Home / General / Did the White Working Class Abandon the Democratic Party Because It’s Not Left-Wing Enough on Economics?

Did the White Working Class Abandon the Democratic Party Because It’s Not Left-Wing Enough on Economics?

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It’s a simple, oft-told story. The problem is, the historical evidence for the proposition that good liberal policy is inevitable good politics has always been scant. Osita Nwanevu’s essay is brilliant and should be read in its entirety, but is especially good on this point. The most obvious problem with the “Appalachian whites without college degrees are demanding MOAR SOCIALISM” narrative is that the WWC exodus happened…immediately after one of the two most progressive administrations of the last century:

It’s a story both simple and substantially untrue. In fact, the decline in white working class support for the Democratic Party at the presidential level began well before the party’s retreat from progressivism and pro-worker politics. Alan Abramowitz, a political science professor at Emory University, and Ruy Teixeira, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress who presciently identified the disenfranchised white working class as a force to be reckoned with nearly 20 years ago in America’s Forgotten Majority: Why the White Working Class Still Matters, laid out the timeline of their departure from the Democratic Party’s coalition in a 2008 Brookings working paper called “The Decline of the White Working Class and the Rise of a Mass Upper Middle Class”. According to Teixeira and Abramowitz, the Democratic vote among whites without college degrees fell from an average of 55 percent in the 1960 and 1964 elections to 35 in the 1968 and 1972 elections—a decline of 20 points in just over a decade. What happened during the 1960s? Had the Party moved substantially to the center? Had the Party become less committed to progressive social programs that would help struggling whites? To the contrary—the 1960s and two Democratic administrations brought the creation of Medicare and Medicaid, the expansion of Social Security benefits, the revival of food stamps, minimum wage increases, the launch of the Head Start early childhood education program for lower-income children, increased federal funding for public education, the creation of the Job Corps youth employment program and other vocational education programs, and a dizzying array of other government initiatives that constituted the most expansive array of progressive successes since the New Deal. None of it mattered.

An additional problem is that the Democratic candidates since 1968 who have done best with the WWC are the two most conservative ones:

Those voters never really looked back. The theory that they would have had the Party offered up truly economically progressive candidates has to contend with the failed candidacies of George McGovern in 1972, whom Nixon trounced with 70 percent of the white working class vote and the staunchly pro-labor and union-backed Walter Mondale, whom neoliberal archdaemon Ronald Reagan trounced with 65 percent of their vote in 1984. Since 1968, two Democratic presidential candidates have done well with the white working class: Jimmy Carter, who dramatically outperformed George McGovern in the demographic by running as a conservative Democrat against Ford in 1976, and the DLC-anointed bubba neoliberal Bill Clinton. Ross Perot’s insurgent populism and his warning that NAFTA would produce a “giant sucking sound” as blue-collar jobs were lost to Mexico failed, ultimately, to prevent the man who backed and signed NAFTA from winning narrow pluralities of the white working class vote in 1992 and 1996.

Again, none of this means that the Democratic Party’s leftward shift is wrong. Clinton showed that it’s possible to win on a progressive agenda, and trying to reassemble Bill Clinton’s coalition wouldn’t work even if the policy consequences wouldn’t be so undesirable. But the simple narrative that the WWC would fully embrace the post-Civil Rights Act Democratic Party if only it was less neoliberal is supported by pretty much nothing.

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  • BM, President of Fuckery

    The WWC is overrated and they liked Jim Crow more than unions. The left should move more left and just expect to not win their vote because class politics is a waste of time in America.

    • mattmcirvin

      The problem is that, while we can get a popular majority that way, it may be impossible to win the Electoral College or either house of Congress that way. We’re heading in the direction of a kind of white minority government on the federal level.

      • BM, President of Fuckery

        It should be a Democratic Party aim to destroy the EC imo.

        • McAllen

          Along with fighting Republicans voting suppression efforts and pushing for a voting rights amendment.

        • Rob in CT

          Yes. But we have to win – and win BIG – to have the slightest hope of that (and even then, it’s probably a pipe dream).

          • BubbaDave

            On the other hand, we could pass the Wyoming Plan (increasing the size of the House to make every Congressperson represent as many people as the smallest House district, the state of Wyoming) and that would greatly reduce the small-state bias of the current EC, thereby making it less undemocratic and less un-Democratic.

            • prognostication

              I continue to advocate for this. It’s BY FAR the easiest solution. Worry about abolition of the EC later, if at all.

          • Yep. And Scott says something pretty stupid- that Hillary proved you could win with a left wing agenda. In fact, Hillary proved you can lose the EC with her agenda, which wasn’t nearly as left wing (especially on trade and militarism) as Scott claims.

            • Scott Lemieux

              The fact that she lost by 100000 votes 3 states in an election where the fundamentals favored the GOP absolutely shows that the agenda can win.

              • “Losing by 100,000 votes” is statistically innumerate unless you have a way of winning the election by winning only those votes in those states.

                In actuality, Hillary needed to win a lot more than 100,000 votes to flip the election.

              • BaronvonRaschke

                Please. You have to know better than that. She lost to the most unpopular candidate in recent memory, so changing 70,000 votes in three states is beside the point. As lousy as he was, why was the race even close?

            • BaronvonRaschke

              I agree completely and responded to Scott below. Scott lives in an alternate universe, one in which her agenda is more liberal. As you note, her agenda is not nearly as left wing on trade and militarism as he claims. (One can also add Wall Street matters to that list.)

          • fearandloathing

            I once heard this described as the Calvinball theory of politics. (Calvinball from the Calvin and Hobbes cartoon).

            https://thinkprogress.org/constitutional-calvinball-2362568ae5df

            It’s true that the very Constitution that established the Electoral College also makes it very hard to change that Constitution (including the Electoral College). It takes supermajorities no matter which route you take (within the current Constitutional system). But the Articles of Confederation themselves were not amended via processes enshrined in the Articles themselves. You just had enough people say “this isn’t working. We need something else.” The same, if things became dysfunctional enough, could certainly happen with this Constitution as well. You would just need enough people (and powerful enough people) to decide it isn’t working, and Constitutional amendment process be damned, here is our alternative and here is our proposal for ratifying it and putting it in action. There are of course some obstacles to this. The one is just a sort of Burkean conservatism that would be persuasive even to a lot of people who are moderates and liberals who might be dissatisfied with the outcomes, but still think, you change the government, but you don’t throw out the basic blueprint that’s been the tradition for 200 some years. The other obstacles is conservatives would certainly cry treason and possibly react violently.

            But it is thinkable. We’ve had two elections with the last 15 years where a President has won with a minority of the popular vote and then governed by trying to impose a unpopular agenda on the majority of the people who don’t want it (GOP health care bill is polling at 19% but they are still a hair’s breadth away from passing it anyway). At some point, if the Constitution continues to deliver governments that do not have majority support, and insist on imposing an unpopular agenda, a majority of the people will legitimately feel that it’s a rigged system to which they owe no allegiance. Couple that with the fact that the GOP, just like the fire eaters of the Old South, impresses me as just the sort of extremists who instead of being grateful that they have a system that allows them power out of proportion to their numbers and exercising that power judiciously so as not to undermine it, will continue to delude themselves that they are the majority, the Real Americans, and push the current system to it’s breaking point.

            • Calvinball is probably the best available metaphor for the modern Republican Party’s behaviour. We need to get better at playing Calvinball.

            • SNF

              The problem is that a constitutional convention opens a huge can of worms that could get out of hand fast.

              If we actually had one, it’s not like only liberals would be there making fixes to the constitution. Conservatives would be pushing for a lot of dumb but popular stuff like a balanced budget amendment.

        • Pavan2099

          You gotta win the EC to kill the EC. And you gotta win in 3/4 of the states and 2/3 of the Congress too. That’s not something you’ll ever accomplish if the outcome is seen to privilege swarthy folks.

          • BM, President of Fuckery

            Gotta dream big and be bold, fight for it and land among the stars.

          • The National Popular Vote Compact wouldn’t require a constitutional amendment and would nullify the Electoral College for all practical purposes.

            • And would last only until the GOP could steal an election by having their states drop out. In other words, maybe two election cycles at most.

              NPVC is a non-solution.

              • It’s my understanding that the compact prohibits any state from dropping out after the fact.

                • Except there’s no possibility of enforcement. Zero. Worthless.

                  Edit: To expand on that, the problem is that courts will not touch a case trying to get the Compact enforced. It would be seen as a violation of the separation of powers, as the Constitution assigns the selection of electors explicitly to the state legislatures.

                • The compact is passed by the state legislatures themselves, though. The idea that the courts will reject it out of hand on constitutional grounds seems… suspect at best.

                • It’s not that they would reject the compact per se. But there is NO way a court would order a state legislature to send a specific slate of electors (which is what they would have to do to enforce the compact).

                  If a court *did* touch such a case, it would be to rule on the basic principle, well established in American law, that no legislature can bind the actions of its future self. Which means a state legislature can drop out of the compact at any time.

                • SNF

                  That’s not enforceable. Nothing would prevent a state from dropping out if they wanted to. States have the right to award their EC votes however they want.

                  The main thing that would protect the Compact if it was enacted would be inertia.

        • twbb

          If we had the power to destroy the EC we wouldn’t need to destroy the EC.

          • sonamib

            Yeah but you should do it anyway since it’s the right thing to do.

            Though I agree “just get rid of the EC” is assuming quite the can opener.

          • mattmcirvin

            It’s a great catch, that Catch-22.

            • spencer_e9876

              The best there is.

    • MichaelDrew

      “The left should move more left … because class politics is a waste of time in America.”

      I’m gonna remember that one.

  • Heron

    Goodluck getting Sarandonistas to listen to this, though. It never ceases to amaze me just how media-conventional the views of people who loudly define themselves as anti-conventional continue to be.

  • Economics has little to do why the WWC left the party. Like almost everything with this group, the issue is race, has always been race, and will always be race. Instead of chasing people for whom race is the issue, we should be making sure that race is not an issue when it comes to voting.

    • hellslittlestangel

      No, we have to pretend that WWC stands for blah-blah working class, not white blah-blah.

    • Karen

      That’s totally unfair. They hate uppity women just as much as they hate black people!

      Seriously, I think that anyone could elected in the Rust Belt and Deep South on a platform of “I am going to seize all your property and sell you all into slavery to Chinese oligarchs but you can freely beat your wives and use the N-bomb constantly.”

      • But they’re not racist! Just ask them!

        Although they may admit to being sexist.

        • Bizarro Mike

          Exhibit for the day. Turns out the guy behind the CNN wrestling Trump video has a history of racist and anti-semitic posting. But he claims it is all in good fun when he’s confronted with it.

          • tsam100

            This came as a HUGE surprise. His chickenshit weasel apologies and excuses make me respect him even less. If you’re going to talk shit on the internet, you’d best be prepared to be discovered and be able to defend your words. Otherwise just fuck off. This guy is such a typical Trump voter–a chickenshit, privileged weasel.

            • postmodulator

              I’d bet any amount of money you like that he’s got some government or corporate job where they’d be virtually required to fire a guy with the attitudes he has.

              I suspect he’s getting doxxed in a day or two no matter how much he apologizes, so I may find out if I’m right.

              • tsam100

                I hope so. It’s long past time that people posting racist, sexist, anti-semitic on the internet pay the price for it. If they can’t/won’t think their way into being a decent person, they at least should have to pay for it.

                • prognostication

                  Gotta say, I am anti-doxxing under pretty much all circumstances. A lot of slippery slope arguments are BS, but I think that one isn’t. I think very few of us, particularly very few of us who have been online since we were adolescents/teens, haven’t posted something online in the past ~20 years that we wouldn’t want tied to our real names.

                • tsam100

                  I’m anti-doxxing for the purposes of harrassment or worse. But I also think that if you are speaking in public, you’d best not say things you wouldn’t want to be discovered as you having said them. Personally, I think this whole ethos of the internet being some kind of anonymous frontier where you’re free to build a persona that will shield you from consequences of racist/sexist/bigoted speech is pretty much bullshit. Even if I believed for a second that this POS didn’t believe the bigoted shit he posted (he does), there is no justification for him not dealing with the same consequences for having said it in the middle of a public gathering–which the internet more or less is. Kids are reading this stuff. The victims of the bigotry see it. It has a real-world effect on people.

                • postmodulator

                  My comment on Facebook was, “I worry about doxxing when it’s punching down. This guy has the President of the United States in his corner. This is punching up.”

                • Michael

                  “Personally, I think this whole ethos of the internet being some kind of anonymous frontier where you’re free to build a persona that will shield you from consequences of racist/sexist/bigoted speech is pretty much bullshit.” Than why comment anonymously? Surely some people will deem your speech offensive and bigoted. Are you prepared to have all your internet writing associated with your real name and to be able to defend it to your employer?

