Saturday, July 10, 2021

This Just In: Democrats Want to Win!

A piece leading Mike Allen's Axios AM highlights an emerging trend that I predict will intensify--the rise of the anti-"woke" Democrat. As we get closer to the 2022 election and in the wake of Eric Adams' victory in New York City based on multiracial working class support, more and more Democrats are focusing on the need to rid the party of unpopular baggage well before that election. This is of course a point I have made many times, criticizing woke positions and rhetoric for being both substantively wrong and electorally unsalable. It is the latter, however, that is most likely to lead to successful pushback against the rise of wokeness in the Democratic party. The cold, hard electoral realities of American politics provide the most compelling and, in the end, perhaps the decisive argument against a woke Democratic party. A woke Democratic party will not be a winning Democratic party. And if the party does not win, the very people the woke segment of the party claims it speaks for will be hurt. It's that simple.
Of course, the rejoinder to this argument from the woker segments of the party is typically an accusation that this would mean throwing nonwhites, immigrants, the poor, etc "under the bus". But this is nonsense. Being a common sense “popularist” Democrat does not interfere with basic progressive commitments. Democrats can be militant about public safety and still pursue police reform. Democrats can forthrightly support border security and still promote a humane immigration policy. And Democrats can unapologetically oppose the rhetorical excesses and divisiveness of woke anti-racism while being firmly anti-racist and committed to the welfare of the nonwhite working class. And the lane is wide open for a strong program of universal economic and social uplift that benefits the working class as a whole and disproportionately helps the nonwhite working class.
To which the woke activists might still fume indignantly: How dare you throw us under the bus! To which the nonwhite working class might well reply: What do you mean “us”?
"A growing number of Democrats are ringing the alarm that their party sounds — and acts — too judgmental, too sensitive, too "woke" to large swaths of America.
Why it matters: These Democrats warn that by jamming politically correct terms or new norms down the throats of voters, they risk exacerbating the cultural wars — and inadvertently helping Trumpian candidates.
Top Democrats confide that they're very aware of the danger. Already, we've seen a widespread pullback in the "defund the police" rhetoric.
* Former NYPD captain Eric Adams, who this week won New York City's Democratic mayoral primary, showed his party the power of a message that supports police while including justice and reform.
* "If we are for SAFETY — we NEED the NYPD!" Adams says on his campaign site. "At the same time," he acknowledges, "we face a crisis of confidence in our police."
Democratic strategist James Carville has been warning his party about this for months, telling Vox in an April interview:
* "You ever get the sense that people in faculty lounges in fancy colleges use a different language than ordinary people? ... This is not how voters talk."....
What we're hearing: Moderate and swing-district lawmakers and aides tell Axios' Margaret Talev and Alayna Treene that the party could suffer massive losses in next year's midterms if Democrats run like Sen. Elizabeth Warren is president....
What to watch: This tension is a huge test for President Biden. He knows that the rising left in his party, while great for fundraising and media coverage, could be electorally disastrous."

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