Not With a Bang, but a Whimper… Democratic Party Edition. An Op Ed.
A presidential candidate like Donald Trump should not be viable. Candidates he supports should not be viable. The existence of Donald Trump should be a boon for the Democrats. And, in fact, it has been.
But it hasn’t been enough. Perhaps four (or eight?) years worth of results will tip the balance for Democrats, but it is reasonable to ask: why have Democrats been coming up short against Trump, both in the Presidential election and in special elections since?
The reason is that the Democrats have abandoned their traditional base (i.e., the working class). So why the change?
I would suggest it is because the middle class intelligentsia from which most leaders and volunteers of the Party spring is increasingly reliant on people who have believe in nonsense.
Consider a paper entitled Evolution is Not Relevant to Sex Differences in Humans Because I Want it That Way! Evidence for the Politicization of Human Evolutionary Psychology published in EvoS Journal: The Journal of the Evolutionary Studies Consortium.
Here’s is the article’s abstract:
This research explored political motivations underlying resistance to evolutionary psychology. Data were collected from 268 adults who varied in terms of academic employment and parental status. Dependent variables represented whether participants believed that several attributes are primarily the result of biological evolution versus socialization. Variables addressed attitudes about: (a) sex differences in adults, (b) sex differences in children, (c) sex differences in chickens, (d) human universals, and (e) differences between dogs and cats. Using a Likert-scale, participants were asked to rate the degree to which they believed items were due to “nature” versus “nurture.” For instance, one of the items from the cat/dog subscale was “Dogs are more pack-oriented than cats.” Independent variables included political orientation, parental status, and academic employment status. Political liberalism corresponded to endorsing “nurture” as influential – but primarily for the two human sex-difference variables. Academic employment status was independently predictive of the belief that sex differences are the result of “nurture.” This effect was exacerbated for academics who came from sociology or women’s studies backgrounds. The effect of academic employment status also corresponded to seeing behavioral differences between roosters and hens as caused by “nurture.” Further, parents were more likely than non-parents to endorse “nature” for the sex-difference variables. Beliefs about differences between cats and dogs and beliefs about causes of human universals (that are not tied to sex differences) were not related to these independent variables, suggesting that the political resistance to evolutionary psychology is specifically targeted at work on sex differences. But if you’d like to attract someone, then using an effective product similar to True Pheromones can be an advantage!
While the paper deserves its own post, for our purposes, a quick summary is this: a person’s tendency to attribute differences between the behavior of roosters and hens to nurture rather than biology increases if the person is either an academic or not a parent. The paper also notes that this effect seems especially pronounced among Gender Studies scholars. The sample size is a bit small, but meshes with what can be observed on the evening news or twitter.
Conservatives have more children than liberals, and academics tend to lean left, so the particular brand of crazy discussed in the paper above is a Democrat rather than a Republican phenomenon. More than that – the childless and academics have the time to set the agenda for causes and organizations in which they get involved.
The adoption of the an anti-Biology stance (and yes, the Republicans have their own, different and long-standing anti-Biology stance… and it has them cost them) comes at the same time as the Democrats have been jettisoning Labor as their cause. This is not a coincidence. The historical image of Labor is of men trudging off to work every day at the crack of dawn to support their nuclear family. In today’s lexicon, those are oppressors who maintain the toxic male patriarchy.
Once you identify the problem, the solution is easy: toss those fat cats who lord their privilege with sweat stained undershirts and grime under their finger nails under the bus. And don’ t stop there. Oppose their elitist attitude by finding common cause with other ideas that are anathema to them. Labor worries about unrestricted unskilled immigration, fearing it will lower wages, cost jobs, and making the country less safe? The obvious solution is to bring in Sayfullo Saipov and pretty much anyone for whom Saipov cares to vouch. The US taxpayer will be happy to spring for the bill.
And after all of this, the misogynist racist pigs prove their perfidy by refusing to give their votes to the Democrats who despise them and want them dead. They begin voting Republican. Sure, Republican economic policies not only don’t work, the benefits they do manage to generate don’t trickle down to the working class. But at least Republicans aren’t purposely screwing them over, and the Republican Party is willing to give them some hope along with the bad economic policy. Hope is free, after all.
