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New Brave Coalition

koshembos's picture

Obama sent us the news via Donna that the old Democratic coalition, the one FDR created, is kaput. The new Obama party
is being remade by young voters, urban voters and suburban voters
and of course African Americans.

You would think that this laughable coalition, that guarantees a landslide lose in November, is popular only with the Obama minions. Well, you are wrong. Yesterday, of all people, Digby jumps on the bandwagon. In They
Aren't Coming Back
she is smart enough to add Hispanics to the mix, but expels working class men; she does retain working class women. So much for sexist men. Digby is not alone, along comes
, normally a highly reliable progressive voice and offers a similar Obama coalition in “young people turning out in unprecedented numbers; Latinos doubling their share of the primary vote; African Americans and single women raising their participation.”

Bye bye male blue collar workers, we don’t need you. As far as we are considered you can join the Republican Party or jump into the ocean. The entrance of young people into the new coalition is bizarre. The old coalition was not based on age, young, old and middle aged were all included. How do you build a lasting coalition with youth that, sadly, doesn’t last? While the young are in, seniors are out; they are dispatched summarily. Both Digby and Borosage cannot ignore Hispanics, a bloc larger than African Americans, so they are the only Hillary voting bloc allowed in.

Digby and Borosage illustrate the twilight zone in which the Democrats are in. They disregard history, a sure guarantee for disaster, happily marching towards the horizon with no progressive agenda with rosy scenarios the size Spielberg films. We used to be an inclusive party, a party concerned with the poor and the sick, the party of the weak and the abused. Forget it. We are now the virile party of the young (when do you have to leave the coalition, at 30?), educated and African American. Everyone else, sometimes with the exception of Hispanics, is sent packing. The first serious African American to run for president has learned nothing and forgotten nothing. Remembering discrimination, he is a massive discriminator. 1984 has taught him nothing, we now have a new coalition of people that are more equal than others.

Why not change the name of the party as well. How about the Young and the Restless party?

No votes yet


vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

If the Reagan Democrats are a lost cause, why has Mr. Unity Pony been pushing this bipartisanship frame?

Why doesn't he, instead, build up the long-neglected "liberal" brand?

Submitted by cg.eye on

Do people who really aren't Reagan Democrats, but are characterized as such by Obama's team, rise to the bait that they are racists, because finally in this country it's bad form to be seen as such?

Do these people get wise to the reality after the Civil Rights Movement -- that class equity and social mobility opportunities have degraded so much that the systemic inequality does the heavy lifting work of institutionalized racism? Which means that they know nothing will change much should Obama get elected, so why not vote for him? The vote of Reagan Democrats possibly might be more anti-McCain than pro-Obama, as long as Obama doesn't remind them often that he's black and represents the interests of blacks (the latter bit he's doing a heck of job maintaining).

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

Digby said nothing of the sort, and neither did Ezra Klein to whom she refers. The demographic they're talking about, plain as day, are the so-called "Reagan Democrats". IIRC that's a Pat Buchanan coinage, so right away you know it means nothing. The media keeps pushing the concept without ever quantifying who they are or what they've become, and gullable Democrats have been doing handstands for 30 years trying to attract a group that no longet exists - if they ever did. Way past time, as digby and Klein propose, to just let go of it all ready. Yesterday's news.

Contrary to what you suggest, the entire thrust and point of Borosage's article is the specific need for the Democrats to attract working class votes. He does place emphasis on working class women, but what's wrong with that? Why shouldn't the Democrats look to appeal to working class women, along with and in addition to working class men?

No where in any of those posts is there any suggestion of the Democratic Party abandoning the working class, or the interests of the working class. In all three, special care is taken to place emphasis on the need to appeal to and convince working class voters that Democrats understand their needs and will address them.

To achieve that, Democratic policies and goals with have to be coincident with the needs and goals of working class people. Why is that wrong? Why wouldn't that be consistent with progressive principles? Lumping either digby or Ezra Klein or Borosage in with Donna Brazille is a gross misrepresentation of what they are saying.

