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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

TDS Strategy Memo: Modern-day “Class Consciousness” and “Class Resentment”:

The unacknowledged—but vitally important—perspective that is necessary to understand why many non-racist white working class voters voted for Trump—and might do so again if Democrats don’t figure out how to respond.

A Democratic candidate running in a district with a significant number of white working class voters quickly learns that there are three major explanations for Trump’s popularity among these Americans.

  1. Racism and bigotry
  2. Anxiety and hostility over loss of status, role and position in a changing society
  3. Legitimate and justified anger regarding difficult economic circumstances

Each of these explanations has important implications for how a Democratic candidate should run his or her campaign…

Read the Memo.


2 comments on “TDS Strategy Memo: Modern-day “Class Consciousness” and “Class Resentment”:

  1. Victor on

    Really good article discussing the particular class identity of the white working class.

    Democrats will have to make overtures on the culture wars, but these don’t necessarily have to be policy overtures.

    The most important one is to stop accusing everyone who doesn’t agree with every single liberal tenet a “bigot”, etc.

    Too bad this article from Democratic party consultants is again filled with after the fact analysis of Sanders’ and Trump’s campaigns that are simply not true.

    1. Sanders never had an opportunity to appeal to Republican voters because they don’t vote in Democratic primaries.

    Even progressives who aren’t registered as Democrats can’t vote in Democratic primaries in most states.

    2. The amount of unpaid media attention that Sanders received was minimal compared to Trump.
    The argument that Trump got coverage only for his racist remarks has one lie and one implicit misinterpretation included.

    Many of Trump’s proposed policies have an economic dimension, even if they can be considered racially tainted, the best example being immigration controls.

    The truth is media covered Trump remarks in extenso and often live. They didn’t ignore his economic policies either.

    How liberals interpret Trump’s words is completely different to what he actually says and what his supporters interpret.

    3. Sanders trailed Hillary among minority voters and older voters.

    The Democratic establishment almost unanimously supporting Hillary contributed to this. Their power in informing the electorate in minority districts was crucial. These are so called “low information voters”.
    Sanders had to rely on unpaid social media.

    4. Sanders’ rhetoric during the campaign was so focused on economic issues that it led to accusations of ignoring identity issues.

    Sanders made strategic mistakes by failing to campaign early in minority communities and addressing their issues beyond typical pandering. Sanders and Clinton’s proposals regarding minority issues were too similar. It all came down to credibility and both candidates had blind spots.

    After the primaries Sanders has started to devote a lot more attention to identity politics issues because those were the ones that sank his candidacy. It was the Southern states and minority communities in cities that defeated him.

  2. Martin Lawford on

    Every Democrat should read and heed Levison’s memo. For that matter, so should every Republican, since it explains not only why Trump defeated Mrs. Clinton in the general election but also why Trump defeated so many Republicans.


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