At Medium Ian Henry Lopez takes rather strong exception to the advice to Democrats offered by David Shor and reported by Ezra Klein in the NYT to which I linked earlier. He lists the areas with which he disagrees:
- The conflicted voters in the middle who toggle between the two parties — and thus the voters who determine elections — are not “moderate.” They are low-information voters who are not paying attention (something Shor sometimes concedes).
- Democratic messages fail to persuade conflicted voters when they center on policy issues.
- Democratic messages alienate voters when they are predicated on a sense of identity that voters do not share.
- The core problem for the Democratic Party is not too many young, liberal activists, per the Politico piece the followed up the Ezra Klein review.
but most importantly:
As the Ezra Klein piece reports, Shor “and those who agree with him argue that Democrats need to try to avoid talking about race and immigration.” This is Shor’s most dangerous piece of advice to Democrats (and gets surprisingly little attention from Klein). For Shor, this has become an article of faith — faith, rather than reason, in the sense that Shor does not substantially engage contrary evidence.
Maybe I’m misinterpreting Mr. Lopez but I detect a genuine note of disdain in his piece, disdain not just for Mr. Shor but for “conflicted” voters or, indeed, anyone who might disagree with him.
When Lenin was preparing to take over in Russia it was the first time that Marx’s theory of class conflict had even been tried in real life. One of the impediments he encountered was that the proletariat was was perversely disinterested in class conflict. They needed the (presumably benign) guidance of enlightened intellectuals to lead them to the worker’s paradise they so obviously needed. These intellectuals were the “vanguard of the proletariat”. Belief in the need for such a vanguard is called “vanguardism”.
In my view today’s “woke” progressives are engaging in a form of vanguardism. So, for example, ordinary black folk are a lot less interested in “defund the police” than they are. It’s not that they are ignorant or disengaged; it’s that they are more interested in preserving their lives and property than the progressives are.
Similarly with immigration. The most Democratic and Hispanic county in Texas is also one of the places most interested in enforcing the border and limiting immigration. That’s not because they are “low information”; quite to the contrary. It’s because they see themselves quite reasonably as being at greater risk.