6/8/17, "The Democratic Party Is in Worse Shape Than You Thought," NY Times, Thomas B. Edsall, commentary
"Priorities also studied Obama-to-Trump voters. Estimates of the number of such voters range from 6.7 to 9.2 million, far more than enough to provide Trump his Electoral College victory.
The counties that switched from Obama to Trump were heavily concentrated in the Midwest and other Rust Belt states.
To say that this constituency does not look favorably on the Democratic Party fails to capture the scope of their disenchantment....
A solid majority, 77 percent, of Obama-to-Trump voters think Trump’s economic policies will either favor “all groups equally” (44) or the middle class (33). 21 percent said Trump would favor the wealthy.
In contrast, a plurality of these voters, 42 percent, said that Congressional Democrats would favor the wealthy, slightly ahead of Congressional Republicans at 40 percent.
Geoff Garin is a partner in the Garin-Hart-Yang Research Group which, together with the Global Strategy Group, conducted the surveys and focus groups for Priorities USA. Garin wrote in an email:
"The biggest common denominator among Obama-Trump voters is a view that the political system is corrupt and doesn’t work for people like them."
Garin added that
"Obama-Trump voters were more likely to think more Democrats look out for the wealthy than look out for poor people."...
If the Priorities analysis is bleak, the 13 American Prospect essays are even more so.
Stan Greenberg, the Democratic pollster, writes in his Prospect essay:
"The Democrats don’t have a “white working-class problem.” They have a “working-class problem,” which progressives have been reluctant to address honestly or boldly. The fact is that Democrats have lost support with all working-class voters across the electorate, including the Rising American Electorate of minorities, unmarried women, and millennials. This decline contributed mightily to the Democrats’ losses in the states and Congress and to the election of Donald Trump."
Greenberg voiced an exceptionally sharp critique of his own party and its candidates. First, he takes on Barack Obama:
"Working-class Americans pulled back from Democrats in this last period of Democratic governance because of President Obama’s insistence on heralding economic progress and the bailout of the irresponsible elites, while ordinary people’s incomes crashed and they continued to struggle financially.""...
[Ed. note: Campaigning in 2008 Obama promised Rust Belt voters he'd renegotiate NAFTA. One month after his 2009 inauguration, he announced NAFTA would remain as is, that US should avoid "beggar thy neighbor" policies. 2/19/2009, "NAFTA Renegotiation Must Wait, Obama Says," Washington Post, Michael D. Shear..."The president's message served as a reminder of last year's private assessment by Canadian officials that then-candidate Obama's frequent criticism of NAFTA was nothing more than campaign speeches aimed at chasing support among Rust Belt union workers." And: 12/10/2009, "Obama's Big Sellout: The President has Packed His Economic Team with Wall Street Insiders," Rolling Stone, Matt Taibbi]
(continuing): "Hillary Clinton does not escape Greenberg’s wrath:
"In what may border on campaign malpractice, the Clinton campaign chose in the closing battle to ignore the economic stress not just of the working-class women who were still in play, but also of those within the Democrats’ own base, particularly among the minorities, millennials, and unmarried women."
Greenberg does not stop there, shifting his focus from individual Democratic politicians to the Democratic Party itself: Past supporters "pulled back because of the Democrats’ seeming embrace of multinational trade agreements that have cost American jobs. The Democrats have moved from seeking to manage and champion the nation’s growing immigrant diversity to seeming to champion immigrant rights over American citizens’.
Instinctively and not surprisingly, the Democrats embraced the liberal values of America’s dynamic and best-educated metropolitan areas, seeming not to respect the values or economic stress of older voters in small-town and rural America. Finally, the Democrats also missed the economic stress and social problems in the cities themselves and in working-class suburbs.""...
[Ed. note: 4/5/17, "Democrats are still ignoring the people who could have helped them defeat Trump, Ohio party leaders say," Washington Post, William Wan, Youngstown, Ohio. (The Republican Party has no interest in its voters either.)]
(continuing): "Along parallel lines, three analysts at the pro-Democratic Center for American Progress, Robert Griffin, John Halpin and Ruy Teixeira, argue that:
"Rather than debating whether Democrats should appeal to white working-class voters or voters of color — both necessary components of a successful electoral coalition, particularly at the state and local level — a more important question emerges: Why are Democrats losing support and seeing declining turnout from working-class voters of all races in many places?"
