The argument for a populist Democratic Party: Not the Obama Coalition

Neither of these women hinder or help the Emerging Democratic Majority.

Egberto Willes in arguing that the "Obama Coalition" is not truly a Democratic coalition, wrote: [More...]

President Obama won the presidency twice. Each time he won he did so by substantial margins. His 2008 winning percentages were 43, 95, 67, 62, and 66 for the white, black, Latino, Asian, and other groups respectively. His 2012 winning percentages were 39, 93, 71, 73, and 58 for the white, black, Latino, Asian, and other groups respectively. . . . The above numbers are electorally balanced given today’s realities. It should put a fear in every Democratic presidential candidate’s psyche. Just like Karl Rove was wrong about a permanent Republican majority in 2001, those who claim some sort of Obama coalition that guarantees a 2016 Democratic president are wrong. The "Bush coalition" of 2004 actually looks much more balanced and sustainable than the mythical Obama coalition. . . .

All Republicans need to do to replicate the 2004 Bush coalition is to simply not act crazy. A few months back I wrote the piece “Don’t laugh but Rand Paul could be our next president” that had many calling me naive. This even as we are a country that elected an articulate actor (Reagan) and a less than intellectually competent "Yale" graduate (George W. Bush).

What is Egberto arguing for? I'll get to that in a second, but his notion that 2004 is the "true" breakdown is unsupported. On top of that, it only leads to a squeaker win for the GOP. Frankly, a better candidate would have beaten Bush in my opinion.

But is there really an "Obama Coalition?" Certainly Obama maximized African-American turnout and, in 2008, maximized the youth vote. That can't be replicated by any Democrat right now. But the basic contours of the "Obama Coalition" have existed for quite some time. I'll just give you one data point to prove my point: Michael Dukakis in 1988 collected votes in the demographics as follows: 40 percent of whites, 89 percent of African Americans, 70 percent of Latinos. In essence, he won the "Obama Coalition." Of course, he lost to Bush 41 by eight points. What happened in the following 20 years was the emerging Democratic majority. One data point—in 1988, whites were 85 percent of the electorate. In 2012, they were 72 percent.

Egberto's title tells his thesis "Democrats cannot rely on a mythical nontransferable 'Obama Coalition." This is incorrect on a number of levels. First, as I think I demonstrated above, it's not an "Obama Coalition," it's a Democratic Coalition. If Mike Dukakis can achieve it, you simply can't attribute it to Obama.

Second, Democrats can rely upon the basic makeup of the vote of those demographics. Even in Egberto's representative "true" year, 2004, Bush 43's principal gains were amongst Latino voters and even then Kerry took 56 percent of the Latino vote. And that was the GOP highwater mark, and an anomaly. This is especially clear when you consider that Bush and Rove were assiduously courting Latino votes with initiatives like, yep, immigration reform. That thrust has been utterly repudiated by the GOP. In short, 2004 was sui generis.

Okay, so what's the argument for abandoning this formula if it is (1) a Democratic coalition, not an Obama coalition; (2) not a myth, and in fact resilient? The argument is simple, winning elections is necessary, but not a complete condition to governing progressively.

In short, absent a transformation of the dynamic of Democratic governing and the elimination of the legislative filibuster, progressivism can only gain in increments absent a large electoral win. Thus while the emerging democratic majority can win the presidency in most cases, it can't win a governing majority.

What's needed for that? Winning more white voters. How to do that? Well the DLC/Third Way types will argue for "moderation" as the path. And perhaps they are right. But "moderation" does not win for progressivism. It may win for Democrats, but not for the ideas of progressives.

Egberto argues:

The Democratic nominee better take on issues directly that solidifies the Democratic base. Prosperity likely will not have trickled down by November 2016 even with a seemingly good economy. The Democratic nominee will have to be unabashedly populist and anti Wall Street, the arbiters of capital extraction.They must be the embodiment of our just lost liberal orator Mario Cuomo. The nominee must bring back to life the essence of Cuomo's 1984 keynote speech and FDR's 2nd Bill of Rights.

As elitist Democrats continue the coronation of some with the expectation that the Obama Coalition is static for their taking, a big surprise might just be in the making. Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. One hopes the lesson will be learned in due time.

I'm for Egberto's remedies, but not for the reasons Egberto is arguing for them. First, a Democrat, let's say, Hillary Clinton, can certainly win in 2016 without doing these things. But can she govern in a progressive way? (Of course many doubt that is how she wants to govern.) The answer is pretty clearly no.

Winning elections is one thing, winning a governing coalition for progressive policies is something else altogether. To gain that in the short term, Democrats need more white votes. And populism as described by Egberto could be the way to do that.

The Warren Wing of the Democratic Party does not have a particular appeal to the existing emerging Democratic majority (nor is it a drawback). But perhaps its appeal can draw in more white working-class votes. And of course it speaks to very important progressive policy preferences regarding the economy.

In making the argument for this approach, I think we need to stay true to the political facts: (1) a Hillary Clinton does not threaten the emerging Democratic majority, but it also does not expand it. (2) The Warren Wing does not insure the emerging Democratic majority nor does it lessen it. (3) We need electoral expansion for progressive policies. And there may be fertile ground among working-class white voters. That type of expansion requires Democratic populism.

As to what Hillary Clinton wants, I'm more cynical than most. She wants to win but also won't stand in the way of progressivism.

In the short term, I'm arguing for progressives influencing presidents. What comes after that, who is to say?

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    This (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri Jan 30, 2015 at 03:45:50 PM EST
    All Republicans need to do to replicate the 2004 Bush coalition is to simply not act crazy

    Sounds so simple.  

    Yes (none / 0) (#4)
    by Ga6thDem on Fri Jan 30, 2015 at 04:56:12 PM EST
    I think not crazy is beyond their reach at this point. So far the crazy has been cranking up pretty good and it's not even the official primary season yet.

    Evidence (5.00 / 1) (#48)
    by Towanda on Sat Jan 31, 2015 at 06:59:39 PM EST
    Scotty Walker leads in Iowa, per the Des Moines Register poll just released.

    Iowans want a college dropout, owing to unethical behavior even in running for student government -- a governor with a criminal defense fund, under ongoing investigation for continued unethical conduct in not one but two campaigns, after previous investigations have landed five aides and a donor in prison for illegal donations, embezzlement of funds for veterans' families, child porn, paid trolling of media websites, and more.

    Crazy Iowans certainly are cranking up, already.


    So far (5.00 / 1) (#55)
    by FlJoe on Sun Feb 01, 2015 at 07:23:29 AM EST
    he has a had teflon coat to the ethics/corruption scandals. He is a Koch sucking, union busting, hippy punching culture warrior,in other words the perfect republican candidate. Republicans are willing to ignore or brush aside major flaws such as this and of course the media is clueless. Two cycles ago Rudy Giuliani was the front runner, no angel there. In my book minus the dirt Walker would be a lock on the nomination.

    Today on This Week (5.00 / 1) (#74)
    by christinep on Sun Feb 01, 2015 at 06:12:23 PM EST
    'Thought you might be interested, Towanda, in reported Walker response to Martha Raddatz about his foreign policy views. Walker apparently quickly responded that he favored an "aggressive" policy in the Mideast and anywhere to react to terrorism.  When asked what he meant by "aggressive," he blurted--and, I'm paraphrasing--that if might require boots-on-the-ground.  And, he repeated that might be necessary as to ISIS.  Yep, he seems to go quickly to the boots-on-the-ground remedy.

    I wonder now he really will hold up in a national spotlight.  The W routine may have spoiled the "aggressive" routine of a Walker in gaining national traction. Let's hope.


    If national media commit acts of journalism (5.00 / 2) (#76)
    by Towanda on Sun Feb 01, 2015 at 09:13:53 PM EST
    as Wisconsin's major media have not been willing to do, Walker will be toast.

    But from what we have seen so far, with national media just retyping Walker's press releases, that is a big if.

