"Give me the liberty to know, to utter, and to argue freely according to conscience, above all liberties. Truth was never put to the worse in a free and open encounter..."
~ Milton
Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.
~Benjamin Franklin

Reading:
A Fistful of Euros
Andrew Tobias
Angry Liberal
Archy
Bad Attitudes
Common Dreams
Fablog
Hullabaloo
Informed Comment
Madelaine Kane
Mahablog
Obsidian Wings
Off the Kuff
Orcinus
Sarah Kendzior
War and Piece
Washington Monthly

Books
The Emerging Democratic Majority (Judis & Teixeira)
Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them (Franken)
Rush Limbaugh Is A Big Fat Idiot (Franken)
The True Believer (Hoffer)
Still Being Bushwhacked

All Book Reviews
Race, Gender, and Sexuality
It's always "us" vs "them"
Women's March on (fill in your location)
Children learn what their parents teach them.
You Got My Support. But.
Even Endangered Penguins Do It

All Race, Gender, and Sexuality
Campaigns and Voting
Where do we go from here?
It's always "us" vs "them"
Some interpretations
On and on I go
Just appalled

All Campaigns and Voting
Lecture Circuit
It Was 40 Years Ago Today
July 2, 1964
Pledge
May 14-15, 1970
The Erotica of Bare Knees

All Lecture Circuit
Media
The Liberal Media, At It Again
Fairly UNbalanced
P.S.
What's this?
OHMIGOD

All Media
Big Brother
Shoulda' Guessed
Where did my country go?
You know what you never thought you'd read?
Not in his name
Sleight of Hand

All Big Brother
World O'Blog
It's Vocabulary Time!
They wrote it
Mighty-fine blogging
Other People Said....
Phillipines

All World O'Blog
Aimless Ranting
It's always "us" vs "them"
So, I'm thinking with half my brain
Do You Know Peter?
Long, Little Privacy Rant
My Takeaway

All Aimless Ranting
Archives
February 05, 2017 - February 11, 2017
January 22, 2017 - January 28, 2017
January 15, 2017 - January 21, 2017
November 13, 2016 - November 19, 2016
October 09, 2016 - October 15, 2016

All Weekly Archives


Electioneering
Open Secrets
Political Wire Exit Polls
Politics1
Polling Report

Information
American Research Group
Center for Democracy and Technology
Center for Public Integrity
Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
Congressional Report Cards
Death Row Roll Call
DebtChannel.org
Democracy Now
Economic Policy Institute
FairVote Colorado
Foreign Policy In Focus
Global Exchange
Human Rights Watch
Independent Judiciary
Inequality
Institute on Money in State Politics
Institute for Public Accuracy
JobWatch
Lying in ponds
Media Reform
Media Transparency
Move On
One World
Open Democracy
Pew Research Center
Project Censored
Public Citizen Health Research Group
Stockholm International Peace Research Institute
Take Back The Media
The Urban Institute
WHO Outbreak News

Connections
XML & RDF
Peevish for PDA



Blog Directory


Search








Credits
Powered by Movable Type

Site Design by Sekimori





All content © 2002-2005 Anne Zook

March 03, 2006
There's nothing the matter with Kansas

Democrats and Middle America: What's the Real Problem?

A fascinating article saying that the reason we can't figure out why the Democrats aren't focused and on-message is because.... Well, mostly it's because we keep misunderstanding who the Democrats were, which has a lot to do with what they've become.

Basically, we're having the wrong arguments, arguing about people voting for or against their economic interests or voting their religion instead of, let's say, an extension of the social equality this country is supposedly based on.

Many interesting ideas come up.

If voters like your position on the issues and dislike your cultural affinities, you win votes by making people focus on substance. You must tone down cultural appeals, identify issues that affect everyday lives, and sharpen differences over those issues until people pay attention. That’s why Hillary Clinton’s foray into foreign policy is so futile. Hawkish gestures remake her image about as much as Paris Hilton’s sojourn on an Arkansas farm makes her seem folksy. The intensely polarizing cultural dimension of Senator Clinton’s persona remains unchanged, sure to overshadow the substance of her platform and dominate voter attitudes toward her presidential candidacy.

This is an excellent example, but can I ask us to give it up on Hillary? I really don't think she's our candidate.

It’s not as if Democrats can talk about economics and simply ignore culture. The oft-cited “traditional Democratic” electoral appeal based purely on economics is a myth—and one rather recently hatched. In reality, the New Deal Democratic Party was a hybrid. It bore the fruits of a European-style class party, but its branches were grafted onto the trunk of a nineteenth-century American party organized around sectional and ethnic allegiances. Together with union members and distressed farmers, it covered a spectrum that included southern whites, from tenant farmers to plantation owners, and Irish Catholic businessmen alongside their working-class coreligionists.

By its nature, this mixture had a limited lifetime. With policies trimmed back to reconcile opposing interests, class politics lost vigor.

Makes perfect sense. One of the issues that we can't seem to get around is how to mobilize the lower classes without telling people that they're, well, lower class.

This just isn't an approach that works in today's society.

If Democrats were to remain a majority party, something new was needed. As this dilemma became clear in the seventies, the party faced a choice. It could, as Bayard Rustin and Michael Harrington had suggested a decade earlier, become a genuinely class-based party with program to match, along the lines of European social democracy. Or it could pursue what was called the New Politics, a coalition of minorities with a newly radicalized stratum of students and the educated. The New Politics strategy, in its pure form, was quickly discredited by George McGovern’s crushing defeat in the 1972 election. But opposition to a class-based party was too strong for the alternative strategy to be chosen, and the party dithered.

And we dither still.

Anyhow, the article goes on to discuss the rise of the "centrist" Democrats.

The suggestion that we rebuild the "Democratic majority" by being "sensitive" on "cultural preferences" sounds like trouble to me, but much of the rest of the article should make you think.

(As long as you're over there, you might want to glance at, The Democrats’ Opportunity: Are They Ready?. It annoyed me more than it impressed me but then I've never understood why the corrupt, fraud-riddled, scandal-plagued Reagan years were the target of so much political veneration.

Still, the article goes on to discuss the opportunity in front of the Democrats today.)

(Anyone want to lay odds on whether or not they continue to blow it?)

Anyone still in the mood to contemplate democracy and the Democrats can check out Responsibility. Community. Competence.

Posted by AnneZook at 07:14 PM


Comments