Griffin, Halpin and Teixeira argue that:
"Democrats allowed themselves to become the party of the status quo--a status quo perceived to be elitist, exclusionary, and disconnected from the entire range of working-class concerns, but particularly from those voters in white working-class areas.
For Democrats who argue that the adoption of economic populism is the best way to counter Trump, Guy Molyneux, a partner in Garin’s polling firm, warns in his American Prospect essay, “A Tale of Two Populisms,” that voters drawn to Trump are anti-government, deeply wary of a pro-government Democratic Party.
“Many analysts and leading Democrats,” Molyneux writes “have attributed Donald Trump’s impressive 2016 vote margin among white working-class voters to his embrace of economic populism.”...
While “Democrats can take obvious comfort in a story about Trump winning in large measure because he stole our ideas,” Molyneux writes, “this assessment misses the mark in important ways.” Why? Because,
"Trump’s brand of populism — and more importantly, that of working-class whites — differs in important ways from the populism of Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren."
While the populism espoused by Sanders and Warren is economic, challenging C.E.O.s, major corporations and “the billionaire class,” Trump is the messenger of what Molyneux calls “political populism,” which “is, fundamentally, a story about the failure of government.”
"White working-class voters’ negative view of government spending undermines their potential support for many progressive economic policies. While they want something done about jobs, wages, education, and health care, they are also fiscally conservative and deeply skeptical of government’s ability to make positive change. So political populism not only differs from economic populism, but also serves as a powerful barrier to it."
Or, as I have written elsewhere, Democrats cannot simply argue in favor of redistributive government on economic matters because defecting whites are deeply hostile to a government they see as coercive on matters of race."...
[Ed. note: Coercion is what Big Government is all about. Unisex bathrooms, ie, forcing 6 year old girls to face adult male genitalia, were considered a political triumph.]
(continuing): "In May, the Public Religion Research Institute released a report, “Beyond Economics: Fears of Cultural Displacement Pushed the White Working Class to Trump.” It found that
"more than half (52%) of white working-class Americans believe discrimination against whites is as big a problem as discrimination against blacks and other minorities"
and that “four in ten white working-class Americans agree” with the statement that “efforts to increase diversity almost always come at the expense of whites.”
In a separate argument, Nicholas Carnes and Noam Lupu, professors of political science at Duke and Vanderbilt, challenge a basic premise on the left — that the populism of Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren could have stemmed the loss of non-college whites to Trump.
Carnes and Lupu contend instead that the oft-cited theory that Trump won because of support from the low-income white working class is itself wrong.
The two scholars provide data showing that "among white people without college degrees who voted for Trump, nearly 60 percent were in the top half of the income distribution" and that "white non-Hispanic voters without college degrees making below the median household income made up only 25 percent of Trump voters."
Democratic pessimism today stands in contrast to the optimism that followed the elections of 2006, 2008 and 2012.
At that time, the consensus was that Democrats had found the key to sustained victory. The party saw its future in ascendant constituencies: empowered minorities, singles, social liberals and the well-educated.
Democratic activists saw the Republican Party as doomed to defeat without a radical change of course because it was tied to overlapping constituencies that they viewed as of waning significance--for example, older, non-college, evangelical white Christians....
Before 2016, no one, Democrat or Republican, thought that the man who would bring about radical change would be Donald Trump, except, perhaps, Trump himself.
For all the harm he has done [No link to examples of alleged "harm"], continues to do and proposes to do, Trump has successfully forced Democrats to begin to examine the party’s neglected liabilities, the widespread resentment of its elites and the frail loyalty of its supporters."
Added: Perhaps Rust Belt voters remembered being deceived:
One month after his inauguration Obama broke his 2008 campaign promise to struggling Rust Belt Americans to renegotiate NAFTA, confirming Canadian officials' belief that his promise had just been to fool Rust Belt union workers into voting for him. Obama chose to make his announcement in Canada 'during his first trip abroad' as US president. He said now is not the time for "beggar-thy-neighbor policies." Washington Post, 2/19/2009. Definition of "beggar" when used as a verb: "to reduce someone to poverty." Meaning, as Obama told the entire world, if you Rust Belt people wanted NAFTA you were mean and just wanted others to suffer:
Obama was inaugurated Jan. 20, 2009:
2/19/2009, "NAFTA Renegotiation Must Wait, Obama Says," Washington Post, Michael D. Shear
"President Obama warned on Thursday against a "strong impulse" toward protectionism while the world suffers a global economic recession and said his election-year promise to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement on behalf of unions and environmentalists will have to wait.