    Thankfully, we have local blogs, and yes, they are reporting the militarism of Mr. Walker.  He had to be dissuaded at the last minute from calling up boots on the ground in Wisconsin, too, in 2011 -- to go to war against his own state, as Slado says so well.


    His boots can go first (none / 0) (#80)
    by CST on Mon Feb 02, 2015 at 12:51:14 PM EST
    we'll be right behind him.

    Or not.


    Well (none / 0) (#49)
    by Ga6thDem on Sat Jan 31, 2015 at 07:12:41 PM EST
    remember the same people that are saying they support Scott Walker are the same ones that put crazy Joni Ernst in the senate.

    "Crazy" Scott Walker (none / 0) (#53)
    by Slado on Sun Feb 01, 2015 at 06:30:21 AM EST
    Won three elections against not only state but national democratic forces and funding in four years.

    Maybe "Crazy" is the new normal?  Or did a majority of Wisconsin voters turn "Crazy" three times in four years?

    This line of though simply doesn't wash against him.   You don't get the election results if it did.

    Anyone can pull it off once.  Three times in four years means you are a serious politician.


    "Against his state"? (5.00 / 2) (#75)
    by Towanda on Sun Feb 01, 2015 at 09:10:03 PM EST
    Yes, you -- if unwittingly -- certainly do pinpoint the problem with the hate machine of Mr. Walker. He does hate all that was Wisconsin, all for which it stood.  But that else is to be expected of the boy of a Baptist preacher from ultra-conservative Colorado Springs.

    But the list of all that Walker is against is so long.  Watch out, as no doubt, you're on it, too.


    He is crazy like a fox (none / 0) (#56)
    by FlJoe on Sun Feb 01, 2015 at 07:34:58 AM EST
    an amazing politician really to survive, but can he stand up to the Bush machine?

    If (none / 0) (#62)
    by Politalkix on Sun Feb 01, 2015 at 11:03:51 AM EST
    he wins Iowa (where he is leading now), New Hampshire (where McCain clobbered GWB once) and South Carolina, Jeb Bush will have to fight for the nomination very hard. It may not be handed to him as was done to his brother.

    Just saying (5.00 / 1) (#68)
    by FlJoe on Sun Feb 01, 2015 at 04:04:14 PM EST
    Bush's oppo team already has plenty of ammo that the can unleash at a time of their choosing. Walkers cronies got caught ripping off a veterans charity after all. That's a ready made swift boat attack if you play it and get the media to bite. I suspect Walker will continue to rise and gather oxygen and money and be declared front runner by the media until one or more of the others goes on the attack. Then and only then will it really be game on for the nomination.

    They say Jeb (none / 0) (#69)
    by CaptHowdy on Sun Feb 01, 2015 at 04:23:30 PM EST
    is planning to do what his brother did and try to clear the field early.  If that's true we shouldn't have to wait long for this.  Walker is the new heartthrob of the right.

    as usual (none / 0) (#70)
    by FlJoe on Sun Feb 01, 2015 at 05:03:41 PM EST
    it all depends on the money. At this point as long as Bush can keep the cash coming in he can afford to play his cards close to the chest. I expect the first shots to come from a candidate looking for oxygen and money or a proxy angling for a VP slot.
    Poor Scotty, he has always had enemies, now he can add a bunch of former pals to that list. Say what you will about the Republicans,their presidential political theater is very entertaining and needless to say ruthless, pass the popcorn.  

    I can tell you (none / 0) (#71)
    by Ga6thDem on Sun Feb 01, 2015 at 05:11:58 PM EST
    this though if Jeb Bush is the nominee there is going to be a lot of people in Georgia sitting home in 2016. And probably all across the south because they hate the guy.

    No, they won't (none / 0) (#72)
    by Politalkix on Sun Feb 01, 2015 at 05:25:23 PM EST
    They will fall in line. And they love his brother.
    Ask Jim.

    Jim (none / 0) (#77)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Feb 02, 2015 at 08:26:19 AM EST
    says that if they nominate Jeb that they might as well just hand Hillary the presidency.

    You really don't understand this kind of thing do you? Jeb represents all that they hate. His wife is Hispanic. He loves Common Core and whole host of other things they profess to hate.


    Disagree (none / 0) (#93)
    by Politalkix on Mon Feb 02, 2015 at 09:03:23 PM EST
    It is not as simple as that. Southern states like Louisiana and South Carolina have elected non-white Governors such as Bobby Jindal and Nicki Haley. The current first lady of Louisiana is a non-white woman. Tim Scott has won a state wide election from South Carolina to become a Senator. Ofcourse, each of them had to out-crazy the most conservative fringe to get elected.

    After the Michelle Bachmann's, Sarah Palins, Barbara Bushes provide the family values certificate to Jeb Bush's wife, she will be deemed acceptable to be first lady to conservatives (who you think hate everything that Jeb represents).


    Well (none / 0) (#94)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Feb 03, 2015 at 06:46:49 AM EST
    then that will ruin him for the national election. The GOP is stuck in vortex that they cannot seem to get out of. Tea party bonfides rile up the base but turn off the rest of the country.

    You can only Swift Boat... (none / 0) (#81)
    by unitron on Mon Feb 02, 2015 at 02:37:58 PM EST
    ...someone who actually went out there and got shot at.

    You can't imply that Cheney went to 'Nam just to get his picture taken for political advantage and that he wasn't really that great in combat and for all we know was slipping intel to Charlie, and stuff like that, because that requires that the target of the smear was actually there.


    your (none / 0) (#60)
    by Ga6thDem on Sun Feb 01, 2015 at 10:30:48 AM EST
    post exemplifies the problem that Republicans have. You take a low turn out off year election as some massive mandate. Polls show him losing his own state to Hillary. Why those same people don't come out and kick him out of the governor's office  is beyond me.

    I would say crazy is the new normal for the GOP. Every one of them sounds like they never leave the echo chamber and simply can't believe that everyone doesn't believe like they do. I read an article back in 2012 after the presidential election calling Republicans "the new McGovernicks" because of their behavior.


    Sorry... (none / 0) (#78)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Mon Feb 02, 2015 at 10:14:00 AM EST
    but 402 "likely Republican caucus goers" does not represent the totality of Iowans, despite your fervor to depict it as so.

    Not to mention Walker has a one percentage point lead in a poll with an error tolerance of +/- 4.9%.


    Love Iowans (none / 0) (#91)
    by Politalkix on Mon Feb 02, 2015 at 06:44:06 PM EST
    The state catapulted the campaigns of two Presidents that I like more than others-Carter and BHO. One of the earliest states to recognize same sex marriage....

    If there are uncrazy Iowans (none / 0) (#105)
    by Towanda on Mon Feb 16, 2015 at 05:38:34 PM EST
    in the GOP there -- as I did use the qualifier crazy for the Iowans polled with their high hopes for Walker -- then it's a flawed poll?  How?

    I have read that it's a well-done poll design.


    Egberto Willes (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by KeysDan on Fri Jan 30, 2015 at 03:54:42 PM EST
    does not make a persuasive differentiation between an historic Democratic base and Obama coalition.  It is a difference without a distinction when the dynamics of an electoral coalition is considered across time and among candidates.  The twin goals are to solidify the base and to get out the vote.  The need to get out the vote is constant, the base to be solidified changes in character with the times and demographics.

    Perhaps, by the Obama coalition it is meant a solidified base with a high black voter turnout. The base, in composite, is progressive. Populist policies serve both goals.   Mrs. Clinton, the presumptive nominee, needs to take into account that which is enduring and that which in flux in the Democratic base.  It seems to me that she can manage, overall, not only to capture the base of 2012, but also, expand upon it.  

    The notion that Rand Paul will erode the black turnout seems fanciful--there is so much for Rand to overcome, starting with his shallow and different understanding of civil rights, just as his non-interventionist foreign policy loses it gloss with further inspection.

    A moot point, probably. A Rand Paul Republican candidacy seems unlikely. Perhaps, as a running mate to Bush, the more likely Republican presidential candidate. Although, given Bush family selections for veep (Quayle, Cheney)  Rand may be too normal.  I would go with Joni Ernst--less normal and a woman.  

