The Era of Identity Politics

Factors influencing Party Affiliation:
Race	     .25
Chruch At     .15
Gender	     .10
Income	     .08
Union HH      .08
Education     .02
In two different articles this spring, Maybe it is a Battle of Civilizations and There is No Security Gap, Just an Identity Gap I argued that identity had become the primary driving force of American politics. Specifically, I argued that far beyond any given issue, set of issues, o even ideology, gender, sexuality, race and religion (with a particular emphasis on the last two) were the primary forces driving the current and future make-up of the two coalitions. Generally speaking, Republicans can currently be broadly defined as the coalition of the country's white, Christian and straight plurality, while Democrats can be currently broadly defined as the coalition for everyone else. I even argued that "terrorism" voters are just "values" voters in a different energy state.

Of course, like any generalization, it is inelegant and contains numerous exceptions and qualifiers. There are a number of different factors that determine someone's ideology (family, school, work, religion, media, income, etc). However, I think that it still a useful generalization, because of it's focus upon identity rather than individual issues or even economic status.

Why am I bringing this up? Because recent data from Pew, as seen in the table at the start of this post, bears out my thesis that we are living in a political era that is primarily defined by identity. Identity factors, such race, religion, and gender all have a more direct connection to party affiliation than socio-economic factors, such as income, union membership or education. Considering that the GLBT community votes 70%+ Democrat, I'm certain that if sexuality was included in the graph, that it would be at least the equivalent of race. When it comes to voting and party affiliation, identity seems quite clearly to trump socio-economics.

As we speak, I am blogging from the NDN offices in DC alongside Markos, and I know what some of you out there are thinking. Of course identity trumps economics in determining party affiliation---Democrats and Democratic organizations like NDN have abandoned economic populism are are no longer defenders of the working class! For those of you thinking this, you might find the following bit of history interesting:

Analyzing NES data, McCarty found that in the elections of 1956 and 1960, respondents in the highest income quintile were hardly more likely to identify as Republicans than were respondents in the lowest quintile. But by the elections of 1992 and 1996, those in the highest quintile were twice as likely as those in the lowest to call themselves Republicans. Pew's 2000 and 2004 election year surveys show that this pattern has persisted.

In short, the familiar "Republicans are rich/Democrats are poor" stereotype is much more true now - at least at the extremes of the income curve - than it was a half century ago when the AFL-CIO was founded. However, when it comes to partisanship and income, the key battleground in American politics is in the middle brackets. And there, after a long slow climb that has occurred mostly in the past two decades, the GOP has reached parity with the Democrats.

That's right--during the peak of the New Deal coalition (Democratic self-identification almost doubled Republican self-identification in the late fifties), income was not a determining factor in party affiliation. And this was during both the ultimate period of economic populism in America, and the ultimate period of Democratic dominance in America.

I am not arguing that we shouldn't adopt a more populist and progressive economic platform. I am not arguing that we shouldn't be doing better among the working and middle class. What I am arguing is that while it is important, economic populism is no where near a silver bullet out of the wilderness because identity, not socio-economic factors, are the primary driving forces in contemporary politics. Thus, whatever else we do, we must adopt a political strategy and language that accepts this reality. Even if I am not sure what that strategy and language would be, I just don't think that there is any way to look at this data and draw any other conclusion.

Tags: Demographics (all tags)

Comments

80 Comments

Your Identity

What is your identity.

https:/www.indiana.edu%7Ekinres/mart2/

by turnerbroadcasting 2005-08-04 04:09PM | 0 recs
sorry - actual link here
https:www.indiana.edu%7Ekinres/mart2/
by turnerbroadcasting 2005-08-04 04:31PM | 0 recs
What gives?
here's the link one more time.
https:/www.indiana.edu%7/Ekinres/mart2
by turnerbroadcasting 2005-08-04 04:32PM | 0 recs
hey!!!
Every time I post an https link it destroys
the url!?
by turnerbroadcasting 2005-08-04 04:32PM | 0 recs
Which is why we are losing...
... because identity, not socio-economic factors, are the primary driving forces in contemporary politics...

...we must adopt a political strategy and language that accepts this reality.

NO SHIT!!!

It is organizations like the DLC/NDN that are committed to divorcing the IDENTITIES of their base from their IDEOLOGIES!!!!

Simon Rosenberg, the former field director for the DLC who directs the New Democrat Network, a spin-off political action committee, says, "We're trying to raise money to help them lessen their reliance on traditional interest groups in the Democratic Party. In that way," he adds, "they are ideologically freed, frankly, from taking positions that make it difficult for Democrats to win."

It is pure willful ignorance to think that women will vote against their own reproductive rights or that Blacks will vote against civil rights... Blacks don't go to the GOP because they don't look like them. Women have been moving moreso towards the GOP as the lose their "identity" in the Dem party. When people no longer "see their reflection" in a party they tend to look else where.

The only anomoly of this rule are the Log Cabin Republicans who even a blind man can see stay in GOP out of self-hatred.

by Parker 2005-08-04 04:34PM | 0 recs
Blacks were at one time Republicans
because the Democrats were the party of the Klu Klux Klan.
by Parker 2005-08-04 04:45PM | 0 recs
Re: Which is why we are losing...
What you quote of Simon Rosenberg is about how the DLC, starting with Bill Clinton in 1992 as former chair of the organization, has aimed to be a counterweight to the liberal base in the democratic party. It's their view that unhinged the liberal base would pull candidates too far to the left to be competitive in a general election that favors moderation. Nothing more and nothing less, and not anymore evil than the liberal base seeking to be a counterweight to the moderate/conservative forces in the democratic party. Big deal, that's politics.

Even if you fractured the democratic party into separate entities, they themselves would quickly divide into competing groups seeking to further define and empower their respective interests at the expense of the other.

Regarding Log Cabin republicans, come on...saying they stay in the GOP because they hate themselves? More likely they agree with the GOP on most issues save that of anti-homosexuality. If they prioritize other issues such as national security, taxes, education, etc., over their right to get married -- seems kind of selfless to me. They're putting what they believe is the overall good of the country before themselves. I think that's an admirable trait, even if I disagree with them on many issues. Compare that to those idiot NRA-folks who will vote up or down only according to a single issue like gun control.

by Vote Hillary 2008 2005-08-04 06:23PM | 0 recs
Re: Which is why we are losing...
No... the raison d'etre of the DLC/NDN is NOT to support the Democratic party but to wield corporate influence.

While Rosenberg is suggesting that I give up my reproduction rights "for the good of the party", NDN has made an alliance with Comcast to lobby the FCC AGAINST me and everyone in the Democratic base.

DLC/NDN serve only one master and that is NOT the Democratic Party but the corporations.

by Parker 2005-08-05 03:38AM | 0 recs
Re: Which is why we are losing...
Feel free to name me a single non-DLC democrat who refuses all corporate donations. I'll verify this against opensecrets.org if you can actually find one. As far as I know, Nader is the only person that does, and last I checked he isn't a democrat (he calls all democrats corporate whores).
by Vote Hillary 2008 2005-08-05 02:02PM | 0 recs
Re: Which is why we are losing...
Respond to my comment...first.
by Parker 2005-08-05 02:46PM | 0 recs
Re: Which is why we are losing...
I already did. There isn't a democrat in office who can't be accused of corporate schmoozing on a particular issue. Take a look at the latest funding bill that passed Congress before recess -- everyone had some pork fat loaded in there for their district special interests.

