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They call me PR
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« on: February 09, 2012, 09:33:22 pm »
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Why are they leaving the Democratic Party so much? This seems like it has been a long-term trend since the 60s.

Of course, "white working class Democrats" is (or was Tongue )  a pretty huge group of people, with many different sub-groups and such in that broad brush. But, as a general trend, they have become increasingly Republican (or at least, not reliable Democratic voters-or even reliable voters, in many cases Tongue )

Does this trend say more about white working class voters, or the direction the Democratic Party has taken (for better or worse) in recent years? Or maybe, it says more about the state of American politics in this age, no?
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« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2012, 09:46:15 pm »
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Much of the Democratic Party's focus in recent years has been directed at a different crowd. The "New Democrat" style of party, hard on social liberalism and mildly supportive on free trade, isn't really a winner to the working class. Make a quick comparison of the Democrats today to the Democrats 30 years ago. 30 years ago many working class whites voted for the Democrats because they thought the Republicans would elminate protectionist trade policies and destroy the union. But the factories have kept on closing. The industry keeps moving away. The Democrats' ability to protect the worker looks weaker than ever. Half the party is more concerned about fighting for gay marriage than for the working man. Even if they gave him ObamaCare he probably doesn't trust them on that anyway.

And so often you get quotes from the Democrats like this that reek of coastal elitism:
Awesome. Take that, bigots.

The country is a different place and the Democratic Party looks different than it did 20 years ago. While you can still find traces of the old-school Dems in the south and rust belt, the national party has moved on to focus on other issues leaving behind the old union mentality that kept working class whites in a solid  Democratic block.
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« Reply #2 on: February 09, 2012, 11:00:35 pm »
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Why are they leaving the Democratic Party so much? This seems like it has been a long-term trend since the 60s.

Of course, "white working class Democrats" is (or was Tongue )  a pretty huge group of people, with many different sub-groups and such in that broad brush. But, as a general trend, they have become increasingly Republican (or at least, not reliable Democratic voters-or even reliable voters, in many cases Tongue )

Does this trend say more about white working class voters, or the direction the Democratic Party has taken (for better or worse) in recent years? Or maybe, it says more about the state of American politics in this age, no?

well the party as a whole has lost much of that demographic but that's largely due to the fact that there are less white working class people period. Most of the jobs they once held are now held by people of latin american descent.
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They call me PR
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« Reply #3 on: February 09, 2012, 11:09:10 pm »
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Much of the Democratic Party's focus in recent years has been directed at a different crowd. The "New Democrat" style of party, hard on social liberalism and mildly supportive on free trade, isn't really a winner to the working class. Make a quick comparison of the Democrats today to the Democrats 30 years ago. 30 years ago many working class whites voted for the Democrats because they thought the Republicans would elminate protectionist trade policies and destroy the union. But the factories have kept on closing. The industry keeps moving away. The Democrats' ability to protect the worker looks weaker than ever. Half the party is more concerned about fighting for gay marriage than for the working man. Even if they gave him ObamaCare he probably doesn't trust them on that anyway.

And so often you get quotes from the Democrats like this that reek of coastal elitism:
Awesome. Take that, bigots.

The country is a different place and the Democratic Party looks different than it did 20 years ago. While you can still find traces of the old-school Dems in the south and rust belt, the national party has moved on to focus on other issues leaving behind the old union mentality that kept working class whites in a solid  Democratic block.

I agree with much of this.
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« Reply #4 on: March 06, 2012, 07:46:31 pm »
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What have the Dems done for the working class lately?
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« Reply #5 on: March 06, 2012, 08:00:44 pm »
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The stuff in WI and OH could help. Mitt as the nominee can't help the GOP with the WWC.
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« Reply #6 on: March 06, 2012, 11:53:00 pm »
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Dare I say it- Misled on wedge issues at least some of them.
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« Reply #7 on: March 07, 2012, 10:01:24 pm »
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Does this include people like auto engineers? I know a number of them who support Mitt & plan on voting Republican.
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« Reply #8 on: March 08, 2012, 12:21:16 am »
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Racism and religion
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morgieb
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« Reply #9 on: March 08, 2012, 06:59:50 am »
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Cultural politics. Plus the Democrats are more liberal rather than socialist.
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« Reply #10 on: March 08, 2012, 08:21:11 am »
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Cultural politics. Plus the Democrats are more liberal rather than socialist.

One of the more honest answers in this thread if I must say.
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« Reply #11 on: March 08, 2012, 10:27:20 am »
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Several reasons:

1. Parties aren't as big tents as they used to be - "conservative Democrat" is now an oxymoron.  Many of the WWC Dems have always been conservative (minus the "beam me up," Jim Traficant might be a good example of the average WWC voter's views).