    While it is said that vice presidential running mates do not make a difference, it may be that the getting out the base to vote part will be important in 2016.  Mrs. Clinton will surely be looking at a Spanish/speaking running mate--an important part of the Democratic coalition and  a politically savvy move if faced with the Spanish speaking Jeb.

    Julian Castro is Barack Obama, 2016 (none / 0) (#13)
    by NYShooter on Fri Jan 30, 2015 at 11:29:34 PM EST
    What I mean is that Castro has many of the traits Obama projected and that made it easier for Whites to vote for a minority.

    I may be smitten, but you can't watch Castro give a speech, or sit for an interview, and not be impressed.


    VP (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by MKS on Sat Jan 31, 2015 at 12:34:40 AM EST
    Rand is a long shot (none / 0) (#101)
    by jbindc on Wed Feb 04, 2015 at 07:32:55 AM EST
    And it's because he may be too dovish.

    Or it could be, as Charlie Pierce (none / 0) (#102)
    by Anne on Wed Feb 04, 2015 at 07:48:25 AM EST
    reminds us, that Rand Paul only makes sense for the first five minutes - after that, it's just gibberish.  His father, Ron, is afflicted with the same condition.

    Enjoy his explanation for his comments about vaccines - it could be part of a comedy act if it wasn't such an unfunny subject.


    Governance and pathways (5.00 / 2) (#5)
    by christinep on Fri Jan 30, 2015 at 05:50:19 PM EST
    Going beyond the Presidential contest--with the increasingly helpful demographic disposition--if your commentary is to caution about not losing sight of a broader, longer-lasting strategy, I must agree that we focus further than the WH.

     We may be moving toward a structural advantage in the electoral college; but, almost simultaneously, we have lost a bit of broader ground in recent statehouse races by failure to vote in what may seem more boring races.  Repubs have gained numerous seats in Statehouses, and the depth & bench that goes with it in coming years.  Think: Local issues define the eventual field of play--Right or Left leaning--and require attention to detail...particularly, attention to all the practical consequences of controlling/being in charge of periodic Reapportionment.

    Who, one might ask, is Egberto Willies? (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by oculus on Sat Jan 31, 2015 at 02:49:01 AM EST

    Better bet than populism (5.00 / 1) (#39)
    by Dadler on Sat Jan 31, 2015 at 10:10:11 AM EST
    The creation new and imaginative terms, new language to address the evolution of the skepticism/cynicism of the electorate, while appealing to the most obvious metaphor they can see in their daily lives (and perhaps it's just using new terms for old stuff):

    Use the rigged board game analogy, dollars are just game pieces.

    Or the sports metaphor -- would you play the Super Bowl without referees or rules? Then why do we allow the most powerful players in our economy to play this way?

    I'm sorry, but because we insist on maintaining, like children who want to maintain a belief in Santa Claus, powerfully false notions about the type of currency we use and the ultimate implications of that currency's type (i.e., it is not factually possible, as it is not factually possible for the world to be flat, for the federal government to ever go financially bankrupt, nations sovereign in their own currencies never can), it seems to me that we are going to spend a lot of time divided, pissing into the wind, and then saying, "Gosh, why are my eyes burning so much?"

    Simplify, amplify, demystify.

    Sorry, I just think the entire political "reality" in this nation exists in bizarre state of denial where we as progressives seem to just accept, ho hum -- like we accept, ho hum, right wing economic paradigms as the de-facto starting point of economic "debate"-- that our obvious imaginative and creative strength over conservatives, so obvious and profound I think it scares us to use, means nothing. So we allow, limit ourselves merely to attempting to be better at someone else's game.

    The left, or what passes for the left, the Dems, whomever, IMO, start all economic discussions from a position that, if we were using the same "logic" with global warming, would find us much more in line with climate change deniers.

    Which is very, very odd to me.

    And really sad, just sad. Because what it means is that we accept the notion that money matters more than people, that it is more real, more deserving of respect and care. Which is why we will fire people, throw them out of their homes, cut their "entitlements," make people suffer in any number of other ways, all in the name of saving money. We never make money suffer to save people. Ever. You know why? Because we can't. It's not a real thing. But we sure do treat it like it bleeds.


    I just want to repeat this. (5.00 / 1) (#83)
    by sj on Mon Feb 02, 2015 at 02:46:14 PM EST
    ...what it means is that we accept the notion that money matters more than people, that it is more real, more deserving of respect and care. Which is why we will fire people, throw them out of their homes, cut their "entitlements," make people suffer in any number of other ways, all in the name of saving money. We never make money suffer to save people. Ever. You know why? Because we can't. It's not a real thing. But we sure do treat it like it bleeds.
    In a nutshell, right there.

    And I feel crazy for believing it so firmly (none / 0) (#103)
    by Dadler on Wed Feb 04, 2015 at 09:26:34 AM EST
    As a loon. Bless those birds in this crazier world.

    Peace, my friend.


    Trust me: you are not alone. (5.00 / 1) (#104)
    by Anne on Wed Feb 04, 2015 at 10:06:17 AM EST
    Even if it feels like we are small voices screaming into the endless void of other people's empty heads.

    I try, when possible, to have these conversations with people, to plant some seeds of reason and acquaint them with reality, but I find that people have been so thoroughly freakin' brainwashed by all the debt and deficit talk that they are sure I have lost my mind.  

    Keep the faith.


    I have a problem describing (5.00 / 3) (#45)
    by NYShooter on Sat Jan 31, 2015 at 02:13:49 PM EST
    the big chasm between (primarily) white southerners and the two coasts as "culture" wars, or, as having "cultural" differences. There's nothing "cultural" about it. For want of a better term, I'd call it a war between Haters and Rational people. It really is that simple. We can debate issues forever, yet the republicans keep winning, and winning big, by appealing to emotions, and hate.

    I'm pretty sure no one here has forgotten that article in the NY Times a while back that described Southern voter's reaction to the ACA, and, what, if anything, it would do to their voting pattern.

    One example from the article stands out, and, pretty much tells the whole story. And, Democratic election advisors/analysts better take heed:

    (Will have to paraphrase, but the essence is precise) A Southern woman was asked her feelings regarding the ACA ("Obamacare") She responded enthusiastically, "Oh, I just love it, it's wonderful! It's done wonders, not just for little Jamie here, but his two brothers back home, and their father, who is having his back problem, finally, being taken care of. And, me? (laughs) I've got a list a mile long for the Doc, can't wait to get started."

    Then, comes the all-important question: "Does this mean you're going to rethink how you've been voting, and, maybe, just maybe, there's a teeny-weeny chance you might even vote for someone like Obama?" "No way!! Ooh, I just can't stand that man!! Nope, been voting for Mitch (McConnell) and don't see no reason to change now."

    So, there you have it. Issues, shmissues, the republicans have done such a masterful job in molding the conservative vote that this woman, who just Luuuves Obamacare, would eat dog turds before she'd vote for the man who gave her this health insurance.

    Proctor & Gamble knows how to sell it's products; so do TV Producers, and auto manufacturers also. The republicans can be beaten, and I believe, quite easily. But, whoever produces, and , manages the democrat's campaigns better realize that elections are won and/or lost with bias, emotion, and, enthusiasm.....not by appealing to voters' cognitive, rational minds. They had better be able to answer the only question that matters, Do they want to win elections, or, debates?

    Don't you just love those bitter clingers? (none / 0) (#64)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Sun Feb 01, 2015 at 02:10:52 PM EST

    Using a crude stereotype like "bitter clingers" to describe people he has very little contact with would seem to place Obama squarely  in the haters camp. How about you?

    Why would you love them? (none / 0) (#66)
    by Yman on Sun Feb 01, 2015 at 02:55:57 PM EST
    Obama wasn't talking about all working class, white voters ... just a sub-group.  A sub-group for whom the description is accurate.

    A dumb comment in political terms doesn't mean it's not entirely accurate.


