Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Multiracial working class

This is completely irrelevant to the following post, but I couldn't resist:
It's always exciting when the Real World of Journamalism catches up with something a blogger has been doing for a couple of months, especially when it's me. Here's Lee Drutman of the New America think tank, writing about the Democracy Fund Voter Study Group study I was telling you about in July, in which he was a participant, and coming to something the same conclusion in The New York Times, sort of, about where the Democratic Party needs to go shopping for voters.

That piece was about the different categories of Republicans as classed by their various attitudes and aspirations into Staunch Conservatives, Free Marketeers, American Preservationists, Anti-Elites, and the Disengaged, and I was arguing that if you wanted to increase the Democratic vote from 2016 from the Republican pool, you would want to go not to the American Preservationists, those rustic white patriots The New York Times writers want us to be exclusively concerned with, but the Anti-Elites, who are more multiracial than other Republican voters, and more interested in government largesse; but that it would be best to forget about Republican voters altogether and recruit nonvoters.

Drutman is working from a different breakdown, according to who voted for whom in the 2012 and 2016 elections, with a focus on those who changed parties in 2016, and asks the questions:

Can Democrats really afford to write-off Obama-Trump voters — those voters, typically white, working class, who voted for Barack Obama in 2012 and for Donald Trump in 2016? After all, Democrats still face a structural problem: geography. The rules governing elections, especially in the House, give a greater voice to the rural, sparsely populated but large stretches of the country that vote Republican.
And will wealthier suburbs really tilt toward Democrats? And can Democrats really count on higher turnout, especially among fickle younger voters? Don’t Democrats need to settle on a bold vision to excite voters?
The party-changers include those who voted for Obama in 2012 and Trump in 2016 (in whom as I've said I don't entirely believe), estimated by Drutman at 3.6% of the total vote; those who voted for Romney in 2012 and Clinton in 2016, the genuine NeverTrumpers at 1.9%; and those who switched from Obama in 2012 to voting for a third party, most likely Libertarian or Green, or didn't vote at all, at 4.3% (I'm pretty sure the nonvoters are the largest component in there and the Stein voters the smallest, regardless of what your Twitter feed might suggest). Drutman looks at the numbers and learns that the Obama-to-other group is the only one with any serious number of members who think they would vote for Democrats in a congressional election (almost none would vote for a Republican), and that's where he thinks we should be looking hardest for votes.
Via Voter Study Group.
How Drutman wants to reach them—with a "sharper economic message" that falls short, perhaps, of a "new economic populism", aiming at "at least some possibility of gain among Obama-Trump voters and Obama-Other voters, with little risk of alienating Romney-Clinton voters"—is less clear.

We aren't told what proportion of these voters actually voted in 2016 (for Johnson or Stein) as opposed to staying home, nor exactly who they are demographically, except that they're "much more nonwhite, poorer and less educated than the overall electorate." They're the Disaffected Multiracial Working Class (and include young white people with a wider experience of and more positive relationship with nonwhite people than the elderly hillbillies they keep telling us to worry about).

I hope everybody's clear that one of the things that kept the nonvoters of this group home a year ago was a (misplaced) lack of confidence that Clinton cared about black and brown communities in the way Obama presumptively did (aggravated by Facebook propaganda openly calling her a racist, with the endless repetition of that "superpredator" line and the picture of her with Robert Byrd in Photoshopped Klan outfit).  I hope everybody understands that "sharpening" the economic message at the expense of the traditional Democratic commitment to minority and women's rights (as is always hinted in the White Working Class rhetoric) isn't an option. It has to be both.

By the way:

No comments:

Post a Comment