                  The test of principles is in the hard cases. This guy should not be doxxed.

                • tsam100

                  I don’t comment anonymously on FB or Twitter. I’m prepared to defend my words. 90% of it is groaner jokes, and I don’t say things that are bigoted or sexist. Maybe the guy shouldn’t be doxxed, but he shouldn’t be spouting nazi propaganda either. If I suddenly got internet famous, it wouldn’t be for something that normal people find offensive.

        • the actual Bajmahal

          Admit to? They put on their t-shirts.

    • golden_valley

      The Southern Strategy worked.

  • Brien Jackson

    Honestly, I don’t even think most of the brogressive media who prattle about WWC voters even really mean what they say or care that much about WWC voters. It’s just the newest line in their ongoing argument that total control of the Democratic Party should be turned over to them, since shouting WALL STREET!!!! a lot didn’t do much to win over non-white and female voters. It’s important to remember that this is ALWAYS the motivation for any of their given stances, and none of the specifics are ever offered in good faith.

    • MichaelDrew

      Brogressives don’t prattle, or talk much, about WWC voters.

      End of paragraph, end of comment.

  • Moslerfan

    You’re completely missing the point here. The WWC wants good-paying respectable blue collar jobs, not welfare, medicare, retraining as coders, all the stuff they’re being offered instead of good-paying respectable blue collar jobs, which is too easy for Republicans to criticize as “socialism.” I’m not saying this is a reasonable expectation, but that’s what they want.

    • Brien Jackson

      1. Even on the merits, this starts to fall apart because of themselves. They don’t vote for unions, they don’t vote for the party of labor protections, minimum wage protections, etc. They want “jobs” only in the sense that they imagine they’ll be making good money with benefits because everyone will recognize how awesome they, Individual White Person, are. It’s a completely impossible goal to have, and is completely ignorant of how the economy of the 1950’s and 60’s was built.

      2. Actual polling clearly shows that they very much do want “welfare” benefits that they see as benefitting them, and only oppose it in the “strapping young bucks buying T-boes and lobster” sense.

      • NewishLawyer

        I think “good-paying respectable blue collar jobs” means that they want manly jobs that let them do manly things. Being a logger is manly. Working in a steel mill or as a welder is manly. Jobs that require brute strength.

        Sitting at a long table or in a cubicle and writing code is not manly. Writing a brief is not manly.

        • LeeEsq

          Being the right kind of white collar worker or professional could be manly. The WWC are not being entirely unreasonable for wanting manly jobs. Research shows that a WWC man who takes a job considered feminine could suffer socially and many women encourage their boyfriends or husbands to continue looking for work rather than take a feminine job. Its also hard for men to get jobs working as home health aids or nurses or with small children because people really do seem to prefer women at these jobs. Its going to require a lot of litigation to change that.

          • postmodulator

            It’s pretty hard for me to square the putative attitudes of the white working class towards factory jobs with the actual attitudes my coworkers had when I worked in factories. I was pretty regularly told that I was screwing up and that I needed to go to college. When I got accepted to Ohio University — not an impressive feat in 1992 — the guy I worked next to on the line reacted with unreserved glee. (This is a guy whose favorite joke was “How do you starve a n—– to death? Hide his food stamps in his work boots.”)

            Speculation: the people with these attitudes in the present day haven’t actually had factory jobs, be they Rust Belt natives or, well, blog commenters.

            • Kevin

              My mom worked in a factory until 4 years ago when she retired. She most certainly did not want any of her sons to follow her into that occupation. Nor did the other factory workers. It’s pretty condescending to assume that working class voters don’t want better jobs for themselves and their children

              • postmodulator

                I mean, it’s worse than condescending, it’s just plain incorrect.

              • njorl

                I think the “good factory jobs” is more of a community thing. When a factory closes in a small town, it’s devastating. People might not want to be the one working in the factory, but they want their town to have those jobs.

                • George Carty

                  Especially when they are worried that lack of local jobs will cause their offspring to move away to some faraway big city, leaving them bereft of care and companionship in their old age.

            • djw

              Yeah, I’m sure the attitude LeeEsq discusses exists to some degree, but my own acquaintance of rural WWC people (mostly logging and millwork in the PNW) renders me deeply skeptical it explains a whole lot. They romanticize their lives (even the imagined better version of them from a generation ago) a lot less than the people who use them as a talking point seems to believe they do.

            • Mike Schilling

              I was pretty regularly told that I was screwing up and that I needed to go to college.

              As in “Man, what’s wrong with you? If you have a shot at college, go.”

              Or as in “That’s the third time today you left a wrench inside a door assembly. All you’re good for is college.”

          • Hob

            Its also hard for men to get jobs working as home health aids or nurses
            or with small children because people really do seem to prefer women at
            these jobs.

            As usual, when you’re on a subject where you have no idea what you’re talking about, you just make up whatever makes men look the most like victims. Let’s be clear: when it comes to the small percentage of men in nursing, you have no idea what you’re talking about. It’s not that it’s hard for men to get jobs as nurses; it’s that men tend to avoid going to nursing school, because of men’s ideas about it being a feminine job. Does that mean that gender preconceptions never cause awkwardness for men who do stay in the profession? Of course not, but the jobs are there, they’re not hard to get, and if after having got one you feel uncomfortable because people don’t seem to like male nurses as much… yeah that sucks, welcome to virtually every woman’s experience working in virtually any other field.

            I’m sorry you’ve found it hard to get a date [note to bystanders: this is not a random insult, it’s something Lee has ranted about here], but you really, really, really need to stop talking about gender on this blog, and consider getting some therapy.

            • sonamib

              Uh, Hob, that last paragraph was completely unnecessary. And insulting.

              • Hob

                Lee has a long, long, long history of posting MRA bullshit, and being called on it by whoever isn’t too weary to do so, and not stopping. It’s usually (not always) in a polite tone, but I’m extremely sick of it. I actually lost a little respect for a lot of regulars here who neither criticized nor blocked him, but continued treating him as a well-meaning eccentric kid, after his big rant about the conspiracy of girls against him including insults to specific female commenters for being female and therefore part of the conspiracy (which he did not apologize for in any way, he just said it was an emotional outburst so it was unfair to give him shit for it). The only reason I read and responded to him here is that I forgot to re-block him after Disqusization; I’ll do so now.

                • Kevin

                  He’s not a poster I took much notice of, but…damn, that’s pretty awful, and I totally respect what you are saying. If that’s his shctick (and I have no reason to doubt it, given what he posted here), he’s not worth my time either. thanks for the heads up :)

              • Hob

                PS: I don’t want to keep derailing the thread, but I do want to say that I realize my comment was insulting. It was intentionally so, and comes from the long history that I mentioned as well as probably some extra personal anger about Lee dragging my own past profession into his argument. If that’s beyond the pale, well, I have blocked him now so no worries about an ongoing flame war. But I’ll say now what I said after his big rant: I don’t think the community here would tolerate Lee as it has, or keep using the “it’s OK because he speaks politely and because it’s probably coming from some sad personal hangup” standard, if his hangup was race rather than sex.

                • postmodulator

                  You might be right.

                  I think part of the thing protecting Lee is that he doesn’t drag his bullshit into every thread. It kind of makes it more insidious, as opposed to your Jottos and your Throttle Jockeys and your (braces himself) Abby Normals who are just all derailing, all the time, and thereby make themselves obvious jokes. But I don’t think that’s all of it. I think if Lee every once in a while off-handedly mentioned how the Jews had cost him his job because all Jews worked together and controlled everything, everyone would have blocked him, not just you.

                  So I blocked him too.

                • What was Abby Normal’s shtick?

                • postmodulator

                  I found her more personally annoying than actually toxic, but basically she showed up here on November 10th and started claiming that everything was Sanders’ fault and that he shouldn’t have dared to even run. The way I phrased it in another thread was that she viewed him as the only player in American politics with any agency. And I was pretty Sanders-skeptical after he revealed his “thoughts” on foreign policy, so I wasn’t exactly coming at this as a Bernie-bro.

                  If you remember the LGM comment section for months after the election as being obsessed with relitigating the primary, she was a nontrivial percentage of the reason. She made a couple of productive, relevant comments here and there, but that’s a low bar. Jotto managed that.

                • You mean Abbey Bartlet? I disagreed rather strongly with her anti-Sanders slant, but I didn’t find her especially bad. Google Search indicates an infrequent “Abby Normal” commenter, but one who seems to be male (and whose comments haven’t yet been migrated), which is why I was asking.

                • postmodulator

                  I bet I confused them.

                • I would place Lee in the same category as Dilan: he’s reasonable on some issues and completely unhinged on others, and, also like Dilan, he can come across as reasonable to people who don’t pay close attention to the content of his posts, since his phrasing doesn’t tend towards rhetorical extremes. In other words, his style causes people to overlook his substance.

                  It’s rare that any commenter here bothers me enough to outright block them, and I missed the comment thread Hob is discussing. I usually only block people when they consistently derail threads in a manner that makes them completely unreadable.

                • sonamib

                  I don’t know, I seem to recall some pretty dismissive discussions of DRONEZZZ around here, which would have been insulting to people living in countries where the US intervenes militarily. To be clear, I’m not at all in that latter category, but I remember rage-quitting the blog at that point for 12 months (I was only a lurker at the time, but still a daily reader).

            • postmodulator

              It’s not that it’s hard for men to get jobs as nurses; it’s that men tend to avoid going to nursing school.

              Isn’t this the argument MRAs and evo psych dickheads make about STEM and women?

              In practical terms there isn’t much of a difference between “society doesn’t like to hire men as nurses” and “society pressures men to not go to nursing school,” just as there isn’t much difference between “society doesn’t like to hire women as Ruby on Rails coders” and “society pressures women not to get CS undergrad degrees.”

              • Hob

                This would be a fair point if it weren’t for two things:
                1. I was responding directly to a statement by Lee that men find it hard to get the jobs. Assuming he didn’t mean “it’s hard to get the job if you don’t go to school for it and don’t look for it,” this is obviously untrue.
                2. MRAs and evo psych dickheads (of which Lee is one) do indeed say that. And they wouldn’t be so obviously full of shit if there weren’t plenty of evidence that women, when they do go to school and look for the jobs, have great difficulty getting them and are treated amazingly shittily if they do get them. For a woman who’s ever heard anything about other women’s experiences in CS, not going to school for CS is a very understandable response to those circumstances. The “societal pressure” men experience related to nursing, though real, is just nowhere near as severe. I realize that’s hard to quantify and my own experience is of course anecdotal, but I would be amazed if Lee has even the scrap of a fact to justify this position.
                [Note, I’m a man who has worked in both nursing and CS.]

                • postmodulator

                  I’d actually buy that the societal pressure men experience is nowhere near as severe, but I’d counter that unlike women and STEM, nobody high-profile is exactly bothered by the problem. But as you said, this is hard to quantify. I just don’t want to back us into a place where we’re arguing men have agency and women don’t.

                • Hob

                  I really don’t see how anything I said falls into the category of your last sentence, but I agree that that would be bad.

                  Here, is this clearer: I don’t think it’s really necessary to try to quantify the societal pressure, because the other factors are so overwhelmingly clear. That is, even though many women avoid going to school for CS, many do go and do have great difficulty finding work, and if they do find it, many of them leave soon and specifically cite sexism as a reason. That just doesn’t happen to any comparable degree with men in nursing (unless you think that it happens a lot but no one complains about it or gathers statistics on it… which I find ludicrously implausible).

                • postmodulator

                  There apparently are some statistics on men in nursing. See veleda_k, above. They seem to back you up.

                • EthanS

                  Gamergate remembers.

              • veleda_k

                That might be true, if women in STEM got the perks that men in nursing get.

                Male Nurses Up 7% – And Earning 19% More Than Women

                “In the wake of nurses redefining and expanding their roles, more men
                are entering the profession — and earning higher salaries than their
                female counterparts.

                While nursing still remains predominately female, accounting for 91%
                of all nurses, the number of male registered nurses has more than
                tripled to 9.6% in 2011, up from 2.7% in 1970. And the proportion of
                male licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses has more than
                doubled, to 8.1%

                But despite the majority, men outearned women, with an average of $60,700, compared with $51,100 for female nurses.”

                Men ‘winning’ caring profession sex war

                “The 30 men interviewed as part of the study revealed that they
                believed their masculinity led them to be given more responsible or
                difficult roles than women colleagues and that patients and others
                appreciated them.

                In comments which will be likely to frustrate many female workers –
                long struggling in caring professions against low pay and lack of status
                – male nurses reported being often given the testing task of breaking
                bad news to relatives or dealing with suicidal patients.

