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The Changing Democratic Demographic

bringiton's picture

What ever happened to my Democratic Party? Why doesn’t the donkey love me anymore?

BDBlue asked a question that touches on many of the themes being discussed during this primary, here at Corrente and elsewhere, in what are increasingly emotional tones. Nothing wrong with emotion, passion is a wonderful thing, but sometimes the heat of the moment can cause us to reach conclusions that might emerge differently if we take a deep breath and look at the situation from other angles.

BDB: “BIO, since you seem to have actual sources, does this crap that Brazile, Axelrod, et al, spew about white working class voters upset any of the Dem. leaders or do they agree and want to try to build some sort of ‘new Democratic’ party.”

BDBlue, you probably expected a short answer. Hah!

[“Sources” is kind of a flexible term. From time to time I hear from people I’ve known for a long while, whom I respect and trust, about various topics. It isn't a regular thing, and I don’t pick up the phone and press them for the latest dope because the rumor du jour is hardly ever worth knowing; I let it come to me as it will because if I pester then pretty soon they’d get annoyed and not return my calls. Plus, and perhaps most importantly, I’m the goofy-looking kid way down at the end of the row in a game of telephone; whatever the message seems to be I take it with a grain of salt; you should probably put a tablespoon on anything I have to say.]

Out here in California we have what may be a slightly different view of where the Democratic Party is headed, a view we see as prescient and forward-looking; others may see it as delusional. The future of the Democratic Party is multiculturalism, rather than bi-racialism. Instead of an uneasy partnership of minority black and majority white, it will be an uneasy coalition of multiple minorities including whites, blacks, Hispanics and Asians.

I am coming to terms with my minority status as a white male. I believe that the change in demographics is a good thing, and an opportunity, but like all change there are problems. Phrasing it as a denigration of the white voter, as a diminishment of white influence, is a tactical error but this is coming from the mouth of Donna Brazile so no big shock there; she is if nothing else a consistent source of irritation. Other, saner people are trying to find way to discuss this without reveling in alienation. (For what it may be worth, she did backtrack; I still don't like her.)

There are a lot of different viewpoints to organizing, a lot of different approaches to coalition building, but economics persists as the most consistent, most reliable driver of voter interest. For the Democrats, the challenge is in how to bring together and align the economic interests as well as the sociological aspirations of four racial/cultural groups that have an established distrust of one another.

The downside of not doing so can manifest rapidly, as we learned here in 2003 when a large segment of Hispanic voters supported the recall of Gray Davis and the election of Arnold Schwarzenegger. That was a huge shock to the Democratic Party, and a lot of soul-searching has gone on ever since over what to do to keep Hispanics from shifting away. Fortunately, George Bush has helped, but relying on the antagonism of Republican policies is no long-term strategy. The Republican Pete Wilson pushed particularly repugnant anti-immigrant policies here in 1994 and the rightful backlash did not last a decade.

The realization has dawned that appealing specifically to Hispanics or any single-interest-group focus is a limited strategy, a goal that does not effectively address the larger issue of keeping the Democratic Party together and in the majority. The people I talk to are pushing for a Democratic Party that embraces broad populist/progressive economic positions as the key to binding together these disparate cultural groups. Bringing everyone together - including enough of the business community to make them partners rather than oppositional - will require a nuanced approach to economic arguments.

The key terminology is that of business, and the key metric is Return on Investment. The strategic argument is that tax dollars are not a burden on today’s profitability but rather an investment in the future – education, infrastructure, health care, small business growth, innovative technology – that will provide a return in better jobs, healthier, more capable, more reliable, more productive employees, sustainable profits, and greater economic security for all. For instance: “welfare” won’t appeal any longer, but “job retraining” with “forgivable sustenance loans” will; "global warming" is too nebulous and passive, while "energy independence" is an active, definable winner.

(Most people, given a clear description of what is being proposed, want to do the right thing for the future of the country and the world; when we feel like it is all slipping away, it is important to remember that.)

What won’t work any longer is much of the rhetoric of the 60’s, words like welfare and rights campaigns based on the claims of narrow interest groups. This is part of the basis for what Obama is trying, awkwardly, to talk about; he’s not completely wrong about “leaving behind” the “struggles of the past”, he just doesn’t have a vocabulary with which to effectively communicate the struggles of the future.

This transition in language and tactics is a great philosophical challenge, as no one – repeat, no one – in the Democratic Party wants to abandon or even be seen as abandoning core liberties such as gay rights or freedom of reproductive choice. But to keep the gains that have been made and achieve even greater equality a different framing needs to be found, one that will allow everyone from economically disadvantaged religious conservatives to the affected interest groups themselves to feel included.

The key is in the words, in finding a meaningful and clear terminology, and it may be that we can do better for everyone by using “human rights” in an all-inclusive way rather than a long litany of individual interest groups as we have in the past. For instance, gay rights; all human beings should enjoy freedom from overt, institutionalized discrimination regardless of sexual preference. Defining it as a human right, a right that should be protected for all of us, lets us argue the point while avoiding the GLBTetc alphabet soup approach that inevitably offends too many people and prevents the building of a majority coalition. This is true across the board; we don’t need gay rights or black rights or women’s rights or Latino rights; we need human rights, rights that are the same for all of us.