I see why you'd duck my question though, and it's the same reason I asked it: there isn't one.

by Vote Hillary 2008 2005-08-05 09:27PM | 0 recs
He doesn't call
all Dems corporate whores . . .

Only the ones that survive the electoral process, which is rigged to give undue influence to money.

It hardly seems outrageous to say that corporations have too much power over the process, especially when you're using "name a single Dem who refuses all corporate donations" as a defense.

by catastrophile 2005-08-05 03:15PM | 0 recs
Re: He doesn't call
Not a defense. Simply pointing out the fact that all democrats have their coffers filled with corporate funds and are thereby indebted to special interests. It's an ugly reality of the political process in this country.

I've always been an advocate of true finance reform Nader style. Forget McCain-Feingold, I'm talking a complete collective ban on all special interest money. A fully-accountable government campaign fund equal for all candidates that raise a pre-determined amount of public support. If ANY special interest group or corporation outside of small donors wants to contribute to politics, they can donate to the universal pool of funds. I'm talking about leveling the entire field, opening up the system to viable 3rd party candidates, and removing special interest influence in a big way.

Think it'll happen? Nah. Because like addicts, both parties simply aren't willing to go off the needle.

by Vote Hillary 2008 2005-08-05 09:23PM | 0 recs
Re: He doesn't call
No you did answer.

My point was explicit... Rosenberg is leveraging his influence with Democratic politicians to sell their votes to a corporation. His interest is for the corporation not the voting base.

by Parker 2005-08-06 07:49AM | 0 recs
Re: He doesn't call
I see nothing to distinguish between the corporate schmoozing of all dems and republicans. You point out one case when they are all complicit in the crime.

So do you continue to duck my question and refuse to name a single dem who refuses corporate donations? Of course. Because there isn't one.

Either accept the system for what it is, or support real campaign finance reform like Nader proposes...not hocus pocus nonsense like that McCain-Feingold bait and switch smokescreen.

by Vote Hillary 2008 2005-08-06 05:12PM | 0 recs
Question
Wouldn't economic populism still be a good way to draw in middle and lower-income voters who have been voting Republican?

I don't see anything here to suggest otherwise. Sure, back when two-thirds of the country identified as Democrats, there wasn't a big difference in average income between Dems and Repubs. But today, with the parties virtually tied, income is somewhat more significant - even though the Dems do a lousy job of playing the income card. Imagine what could happen if Dems were loud and proud about standing up for working families' interests (i.e. "Putting People First"), and not just during the campaign!

by robin oz 2005-08-04 04:36PM | 0 recs
Re: Question
Poor whites vote for the GOP because they are racist.

There was a caller on C-Span who summed it up perfectly, she said "Whites, will let the Republicans take food off of their tables, if they say they are against Affirmative Action."

The only way to counter act this is NOT by doing what the DLC/NDN promotes which is to "go along, to get along" with these rediculous notions, but to advocate what Dean tried to do in his campaign "stress the 80% that Dems have in common with the GOP base". When they holler about Guns, God and Gays reply back about Healthcare, Education and Jobs.

The DLC/NDN think that in order to win... the Dems should also "join 'em" about Guns, God and Gay

by Parker 2005-08-04 04:43PM | 0 recs
You have to be true to yourself
Nobody should have to vote against their own conscience. If you don't like the Democratic party as a moderate party, try to reform them, but if they don't reform, forget 'em. Vote for the Greens or what have you.
by Paul Goodman 2005-08-05 10:53AM | 0 recs
Keep in mind
99% of all elections are a binary choice.  You get a Republican and a Democrat.  Pick the best one.  If they both suck, pick the one that sucks the least.  Choosing to vote for somebody else is choosing to not effect the outcome of the race-it's choosing to not to vote.  Now, sometimes you hate both canidates equally, or your vote is meaningless anyways (when it's an obvious blowout one way or the other, or during a presidential election in a non-swing state), so I can't say there are never any reasons to choose to not to vote (by picking a non-Democrat or Republican).  And I can't say I've never voted for somebody other than a Democrat (I have, but never in a close race-although I don't believe I've ever voted for a Republican).  But don't kid yourself in thinking supporting the Green canidate helps anything-it does not.
by Geotpf 2005-08-05 01:25PM | 0 recs
Re: Keep in mind
The two-party system exists because of people like you following that kind of logic. This is why I can't take many of the loudest activists on the left seriously. When it comes down to it, they don't believe enough in their values to support candidates that represent them on election day. I like Nader and his supporters despite differing with them on some issues. They're principled enough to hold true to their convictions rather than bowing to political expediency.
by Vote Hillary 2008 2005-08-05 02:10PM | 0 recs
And Nader's supporters caused Bush to be elected
If Nader did not run, a man by the name of Al Gore would be in the White House now.

You have to live in the real world.  You can't bypass the realistic good for the fantasy perfect-if you do, you get the realistic bad instead.  DEAL WITH IT!!!

by Geotpf 2005-08-06 11:49PM | 0 recs
Re: And Nader's supporters caused Bush to be
Oh I see, you only believe in your values when it's convenient. Nader was right about you and that's why you have no credibility. If you believe in something, prove it.
by Vote Hillary 2008 2005-08-08 09:19PM | 0 recs
The Democratic Identity
Isn't 50% + 1 of the electorate - at least not nationally.

Thus the importance of an economic appeal.  It would attract voters who might otherwise identify as Republicans, without alienating voters who identify as Democrats.

by Drew 2005-08-04 04:47PM | 0 recs
Race/Gener ARE "socioeconomic factors"
Chris, the problem with the basic thrust of your argument is this statement:

" Identity factors, such race, religion, and gender all have a more direct connection to party affiliation than socio-economic factors, such as income, union membership or education."

Given racism and sexism in the economy, ones race and gender is as much a determinant of your sense of economic opportunity as current income or education.  

Many white men are partly voting their economic self-interest in supporting GOP officials who attack anti-discrimination laws and therefore make it easier for less qualified white men to hold onto jobs than their female and black or latino counterparts.   Remember, the New Deal was built partly on pacifying those white men by kicking women out of defense jobs at the end of World War II and excluding black southern workers in agriculture from labor law protections.

"Class" is a complicated formulation and to divide it into "economic" functions like income and education and not recognize that race and gender are salient characteristics of structuring the economy is to miss some key aspects of how our economy is structured.

Even abortion is partly about class, since the inability of women to control their reproduction means that employers are rational in discriminating against them if any investments in training may go for naught if they are involuntarily forced to leave the workforce.

So the rise of anti-racism, pro-abortion and other "social issues" in the 1960s and 1970s were not a turn away from economic populism but a fuller representation of what politics were needed to achieve economic equality in our economy.  

Economic populism is not whatever makes white men happy; it's what makes the economy functionally more equal, and "social issues" are a key part of socio-economic realities in our society.

by nathansnewman 2005-08-04 05:52PM | 0 recs
Race/Gender ARE "socioeconomic factors"
Just to expand on what Nathan is saying here:

This is not to say that identity politics is not important and that significant numbers of voters (white males; married women) seem to be highly motivated by these issues. But of course this has been a staple of successful conservative politics going back to the 19th century (peel off segments of the working class with appeals to race, nationalism, and/or religion; think Tory England or the postbellum US South).

But I would argue that the economic issue is at least as important as identity politics, and especially to important groups that Democrats must appeal to to win elections.

by tgeraghty 2005-08-04 06:46PM | 0 recs
Re: "socioeconomic factors"
Yeah this was a pretty lame analysis I must say.