                ‘I think people prefer to be given bad news by a man rather than a woman –
                it seems as if they are being taken more seriously,’ one said.

                One teacher reported: ‘With all children, being a bloke gets you a
                lot more kudos.” A nurse said that “if the charge nurse is male, he
                gains more respect than the ward sister’.

                Dr Simpson said male nurses were “moving away from a subordinate
                role” and raising the status of their jobs to equality with the role of a
                doctor.

                Female nurses were seen as “too deferential and unassertive” to be
                taken seriously enough by medical staff to make a similar shift, as well
                as being unable to take part in the socialising and “male bonding” with
                senior male doctors which helped cement male nurses’ apparently higher
                status.

                In teaching, meanwhile, men were often called on to take the role of disciplinarian and authority figure.”

              • JR in WV

                deleted

                • postmodulator

                  Huh, now I’m curious.

          • MichaelDrew

            The thread after this comment: holy shit, WTF?

            Btw, the blocking thing is going exactly as I expected: pressure among the community members upon each other for not blocking certain commenters who become a target for some reason (always a bad reason, since that is a fucking bullshit dynamic).

            You better be on the right side of blocking this person!

            • Mike Schilling

              Careful or I’ll block you too!

              (Yes, that’s sarcasm. M Drew and I are old friends.)

            • Hob

              Michael, “the blocking thing” is no different than the pie filter thing which people have been using for years. And you’re hugely exaggerating the “pressure among the community members upon each other for not blocking”; there’s no coordinated campaign, there’s one asshole—me—who said he wished other people would stop engaging politely with this other asshole. And the only reason I mentioned that I’ve re-blocked Lee myself was so other people wouldn’t cringe at the prospect of me continuing to start shit with him.

        • pseudalicious

          We say this a lot here, but is there actual data that blue collar men have rejected training programs in feminine-coded jobs? Like, if it’s true, fine — I’m a pinko Jew, I have no particular love for the Common Clay of the New West. Just, if you can back this up, I’d be curious to read the links.

        • Linnaeus

          Sitting at a long table or in a cubicle and writing code is not manly. Writing a brief is not manly.

          Eh, at the same time, this country’s jobs program (to the extent that it’s had one) has been heavily reliant on exhorting more people to do those jobs.

        • Mike Schilling

          Writing a brief is not manly.

          Wearing briefs is not manly. Real men wear and are boxers.

      • Moslerfan

        Hey, I never said they were being rational. But when these people are being offered welfare, medicare, and retraining as coders instead of the good-paying respectable blue collar jobs they used to have, it’s pretty easy to convince them that they are being condescended to by “elites.” The Democratic party better come to terms with this.

        • Brien Jackson

          I don’t know what to tell you. There’s nothing inherently good or respectable about factory work, and (stealing from Erik here) for most of American history it was shitty, dangerous, low paying, highly exploitative work. What made it a “good paying respectable job” was exactly the legal/union regime these voters oppose, by and large. I guess you can “come to terms” with it, but that just means figuring out how to win without them, because appealing to them on their own terms is just impossible.

          • CP

            Another thing that has to be said, with regards to people like West Virginia coal miners who don’t just want jobs but want THEIR kind of jobs in particular:

            The old industrial age working class that everyone idealizes was made up of two kinds of people. 1) Rural migrants, who were moving to a big city/industrial lifestyle that was very different from, and often unpopular when compared to, the rural/agrarian lifestyle that their fathers and forefathers had been raised with, but who moved to the new lifestyle anyway because that was where the jobs were. And 2) immigrants, both legal and illegal, and mostly from cultures that most of the native-born considered alien, hostile, and unwelcome.

            In other words, 1) the kind of people West Virginia coal miners refuse to be, and 2) the kind of people West Virginia coal miners hate and blame for all their problems.

            Even if you sidestep the whole issue of unionization/regulation vs. free and unregulated market and all that crap, you’re still left with that basic problem.

          • Moslerfan

            I have worked in factories and I have worked in mines. I had the respect of my friends and family and was able to provide for them. I don’t need you or Erik condescending to tell me how I should feel about my life.

            • Brien Jackson

              I have friends who work in warehouses and friends who are construction laborers. They make $12-14 an hour. It’s good respectable work, but it pays like shit. But if you increased unionization and changed labor laws there’s no reason it couldn’t be middle class income work.

              Also take your concern troll shit elsewhere. kthxbai.

              • Kevin

                It’s amazing how true that is. I’m in Canada, Ontario to be specific. Our unions are stronger, and my entire family has made their living in construction, and they’ve done well for themselves.

                Likewise, our teachers union in Ontario is second to none, and you can make a legit living as a high school or primary school teacher. But those jobs seem to be garbage in a lot of states.

                • Brien Jackson

                  Yep. This is why “factories and coal mining” is such an odd argument for leftists to be taking up. There’s still lots of blue collar labor to be done in this economy, even in factories! But declining unionization and Reublican governance has pushed those jobs back to the time when they were dangerous, exploitative, and paid like total shit.

                • Odie

                  Coal is quickly becoming a useless commodity they’re only under 15,000 coal mining jobs left why they’re pining for the “Good Ol’ Days is baffling.

                • Odie

                  These “WWC” people need to learn adaptation. POC do it all the time.

                • Linnaeus

                  Of course people adapt to changing conditions, but we haven’t done nearly enough to help people (of all kinds) to do that.

                • As I usually do when this topic comes up, I feel compelled to note that there’s little evidence that most of the purported leftists who care so much about “factories and coal mining” are actually on the left in any meaningful fashion.

              • Linnaeus

                But if you increased unionization and changed labor laws there’s no reason it couldn’t be middle class income work.

                You’d probably get a few more Democratic voters out of the deal, too.

        • Kevin

          so, you are ignoring the entire point of the post and linked essay, that the shift was very clearly a shift during a time of racial change, not left/right class change, and still posting as if you have the answers.

          Cool, someone I can safely ignore!

          • kvs

            It wasn’t just a time of racial and cultural change. Economic inequality began to rise in the 70s and has continued mostly unabated since then. That would seem to be a blind spot in the OP and linked essay’s analysis.

            It’s the interplay among those trends that’s created the narrative shaping today’s WWC identity.

            What the OP and essay demonstrate is that progressive economic platforms alone don’t win WWC votes.

            • mds

              Economic inequality began to rise in the 70s

              I’m no historian, but I’m fairly certain that the 1960s actually came before the 1970s.

              • kvs

                At the risk of moving the goalposts, we realize that economic outcomes don’t happen overnight, right? Those results came from changes over the preceding decades like the decline in union membership beginning in the mid-50s. That decline being the result of even earlier policy changes.

                https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Union_membership_in_us_1930-2010.png

                • Kevin

                  I’m sorry, but you are moving the goal posts. Those changes over decades did not make 20% decline in WWC support for Democrats in just 4 years. That was clearly a result of civil rights and the embrace of POC in the Democratic party. To say otherwise is to try to shove your theory in, facts be damned.

                  And the stuff you are talking about is important, but it’s not what happened.

                • Odie

                  The Taft-Hartley act of 1947.

            • Kevin

              I mean..you are wrong on the timeline. 1968 and 1972. That’s when the migration happened. The rise in inequality didn’t start until the late 70’s/early 80’s. This is trivially easy to research. Too many people want to fit the facts to their already formed beliefs instead of letting the facts speak for themselves. But the facts are clear, regardless if they help your “left” case out or not.

              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Income_inequality_in_the_United_States#The_great_Compression.2C_1937.E2.80.931967

              http://www.newyorker.com/news/john-cassidy/pikettys-inequality-story-in-six-charts

              Those charts show it quite well. During those years where WWC shifted, inequality was unchanged. Let’s deal with reality as it is.

      • CP

        It’s a completely impossible goal to have, and is completely ignorant of how the economy of the 1950’s and 60’s was built.

        Yep. A lot of the national mythology that appeals to such people at this point is just mindless delusion. They want the fifties and sixties back, without any of the things that made the fifties and sixties possible. Or in other words, they want to vote Republican and get Democratic governance out of it.

      • PSP

        They oppose welfare benefits to white folks they see as undeserving, not just black folks. The criticism of individuals they know who can work but collect disability can be vociferous. It is a marker of poor white trash. The whole deserving/undeserving poor dichotomy is still very strong.

      • George Carty

        American living standards of the post war era were so high largely because there was little foreign competition, for three reasons:

        1. Standardized shipping containers (which would hugely cut the cost of international trade) hadn’t yet come into use,
        2. Most rival industrial powers were still rebuilding after having been devastated by World War II, and
        3. The international movement of capital was restricted by the Bretton-Woods economic system).

    • Gepap

      Well, hard to be a rational party based on the platform of “making dreams come true” – it may work for the irrational party, but that isn’t something we should be encouraging.

      • Moslerfan

        What people on this thread are saying is “There is no alternative. Get that college education or be left behind.” Well, there are alternatives. Going back to the 50s or 60s is an alternative. Going back to feudalism is an alternative. Getting a right-wing authoritarian government is an alternative. There will be an alternative, the point is to find a good one. That better be the Democratic Party’s objective.

        • Brien Jackson

          Ok, but to go back to the 1950’s and 60’s you need to recreate the legal and labor environment of the time, so we’re back to square one, aren’t we?

        • Gepap

          “Going back to the 50s or 60s is an alternative. ”

          No, it it distinctly NOT an alternative, unless you have actually discovered time travel. The technological and global conditions that made that era what is was are gone, period. In fact, almost every “alternative” you gave except the getting rid of democracy one is absolutely impossible, since they run counter to the current material reality. And getting rid of “democracy” isn’t an “alternative” in the sense of winning the WWC. By your list, starting a nuclear war and then deciding we will put the post-apocalyptic pieces back together like we want is “an alternative” – if this is the kind of policy recommendations you are able to make, well, then you aren’t really offering anything.

        • epidemiologist

          That is… Not what people in this thread are saying. There have been several comments about the union representation and legal protection that made many blue-collar jobs relatively safe, dignified, and remunerative. The point is that these jobs aren’t inherently great– labor protections made them so. That should be a good thing since some jobs, like coal mining, are increasingly irrelevant and are not coming back. Good thing we know how to make many different types of job a good job!

          That cuts both ways, btw, and many jobs for which you need a college degree would also not be good jobs without labor protections. I think that is a pretty uncontroversial statement here and you are reading things into people’s words that are not there.

          • Brien Jackson

            Incidentally, this is also why it’s important to stick up for the value and dignity of fast food and other service workers too.

          • BloodyGranuaile

            Many jobs for which you need a college degree *aren’t* good jobs because they *don’t* have labor protections. It used to be that having a college degree put you in white-collar work which didn’t need unions and stuff because the market put them above blue-collar work in terms of pay, but now with the glut of college-educated millennials, “must have a master’s degree and five years of experience for this $30k/year entry-level job, it’s on salary so that we can give you a 50- or 60-hour work week” is entirely par for the course in a lot of fields.

            • Linnaeus

              I’d argue that every job has always needed labor protections, no matter what job it is – even if it’s not readily apparent as to why. Almost no single worker, no matter how talented she or he may be, has bargaining power equal to that of his or her employer.

              There’s long been a classist sense, even among liberal-leaning folks, that labor protections are for lesser people in lesser jobs and “we” (meaning educated professional types) don’t need them because we’re really good at our jobs, our managers are nice people who are just like us, labor protections are for lazy incompetents, etc. But you sometimes find out right quick how thin those reeds are.

              • Origami Isopod

                our managers are nice people who are just like us

                Yes. It is entirely based in classism.

            • epidemiologist

              I take your point and have worked such jobs, but as a millennial with both a degree and rent to pay, I’m going to decline to take the blame for there being a lot of us.

              • BloodyGranuaile

                I’m in this cohort too, and we definitely didn’t ask to be put in this situation. We did everything we were told! We got educations and internships and shit! Turns out we got shitty advice and now we’re listening to shouty socialist grandpas instead of our parents who gave us all the shitty advice… and everyone wonders how that happened. Also we’re killing laundry detergent with our avocado toast, or something.

        • djw

          What people on this thread are saying is “There is no alternative. Get that college education or be left behind.”

          To state the obvious, no one is saying anything remotely comparable to this.

          ETA: never mind, replace rest of comment with “what epidemiologist said.”

      • BloodyGranuaile

        “We shouldn’t be encouraging the idea that we could be ‘making dreams come true'” is about as perfect a summation of why people are exasperated at and uninspired by the Democrats as one could hope for.

        Good Lord.

        • Gepap

          Encouraging fantasists is a bad thing – it is what gets a truly incompetent man elected President. The notion that Democrats should be aping the cancer that is the Republican party to win is a distasteful one, and promising people the moon is exactly what Republican do.