This emerging multifaceted coalition will require whites to accept for the first time a truly co-equal status with other racial/cultural groups. That should be a positive thing, not a negative; it must be a positive thing, or the Democratic Party will fracture in ways that will probably be irretrievable and not at all favorable for building any sort of progressive movement. We will have one chance here to get this right, or suffer the consequences of failure for another generation. It is a topic very much on the minds of the Democratic Party leadership, both here in California and across the country.

With either Clinton or Obama in the White House, these greater issues will determine the future of the Democratic Party and, to a large extent, the future of the country. I feel reasonably calm and confident, almost irrespective of which of the two candidates wins the nomination, because I think these larger forces, the dominant need to pull together this multipartite coalition, will determine what either of them is able to do rather than one of them driving any independent agenda.

There is in this transformation an enormous, almost irresistible opportunity for a sustained progressive advancement, just waiting to organize. I believe it will happen, and I believe that the election of either a black man or a white woman will be such a transformative occurrence that it will act as a significant seed crystal in that organizing event.

We have a future to build, evil to conquer and demons to slay; sitting out the election because the Democratic candidate is flawed, voting for a throw-away or not voting at all, will not help. Democracy is a pot-luck event; if you want a seat at the table, you have to show up and bring something worthwhile to share.

In sharp contrast, the plans being laid by major anti-war groups to disrupt the Democratic National Convention will, like 1968, serve only to raise doubts in voters minds about the reliability and managerial capability of the Democratic Party; disorder in Denver is counterproductive, will only serve to strengthen the Republicans and so prolong the war. This tactic is a great foolishness, and I condemn it; forty years of all but unbroken Republican domination as a direct, predictable result of the excesses of Chicago and still, nothing has been learned. This summer is a time for coming together, not for tearing asunder.

All you little dark clouds need to reorganize yourselves, find your happy place (said with both understanding and affection, but sternly) and focus on the real enemy – the Republican Party.

Positive Mental Attitude, Eyes On The Prize. Please.

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BDBlue's picture
Submitted by BDBlue on

But that isn't the campaign I'm seeing being run by Obama. His is a very black-white campaign. Indeed, look at who Brazil put into the "old Dem" category (emphasis mine):

Well, Lou, I have worked on a lot of Democratic campaigns, and I respect Paul. But, Paul, you’re looking at the old coalition. A new Democratic coalition is younger. It is more urban, as well as suburban, and we don’t have to just rely on white blue-collar voters and Hispanics. We need to look at the Democratic Party, expand the party, expand the base and not throw out the baby with the bathwater.

And look at the repeated threats being made by Obama supporters and other party leaders (like Jim Clyburn) about the black vote walking if Obama doesn't get the nomination. The casual smears of racism engaged in by him and his surrogates (not to mention misogynistic dog whistles). If that's not old-school two race politics, I don't know what is.

Far from trying to put together a multi-culti blanket, the Obama campaign has put together one of the oldest coalitions in the democratic party - liberal whites, young people, and African Americans. He owes his lead in this race to the black vote.

Hispanics are one of the fastest growing voting blocs and I haven't heard a whole lot of party bigwigs worrying outloud about Obama's poor support among them, particularly Mexican Americans, and what that will mean for the party if he's the nominee.

I believe the party needs to move in the direction you suggest. I just see no evidence that Obama is putting that coalition together. Which is why, btw, he lost California by 8 points even though he only lost whites by one point. He got rejected by our multi-culti state. Meanwhile, his best primary showings have been in states with a long history of a black-white racial divide. Clinton has been winning most of the more diverse states. That is not a coincidence, IMO.

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

About half, or a tad less right now. Donna Brazile is an ass, and doesn't speak for anybody but Donna Brazile. I read the transcript, and while what she said was inelegant it was not as bad as is being claimed. She was rude; that is not the same as being wrong. (Reminder; I cannot stand Donna Brazile.)

This is a great conversation we're having. It will ebb and flow as it goes. Walking away because the argument is not for the moment going your way, or because someone is rude, will not win the greater struggle - that's my point.

Submitted by Paul_Lukasiak on

that sound like warmed over DLC crap garnished with a twist of multiculturalism.

sorry, but that's what it sounds like to me.

Submitted by lambert on

I think the picture that BIO paints is lovely, but when I look at the Obama campaign I don't see it. (And CA is huge, the size of a small country, so it may be that bringiton's view is the reverse of the famous New Yorker cartoon? Delusional is a little strong, but I've already got one Pony on back order, and I don't need another one.*)

0. Multicultural is good, though there can be issues with implementation. If Obama had brought Latinos and Asians on board, he might be considered to be practicing it, but he didn't.

1. I agree that "economics" -- dare I say, political economics -- is the only rational basis for "bringing people together" in a way that lasts over generations. Everything feeds into that; health care, debt slavery, housing, everything. Unfortunately, Obama's unity bandaid prevents the development of a vocabulary for assessing and agreeing economic choices, which will inevitably involve real conflict over real interests.

