Good Advice Democrats Will Ignore

Joan C. Williams more-or-less accurately explains what Democrats need to know about attracting non-elite votes. To whit, stop treating economic concerns as pure racism; stop playing up race and gender issues, and focus on helping ordinary people; stop thinking that you and your fellow elites are so much less racist than ordinary people anyway. (Williams doesn't quite have the courage to go beyond 'ordinary white people,' and explain that racism is more or less universal and just as unhelpful in every demographic; but maybe The Atlantic isn't ready for that yet.)

Stop, in other words, focusing on demographic change as a solution. Quit telling white working class voters that you plan is for them to die so they stop being a problem for your agenda.
[P]eople on Twitter ask whether I’m finally ready to admit that the white working class is simply racist. What my Twitter friends don’t seem to recognize is their own privilege. If elites cling to the idea that working-class whites are perpetrators of inequality, rather than both perpetrators and victims, perhaps it’s because they want to believe that they are where they are because they’ve worked hard and they’re the smartest people around. Once you start a conversation about class, elite white people have to admit they have not only racial privilege but class privilege, too.

Acknowledging this also requires elites to cede yet another advantage: the extent to which they have controlled Democrats’ priorities. Political scientists have documented the party’s shift over the past 50 years from a coalition focused on blue-collar issues to one dominated by environmentalism and other issues elites cherish.

I’m one of those activists; environmentalism and concerns related to gender, race, and sexuality define my scholarship and my identity. But the working class has been asked to endure a lot of economic pain while Democrats focus on other problems. It’s time to listen up. The only effective antidote to a populism interlaced with racism is a populism that isn’t.
Needless to say, she is being totally ignored.
Democrats thinking about running for president in 2020 are dramatically changing the way the party talks about race in Donald Trump’s America: Get ready to hear a lot more about intersectionality, allyship, inclusivity and POC.

White and nonwhite Democratic hopefuls are talking more explicitly about race than the party’s White House aspirants ever have — and shrugging off warnings that embracing so-called identity politics could distract from the party’s economic message and push white voters further into Donald Trump’s arms.
I'm pretty sure that ordinary people -- and not just white people -- will be very impressed by intersectionality. Negatively impressed, but deeply impressed all the same.


MikeD said...

So I guess the plan is "last election, we did not make it clear enough that failing to vote for our candidate meant you were a filthy racist, so this time we'll be explicit about it and folks will vote for us."

Yeah, I'm sure that will work.

E Hines said...

Both Williams and Thompson of Politico are exposing their own rank racism--and their blindness to it.

Eric Hines

David Foster said...

"intersectionality, allyship, inclusivity and POC"

I have observed that people who use a lot of made-up jargon tend to be people who are not particularly intelligent and who especially lack creativity.

This is true in business as well as in politics and social is depressing to see all the people posting on LinkedIn who are trying to position themselves as business intellectuals without having any actual worthwhile ideas.

Grim said...

In this case the issue is one of indoctrination more than make believe. The damage to creativity is real enough, though: you can't really be creative except in finding new ways to apply the doctrine. A creative response might not fit within the doctrine, and that is just what is to be forbidden and punished.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

I have sadly concluded that while Democrats would love to find a way to get more votes, they will not do so at the expense of virtue signalling. They have a psychological need to see their opponents as bigots, so no data will dent that.

Jonathan Haidt gave them a detailed approach to persuasion that I felt frightened at while reading it, because it seemed so effective and would guarantee Democratic victories for a generation. Not only have they not taken his advice, they have declared him a heretic and no longer listen to him at all.

Christopher B said...

"We did not explain our positions loudly, forcefully, or often enough, and those mean Republicans lied about them" has been the default Democrat analysis of their electoral defeats pretty much since I started following politics.

Christopher B said...

That said, the one tactical change that came from Mondale's and Dukakis' defeats, and Slick Willie's victories, was the expectation that Dem politians would routinely obscure their positions.