          If you think that is “inspiring”, well, nothing can be done to help really.

    • TopsyJane

      Maybe because they’ll go through the retraining and then nobody will hire them as coders because they’re too old or “not a good fit with our company.”

      Yes, they want work instead of government handouts to ease the displacements of automation and globalization. What terrible people.

    • AGoodQuestion

      The WWC tends to flake out rather than demand or work for what they actually – we like to think – want, though.

  • I don’t know if this makes sense as a “white working class” narrative rather than as a “southern white” narrative. The data offered basically supports “the civil rights era drove southerners away from the party” and “southern whites are more likely to vote for southern white candidates.”

    • mattmcirvin

      The shift that happened on the margins and elected Trump was centered around the Great Lakes, not the South. The area people are really concerned about is Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania. The explanations there are probably similar, though.

      • mds

        There seems to have been a “Southernization” of the Great Lakes states going on. I mean, what’s the logic behind displaying Confederate symbols in rural Minnesota? And all the Civil War monuments in Iowa that I’ve seen have to do with Union troops, yet you wouldn’t know it from talking to some folks.

        • postmodulator

          I know what caused that around Akron, Ohio — they used to bus folks up from West Virginia to work in the rubber factories. But that can’t have been true everywhere. (And yeah, I know why there even is a “West” Virginia, but the folks whose roots are there don’t seem to be aware themselves.)

        • CP

          The interesting thing is that this has been going both ways. At the same time as the Midwest has been getting redder, parts of the South have been getting bluer – Virginia is basically a blue state at this point, Florida is at least solid purple, North Carolina and Georgia are difficult but winnable, and out west, even Texas and Arizona could very well become winnable in the not-too-distant-future.

          People often mention demographics in the Southern case – that the development of these states has attracted a lot of immigrants from abroad and transplants from Yankeeland. I’d like to know how much of the Rust Belt is simply the flip side of that story – a non-trivial number of people left to go looking for jobs and lives elsewhere, and the population they left behind is disproportionately white, old, cranky, racist, and (almost by definition) hostile to the concept of change.

          • postmodulator

            I’d like to know how much of the Rust Belt is simply the flip side of that story – a non-trivial number of people left to go looking for jobs and lives elsewhere, and the population that’s left is disproportionately white, old, cranky, racist, and (almost by definition) hostile to the concept of change.

            Again, leaning on Akron, there’s a weird phenomenon my friends and I noticed. We all went away to college (although, as I mentioned, I took longer). When we came back to visit, people we went to high school and who had stuck around had become shockingly bigoted seemingly out of nowhere.

            • Rob in CT

              Is it possible they were that way from the git go, but you went and go educated (while college educated people can be racist too, at a minimum there is less acceptance of overt bigotry – due to the dread scourge of PC, of course) so now you notice it more?

              • postmodulator

                I’d like to think not. I didn’t grow up there, really, until high school; I was raised on army bases. The second day I was at my new high school in suburban Akron was the first time I’d ever encountered balls-to-the-wall malevolent racism and it was sort of shocking to me. Before that, racism was someone telling a joke about Jesse Jackson and then saying he felt guilty for telling it. So I think I was a bit more sensitive to it than the average resident there already.

                • postmodulator

                  The way Disqus handles threading is not making me look very smart.

            • Brien Jackson

              There’s a similar feedback loop in Southwest OH where I grew up too, with a strong anti-tax base. The area I grew up in takes an average of four times to pass a school levy, no matter how clearly they need repairs or more funding or what have you*. When I was just graduating high school the county had a major opportunity to sell some land at the corner of a major interstate and US highway to a company that had plans for a major factory operation there, but it fell apart because a levy to make badly needed repairs to the highway failed. So there went over 1,000 projected jobs just like that. It’s been the same story forever, and now no one can figure out why there aren’t good jobs, the once really good schools are consistently declining, most people in my cohort have left (esecially those of us who went to college), and heroin is everywhere.

              *Incidentally, I just found out on a recent visit that the new political fad du juor is a move to limit the ability to put a failed levy back on the ballot in the next election. Because freedumb!!!

          • sonamib

            Migrants tend to assimilate to the local culture* and since voting is tribal, their voting patterns will eventually become indistinguishable from the long-timers.

            So my guess is : Yankee migration to Southern states only makes them bluer because they migrate precisely to the “blue bubble” areas of those states.

            *Exceptions may apply to discriminated groups.

          • mattmcirvin

            A big chunk of white America is becoming Confederateized in reaction to the country otherwise diversifying.

            I was thinking it could only end in apocalyptic bloodshed, with the whites just exterminating everyone else, but the demographics just aren’t right–these groups have young people, but they don’t have a huge surplus of dumb young men, of the sort you really need to get your mass murder on. (In fact, that’s part of what is freaking them out.) They’ll be doing their best to hang onto power any way they can, though, with less and less respect for any pretense of democracy.

          • mattmcirvin

            …the Sunbelt is an interesting case because in the short term, the trend just helps Republicans nationally: these states gain Congressional representation and electoral votes as their population grows, and the new population is actually Democratic-leaning, but as long as it’s not quite enough to flip the state, the Republicans get more powerful. The question is when (if ever) the flip happens. Florida went for Obama twice (by the narrowest of margins) and New Mexico is now a solid blue state, so obviously this isn’t impossible.

          • mattmcirvin

            …and, of course, there’s always the danger that the election system gets so corrupted that winning is simply impossible regardless of actual public opinion in these states. This may already be the case in some places.

            • postmodulator

              What were the numbers for Wisconsin’s state legislature? GOP candidates get 48% of the votes and 60% of the seats, something like that? If a developing country had those kinds of numbers we’d invade. (If they also had oil.)

      • I’m not sure what you’re getting at here. The point I was responding to was the idea that it was silly to think of left economic policies as the answer to Dems losing the white working class, because when those losses LBJ had just passed a huge expansion of the welfare state. People who were voting for Democrats as recently as 2012 don’t really fall into that framework. Particularly in the area you mention it’s perfectly plausible that Trump was able to gain votes based on effectively running to Clinton’s left on trade.

    • kvs

      It’s been an overall national trend since the 60s. Liberal Republicans in the north are also an extinct species. There is significantly less regional variation in partisan composition now.

  • CP

    There are at least two problems:

    1) As you say, “the decline in white working class support for the Democratic Party at the presidential level began well before the party’s retreat from progressivism and pro-worker politics.”

    2) To quite an extent, “white working class” is used as a euphemism for white Republicans in general, many of whom might not actually be especially working-class, because the “it’s class not race” narrative is comforting for a large number of white people.

    • Brien Jackson

      The second point especially. How many times do you see “working class” almost explicitly defined by being “blue collar,” or even about larger cultural identifiers, and divorced entirely from income?

      • NeonTrotsky

        Wasn’t the median income of Trump supporters like 70 or 80k? That’s a healthy professional wage probably bordering on “upper middle class” depending on where you live.

        • Hogan

          And maybe not even a wage–a distribution from the business you own.

          • tsam100

            I think it’s hilarious that someone taking 70-80K as a distribution or salary from the business they own is going to be helped in any way by Trump. You have to be one delusional moron to buy into that line of bullshit.

            • mattmcirvin

              Some of Trump’s strongest supporters were small-time building contractors–aka Donald Trump’s natural prey, the people he built his career shafting.

              • tsam100

                I’m one of those people too. That fuck makes the hair stand up on the back of my neck. Thinking of one story (recent work to Trump Tower), the amount cited in that would have put us down (if my math of dollars vs. annual revenue is correct). We don’t have the resources to sue people like him for our money.

                • mattmcirvin

                  It’s the Art of the Deal!!

        • sonamib

          I think that 70k-80k figure was for primary voters, who tend to be richer than general election voters. I don’t think there was a large difference between the median incomes of Trump and Clinton voters in the general election. I’d be glad to have a source for that!

      • mattmcirvin

        Often it means “less education”. White people with high incomes and low education levels are the most Republican.

        • CP

          Perhaps, but Trump still won the college-educated-white vote.

          • It might be interesting (and very likely depressing) to sort out “college-educated-white” according to kinds of college. For instance, I assume (without a lot of evidence, and even despite some personal anecdotes to the contrary) that graduates (whites especially) of, say, Baptist- or LDS-affiliated universities (or colleges without doctoral programs other than theology) would be disproportionately Trump voters, and that contrariwise (again without much evidence beyond—in this case, highly confirmatory—personal anecdotage) graduates of non-sectarian colleges in non-Confederate states would be disproportionately non-Trump voters.

            Does anyone actually know about this?

          • John F

            by 49 to 45, he won among whites without college degrees by 67 to 28.

            67 to 28 is at a level that is almost assuredly “identity” voting
            (white men voted for him by 63 to 31 overall)

            Clinton did A LOT worse among whites without college degrees than Obama did- that demographic was the one where her drop off from Obama was the greatest, she also did worse among Hispanic and black men- the only males she did (slightly better) than Obama were college educated ones.

            Occam’s Razor says the issue was misogyny, not whether the Dems were left wing enough on economics.

      • Bizarro Mike

        Not just blue collar, but implicitly white and male. I know the WWC acronym puts the white in there explicitly, but all of the discussion of working-class problems seems to omit the troubles of the non-white and the non-male. Hell, a lot of it omits the problems of the white guys too.

      • CP

        Yep, “cultural identifiers” and “divorced entirely from income” especially. I see this in my family more and more.

        • Richard Gadsden

          That’s class, then, rather than just income. That’s what class means.

          Class is a shared culture that’s associated with an income level. It’s why Trump isn’t really upper class – he doesn’t have that cultural identification.

  • AMK

    The practical question here is not “is the WWC as a national whole really just too stupid and racist to vote its own economic self-interest?” (it is) but “what (low) percentage of the WWC do Dems need to win?”–i.e. Obama–> Trump voters. As I’ve said before, the lowest-cost answer for the Dems is free trade bashing, which costs nothing and allows for aggressive nationalistic posturing without overt racism that will make the most gettable 20% of these people in the rust belt pay attention.

    • Brien Jackson

      The problem is that after you run an anti-trade campaign…there’s not a whole lot you can do in terms of governing if you aren’t willing to say fuck you to the rest of the world. And that’s especially true since automation is a bigger issue than trade anyway. I would say that being much more forceful about pushing an infrastructure plan would probably be about as good on the margins AND something a Dem government could try to deliver on.

      • AMK

        Not pushing trade deals with developing countries that the liberal activist base hates anyway is a deliverable. Taking steps to curb dumping in specific WWC-themed areas (steel, tires, lumber etc..basically a competent version of what Trump is trying to do) is a deliverable. Enforcing buy America provisions is a deliverable.

        Trying to argue “automation is actually much more significant if you read these white papers and look at these statistics” is a dead end with these people–if they could understand and internalize that information, they would already be Dem voters.

        • Brien Jackson

          And when propping up the cost of American steel raises input costs across the broader economy to help a very narrow slice of workers, I’m sure that won’t negatively rebound AT ALL, right?

          • AMK

            I guess it depends how dramatic the effect is. But since most steel that people buy in consumer goods is recycled material made here, I would be willing to bet the effect is very marginal. If the existing price is just being maintained instead of falling, people won’t know the difference anyway. If the price goes up on certain products, blame the companies that make them. Political theater isn’t hard.

          • sonamib

            Yeah, I agree with Brien. “Buy America” provisions have high costs and low payoffs. For instance, American transit authorities pay roughly double the price when buying train cars. Since there is not much of a domestic passenger rail industry in the US, transit agencies have to turn to foreign manufacturers, which have to open a brand new plant in the US in order to fulfill the “Buy America” provision. Thanks to automation, this creates, like, 300 jobs at most. And this procedure raises costs in all sorts of way, from reduced competition on bidding (smaller manufacturers won’t take the risk of expanding their activities overseas) to the inherent increase in costs associated with relying on a new production facility.

            I hope everyone agrees that this is completely silly.

            • AMK

              You have to account for the many more jobs and economic activity created to build and service a huge facility that constructs train cars–everything from the landscapers to the programmers who work with the automated systems.

              But the larger point is the potential political value, whatever the marginal costs.

              • sonamib

                Ok, there are indirect jobs created on top of the 300 jobs. Round that up to 1000 if you like. That’s still way too small when compared to the costs. Think about all the train drivers and maintenance jobs which are lost because less trains are bought.

                The point is that this is a very inefficient way to create jobs. Only a small number benefit, while a large number are harmed, and as a result few people will be grateful, most will be indifferent at best or angry about the waste at worst.

