On chasing the "Archie Bunker" voter

In case it hasn’t been made painfully clear, the Democrats seeking to succeed Barack Obama as president have no time for his coalition.

First, Hillary Clinton, the presumptive nominee, urges the President to “take advice” from Nancy Pelosi on the TPP trade deal. You know, just like her husband did when he was in charge. Oh, except, Mr. Clinton didn’t. Call me confused, but I thought that, aside from sheer incompetence or malfeasance, the members of a president’s party were supposed to take leadership from him, not nip at his heels over every initiative.

Then, of course, we had Senator Bernie Sanders opining yesterday that black Americans needed to stop voting based on race. The sheer audacity of this statement is mind-boggling. There would have been no Democratic wave of 2006, or two Obama landslides, without the African American vote. And these same African Americans, before the arrival of Barack Obama, voted in almost lock-step for every tired-ass white Democratic candidate which made it through the primary meat grinder. Were blacks voting based on race when they voted for Al Gore or John Kerry?

That was insulting enough. But that was just the shot. Here’s the chaser. Sen. Sanders then went on to say that Democrats had to regain the “working class vote”.

Let that sink in. A sitting United States senator, caucusing with Democrats, running for the Democratic presidential nomination, an avowed socialist, made a distinction between black votes and working class votes. In his mind, the two are mutually exclusive, not overlapping in a Venn diagram. Blacks over there, working class over here.

President Obama showed Democrats how to win. And it wasn’t by slavishly pining after the “working class vote”.

Let’s call that vote for what it is: white voters who left the Democratic coalition in droves after the Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act, and have stayed away ever since then, generation after generation giving its allegiance to the GOP.

I will let our Twitter friend Rootless intrude here for a moment:

There you have it, folks, in a nutshell. Yes, logically a poor dirt farmer in Appalachia should vote Democratic. The party, for all its faults, generally has an ideology which is concerned with the poorest among us. The Walmart worker in Indiana earning $9 an hour should tell Mike Pence to go pound salt and vote Democratic every time. On class and economics, the GOP is godawful, no longer even disguising its drooling devotion to the .001% of the country.

But those folks don’t vote Democrat. They never will. And it has nothing to do with Barack Obama. It began long before Pres. Obama came on the scene.

It’s the blacks. It’s the Latinos. It’s the Asians.

It’s the gays. It’s the uppity women

It’s the fear that God and guns will be taken away from them.

It’s the idea that they’re stagnating not because of awful economic policies enacted since the 1980s, but because “those people” are getting a leg up over them.

It’s a nice trick the GOP has: push through policies which decimate white working and middle class people with one hidden hand, and then with the other hand point and say “Look, welfare queens! Raping immigrants! Pedophile gay men!” And the white working and middle classes, burdened by their lives vanishing before them, latch on to the parlor trick, and vote, not so amazingly, against their own economic interests. When your world is falling apart, you do latch on to God and guns, as someone said a few years ago, regardless that those things aren’t going to help you get out of your current pass.

Barack Obama is the most successful Democratic president, in terms of getting his agenda enacted, since FDR. And yet all too many Democrats run away from him. All too many Democrats give him no leeway or credit for the fixing of messes made before him. He’s only America’s “second” black president. And now it seems as if the “first” black president’s wife is on her way to getting elected, everything will be rosy. Screw the Obama coalition. Let’s get those Archie Bunkers back on side. Then we can safely ignore the blacks/Latinos/gays/women/anyone not white and “authentic”.

Archie Bunker is not voting for Hillary Clinton. He may hate her as much or more than he hates Barack Obama. Archie Bunker isn’t going to vote for socialist Bernie Sanders. That ship has sailed.

Pres. Obama has shown how to steer the ship towards waters chock-full of votes. Why Democrats insist on tacking back towards the sand bars is unfathomable. Or, maybe, it’s quite fathomable. And thus, quite dispiriting.



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