Democrats Are Going Down the Wrong Path
After Donald Trump got elected Democrats immediately started a self assessment road to try an understand how a racist, sexist, xenophobic, ignorant con artist go elected and specifically got elected by winning Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin all states President Obama carried twice. Rightfully so!! This was as disappointing a loss the democrats has had in recent history and it smart to analyze the reasons why this loss occurred. However, the solution and cause that many in the Democratic party have concluded is not only wrong, but harmful to the party and quite frankly not possible.
Somehow despite loosing in the primaries Bernie Sanders has become the beacon of the Democratic party and according to some polls, he is the most popular politician in America. That is all fine and good except for the fact that since election night Bernie has been on a White America tour trying to connect and win back the white working class (WWC). The “White Working Class” which at one point was a stalwart for the Democratic party has eroded overtime due mostly to bigotry. From the passing of the Civil Rights act until today, their has been a steady decline in support from this demographic despite Democratic polices being generally in their best economic interest i.e Union Support, social safety net, minimum wage increase etc. Bernie and other people on the left similar to him, have this idea that its not racism towards black and brown folks, homophobia, Islamophobia and sexism that has led that group of people to consistently vote against their own interest. Bernie believe that “the left” specifically the Democratic Party (which I must point out, he is not apart of) left that group behind and don’t talk about their interest because of “Identity Politics”.
Identity Politics is this idea that a political party or group focuses its polices based on how a sub sections of the population identifies. So because the GOP has been so terrible in race, religion, and LBGTQ relations and the Democrats essentially took those people in, the Democratic Party has not become the party of Identity Politics and that alienates the WWC. First and foremost, if you center your party around and economic message that ignores racism, sexism, and homophobia, and its main purpose is to help the WWC, that in itself is “Identity Politics”. Besides that obvious point the biggest voter block and the core of the Democratic party is Women of Color specifically Black Women. Black Women vote at a higher rate (over 70%) than any other voter block in this country and they overwhelmingly vote Democratic regardless of age.
As noted above Black women voted at a 94% clip for Hillary Clinton in 2016 and they are loyal to a party that seems to want to cast them aside for Trump voters. If you go back to the 2008 and 2012 election its clear that Black Women and to a lesser extent POC got Barack Obama elected twice and their votes and their turnout is key to winning elections. Democrats have lost a lot of congressional races and local elections due to lack of rallying their base and running black, brown and progressive candidates and because the Democrats have lost their message and became the party of “Don’t Vote for Them”. Even with the lack of messaging democrats would do better if they served their base the way the GOP does and get them excited to vote by putting them in positions of power and running more candidates. However, this new strategy of the Bernie Sanders, Tim Ryan Democrats is to ignore the base because they believe they will vote regardless and go after these Trump voters who had “economic anxiety” and “felt left behind”.
Lets run with that for a second. Trump voters were overwhelmingly white and they backed a candidate that had no real policies that would help them, for a party that wants to take away their healthcare, take away their union support, keep their wages low, while couching it by “protecting their religious freedom, keep the black and brown people in check, and kicking those muslims and Mexicans out the country. Unless you want to move the Democratic party to the latter, those people are not coming back. They have shown no interest in voting for their interest, in fact they have gone so far to the right that they don’t even care. When you read polls from Trump supporters you see that despite Trump going against any substantive policy that he promised the WWC and in fact did the opposite by bringing in Wall Street execs, taking away their healthcare, removing regulations to protect their assets and retirements and so much more. So if Bernie and Tim were to be successful in bringing in those folks then they would be at best ignoring and most likely alienating the base of the Democratic party and moving backwards not forward.
That being said the Democratic party does have its issues, and they do need to expand the party. This can be done by targeting the roughly 30% of the country who would consider themselves moderate or liberal who did not vote in this past election. These people to did not vote because they got sucked in to a third party candidate, the democrats weren’t speaking to their issues, they feel the system is broken, or just have not been targeted by Democrats. These people are a much better option and more realistic option and if the Dems combine a better economic message, along with presenting those policies in a way that POC, Women and LGBTQ feel like they will help them as well, while setting themselves clearly apart from the GOP on social and economic policy, while not giving “Progressive” test to candidates in more moderate or conservative areas. Then the Democrats will expand their party and actually Make America Great.