                Unless you want to use it for some sort of culture war spin like Trump did “saving” the Carrier jobs (while actually losing most of them)? Open each new factory with great fanfare while sweeping the costs under the rug? It might work in the short run, but I don’t think you can dupe people that easily. At the end of the day, people will realize they aren’t actually getting those jobs, only a tiny minority can ever get them. And they’ll be angry because they’re denied those jobs.

                • Richard Gadsden

                  Since we’re talking train cars, let me give you a real example of a smart Buy British provision vs a dumb one.

                  Hitachi is a huge Japanese congolomerate, that makes trains. They bid for a British train contract for new long-distance trains (yes, yes, Britain isn’t a big country so long-distance doesn’t mean what it does in the US – roughly speaking, these are the equivalent of the Northeast Regional).

                  Because shipping trains from Japan to Britain is expensive and slow – and shipping them back if they need modifications would make for a very slow iterative development – the contract said that Hitachi would build a new factory in the UK, would build the prototype trains and the first few (IIRC, five) trains in Japan while the factory was under construction, and would then build the rest of the production order in the UK and would also make any modifications to the prototypes in the UK.

                  Result was a nice new factory in the UK, employing a few hundred people directly and a couple of thousand indirectly without screwing up the process, slowing things down, or adding to costs.

                  The new trains (classes 800, 801 and 802 if you’re a railfan and want to ride them when you’re next here) were popular with a bunch of different train companies in the UK, and Hitachi got more follow-on orders than their new factory in the UK was able to build. Because they think it’s a bit of a glut (ie once this model is out the door, they’re expecting a drop-off in orders) they didn’t expand the factory – and they couldn’t have done that and deliver on-time anyway. So they originally intended to have those trains made in Japan.

                  The UK was a bit upset about that, but Hitachi’s reasons were solid. However, they bought an Italian train manufacturer (AnsaldoBreda) a couple of years ago (partly because AB had a shortage of orders after a spectacular fuck-up with Belgian/Dutch trains) and the first thing they did was to move the production of these UK trains from Japan, where they’d have to be delivered by sea, to Italy, where they can be delivered by rail.

                  There are incentives in the UK procurement process to use UK sourcing where possible, but they way they work allows foreign manufacturing to compete and therefore to hold down the prices of UK companies.

                  (ie you get points on the procurement for low prices, points for a good product and points for being British; you can be British and a little bit more expensive or a little bit worse, but not a lot)

                  As for US trains – you need reliable demand, year-in, year-out. Train factories need full order books to be profitable, and they tend to get feast-and-famine in the US. Europe is better because the national variations of policy average out.

          • diogenes

            A Buy American policy for the DOD would be a good start.

        • djw

          Not pushing trade deals with developing countries that the liberal activist base hates anyway is a deliverable.

          A non-action is pretty much the exact opposite of a deliverable. I suppose if there’s such a deal in the process of being negotiated, we could call cancelling the negotiations a “deliverable” but only in the narrowest sense. The anti-trade belief is tied up with the (wildly exaggerated, at best) perception that trade is responsible for declining economic fortunes in their community. Unlike anti-immigration politics (seeing the boot on the throats of “those people” is a deliverable independent of any economic effect) people don’t like trade because of what they think its effects are. If a few symbolic anti-trade gestures don’t actually help (and they won’t) no credit will be given.

          It’s worth considering the possibility that a) this might have actually worked, in the sense of delivering just barely enough votes, in 2016 and b) that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily a good strategy going forward. Keep in mind trade is now more popular than ever, by massive margins (public opinion has moved sharply away from most of Trump’s signature positions not just under his presidency but throughout his campaign.) This very likely includes most of the Romney–>not Trump college educated white voters. Your confidence this would have only positive and no negative effects isn’t warranted.

          • AMK

            One of the flawed Dem assumptions in 2016 was that “Romney–>not Trump college educated white voters” (especially the women) were a meaningful bloc that would flip to HRC or stay home. We know how that turned out.

            Meanwhile, the Obama–>Trump voters that everyone assumed could not exist made a critical difference.

            • djw

              They were a not insubstantial block; there was a 10-12 point swing to Clinton, they just lived in the wrong states. Assuming their consolidation and continued support is electorally irrelevant going forward because it was electorally irrelevant in 2016 is a classic example of overlearning the lessons to the last election.

              • AMK

                Living in the wrong states = irrelevant in our system. And if you asked these people why they were repelled by Trump, they would say the overt racism or sexism or tin-pot strongman tendencies or just overall obvious unfitness to be President before they ever mention free trade.

                • djw

                  If you asked smart political people to predict the most likely tipping point state in 2014, I imagine the most common answer would have been Ohio, which wasn’t in the top 10. The idea that we know this far out, a) whether the 2020 election will be close enough for the EC to be a potential factor, or b) if it is, which states will be the closest states that make the difference, is an important part of what I mean when I use the phrase “overlearning the results of the last election.”

              • Linnaeus

                Assuming their consolidation and continued support is electorally irrelevant going forward because it was electorally irrelevant in 2016 is a classic example of overlearning the lessons to the last election.

                A good point, but do we have any sense, either qualitative or quantitative, as to how reliable these voters would be going forward? My concern is that these types are more motivated by revulsion of Trump than they are to Democratic ideals and that they’ll continue to vote Republican downticket and revert to voting for Republican presidential candidates once Trump is out of the picture.

                • djw

                  I’m not aware of specific data on that, but we do have good reason to believe that if they swing D for 2-3 cycles it’s more likely to be permanent. I’d certainly speculate-with-some-confidence that these people’s future voting patterns have more to do with how things shake out on the R side than anything the Democrats do, but also that a Democratic effort to out-populist the populists by going anti-trade and/or anti-immigration are more likely to hurt than help (and with more than just these people! The youthful swing to more left positions on economic issues is decidedly not manifesting itself in anti-trade views; young people were consistently the most pro-TPP demographic. They’re trending more redistributionist and more cosmopolitan than previous generations, and trade seems to track on the latter axis along with immigration.

                • Linnaeus

                  Thanks for this perspective – it will be interesting to see how this goes.

                  Re: TPP, that strikes me as more of an IP agreement than a trade agreement, but that’s for another discussion.

    • Scott P.

      “As I’ve said before, the lowest-cost answer for the Dems is free trade bashing, which costs nothing”

      Nothing? Brad Delong estimates the value of external trade to the US is $2 trillion per year.

  • Tom Sgouros

    The fact that progressive policies did not prevent the WWC from moving away from the Democratic Party does not lead to the conclusion that such policies are irrelevant to attracting them back. Perhaps it might imply that one needs more than this, but something can be necessary but not sufficient.

    • persephone_the_wanderer

      Well yeah, you can argue that a platform of herrenvolk democracy — i.e., how the Trump campaign was perceived — might win them back. For obvious reasons no Democrat is going to get out of any primary on a platform of “more money for whites, less money for blacks, also fuck women.”

      • Tom Sgouros

        I’m not arguing for herrenvolk democracy, just pointing out a logical flaw in the original post’s reasoning. He argues that A was not the cause of B, so reversing A cannot be the way to reverse B. I am simply saying these are not logically connected, so the argument — and its inverse — does not stand. For myself, I think good progressive policies are probably necessary, just not sufficient.

    • Steve LaBonne

      The problem is that there’s zero evidence that it’s even significantly helpful. The reason to support progressive policies is that they’re the right policies.

    • Scott Lemieux

      I mean, anything’s possible, but what’s the evidence? This false historical narrative tends to be the main support for the assertion.

      • Tom Sgouros

        Just saying that the assertion need not be supported by a false historical narrative to be true. To be honest, I don’t know if the assertion is true or not, but I figure if there is a working strategy, it must be either about substance or image, by the excluded middle. I also believe a mere image change that would be attractive to people who have spurned the party so far is probably unattainable. So that leads to a good policy agenda as the only possible way forward. I don’t know if it’s enough, but the existence of people who lean heavily on the false historical narrative to justify the same choice should not matter, even if the falseness of the narrative is an interesting and troubling data point. But maybe my judgment about unattainability is weak…

  • Mike in DC

    Isolating out WWC voters who voted for Obama but not for Clinton might be worthwhile. But any approach which backburners the interests of the POC who make up half the party base seems both stupid and unjust in the extreme.

    • BM, President of Fuckery

      And electorally stupid, this isn’t 1990 anymore, you don’t need most of the WWC to win.

      • Phil Perspective

        People need to get it through their thick heads. Democrats can lose the WWC 60-40 and be okay. They’re truly screwed if they’re losing the WWC 75-25 or 80-20, which is what happened in rural PA last year.

    • NeonTrotsky

      Yeah, the Black vote is at least if not more important to the Democratic party as white evangelicals are to the Republican party, and in both cases each respective party probably has more to lose than gain by abandoning each respective constituency from a purely electoral perspective.

      • BM, President of Fuckery

        I love this comparison because its true but secondly they approach voting in opposite ways. Evangelicals are purely social issue voters while black folks are really only economics voters.

    • DrDick

      Right. It is not either/or, it is both/and.

    • Steve LaBonne

      One also needs to ask if they were W–>Obama–>[possibly Romney, possibly Obama, possibly stay home]–> Trump voters. Those are angry “burn it down and try again” voters who are possibly the least susceptible to policy arguments.

      • Wapiti

        I think that the “burn it down voters” will come back to the Democratic Party, it’s just not predictable when they do so. So the Dems should have plans, policy, and drafted legislation ready to go. Have an ethos and stick to it. Take advantage of swing voters when they swing your way; play defense when they swing away in great numbers.

        • postmodulator

          Exactly, they’ll come back to the Democratic Party. And then they’ll go back to the GOP if, God forbid, President Harris doesn’t bring back coal mining by February 2021.

          To belabor the point you’re making, it is by definition impossible to construct a platform that appeals to nihilists.

    • heckblazer

      I wish I had a link, but I recently read an analysis on precisely that topic. It found that Trump appealed to them because his platform offered both economic liberalism *and* racial resentment.

  • LeeEsq

    Another problem with the WWC abandoned the Democratic Party because the Democratic Party moved right on economics was that the Democratic Party never came close to arguing for even minor nationalization when they were at their most left economically and leftist economics never had a big support base among the American people. Many Americans have always perceived themselves as free market capitalists even if they were working class.

  • DrDick

    This rather glaringly overlooks the much bigger factors of the 1964 and 1968 civil rights legislation, as well as Nixon’s overtly racist campaign. White flight has always largely been about racism.

    • msdc

      If you’re referring to the quoted essay, I would say it rather glaringly looks directly at those factors and says “this is what’s going on, not that neoliberalism bullshit.”

      • Kevin

        Yeah, DrDick had a rather awful misreading there, but I chalk it up to human error, since he is clearly correct, the biggest factors were race.

    • Uncle_Ebeneezer

      Perhaps, as the labor researcher Penny Lewis has suggested, the white working class was more perturbed by the Vietnam War than popular accounts of the antiwar movement—which commonly frame blue-collar workers as having been hawks pitted against young, relatively well-to-do college students—have portrayed. But most of the drop in support, as nearly every historian surveying the period has agreed, can be attributed to the Party’s full embrace of not only civil rights, but also social liberalism more broadly. The Party emerged from the 1960s championing both economic and social justice and believed it could continue to do so without losing the downscale white voters it had relied on for years. As the election of 1968 made clear, it could not. Those voters fled to Richard Nixon and the segregationist former governor of Alabama George Wallace, who together won 64 percent of the white working class.

      Those voters never really looked back. The theory that they would have had the Party offered up truly economically progressive candidates has to contend with the failed candidacies of George McGovern in 1972, whom Nixon trounced with 70 percent of the white working class vote and the staunchly pro-labor and union-backed Walter Mondale, whom neoliberal archdaemon Ronald Reagan trounced with 65 percent of their vote in 1984. Since 1968, two Democratic presidential candidates have done well with the white working class: Jimmy Carter, who dramatically outperformed George McGovern in the demographic by running as a conservative Democrat against Ford in 1976, and the DLC-anointed bubba neoliberal Bill Clinton. Ross Perot’s insurgent populism and his warning that NAFTA would produce a “giant sucking sound” as blue-collar jobs were lost to Mexico failed, ultimately, to prevent the man who backed and signed NAFTA from winning narrow pluralities of the white working class vote in 1992 and 1996.

      This is not a voting record that inspires confidence that the white working class has been itching, deep down, to cast votes against neoliberal economics upon hearing the right progressive pitch. But looking at general election results offers only an incomplete picture of the white working class’ exit from the Democratic fold. They largely tell a now-familiar story about Democratic collapse among blue-collar and other whites in the south that masks the gradual erosion of white working class support in northern states where Trump won. It’s the Democratic primaries in the wake of the New Deal coalition’s final rupture in 1968 that provide the clearest picture of how even the portion of the white working class presumably most sympathetic to left-of-center politics—northern blue-collar whites—has moved rightward.

