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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Greenberg: The Democrats’ ‘Working-Class Problem’ It’s not only with whites. It reaches well into the party’s base

Democrats can’t retake Congress without more white working-class votes. The Democratic Strategist and The American Prospect are presenting the 2017 Roundtable on the White Working Class and the Democrats, including 13 articles on why the Democrats should, and how they can, win those votes—progressively. The following article by Stanley B. Greenberg, founding partner of Greenberg Research and Democracy Corps and author of America Ascendant: A Revolutionary Nation’s Path to Addressing Its Deepest Problems and Leading the 21st Century, is part of this roundtable:

The road to a sustainable Democratic majority—nationally, locally, and in the states—must include much higher Democratic performance with white working-class voters (those without a four-year degree). Nearly every group in the progressive infrastructure is busy figuring out how Democrats can get back to the level of support they reached with President Obama’s 2012 victory. That is a pretty modest target, however, given the scale of Democratic losses. It underestimates the scope of the problem and, ironically, the opportunity.

The Democrats don’t have a “white working-class problem.” They have a “working-class problem,” which progressives have been reluctant to address honestly or boldly. The fact is that Democrats have lost support with all working-class voters across the electorate, including the Rising American Electorate of minorities, unmarried women, and millennials. This decline contributed mightily to the Democrats’ losses in the states and Congress and to the election of Donald Trump.

Fortunately, Democrats have the opportunity to consolidate, engage, and perform much better with all of working America. I say “opportunity” advisedly, because better performance requires Democrats to embrace dramatically bolder economic policies and to attack a political economy that works for the rich, big corporations, and the cultural elites, but not for average Americans.


2 comments on “Greenberg: The Democrats’ ‘Working-Class Problem’ It’s not only with whites. It reaches well into the party’s base

  1. Joseph Dunphy on

    Globalization is killing jobs. It s still the economy. Try looking for a job with a living wage and a future. And then realizing that you re better off moving to another third world country.

  2. Jack Olson on

    Look at the chart of poll results from Pew Center/USA Today from 2013 which Greenberg included with his column. They asked Democrats, Republicans and Independents seven questions on the issue of immigration, including illegal immigration. On one of the questions, the Independents’ answers were closer to those of the Democrats. On two, the Independents were just as far from the Democrats as the Republican. But, on four of the seven questions, the Independents were closer to the Republicans than the Democrats. On those four questions, the Democrats’ answers were twice as far from the Independents as from the Republicans. This implies that on this issue the Republicans were much better aligned with the Independents than the Democrats were.


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