2. The vocabulary ideas are all interesting but need to be tested out. That would be one use for the blogosphere, I suppose -- throw 'em out there and see which ones survive and propagate. (For example, I'd be interested to know how ROI applies to public goods. Could the US Constitution, for example -- supposing it to be restored under some future administration -- be said to have an ROI? I'm not so sure. How would you measure it?)

3. Human rights is, I think, a winner because we desperately need a vocabulary to speak of justice issues with. (Of course, the franchise would be one candidate for a human right, I would think, meaning that FL and MI might make it hard for some to respond to an appeal by Obama on that basis. (I say "some" here to pre-empt repetition of conversations we've already had; regardless of whether it's true, some believe it.)

4. I think it's a mistake to focus too much on Donna Brazile's gaffe, where gaffe is defined as speaking a truth that should never be spoken.

I think it would be great if Brazile, and the DNC, the Obama campaign, the creative class, and the OFB were all pursuing a permanent Democratic majority based on economic justice, where justice be defined by human rights, and where government can be held accountable to the people with new metrics (maybe not ROI in all cases).

"Some" may question whether Obama could have any credibility in these matters, given the vile misogyny -- not a blemish, but a cancer -- that has been such a salient feature of the OFB's discourse since they burst onto the scene. "Others" may raise a similar question, given the seeming inability of some in the "creative class" to believe that poor people exist, or that all that is required to address their concerns is helpful advice from the creatives ("drive less"). Still "others" may question whether ("been taught", "cling to") Obama is capable of regarding working people as autonomous, moral agents, since if he does not, it will be difficult for him to imagine or advocate for a system where they are holding anyone accountable.

I mention all these, er, talking points not to have the conversation about whether they are true, though they have propagated, but to point out that "some" believe them (and, with the misogny, substantial numbers), and so those beliefs must be addressed. IMNSHO, though the ideas sound great, the disconnect between them, and what Obama can achieve, or even wants to achieve, is profound.

Other stuff:

5. If Obama turns out like Deval Patrick, he won't be transformative at all, and the once-in-a-lifetime chance will have been squandered.

6. I agree that violence in Denver would be an uber-circlejerk; totally self-indulgent and at the very worst horribly destructive.

Finally, I don't think the "real enemy" is the Republican Party at all. The real enemy is the corporate sponsors of both parties. See Income, redistribution upward. There would need to be a good deal of framing done on that... And I'm not against business or the market as such, but it's clear that markets fail and can't solve all problems, and that corporate entities have way too much power. I don't see why many of them shouldn't become public utilities. Starting with the telcos. And I also think that a discussion of human rights would be an excellent time to determine that no, corporations as fictive persons have no human rights whatever.

As far as whatever personal characteristics may lead me to have the views that I have: I don't, so far as I know, have any problems with my minority status as a white male. Those times were ending when I was coming up, and now they're gone.

NOTE * I read that the OFB are now putting up pictures of ponies as a functional equivalent of fuck you "Yes, we can." If so, it's gratifying to see to see that the Unity Pony meme has spread so far. Those pictures may end up looking pretty silly in a few years....

[x] Any (D) in the general. [ ] ?????. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

Iphie's picture
Submitted by Iphie on

I have a hard time seeing this coalition happen with Obama though -- and certainly not with the current Democratic leadership. They seem to be willing to throw away the candidate whose supporters look very much like the coalition you're talking about, in favor of a candidate who looks like the future to them because he has younger voters.

I view an Obama nomination as a huge step back -- and your example of the Latino vote in CA is instructive, especially when you consider that one demographic where McCain can make the case that he's different than Bush and most of the rest of his party is with Latinos. We can't afford to lose Latinos -- Donna Brazile wasn't merely being rude, she was wrong.

And I disagree with you that she speaks only for herself -- she has an enormous and disproportionate amount of power -- if she speaks only for herself than her voice is loud enough to drown out millions of others. She's not just some pundit -- for Democrats her powerful position in the DNC means that yes, she in fact does speak for us even if she's not saying what we want her to.

BDBlue's picture
Submitted by BDBlue on

Let's say I accept that the party (whoever that may be) want to build some multi-culti coalition because in the future the rest of the country will look more like California. I will even presume, for the moment, that's what Brazile was talking about albeit inelegantly. Obama on the surface looks like that coalition - his skin tone isn't white, he was raised in Hawaii. But if you look at the bulk of his support, except for clothes and hair styles, you could be looking at a McGovern rally.

This candidate of the future, as I've heard so many party folks refer to Obama, lost the white vote in California by one point, lost hispanics two to one, and lost Asians three to one. The only group he won was African Americans. What's more, nearly all of his wins are in states that are either lily white or that have large AA populations and a long history of racial division. His coalition is not the coalition of a multi-culti future and yet, again, that's what so many of his supporters claim to be building.

Indeed, I think Obama's nomination will signal that many Democratic Party leaders do not want the multi-culti coalition you describe. They've done just fine with the current power structure, thank you very much. That's why establishment guys like Daschle and Kennedy back Obama. That's why young white men in the "creative class" back Obama. That's why Brazile is fighting tooth and nail for his nomination and Clyburn and friends keep making threats about the AA vote staying home.