  • Captain Oblivious

    gonna keep saying this…

    The inability of Dems to win is an organizational problem, not a policy problem. Tinkering with policy positions is not going to win over WWC-Rs who are stupid racist fucks*. Fix the organization instead.** Get rid of the inept consultants, beef up local and state party organizations, enforce party-line voting discipline with the threat of funding cutoff/primary challenges, and make sure there’s a decent candidate in every race, right down to Sanitation District Supervisor.

    *People also need to realize that a lot of WWCs do vote D and many more don’t vote at all because they think it doesn’t matter. If you want to do voter outreach to WWCs, go after the ones that don’t vote, not the ones who voted for Trump.

    **It’s easier to wank on about how the Ds need to change their messaging on _____ than it is to tackle organizational inertia.

    • BM, President of Fuckery

      Thank you!

    • twbb

      “Get rid of the inept consultants”

      Oh please yes.

      One of the most frustrating things about the campaign last year were the black and WWC local leaders insisting to the Clinton campaign that they were not going to get the turnout they were counting on and they needed to put more resources into those communities including paid organizers. And the inept consultants laughed them off.

      The way the local canvassing was organized that I got involved in just made no sense to me, as well.

      • Brien Jackson

        And where did all of those “local leaders” think “more resources” was going to come from?

        • MikeJake

          Out of the hands of the campaign consultants, before they could blow it on completely wasteful ad buys.

          • Brien Jackson

            Oh look, someone who doesn’t know what they’re talking about!

            • MikeJake

              Won’t somebody PLEASE think of the campaign consultants!

              • Brien Jackson

                Seems like you’re taking up that banner just fine.

        • twbb

          Slightly fewer “mirror” commercials?

          • Brien Jackson

            You can’t shift money from ads to the ground by the time the last 2-3 weeks comes along. You’re just shifting attention and energy from one place to another.

            And that’s without even considering that Pennsylvania makes the whole line of argument nonsense anyway.

            • sonamib

              Well, Pennsylvania doesn’t automatically make the argument moot. It might still have been a good idea (ex ante) to shift resources to Wisconsin/invest less in ads/whatever even if it wouldn’t have changed the outcome of this particular election. Because it might have changed the outcome of a slightly closer counterfactual election, where Clinton does carry Pennsylvania.

              I guess I’m assuming the point of these discussions is to draw lessons for the future, not rehash the past.

              • Brien Jackson

                But what Pennsylvania makes moot is that it was strictly resource allocation that caused the loss. And if you think it WAS resource allocation, you have to move money to WI/MI without losing, say, Virginia. And you have to be prescient enough to see losing WI/MI/PA while winning CO/NV/VA in the first place, even though you were consistently ahead in polling. Which, incidentally, is why the Comey letter mattered so much.

                • sonamib

                  But what Pennsylvania makes moot is that it was strictly resource allocation that caused the loss.

                  Totally agree with that, it wasn’t the only reason. I think even with perfect resource allocation, using only the information we had before the election, Clinton would have lost.

                  But I recall some people were ringing the bell about Midwestern states before the election. 538 ranked states by probability of granting the 270th electoral vote, and sure enough you found Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania high up there. Clinton did spend a lot of time on most of those “tipping point” states, but she overlooked some. It was an error, but a pretty small one, and it didn’t cost her the election.

                  Still, it’s interesting to talk about, because it might matter in a future election.

                • sonamib

                  Interesting, I somehow posted with my actual disqus account and not my lgm account. Are they getting merged?

                • Hob

                  I think something got changed within the last week so that if you have both, it now picks up the Disqus login instead of the LGM login. They’re not merged— my LGM-only comments don’t show up under my Disqus account, it considers those two separate people.

                • sonamib

                  I’m not sure what’s going on. I only got logged in to disqus once. Maybe because I was connected to facebook at the same time (my disqus account is linked to fb)? This calls for a test!

                  Edit: Nope, that wasn’t it. I remain confused, since it happened once and only once.

                • Phil Perspective

                  Clinton did spend a lot of time on most of those “tipping point” states, …

                  Did she hit the Pennsylvania “T”? I think maybe Scranton but that was it.

                • I realise you’re impervious to facts, but Clinton campaigned in Pennsylvania all the time.

                • Phil Perspective

                  Do you have a list of every stop she made in Pennsylvania during the general election campaign?

                • http://lmgtfy.com/?q=Clinton+campaign+stop+Pennsylvania+2016

                  I don’t believe anyone’s compiled a complete list of her campaign stops, but I’m not going to bother doing extra work because you’re too lazy to Google. The fact that she campaigned consistently in Pennsylvania and not just in Scranton is well documented and easily verified.

                • wjts

                  As I recall, Clinton’s campaign stops in Western PA were all in Pittsburgh (or possibly the Greater Pittsburghland Area). She never visited Erie, I believe, and this was probably a mistake.

            • twbb

              What are you talking about last 2-3 weeks? These criticisms were months ahead of that.

      • humanoidpanda

        This is just a quick reminder that back in 2012, Democrstic consultants and their data- heavy, ignore anecdotes and local gut feelings,approach was credited with winning the election and providing the edge an enormous edge in the future. Now they are all inept idiots for trusting their stupid models and ignoring common sense and local knowledge ..

        • twbb

          You know, it could be possible that crediting them back then was wrong? It also could be possible, and quite likely, that they deserve criticism for fighting this war with the last war’s tactics.

          • humanoidpanda

            Or it’s possible that they were neither geniuses then, nor fuckups now.

            • twbb

              Anything is possible.

        • djw

          It’s almost as if some people have the bad habit of trying to over-learn the lessons of the last election.

          • twbb

            Was that aimed at me? What lesson did YOU take from the last election?

            • djw

              More in agreement with humanoidpanda that both the degree to which many people were overly impressed with the brilliance of the Democrats data-crunchers after 2012 and utterly convinced and panicking about much of the same (or very similar) people’s obvious incompetence after 2016 are, in fact, overlearning lessons from the most recent election.

    • sibusisodan

      Very minor point: some of those aims are mutually incompatible. Stronger local and state organisation will weaken party line discipline and vice versa. That is, organisational problems are generally politically hard to solve. Agree that is _the_ problem to solve though!

    • Brien Jackson

      “beef up local and state party organizations, enforce party-line voting discipline with the threat of funding cutoff/primary challenges”

      I like how you didn’t even split up “empower local parties” and “tell red state/R+ district Dems that you don’t give a fuck about their political constraints” with some other platitude.

      • humanoidpanda

        Nothing amuses me more than people that embrace both the 50 state strategy and full spectrum socialism as ideological demand …

        • FlipYrWhig

          I have a just-so story for why this happens: it’s because Howard Dean was both the “50-state strategy” guy and the “Democratic wing of the Democratic Party” guy. Also the “netroots” guy, which is another factor in the massive confusion over who “the base” actually is.

          • djw

            Some people overlearn the lessons of the last election; others overlearn the lessons (or rather “lessons”) of that one election when I was in college and first got emotionally invested in politics.

  • Gepap

    People don’t vote their economic interests (this assumption even incorrectly presupposes that people have a clear notion of what their economic interests actually are) – people vote based on their idea of themselves and their community. It is all about the story we tell. I would argue that the problem the Democratic party has with the White working class glums to a Jeffersonian view of the country still – the self-made small independent individual out there through the sweat of their brow making their living. This drives a culture of simplicity and “strong values” (again, this is the story told, not the reality) and this is placed in stark contrast to the Big City and its two elements, the teeming mass (coded as not White) and the Big Businessmen who try to control the small, independent self-made Man (yes, this whole culture is also built around strong gender roles). That makes the story of a diverse, thriving multi-cultural system which Democrats espouse repellent to these folks.

    I would argue that, given that our Democratic story is much more closely grounded to actual physical and economic reality and that it is forward looking, as opposed to based on a idealized depiction of what once was, Democrats should not waste their energy trying to get those that hold this story close to them. We need to work on those whose conditions have made WWC story not viable and get them to believe in ours.

  • Terok Nor

    Not only did the WWC turn right “immediately after one of the two most progressive administration’s of the last century”, they did it right in the heart of the poster economic boom, the very time when (economically at least), they’ve literally never had it so good.

  • xq

    I agree that Bill Clinton and Carter 1976 are big problems for the “left”, but aren’t they also a problem for the other side of that debate? Nwanevu’s argument is that Clinton and Carter made big gains among WWC by successfully triangulating. And that doesn’t appear to have cost them much among minority voters in either turnout or support (though the 90s elections are a bit hard to interpret due to third parties). This would seem to go against the common argument made against the “left” that there’s no way to attract whites without college degrees that doesn’t cost minority votes.

    • Brien Jackson

      Perhaps. A different context though, when non-white voters were a smaller share of the electorate, both in the general and Democratic primary. Also before LGBT rights became a major issue, etc.

      • humanoidpanda

        I am not sure LGBT issues are relevant to debate: anyone who is even remotely persuadable supports LGBT rights, or at least doesn’t care about the issue

    • FlipYrWhig

      But it’s a massive problem for the theory that the way to attract said whites without alienating said minority voters is with economic populism.

  • humanoidpanda

    I agree with a lot of things said in the OP and the comments, but here is one important caveat: the Times had a book review of a new book showing exactly why and how the department of justice basically stopped prosecuting coroporate executives, and showing that Obama DOJ was actually more le intent than W’s on these people. And that’s the caveat: there is a lot of anger in this country, and Obama made the choice of ignoring it, instead of trying to channel it on productive directims. This created an opening to racialize that anger. And the rest is history…

    • Brien Jackson

      Yeah, I totally buy that people who voted for Donald Trump were just itching for the federal gubmint and the Socialist Marxist Muslim Kenyan Chicago Thug President to vigorously prosecute the titans of industry on Wall Street.

      • Brien Jackson

        The problem, such as it is, is that the right is fine with bullshitting and their audience is fine with being bullshitted if they like the taste. So “Jimmy Carter made banks give bad loans to undeserving black people” works fine for them, while even Bernie has trouble articulating a narrative about the problem with bankers once you get below the top line.

        • Rob in CT

          Well yes, that is a problem.

          • Brien Jackson

            I don’t really want to be a fatalist, but there really isn’t anyway around white supremacy other than Republican governments fucking everything up.

        • humanoidpanda

          The problem is that you are conflating hard core right wingers with mushy Bush- Obama- Trump voters

      • humanoidpanda

        Right because all voters ar motivated by one factor and one factor only, and there were absolutely zero voters who harvored racial animus and still voted for the black guy rather than the party of the rich..

    • Rob in CT

      Yeah, I’m increasingly of the opinion that either Dems figure out how to direct people’s anger it at actual malefactors, or the Right will direct it at the usual suspects. The anger’s gonna be there, like a loaded gun. [ETA: we have to have the argument we can win, instead of trying to win arguments where we’re at a disadvantage.]

      Brien – some sliver of them are like that though! These people are, politically, morons. You know, people who managed to like both Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump. People like that. Common clays, etc.

      • humanoidpanda

        So much debate here pretends as though everyone has as coherent worldview as the average LGM commenter

        • So much debate here pretends as though everyone has as coherent worldview as the average LGM commenter

          That’s not pretence, that’s Delusive Hope.

          • humanoidpanda

            I wouldn’t call this approach hopeful…

        • Rob in CT

          And I’ve been as guilty of that as anyone (at least prior to the election). These voters make my head hurt.

          • humanoidpanda

            Me too! I mean the idea of the Sanders- Trump voter was inconceivable to me, as was idea of someone approving of a Obama and voting Trump

        • Phil Perspective

          TBF, there are quite a few LGM commenters that don’t have a coherent worldview.

          • postmodulator

            And there are one or two who are committed to demonstrating that a coherent worldview can be less than useful if it is based on dangerously high self-regard and a misinterpretation of reality that would rival a Philip K. Dick protagonist.

        • djw

          It’s absolutely correct that a lot of people don’t have remotely coherent political worldviews as a general phenomenon, and this is quite possibly more true of downwardly mobile rural white people without strong, established ties to either party.

          I *also* think an underappreciated implication of this fact among people who understand it is that it’s relatively easy to understand and predict how such people can be effectively manipulated for political ends.

          (And to make the implict explicit I’d include your seeming confident that a higher rate of federal white collar crime prosecutions would have had the predictable effect of….changing the voting behavior of people who saw an unrepentant, admitted white collar criminal/billionaire and rushed to vote for him as an example of this error.)

          • FlipYrWhig

            Yeah, this seemed a lot like a revival of “the Tea Party and Occupy both hate bankers!” thing circa 2010.