(white male) People vote their identity when they feel that the government doesn't have any role in improving their lives. Thanks to the GOP people have convince themselves that government doesn't have any role in making sure they have a job, education, clean air, or healthcare.

Have you looked at the difference between white male votes in 2004 versus white males in UNIONS? Huge difference.

obviously race is a huge factor. Duh! Because in essence people in oppressed (yes economically oppressed!) groups will vote for the party that best represents their interests.

Your arguement just doesn't make sense. It reduces parties to what they were in the 1880s before the Populists came along. People didn't think the government could do anything to improve their lives (because it wouldn't , both parties believed in laissez-faire economics), so they voted for whichever party best fit their "identity".

And government did nothing to improve peoples lives.

Oh and the height of the New Deal coalition was 1936, not 1958. Strom had already switched by then.

by adamterando 2005-08-04 07:44PM | 0 recs
Re: "socioeconomic factors"
Have you looked at the difference between white male votes in 2004 versus white males in UNIONS? Huge difference.

I see the difference shrinking. In fact, paleo-cons and labor have much in common, not the least being their conservative views on trade, outsourcing, and globalization.  It's no wonder labor would oppose Bush and that old school conservatives like Dan Drezner switched sides in 2004.

by Vote Hillary 2008 2005-08-04 11:46PM | 0 recs
Re: "socioeconomic factors"
Yes you've proven my point exactly (though that's probably not what you intended). Perhaps the difference has shrunk somewhat (has it? where is the data to support that?). If it has perhaps its because many working class people think the DLC and the Democrats sold them out for NAFTA and China.

Just what are conservative views on trade, outsourcing, and globalization? You mean protection of worker rights and human rights? You mean putting human rights above corporate rights?

Call me a fucking conservative then.

by adamterando 2005-08-05 05:22PM | 0 recs
Re: "socioeconomic factors"
Protectionism is a historically conservative ideology.

See my post here: http://vote-hillary-2008.mydd.com/comments/2005/7/28/183018/505/73#73

Also see my discussion with Andrew White here: http://www.mydd.com/story/2005/8/3/143252/6381#comment_top

You talk about human rights, but protectionist policies are only concerned about human rights at home. It's a very antiquated self-centered view of the world. Liberalized trade, i.e. free trade, seeks to level the playing field between developing nations and first-world economies for the wider benefit of both, allowing market forces to determine trade instead of special interest driven tit-for-tat tariffs and politicking.

The data to support what I said is there before your eyes: the republican mainstream have switched sides from protectionism to free trade since Reagan/Bush Sr, while the liberal base has chosen to embrace protectionism at the behest of labor instead of liberalized trade and globalization. Now you have Pat Buchanan paleo-cons and labor aligned.

Regarding China, I don't see many working class people complaining about prices being driven down by free trade policies...instead I see them all in Walmart and Target stores where virtually everything is made in China or elsewhere, and where the bourgeousie of American culture don't shop so often.

The beauty of capitalism is it's self-correcting. If the working class people truly opposed the fruits of free trade agreements, they'd vote with their wallets. You can still buy American alternatives of everything, your dollar just won't go as far.

by Vote Hillary 2008 2005-08-05 09:45PM | 0 recs
Re: "socioeconomic factors"
Wow are you wearing some rose-tinted glasses.

First of all your first statement,
You talk about human rights, but protectionist policies are only concerned about human rights at home. It's a very antiquated self-centered view of the world.,

is quite the conflation. So you are defining what protectionist is and also defining what the entire labor movement and myself beleive protectionist policies should be. Uh, no. Don't think so. Did I say I only cared about human rights in this country?

I want developing countries, to well... develop. But I would also fight for that development to take place in as equitable a manner to workers involved.

It seems that place a WHOLE lotta faith in the free market to work its magic. So what if in the meantime millions of workers live miserable shortened lives, working for pittances. Hey free trade and capitalism will work in a few generations.

Of course even this line of thinking assumes that a labor movement could develop in the country to bring workers into the middle class and redress some of the inequalities in society. But I don't see that happening in China very quickly. Did you  know that labor unions are outlawed there?

The data to support what I said is there before your eyes: the republican mainstream have switched sides from protectionism to free trade since Reagan/Bush Sr

Yes and those policies have been SOOOOO beneficial to the working class in this country.

Regarding China, I don't see many working class people complaining about prices being driven down by free trade policies..

Ummm...how many working people do you know? Doesn't sound like too many. And yes a lot of working people do shop and WORK at Wal-Mart. And many probably still complain about everything coming from China. But with a labor movement that has been in decline for about 40 years and a feeling that government can't or won't do anything to make your life better (thank you Reagan revolution), many people feel powerless and don't feel they can do anything to stop what's happening. All they know is that all those good paying manufactoring jobs are a thing of the past. And they're all going to china.

The beauty of capitalism is it's self-correcting. If the working class people truly opposed the fruits of free trade agreements, they'd vote with their wallets. You can still buy American alternatives of everything, your dollar just won't go as far.

See above. Also it sounds like you don't want working people to be ABLE to vote with their wallets. You want the only alternative to be corporate trade. And that's it.

And also, NO you can't by American alternatives of everything. In NY? Sure, but in central Illinois of Southeast Ohio where the only stores are a Family Dollar and a Wal-Mart, your choices are limited to a select few slave labor countries that have sacrificed their citizens to god of the market.

by adamterando 2005-08-06 01:20AM | 0 recs
Re: "socioeconomic factors"
That was among the most logically ill-composed rebuttal I have borne witness to on MyDD. Where do I begin?

Regarding protectionism and labor, who needs to define anything? They do it fine themselves. Do revisit my links provided including Pat Buchanan's homepage: http://www.theamericancause.org/

You'll find paleo-conservativism and labor are on the same page when it comes to free trade. Incidentally, I noticed you do not attempt to refute my historical evidence that the liberalization of trade and globalization are -- duh -- liberal ideologies. Ergo, protectionism is historically conservative. If you are a conservative, wear it proudly.

Ah yes, faith in free market principles. Well, supporters of liberalized trade and globalization have a soft spot for idealism. We tend to take a more selfless view of global equality, rather than worrying about our "hard" American lives scratching out in a year the income of a lifetime in Africa, East Indies, or Bangladesh. If that's called hope for a better future for collective humanity, than so be it -- I'm hopeful.

Yes I would indeed say that free trade policies have been beneficial in this country. Labor, as you admit, is a shrinking constituency in presence and relevance. Why? Where have they gone? Did the DLC abduct them? Did they starve? No, that's a fate reserved for famine ravaged populations in Africa. Where did they go in the prosperous Clinton years? They must have found other jobs -- easy to do when 25 million are created. Oh heaven forbid that labor must learn new skills and education in order to adapt to the services-based economy of the 21st century! Don't like it? Then don't complain about low wages that immigrants are willing to cross the border and work for.

Oh, you don't see the benefits of globalization and liberalized trade pulling up Chinese from poverty and into a new properous middle class? China's per capita income has quadrupled in the last 20 years! Here, educate yourself padwan: http://www.csmonitor.com/2005/0711/p13s01-wmgn.html

And not only China is booming thanks to market capitalism and increased globalization, so is India:
http://www.demopolistimes.com/articles/2005/08/05/opinion/opinion02.txt

As for finding American alternatives, my god you labor folks are so stubbornly resistant to change it's a paradox you call yourselves liberals! It's the information age, in case you noticed. Try using the internet -- brick and mortar stores are giving way to e-commerce! Don't even try and tell me you can't find US products on the internet.