And far from merely inelegant, I think it was telling that Brazile included hispanics as "old democrats." Tina Fey is wrong, bitch isn't the new black, brown is. African American political influence is at risk because latin@s are such a fast growing population and because, as the California and Texas primaries showed, they are learning how to flex their political muscles. What's more, unlike African Americans who are disproportionately located in bright red Southern States (admittedly not a coincidence), the latin@ population is growing by leaps and bounds in swing states like New Mexico and Nevada. What's more, latin@ are starting to emigrate to other parts of the country as they look for work.

Far from wanting some multi-culti coalition of the future, many of the democratic leaders who are backing Obama are doing so because they are afraid of losing power as America becomes a pluralistic society.

It's also one of the reasons for the misogyny directed at Clinton. She upends the patriarchy (alive every bit as much in the black power structure as it is in the white one). And because women are the majority of voters across the color spectrum, she has the potential for building an entirely new coalition, even if some of its parts are from the old one. But, of course, that's threatening to the old power structures of the democratic party.

And if it makes you feel better about losing your majority status, BIO, you were always in the minority in terms of gender. But thanks to the patriarchy, you still get to enjoy majority status. My sex may make up more than 50% of the voting population, but we hold only 14% of the Senate seats.

Submitted by lambert on

She's wealthy, as she points out; she's in a position of power in the party from which she's had a great impact on the nomination; and she's a Villager who's been at it for years.

I've heard the "inartfully expressed" dodge before; IMNSHO she was sending a message to the Obama campaign's backers about which constituencies would be the losers when Obama won. It's not a coincidence that Obama's youthful base demands less of government services. I'm sure one of the consequences of the Unity schtick will be that we "all" tighten our belts.

NOTE What BDBlue said. Especially this part:

Far from wanting some multi-culti coalition of the future, many of the democratic leaders who are backing Obama are doing so because they are afraid of losing power as America becomes a pluralistic society.

It’s also one of the reasons for the misogyny directed at Clinton. She upends the patriarchy (alive every bit as much in the black power structure as it is in the white one). And because women are the majority of voters across the color spectrum, she has the potential for building an entirely new coalition, even if some of its parts are from the old one. But, of course, that’s threatening to the old power structures of the democratic party.

I believe that BDBlue is right. And one of the lessons I've learned from this primary -- I'm forced to it analytically, I haven't had some sort of spiritual awakening -- is that patriarchy is older and more powerful than capitalism. I got this idea from Melissa (bless Elizabeth), and I think she's right. The market can be tamed: FDR did it, we could do it again. But we have yet to tame patriarchy -- just look at the NH coverage of Hillary's win (which was, quite literally, when I stopped reading the major newspapers, except selectively). And that, my friends, is the transformation that Hillary offers, and that Obama cannot offer -- in fact, makes it harder to achieve.

[x] Any (D) in the general. [ ] ?????. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

gqmartinez's picture
Submitted by gqmartinez on

He loses whites. He loses Hispanics. He loses Asian Americans. It would be one thing if it were only whites were opposed to Obama. That transends race. And that's without anyone really playing the race card.

My hypothesis is that Obama supporting Dem leaders are mostly interested in one thing: his money.

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

What prominent position in the DNC? She’s an At-Large member; big deal. She has no DNC Standing Committee position, and chairs the non-policy, advisory Voting Rights Institute because nobody else wanted it. (And in view of her attitude regarding voter rights while on Rules and Bylaws, that Chair is the subject now of much wry humor; never good when people start laughing at you.)

She is loud, and plays well on MSM because she’ll attack Dems for them and make it look legitimate; therefore, lots of air time. For now her influence within the Democratic Party is constrained by Howard Dean; if Obama wins the presidency she’ll be out of control, but that’s two big ifs right now. If he does not, she’ll stay where she is. Either way, over time she’ll either get reined in or be crushed; not a team player and not a tactical help in the job that needs doing. I have many concerns; Donna Brazile is a mosquito in a room full of scorpions.

koshembos's picture
Submitted by koshembos on

Obama through Donna Brazile dismisses the old FDR created base of the party. The coalition consisted of Big City machines, labor unions, liberals, ethnic and racial minorities (especially Catholics, Jews and African Americans,) and Southern whites. The latter have since then moved to the Republicans.

Obama doesn't want labor, real liberals and all ethnic groups except African Americans. Obama has never espoused the main philosophy of the Democrats. That's the reasons he envies Reagan, that's the reason he tries to downplay the Clinton presidency and the reason he started to look at age as an alternative. (The latter is real crazy because you're young only so long.)

We may recover with the rainbow coalition, but it will be on the ruins of the next election, the damage to the country and an almost destruction of the old party.

Thank you Obama.

myiq2xu's picture
Submitted by myiq2xu on

I swore I would vote for a Democrat.

" . . . we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender . . ."- Winston Churchill

white_n_az's picture
Submitted by white_n_az on

Lambert...Finally, I don’t think the “real enemy” is the Republican Party at all. The real enemy is the corporate sponsors of both parties. See Income, redistribution upward. There would need to be a good deal of framing done on that

Aeryl's picture
Submitted by Aeryl on

Where the party is going.