          • humanoidpanda

            Am I confident that if there are more prosecutions, there is no racial backlash to OBama? Not at all.
            Am I confident that Obama, an extremely good communicator, embracing the anger of 2008/9 and channeling it into proper directions+conductiong more agressive policy of targeting financial crisis+ insisting that any bailout package will also provide direct aid to homeowners would direct some of the racial backlash into more productive direction? Yeah, It think so, but of course I can’t prove it.

            And of course: the reason why said blue collar workers voted for Trump is that he tolde them everyone is corrupt – and they had evidence enough to believe it.

            • Brien Jackson

              Ignored here: Much of the outrageous behavior was nonetheless entirely legal.

    • econoclast

      Obama really let us down in this area, but I have trouble believing that makes much of a difference at the ballot box. Maybe in 2010, but it’s the kind of issue where passions will cool.

      • humanoidpanda

        Well my compaint goes back all the way to 2009. Remember: anger at bailouts and AIG bonuses was the background noise to the formation of Tea Party. What happens if Obama seizes and channels that anger before it is formed?

        • humanoidpanda

          And as matter of fact: both sanders and trump gained traction by arguing system is rigged and that Goldman is evil. Anger didn’t cool …

          • econoclast

            I think the fact that it’s specifically “Goldman” that everyone is mad at, and not “JP Morgan” or “Deutschebank” who were as much or more of bad actors, suggests that there’s more to it than just the banking crisis.

            • humanoidpanda

              Maybe, but I find it hard to believe that Taibbi or Sanders are secret antisemties. And Madoff didn’t become symbol of antisemtic ire …

            • BloodyGranuaile

              Goldman appears to have an unholy number of alums that end up in government, though. In both parties. And if not, media reporting certainly makes it look that way.

              (I’m mad at Deutsche Bank!)

              • Drew

                This and isn’t Goldman the premiere investment bank? At least when I was in college, the people I knew who wanted to go into i-banking all seemed to be shooting for Goldman.

                And didn’t they weather the 08 storm better than pretty much any other bank? Plenty of room for ire there, of the they must be up to something variety if they’re doing so much better. Also reinforces the notion of them being the top.

        • FlipYrWhig

          If Obama channels that anger, the financial masters of the universe deepen the crisis and we get a Depression, and Obama doesn’t get remembered as “the guy who nailed Wall Street” but as “the guy who killed capitalism.”

          • Linnaeus

            the financial masters of the universe deepen the crisis and we get a Depression

            The fact that the financial masters of the universe are in a position to do this in the first place is…a bit of a problem.

            • FlipYrWhig

              True, but notice that people remember the Bill Clinton years as a good economy even though it was powered by the irrational exuberance of speculative bubbles and various scams. Only on the left do people still hate Wall Street and financial capitalism, on principle, during a boom.

              • Linnaeus

                Sure – the financialization of the US economy is pretty well entrenched, and that will continue to be the case for the foreseeable future. That said, I don’t think the fact that a lot of people don’t hate Wall Street doesn’t mean that they don’t harbor at least some misgivings about the concentration of financial power, even during boom times. And when the economy goes into the shitter again due to the TPTB, it’s all the more reason to try to take advantage of the situation to enact some serious reforms.

              • diogenes

                Count me as one of them…

            • sonamib

              You’re totally right, Linnaeus. I’m annoyed when people who are supposed to be on our side don’t think this way.

              There’s a center-left economics French magazine I like to read which thinks the new bank regulations enacted after the crisis are too stringent. Their argument is that making the banks more conservative (less likely to take risks) is bad, since they’ll be unwilling to lend during a recession, which will deepen the recession.

              I see their point. But I’ll take that over banks exposing themselves to unreasonable risks and causing a possibly world-economy-destroying financial meltdown. I mean, the whole reason we’re here in the first place is that banks took too many risks. If banks won’t lend during a recession, well, the government can always step in with a stimulus. They’ll have plenty of money for that since they won’t need to bail out so many banks.

              • Linnaeus

                Agreed. I mean, I’m not an economist by any means and there are lots and lots of people, some of them here on LGM, who know more about this stuff than I do. But it sometimes looks to me that the lessons that I thought we learned decades ago are going to have to be learned over again.

          • Drew

            I think it’s forgotten how thin a tightrope Obama had to walk back then. Anyway, even if the rest of his legacy ends up vaporized, his administration essentially saved the world in 2009, and that’s not nothing.

      • BloodyGranuaile

        Maybe not too much on the right, but among liberals/leftists and the noncommittal, it’s the sort of stuff that feeds the perception that both parties are the same/there’s no point to getting involved in politics/Dems are taking their base for granted/etc. You don’t need to look at all the names and numbers to know that there was a general lack of holding people accountable for the financial crash.

        I’m decently well politically educated, I like to think I vote based on a variety of factors including doing my research on candidates’ policies and all that important stuff. And I’d vote for *literally any candidate* who ran a fundraiser that was just “pay $5 to punch a banker in the face.” I’d drive many, many hours to attend it.

    • Origami Isopod

      I think part of this was due to Obama’s inherent conciliatory approach to things, but also part of it was how little leeway he had as a black man to show anger in public.

      • humanoidpanda

        maybe but I find it hard to believe that there were many people out there eager to defend bankers in winter 2009.. And anyway, nothing stopped from hiring people to key jobs who could have done the angry talking/ doing. Imagine deputy secretary of the treasury for financial system reform, professor Elizabeth Warren…

      • diogenes

        Certainly a Jackie Robinson aspect to his presidency.

    • UserGoogol

      I’d say the right inherently has an advantage when it comes to the politics of anger. Of course progressives get angry at things from time to time because we’re human beings, but conservatism is much more intimately tied with it. Anger makes you want to hurt people, and the right promises to hurt quite a lot of people. The left on the other hand wants to help and rehabilitate people. Anger is a fundamentally reactionary instinct.

      • Linnaeus

        It’s easier to tear down than to build.

      • humanoidpanda

        Yeah that sounds profoundly l a-historical to me. The history of left wing and labor movements is rife with anger

      • Origami Isopod

        This is nonsense. The right hardly has a monopoly on righteous anger.

  • diogenes

    Racism is certainly the biggest issue, and rolling back voter restriction schemes/limiting gerrymandering/GOTV are job one.

    Racism isn’t the only thing, and we can’t/shouldn’t try to convert hard-core Republicans. Waste of resources. We do need to peel off enough of them (about 100, 000 last go-around) to win elections. As a guy who helped organized a union in a Southern right-to work-state, this can be done, in part by appealing to economic issues.

    Many co-workers (and mostly GHWB voters) were pretty pissed about what came to be known as Id Pol. They were also pissed with Clinton about NAFTA and banking deregulation, and voted GWB/Perot – they got their racism scratched and got off a fuck-you to Clinton. GWB screwed the pooch and the guys were aware enough to know that while Clinton signed banking dereg, Republicans (looking at you, Phil Gramm) were equally culpable.

    Enough of them got screwed enough economically, they held their noses and voted Obama. I figure the combination of racism/misogyny/did not economically benefit from 2008-16 led many to Trump.

    There are some persuadable’s and we don’t need to sacrifice core principles to speak to them. Enough of them will hold still on the social issues if their rice bowl gets some, too.

    • sonamib

      I think it also matters who speaks to them. It’s a lot easier for a white working class person to be convinced by another white working class person than by politicians who do not share the same tribal affiliations.

      In that spirit, keep up the good work organizing your fellow coworkers! Organizing is good by its own merits, and it also has the long-run positive side effect of nudging workers to the Democratic side.

  • hollywood
  • Thornton Hall

    What do non-college whites resent? College. Specifically public universities that make news winning affirmative action decisions in court but will not admit the children of the white working class. (They don’t admit the black or brown working class either, but whites don’t know this.)

    Who makes these policy args? The academic left.

    • postmodulator

      I’ve been around public universities my entire adult life, and I can’t dispute strongly enough the claim that they won’t admit the children of the white working class.

      Edit: the children of the white working class are often underprepared for college and flunk out. Maybe that’s what you’re getting at?

      • Thornton Hall

        100,000 people graduate from Michigan high schools every year. Every single one of them needs Post secondary education.

        Maybe 6,000 of them will get admitted to Michigan or Michigan State. Another 15,000 to 12 other public universities.

        79,000 kids a year not served.

        • postmodulator

          Your numbers don’t survive the first contact with Google. *plonk*

          (So, blocking people is addictive, did everyone else know that?)

          • Thornton Hall

            Huh? Yes they do. They aren’t exact.

            • Hogan
              • Hogan

                And I’m fascinated to learn that no Michigan high school grads go to college out of state.

                • wjts

                  You can’t possibly expect them to grow up to be Buckeyes, good sir!

              • Thornton Hall

                Why be a dick? Is your argument that it’s only 60,000 students annually who need post-secondary education but go almost completely unserved by the state? Are you saying that counting community college might get the number to 40,000 students, annually, that the state of Michigan says “fuck you” to, that that’s just great?

                We are all deliberately obtuse when it comes to criticism. But the academy claims to be immune. That makes them obtuse and hypocritical.

    • Origami Isopod

      Too bad the WWC voted for Rethugs who destroyed the government programs that would have permitted their own kids to attend college.

      • Thornton Hall

        Money isn’t what stops the children of non-college whites from attending college.

  • JR in WV

    The shift of WWC people from the Democratic party to the Republican party happened in 1964, when LBJ signed the Civil Rights Act. By 1968 Richard Nixon used that southern strategy to win election. It is true that LBJ also managed to kill lots of SE Asians and middle-class Americans – I left college in 1969 when I lost the draft lottery with a double digit pick for my birthday. They drafted up into the 200s that year.

    Between Civil Rights and LBJ’s draft – yeah, they all left the Democratic party, pretty much, between 1964 and 1972.

  • TheBrett

    We don’t need to win as many of them as we did back in 1984. If Democrats can win, say, 40% of the white “working class” vote in addition to very strong showings in their other constituencies, then they can put together a coalition to win.

    • diogenes

      The smart move, IMHO.

  • Linnaeus

    I’d like to see Erik’s take on this, if he’s got the time.

  • nemdam

    Like many others, I haven’t studied the ’84 election very much, but that Walter Mondale fact is devastating. He was firmly pro-labor and pro-safety net in a clear and stark contrast to Reagan but got his ass kicked. It’s facts like these why the Democratic Party and Bill Clinton created the DLC and tacked toward the center. You cannot bring about change being in permanent opposition.

    • FlipYrWhig

      And then Dukakis got whupped while reform-ish Dems started winning governorships in states like Arkansas and Georgia and North Carolina. I mean, everyone hates the DLC, but at least they put their approach to the test and chalked up some wins with it.

    • diogenes

      Plus, Vietnam taught us to question war, and the Establishment needed to fix that. Mondale wasn’t about to kick Grenada’s ass for our own good.

  • postpartisandepression

    This implies that all of the WWC live in the south which the democrats lost in the 60’s after the civil rights movement. What it doesn’t explain to me anyway is why the working class in PA, Wisconsin , Michigan etc are moving this way? Are they just as racist as their southern counterparts? Not born out by the fact that they went for Obama.

    I think many of them invested in the hopey changey message of Obama and then got NOTHING out of the recovery. It all went to the top 1%. The last 8 years have been a failure for the middle and the working class. But how does a democrat run against its’ own party. If Obama had been a successful president they would have been clamoring to have 8 more years but it was not. It was at best a placeholder presidency – not too bad and not too good.

    I get why the by the tiniest of margins some people in those few states that made this happen coudl think the way they did. What is hard to understand is how bad dems must be performing in places like Wisconsin when they can’t get rid of Scott Walker , almost as much of an idiot as Trump who wipes out unions, and that could not reelect a Russ Feingold ( he lost by bigger margins than Hillary) / Those are the issues that must be understood.

    • Linnaeus

      A partial answer to your question, I would argue, is declining rates of unionization in these states, and the concomitant weakening of the political education that unions provide to their members. Unions could blunt – to some degree at least – right wing identity politics and even offer a more racially progressive image of their own.

      There’s a reason conservative Republicans have gone after unions in a big way for decades – organized labor is one of the key institutions that (for all of its flaws and complexity) checks right wing rule.

      • diogenes

        And after we took advantage of GWB’s ineptness and busted our asses in 2008 for majorities, did we get even a hearing on card check?

        We did not…

    • FlipYrWhig

      Two reasons: more Mexicans and more new kinds of POC around (Somalis, Hmong, etc.); the reinvigoration of street protest like BLM. IOW, it’s entirely possible that race/heterogeneity/difference are bigger issues now than they were when the same people were voting for Obama in 2008.