Obama made the comments as he stood with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper during his first trip abroad as president. The two pledged cooperation on efforts to stimulate the economy, fight terrorism in Afghanistan and develop clean energy technology.
In a joint news conference, Obama said he wants to find a way to keep his campaign pledge to toughen labor and environmental standards -- and told Harper so -- but stressed that nothing should disrupt the free flow of trade between neighbors.
"Now is a time where we've got to be very careful about any signals of protectionism," the president said. "Because, as the economy of the world contracts, I think there's going to be a strong impulse on the part of constituencies in all countries to see if we--they can engage in "beggar-thy-neighbor policies."
The president's message served as a reminder of last year's private assessment by Canadian officials that then-candidate Obama's frequent criticism of NAFTA was nothing more than campaign speeches aimed at chasing support among Rust Belt union workers.
"Much of the rhetoric that may be perceived to be protectionist is more reflective of political maneuvering than policy," the Canadians concluded in a memo after meeting with Austan Goolsbee, a senior campaign aide and now a member of Obama's Council of Economic Advisers. [Goolsbee was already on his way out by this time: On Nov. 5, 2008, the day after the election, Obama's transition team was announced. The list "was most notable for who was not on it, especially on the economic side. Austan Goolsbee...didn't make the cut." 12/10/2009, "Obama's Big Sellout: The President has Packed His Economic Team with Wall Street Insiders," Rolling Stone, Matt Taibbi]
When the memo became public, Obama advisers rejected the idea as absurd and insisted that he was serious about changing NAFTA. Obama even suggested that the United States might opt out of NAFTA if the standards could not be improved to the nation's satisfaction.
But some longtime observers of the U.S.-Canada relationship said Obama's current position appears to confirm the impression that Canadian officials got from the meeting with Goolsbee.
"It sounds like [Goolsbee] was right," said former Massachusetts governor Paul Cellucci (R), who served as U.S. ambassador to Canada during George W. Bush's first term. "It looks like [President Obama has] softened that quite a bit, to put it mildly."
That could anger some of Obama's staunchest labor supporters, who blame NAFTA for sending American jobs oversees by not requiring a level playing field in the areas of labor and the environment.
But some of those allies said Thursday that they are giving the president more time to make good on his promise and praised Obama for finding a sophisticated way to express support for trade and changes to NAFTA.
"I am happy for him to frame his way of positioning the issue any way he wants, as long as he actually delivers on the issue," said Lori Wallach, the director of Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch division. "If down the road Obama doesn't deliver on the policy, there will be a whole lot of really upset people."
(p. 2) The trade discussion came as Canadians have expressed concern in recent days about the "Buy American" provision that Congress added to the $787 billion stimulus package that Obama signed into law this week.
Harper said he has "every expectation" that the United States will abide by trade rules that forbid such preferences. But he used strong language to indicate how seriously the country takes that issue.
"If we pursue stimulus packages, the goal of which is only to benefit ourselves, or to benefit ourselves, worse, at the expense of others, we will deepen the world recession, not solve it," he said. Obama and Harper also pledged to work together to battle terrorism, especially in Afghanistan, where Canadian soldiers have been fighting and dying for years.
In his first public comments since sending an additional 17,000 troops to the war-torn country earlier this week, Obama said that "it was necessary to stabilize the situation there in advance of the elections that are coming up."
The president declined to say how long the troops will remain there, citing a 60-day review he has ordered. Harper also declined to say whether his country's troops will remain beyond 2011, but said the long-term goal of the war should be constrained.
"We are not in the long term, through our own efforts, going to establish peace and security in Afghanistan. That, that job, ultimately, can be done only by the Afghans themselves," he said....
Obama and Harper also pledged cooperation to revive North America's closely linked economy and signed an agreement to work toward developing clean energy technology.
"It will advance carbon reduction technologies. And it will support the development of an electric grid that can help deliver the clean and renewable energy of the future to homes and businesses, both in Canada and the United States," Obama said."
Added: NY Times was "tempted" to accuse Trump voters of "racism," but many of them had been Obama voters:
After Trump's win, a New York Times reporter said it's "tempting" to blame "racism" for it, but can't because many white Obama voters became Trump voters in 2016 (instead of becoming Hillary voters). Why would it ever be "tempting" to cite racism?
Above NY Times twitter image via 11/11/16, "2016: The Revenge Of The White Working Class Voter, And Where Millions Of Obama Supporters Flipped For Trump," Matt Vespa, Townhall