What BIO is saying, is perhaps not what the power establishment is thinking. I think in many ways they are, as BDB said, looking to hold onto their waning influence. Which is why the misogyny has come to the fore, because the patriarchy is key to the existing power structure.

I think a lot of Dems on the ground understand that this coalition that BIO proposes, is a fact of life, if Democrats want to remain relevant, and oh, win elections.

I don't know if Obama sees it, while his political roots come from the AA community, he has truly taken advantage of the existing power structure to get nomination. The way he has campaigned for the nomination, makes me doubt that he does get it.

Clinton gets it, and so does her husband, they are very intelligent people, and astute politicians. She has made bad judgements, just like Obama has,(think Mark Penn), but overall I believe she gets it. And she is capable of achieving it, too. Obama, not so much.

Whenever demographics get brought into, and how the AA's are voting, accusations of racism on one side or the other usually occur. I won't comment on the fact that AA's are voting practically en masse, especially when Obama has taken strides to not address their issue. I see these actions from a place of privilege and ignorance, and won't go there.

But, I have more faith in Clinton winning AA voters back in the GE(and those she doesn't win back, will probably vote down ticket, vs voting R, like me), achieving the coalition that will form the basis for this "New" Democratic party. Many of the voters Obama would have to win back, could be potential McCain voters. And once McCain starts being fluffed by the media*, that task will be harder.

The only way to take the party where we it needs to go, is to nominate Clinton. And a lot of the "lower ranked" SD's know it too. Obama SD support is largely(though not limited) from Governors and Congresspeople(at least, so the OFB tell me). People who are invested in the current power structure.

The interesting thing, is this new power structure doesn't need the "creative class". Which is the reason for the lekkerific wankfest. For all their talk about expanding the map, when the time comes to do it, they balk. Because they aren't a part of that map, and they do what every group who felt their power slipping away, they screech and whine, and try to get us to be distracted by that new shiny thing.

And it might work.

*Another reason the extended primary season is good for us. McCain is in the news, but not like Clinton and Obama. The less time the media has to play Goose to McCain's Mav, the better. It will take a lot to make a Republican palatable this election, but don't believe it isn't possible. There are people who will vote in Nov, who haven't even started paying attention yet, and Obama will be a hard sell as an unknown quantity in a time of turmoil, unlike Clinton.

Bill Clinton for First Dude!!!

hypnot's picture
Submitted by hypnot on

What bringiton wrote above makes a lot of sense to me--not as answers but as productive questions. The Republican Party is a corrupt sitting duck, and the Democratic Party is evenly divided, not yet able to take advantage of its adversary's myriad vulnerabilities.

If the Democrats unify, round up the undecideds, and give the Republicans the comprehensive thrashing that they deserve, they will have a few triumphant years to redefine themselves as the forward vision of the nation. Then the dynamics of U.S. winner-take-all politics will work their magic, and we'll find ourselves more or less evenly divided between something like today's Democratic Party and something like the Republican Party back before it became the doddering minority it is today.

It is interesting and even illuminating to discuss politics in terms of demographics and the coalitions that they form, but it's a limited perspective. No matter how objective the experts pretend to be, demographics carry some taint of marketing, public relations, and political manipulation. When the pundits and the political operatives dominate the conversation, they limit it. Their often dubious inside information deprives them of the perspective of your average voter, who is making his or her decisions as an individual who may or may not be representative of all the demographic groups to which he or she can be assigned.

The Democratic Party can engage in some rough and tumble, but also some dialog, to define its differences and common interests organically. If the old coalitions can accept the dilution of influence that will come from incorporating groups that appear less experienced and less enlightened, they may find that their wisdom and skills are respected and multiplied by added numbers & energy.

The Republicans targeted the traditional Democratic coalition, and they were remarkably successful in weakening and dividing it. I cling to my union, but it's on its knees today. Anyone who is not at the top of the economic pile is better served by the Democrats than the Republicans, yet Americans resist accepting their common interest in equality.

If equality and justice are political spoils traded between demographic coalitions, then maybe the primaries and the elections are about demographics. But if they are principles that define the party and distinguish it from its most implacable enemy--the Republicans--the tent could grow on that basis. It's the demographers, the pollsters, the pundits, the political operatives, and all the experts who take principles, such as equality and justice, and cheapen them by defining them as values.

Ponies for everyone? I'm skeptical and sometimes downright contemptuous, but I'm not opposed.

kateNC's picture
Submitted by kateNC on

Somewhat meta in my opinion and not at all what politicians with careers on the line really think.

I truly wish the Democratic party were thinking in terms of multiculturalism but I don't believe it.

Somewhere in this discussion a new-old concept should show itself: citizenship.

I'd like to become a citizen again rather than an economic unit. We are not our pocketbooks. We are our brother's keeper. Let's once again help out our brothers in poverty, in illness, in war.

We can help our brothers no matter what race, religion, economic class, or gender.

We can do this with programs not with philosophy, although we need good philosophical underpinnings.

We can do this. Yes. we. can.

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

that's what's disappeared, i think.