2. When many WWC Democrats voted for Nixon and Reagan, liberals started accusing them of "racism" (which may or may not be true but is irrelevant).  Naturally, they resent being called racist and started voting for Republicans in higher numbers, which resulted in more accusations of racism, which resulted in more voting for Republicans, etc.  A feedback loop, essentially.

3. The number of WWC voters is shrinking, especially in unionized industries that favor Democrats.  The WWC voters that remain were always relatively more likely to vote Republican.  In addition, the WWC is an aging demographic and voting patterns become more conservative as people age.
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« Reply #12 on: March 08, 2012, 01:44:28 pm »
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Several reasons:

1. Parties aren't as big tents as they used to be - "conservative Democrat" is now an oxymoron.  Many of the WWC Dems have always been conservative (minus the "beam me up," Jim Traficant might be a good example of the average WWC voter's views).

2. When many WWC Democrats voted for Nixon and Reagan, liberals started accusing them of "racism" (which may or may not be true but is irrelevant).  Naturally, they resent being called racist and started voting for Republicans in higher numbers, which resulted in more accusations of racism, which resulted in more voting for Republicans, etc.  A feedback loop, essentially.

3. The number of WWC voters is shrinking, especially in unionized industries that favor Democrats.  The WWC voters that remain were always relatively more likely to vote Republican.  In addition, the WWC is an aging demographic and voting patterns become more conservative as people age.

You know what they say don't you?

Facts have a liberal bias.  And everybody is racist
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They call me PR
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« Reply #13 on: March 08, 2012, 09:11:37 pm »
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I think that Democrats should be concerned about the working-class white vote and the trend towards the Republicans because in swing states like Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Michigan, etc, they make up a crucial part of the electorate.

States like California, Oregon, Washington, Illinois, New York, all of New England (for the most part)...those states are all increasing their share of Democratic votes in the big urban metro areas that dominate most of those states. However, it really doesn't matter how much Democratic turnout increases in places like those which are already strongly Dem anyway. What matters in the short/medium-term are the swing states, many of which are seeing  declining Democratic registration (as well as Republican, to be fair, but with a Democrat as the President a lot of disgruntled  white working class voters, whether they be Democratic, Republican, or Independent, will be more likely to vote Republican in the coming elections).



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They call me PR
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« Reply #14 on: March 09, 2012, 05:34:45 pm »
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http://www.princeton.edu/~bartels/kansas.pdf

Interesting analysis there. Basically, the author says that "working class white backlash" towards Democrats is not happening nearly as much as authors like Thomas Frank claim..outside the South, that is.

The real backlash has been among middle and upper-income whites. John Kerry received 50% of the vote from whites in the bottom third of the income distribution and 39% of those in the top third-a difference of 11%. Averaging over eight presidential elections from 1976-2004, 51% of lower-third income whites voted for Democrats, compared to 44% of whites in the middle third and 37% of whites in the upper third.

Of course, the 2008 presidential election and 2010 mid-term congressional election may be the start of a break in this pattern...
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« Reply #15 on: March 13, 2012, 05:25:27 pm »
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Blacks like Prez Obama and First Lady Hillary Clinton and the gay issue has become the focal point of the party. Whereas religion has become dominant in the appalachia whites culture.
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« Reply #16 on: March 18, 2012, 10:43:02 am »
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I thought most of  the white working class was behind Hillary in the 2008 election primary?

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« Reply #17 on: March 18, 2012, 03:08:39 pm »
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There are several factors at play here:

1-The Democratic Party has largely moved away from the concerns of the white working class. In the days of Roosevelt, Truman, and Kennedy the party was defined by its support of labor unions and the New Deal. It's message was based around economic opportunity and relief for the poor and less fortunate. This appealed to white working class voters to a tee, and they strongly supported the Democratic Party. But starting in the mid-1960s, the message of the party began to change. The Great Society, War on Poverty, and Civil Rights legislation were all seen as beneficial primarily to the poor and to racial minorities. The white working class was now challenged economically by African-Americans and many weren't happy about that. They saw the Democrats as no longer focused on addressing their economic needs, and grew disaffected. The liberal shift of the party in 1970s further cemented the WWC's distrust of the Democrats, as did the Presidency of Jimmy Carter. It wasn't until 1992, when the Democrat's nominated the highly personable Bill Clinton (who hailed from a white working class background and appeared to be "one of them") that the Democrats began to make inroads into that group. Even then, many preferred the populist, anti-big government message of Ross Perot. Over the past decade, the Democrats have moved in a new ideological direction. Instead of trying to win back the white working class voters, they have shifted their focus to winning younger, suburban whites, women, and minorities. These demographics are growing and are turned off by the socially conservative, radical anti-government message of today's Republicans. Their strategy is more predicated on winning and making in-roads in the Southwest and Sunbelt in general than on fighting the same old fights in the Rust Belt. Even their electoral campaigns in states like Pennsylvania are focused around appealing to suburban voters in areas like Bucks Country.

