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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Teixeira: What Would the Working Class Say? (WWWCS)

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

My attempt to create a meme to lead the Dems down the right path–my latest at The Liberal Patriot. We’ll see if it works.

“All across the Western world the working class is deserting the Left. Thomas Piketty and his colleagues among others have copiously documented this trend. The United States is no exception to this trend.

In the 2020 Presidential election, despite a slight improvement over 2016, Democrats still lost white working class (noncollege) voters in 2020 by 26 points (Catalist two party vote). Since 2012, nonwhite working class voters have shifted away from the Democrats by 18 margin points, with a particularly sharp shift in the last election and particularly among Hispanics. This latter development is particularly important since Democrats have hitherto comforted themselves that losses among the working class were just among whites, who they presume to be motivated by retrograde racial and cultural attitudes. That is no longer a tenable view.

Since the 2020 election, the situation has only worsened. Signs of continued slippage among working class voters were unmistakable in the 2021 elections, most notably among Hispanic and Asian working class voters. In the latest Monmouth poll, Biden’s approval rating among the multiracial working class was an abysmal 32 percent vs. 59 percent disapproval, compared to 52 percent approval among the college-educated.

therefore plausibly claim to represent its interests? And in raw electoral terms, worsening performance among working class voters makes the Democrats’ quest for political dominance essentially impossible, since the share of working class voters in the country is 70 percent larger than the share of college-educated voters.

To help remedy this situation, I suggest a simple test Democrats should be continually making on both their policies and rhetoric: What Would the Working Class Say? (WWWCS). This test is not so hard to do but it does entail getting outside of the liberal college-educated bubble so many Democrats live within, particularly as experienced on social media, in activist circles and within advocacy, nonprofit, media and academic institutions. Look at actual public opinion data—not as summarized by someone you know or something you read. Look at focus group reports. Talk to actual working class people—there are lots of them! Listen to your intuitions about how working class people would likely react to policies and rhetoric currently associated with the Democrats —not how you think they should react. Think of family members or people you grew up with who are working class. Try to get inside their heads. They are less ideological, more focused on material concerns, more likely to be struggling economically, less interested in cutting edge social issues, more patriotic and generally more culturally conservative. All this makes a difference.”

Read the whole thing at The Liberal Patriot…and subscribe!

2 comments on “Teixeira: What Would the Working Class Say? (WWWCS)

  1. Watcher on

    I still don’t have a very good idea of what Teixeira thinks would make a good working class agenda. I know he hates cultural politics and thinks Build Back Better is several bridges to far, but beyond that i really have no idea what positive ideas he thinks the Democratic Party should push.

    Reply
  2. Timothy C Livingston on

    So what do wwc voters think of voter equality what do they think of an republican party that openly espoused violence to reach political aims. What do they think of a republican party that embraces insurrection that tries to keep non-whites from voting.
    Yet it’s the left they really have difficulty with???

    Reply

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