November 9, 2002
Democrats will be back
: Bush won this week because of one issue--security. When that fades, he will be vulnerable (John Judis, November 8, 2002, The Guardian)
Before the 1960s, the Democrats were based in the unionised blue-collar working class, the urban ethnic north and the white rural south, but they have become over the past 40 years the party of post-industrial America, led by professionals (from teachers and nurses to fashion designers and actors), women (who have become disproportionately Democratic) and minorities. They are concentrated in new metropolitan areas such as California's Silicon Valley; and they stand for a kind of progressive centrist politics that grew out of the Clinton-Gore administration of the 1990s and is the cousin of Tony Blair's New Labour.
This progressive centrism continues to define the terrain of domestic politics in the US. Outside of a few states in the deep south, Republicans have been forced to mimic (often deceitfully) the Democrats' commitment to a positive role for government in regulating market capitalism. In the recent election, Republican candidates vigorously denied that they had ever advocated privatising social security funds.
Mr. Judis describes a politics with which we are unfamiliar. The fact that teachers are overwhelmingly Democrats prevents the Party from bringing market forces to bear on an educational system that is failing the poor in particular. And the Party's addiction to government prevents it from embracing the kind of free market Social Security reforms that you can bet all of these professionals take advantage of in their munificent 401k's. In what sense then are the modern Democrats progressive other than in their post-moralism, which must eventually alienate the very minorities they depend on to win elections?
Posted by Orrin Judd at November 9, 2002 12:49 PM
How many professions are unionized? Teachers and (interesting omission) government workers. How do they vote?
Fashion designers and movie stars represent, what, 25% of the electorate? 50%? If THAT'S your base, Babs shoulda delivered NY state, at least?
Judis' analyses in the New Republic are usually more cogent (even if I disagree with them). One wonders if he was pandering to the audience, or still shell-shocked from Tuesday?
"The question is whether, and under what circumstances, the trend towards a Democratic majority can resume."
What trend? Did Tuesday night mean nothing to Judis? He is so wedded to the idea of Democratic manifest destiny that he dismisses real-life evidence that screams the opposite. In the Oct. 26 New Republic, he wrote "Will the Democrats Sweep in November?" It was apparently a rhetorical question; the final sentence of his article reads: "One of the parties might get swept this November, but it is not likely to be the Democrats." And now the timing of his October book The Emerging Democratic Minority is starting to looking especially embarrassing. That hole you're digging is getting awfully deep, Mr. Judis.
Yes . . . the fact is you can always find subgroups that are trending Democratic and other subgroups trending Republican, but overall vote totals have been pretty consistent and very slowly trending Republican for decades. And if W et al play their cards well that trend may continue.
What a list of professionals Judis comes up with! It is to laugh...
Of the "real" professions-i.e., those a Victorian would have considered professions--MD, Attorney, Clergy, and Military Officers--the first and last are disproportionately Republican due to Democratic support of trial lawyers run amuck and neglect of national defense, respectively; the other two groups are more balanced, but hardly overwhelmingly Democratic, I dare say.
Dean, Judis seems to be saddled with a book that just got proven wrong in a big way.
Republicans need to weaken the teachers' unions and the trial lawyers, which is the right thing to do anyway (obPlug: this is on my blog).
Techies are more of a problem for Republicans, 'cause they (er, we) tend to come from first-gen immigrants and bright-but-bullied computer nerds. They distrust Republicans as the White Preppy Churchy Party. Even those of us who lean Republican on ideas will punish individual Republicans when they slink back to the "Southern Strategy" (as Cornyn did in Texas).
I was under the impression that Cornyn won?
Funny, Orrin, I haven't heard anybody who
has a 401(k) say anything good about them
I have the old-fashioned kind: I know what
I'm gonna get and it's the boss's job to get
it for me. Thanks to ERISA, if he doesn't, I
get whatever he has himself. The law is
written that way, anyhow, though not so far
as I know enforced that way yet.
But as soon as I hear someone say, "Wow,
I just love the financial security that my
401(k) provides, I'll let you know.
With the exception of idiotic seniors on NPR who had their money in stocks even after retiring, I've never heard anyone complain about a 401k so I'm not really sure what you're talking about.