The New York Times has the article Who Turned My Blue State Red? The headline I used was the subhead of the article. The Daily Kos wrote about the article in a post titled The Most Important Article You’ll Read Today About The Democratic Party. Turns out that The Daily Kos might actually be right in their title, but it almost turned me off from reading it.
From the NYT article by Alec MacGillis, I give you the following excerpt:
It’s enough to give Democrats the willies as they contemplate a map where the red keeps seeping outward, confining them to ever narrower redoubts of blue. The temptation for coastal liberals is to shake their heads over those godforsaken white-working-class provincials who are voting against their own interests.
But this reaction misses the complexity of the political dynamic that’s taken hold in these parts of the country. It misdiagnoses the Democratic Party’s growing conundrum with working-class white voters. And it also keeps us from fully grasping what’s going on in communities where conditions have deteriorated to the point where researchers have detected alarming trends in their mortality rates.
In eastern Kentucky and other former Democratic bastions that have swung Republican in the past several decades, the people who most rely on the safety-net programs secured by Democrats are, by and large, not voting against their own interests by electing Republicans. Rather, they are not voting, period. They have, as voting data, surveys and my own reporting suggest, become profoundly disconnected from the political process.
This is something that Bernie Sanders recognizes, and lays his hopes for the Presidency at the feet of being able to turn out these voters.
Another part of the article talks about the people who are a step up from these people who have disengaged to deal with why they do vote Republican.
The people in these communities who are voting Republican in larger proportions are those who are a notch or two up the economic ladder — the sheriff’s deputy, the teacher, the highway worker, the motel clerk, the gas station owner and the coal miner. And their growing allegiance to the Republicans is, in part, a reaction against what they perceive, among those below them on the economic ladder, as a growing dependency on the safety net, the most visible manifestation of downward mobility in their declining towns.
Many times I have run across the attitude that MacGillis describes in the article. So that really shouldn’t come as a surprise either.
I think Bernie Sanders’ address the issues, but he doesn’t state them explicitly enough. He throws out a bunch of numbers about income inequality and wealth distribution inequality from which the voter might infer reasons for liking Bernie Sanders’ program. That is assuming an awful lot about what voters may or may not know.
If he wanted to be explicit, as I think he should be, he would say something like the following:
The reason why there is income and wealth inequality is because the top 0.1% of the rich have rigged the system to get your money transferred to their pockets. You have a right to get your money back from them. The people lower down on the income and wealth scale are not the ones stealing your money. If you want to be angry at people because they don’t have the moral characteristics you think they should, then that is your prerogative. However, fixing the problem of your not having the income and wealth fairness would give you, your argument is with the people on the other end of the income scale. My programs are not intended to give a free ride to the undeserving. They are meant to claw back for you what is rightfully yours.
After he makes the point clear, he can toss in all the numbers he wants to prove that he is right in his analysis.