Friday, January 24, 2014

Democrats, Carpe Diem on the Popular Issues!

Paul Krugman has a timely blog post on income inequality and looks at it in ways I hadn't thought of:
And I think we also have to face up to an awkward political reality: moderate populism has a broad popular constituency, Keynesian macroeconomics doesn’t.
Sadly, Krugman is right. It's hard to get Americans to grasp Keynesian ideas, let alone slip them past the Cyclops at the gates of Congress. Ain't gonna happen. But Obama can and should -- as all Democrats should -- sell the nation on the ideas they can grasp, such as income inequality, the need for jobs programs, raising the minimum wage, fairness for women in the workplace, etc. These are popular, not simply populist.

I took special interest in the poll results on income inequality:

Democrats and independents are similarly dissatisfied. Only Republicans lean toward acceptance of the status quo, and even there 54 percent are dissatisfied. That's funny because there's no clear polling to indicate that people at higher income levels skew that much Republican.

One study in the Atlantic indicates that white males at higher income levels skew decidedly toward voting Republican, while that trend is quite muted among women. The same study points out that college-educated men are trending Democratic, while working-class white men have deserted the Democrats, especially in the South. This leads to the obvious conclusion that working-class white men are voting against their self-interest. Those who suffer most from income inequality have a political blind spot, but we knew that already.

Another poll, this time from the Pew Research Center, from 2012 (most recent data on this I can find) shows that white working-class voters are turning to the GOP. The graph here paints an interesting picture:

Whites began to flee the Democratic party just about the time a black man and a white woman became the favorites to win the White House, starting back in 2007. After 2008 when the black man won, that disaffection accelerated. I wonder why that was?

(No, I'm not playing the race card. I'm pointing out trends that are hard to mistake. After all, who didn't notice the reaction to Barack Obama becoming president?)

The bottom line is that while some voters are out of reach on popular issues that might make Barack Obama look good, there are a variety of constituencies that can be tapped for support of so-called populist issues. So the Democrats should champion them!

A little hard to tell who these guys would vote for,
but I wouldn't waste time chasing their votes.

No comments:

Post a Comment