2-The Republican strategy has shifted over the past 40 years. Prior to 1964, the GOP could be broadly divided into two main factions: the Northeastern Rockefeller Republicans and the Midwestern Taft Republicans. Rockefeller Republicans tended to be affluent, Protestant, socially liberal, and internationalist. In many respects they were similar to the UK's Conservative Party (post-WWII) in that they operated within the same governing realities as the Democrats. In contrast, the Taft Republicans were mostly conservative, isolationist, anti-union, and anti-New Deal. Neither of these factions did a good job of appealing to the white working class, unless they nominated someone with immense personal popularity like Eisenhower. This changed in the years between 1964 and 1966 when the Republicans began to target white working class voters dissatisfied with the New Left, the Great Society, Civil Rights, etc (visible evidence of this is the hard hat riots). Richard Nixon and his strategists, namely Pat Buchanan and Roger Ailes, began to aggressively court these voters by minimizing the GOP's anti-labor, anti-New Deal rhetoric. Instead, they emphasized cultural and foreign policy issues to great affect. Reagan, Gingrich, and their successors have built on this legacy and have made the white working class (and middle class) a cornerstone of the Republican Party's electoral strategy.

3-The white working class in America is much different than the white working class in Europe. For starters, factory workers in the United States in the years after World War Two were solidly in the middle class. They benefited from highly favorable union contracts and a lack of international competition. Since the 1970s, with an increase in globalization, the lack of improvement in public education, and a decrease in levels of unionization have eroded the economic stability in the white working class. Many aspire to return to those days of plenty, and therefore aren't necessarily anti-capitalism or anti-establishment. Unlike many European working class voters, they don't see socialism as a better alternative. Another important factor here is religion. White working class voters tend to be quite regular in their religious practices, and many are pro-life and anti-gay marriage. The combination of these factors makes them an inherently "conservative" group that isn't looking for dramatic change of the current economic system.

For further reasons, read Democratic pollster Stanley Greenberg's writings on the subject.
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« Reply #18 on: March 18, 2012, 03:49:57 pm »
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Wonderful put hcallega
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« Reply #19 on: March 18, 2012, 04:03:39 pm »
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Wonderful put hcallega
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« Reply #20 on: March 18, 2012, 04:17:24 pm »
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I think a liberal like Ed Schultz could bring back the white working class into the Democratic party while still being a liberal. His rhetoric message of fighting for the working class was what brought these people into the party in the first place, so trying to bring them back in would be another nice fit for the Democratic coalition.
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« Reply #21 on: March 18, 2012, 06:43:03 pm »
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I think a liberal like Ed Schultz could bring back the white working class into the Democratic party while still being a liberal. His rhetoric message of fighting for the working class was what brought these people into the party in the first place, so trying to bring them back in would be another nice fit for the Democratic coalition.

I think it's easy to say that the Democrats need to become the populist party if they want to win back the Rust Belt and the white working class. Personally, I disagree. Being the party of the economic past isn't going to work. Voters can generally see through that. They know that we can't go back to the 1950s. What the Democratic Party needs to do is embrace a forward thinking economic message, and then clearly and succinctly present it to the American heartland.  Bill Clinton did that in 1992 and 1996. He didn't retreat to the platitudes of the New Deal. He did it by talking about job creation and investment in growing areas of the economy. I think that white working class voters don't want to be pandered to. They want to see candidates that genuinely care about their economic situation, and present solutions that address their concerns. Obama can do that, and there are already many Democrats who are (Mark Warner and Bob Casey are good examples).
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morgieb
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« Reply #22 on: March 19, 2012, 07:22:15 am »
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If Obama can do that, then why is he performing worse than ever with whites? Is it because he's black?
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hcallega
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« Reply #23 on: March 19, 2012, 12:04:52 pm »
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If Obama can do that, then why is he performing worse than ever with whites? Is it because he's black?

It's mostly the state of the economy and trouble getting his message across. His numbers will probably improve by Election Day.
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« Reply #24 on: March 19, 2012, 09:48:11 pm »
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Democrats do have to adopt populism to an extent, though not a carbon copy of Bryan populism or Roosevelt populism. Can we revitalize our manufacturing sector? Sure. Will it be exactly the same as before, with steel in Pittsburgh, iron in Philly, etc.? Of course not. We can build windmills, solar panels, more and better cars.
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