From Andrew Jackson to Franklin D. Roosevelt, the Democratic Party was the party of white working men, with all the good and bad things that phrase implies.
Now a majority of white Americans vote Republican and the Republicans are especially strong among blue-collar white working men with high school educations—people who in FDR’s time would have been the backbone of the Democratic Party.
I think there is a very obvious way that the Democrats (or, for that matter, the Republicans) could win the votes of the majority of white working people, and it is the same way they could win the votes of the majority of black, brown, yellow and red working people.
It is to put the United States on the path to a full employment, high wage economy. I admit I do not have a blueprint on how to accomplish this, but there are a number of obvious things that would be both popular and beneficial to the vast majority.
Public opinion polls show a majority of Americans favor (1) a higher minimum wage, (2) prosecution of financial fraud, (3) breakup of “too big to fail” banks and (4) higher taxes on millionaires and billionaires and lower taxes on middle class and working people.
Polls also show a majority of Americans are opposed to (1) NATA-style trade pacts and (2) chipping away at Social Security and Medicare. In all these cases, the American people are wiser than the decision-makers in Washington.
I think the AFL-CIO has some good ideas. But I don’t think the problem is lack of good ideas, or even the inability to convince the public of good ideas.
The problem is that certain financial institutions and corporations are so entrenched in the federal government, in lobbying and in the political parties’ nominating process that they have the power to block good ideas.
Hillary Clinton Presidency Could Have the Same Problems as Obama’s by Norm Scheiber for The New Republic.
Can We Talk? Here’s Why the White Working Class Hates Democrats by Kevin Drum for Mother Jones.
Have Democrats Failed the White Working Class? by Thomas Edsall for the New York Times.
Our real white male problem: Why Fox News beats Bruce Springsteen and liberal moralizing every time by Jim Sleeper for Salon.