Synthesizing the Arguments

In his most recent op-ed in the New York Times Thomas B. Edsall tries to synthesize a number of discussions I have touched on here, Teixeira and Halpin on the one hand and Kendi on the other, Shor on the one hand and Jamelle Bouie and Haney-Lopez on the other. He concludes:

In that light, it is all the more important for Democratic strategists of all ideological stripes to spell out what specific approaches they contend are most effective in addressing, if not countering, the divisive racial and cultural issues that have weakened the party in recent elections, even when they’re won.

Saying the party’s candidates should simply downplay the tough ones may not be adequate.

It makes for interesting if ultimately dissatisfying reading.

The trends do not favor the strategies being articulated by Mssrs. Kendi, Jamelle Bouie, Haney-Lopez, and Phillips which ultimately boil down to an appear to partisanship or, as some refer to it, “tribalism” for its own sake. Ten trends seem to suggest that people actually occasionally vote their interests rather than their affiliation although affiliation remains a strong indicator.

I would add that white, college-educated voters constitute a slender reed on which to base one’s plans for the future of the party. The highest percentage of college-educated people in any country hovers around 50%. Even if you have good reason to believe you can secure 100% of that segment—and there isn’t—it still doesn’t help if you lose enough of the rest.

For my part my family has been college-educated for approaching a century but I think that our national policies have been far too focused on higher education and insufficiently focused on the majority of the people who are not college-educated and whom we are unlikely to be able to send to college. I don’t see doubling down on that strategy and trying to buy off the rest with handouts makes for an appealing future.

2 comments… add one
  • Grey Shambler Link

    Seems to me the political experts think that Trump was a one-off.
    They think that he inspired his voters when it was the other way around.
    A large faction of voters feels unheard, disrespected. Trump didn’t create the
    feeling, he sensed that and tapped into it.
    As long as our elite class of politicos disrespect those who work with their hands and pander to those who don’t work at all their will be an opportunity for ambitious populist leaders to win election.
    And how many times have I heard it said that Trump must be defeated to preserve our democracy, when it’s democracy they fear.

  • I’m not sure that’s what they fear. I think what they fear is what they created: non-college educated whites voting as an interest group.

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