I beginning to think you're really a closet marxist using the whole free trade red herring to slow down evil capitalism. Cold War is over comrade!

by Vote Hillary 2008 2005-08-06 03:54AM | 0 recs
Re: "socioeconomic factors"
Wow you make me laugh.

Ohhh I feel so bad. Yes I'm must be stupid! You said my arguement was illogical! Oh wow you are a fucking genius! Thank you so much for explaining to my poor dense self how wrong I was. Whew, that was a close one.

OK Mr. condescension, let's see how you've twisted and obviously not actually read any of my arguements. This should be fun.

  1. Regarding protectionism and labor, who needs to define anything? They do it fine themselves. Do revisit my links provided including Pat Buchanan's homepage: http://www.theamericancause.org/ Why do you keep equating Pat Buchannon with the labor movement? What the fuck has he ever done for the labor movement? Has he ever been a union member? Has he ever received a union endorsement? Has he received money from unions? Ok. So wrong point number one.

  2. You'll find paleo-conservativism and labor are on the same page when it comes to free trade. Incidentally, I noticed you do not attempt to refute my historical evidence that the liberalization of trade and globalization are -- duh -- liberal ideologies. Ergo, protectionism is historically conservative. If you are a conservative, wear it proudly. Nope I sure didn't. Was I supposed to? Oh, sorry I didn't say what I was supposed too. Well Mr. Condescension I actually never said I was against free trade. To me the ultimate goal is to have absolutely no barriers to where things are made except for Geography and the skill set of the labor force. But....that must be combined all workers around the world enjoying the good standards of living. I  DO NOT want capital to move wherever 13 year old girls work 11 hours a day and 30 year old men die of tuberculosis because of their working conditions. Do you Mr. C?

  3. Ah yes, faith in free market principles. Well, supporters of liberalized trade and globalization have a soft spot for idealism. We tend to take a more selfless view of global equality, rather than worrying about our "hard" American lives scratching out in a year the income of a lifetime in Africa, East Indies, or Bangladesh. If that's called hope for a better future for collective humanity, than so be it -- I'm hopeful. Um...once again I think you skipped over everything I said. I think about 75% of what I said was about what the workers in these sweat-shops have to live through because they are not paid a decent wage. But I guess YOU wouldn't care so much about that because hey, even though they're makind 2$ a day, it's more than they were making. And it's for their own good! So they should be thankful. Oh Mr. C. How sad.

No, that's a fate reserved for famine ravaged populations in Africa. Hmmm it's interesting you should bring that up, seeing as how a lot of Africa's past famines were due to swithcing to growing cash crops like cocoa that couldn't be used to feed their own populations.

hey must have found other jobs -- easy to do when 25 million are created. Well most of the jobs certainly did't pay as well. You know for as much as you bad mouth labor, I wonder if you've ever had to go through losing a job and living near poverty. If it happened to you did you say to yourself, "Well this is great! I'm sure this all just part of the Market's grand plan. Something will turn up soon!" Have you ever had to support yourself or your family on a service sector wage?

Then don't complain about low wages that immigrants are willing to cross the border and work for.
My goodness! And you're calling me a conservative! Are you sure your id shouldn't be GroverNorquist2008?

Oh, you don't see the benefits of globalization and liberalized trade pulling up Chinese from poverty and into a new properous middle class? China's per capita income has quadrupled in the last 20 years! Here, educate yourself padwan: http://www.csmonitor.com/2005/0711/p13s01-wmgn.html

Now Mr. C. Even condescending people know that the benefits of China's and India's growth are not anywhere near evenly distributed. China has lifted millions of people out of poverty. That's great. I really mean that. But that doesn't mean that there aren't alternative ways to achieve development. Like for instance, not banning people from organizing. Or do you not care if a country is a totalitarian capitalistic society. Isn't that what Nazi Germany was? That's kind of the definition of Fascism I think.

It's the information age, in case you noticed. Try using the internet -- brick and mortar stores are giving way to e-commerce! Don't even try and tell me you can't find US products on the internet. Mr. C. you need to tone it down a little. First of all 1999 is over so you can stop using the cheesy "New Economy" lingo. Pea Pod may deliver in San Francisco, but not so much in the middle of the country.

So if education is the end all and be all panacea that you describe, then why did so many computer programmers lose their jobs to Indians and chinese? These were highly educated individuals with "knowledge-based" skills. Hmmmmm........Something to think about Mr. C.  

by adamterando 2005-08-06 10:29PM | 0 recs
Re: "socioeconomic factors"
  1. Pat Buchanan and labor are aligned as anti-free traders and anti-globalization. They are aligned on outsourcing. They are aligned on many aspects of immigration. Pat being a conservative should support historically conservative ideals of protectionism. Labor should not, as a liberal constituency. Instead they are supporting conservative ideology as are you.

  2. Oh I see. You want all the benefits of free trade without any of the drawbacks. Well, gee, so do the rest of us, but the more pragmatic understand that we don't live in a utopian world.

So instead of just opposing free trade like labor, why don't propose how you would reform it? Most non-republican free traders like me support far more NGO oversight over free trade pacts and organizations like the WTO and IMF to reduce corruption and ensure poorer nations aren't taken advantage by the richer ones.

This is why the GOP gets aways with labeling the dems as the party of no ideas. Because too often there is only complaining or opposition with no clear alternatives. You just wait for the GOP to crash and burn and take advantage of the gaffes. That doesn't win votes.

3. Terrible rationale. Oh I get it, so when corruption exists and sometimes sweatshops happen, we should abandon the liberalization of trade and allow the first world nations to protect their markets from third world exports, often from nations who depend on them as primary or secondary exports, perpetuating the cycle of poverty in developing countries.

Your selfishness to protect domestic special interests is remarkable. Kudos.

Oh, 25 million jobs weren't a good thing because they didn't pay enough! Well, tell that to the 25 million who got jobs and ask them if they'd rather be unemployed? Clinton's economic policies worked, period. Wow, you sound as sour about it as a republican who can't admit for the life of himself that Clinton created even a single job.

Regarding China, everyone knows it isn't nearly a perfect system. However some people think that instead of confrontation, the way to open up China and liberalize its political system is to do so by helping it become a market economy. Eventually a growing middle class will pressure the Chinese leadership for more freedoms and change. Btw, I'm a hawk on the Taiwan issue, so I'm not a big fan of China.

Yeah there are downsides like losing manufacturing jobs in the US, but that has to be looked at in the long-term. We are not a nation of manufacturing and industry anymore -- we are moving to a services based economy. That requires painful changes like learning new skills and education to adapt. This process has repeated itself many times...the US was a rural farming economy prior to the industrial age and the explosian of cities. Many farmers had to close their farms and move to cities to work labor. Now we're seeing another change as the information age matures. You have to change to keep up with the times. It is inevitable that manufacturing jobs will continue to decline. Labor's relevancy is in its final days.

by Vote Hillary 2008 2005-08-08 09:43PM | 0 recs
Re: "socioeconomic factors"
What do you have against labor unions? What the fuck? Seriously do you really think YOU would have a good job today if it wasn't for labor unions fighting for things like the minimum wage, social security, and the 8 hour day?

I just don't understand your hatred of labor. Do you think the world should be completely motivated by profit?