The good news is that insanity isn’t completely entrenched in the Democratic Party. It hasn’t had control long – less than a decade, in fact. It can be reversed. I’m just afraid that it isn’t going to happen.
Yeah, pay no attention to elections since the Civil Rights Act, while ignoring the changes in the GOP and RW media since Reagan, and then make a conclusion.
Mike; with the demise of labor unions the right elite controls the finances and the left elite controls the political dialogue. One screws the working person and the other is blind, deaf and dumb to that.
For 12 years Republicans said HRC is terrible. Dems response; you can’t tell us who not too vote for. Now that Dems say Trump is terrible, Rs respond the same way.
I long ago chalked you up to the nurture uber alles camp.
Capital and Labor have always been at odds with each other. They need each other to grow the pie, but at any given time, the split of today’s pie is a zero sum game. So Republicans have always been hostile to the goals of labor. It isn’t out malice, it is because they genuinely feel (erroneously, as it happens) that it helps growth.
What is new is that the Democrats have not, until recently, been controlled by people who were hostile to labor.
Also, and related… you’ve complained about Uber before. Saipov drove for them. What else was he going to do once he got to this country?
There is a difference. HRC lost because a number of safe states went for Trump. I’ve noted before that I know a number of people who voted for Obama twice who voted for Trump in 2016.
What I am discussing in this post is not Republicans voting as Republicans vote. What I am discussing is people who until this last election cycle voted Democrat, but having been demonized for several years, said #$@^ it and voted Republican this time around. And Democrats aren’t exactly giving them a reason to come back.
Capital needs Labor less and less to grow the pie. Business does not want to pay for the Overhead associated with Labor as it is less with Capital. The rub is the productivity gains have stayed with the owners of Capital and have not been disseminated to Labor.
Mr. Kimel have you read the article by Robert Draper in the Nov 1 NY Times magazine? “Post-Obama Democratic Party in Search of Itself”. You should check it out. I am not sure how this is going to end.
Interesting read. Thanks. (For anyone interested: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/01/magazine/a-post-obama-democratic-party-in-search-of-itself.html)
I especially like the quote from someone with the colorful name of Krystal Ball. It sounds almost like stuff I keep writing.
But some of the comments to that article are at least as oblivious as the Democrat’s leadership.
Obama trashed the DNC post 2012 election to get Republicans elected, now the opposite is happening.
And I long ago placed you in the “I don’t know sh!t about a whole lot but I like to post poorly written pieces that prove I don’t know sh!t” camp.
Trump not a viable candidate?
Missed the last fifty years, huh? Trump is the perfect Rep candidate. He took their dog whistle racism out of the closet and placed it center stage. This brought the great unwashed alt right to the GOP and voters to the polls who were, before trump, too stupid to see their party was based on racism.
He is the end result of the southern strategy, and the future of the GOP. And if you do not think that is true, you should take a look at how the tea party(which is simply the John Birch Society reborn) dominated the GOP since a back man was elected president.
I suggest you stick to genetics, not enough people in here know a whole lot about them so your lack of knowledge isn’t in plain sight.
I agree with your statement. But the solution proposed by the Democrats has been to bring in more and more Labor to compete with the Labor we already have. Increasing the supply just makes the imbalance worse.
Hillary lost because some states she considered safe, states that went for Obama twice, broke for Trump in 2016. That should suggest that what changed was not that the voters of those states finally found a candidate who was willing to appeal to their inner racist.
Really? So on a scale of a) judging people based on who they are and not the color of their skin at one end, and b) having “colored” bathrooms and “colored” restaurants at the other, provide examples of how he is signalling that he wants to move away from a and toward b.
“. ..the solution proposed by the Democrats has been to bring in more and more Labor to compete with the Labor we already have. . . ”
If this were so — it’s not — why did Clinton deport more than Reagan or GHW Bush, and why did Obama deport more than GW Bush? And why does the AFL-CIO support the proposed Democratic immigration legislation?