The belief that when all who need it are healthy and working and safe and educated and have opportunity, etc, we all benefit. The whole country benefits, including those not directly given that help or lift.

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on -- "...$20 million.

The Democratic National Committee member doesn't parse his words when it comes to what he wants from Barack Obama or Hillary Rodham Clinton - an ironclad promise to spend that heady amount to register Mexican-American voters and get them to the polls in November. ..."

jeqal's picture
Submitted by jeqal on

Only around 20 percent voted in Indiana period. I think that was a poor showing for both Hill and OB. That OB is able to get the younger voters and AA voters to the polls is good. I think the reason why so many don't vote is because they are not represented. I honestly believe that Indiana will go McCain. Now I'd like to see a percentage of votes from previous elections and the votes now state by state, I think that if you did a demographic break down, the states that show a higher voter turnout could swing the state in the elections.
The states that show a minority demographic that is not proportionate to the populace that voted, will probably swing to McCain.

Taking my swami hat off now, but palming the crystal.

"The great divide in this country is not by race or even income, it's by those who think they are better than everyone else and think they should play by a different set of rules," --Bill Clinton

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

Forgive me if I miss someone’s salient point; if I have just come back at me again, please.

This was, please remember, an exposition on what I’ve been hearing – for whatever that may be worth. The view from CA is admittedly skewed, doubtless primarily the result of our 24/7/365 Mediterranean climate – more time for reflective thought versus struggling for survival – and not a distortion from our principle agricultural crop. What I hear is filtered through the viewpoint of Californianos and, to be sure, is in general agreement with what I believe so there may be some personal viewpoint bias as well. Frankly, we only have one question out here and that is; How long will it take for the rest of the country to wake up and follow our lead?

Not all of the Democratic Party leadership is comfortable with this emerging coalition, and certainly there are many people who are vested in the historical W/b relationship. For Donna Brazile, the threat is precisely that she will find herself in a w/h/b/a power structure and lose what little power she has. This election is her big chance to grab the brass ring and cement a power position for the duration of her political life. Not my favorite person, but fortunately she does not speak clearly for the majority of Democrats at any level.

What I suggest here, what I hear being discussed, is the need to build that coalition. In many people’s eyes, Clinton is the best equipped to do that from her historical relationships and the transformative symbolic power of a woman in the White House. Others, just as sincerely, see Obama as the best person to bridge to the future because of his own personal story and background, and because of the transformative symbolic power of a black in the White House. Here at Corrente, no disparagement intended, the argument for Clinton rings true while the one for Obama is hollow; at other places the opposite would be true.

My position, that it isn’t important to my agenda – and the agenda of, I believe, the majority of the Democratic Leadership – which of the two of them wins the Presidency makes me out of step with both camps. I am comfortable with that, having spent my whole life as an anomaly, and my confidence is undeterred. I only wish more of you could be reassured.

What does concern me, and should I believe also concern you, is the overwhelming danger of a McCain presidency. We, America, the world, cannot afford the disaster that will follow another four years of a Republican executive. We, and by we I mean Obama and Clinton and Edwards and Kucinich and Dodd and Biden and yes Gravel supporters (Gore, too) need to do whatever it takes to see to it that a Democrat sits in the White House come next January – repeat, whatever it takes. We all of us, including me, will have to do the right thing even if it doesn’t suit our personal preference. Life is that way, sometimes.

This new coalition need not be exclusive of the “creative class” who ever they are. Admittedly I have no numbers at hand but under the 80/20 rule I’ll assume that the vast majority of creative people are middle class or less and would benefit economically from the same programs that are being proposed for the Democratic coalition. Creative people, by and large, are also progressive people; they are our natural allies, if we but have the patience to learn to talk to them.

The same is true of businesses, including those dreaded corporations. The old saw about what is good for General Motors being good for America is closer to the truth than many on the Left are comfortable with. I have raised the language of business here as a way of speaking to disparate groups – a sort of political lingua franca - and don’t want to wander off into economic theory to deeply, but we have a capitalist economic system and that will not change until someone dreams up something more effective.

Business people complain all the time about the lack of educational preparedness of the workforce – they are allies for better education. They complain about the unpredictable and onerous cost of healthcare premiums – they are allies for universal single payer healthcare. Everything that progressives want to implement as social programs are good for business in the long run. One of our principle tasks is to learn how to talk with corporations in a language they can understand, so we can explain to them how a progressive agenda is good for General Motors and all of American business.

Therefore, I don’t agree that corporations, as a whole, are the enemy of progressive politics, peace or general prosperity. The alliance with corrupt Republican political power is what curently rewards corrupt corporate practices. Defeating Republican officeholders is the first step to rooting out corporate corruption. Building a coalition of voters bound together by common economic purpose around a progressive social agenda is the second step. Aligning the interests of that coalition with a sustainable constrained capitalism is the third.

I am convinced that this is doable. More emphatically, I am convinced that this is necessary. The overthrow of the perceived established order that will come with putting either Hillary Clinton or Barak Obama into the White House will make this realignment not just possible but, in my view, irresistible. All I care about is defeating John McCain.