The FDR coalition is long gone; that was 70 years ago. "Reagan Democrats", who ever they were, are also long gone. Modern times; if progressives want to try and get anything moving in our direction, we had better figure out who we can bring together to get it done, and how to go about convincing them that progressive ideas are in their best interest.

Go read Ruy Texiera's new work, linked from Borosage, and this somewhat muddled attempt to discuss the same subject. There is a chance, I believe, to bring together a stable majority with common cause, but it won't be easy; still, it has to be done or in short order we will have the neotheocons back in power again.

Whether or not Obama is the right candidate to appeal to this new coalition is another question. I have my doubts, more like fears actually, but he may be what we will have to work with.

Way too much scattershot anger being blasted around. Way to much eagerness to upbraid and condemn those who have just a slightly different POV - who don't pass some arbitrary purity test being administered by self-appointed guardians of progressive integrity. Way too much quickness to leap at harsh condemnation, and way too little critical analysis. Damn near nothing in the way of synthesis.

Starting to get on my nerves.

Your post is incorrect, koshimbos, and misrepresents the writing of both digby and Borosage as well as the challenge facing the Democratic Party in putting together a sustainable modern majority coalition. Go back and read digby and Klein and Borosage again, and then clean up your mess. Creating enemies where none exist is not helpful.

leah's picture
Submitted by leah on

Bringiton is absolutely right. There is a huge difference between what was once talked about as the Reagan Democrats, and the actual working class of today. Nor was it their working-class status that was what Democrats were accused both by the usual media suspects and by triumphant Republicans of having betrayed, thus losing these former Democrats. The accusation was that Democrats had lost these largely white, ethnic, working-class members of the Roosevelt coalition by betraying conservative cultural values, by being too liberal, which meant too elitist, too concerned with minorities, insufficiently reverential toward religion.

Who exactly these ex-Democrats were was always in question. I always felt that many of them were decidedly middle to upper-middle class suburbanites. The loss of many of these voter had a lot to do with racial anger, related to integration of schools, and especially about busing. and affirmative action. And let's be clear here, any political party that doesn't attract some cohort of younger voters isn't going to be able to renew itself.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

... if the accepted narrative du jour is that the Reagan Democrats have fallen out of scope for the Obamacan party, it means his postpartisan frame has been a disaster.

He's pissed off half of his party, and we're now officially writing off what used to be the swing voters.

What could possibly go wrong?

scarshapedstar's picture
Submitted by scarshapedstar on

What, exactly, is the knife in the back of the blue-collar white male that Obama has twisted? Is it the "bitter" thing?

I spent last weekend in Bryson City, NC, for my girlfriend's best friend's wedding. You really can't get any more blue-collar and uneducated than Bryson. While sipping on some moonshine in a big, friendly Indian guy's trailer (no, seriously), I saw one of the 87 consecutive Time Magazine covers with Obama's face on it, and decided it was time for a little anthropology.

"What do y'all think about Obama?"

Only one of the (proud, self-labeled) rednecks in attendance answered with "I think he's a stupid nigger" but he's a jackass who later drew a penis on the groom's "just married" car so I'll leave that one alone. Everyone else agreed, for whatever reason, that he wasn't really going to "change" anything. Nobody said a word about his mortal insult to them.

But I still believe
And I will rise up with fists!!

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

came back and are actually and always have been Dems--including my parents and grandparents--all lifelong and true Dems who only went Reagan in 80 and 84 but never went GOP before or since (until now prob, that is).

Conflating historically loyal coalition and union and working Dems/Reagan Dems/swing voters/working class whites/those who became GOP bec of civil right/etc is absolutely wrong, and reinforces the myth of Reagan/GOP as a superior force too--it needs to stop as a descriptor.