Oh yes, I'm being completely selfish. Once again you think that all I care about is domestic "special interests". Shut the fuck up. That is not what I have been saying and you know it.

Ok, here's an idea to go about development in developing countries. How about endogenous development? How about public sector spending, especially on education and internal development and the formation of cooperatives. How about ALLOWING labor unions to form so that workers have some ability to negotiate wages. Or do you think that workers should be condemned to a life slavery?

3. Terrible rationale. Oh I get it, so when corruption exists and sometimes sweatshops happen, we should abandon the liberalization of trade and allow the first world nations to protect their markets from third world exports, often from nations who depend on them as primary or secondary exports, perpetuating the cycle of poverty in developing countries.

That's a pretty defeatist attitude yourself. So the only options are either do nothing or allow predatory laissez-faire multinational capitalism? Maybe open up your mind a little bit. Sounds like your the one with few ideas.

It also sounds pretty condescending for you to say to people, "Yes I know your are working in horrible conditions and you will die early and your children will live a life of misery, but don't worry because it's for your own good."

There are other ways to development. Try reading something outside of your echo chamber for once.

by adamterando 2005-08-09 12:23AM | 0 recs
Leadership Needed, Not Reflection
I think one of the main problems with the Dem Party and politics in general is that strategists are constantly trying to gauge what's going on and then match their message to their findings.

Especially given the crises we are facing in virtually every single area of our democracy, this approach is increasingly dangerous and counterproductive.

What we need is LEADERSHIP. In other words, we need the Party and its candidates to LEAD people to see how they are voting against their own interests, not try to massage a message that doesn't rock the boat or make people think.

This entails educating people, reaching out and prompting discussion, not try to reflect the current ignorance with a minor Democratic twist.

by barbwire 2005-08-04 06:02PM | 0 recs
Don't forget the Media
It is an interesting analysis.  The factors are very complex.  I think a useful example of this is the state of West Virginia.  It used to be part of the Democratic electoral base, think of how it stayed Democratic during the Reagan landslide of 1980 and was one of the small group of states that went with Dukakis in 1988.

The legacy of Democratic populism surely influenced this.  But with the decline of the coal unions and the outflow of union jobs, the "identity" factor that pulled poor white West Virginians to the Democrats-union identity, was lost.

Add on to that the blurring of economic populism by the national Democratic party since the late 1980's, (Dukakis was no economic populist), and the rise of another strong factor in identity politics- the fundamentalist Christian right, and we see how West Virginia has now gone 180 degrees from stalwart Democratic in presidential elections to a lopsided Republican one.  Bush won West Virginia in 2004 by 15%.

I think the demise of the Democratic party began with the loss of the South over civil rights in the 1960's.  It accelerated with the new global economy and the near collaspe of labor unions.  

The rise of the rightwing Christian movement, and the perception in 2000 and 2004 by millions of formerly Democratic conservative Catholic and particularly fundamentalist Christian voters that Bush was God's candidate, has put the Democratic party at a crisis.

If the Democrats move to the right on social issues-we risk losing our base in the gay and feminist movement.  If we stay where we are-and are perceived as the party of gays and abortion, we will continually to be framed as anti-family by negative GOP campaign managers.

The only thing that I feel will change the dynamics is for another Great Depression which will wipe the smugness of the arrogant faces of the racist properous residents of the wealthier outer suburbanites and exurbanites.

As long as we stay where we are, with a strong but politically saavy minority of wealthy Americans seeing their incomes go up, and a significant group of millions of Americans in the evangelical Bible-belt who put their perceived religious sentiments above their economic interests, we will be in trouble.

Add to that the prospect of stolen elections through black-box computerized voting machines manufactured by Republican companies, and our future as a party is very very bleak.

 

by MichiganDemocrat 2005-08-04 06:03PM | 0 recs
Re: Don't forget the Media
I note you don't mention perhaps the biggest core group of the Dem base in your post -- African-Americans. If candidates would speak truth to power in terms of REAL economic justice for all, I think the dwindling voting patterns of this group could be increased dramatically, just for one thing.

Also consider that I can walk into almost any even vaguely funky coffee house, music club or park in America and find large numbers of people who should be voting Dem. I can guarantee that, by a huge majority, most have long given up on the Party because they don't hear them saying anything passionately and strongly that appeals to them or addresses them in any way.

If we started doing that, we'd attract new voters by the ton. Instead, these people haven't voted for years and either ignore politics entirely or put their energy and bucks into environmental, anti-war or economic and social justice groups the current Dem Party won't touch with a 10 foot pole.  

by barbwire 2005-08-04 06:11PM | 0 recs
Re: Don't forget the Media
barbwire:

I agree completely.  Another post made the same point also.  Democrats have to stand up for what they believe-and hopefully it will be environmental protection, economic and racial justice, and a non-imperialistic and peace first foreign policy.

On abortion, as a former Catholic I have mixed feelings.  However, even if we stay 100% "pro-choice" on abortion, we need to state our position in a way that shows respect for the consciences of those millions of Americans who feel abortion is an assualt on the sanctity of life.  

I won't state my opinion on abortion because it is very much in a state of flux-I can see both sides, but realize as a man it might be perceived as arrogance if I venture into that issue.  All I can say is that I don't like it one bit.

As a party we need to lead the way, not constantly try to "frame" our message to match the opinion polls in hopes of pulling an electoral rabbit out of a hat every 4 years.

by MichiganDemocrat 2005-08-04 06:28PM | 0 recs
Re: Don't forget the Media
Thanks for your reasoned comments. To me, choice is part of a much larger privacy issue in terms of women's healthcare, not an issue out on its own. It might be useful to present it in terms of a larger concept of freedom from government interference in the doctor's office. An analogy can be made with free speech. I might not agree with what you have to say (or your decision to terminate a pregnancy) but I will defend your right to say it (have privacy from government interference in healthcare decisions).

Religions have varying rules and laws as to what is acceptable or not, but I don't think government should follow any particular religious doctrine in its laws. Therefore I can respect a Catholic's view on choice without believing it should apply to the society at large. Well, it's a start. What do you think?

by barbwire 2005-08-04 07:14PM | 0 recs
Re: Don't forget the Media
Barbwire:

I think that what you say about abortion, or choice, is a reasoned argument.  Democrats have allowed themselves to be framed for so long as "pro-abortion."  And I don't think anyone really likes abortion.  But to explain being pro-choice as being an aspect of freedom from government interference in one's medical care, and that we may not agree with it but we can't allow the government to impose one view over another's, is a good start.

The Schiavo case I believe gives ammunition to Democrats for warning about the prospect of government meddling in our most private medical decisions.

Like I said, I don't like abortion.  But I have grown enough on this issue to realize that my moral outlook shaped by Catholicism should not be imposed on other Americans who may not share that same outlook.

John Kerry tried to make that same point in the debates, and I'm not sure it did him much good.  I think a lot of Americans agreed with him, but the Catholic heirarchy, (some of them), used this to paint him as a disloyal Catholic.  Strangely enough, evangelical Protestants, who a generation ago would have loved to see a Catholic challenge church teaching, did not give Kerry any credit for his independence from the Bishops.

by MichiganDemocrat 2005-08-04 07:24PM | 0 recs
Re: Don't forget the Media
I'm glad it's at least a start. I know it's a very difficult issue for many people and as you say, it's been framed horribly.

