January 17, 2008

A PARTY OF THE POOR AND THOSE WHO WANT TO KILL THEM:

Class, Not Race, Divides the Democrats (Marie Cocco, 1/17/08, Real Clear Politics)

The deepest division in the Democratic primary campaign until now has not been between blacks and whites, though we are likely to see stark evidence of that in the upcoming South Carolina primary. A fault line already is visible between upper-income, educated whites and those with lower incomes and less education. The upscale voters have gone with Obama, the downscale with Clinton. [...]

In the 1970s and '80s, many working- and middle-class white Democrats voted for Republicans, in part because of racial politics, but also because they resented their own party's drift toward what they perceived as domination by a white elite. To put it crudely, the beer drinkers distrusted the wine drinkers as people who, at best, didn't understand their everyday concerns or, at worst, looked down on them as racist. Clinton's presidency for a time seemed to heal the rift. Yet even after President Bush had lost favor among many middle- and working-class voters, Republicans were able to tap this vein with attacks on 2004 Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry as a windsurfer who "looks French."

If the fissure opens wide now, Democrats seriously diminish their chances for winning in the fall. And the roots of defeat will lie partly in the rancor that Clinton and Obama stirred up themselves.


In his book, Why the Democrats are Blue, Mark Strycherz does a masterful job of describing how the transition from a party of the working class to one of intellectuals and elites was perpetrated in the late 60s/early 70s. It's no coincidence that the only elections the Democrats have won since were when they nominated white Southern Evangelicals who ran against the party.


Posted by Orrin Judd at January 17, 2008 2:30 PM
Comments

Hence the apparent strange fact that Edwards is still sticking around. He knows darn well that there's a huge chunk of Democrat voters who don't like Hillary and are suckers for populist rhetoric but won't vote for Obama under any conditions.

Posted by: b at January 17, 2008 5:49 PM

I dunno, I know the Dems still had their working-class base in the 50s, but they did manage to nominate uber-Bright Adlai Stevenson 2x in the 50s, so clearly the intellectual-set had already started to seize power, no?

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at January 17, 2008 8:31 PM

In a shocker, our uber-liberal rag has endorsed Edwards. It's a Cox paper and I wonder if it was a corporate decision or a local one.

Posted by: erp at January 18, 2008 8:31 AM
« RUNNING RINGS AROUND MAHMOUD: | Main | BUT, WAIT, WASN'T THAT SUPPOSED TO BE A ROVEBUSH OP?: »