FlipYrWhig's picture
Submitted by FlipYrWhig on

I said this in the Digby thread too, but Obama brings up Reagan A LOT, no? By name. In the "race" speech he talked about resentment over affirmative action, busing, etc. In the statements about Iran policy, he mentioned Reagan as someone who negotiated with US foes. And then there was the famous Reagan and the "excesses of the '60s and '70s" bit, where what he _really_ meant was that Reagan was a "transformative figure."

Why would he do that if he's so shrewdly moving beyond "Reagan Democrats" -- is he going straight for the Reagan Republicans?

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

that kills any clarity in messaging or dogwhistling he's doing, i think--and turns off many Democrats at the same time.

I've never seen a Democratic candidate who dropped so many complimentary GOP things like Obama does before--and i really don't like it.

herb the verb's picture
Submitted by herb the verb on

I suppose it was on as this is Memorial Day.

I wonder where those characters (who sacrificed so much for so little) are now? You know, the ones who were clinging to their guns, religion and patriotism, while in a dying town with a dying steel mill somewhere in Appalachia/Pennsylvania?

I think it is safe to assume they were Dems then, I also think it is safe to assume they aren't sipping lattes and reading blogs now. I wonder if they are looking to buy a Unity Pony? Are they in the Unity Pony market?

My guess is no, and not because they are racists. My guess is they are looking for respect just like everybody else.

But that's just me and YMMV.


Good night and good riddance!

desert dawg's picture
Submitted by desert dawg on

Granted, they say it in slightly different ways.

Digby says the white working class men are gone and good riddance, let's make a coalition without them. "Of course the Democratic party (the party of unions, fergawdsake) cares about the working class voter and need to get some slice of that demographic to win, but the focus would be on working class women who have been far more willing to swing Democratic than the majority of (white, non-union) working class men have been in recent years --- and have proven so in this primary campaign.

Borosage says "A key test of the viability of a new coalition will depend on the votes of the white working class, defined as white workers with less than a college education, still about half of the voting population." But then, using Digby's formula, he leaves them out of the progressive coalition, concentrating instead on building the union movement and "stealing away" the white working class women: We should be focusing more and more resources and energy on our secret asset among white workers—women, particularly single women.

In other words, Digby isn't interested in getting the white men back, and Borosage is, but doesn't think we can.

To give Borosage credit, he recognizes how crucial that bloc of votes is: if unions are only 10% of workers and white workers are 50% of the electorate, then you better figure out a way, as Bill Clinton did in the 90's, to appeal to them. And Borosage further offers the way to do just that: give them an economic message that matters to them, now that they realize that cutting taxes was a shuck and jive.

Which is exactly what HRC is doing, appealing to their economic interests, not, as most would have it, appealing to their racism. (see the new Wilentz piece for further clarification of this point ).Which is why she's beating BO in Appalachia/Rust Belt and why Obama will not win in the fall:

Because, much as you may want to, you cannot write these people off. Period. They determine elections.

Submitted by cg.eye on

This should be a preface to each and every refutation of Clinton's alleged racism:

It's not racist to care about 50% of the electorate.

And this campaign is not about caring about the 50% remaining.

There is an assumption Obama cares about that remainder, but where is his tub-thumping about net neutrality? FISA? Universal broadband and telco reform, for Pete's sake?

Well, howzabout urban renewal that works? Jena? Civilian review boards for cops? Shoring up of voters' rights in municipalities historically shown to disenfranchise blacks?

Look how quiet the room got.

He's not even making the usual list of campaign promises for the constituencies he takes for granted, let alone new promises for his new coalition.

Submitted by jawbone on

for "confusing" those voters they were trying to ensure would be registered to vote in the fall.

Remember? Women's Voices, Women Vote?

Maybe it was the "women" part that ticked of the the Obamacans, since those pesky women were tending toward Hillary....

At least Digby sees they have a place in the New Coalition.

FlipYrWhig's picture
Submitted by FlipYrWhig on

Before this RFK assassination stupidity, I really thought the WVWV pseudo-scandal was destined to be the stupidest episode of the primary season. Either that or the "Clinton darkened Obama's photo!" lunacy.