”

It’s amazing what one learns when you actually listen to people. Harriot also notes that, unlike Democrats, Republicans manage to get ‘non-base’ voters to go along with the demands from the base:

Even if they convince us to vote, even if Doug Jones wins, it doesn’t mean Dems are going to go hard for us like the Republicans go hard for their base. The floor of Trump’s core supporters is probably a 25-30 percent, mostly Southern minority. Who does that remind you of?

The Republican Party wins not only because it caters to its base, but because (and this is the important part) it goes all out in efforts to convince the rest of the mainstream voters to get on board.

If you look at the poll numbers, a vast number of Republican voters disagree with their party on gun control, abortion or white supremacy (well, maybe not white supremacy, but still … ). But the party leadership finds a way to convince them to vote for the party. They talk about job creation, lowering taxes and kitchen-table issues.

In fairness, Democrats are pretty good at attracting ‘progressive deplorables‘–the problem is that, once they win, they abandon their base constituencies of labor, what used to be called liberal Democrats, and minorities (and, of course, these three groups overlap. Intersect, if you will).

That said, Doug Jones will be vastly better than Roy Moore. But as some asshole with a blog put it:

Reciting your resume, even if it is strong, isn’t the same as telling people how you’re going to make their lives better. People don’t really want to hear how awesome you are, they want to hear how awesome (or at least not as sucky) they will be if they vote for you. I’ll go out on a limb and suggest that’s not limited to younger voters too.

We desperately need a win here, and we deserve better than the Democratic consultants who take our campaign contributions and come up with this stupid crap.

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1 Response to Once Again, Intersectionality Without An Economic Plan Is Politically Harmful

  1. Intersection is a Cartesian concept useful in Newtonian physics. Not sure why a biologist would use it to describe human voting behavior.

    I’m also not sure why the existence of Marxist black people—a legacy of Cold War categories—like Harriot, armed with one Tweet and one quote, is evidence of anything other than his own tired riff.

    Is Cory Booker black? Is Deval Patrick black? What kind of racist asshole ignores what they are saying, right now, in neighborhoods and on the TV news, and reduces the message of Alabama Dems to one piece of direct mail? What kind of dehumanizing racist says, “Fuck you Cory! Fuck you, Deval! Your lived experience as a black man and as a Denocracy doesn’t mean shit against my university mind and it’s vast Cartesian Planes of truth!”?

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