    I have made (none / 0) (#1)
    by Ga6thDem on Fri Jan 30, 2015 at 02:58:27 PM EST
    the point about Obama winning with just the Dukakis coalition and people simply just don't believe it.

    Willes sounds kind of pouty here to me. He should be following your advice and pressure whoever to answer questions and propose solutions.

    Wrong (none / 0) (#7)
    by Politalkix on Fri Jan 30, 2015 at 09:56:01 PM EST

    "Millions of Americans, white and black, went to bed on Tuesday night saying, "I never thought I'd live to see the day." We have lived to see the day.
    The most remarkable result in the networks' state-by-state exit polls was something that did not show up: heightened racial division. Forty-three percent of white voters nationwide voted for Barack Obama. His white support was as high as, or slightly higher than, that of previous Democratic presidential candidates. John Kerry took 41 percent of the white vote; Al Gore took 42 percent; Bill Clinton, 39 percent (in 1992); Michael Dukakis, 40 percent; Walter Mondale, 35 percent; and Jimmy Carter, 35 percent (in 1980). Obama was tied with Clinton, who got 43 percent of the white vote in 1996, and slightly behind Carter's 47 percent in 1976. It was as if race didn't matter.

    Only Southern whites seemed resistant to Obama's appeal, voting 68 percent to 32 percent for McCain. Even so, Obama managed to peel off the fastest-growing states in the South outside of Texas."

    The subsequent loss of BHO's support among a section of the white electorate during his presidency was caused primarily because he pursued a progressive goal-passage of the ACA. Many whites just saw it as a sop to minorities. He paid a personal price in popularity to make the country better.


    Dkakis drew mre white votes than (none / 0) (#8)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Jan 30, 2015 at 10:10:18 PM EST
    Obama 2012.

    And was beat by 8.

    I don;t think you are understanding the math.


    I think CDS is interfering (3.67 / 3) (#11)
    by nycstray on Fri Jan 30, 2015 at 10:38:32 PM EST
    with their math . . . .  :)

    Dukakis (none / 0) (#12)
    by Politalkix on Fri Jan 30, 2015 at 10:55:08 PM EST

    "Altogether last November, Obama won a larger percentage of the total vote than Dukakis in 31 states (plus D.C.), including 13 states where Obama outpaced Dukakis by at least 10 percentage points. The latter included an eclectic group of vote-rich states -- New Jersey and New York in the Northeast, Florida and Virginia in the South, and California on the Pacific coast.

    But there were 19 states where Dukakis drew a higher percentage of the vote than Obama did in 2012. With the exception of Texas, they were basically more rural states in the South, the agricultural Midwest and the Mountain West. Yet the largest falloff in the Democratic vote from 1988 to 2012 came in West Virginia, a state that Dukakis won with 52% of the vote but where Obama struggled last fall to reach 35%. It was the only state that Dukakis carried but Obama did not in either of his presidential runs.

    The 19 states that Dukakis in 1988 did better than Obama in 2012 are West Virginia, Wyoming, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Utah, Kentucky, Arkansas, Kansas, Montana, North Dakota, Louisiana, Missouri, Idaho, Iowa, Tennessee, Texas, Alabama, Minnesota and Nebraska.

    The number of white votes that Dukakis got is meaningless from both winning and progressive policy point of views (if you leave Iowa and Minnesota out) if you just look at where the white votes came from.


    Yes (none / 0) (#22)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Jan 31, 2015 at 07:45:10 AM EST
    Your point being what exactly?

    Of course its not menaingless (none / 0) (#23)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Jan 31, 2015 at 07:47:00 AM EST
    Its like you didn't read my piece.

    The difference between winning and governing.

    Try again please.


    No (none / 0) (#29)
    by Politalkix on Sat Jan 31, 2015 at 08:26:10 AM EST
    I read your piece and came to the conclusion that it was half baked. You are not going to be able to govern as a progressive by trying to appeal to white voters in states that Dukakis did better than BHO. You cannot govern as an environmental progressive if you are looking for votes of the white electorate in Appalachia, you cannot govern as a progressive on issues relating to race, sex, immigration, religion, etc if you are trying to appeal to rural whites in the South.

    That's a DIFFERENT point (none / 0) (#30)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Jan 31, 2015 at 08:40:24 AM EST
    and I half agree with you.

    I'm not at all confident that "populism" is going to work to increase white Dem voters.

    But I can;t think of another short term approach that has a chance.

    You really don't understand my piece.


    The problem (5.00 / 2) (#33)
    by Ga6thDem on Sat Jan 31, 2015 at 08:56:13 AM EST
    is that too many people like Politkix think that just mouthing populism is going to bring in more voters. On that account you're probably on the right track in your thinking. What needs to be done is propose some populist solutions and then EXPLAIN to the voters how it is going to help them. You have to be able to EXPLAIN these policies to change the minds of people.

    Ga6th: Agree about being able to explain (5.00 / 1) (#47)
    by christinep on Sat Jan 31, 2015 at 03:13:24 PM EST
    That is why I believe the messenger does, indeed, have a certain importance.  Wrong messenger or poor communicator or unappealing messenger means no message or loss of message.

    Remember Dukakis and Gore as "messengers."  They weren't ... neither had a knack for it on the broad, national, all-groups-of-people level.  The message didn't matter; because the both Dukakis and Gore were so vulnerable to being typecast, nationally, as elite and aloof.  It may not have been the case (esp. with the Greek immigrants son, Dukakis), but the persona could not break through for either and the message did not matter.  OTOH, one of my favorites--Senator Robert Kennedy--and the scion of wealth & privilege, had the indefinable persona to connect, and that connection led to a genuine, broad-based national action to alleviate, erase poverty.

    Movement forward calls for the messenger as well as the message.  And, imo, lasting populism inherently involves compromise ... because the head cannot succeed without the heart.


    I think you're (none / 0) (#31)
    by Ga6thDem on Sat Jan 31, 2015 at 08:44:13 AM EST
    missing a big piece of the puzzle. A lot of Obama's problems with these voters is his style much like Kerry had the same problem. Obama would not even go and talk to these voters so how do you know? If he had tried then maybe it would be different but he more or less didn't venture out of his comfort zone.

    Oh I see now (none / 0) (#25)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Jan 31, 2015 at 08:02:00 AM EST
    Your claiming tht all the gains from Dukakis to Obama are attributable to Obama.

    Now that is ridiculous.

    Consider just one data point to see if you might understand.

    In 1988, George H. W Bush won California over Dukakis. 51-47

    in 1992, Clinton won California by 47-32 (Perot took 21 oercent.) Here was the exit poll breakdown

    ELECTION 98 MAIN    |   





     --     47       32       21

    VOTE BY SEX                  

      ALL MEN       47     43       34       23

      ALL WOMEN     53     51       31       18

    VOTE BY SEX - WHITES ONLY                    

      WHITE MEN    48     39       37       24

      WHITE WOMEN  52     46       34       20


      WHITE        79     42       35       23

      AFRI-AMER   6     83        9        8

      HISPANIC    8     65       23       12

      ASIAN      4     39       39       23

      OTHER     2                  

    If you pretend there were NO elections between 1988 and 2012, you might think you have a point.

    But there were elections every 4 years and we can see  that the outliers for Dems in the period is actually the white vote acied by Bill clinton.

    There is a reason only Clinton and Obama have won.

    Clinton because he won a bigger share of the white vote.

    Obama because of demographic AND his outstanding ability to maximize the vote in key constituencies.

    That said, there is no doub that if Bill Clinton did s well as he did in 1996 in 2012 he would have won by 15 points.


    You brought up Dukakis (none / 0) (#32)
    by Politalkix on Sat Jan 31, 2015 at 08:53:20 AM EST
    first. I did not. I replied to your post.
    Neither did I say that there was no election between 1988 and 2012.

    OTOH, you are steadfastly refusing to acknowledge that some of the white vote that Clinton won came with a price as far as progressive policies are concerned (Crime Bill, Welfare Reform, Sister Souljah, Ricky Ray Rector, etc) because of the way he campaigned to win.

