Yet more on the Democrats and working class whites

First, I’ll highlight the recent comments here from John F.

True universal reform would have started with the premise that old people, young people, uniformed people or people that once wore a uniform, as well as really poor people don’t deserve health care, everyone does. But by lobbing away the “deserving” from the working people, liberals have created systemic and recurring resentments by the people who perceive of themselves paying for everyone else in the “deserving” category. There’s simply no logical or moral arguments to be made for why anyone in these constituent parts of America deserve health care (and other government services) more than those the Democrats/libruls/Nancy Pelosi/the Kenyan Muslim socialist, have given our tax dollars away to….except veterans because they fought for this country, and service members because they currently are, and children because they can’t fend for themselves, and the old because they earned it… Our government policies should be informed more than an emotional stirring over patriotism, obligation, or deservedness. We either all have a right to access health care or none of us do. The resentments we create and exacerbate will continue to smolder as long as we continue to make decisions about how to use other people’s money to help an artificially established deserving group of people, to the exclusion of others. Instead of looking for the solution to what ails a limited set of people we should align ourselves to collective solutions which seek to help everyone, in ways that are focused on their problems. Universal health care would solve the need for the vet, service member, child, and the poor, but it would also take a tremendous load off the backs of all working people, and we need to fight for them not because it’s morally right but because it’s fair.

Not all that different from Jamelle Bouie’s latest for Slate:

Put another way, for a new rhetoric of populism to work—or at least, attract the winnable whites identified by Teixeira and Halpin—it needs to come with a commitment to universal policies that working-class whites like and support. (It’s no coincidence that the most liberal working-class whites belong to private and public sector unions.)

But the United States doesn’t have a political party to support that kind of social democracy. Instead, it has the Democratic Party, a collection of disparate interests which—at its best—is nervous about economic liberalism and hesitant to push anything outside the mainstream.

Hmmm, I think maybe we’re onto something here.  Of course, the most popular liberal policies are for defined, but in a sense “universal” groups as the vast majority of Americans will get old and collect Social Security and Medicare and they are not means-tested.  Of course, the problem is that the current Democratic party is nowhere near advocating big, universal policies as it is too cowed by defeat.  Or maybe it is just too damn hard with our non-parliamentary form of government with an absurd number of veto points favoring the rural party (i.e., the US Senate).

Regardless, it does increasingly strike me that the long-term solution is for the Democratic party to think bigger and bolder (but that this definitely will be long term) rather than simply relying on changing demographics and a Republican/Tea Party that seems ever closer to going off an ideological cliff.

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State

One Response to Yet more on the Democrats and working class whites

  1. rgbact says:

    Fairly interesting points about how you can piss off one constituency by pandering too much and giving too much “free stuff” to another constituency. I’m surprised Democrats haven’t similarly lost a few black votes with their pandering to Hispanics.. If you’re needy…..spreading out limited money to more needy groups just means you get less.

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