Monday, October 18, 2021

The Democrats' "Factory Town" Problem

A couple of weeks ago Jonathan Martin wrote a big piece on a forthcoming report by Democratic strategists Richard Martin, Mike Lux and David Wilhelm on where and how much Democrats have lost ground in the Midwest--for their purposes the Great Lakes region plus Missouri and Iowa. No report yet but I thought I'd flag it here since it sounds like it should be very informative.
The focus of the report is the "factory towns"--midsize and small counties in these states--where Democratic losses have been concentrated. Their point:
"The share of the Democratic presidential vote in the Midwest declined most precipitously between 2012 and 2020 in counties that experienced the steepest losses in manufacturing and union jobs and saw declines in health care, according to a new report to be released this month.
The party’s worsening performance in the region’s midsize communities — often overlooked places like Chippewa Falls, Wis., and Bay City, Mich. — poses a dire threat to Democrats, the report warns.
Nationally and in the Midwest, Democratic gains in large metropolitan areas have offset their losses in rural areas. And while the party’s struggles in the industrial Midwest have been well-chronicled, the 82-page report explicitly links Democratic decline in the region that elected Donald J. Trump in 2016 to the sort of deindustrialization that has weakened liberal parties around the world.
“We cannot elect Democrats up and down the ballot, let alone protect our governing majorities, if we don’t address those losses,” wrote Richard J. Martin, an Iowa-based market researcher and Democratic campaign veteran, in the report titled “Factory Towns.”...
“If things continue to get worse for us in small and midsize, working-class counties, we can give up any hope of winning the battleground states of the industrial heartland,” writes Mr. Martin."
This is all quite plausible I think--I have written pieces that have made not dissimilar points. But I am anxious to see the actual report which, reporter Martin informs us, is full of "arresting data, vivid graphs and deepening red maps".
I'll write some more about it whenever it finally shows up.

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