Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Savage Analysis

Noted gay activist Dan Savage made a rather nonsensical comment about what the Democrats ought to do to recover in 2018 and 2020. He said that they should concentrate on the diverse urban populations in the cities where their base is, instead of white working-class and rural voters.  He opined that even the most Democratic states are predominantly Republican outside the urban areas - including his adopted home state of Washington - and the Republican voters can never be won over.
Savage, as usual, doesn't know what he's talking about.   In no way am I suggesting that Democrats should ignore the multiracial, multi-ethnic urban faithful, and I agree with Savage that they should get more people in urban areas to vote.  However, writing off the white vote in rural and blue-collar communities is political suicide.  Republican policies have screwed these people over so often, they should be voting for someone other than the GOP, and the Democrats will only make the same mistake that Hillary Clinton made in trying to win without them while sticking with a careful, inoffensive centrist posture.  Bear in mind that Barack Obama won many of the white voters of rural and working-class backgrounds in 2008 and 2012, the same voters that Donald Trump won in 2016.   They'll vote Democratic again if they think the party shows concern for their interests, as Trump did during the 2016 presidential campaign.  Trump's performance among those voters helped him  capture three key states - Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin - that got him the White House.  (Trump only needed one or two of these states to win; the Democrats had to get them all.)  Hillary Clinton, who became synonymous with every bad stereotype about white bourgeois liberals, didn't think that a population segment ticked off with the decline of manufacturing jobs and the lack of economic opportunity was worth going after.
And not all of these people voted for Trump.  As many pundits noted, a lot of them simply didn't vote at all.  There was no one who spoke to them; Trump offered nothing but vulgar bluster, and Hillary spent her time cavorting with pop stars.  A progressive message could work with these voters, but they're only getting swayed right and center. 
Democrats have to go after white working-class and rural voters - but not at the expense of their urban, multi-ethnic base.  And truth be told, they have to concentrate on working-class and rural voters of all races, creeds and colors, because a black farmer in Mississippi  and a Latino construction worker in Ohio are left out just as much as their white counterparts by the Democratic Party.  Democrats have scored some impressive victories in down-ballot races, recently, taking two Republican seats in the Oklahoma state legislature, but they have to do more of that going forward - and start talking more to voters left out by the party establishment's centrist wet dreams.    If the Democrats blow key elections coming in the immediate future, it will be the party leaders who end up being all wet.           

No comments: