Losing the Democratic Party

I wanted to call attention to this passage in Ezra Klein’s piece in the New York Times on progressive pollster David Schor’s gripes about the present trajectory of the Democratic Party:

Shor believes the party has become too unrepresentative at its elite levels to continue being representative at the mass level. “I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the people we’ve lost are likely to be low-socioeconomic-status people,” he said. “If you look inside the Democratic Party, there are three times more moderate or conservative nonwhite people than very liberal white people, but very liberal white people are infinitely more represented. That’s morally bad, but it also means eventually they’ll leave.” The only way out of this, he said, is to “care more and cater to the preference of our low-socioeconomic-status supporters.”

which is amplified by this quotation:

“In the summer, following the emergence of ‘defund the police’ as a nationally salient issue, support for Biden among Hispanic voters declined,” Shor said in a March interview with New York magazine. “So I think you can tell this microstory: We raised the salience of an ideologically charged issue that millions of nonwhite voters disagreed with us on. And then, as a result, these conservative Hispanic voters who’d been voting for us despite their ideological inclinations started voting more like conservative whites.”

You may notice that closely resembles things I have been drawing attention to for some time.

If you believe that affiliation is dispositive and that Democratic voters will continue to vote for Democratic candidates because they’re Democratic candidates, that’s nothing to worry about. But if you believe as I do that, while affiliation is an important factor not only it not the only factor but it has been attenuating as a factor among the very voters on whose support many Democratic candidates depend. In many jurisdictions it wouldn’t take a massive switch of blacks or Hispanics to the Republican Party to deny Democrats who were expected to win election—just a few percentage points. That’s only impossible if affiliation is dispositive.

5 comments… add one
  • steve Link

    As I keep telling you, most Democrats arent that progressive, even among white people. This is somewhat analogous to the Tea Party faction running the GOP, though I do think the far right faction was larger though the tis probably my bias. Boehner couldn’t get anything done because the Tea Party folks had to be appeased. Couldn’t do that AND pass legislation. So all along I have been saying that either the Dems will have to accept that they wont pass any legislation or they will have to modify it.

    This also applies to elections. The GOP should be cleaning up. If they can give up their need to talk about welfare queens, stop people from voting, claiming that Mexicans are rapists and supporting neo Nazi marches like we had in Charlottesville, they gain lots of votes. Of course all of this stuff energizes the evangelical base so they lose some of that but even if they arent so enthusiastic its not like they would go vote for a Democrat anyway.


  • As I keep telling you, most Democrats arent that progressive

    and I keep saying the leadership is much more progressive than the rank and file.

    I do think the far right faction was larger though the tis probably my bias.

    Actually, I agree with you. I think the Tea Party (anarcho-capitalists or minarchists) are/were much more numerous in the Republican Party than progressives are in the Democratic Party.

  • Drew Link

    Welfare queens. I haven’t heard that since the Paleozoic Era.

    I don’t know anyone who wants to stop people from voting. I do, however, know people who think the draconian, and surely racist, requirement of identification should be a requisite for voting.

    Yes, I’ve heard that all Mexicans are rapists. But of course none who are transporting people from Mexico across the border.

    And who can deny that the GOP is chock full of neo-Nazis. I mean, everybody knows that.

    Pardon me, I must go now and clean the bullshit off my shoes…….

  • CuriousOnlooker Link

    I am a little cautious of these pieces.

    In 2020, Democrats won an election with breakthroughs in Georgia and Arizona (once solidly Republican states). In 2016, Democrats lost an election when Trump broke through the Midwest (a solidly Democratic block for 25 years).

    What I take from the data together is that the 2 main political coalitions are becoming more fluid after the relative stasis from 1992-2015.

    Just as “conservative” democrats are switching, so are “liberal” republicans.

    Look at Romney — 9 years ago he was the party standard bearer and now he is thought to be on the “moderate” side of the party.

  • Jan Link

    To some I guess the trajectory of policies do matter more than the life-long affiliation to one party or the other. These are the people who see politics through the lens of how fair or what kind of improvements a policy will make to the American public as a whole, rather than fractured through identity politics or loyalty to one-sided party elites. I can’t help but see people less fixated on party membership, eying more the ramifications of bills being brought before the congress by a party, as having brain cells geared towards critical thinking rather than simply being influenced by indoctrination machinations.

    Consequently, I think being unaffiliated to any party is becoming more appealing to people. As for the minority vote gradually shifting away from Dems, the disingenuous and over-reaching behaviors of the social progressive leadership are even turning off groups who were once thought to be in the bag for Dems. And, after 9 months of Biden’s callus, ruthless, painful leadership, greater numbers of people are joining the FJB chant – so despised is this man!

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