It is very ironic that there's been a 180 degree turnaround on political candidates obeying the Bishops in the Catholic Church. In fact, I was raised Catholic and recall the problems Kennedy faced when he was the first Catholic to run for president. Moreover, many of the evangelicals and Southern Baptists who seemed to believe Kerry should have obeyed the Bishops would have been very anti-Catholic in earlier times, painting them as Papists.

Politics do make strange bedfellows.

by barbwire 2005-08-05 02:04AM | 0 recs
Well I know why I'm independent.
And it has nothing to do with economics, race, culture, or gender. I just don't believe in registering with any party when I don't believe in even 80% of any of their platforms, let alone candidates. Rather than swear fealty to any group, I'll maintain my independence and vote according to a prioritized issue by issue basis in the context of the time.

Over the last 10 years I've been voting 75% democrat, though.

by Vote Hillary 2008 2005-08-04 06:06PM | 0 recs
Where does identity lead, though?
Here is my big fear from giving in to so-called "identity politics."

This is the kind of thing that leads to civil war.

Sound a bit over the top? I certainly hope so... Last year, I was the communications director for the Jim Brandt congressional campaign against Dana Rohrabacher in the CA46. We had a lot of Republicans tell us they liked Jim, that they liked what he had to say, but that they simply could not vote for Jim.

I heard several variations on the answer "that's just not who we are..." And I have heard this from a lot of different quarters. Commitment to an identity has trumped ideology -- and even self-interest -- in American electoral thinking.

It worries me that the polarization of the electorate seems to be reaching a kind of event horizon, a point of no-return, or at least a point where the resultant energy necessary to return some semblance of balance would make a hell of an explosion.

I feel like many of us on the left and right are starting to feel that there is no "loyal opposition" anymore. Check out Dave Neiwert's blog Orcinus regarding "eliminationist rhetoric.

It just feels like we are getting to a point where the various "sides" feel they can no longer live peacefully with those "others" as their neighbors.

Sorry, this went a lot longer than I meant, it's just been something that has been worrying me. I keep thinking of the words of Abraham Lincoln from his speech to the Young Men's Lyceum in 1849:

"All the armies of the world with a Bonaparte for commander with all the treasuries of the world at their disposal could not in a trial of a thousand years make a track on the blue ridge or take a drink from the Ohio. At what point is danger to be expected then.  I say that if destruction be our lot, then we must be it's author and finisher. I say that as a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide.

I just feel like I want to cry right now...

mojo sends

by vanmojo 2005-08-04 07:15PM | 0 recs
Conservative Identity Is Different
What you say is perfectly consistent with macro-level data showing that about half of self-described conservatives are liberals on a programmtic level.  Identity is very much connected to who they aren't as a way of defining who they are.  

For example, as far back as 1964 there was data showing the conservatives were much more likely to think that blacks, jews, Catholics and labvor unions had "too much power."

That's right, blacks had toop much power in 1964!  Millions couldn't register to vote in the South, there were just four blacks in the House of Representatives, but they had "too much power!"

by Paul Rosenberg 2005-08-04 08:55PM | 0 recs
Jim Madison F%$#!@ Up
He wanted to design a constitution that multiplied faction. He failed. Instead we have a constitution that practically gurantees not only a two-party system (winner-take-all), but alignment based on regional peculiarities (electoral college).

Had we multiparty voting where the percentage of votes a party gets is the percentage of seats they get, you would see a much more balanced government and a lot more voter participation.

by Paul Goodman 2005-08-05 10:58AM | 0 recs
Accept it?
I don't understand why we have to accept this reality. Where is the identity in extending Medicare to all children in America? Where is the identity in increasing the minimum wage? Or expanding opportunities to attend college? There are multiple economic policies that Democrats support that benefit every American. Look at Republican policies like tax cuts for the wealthy, tax cuts for giant corporations, eliminating the estate tax, and eliminating capital gains tax. These policies affect only a small percentage of Americans. Yes, this is class warfare. The GOP is contributing to the growing wage inequality in America at the expense of the bottom 80 to 90% of America.

There is no identity in needing decent healthcare, affordable education, and a living wage. Poverty knows no race, gender, religion, ideology, or identity. Our policies are for all Americans to enjoy, and this is what we should make clear.

by Matt42 2005-08-04 07:32PM | 0 recs
Re: Accept it?
Matt, I agree completely.
by MichiganDemocrat 2005-08-04 08:04PM | 0 recs
What are these coefficients?
Are they Pearson r's (or some chi-square derived equivalent), r-squareds, effect sizes, beta-weights? The metric matters in considering them. Also, there's confounding, church attendance is no proxie for bing a fundie, for example.
by rich 2005-08-04 08:21PM | 0 recs
Church attendance...
...is a flawed measure, as it doesn't take the characteristics of the church into account.  It just happens that the people who attend most frequently tend to belong to conservative churches.  The real variable of interest is not attendance, but belief.  See, for example, John Green's work on the Twelve Tribes of American politics.
by KTinOhio 2005-08-04 08:25PM | 0 recs
Re: Church attendance...
According to church attendence, Bill Clinton was the most religious president in US history.
by Vote Hillary 2008 2005-08-04 11:40PM | 0 recs
A few conclusions
I think it is fairly obvious that one strong component in why race is such a factor is how  blacks who regularly attend theologically conservative Protestant congregations generally choose to be Democrats.

On the other hand, I think that it is as accurate to characterize the Republicans as white and the Democrats as non-white as it is to characterize the Republicans as heterosexual and the Democrats as non-heterosexual (which is to say that I think either characterization is foolishness).  Run the numbers and tell me what % of people who voted for John Kerry in 2004 were white Christians.

Identity politics will always work against the Democrats so long as you paint Democrats as everything not white, Christian, and straight.  One tactic which I advocate is to narrow the field currently filled by "Christian."  We should try to peel off Catholic and mainline Protestant and leave only conservative evangelical Protestants as the religious component of the Republican Party.  The tendency of the secular, the unchurch, and the non-Christian to lump all of Christianity together in a monolithic entity is as flawed as those fans of racial/religious profiling who want to believe that all Arabs and Muslims are inherently predisposed to hate America.

by Anthony de Jesus 2005-08-04 09:03PM | 0 recs
Bush made gains on Afro-American vote...
Let's not forget that. In 2004 Bush made the most gains among the black community than any GOP nominee in the last several elections. They did it by playing on the black community's religious conservativism: homophobia.
by Vote Hillary 2008 2005-08-04 11:39PM | 0 recs
For the love of god
why do you conflate homosexuality with race and religion? Its a trifling percentage of the population. One might even call it the pecadillo of over-educated, de classe whites. The gay agenda isn't worth losing for; peace, the environment, and the middle class dwarf it in priority.
by Paul Goodman 2005-08-05 11:02AM | 0 recs
Change in Voters? Or Change in Democratic Party?
My interpretation is pretty straightforward:

Democratic Party affiliation and general economic populism were both at peak when the Democratic Party was demonstrably the party of the working class - when the Party's actions matched its rhetoric.

Starting in the 1980's and culminating in the late 1990's, the Democratic Party became practically indistinguishable from the GOP in sucking up to corporate interests.  By 2000 and 2004, the Dems was trimming its sails too much in order to please corporate contributors, and could no longer credibly claim to be looking out for the working class.  

Once economic reasons to support the Democratic Party were gone, that's when "identity politics" took center stage.  If a person is deeply religious, somewhat racist and homophobic - as the working class tends to be - then what Party do you choose?  The one that doesn't look out for your economic interests and doesn't cater to your other identifiers? Or the Party that doesn't look out for your economic interests, but does cater to your other identifiers?

