Tuesday, March 9, 2021

The Two Types of Biden Republicans

In a somewhat disjointed interview on Politico, Stan Greenberg provides his thoughts on who the Biden Republicans are and how we shouldn't lump them all together. They're not all college-educated suburbanites who find Trump and Trumpism distasteful. Many are working class white suburbanites whose views are rather more complicated.
"There is a kind of suburban, white working-class voter today who faces a lot of competing dynamics that are similar to the Reagan era. It’s globalization and the welfare state, and whether that is going to work for them....
I think there’s two kinds of Biden Republicans—two trends.
One of them is you saw quite affluent, very Republican towns [in suburban counties], and Biden got a very large percentage of votes from those counties. They are more affluent college graduates voting for Biden. Will they stick? They may, given how Trump is defining the Republican Party.
And the other piece is that Biden is very self-consciously campaigning for Macomb County-type, white working-class voters [for whom] race is not the only thing driving their vote, but who went to Trump [in 2016] because of globalization and their belief that Democrats are not fighting for American workers. Biden is fighting for those voters, too."
Of course, even if Greenberg is right it does not mean the Democrats will have the sense to wage a two front war to get and keep these two flavors of Biden Republicans. As Greenberg notes on his first go-round back in the 1980's when he was trying to tell people about Reagan Democrats:
"I was arguing: If you bring them a thing they’ll agree with, like universal health care, these voters aren’t done with Democrats. They’re not done with Democrats if you are talking about universal issues that they can gain from. Even though [some of these voters] were clearly racist, I was not willing to say that there’s not something that lies behind that that we need to understand and that enables us to find a broader coalition and draws on their better nature.
When I presented my stuff at the Democratic National Committee [meeting in Chicago in 1985], I was ostracized because I was saying that these voters had to be part of our Democratic coalition. That was a time when Jesse Jackson was competing [for leadership] within the Democratic Party. I was ostracized. It’s why I ended up working for the Democratic Leadership Council: They were willing to hire me, but not the DNC."
I think Biden gets all this. We'll see if the rest of the party this time 'round gets it too.

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