      • mattmcirvin

        The number of Mexican immigrants in the US has been basically flat or declining for several years– the explosion was back during the Clinton and GWB administrations. It’s actually more of other types of Spanish speakers. Not that the people who are anxious about them make much of a distinction.

        • FlipYrWhig

          Good point — yes, even though a lot of people use “Mexican” to mean “Spanish speaker” I shouldn’t have made it look like I was doing the same.

          • mattmcirvin

            It occurred to me, though, that the number of people of Mexican descent is certainly increasing, since they’re having kids here–and to a dedicated xenophobe there’s not much difference there either.

            • FlipYrWhig

              Right: ultimately the anxiety is “OMG, so many more of Them.”

          • mattmcirvin

            (…And, of course, there’s a popular perception that every Mexican woman is still having six or seven kids like it’s 1960, rather than the truth that they’re barely having children at a higher rate than the US average.)

    • BM, President of Fuckery

      Voting for one black president once doesn’t mean you’re not a racist or don’t believe in white supremacy.

  • Linnaeus

    Folks might want to keep an eye on this guy running against Paul Ryan in WI-1. Beating Ryan will be a tall order, but this guy’s going pretty straight up populist.

  • Democrats would do better with white voters if they offered them something that might better their lives, rather than just diatribes on allegedly having it too good (aka the thousand and one privileges).

    Democrats tend to be stupid though and run their campaigns as if the US were 7% rather than about 70% white.

    • Alesis

      The entire article is a refutation of that premise.

      • Origami Isopod

        It’s yet another racist concern troll.

      • Democrats can also continue on their course of showing ever-more-open hostility to whites and encourage a split-up of the country, besides their own party, thereby.

        What a dysfunctional patty! Black and white Democrats (especially) dislike each other at least as much as they do Republicans.

        2012, Obama got 39% of the white vote. 2016. Hillary won 37%. 2020, Democrats will likely go full Tim Wise and get about 30% if they’re lucky. Already going nuts and condemning white women because a majority of them voted Trump!

        • wjts

          What a dysfunctional patty!

          We need functionabler patties. Like Peppermint Patty. No, wait, the lesbian thing. Real people won’t like that. Patty melts, mabye? But I dunno – rye bread is suspiciously ethnic. Goodness, this is a vexed question.

        • BM, President of Fuckery

          “Democrats can also continue on their course of showing ever-more-open hostility to whites and encourage a split-up of the country, besides their own party, thereby.”

          Nah, negative partisanship is a beautiful thing.

          “2012, Obama got 39% of the white vote. 2015, Hillary won 37%. 2020, Democrats will likely go full Tim Wise and get about 30% if they’re lucky. Already going nuts and condemning white women because a majority of them voted Trump!”

          Typical for any post LBJ DNC candidate.

  • BaronvonRaschke

    This post and the article it cites is not quite right. If anything, it tells only part of the story. While it is true that Nixon started to appeal to WWC votes (especially those in the South), the Democrats kept most of the working class vote for three or four more decades. The Democratic Party abandoned labor and the working class during the golden age of Clinton to pursue Wall Street money. Clinton’s support of NAFTA, financial deregulation, offshoring of jobs, mass incarceration, and so on, followed by the empty suit Barry O, and his unwillingness to punish Wall Street for its serial criminality sealed the fate of the Dems in 2016. You do not need an unabashedly progressive agenda to win WWC voters. If you offer them nothing and take their votes for granted, however, you just might get mugged at the polls. If losing to Mr. Tangerine Man is not a wake up call for the Dems, and they continue to believe that they can run centrist (empty, content-free) campaigns with dismal candidates like Hilliary, what do yo expect to improve? The Democratic base and the country have moved leftward. The politics of 1992 and 1996 will not work any longer.

    The argument that Clinton won with NAFTA is beyond nonsensical. It took workers many years to see its effects. Perot was absolutely right. NAFTA was singularly disastrous for workers in both countries. It killed Mexican farmers who could not compete with US agribusiness. The displaced farmers then moved to maquiladoras and drove down the cost of Mexican labor. At the same time, NAFTA exposed US manufacturing workers to cheap Mexican labor,so those jobs migrated to Mexico. NAFTA hurt US and Mexican workers while enriching people like Carlos Slim. What is not to like?

    • Scott Lemieux

      The Democratic base and the country have moved leftward. Indeed, which is why Obama ran well to the left of Bill Clinton and Hillary well to the left of that. What was your point again?

      • BaronvonRaschke

        Obama appeared to run to the left Clinton. I voted for him twice. At the end of the day, he governed as a neoliberal and gave working stiffs nothing. He did not even try to reform Wall Street. The PPACA is a sloppy wet kiss to insurers. It is better than what we had, but that is not the same as good. While Hillary was running, O was so clueless and arrogant, he aggressively campaigned for the TPP while Hillary was trying to figure out how to distance herself from her earlier support of it.

        I can understand that Hillary also appeared to run to the left of Barry O, but she could not convince anyone of her sincerity. I held my nose and voted for her anyway, but that is because I loathed Trump and the Repukelicans. I did not believe anything she said. Her track record of over 25 years shows her to be anything but a progressive. People,misguided though they may have been, saw through her allegedly progressive campaign, and it is one of the many reasons she lost.

        • Scott Lemieux

          Obama appeared to run to the left Clinton

          This is just false. He didn’t run to Clinton’s left on domestic policy in 2008, and Clinton ran well to Obama’s left in 2016.

          he governed as a neoliberal

          No he didn’t.

          He did not even try to reform Wall Street. The PPACA is a sloppy wet kiss to insurers.

          Horseshit, also the PPACA was what he ran on.

          • BaronvonRaschke

            To your first point, we ended up talking about different Clintons. Although I was not clear abut it, I was referring to Bill and you to Hill. She did indeed run somewhat to O’s left, but with the Clintons, I do not believe anything either of them says. She was so clueless and so unappealing that at the time of the financial crisis she ran as the candidate with experience when the public craved change. In any case, her subsequent Wall Street speeches after she served as Sec/State showed her true colors. She is a handmaiden of Wall Street, not someone interested in reforming a flawed and corrupt system that favors Wall Street and fosters rampant inequality.

            As you note, I am well aware that Barry O never supported single payer as a candidate. Nonetheless, he most certainly did not run on PPACA, or have you forgotten that no one knew at the time what his health care reform bill would look like? He let Max Baucus and Baucus’ former WellPoint V-P aide Elizabeth Fowler write most of the PPACA. The PPACA ended up so complicated, it is difficult for me to figure it out, and I am an over-educated lawyer. The PPACA did very little to drive down costs.

            As Garrow’s recent biography makes clear, Obama is too much of an “empty vessel” (Garrow’s term, and I agree with it) and too resistant to change to adopt positions like single payer. He was also too beholden to the moneyed interests to push for single payer. I was engaged in some low-level, minor league lobbying back then, and I doubt that he could have had single payer enacted. My problem is that he was too cautious and lacked a reformer’s temperament. He never made a sincere effort to enact a more consumer friendly health care reform bill, one with at least the public option (flawed though that may have been).

            Like it or not, Obama governed as a neoliberal. He has never been terribly interested in meaningful change and favored Wall Street over common people at every opportunity. Big companies (including banks) got bigger under his presidency. Inequality became more pronounced. If he had been an agent of change, he would have tried to reform Wall Street and his DoJ would have enforced antitrust laws. He did neither, or did he bother to try.

            • Hogan

              Barry O

              Dude, seriously, cut that shit out.

              • BaronvonRaschke

                Dude? Thanks for the bout of insight and literacy in your response. Barack O’Bummer was an empty suit who finished what the Clintons started with the Democratic Party. Obama was the smiling face of neoliberalism, and the result of his incompetence sits in the White House currently contemplating his next tweet.

                • Hogan

                  Thanks for the bout of insight and literacy in your response.

                  It was the least I could do in exchange for your childish racism.

                • BaronvonRaschke

                  Childish racism? That is one whopping assumption, one even more wrong and misguided than the Democratic party strategy since 2000. You must be an even bigger moron than I had initially thought.

                • Kevin

                  “Barry O” “Barack O’Bummer”, seriously, you are using Sarah Palin names to describe him. Why on earth should anyone give you the benefit of the doubt?

                  Also…you are wrong, and shifted goal posts majorly. This is about WWC, yet you said the post is wrong because Democrats kept the Working Class vote for decades more. Hint…you are missing a W from that…and just to be crystal clear, the w stands for white. WHich is what this is about, and the article is not wrong, nor was Scott in his description.

                • BaronvonRaschke

                  Suit yourself. You can feel free to disagree with my posts or to ignore them. IMHO, Scott and others here are making the same mistake that the Third Way/DLC Democrats have made for years. They have essentially written off the working class (I am more inclined to look at the WC in its entirety rather than in the “white” portion of it) and have moved up the socioeconomic ladder in search of votes.

                  The fairly simple fact is that for about 25 years the Dems have given the entire working class very little reason to vote for them. Their attitude has been “where else will those losers turn?” You saw the results of that attitude last election. The white portion of the WC made the colossal mistake of turning to Mr. Tangerine Man while minorities turned out in smaller numbers. In combination, those two factors hastened the self-immolation of all workers.

                  Those who have criticized my post, especially Scott, have not offered any evidence that Dems have given workers much over the last quarter century or so. I suspect that the reason they have made no effort to rebut my critique is that they cannot. The Dems are clearly better than the Repukelicans, but better is not the same as good. So, ask yourself why they do not even try to give people “nicer” things like universal health care, a $15/hr minimum wage, free tuition to state universities and the like. (You can feel free to add to that list or subtract from it depending on your political views.) At the same time, the Dems have made no effort to enforce antitrust laws to try to reduce concentrations of corporate power and wealth and to rein in the criminally corrupt banking sector.

                  There are many economic policies that the Democratic party can adopt to help workers, but it does not. Indeed, when an honorable man like Bernie ran for the nomination, they made every effort to silence and stifle him. Like it or not, the Democratic party lost in epic fashion BECAUSE of Obama and Clinton. Their corporatist Democrat approach no longer works.

                  BTW, even a nitwit grifter like Palin had one important question right, probably because even a broken clock is right twice a day. How is that hopey changey thing working out for you?

                • Kevin

                  “O’Bummer” “hopey changey”

                  Trolls gonna troll.

                  Also, again, you are moving goalposts. And if you do include those non-WWC working class voters, Democrats most certainly HAVE NOT lost them, which is why the distinction matters. But again, you are a troll, so you don’t care about that!

                  I’m not gonna respond anymore to this, because it’s clear where you are coming from and there’s really no point.

                • BaronvonRaschke

                  You can call me a troll all you want, but that will not change what has happened to the Dems since Obama became president, a topic that you studiously avoid. Instead of ad hominem attacks, you could have tried refuting that O governed as a neoliberal and did not effect change when change was required and demanded by the public. He failed so badly that his party was decimated over the eight years he was in office. I cannot remember the Democratic Party being in such poor shape, so irrelevant, in the last fifty years. As Bill Parcells said, “You are what your record says you are,” and that is not terribly flattering to the current party leadership. In addition, Improvement is not in the cards as long as Pelosi, Schumer,and others like them represent the “resistance.” As the base moves leftward, the current failed leaders grasp the the reins of power even more tightly and stay the course. Why bother promising better policies? What could possibly go wrong?

    • Origami Isopod

      followed by the empty suit Barry O

      Uh huh.

  • Hob

    Coming back here late just to say, now that I’ve read the whole Nwanevu piece, I got a good chuckle out of this line:

    “Wallace’s winning total was surely not exclusively a hate vote as Muskie suggested,” they wrote. “His share of the black vote was close to 10 percent.”

    Being really proud of how their not-at-all-a-hate-candidate got almost ten percent of the black vote! Some things never change.

  • Harkov311

    I feel like part of the reason this obviously untrue idea keeps getting passed around is that it keeps people from having to deal with the admittedly harsh truth that there’s no secret vein of revolutionary workers in America. The Susan Sarandons of the world can thus keep pretending that WWC people really are socialist, which is much more comforting than having to confront the truth. Not to mention that it keeps giving them excuses to not support liberals.

  • Zlatko Milanovic

    WWC doesn’t want progressive government programs or benefits to assist them. That’s for poor people who can’t work.
    They want a job that pays well enough to afford those things for themselves, and they want those benefits provided by their employer or the market (health care, dental, vision, life, pension,vacation) at a price they can afford. They want to be paid enough so that they can take a vacation, get braces for their kids, send their kids to college, save enough for retirement, etc. In short, they want prosperity and the dignity it affords them.
    Figure out how to bring high paying jobs with benefits back to the USA. That will solve the problem.
    Of course, the wealthy won’t like that. Who did you think was responsible for the decline of the middle class?

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