Democratic Party membership is declining.  It will continue to do so as long as it offers prospective voters nothing they care deeply about.  Howard Dean understands this; unfortunately, I don't think the Party in general does.

I am most emphatically not saying the Dems should stop talking about civil rights.  (One of the many ways in which Kerry disappointed me was his refusal to take a strong stand favoring same-sex marriage - but that was as much because he refused to take the risk of leadership as it was about the issue itself.)  What I am very emphatically saying is that the Democratic Party has to once again champion working class concerns, not merely pay them lip service while it votes in favor of corporate interests over and over again.

by CaseyL 2005-08-04 09:09PM | 0 recs
Dems need to do both
They need to fight for the middle class and forget about gay issues.
by Paul Goodman 2005-08-05 10:48AM | 0 recs
Re: Dems need to do both
gays belong to the middle class too, you know!

Why can't we include gay issues, what are we afraid of?  The repug termites coming out of their wood work again to attack us.  I know that crap worked with the religious wingnuts but we can't stop Rove Rot with these people anyway.  Their religious beliefs have nothing to do with Christianity anyway.

Our party should be progressive enough to show that we are not afraid to include gay rights because we are the party that supports equal rights for ALL Americans, are we not?

By the way, I'm straight, but I am sick and tired of not allowing the gay population what they deserve, equal rights!

by HWS 2005-08-05 11:45AM | 0 recs
Re: Dems need to do both
Why can't we include gay issues, what are we afraid of?

Losing.

If you want gay rights, get control of the branches of government first then stick it in by stealth whether majority of Americans want it or not.

by Anthony de Jesus 2005-08-05 12:06PM | 0 recs
The problem is...
...there are probably more people who vote for a particular canidate for anti-gay reasons then there are people who vote for a canidate for pro-gay reasons.
by Geotpf 2005-08-05 01:18PM | 0 recs
Re: Dems need to do both
Why do I have to be pro-gay or anti-gay? I'm agnostic gay. Do I also have to choose a religion or atheism? Because I'm also theologically agnostic.

I'm just not sold on this idea that homosexuality should be considered along the same lines as race and gender. I'd prefer to see rock-solid proof that homosexuality is indeed genetic and not a lifestyle choice. Perhaps they'll identify the gay gene someday. But then, is there also a bisexual gene? A (insert fetish here) gene?

When you say you support equal rights for ALL Americans, will that also include bisexual trifecta marriages that allow such people to lawfully marry both people they are in love with? Shouldn't we be sensitive to the practicers of bestiality and their loving connection to our fellow mammals? Why the gay population deserve rights before any of these other human beings is a question I have. How we can oppose polygamy following such logic also boggles my mind.

I'm not even a big believer in the institute of marriage. IMO, it's pretty much an artificial construct by society that forces couples into legal responsibilities that helps prevent society from being overrun by bastard children, deadbeat fathers (and mothers), and STD epidemics. It also conveniently arranges a clear hierarchy of inheritance for offspring and a means for debtors to collect after a person's death. In other words, it's merely a symbolic formality only necessary for keeping human irresponsibility in check for our continued success as a species.

So when I consider marrital rights for gays, I can't help but look at the issue of pro-creation, which of course they are biologically incapable of. Therefore, religion and the "sactity of marriage" has nothing to do with my views on whether gays can rationally argue for the right to marry, but rather a matter of biomechanics -- they are physically unable to copulate reproductively and pass on their genes as a species. Therefore I find it hard to imagine how the absence of gay marriage threatens our survival.

by Vote Hillary 2008 2005-08-05 02:43PM | 0 recs
Gays-- The Niggers of the 21st Century
'Cause the common man's gotta have someone to hate, and if the elite doesn't define his target for him...

That target will be the elite.

As the economic divide (oh, watch the asset-class bubbles pop-pop-popping) widens, economic populism will gain more and more traction.

The question will then be: will our political system be able to accomodate the economic demands from below, or will a structural adjustment be necessary?

by Diagoras 2005-08-05 05:19PM | 0 recs
Re: Gays-- The Niggers of the 21st Century
How about using some tact in your post? Trying to cloak your racist terms in liberal dressing doesn't diminish its offensiveness to most civilized people.
by Vote Hillary 2008 2005-08-05 09:50PM | 0 recs
When I use a word...
...it means exactly what I choose it to mean, neither more, nor less.

You may wish to free yourself from the opinions of others, and especially of the opinions of yourself.

But maybe not.

by Diagoras 2005-08-06 03:33AM | 0 recs
Re: Gays-- The Niggers of the 21st Century
Time to get over this "politically correct" bullshit that has been pulled over our eyes by disingenuous professors at phony "institutions of higher knowledge" like Yale and Harvard, who turn out people like George W. Bush. So-called education is merely a identity factor that has been supported by unjust economic discrimination. Education in the country is dead -- thank God.
by blues 2005-08-06 10:12AM | 0 recs
Interesting take. Wrong conclusion?
Chris, interesting observations about voting patterns and I suspect that they're accurate as far as they go.  

However, I'm not completely sure about your conclusion...and I've read that last paragraph five times.  

If the conclusion is that we accept Identity Politics and campaign accordingly, I think that's flat wrong.  If the conclusion is to be aware of Identity Politics when framing messages and peeling away those who "should" be voting Democratic, sure.

As a white male married Christian who goes to Mass regularly, I can tell you that this demographic should not be written off.  (Fwiw, I'm sure that our parish went for both Kerry & Gore.)  

If I were strategos for the party, I'd be targeting working class whites, particularly working class white women.  Gain back a few percent in that demographic and we roll across the board.  

If the Democratic Party surrenders to Identity Politics and "Other", I think we'll be in for a long hard sled ride.

by InigoMontoya 2005-08-04 09:41PM | 0 recs
It's Not That Bleak
At the risk of sounding like a pollyanna, the Democratic Party is not doing that bad in presidential races. Here is why I say that:

Although the right captured the GOP in 1964 through Goldwater, it wasn't until it nominated Reagan that conservatives had one of their own as a candidate. In 1980 Dems got around 40% of the vote and they did as bad in 1984 when Reagan got 58% of the vote. That was the high-water mark because since then the GOP has only got over 50% one time and that was in 2000. Meanwhile Dems have gone from 40% to 49% of popular vote in 1996 in a three way race; 50% of the popular vote in 2000; and 48% of the popular vote in 2004.

Thus in the 1980s our base was around 40% of the electorate but in the 1990s through 2004 our base is around 48% of the vote. Take away the 13 states of the old confederacy and Kerry would have won the popular vote; the electoral college; and the Senate would not have seen a gain of 4 GOP seats.

My point is not that we shouldn't be concerned but that the situation isn't as dire as we think. We have been in worse situations and came back to win the presidency and we will do so again.

The problem with the Senate and the House is the states of the Old Confederacy. Those states gave Bush both his popular vote and electoral college wins and are the reason the Senate and the House are held by the GOP. Even there, though, there are states that we can win: Arkansas, Florida, and surprisngly Virginia, which almost went for Kerry in 2004.

by mrgavel 2005-08-04 09:46PM | 0 recs
Bush did not get 50% in 2000
He got 47.9% (.5% less than Gore).  Maybe you meant 2004 (and he only got 50.7% then).
by Geotpf 2005-08-05 01:32PM | 0 recs
Re: Bush did not get 50% in 2000
That was exactly what I meant. Thanks for pointing that out.
by mrgavel 2005-08-05 01:48PM | 0 recs
Re: Bush did not get 50% in 2000
Actually, Bush got 50.8% in 2004. Also, when talking about such statistics you have to take into consideration what that % means in relation to population growth between election years and voter turnout. The % can mean vastly different things from one election year to the next.

