Wednesday, June 01, 2005

White = Red?

Via Avedon Carol

This article in Tapped points out a hard truth about the Democratic Party: It has lost the support of white voters (except among the poorest of white voters; those making less than $23,700 per year prefer the Democrats). I remember being struck by the margins that Democrats lost the Red states. The Republicans typically won 60% or more of the vote. It's tempting to explain this in terms of a red-state/blue-state cultural divide, but it's a mistake. Republicans won all white voters by similar margins. The red-state/blue-state discrepancy shows up simply because places like Wyoming or Utah have so few non-whites. Residents of all-white suburbs of California or New York or Massachusetts vote pretty much like Nebraskans. Empirically, it seems that White = Red.

This is sobering data for progressives to keep in mind. When you look at the overall margins in 2000 and 2004, things don't look so bad. Gore barely won the popular vote, and Kerry barely lost it. It seems that a few tweaks to win over a couple of more percentage points should do the trick in the future. But if you look at the demographics, you realize that Democrats are nowhere close to winning a majority of white votes (and the Republicans are much farther from winning a majority of the nonwhite vote).

Should Democrats do anything about these trends? It's not clear. In my view, the Democrats make only symbolic gestures towards the poor and the minorities. Their focus has always been the white middle class. Yet that middle class rejects them overwhelmingly. In contrast, Republicans have consistently sold out the middle class to benefit the wealthy, and the middle class (at least white middle class) love them. I have no idea what to do.


Blogger Kyle McCullough said...

I hope to have more to say about this after I finish What's The Matter With Kansas? In the mean time, I will take a guess that white men tend to vote Republican because it is the party of privilage, and white men used to be privilaged--and they miss it.

Thinking of Washington always reminds me of my time as a Patrol Boy in elementary school. I would never have been one in a post-title 9 world; too many girls in my class deserved it more than I did. I was privilaged. My sons will not be so. I blame the DemocRats.

12:37 PM  

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