    I do not want to go back to the ways Democrats like President Clinton campaigned in the 1990s to win non-progressive white votes because they came with a price. I am happy that Southern States do not matter anymore for Democrats to win at the Presidential level. That is all I am saying.


    I acknowledge it (5.00 / 2) (#34)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Jan 31, 2015 at 09:02:17 AM EST
    Clinton absolutely did some awful things to appeal to more white voters.

    Ricky Ray Rector.

    Sistah Souljah,


    OTOH he also did some good things when in office.

    This is the Dem conundrum, given the ingrained contempt for the "Other" among some whit voters, can you reach them without demonizing, both in political and policy terms, non whites?

    In this sense, both parties are faced with a Gordian knot - GOP must hang on to this white resentment to maintain their current political fortunes.

    Dems have the advantage at the Presidential level, GOP at all other levels.

    In the long run, there just won't be enough white voters to save the GOP on any level imo. That is California is the future.

    But that's 20 years from now

    What do we do until then?

    BTW, THIS is the conversation we should all be having.

    This is not an Obama issue It's a Dem issue.


    Well (none / 0) (#35)
    by Ga6thDem on Sat Jan 31, 2015 at 09:12:01 AM EST
    for one thing we should talk about the mistakes that Obama has made and learn not to repeat them. First of all don't campaign as a post partisan unity pony. It does nothing but give the GOP something to throw back in your face. Secondly make it about issues and not personality. Talk and be able to explain the policies and HOW they are going to help the middle class. And then completely destruct the GOP policies and talk about how they aren't good for the average American.

    I don't think making this discussion (none / 0) (#36)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Jan 31, 2015 at 09:13:51 AM EST
    Obama centric helps.

    People get their dander up, on both ides of that.

    Im actually aiming to get people to see its not an Obama issue, but a Dem issue.


    Thanks, BTD (5.00 / 1) (#37)
    by Politalkix on Sat Jan 31, 2015 at 09:18:26 AM EST
    for trying to keep the bigger picture in focus. This is a Democratic issue.

    Largely (none / 0) (#38)
    by Ga6thDem on Sat Jan 31, 2015 at 09:36:21 AM EST
    yes but it doesn't mean we can't learn from the mistakes of the past.

    As opposed to the way Obama ... (5.00 / 2) (#41)
    by Yman on Sat Jan 31, 2015 at 11:34:06 AM EST
    OTOH, you are steadfastly refusing to acknowledge that some of the white vote that Clinton won came with a price as far as progressive policies are concerned (Crime Bill, Welfare Reform, Sister Souljah, Ricky Ray Rector, etc) because of the way he campaigned to win.

    I do not want to go back to the ways Democrats like President Clinton campaigned in the 1990s to win non-progressive white votes because they came with a price. I am happy that Southern States do not matter anymore for Democrats to win at the Presidential level. That is all I am saying.

    ... paid the price by appealing to conservatives/independents in 2008 - criticizing the Kennedy v. Louisiana decision and in favor of expanding the death penalty for child rape, praising the landmark DC v. Heller anti gun control decision, flip-flopping after the primary on NAFTA/trade agreements, ditto for a public healthcare option, his newfound support of AIPAC/tough protection of Israel, FISA, choosing Rick Warren to lead his inauguration prayer (let's not even mention homophobic Rev. Donnie McClurkin) etc., etc., etc.

    Obama is shifting to the center

    Rewarding good behavior

    Obama Supporters on the Far Left Cry Foul

    Yeah - wouldn't want to go back to the way that Democrats like Obama campaigned in 2008.



    Also too (none / 0) (#9)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Jan 30, 2015 at 10:12:32 PM EST
    Clinton won in 3 person races, including 92 when PErot drew 19% of the vote.

    The issue was not (none / 0) (#10)
    by Politalkix on Fri Jan 30, 2015 at 10:19:17 PM EST
    "white voters" but "Southern white voters" as the article mentioned.

    Yes that's a DEM issue (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Jan 31, 2015 at 08:03:15 AM EST
    not an Obama issue

    That's my point.


    But, it would be nice to gain (5.00 / 1) (#46)
    by christinep on Sat Jan 31, 2015 at 02:43:37 PM EST
    white votes in future ... with a first focus on 2016.  While, at this time, is makes pragmatic and purposive sense to not get too caught up in chasing the southern white vote, we cannot so easily dismiss the white vote in other states.

    I play demographics with the best of them; and, in that regard, the definite reshaping of the American demographic with the consequent positive Democratic political positioning in Presidential elections is nice to behold.  But, we cannot get up on a high horse or equivalent and flirt with dismissing white voters throughout the country.
    Key states for years to come--because of size, influence, location--are Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Ohio, Virginia, Michigan, and Wisconsin. We need to interact well with middle/average workers.  IMO, to allow progressives even to appear to disregard the white working class--in terms of culture and concerns--is a long-term loser.

    Looking again only briefly at a particular strength Hillary Clinton demonstrated in 2008 and  later: Consider her connectedness with white working class sectors ... and, consider what we can learn from that.  That apparent affinity was the subject of commentary at the time ... at this time, the "why" in the broader sense may be more important.  For some reason, certain personalities convey a connectedness or understanding or whatever.  Furthering political positions via the Democratic Party (or any political vessel) has a better chance at realization when the "standard bearer" or titular leader conveys that affinity across the board.  That is where the white working class has been and always will be an essential component of institutionalizing progressive concepts.


    Christinep (none / 0) (#58)
    by Politalkix on Sun Feb 01, 2015 at 08:50:29 AM EST
    Nobody is dismissing white voters throughout the country, neither are white voters shunning Democrats across America. Democrats have a problem with white voters only in the South and a few other Republican strongholds. It is a regional problem. I cannot understand why you are concerned about Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Ohio, Virginia, Michigan, and Wisconsin. Democrats should have no problems if they fight for strong middle class economic issues in the states you mentioned.

    Please read this and this

    Even in 2012 (and BHO got less votes than in 2008) when the economy was quite bad, BHO got 51% (majority) of the white vote in Iowa and 48% of the white vote in Wisconsin (two critical purple states). BHO's national numbers (39%) with white voters are skewed because of the low numbers he received from the South (Mississippi-10%, Alabama-15%, etc).


    The working class white vote (none / 0) (#59)
    by Politalkix on Sun Feb 01, 2015 at 09:39:49 AM EST

    "The key finding in the P.R.R.I. study is that working-class whites in the South are - no surprise -- far more conservative than their counterparts in the rest of the country. Lumping all of these voters together exaggerates this constituency's overall rightward tilt.

    The regional differences are striking in the cases of both partisan voting patterns and how voters feel about particular issues.

    The pre-election P.R.R.I. study found that white working-class voters in the South backed Romney over Obama 62-22, compared to a 46-41 Romney advantage in the West, a 42-38 edge in the Northeast and an Obama lead of 44-36 in the Midwest."


    Who knew? (none / 0) (#63)
    by Yman on Sun Feb 01, 2015 at 11:34:50 AM EST
    BHO's national numbers (39%) with white voters are skewed because of the low numbers he received from the South.

    Guess I grew up in the South (Pa - 42% - 7% Romney).  But hey,it's only 20 electoral votes.  Of coure there's that other (apparently southern) state of Ohio (41% to 57% Romney).  Not to mention Florida (an actual - sort of - southern state) with its 29 electoral votes (37% to 61% Romney).  Not to mention VA (arguably "southern") (37% to 61% Romney) with its 13 votes.  In the overall vote, he won Florida by less than 1%, Ohio by 2%, VA by 3% and PA by 5% in 2012.

    But at least he got a majority in Iowa (6 votes) and almost a majority in Wisconsin (10 votes) in those "critical purple states".


    Missouri is listed as a Midwestern state. (none / 0) (#67)
    by MO Blue on Sun Feb 01, 2015 at 03:03:44 PM EST
    In Missouri the president won only 32% of whites in 2012, down from 42% in 2008.

