The Bradley Effect-As in Bill Bradley
by alexmhogan, Thu Jan 17, 2008 at 06:24:07 AM EST
The polarizing debate about race and gender in recent weeks between the two Democratic front runners has obscured an even bigger divide among the Democratic electorate
The deepest division in the Democratic primary campaign until now has not been between blacks and whites, though we are likely to see stark evidence of that in the upcoming South Carolina primary. A fault line already is visible between upper-income, educated whites and those with lower incomes and less education. The upscale voters have gone with Obama, the downscale with Clinton.
Obama's major difference with previous "wine-track" candidates is the strong support he's getting from African Americans - Gary Hart managed in 1984 to get 0% of black voters - which in alliance with professionals and the more highly educated primary voters might be enough to win the nomination. But in the general election, winning back low-income and working class nonblack Democratic voters will be key -- and that means he will need to develop a more populist, "bread and butter" platform before November.
Obama's soaring rhetoric and appeal for "hope" mean a lot less to (working -class voters) than solid campaign proposals that address their day-to-day concerns. Bill Clinton faced media ridicule for his numbingly detailed plans. But voters didn't get the joke. They saw practical solutions they liked. This is a big reason Hillary Clinton now mimics the approach.