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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Teixeira: Are Democrats Fiddling While Rome Burns?

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

Are Democrats Fiddling While Rome Burns?

That’s been more or less my point of view and that of a few others like David Shor. It’s a positive step though that more and more left-leaning analysts are coming to share that viewpoint. The latest is G. Elliott Morris, as expressed in a recent commentary on his substack newsletter.

“[M]any Democrats do not seem to be taking the prospect of being locked out of power for the short- to medium-term seriously enough. If Republicans win back the House in 2022, take back the White House in 2024, and defend a very favorable map in 2026, Democrats may not regain full control of the federal government until 2028 or 2030. To quote [Ross] Douthat: “The political landscape after 2024, however, might look more like liberalism’s depictions of its Trump-era plight.”…

I have to say [that progressives’ current strategy]…. sounds like more of the same strategy that got Democrats where they are today. That is not to say [their policies are] not the normatively or morally right thing to do. If I had my way, Democrats (including Joe Manchin) would immediately expand universal child care, pass a public option for government-subsidized health care, and dramatically radicalize their approach to climate policy. As a bonus, most of those things in isolation are popular with a majority of voters.

Instead, my argument is that this unified progressive agenda does nothing to bring back into the fold the conservative working-class voters — mainly white, but growing significantly more Latino recently — who have abandoned the Democrats and caused the structural disadvantages that are dragging them down today. The party needs a renewed identity as a pro-worker party, not one where coastal elites control the party line on policy and messaging. And it needs to be substantially more diverse in its approach to talking to voters in different areas of the country; messages that work in young, diverse urban cores do not work in educated white suburbs or shrinking exurbs.”

Ah but how to do that? That is what every Democrat should be thinking hard about instead of acting like they live in a different country than they do.

2 comments on “Teixeira: Are Democrats Fiddling While Rome Burns?

  1. Anthony Flaccavento on

    Thanks, Ruy. Spot on as usual!

    I’ll mention that as a farmer and rural development guy in central Appalachia, I co-founded the Rural Urban Bridge Initiative (RUBI) to deal with this very problem, not only the terrible, clueless messaging coming out of major liberal and Dem mouths, but also the substance. National and most state level Dems have almost no understanding of rural economies, values or people, and default to a “left behind” assessment of 90% of the nation’s area. That’s when they’re feeling charitable… So we are tackling this head on, in several ways, and would love to chat with you about this!


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