    Obama carried only three counties and the City of St. Louis. He carried Boone County, home to Columbia and the University of Missouri; Jackson County, where most of Kansas City is located; and St. Louis County.


    Yes, Missouri (none / 0) (#73)
    by christinep on Sun Feb 01, 2015 at 05:56:56 PM EST
    That should be on the list of states to work for in terms of regaining Democratic working class votes.

    Except (none / 0) (#79)
    by jbindc on Mon Feb 02, 2015 at 11:13:28 AM EST
    It's white middle class voters - those with college degrees - that Dems have been losing too.  Socially liberal, but very concerned with taxes.  Link

    Middle-class voters tend, on average, to be more socially liberal than white working-class voters, and they have punished Republicans for taking harshly conservative stands on social issues. In the 2012 Senate race in Missouri, for instance, Democrat Claire McCaskill, running against antiabortion crusader Todd Akin, was able to win college-educated voters by 50 percent to 44 percent after losing them by 53 percent to 43 percent to Republican Jim Talent in 2006. She edged Akin among voters with household incomes between $50,000 and $100,000 after losing them, too, in 2006. (Perhaps some of this was due to the difference between a midterm electorate and a presidential-year electorate; but some of it was almost certainly due to Akin's infamous comments about "legitimate rape," which caused him to go from leading to trailing in the polls.)

    Yet while middle-class voters are generally socially liberal, they oppose candidates on this basis only when those candidates take extreme positions. And so, when Republican politicians have soft-pedaled their views on abortion or guns or immigration, middle-class voters have largely ignored these issues in deciding whom to back--reverting to their natural tendency to focus on topics like taxes, spending, and the size of government. In 2014, Democrats in Arkansas, Colorado, Maryland, Ohio, and Virginia learned this the hard way when they centered their campaigns on their opponents' opposition to abortion rights or gun control--and lost.

    Middle-class voters also tend to be less populist than white working-class voters when it comes to blaming Wall Street and the wealthy for the economy's ills. As a Washington Post poll showed last October, middle-class voters are less likely than white working-class voters or professionals to agree that America's system "favors the wealthy." Many of them work for businesses where their own success is bound up with the company's bottom line. That makes them less susceptible than white working-class voters or professionals to Democratic taunts about the "1 percent."

    How middle-class voters react to this sort of populism was on display in 2012. Obama did manage to make inroads into the white working class in the North by running ads deriding Romney's sharp financial practices and his opposition to the auto bailout: In Ohio, Obama lost white working-class voters by only 46 percent to 44 percent in 2012 after losing them by 54 percent to 44 percent in 2008. But what helped with working-class voters hurt with the middle class. In Ohio, he lost college-but-not-postgrad voters by 54 percent to 44 percent after having won them by 51 percent to 48 percent four years earlier.

    Maybe such a trade-off would be worth it if left-wing populism could consistently win over white working-class voters en masse. The truth, though, is that Mitt Romney was a perfect target for these populist attacks in Ohio, and Democrats cannot expect to have such a useful foil in most elections. On the whole, the white working class and the middle class--animated by their distrust of government spending and taxes--have moved toward the Republicans in recent years, in the absence of some other issue (such as war or economic catastrophe or social extremism) temporarily taking precedence. And the two groups have done so largely in tandem.

    Not just the "ignorant hicks" from the South that Dems like to console themselves with.


    You spent a lot (none / 0) (#20)
    by Ga6thDem on Sat Jan 31, 2015 at 07:29:48 AM EST
    of time researching and doing the math but some people still refuse to accept the numbers.

    Dream on (none / 0) (#15)
    by CMike on Sat Jan 31, 2015 at 12:42:06 AM EST
    Obama's problem in 2012 with white voters wasn't that that election came after the Affordable Care Act debates, it was that the president was running in an election that didn't come in the middle of the 2008 financial crisis, which was an anchor for Republican party prospects, at least until Obama, once elected, had a chance to tell everybody it was time to let bygones be bygones.

    Sad that in a thread of a post recommending Democrats should turn to populism an Obama coalition member celebrate that the Heritage designed, Romney implemented at the state level, private medical insurance rescuing PPACA as a progressive goal.

    For free, here's a clue. Is there a 99% that is easier for their very own 1% to hoodwink than the progressive 99%?



    Get a clue! (none / 0) (#24)
    by Politalkix on Sat Jan 31, 2015 at 07:55:05 AM EST
    Tell that to poor whites in urban areas and Hispanics and African-Americans who are now receiving medical care through the ACA but did not have health insurance before passage of the ACA and had to depend on emergency rooms.

    The issue is not "white voters". The issue that BHO had to live with in politics is the divide between Southern white voters and white voters in other parts of the country and the divide between rural and urban white voters.

    Many white voters that were Independents and some that were Republicans voted for BHO in 2008. Many Independents had also voted for BHO in the primaries in 2008. A large part of that vote was lost after passage of the ACA.

    The assertion of "Obama's problem in 2012 with white voters" is silly because white voters in different parts of the country are not a monolithic vote block but motivated by different concerns. As an example just look at the state of Vermont. If you compare election results from 1988 and 2012 (which BTD did), you will find that there was a shift of 19% in favor of BHO in Vermont over Dukakis. It was not because Vermont gained large numbers of African Americans or Hispanics in 2012 but because of shifts in white vote percentage in favor of BHO. Dukakis won 52% of the vote in West Virginia and BHO could barely win 35%. The massive erosion of votes in rural Appalachia was not caused because white voters in that state are against corporations or the 1% (just look at the Governors, Senators and politicians they elect at the local level) but because they support non-progressive environmental policies like coal mining.

    I have always said that the Democratic Party nominee in 2016 should campaign on economic populism. Supporting an economic populist message in 2016 and celebrating passage of the ACA are not contradictory goals as you seem to think.


    You missed my point entrely (5.00 / 2) (#27)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Jan 31, 2015 at 08:05:16 AM EST
    It's not an OBAMA problem with white voters.

    It a DEM problem.

    It's not an OBAMA coalition.

    It's a DEM coalition.

    IT's like you didn;t read my piece.


    Jeez, Big Tent (none / 0) (#52)
    by NYShooter on Sat Jan 31, 2015 at 11:07:36 PM EST
    How come I've been saying exactly the same thing you "Johnnie-Come-lately" are saying here, and no one jumps up, yelling, "Hey, you plagiarized Shooter's theme for Democratic politics, and policies, BTD!" lol.

    Anyway, back to basics. I really don't see why you're having some difficulty getting across something as simple as, "it's the democrats, stupid," not, "it's Clinton, or, it's Obama." Why do I think it's simple? Mainly because I understand it, and, it don't get any simpler than that.

    So, with that out of the way, I really would like for you to address the more basic, nuts and bolts marketing of Democratic candidates over the past couple of decades. Fundamentally, at it's core, The Dems own the issues most voters care about. Please help me understand why these over paid, and, under performing, campaign strategists & managers enter campaigns as their own worst enemies. They seem to calculate (or, handicap) elections with a predisposition towards failure, and, if they make any decisions at all, you can bet the ranch they will be erroneously calculated, and fatally implemented. Why do they continuously believe that they have to move towards Republican positions in order to have a chance at winning?

    While you're, of course, correct, in your analysis of the political landscape going forward, let's not forget that, even with the demographics moving, inexorably, to the Democrat's side, these are democrats after all. And, if there's a way to snatch defeat out of the jaws of victory, these Dems will find it.

    Finally, the political scene is looking good for the future. But, politics is fluid, and, the movement didn't happen in a finger-snap minute. It's been moving in that direction for a while now, yet the Dim-witted Dems have been blind to that reality.

    Give me something to cheer for, Big T, please.  


    Dukakis (5.00 / 2) (#28)
    by Ga6thDem on Sat Jan 31, 2015 at 08:17:18 AM EST
    had the exact same problem Obama had. You're not understanding that the demographics of the country have changed therefore if the same demographics that exist now existed in 1988 Dukakis would have won the election.