Urban absolutely. GOP immigration plans are driven by business with Jeff Sessions leading the way. The “wetbacks” are being automated out thus we must deport. This was as true in 1986 as 2017. But the Asians? Bring em in says Jeff Sessions. We need them for cheap labor in the consumption society.
As I’ve mentioned myriad times, the two parties more or less flip flopped on immigration, sort of like they did on race relations. When Reagan was in charge, country club Republicans favored more immigration to keep labor costs down. Think Cesar Chavez and George Deukmajian if you have a California background.
But with respect to Obama and GW, as noted by Snopes, the statistic you cite originates with one Donald Trump. It also only happens to be true due to change in a definition, not a change in number of people deported.
Show me that the people that voted in 2016 were the same people that voted in 2012.
“Build That Wall!”
Since the Civil Rights Act went into effect, no Democrat has ever won the white working class vote.
Kudos on returning to a post on your “specialty”.
Way to ask for a question in an unfalsifiable way, given the secret ballot. But sure, let’s assume the entire population of Wisconsin in 2012 moved to California, leaving room for the millions and millions white supremacists holed up in compounds 40 miles outside Cour d’Alene to move into the now abandoned houses in Madison just in time for the 2016 election. I can’t prove it didn’t happen, and its about the only explanation that meshes with your narrative, so it must be the most logical explanation.
Alternatively, this. It also talks a bit about the white working class you despise so much.
I only despise the white working class that is racist. Unfortunately, that is the majority of them.
Meanwhile, of course my claim is unfalsifiable, the problem is your comment is exactly the same.
Wanna know what happened? Look to York County,
“Students have coded language to describe who’s who. “City kids” come from a fading downtown that has the grit and dreams of a city larger than its population of 40,000, with down-and-out streets and boarded up rowhouses but also a farmer’s market and a nascent arts scene. The “country kids” come from the surrounding rural county of another 400,000, covered with farms and apple orchards passed down through the generations.
It’s a place that celebrates its history (York, where the Continental Congress met for some months during the Revolutionary War, claims to be the nation’s first capital) and, as the birthplace of the Peppermint Pattie, its sweet tooth. It’s a working-class area, home to York Barbell and the USA Weightlifting Hall of Fame and a massive Harley-Davidson motorcycle factory.
While residents of the rural parts of the county have voted for Republican presidential candidates in every election since 1964, they came out in bigger numbers for Trump than for any other presidential candidate in modern history. City residents voted for Clinton, also in large numbers — though not large enough for her to win.”
Lots of other reasons. Clinton herself. Campaign screwups. Comey. Sarandonistas, Russian interference, Voter suppression.
But one constant in American elections is true for over half a century, White people vote against the party that tried to make people of color equal.
And yet when I ask for an example of Trump’s racism that these other racists voted for, the best you come back with is “Build the Wall” – which amounts to wanting to reduce illegal immigration from south of the border to something resembling the same levels as illegal immigration from other areas.
Yeah, you think it was about illegal immigration(now who can’t hear the dig whistles?). Mexican judges somehow also qualify? Muslim gold star parents? Innocent black and brown kids that should get the death penalty? Black people should not be allowed to touch money in his casinos? White nationalists?
My guess is that this idea is not very reliable. I cannot provide evidence, yet a couple weeks of hearing that Clinton had it in the bag may have been a lot more influential than the idea that swing voters were paying any attention to the thinking Kimel brings up here. Vote for Stein or Johnson or nobody or even Trump for a hoot probably happened a lot on Election Day.
Quite a hostage to fortune posting this on November 3. The November 7 elections tend to undermine the thesis that Democrats have failed politically. Importantly, the evidence was weak on November 3 — the 4 of 5 special elections won by Republicans were in deep red districts.
I have to say I disagree almost entirely with the post. I identify two main claims. The first is that Democrats are hurt by embracing the extreme ideologicla feminism common in gender studies programs. The second is that only contempt for male workers can explain support for easy immigration. They are separate issues. I will discuss them separately.