It is a shame that so many here feel that Obama is not asking for their vote. He is, but awkwardly. Lambert says he’s heard that excuse before, and is rightly wary; I can’t blame him. So let’s try this; I am asking for your vote, and the vote of everyone here, for the Democratic presidential nominee in November. I’m neither a racist nor a misogynist, I’m not a corrupt captain of industry, and I am a dedicated liberal progressive with a slight contrarian bent; I have been known as a troublemaker.

Can I count on your vote?

kateNC's picture
Submitted by kateNC on

You said it better than I did although the word citizen is important to me. It implies responsibility and engagement in undertakings greater than ourselves.

I can't deal with your second comment because I become ill and dizzy when I think of what we have done in Iraq, Gitmo, and to our beloved constitution.

Submitted by cg.eye on

Not one mention of the destruction of the Federal courts system. Of the corruption of the civil service, to the point that the FBI is roused to investigate why one agency refuses to investigate whistleblowers' claims.

Not one mention of the governmental tolerance for torture, of signing memoranda, of prosecutions for those officials who gladly excused themselves as they broke the law.

In order to have a white cloud, sunshine, laughter and lollipops resolution, some truths have to be told. Some penance from the guilty -- and yes, I mean Republicans, not the Clinton supporters whose nasty words you don't approve of -- has to take place. And such penance will not be spurred by a vague determination to champion a painless version of human rights language.

I can't trust a man who says everything's going to be better, when he can't even rouse himself to say how specifically bad things are right now. Obama'll probably fall for the disinfo that the financial crisis is over, now that the biggest corps have been saved by the Federal Reserve. I will moderate my opinions when I see a hypocritical, corresponding callousness in the plans of Obama and his handlers.

With Clinton, with her strengths and flaws, I know what I'm getting.

BDBlue's picture
Submitted by BDBlue on

Here's the thing, BIO. The only leverage I have to move the party in my direction is my vote. I truly believe if we ask for nothing for our vote, we get nothing. I will not vote for John McCain. Never. But I am not going to go rushing into Obama's arms, if for no other reason than the party cannot believe that I will always fall in line and be a good girl no matter how much they fuck me over. That doesn't mean that I won't vote for Obama. It does mean I see absolutely no advantage in committing to do so now.

What can I say, the one thing I've learned from Obama and his movement is that threatening to divide the party works. Party elders seem to reward that much more than they reward true expressions of unity. You get the behavior you reward.

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

it to citizenship is too restrictive for me, and leaves out our behavior in the wider world.

If you're here, you should have rights and access and everything too, i believe. And the "common good" allows for a path to citizenship, etc, instead of being restricted, or only something that "Americans" are privileged to have--which would just further our current treating of the rest of the world and everyone not here or not with the proper id as slave labor or pawns or as shit--as happens now.

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

Learned that from the Mormons.

I'll be back for your vote come the Fourth of July. This nasty primary business will be well settled by then.

BDBlue's picture
Submitted by BDBlue on

By that time the GOP slime machine should be really kicking in, the Democrats will already have committed to Obama at the convention. Then you might get somewhere.

You also might want to figure out how to muzzle Donna Brazile and some of his more ardent internet supporters. Underneath it all, I'm a very petty person.

Not that it matters, I may very well be a resident of Washington, D.C., by then. Unless it's going to become a swing state. I hear Obama is expanding the electoral map - Massachusetts, California, New Jersey, Pennsylvania.

cal1942's picture
Submitted by cal1942 on

is simply too California centric. Don't get me wrong I think California is wonderful but the demographics don't match the rest of the country. Caucasians may be a minority in California but nationally constitute 74% of the population.

Brazile said "not throw out the baby with the bathwater.

But that's what she's actually doing and in some ways so have you.

I agree that appealing to common economic interests is the key. The absolute key and the key that's slipping away. Obama's campaign is the proof that bread and butter issues are to be thrown under the bus. An example is an interesting exit poll number from Indiana. Obama won a clear majority of those who felt that the recession hadn't affected them.

More than at any time since the New Deal, the Democratic Party is fragmented regarding economic policy.

Aeryl's picture
Submitted by Aeryl on

You can't count on my vote for Obama. I have that luxury. I live in a state Obama won't win, and I could care less about Obama's attempt at a coalition, because it's obvious it doesn't include me. Since I have the chance, I am going to show my party how pissed off I am, by not voting. If we can make Obama's defeats in the Red states huge, maybe the party will realize how bad they fucked up. This is also why I will change my registration from Dem to Independent on the day Clinton is out of the race, and I hope many other Clinton supporters as well, since this doesn't prevent you from supporting Obama in the general.

Bill Clinton for First Dude!!!

Submitted by lambert on

You write:

This new coalition need not be exclusive of the “creative class” who ever they are. Admittedly I have no numbers at hand but under the 80/20 rule I’ll assume that the vast majority of creative people are middle class or less and would benefit economically from the same programs that are being proposed for the Democratic coalition. Creative people, by and large, are also progressive people; they are our natural allies, if we but have the patience to learn to talk to them..

I'm pressed for time, so maybe others can help me out with links.

1. "Creative class" isn't something I made up for polemic purposes. It comes from the work of some Faith Popcorn-style popularizer named Richard Florida, and a number of our A listers seem to have self-identified that way.