    Dream a little dream (5.00 / 2) (#42)
    by CMike on Sat Jan 31, 2015 at 12:05:21 PM EST
    The PPACA, after the Supreme Court got done with it, is nearly the exact same act that the country would have gotten from a McCain/Palin administration and on the same schedule. The only difference is that had McCain been elected in '08, instead of hearing about how un-American the mandate was, conservatives would have been cheering it on and progressives would have been in high dudgeon over the lack of some sort of public option as a give away to insurance companies, something as outrageous as, say, having death panels.

    The PPACA was the private insurance industry's dream bill and exactly what the neo-liberals were hoping for at that point in time. That's why when Justice Kennedy lined up against it Chief Justice Roberts had to break ranks with the Republican position and switch his vote over to enable the PPACA to survive the legal challenge it faced. How often do you think Roberts switches out his opinion at the last minute to side with the Ginsburg, Sotomayor, Breyer, and Kagan?


    Insanity (5.00 / 1) (#51)
    by Politalkix on Sat Jan 31, 2015 at 08:51:27 PM EST
    is when you have your "little dreams" that McCain and Palin would have given you the exact ACA that you got from the President and Democrats.

    Probably President Palin would have given you this
    , i.e. Christian Health Care.

    I have no patience for people who just sit on their b*tts all day and "dream" and bicker. Democrats have being doing this about health care legislation since Harry Truman was President. Whatever inadequacies remain in the ACA can be improved upon in subsequent years just as improvements were made to other legislation like SS from earlier eras.


    Great to hear you make it to the gym (5.00 / 1) (#57)
    by CMike on Sun Feb 01, 2015 at 07:52:35 AM EST
    The PPACA is going to get worse, not better.

    Right (none / 0) (#19)
    by Yman on Sat Jan 31, 2015 at 07:07:28 AM EST
    Race and the 2012 Election

    When Obama didn't have the advantage of running with a hudely unpopular Republican POTUS, the hopey/changey thing wasn't working.

    In 2008, Barack Obama was elected president of the United States, due in large part to overwhelming support and turnout from non-whites. We were told his election was the dawn of a post-racial America, but many believe race relations have gotten worse, and exit polls reveal the 2012 presidential election as the most racially polarized in American history...

    At the polls, 59 percent of whites supported Mr. Romney, a rate no presidential candidate has matched since 1988. In fact, Mr. Romney is the first presidential candidate in US history to receive so high a share of the white vote and still lose the election...

    From 2008 to 2012, Mr. Obama's share of the white vote dropped from 43 percent to 39 percent, resulting in a 20-point gap between him and Mr. Romney. The decrease was especially sharp among white men, 41 percent of whom supported Mr. Obama in 2008, but just 35 percent in 2012--a drop of 6 percent. Mr. Obama's vote share among white women dropped less, from 46 percent to 42 percent.

    Wonkette's Warren for Progress (none / 0) (#6)
    by Mr Natural on Fri Jan 30, 2015 at 06:16:12 PM EST
    Campaign Poster (tee shirt or coffee cup)

    Sex sells (none / 0) (#88)
    by Wile ECoyote on Mon Feb 02, 2015 at 05:23:26 PM EST
    Populist economics (none / 0) (#16)
    by MKS on Sat Jan 31, 2015 at 12:43:34 AM EST
    is generally popular among working class whites....Any state-wide initiative to raise the minimum wage, for example, will typically win even in red states.

    Once the social conservatives realize that the move toward marriage equality is irreversible, they will over time abandon politics as an organized political force....

    The Republicans will adopt economic libertarianism and have a strong hold on the same portion of the voting public as the Republicans of the 1960s....At that point, Democrats will be in a good position to pick up many working class whites.   The culture wars will be over and the Democrats will have won.

    It's not (none / 0) (#21)
    by Ga6thDem on Sat Jan 31, 2015 at 07:33:59 AM EST
    just marriage equality with the social conservatives. It's the whole culture war with abortion and a whole host of other things. So once they realize the culture war is lost perhaps they will go back into their communities and leave politics.

    I'm not looking for a political messiah. (none / 0) (#17)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Sat Jan 31, 2015 at 01:04:17 AM EST
    If we should've learned one thing from 2008, it's there are no white knights in shining armor in politics.

    The people who swooned over Barack Obama that year, were then many of the same ones who were so bitterly disappointed by 2010 that they stayed home, handing the U.S. House of Representatives to the GOP along with numerous state legislatures. That's the politics of the vicarious, the mercurial and the dilettante.

    We need to realize that if we truly want progressive change, then we must become that progressive change ourselves. And that takes work. It takes sustained personal commitment on our part to not just the support of good presidential candidates, but also the advocacy for sound policy development, particularly in our own communities.

    And that means further sustained personal commitment on our part to electing good progressive candidates down-ticket as well, all the way down to our state legislatures, city councils, and local school and village boards -- and then working like hell to ensure that such people remain in office.

    We're never going to change things by merely seeking out others to first embody that change for us, and then leaving them to do all the heavy lifting while we recede back into our own respective little worlds until four years hence. No, we need to work for it and then keep working for it until we get it, and then work some more to keep it.

    I've seen and heard plenty of people who talk a good game. They're a dime a dozen. Now, I want to see people who actually bring it, rather than offer yet another round of lame excuses why they can't or won't get involved. When we seek out and demand perfection, more often than not we do so at the ultimate expense of good.

    It's our country, too. Either we make the effort to ensure that things happen for us, or others will make sure that things happen to us. The choice is entirely ours, and ours alone.


    "white" knights? (5.00 / 1) (#40)
    by Peter G on Sat Jan 31, 2015 at 11:30:13 AM EST

    Freud meets Grace Slick (none / 0) (#90)
    by Mr Natural on Mon Feb 02, 2015 at 06:02:40 PM EST
    It just seems to me that the (none / 0) (#43)
    by Anne on Sat Jan 31, 2015 at 01:46:10 PM EST
    Democratic Party is sorely lacking in an actual identity, having abandoned actual ideas and goals and policies it believes in and used to stand for, and become just about winning, however and whatever that takes, regardless of how much it places the party and its candidates more in alignment with the GOP than it does in standing for anything significantly different.

    Who and what is the Democratic Party?  Does anyone really know?  Is there anyone in the so-called leadership who is willing to get honest and get real and assess whether there has been any real benefit in consensus politics?  Has bending over backwards to accommodate the GOP's ideas actually gotten us anything other than more GOP policy?  Is there anyone who is willing to have a come-to-Jesus meeting with these politicians and call them out for placing a higher priority on keeping their jobs and ensuring a financially rewarding return to the private sector than on advocating for the people who put them in those jobs?

    If the party doesn't know what it is, the choices we have aren't going to get any better.

    Until something better comes along... (5.00 / 1) (#50)
    by unitron on Sat Jan 31, 2015 at 08:20:42 PM EST
    ...the Democratic party is the "Not the Republicans" party that has a chance at the polls, and that's why I hold my nose and vote for them.

    They're the lesser of two weasels.


    Largely (none / 0) (#44)
    by Ga6thDem on Sat Jan 31, 2015 at 02:05:10 PM EST
    the problem right now is that there's no leadership. It won't even matter what anybody says about the issues if they are unwilling to even try to get them done.

    Actually (none / 0) (#65)
    by Politalkix on Sun Feb 01, 2015 at 02:48:13 PM EST
    the Democratic Party now has a better identity than it has ever had. The dividing lines, identities, ideas and goals are very clear on social issues.

    The party has however become more friendly to the rich and upper middle class since the early 1990s than it was in preceding decades but still is a better choice than the Republican Party for lower middle class and poor families.


    But (5.00 / 1) (#85)
    by FlJoe on Mon Feb 02, 2015 at 03:19:03 PM EST
    having the identity as the non-crazy corporatists is not enough, which is probably the nut of the whole argument.

    oy (none / 0) (#82)
    by sj on Mon Feb 02, 2015 at 02:42:36 PM EST
    Actually (none / 0) (#65)
    by Politalkix on Sun Feb 01, 2015 at 01:48:13 PM MDT

    the Democratic Party now has a better identity than it has ever had.

