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Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Teixeira: What Do You Mean “We”, Woke Person?

The following article by Ruy Teixeira, author of The Optimistic Leftist and other works of political analysis, is cross-posted from his blog:

Today’s woke white liberals see themselves as committed allies of nonwhite voters, seeking to advance their well-being in a white supremacist society. Given this, one would assume that the views of these white liberals on various social and economic issues would be closely aligned with those of the nonwhites they seek to support.

One would think that but one would be wrong. The views of white liberals certainly represent their own preferences and perhaps those of some activist groups and intellectuals they use as reference points. But they do not, in fact, very closely match the expressed preferences of nonwhite voters.

Nowhere is this clearer than with black voters who are simply not as woke as the white liberals who aspire to advance their cause. In the simplest terms, black voters are more conservative on many social issues and more liberal, or at least more focused, on everyday economic issues. Tom Edsall goes a good job rounding up some of the relevant research and data in his most recent Times column. Some of the key parts:

“The African-American electorate has been undergoing a quiet, long-term transformation, moving from the left toward the center on several social and cultural issues, while remaining decisively liberal, even radical, on economic issues, according to a series of studies by prominent African-American scholars.

“There has been a shift in the attitudes of black masses about the extent to which systematic discrimination and prejudice are the primary reasons blacks continue to lag behind whites,” Candis Watts Smith, a political scientist at Penn State, wrote in a paper published in the Journal of Black Studies in 2014, “Shifting From Structural to Individual Attributions of Black Disadvantage: Age, Period and Cohort Effects on Black Explanations of Racial Disparities.”….

Contemporary polling provides evidence of moderation among black Democrats compared with the views of white Democrats. The poll data suggests a reversal of traditional roles. More conservative and more centrist Democratic whites were once the tempering force within party ranks. Now, on some of the most controversial issues currently under debate, African-Americans — who make up an estimated 25 percent of Democratic primary voters — have emerged as a force for more moderate stands as white Democrats have moved sharply left….

While less committed to many of the broad social and cultural issues important to white liberals, black Democrats remain more committed than their white counterparts to progressive stands on economic issues of the type that characterized the New Deal coalition of the last century that also established the Great Society programs of the 1960s like Medicare and Medicaid.”

The following data strike me as especially key and underscore how white liberals and blacks tend to have different priorities, despite the claims of white liberals that they struggling mightily against their “privilege”.

“Asked to rate the importance to them of jobs and wages, 84 percent of black Democrats said both are “very important,” 20 points more than the 64 percent of white Democrats who said so….

Asked if they “must hear” from candidates about their policies on creating jobs, 39 percent of whites agreed compared with 68 percent of African-Americans. Conversely, 76 percent of white Democrats and 48 percent of black Democrats said they must hear candidates’ proposals to combat climate change.”

This suggests that woke white liberals, if they truly want to help the people whose side they say they’re on, should listen more to the views of actually-existing nonwhite voters and less to trendy takes on the intrinsic perfidy of the country and all white people.

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