For example, in 2000 Gore received 50,999,897 or 48.38% of the popular vote. In 2004 Kerry also received a near identical 48.3% of the popular vote...however he received 59,026,150 votes, or 8,026,253 more votes than Gore. The reason for the disparity? Turnout/population growth.

Popular/Electoral vote statistics:

2004 -- http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0922901.html

2000 -- http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0876793.html

by Vote Hillary 2008 2005-08-05 03:00PM | 0 recs
Can't say I agree Chris...
... yes, people now vote based on identity politics.  What you're doing is looking at that and saying "we have to appeal along those lines because that's how people vote"; but it's equally valid to say "let's change that".  People vote on identity lines because that's how they've been marketed to.  They've been told that that's what matters.  Economic populism can move very far up the chain - the truth is that most of the affluent don't do better under Republicans than under Democrats, only the very rich do, and there are so few of them that in terms of vote numbers (as opposed to money) they're irrelevant.
by Ian Welsh 2005-08-04 10:46PM | 0 recs
Re: Can't say I agree Chris...
Ian's right.

In fact, there was a huge base of support here in Atlanta amongst the wealthy - what we call the vinings and buckhead class people.

By and large, however, Chris' point is focussed on a  form of advertising strategy that has been proven not to work very well and his analyis is in part, I take it - an attempt to justify his own lifestyle  - its a way of appealing to a block of voters that he can mobilize for his own political ambitions.

there will come a point at which we'll get trouble here - gays contributed majorly to the downfall of the democrats in 2004 - they simply could not let go of the idea that having gay marriage out there as an issue would be a good thing for the party - it devastated the party - it was the wrong legislation, at the wrong time. In fact, gay marriage as an issue was orchestrated by both gay activists and republicans. Who are also tied up in the modern television media business...

The exercise of connecting the dots is left to the reader.

by turnerbroadcasting 2005-08-05 03:57PM | 0 recs
Self interest and identity the same
"Considering that the GLBT community votes 70%+ Democrat"

This is a fine example.  If the opposing party is determined to eradicate you, it's probably wise not to support them.

by jcjcjc 2005-08-04 11:57PM | 0 recs
I'd rather get
10% of Christians than 100% of gays: at least we'd have a chance in hell of ending the war in Iraq, preserving the environment, and preserving the middle class.
by Paul Goodman 2005-08-05 11:06AM | 0 recs
Re: I'd rather get
You insist on destroying the Democratic party.

Dump the women, dump the gays, dump the blacks, fuck the environment...and YOU WILL LOSE!!!

by Parker 2005-08-05 01:39PM | 0 recs
Re: I'd rather get
He didn't say anything about women, black, or environmentalists. How would dropping the gay issue destroy the democratic party? It's gotten this far without it.
by Vote Hillary 2008 2005-08-05 03:02PM | 0 recs
Mission accomplished, then.
The Democratic Party wins 40% of the Protestant vote and 47% of the Catholic vote.
by Drew 2005-08-05 02:16PM | 0 recs
Re: I'd rather get
What about gay Christians? They do exist you know.
by Vote Hillary 2008 2005-08-05 03:01PM | 0 recs
It doesn't matter
We as a party fail to project strength.

Our stances on religion and sexuality are no better than the GOP's.  The difference is that the GOPers don't run around screaming like prissy little bitches when someone goes all Swift Boat on their asses.

Who was it that said you could legalize gay marriage throughout the west if you went bar-to-bar fighting people for it?

That's what Democrats need to understand.  Look at this guy Hackett.  He ran strong.  Even in a pro-Bush district, he was able to garner a lot of votes on a virulently anti-Bush platform.

That's the difference.  Kerry ran tepidly anti-Bush.  Hackett ran viciously anti-Bush.

Americans respect that.

Even for all the shit people might give someone like Michael Moore, the man gets a lot of respect because he has balls.  

What Democrats don't need is cowering and begging and pandering for votes.

A significant percentage of the vote is swayed by who is seen as the strongest candidate -- which candidate looks like he'd beat the shit out of you if you got his daughter pregnant.

If you come of as tepid and mealy-mouthed, you're losing a few percentage points.

George W Bush proved this by foaming and screaming during the debates, while Kerry acted like it was a goddamned college panel discussion.

by jcjcjc 2005-08-05 10:28PM | 0 recs
Chris' Important Omission
If I am following what Chris is saying, he made the following point first: that there are several factors currently much more important then economics that determine voter behavior.  Then, understanding that many people, like me, would attribute this fact to the Dems' failure to consistently articulate progressive economic policy, points to a study from 1956 and 1960, identified in the article that he links to as a height of union membership and liberal-progressive support among Democrats, which showed that the Republicans did about as well then with the very rich as with the very poor.  Thus, the assumption is made that even at the height of the liberal-progressive movement within the party, there was not any real economic correlation with voting behavior.

However, the Pew research article that he linked to mentioned something very important that Chris did not mention.  There was a specific reason that explains the results from 1956 and 1960.  Before the Democratic Party's alignment with the great civil rights struggle in the 1960s, the Democratic Party had almost unanimous support among southern whites.  Thus, the wealthy southernor would almost always be a Democrat because of lingering resentment over the civil war.  At the same time, african americans, who then as now represent a disproportionate share of poor voters, were still very open to voting Republican because of the Democrats' historic ties to seggreagationishts.  What this data implies is that if you "skew" the results taking account of the whole "civil war thing," for example, looking at voting behavior by income only in the northern states, you would still find a sharp correlation between income and voting.

Another thing to note is that the Republican Party was much more progressive in 1956 and 1960 then it is today.  This would help explain some of why there is something of a blur regarding economic issues and voting behavior then.  

Here is the point I am making.  I think the current lower economic correlation to voting in comparison to factors such as race and religion can be explained by the fact that our party sends mixed messages regarding economic populist.  In fact, our last President, for all his good points, was very conservative economically.  The data which seems to indicate that even 50 years ago there was little correlation between voting behavior and income is skewed because of the Dem's monopoly on the south at that time, including wealthy people.  That if you would only look at northern voters, you would likely see a very significant correlation between voting and income. Thus, by sharpening the differences between our party and theirs on economic policy, we would get a higher correlation between voting and income.    

by Andy Katz 2005-08-05 11:34AM | 0 recs
Re: Chris' Important Omission
Excellent...

Also, "migration" was helped along by Nixon's Southern Strategy... which lured southern whites to the GOP by race-baiting tactics which still exist today.

by Parker 2005-08-05 12:33PM | 0 recs
Build a Democratic Brand
I think Chris is very right - Republicans consider being Republican to be a core part of their identity. It is in some ways the same phenomenon that led to the "solid South," and flipped due to Nixon's Southern Strategy -- ingraining in millions of white Southerners that no matter what the issue, there is an US and a THEM, and the Republicans are us. What Democrats need to do is build Democratic brand loyalty among progressives and other members of our coalition, so that we can count on them to support us regardless of the candidate or issue.

DemBench.org

by billfrick 2005-08-05 02:16PM | 0 recs

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