    I don't know if I should laugh or cry that you so clearly believe that. That thought is reflect in all your writings.



    Don't know if you've read the (none / 0) (#84)
    by Anne on Mon Feb 02, 2015 at 03:18:21 PM EST
    latest from John Judis, but you may find it interesting, at least in terms of his pessimism regarding the party's ability to overcome its weaknesses.

    Some analysis, via Washington Monthly:

    Its most interesting feature is the suggestion that Democratic weakness among white-working class voters is beginning to be matched or even exceeded in importance with a new weakness among voters--especially but not exclusively white voters--with a college but no postgraduate education, and with middle incomes between $50,000 and $100,000 a year. This is a big problem for Democrats, says Judis, not just because these "middle-class Americans" are a growing percentage of the population (unlike the non-college educated white working class), but because they are at best lukewarm to the populist messages Democrats are beginning to deploy to stem the Republican tide among the white working class.

    Judis' biggest fear is that in retrospect the Democratic renaissance he and Teixeira wrote about in 2002 may been seen as an aberration in a long Republican tenure driven by the American middle class' mistrust of government and anger at "incompetence" and "redistribution."

    And from the article itself:

    The more surprising trend is that Republicans are gaining dramatically among a group that had tilted toward Democrats in 2006 and 2008: Call them middle-class Americans. These are voters who generally work in what economist Stephen Rose has called "the office economy." In exit polling, they can roughly be identified as those who have college--but not postgraduate--degrees and those whose household incomes are between $50,000 and $100,000. (Obviously, the overlap here is imperfect, but there is a broad congruence between these polling categories.)

    The defection of these voters--who, unlike the white working class, are a growing part of the electorate--is genuinely bad news for Democrats, and very good news indeed for Republicans. The question, of course, is whether it is going to continue. It's tough to say for sure, but I think there is a case to be made that it will.

    There's a lot in there to digest and consider - perhaps BTD will take a gander and also give his take on what Judis is saying.


    I am so confused (5.00 / 1) (#89)
    by FlJoe on Mon Feb 02, 2015 at 05:51:28 PM EST
    in a long Republican tenure driven by the American middle class' mistrust of government and anger at "incompetence" and "redistribution."

     Am I supposed to be angry at the incompetence and redistribution that enabled us to win WW2, rebuild the world, become the strongest military and economic power ever? Or am I supposed to be angry at the long Republican tenure of incompetence and re-redistribution? I thought Republicans were all against this tenure stuff anyway. I am so confused.

            The American Electorate(we are not stupid, just easily misled)


    Yes (5.00 / 1) (#92)
    by Politalkix on Mon Feb 02, 2015 at 07:04:48 PM EST
    I read the article after jbindc posted the link. It is a very good article. It is quite detailed (in its use of numbers) and is also objective, IMO. I will also say that I agree with most of what was written based on my observations (anecdotal) in daily life. Would like to thank both jbindc and you for bringing it to our attention. This article merits an involved discussion. Am interested in hearing BTD's take also.

    Great minds (none / 0) (#86)
    by jbindc on Mon Feb 02, 2015 at 04:09:02 PM EST
    I posted this link above.

    I think (none / 0) (#87)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Feb 02, 2015 at 04:33:53 PM EST
    that Judis is a little overly pessimistic because I'm not sure that you can predict a whole lot of of midterm elections. It seems as if two different groups of people show up for presidential and off year elections.
    I mean going by 2014 you would say the tea party was a raging success.

    It's not just 2014 (none / 0) (#95)
    by jbindc on Tue Feb 03, 2015 at 07:12:09 AM EST
    If you read the article, he discusses trends - especially things like Dems have been losing middle class white voters in addition to blue collar white voters. While everyone keeps talking about how Republicans can't win without making inroads with minority voters and women, what is not as talked about is that Dems can't win without a good share of white lower and middle class voters.

    Well (none / 0) (#96)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Feb 03, 2015 at 08:30:39 AM EST
    that gets back to the Gordian knot BTD was discussing.

    There has been a political realignment going on since the end of the Cold War. The GOP no longer has an overarching issue to unite around and so they are trying to use religion to fill the gap unsuccessfully. Obama never built a coalition around issues so I'm really not sure how that factors into the what Judis is saying.

    The irony is that upper income voters white voters that were so in love with Obama really fit more in the GOP and working class voters fit more in with the Dems but Obama's style turns them off and then some of his stupid rhetoric too like attacking the voters. Though the GOP is attacking voters too. Apparently according to the GOP the majority of Americans are "welfare queens" or nanny state losers".


    I think you should read the article. (5.00 / 1) (#97)
    by Anne on Tue Feb 03, 2015 at 09:28:58 AM EST
    Based on what you are saying, it doesn't seem that you did.

    My takeaway from this is that the Dems are losing voters who are increasingly dissatisfied with government and how their tax dollars are being spent.  This is why Judis believes the best GOP candidate will be one

    who runs from the center-right, soft-pedals social issues, including immigration, critiques government without calling for abolishing the income tax and Social Security, and displays a good ol' boy empathy for the less well-to-do. Such a candidate would cater to the Republican advantage among the middle class without alienating the white working class.

    I don't think this is a problem that is necessarily going to be solved just by having a different messenger deliver the same Democratic message.

    Judis provides the example, supported anecdotally be actual voters, of how Republican Larry Hogan managed to defeat Democrat (and 8-yr lt. governor) Anthony Brown for the governor's mansion, in my state - Maryland.  Yes, Brown ran a terrible campaign, which didn't help, but Hogan was reassuring enough to Democratic voters that he wasn't crazy and wasn't going to tinker with their hot-button social issues that they could cross over and vote for him.

    Dems need to be able to overcome that if they want to win at all levels.  And Judis' point is that right now, the signs aren't all that encouraging.


    Well (none / 0) (#98)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Feb 03, 2015 at 10:26:39 AM EST
    no I did not read the article because I don't have time but first of all the GOP does not have anyone running right now that can do what he's suggesting. And secondly, what is he is saying is the same thing that has been happening forever--that elections are won in the center and it seems that he's saying the opposite of what everybody else around here wants the party to do.

    I was was wondering and wandering (none / 0) (#99)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Feb 03, 2015 at 05:07:43 PM EST
    If I could talk you into seeing some Wicked with me while it's visiting Hotlanta?

    When is it? (none / 0) (#100)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Feb 03, 2015 at 07:26:50 PM EST
    Text me and I'll see.

    BTD (none / 0) (#54)
    by Slado on Sun Feb 01, 2015 at 06:42:02 AM EST
    First off great post.

    Do you agree that republicans have a different problem,?

    They can neither govern nor get elected as true blooded "Conservatives" if you include in that equation being a loyal fighter of the culture issues like abortion,gay marriage, immigration , etc...

    Except on some Congressional districts they must put forth a Moderate candidate on some level.   Which is why I see going forward more Govenor candidates with a businessman type theme to their governing strategies who have both experience governing but have also figured out how to balance the extreme cultural views of the right base.   AKA Jeb Bush.

    Coalition dreaming (none / 0) (#61)
    by FlJoe on Sun Feb 01, 2015 at 10:37:45 AM EST
    or just naval gazing ? The endless parsing of the top-lines of presidential election is rather meaningless. It's pretty clear that the white vote is always the swing in terms of popular vote totals.
    Unfortunately due to the warp in the system created by the Electoral College only the white votes in Ohio, Florida and a handful of other swing states.
    Consequentially the Democrats concede the solid red states as the Republicans concede the blue, allowing
    the white vote to stay true to form. Any Democratic candidate could easily saturate Alabama with a populist message and skim off a point or two but any strategist would call them foolish for doing so.

    Presidential elections are freak shows in many ways, a quadrennial spectacle of money, horse-race media and general quirkiness that should not be the gauge any coalition much less a place to actually build one.