2. "Creative people" is not the same as "creative class." That's what's so offensive about the term. (And that's also why, IMSHO, the latte post stung so much.)

3. Er, "patience to talk"? C list blogs like this one didn't jettison the media critique. The talking was going quite well before that, and there were 5 years of patient posting behind it too, a collective effort now stripmined in stuff like posting doctored videos.

[x] Any (D) in the general. [ ] ?????. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

lots of RL this morning so I'll not annoy as much as usual, but:

The request for continued dialogue was a general one to a general "wea', not directed at you specifically - for hell's sakes, look at us - nor Corrente as an institution. Lots of people, too many, are dealing with this election cycle by shutting down communication. Big mistake, IMHO. Not you.

I didn't like haka, and I don't like creative class either, for different reasons. As I understand it from Florida (what is with these fakirs and their wierd-ass names?) it is broad enough to encompass rich and poor. Perhaps I'm mistaken. I'm open to negotiation folling more research.

Must run.

Davidson's picture
Submitted by Davidson on

Aeryl wrote: You can’t count on my vote for Obama. I have that luxury. I live in a state Obama won’t win...

Hell, we may all have that luxury soon! Notable exception: IL.

Considering the contempt Obama continues to show for basic democracy, the only issue I'll have to struggle with this November is: Will Obama be a winner like Mondale or McGovern? I mean, at least, Mondale won his own home state.

BDBlue's picture
Submitted by BDBlue on

Like Nixon and Vietnam, Obama plans to declare victory and get out on May 20 after the Kentucky and Oregon primaries. Via Talk Left:

Not long after the polls close in the May 20 Kentucky and Oregon primaries, Barack Obama plans to declare victory in his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination. . . .The Obama campaign agrees with the Democratic National Committee, which pegs a winning majority at 2,025 pledged delegates and superdelegates—a figure that excludes the penalized Florida and Michigan delegations.

As BTD points out,

the first act of the self declared Democratic nominee Barack Obama will be to state that Michigan and Florida will not count? This is insane. Two key states in November will be dissed in the first act of the newly crowned Democratic nominee.

But this makes perfect sense if you read the Obama campaign memo:

[T]he popular vote is a deeply flawed and illegitimate metric for deciding the nominee – since each campaign based their strategy on the acquisition of delegates. . . . Essentially, the popular vote is not much better as a metric than basing the nominee on which candidate raised more money, has more volunteers, contacted more voters, or is taller.

Fuck you, voters!

So perhaps the answer is to declare May 20th Independents Day. The only way Obama can do this is with SD support.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

A couple of months back, I heard Richard Florida on XM Radio (while I was in the McDonald's drive-thru line, as it happens, to set the classism stage), and it was unmistakable the glee he had about how Obama had galvanized the kewl kidz, the "creative class."

I can't imagine how one could have listened to that and not gotten the impression that our social betters, our opinion leaders, were supporting this guy, and if we didn't get it, we'd bought ourselves a ticket on the short bus.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

I have a car and sometimes go to McDonalds.

Flame away, whomever it may concern.

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

Please don’t make me read this wanker. I scanned through a book review of Florida’s first book and put him on the list of people who I never had to pay any attention to, ever again. On the one hand, he has a firm grasp of the obvious – concentrations of creative people = good, say for instance Florence; on the other hand, he makes the sophomoric failure to differentiate between cause, effect and coincidence.

His so-called economic analysis is, in a word, garbage, and most intelligent people have come to recognize that. I assumed that the popularity of his books would fade like any fad and I could safely pass by any drivel coming from a Dick named Florida, so I’ve never heard him speak; I hope to keep that perfect record.

In my defense, and why not, the various estimates I could round up defined the “creative class” as including in part scientists and engineers, university professors, architects, health professionals, business management, intellectuals of various types and artistic sorts such as poets, writers, painters, graphic artists, illustrators, etc. etc. The total of all people who self-define what they do for a living as creative, and thus view themselves as part of the Creative Class, is variously cited at somewhere between 35 and 40 million people in the US; around a third of the total workforce. My argument is that a third of the workforce is not the leading edge, nor is it some elitist Uber-Class that will dictate to the rest of us what our government will do.

With only the top 1% of income earners exploding their income, and only the top 5% or so actually making a gain, and assuming that all of those top 5% could be construed as part of the creative class (organized crime being a creative endeavor) that still leaves the rest of the creative class (33% - 5% = 28%, the 80/20 standard economic split I suggested) who are stuck down here in stagnation or falling behind with everyone else. These are the people I wish to incorporate in a new Democratic majority, precisely because they are by nature generally liberal and progressive thinkers. I want them, and I will have them.

That being said, I understand that one of the charter purposes of the blog is to conduct a battle of words with the VRWC and other oppressors. I do try to contribute, but some of the time I find myself in opposition. I suppose it is because I am stubborn, although not so you’d notice; I dislike allowing others to limit my vocabulary.

If “Creative Class” is an important pejorative for Corrente, I will have had my say against it here and try my best to raise the issue no more; I predict, however, that the way you are using it will do more harm to your cause than good.