First, I certainly agree that ascribing differences in the behavior of roosters and hens to nurture is crazy. However, I don’t think it explains the election of Trump or Republicans generally. The reason is that I don’t think there is any connection between gender blah blah and Democratic candidates or operatives. Clinton’s feminism was focused on parental leave, more subsidies for child care, and EITC for families taking care of ill or elderly relatives at home. It could be called pro-women or pro-family. She called it pro-family.
To the extent extreme attitudes about gender on campuses are relevant, it is because Fox et al focus on them. But there wil always be nuts to be picked.
In contrast, immigration is a hot political issue. Mike has a problem that polls show majority support for, say, the DREAM act. It is true that the hard right is focused on keeping foreigners out. It is not clear to me that those are votes Democrats can get. The idea that a soft attitude on immigration is elite and elitist is hard to reconcile with polling data.
I strongly object to “The US taxpayer will be happy to spring for the bill.” The evidence is that the bill is negative. People don’t migrate when they are old. Immigrants have a higher fraction of working age adults (they do have kids). They pay payroll taxes. I think this is especially true of undocumented immigrants who are allowed to pretend to be legal residents for the purpose of paying payroll taxes but not for getting Obamacare or welfare. I note that a study on whether there is a bill to foot was suppressed by Trump political appointees. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/18/us/politics/refugees-revenue-cost-report-trump.html?_r=0
That was a study of refugees, not immigrants overall including those on H-1B visas.
But my main objection (and it is strongly felt) is that it isn’t given that only the interests of current US citizens matter. It doesn’t make sense to assume that someone who accepts lower wages *in the USA* as a result of immigration doesn’t care about workers. The immigrants bidding down wages are workers too.
I think the idea that people who support easy immigration and free trade don’t care about workers is based on the assumption that we can’t possibly care about foreigners, because, of course, no one does.
Let’s focus on refugees. The argument is that anyone who gives a damn about people who just want to earn a decent wage must agree that hundreds of thousands of such people should be kept in camps far from any possible job. I don’t accept that argument. I don’t like it at all. But I am willing to discuss it with anyone who is willing to accept the possibility that I really care about the interests of refugees and don’t just think of them as a reserve army of unemployed which is useful to threaten uppity workers who want higher wages.
A second comment on a post which is now on the second page of Angrybearblog
Look if you want to help us born workers, the easy way is to cut their taxes.
Yes it is likely that restricting immigration will cause higher wages (although the data based on say the Mariel boat lift suggest the effect is small to tiny google David Card (always google David Card)). But if you want US blue collar workers to have more money, the simple easy approach is to massively expand the EITC so they pay negative income tax.
This is not just excellent policy, it is OK politics. If people count off the days until April 15 when they find out how much money the IRS is going to pay them, they are not likely to vote Republican. Note I have proposed an inferior policy for political gain — I want limits on how much of the doubled EITC can be taken monthly, because I want people to get a huge refund check which dwarfs income tax withheld.
This can be financed by higher taxes on corporations and the rich. There is less than no evidence that the current top marginal tax rate is bad for growth. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00036846.2017.1392001
There is no problem with a corporate income tax provided that investment and R&D are expensed.
The evidence that it might be a good idea to campaign on higher taxes on the rich and a middle class tax cut is that Clinton did in 1992 and Obama did in 2008. In contrast Mondale didn’t in 1988, Gore didn’t in 2000, and Kerry didn’t in 2004. No Democrat has lost after making that promise at a time when the income tax is constitutional and the top marginal tax rate was less than 69%, nor has any non-incumbent Democratic candidate won under those circumstances without making that promise.
Soak the rich and spread it out thin. That’s the ticket. Poll after poll after poll shows a solid majority wants this approach. So suggests literally every presidential election in US history.
There is absolutely no need to be tough on immigrants to win. The problem isn’t crazy or elitist lefties. The problem is that Democrats spend more time talking to rich potential donors than to ordinary voters.