Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Ending Identity Politics.

cross-posted @ Daily Kos

The “White Working Class” Argument is blown up, as my nephew says, over exaggerated to the extent that no democrat has ever won the majority of the white vote, since 1964 LBJ time. Yeah, I know. But throughout this primary season we have had to listen, watch and swallow identity politics.

Since we are talking about this type of divisive politics, has anyone stopped to consider why we are called the Democratic Party? It is for the sheer reason that we are a tolerable, big tent. A tent which welcomes everyone and shuns no one, a party which welcomes the conservative to liberal voice. There is no other party quite like it. So, while we may not get that all important, majority of the “white working class voter”, we subsidize by having the African-Americans, Latinos, Asians, Native Americans, Gay Americans, etc., all under out tent to win in the end. This is our coalition.


John Harwood, NYT has an article out about this “white working class vote”. Damn, if there is anything I will never forget from this election cycle is the Mark Penn politics of targeting groups and dividing them. Unfortunately, this is what Hillary Clinton will be remembered for.

Harwood writes about this myth and backs it up with this:

Al Gore lost working-class white voters by 17 percentage points in 2000, even while winning the national popular vote. Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts lost them by 23 points in 2004, while running within three points of President Bush over all. Mr. Teixeira suggests that Mr. Obama can win the presidency if he comes within 10 to 12 percentage points of Mr. McCain with these voters, as Democratic candidates for the House did in the 2006 midterm election.

So, if Al Gore and John Kerry did not carry the majority “white vote”, then we know Bill Clinton did not.
And finally, it should be noted that Bill Clinton never won the white vote in a presidential election, receiving less white votes in 1992 than George Bush Sr. and less white votes in 1996 than Bob Dole, with only 39% of the white vote in both elections. As a matter of fact, the last time a Democratic candidate for President won the white vote was 1964, 44 years ago. Has any Democrat ever complained that Bill Clinton’s failure to carry the white vote made him “unelectable”?

Well, this is all about the end game.

Clinton has lost on all metrics. In fact she was the candidate that had everything and the other candidates had nothing. If you read, this diary by animated, the system was rigged for a Clinton victory from the onset.

Right now it is all about creating an excuse of why Clinton lost. It is about making an argument that the media was sexist towards Clinton. It is about making an argument that the men are trying to push Hillary Clinton out of the race. But the fact remains, she lost a race taylormade for her by faulty planning, arrogance, lack of vision, mismanagement at every level and a candidate that is afraid to step outside her bubble.

That is how she lost it.

The white vote argument is mute.
One might conclude that Mr. Teixeira is troubled by Senator Barack Obama’s performance in recent primaries against Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton among the voters known by nicknames like Joe Sixpack or Nascar Dad or Waitress Mom.

Actually, he is not.

Mr. Obama, who leads the delegate count, “is clocking in where he needs to be” with white, working-class voters to win the White House in November, Mr. Teixeira said.

Barack Obama will get enough of the “white vote” to sustain a victory in November. It is all the other “groups” mentioned above that will rally around him to push him over the top. And the Clinton argument about the “white woman”? Just looking at McCain’s record on choice, his record on not supporting the minimum wage bill, two direct issues that affect women, I think many will come to side with Barack Obama.

Overall, this upcoming presidential race, congressional and senate races are not about just winning. It is about participating in government and how it works, and to make it work for us. After George W. Bush, who will go down as the dumbest and worst president ever, we deserve accountability, judgment and intelligence for the next President of the United States. Now, we just need to finish this long primary season, so we can really roll up our sleeves and fight for it.

And identity politics? I hope we never have to deal with identity politics again. This has left a very bad taste in everyone’s mouth, thanks to the Clinton Campaign and the genius Mark Penn. It is time to heal.