Monday, April 20, 2015

Dems' Cringe-worthy Hunt for White Working-Class Votes

One of the staples of modern political life is the cringe-worthy attempt of some Republican politician to appeal to black and/or Hispanic voters. Republicans would like to appeal to blacks and Hispanics but they don't know where to start.

The other side of the coin is the cringe-worthy attempt by the Democratic Party to appeal to the white working class, particularly the male white working class. That's what What's the Matter with Kansas was all about. How could the white working class vote for the dastardly country-club Republicans when everybody knows that the folks that really care about the white working class live in the Democratic Party. Here's liberal loyalist Doyle McManus at the LA Times faithfully reporting on the latest Democratic efforts to recapture the white working class.
Democrats were once the party of the white working man — but that was a long time ago.

In the 2012 presidential election, Barack Obama won only one-third of the votes of white working-class men, a modern-day low. Mitt Romney, who didn't seem much like a blue-collar guy, swept the votes of those working stiffs by a huge margin.
And it got worse in 2014. Apparently, "some white noncollege voters have come to view Democrats as a party that cares about women and minorities more than it cares about them." No kidding!

So what's the solution. It's Hillary Clinton. No kidding!

Sainted Hillary is, first of all, doing the populist thing by railing at Wall Street. Says she: "And there's something wrong when hedge fund managers pay lower tax rates than nurses."

But that's not all. Saint Hillary is also calling for a cleanup in government. She "called last week for outlawing campaign spending by undisclosed donors, 'even if that takes a constitutional amendment.'"

That last sound bite, of course, is about the great white whale of Democratic concerns, the outrageous idea, approved by the US Supreme Court in Citizens United, that conservatives ought to be allowed to band together in corporations and fund videos critical of Hillary Clinton.

Good luck with all that, fellas.

But let us step back and think a little. How was it that the liberals and the Democrats, staunch protectors of the working stiff in the Great Depression, came to lose their support?

Was it a conspiracy? Mere stupidity? The evil Frankfurt School? Or what?

I think that the First Cause was civil rights. For liberals ever since the 1960s, the fight for black civil rights defines who they are. Bliss it was to live in that time when liberals held off the racist, sexist, homophobic bigots in the Republican Party and passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

In fact, of course, Republicans also voted for the civil rights acts. It was Southern Democrats that voted against them.

Unfortunately the civil rights revolution and the notion of equal opportunity was followed by Affirmative Action and de-facto quotas in government hiring. Nobody seemed to realize that the burden of this policy would fall not on evil Southern white bigots and the sons of slaveowners but on working class whites in the North: Irish and Italian ethnics that probably arrived in the US in the 19th century after the end of slavery.

But if you were a white working-class man you'd probably notice that it suddenly became much harder to get hired on at the local police or fire department. Because Affirmative Action.

These days it's even worse for the white working class because you need academic credentials to get a police or fire department job. Sons of white professionals are lining up for those lifer government jobs.

Then there was forced busing, a gentry liberal idea to bus children across town so that schools would be properly racially integrated. The Irish in South Boston took extreme exception to this notion.

Then there was Archie Bunker. When Norman Lear adapted the British series Till Death Do Us Part from London to Queens in New York City in 1971 he probably wasn't planning to make Archie Bunker a stereotype for white bigotry and racism. But he did. And he made it seem as though the white working class was responsible for all the racial sins of the world, and so he ended up loading all the sins of the eternal white racist ruling class upon a simple union worker on a loading dock in Queens.

By the end of the 1970s, every liberal knew to sneer at the white working class, and the die was cast.

But did the Dems have to demonize the white working class? Probably not, but that's the way it turned out. Perhaps it was inevitable. If you are going to concentrate on delivering benefits to women and minorities, then you probably find that you have to demonize the old beneficiaries of your political power, the white ethnic working class.

Will the Dems be able to recover in 2016 some of the ground lost in 50 years of advancing the interests of women and minorities? Probably. But if they pander to the white working class, won't that dilute their message to the other victims?

Steve Sailer likes to describe the Democratic Party as a Coalition of the Fringes. Their problem is that each Fringe in the coalition is competing for the loot with the other Fringes. You have to get them to focus on an external enemy, or they will start to fight among themselves. Will Wall Street, greedy bankers, and the horror of conservatives banding together to commit politics really get the goat of the white working class?

I wonder.

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