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Democrats are grappling with how to keep their progressive base happy while winning over white working-class voters who left the party in the 2016 elections.

Defections by blue-collar voters cost Democrat Hillary Clinton the states of Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, all of which went to President Trump. It was the first time since 1988 that a GOP presidential candidate had won Michigan or Pennsylvania, and the first time since 1984 in Wisconsin.

Continue reading:  Dems face identity crisis

Commentary by The Secular Jurist:  As detailed many times on this blog, the real dilemma for Democrats isn’t the gap between the white working class and progressives (which is social and cultural, not economic), but the gap between the party establishment and populist sentiment (which is centered almost exclusively on economic issues).  Unfortunately, Democratic Party leaders don’t want to address the latter problem because doing so would anger their corporate donors.

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8 thoughts on “Dems face identity crisis

  1. Robert, I think the problem with parties in your country and mine (Canada) is this issue of corporate sponsors. I don’t know what the solution is, but I hate the fact that good people who actually care about the common good cannot afford to run for public office. The economics involved guarantee rule by the wealthy elite and their adopted darlings. I think the best hope for a healthy democracy in the US is a government led by people like Bernie Sanders and the Progressives. I’m not sure our own New Democratic Party is the best choice, but historically, they gave us our universal health care system.

    • I agree. When I grew up, the political situation in the U.S. was quite different. Republicans had the big money corporate donors, and the Democrats were largely funded by labor unions. One side advanced business interests, while the other supported workers. Though far from perfect (democracy never is), the system was in balance and it worked reasonably well.

      Things began to change for the worse in the 1980s with the rise of Reagan and aggressive neoliberalism. Labor unions and workers were systematically marginalized. Democrats, robbed of their financial support, were compelled towards Clinton-style corporatism.

      The political situation today is so broken that no practical solution is viable. Any attempt at reform would be defeated before it had a chance to gain momentum. The tragic consequences of unrestrained corporate power now appear unstoppable.

      I’m not an expert on Canadian politics, but it seems that your country was not impacted as severely by this radical political transformation (a hostile takeover, in my view). Labor still has a voice.

  2. Two excellent comments.

    Obviously, there is no simple solution – maybe no solution at all considering the extent of corporate power over the flow of information and the political process. If there is any solution possible, it will start with some basic truths reaching the masses. Particularly, that Capitalism has attained the status of a religion without acknowledgement of it and that it serves only a small portion of the public – those with more than enough money and access to resources. People need to be shaken out of the dogmatic views pushed by the corporate media. This is why net neutrality is so important.

    If you actually examine how millions of people who voted for the trump administration will lose health coverage directly because of that vote and will still support a seriously dysfunctional and vindictive group of people, you can lose hope for humankind.

    Sorry to ramble. 🙂

    • It’s okay, that’s a good ramble. Hope for humankind seems to be forlorn these days. I guess all we can do is the best we can. But, according to today’s developments in the U.S. Senate, Trump and GOP leaders appear to be giving up on repealing Obamacare – at least for now.

  3. Great points made here – especially about keeping the Internet neutral. Serious conversations about important ideas and events are crucial. Robert, the problem with Labour Union support of Canada’s New Democratic Party (NDP) is that union members must contribute to the Party by way of payroll deductions – and that is resented by many of them. Clearly, there are a lot of unionized workers up here who vote for the Conservatives and the Liberals. What I detest about the elected legislators in both countries is their extreme partisan behaviour. For that reason I am so impressed by Bernie Sanders’ legislative record.

    • Yes, union dues are an anathema. Still, as one of my city councilmen told me personally a few years ago, “labor unions are necessary.” Since the 1980s, the decline of union membership in the U.S. workforce has inversely mirrored the rise of income inequality and the rise of corporate power. Coincidence? I think not.

      • I agree, Robert – there’s no coincidence. Business owners created the need for unions because of their boundless greed. I’m in favour of unions- but I don’t support forcing members to contribute to the NDP or any other party.

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