Can the Democrats do anything to appeal to working class whites without abandoning their values

I think the problem is that there’s no good solution. How ARE you going to improve the lives of people living in poor eastern Kentucky? Throwing a factory out there won’t help- it’s miles from anything, and the population is not likely to be skilled in the ways needed to run the factory. The terrain is mountainous, and generally unsuitable for agriculture, so mining was about the only game in town.

I suppose the government could subsidize people to move away from those areas into more economically vital ones, but that would probably open up an entirely new can of worms.

Basically nothing either party can do will really help them- they’re sort of screwed. So the Democrats just kind of ignore them as best I can tell, and the Republicans just play to their anger and frustration.

Bribe an American business to build an assembly facility there, and teach the unemployed guys how to bolt things together and plug in cables.

That’s an example of what I wrote above. Republicans would be more careful with what they say. They won’t say “The Democrats will raise your taxes”. Instead they’ll say “The Democrats will raise taxes”. It’s a subtle difference and a lot of people listening probably think the second statement is the same as the first.

But it’s not. When a Republican says “The Democrats will raise taxes” he means “The Democrats will raise my taxes and the taxes of people like me. You guys, on the other hand, will probably get your taxes lowered.”

Well, there are reasons why that hasn’t already happened. The terrain out there is rough, it’s rather difficult to ship in and out, populated areas are isolated and spread out, etc… It’s not an ideal place to lay down a factory generally, even if you did have the dollars to train up workers in the area.

Subsidies of any sort always present fresh challenges but at the end of the day, are you trying to revitalize the area or help the people in it? If you can’t do both, my feeling is you save the people and let the area die.

Easy for me to say of course; it’s not my hometown.

Here is a chance to rebuild (or just build) that job making infrastructure the Democrats have been talking about.

  1. we don’t want your guns
  2. we don’t want your money (taxes will not be raised unless you make over 250k)
  3. we don’t want to reward companies who manufacture goods in other countries without meeting our labor standards. (We will bring jobs back to the US)

Even if you ignore the looming specter of automation in manufacturing, you go right back to the area being dependent on one industry or business all over again.

I know white, working class applies to more than just Appalachia, but let’s explore that for a moment. Perhaps there are ways to incent businesses to set-up call centers in rural counties there? I know these are not high payroll jobs from Silicon Valley, but they would be stable employment for a lot of families year round (perhaps while one spouse works in a seasonal job). And most people with a high-school education and maybe some college can be trained to perform them - and the backlash about offshoring these type of jobs to people that are difficult to understand could be blunted. Democrats could talk more about this sort of thing rather than ignoring these people. I realize the transition from miner to call-center employee is dramatic, but it’s something.

Also, the point I should have made with my above post - the social safety nets are not “teh evil Socialism”, but could be messaged as a positive thing for communities in transition. Employing Trump’s strategy: “What have the Republicans done for you lately?” The response: “Democrats support universal health care, which would help you and your family. They also are working on investments in your communities that are sustainable in the current and future economy. The mine and mill industries are not going to come back - so work with us to improve things in your community, today…”

They are, however, eating.

To me the easiest way would be to drop gun control. They keep shooting themselves in the foot with it, wasting political capital and feeding right wing CTs. Accept that America is a gun nut culture and you’re not going to change it. Even tons of Democrats are against gun legislation, especially out West. Stop giving the right ammo. Maybe some people who are single issue gun voters will come over.

Sometimes on conservative blogs they’ll talk about how to better appeal to minorities, women, or the young. Their answer is usually some variation of how the policies are fine, it’s just that Republicans have to do a better job of selling them. They’ll lament how good at messaging Dems are. Just this week Bill Maher had an interview with Obama. He asked how Dems can better appeal to white working folks. Obama basically answered how this thread is going. Pointing to the ACA. Saying they need to do a better job selling their ideas. Funny.

Hillary is constantly talking about the middle class, education, retraining programs. Don’t think it has much of an effect.

A lot of those folks are the deplorables, and there’s nothing we can (or rather, should) do to win them in the short run. In the long run, though, the way to appeal to that segment is to do more to help minorities. Right now, most of what those folks know about minorities is from things like crime statistics. Help minorities get out of the ghetto, and give them the same opportunities that white folks have, and eventually they’ll stop being “that thug” and “those criminals”, and start being “that guy from work” and “the family down the block”.

For me, whenever a politician says, “I am going to fight for you!”, I am left with the follow-up questions:

Who? Who are you going to fight? Specifically?

How are you going to fight them? Specifically?

If someone can name who the enemy is, then I have a chance to decide if I want to support them. Otherwise it is just abstract meaningless rhetoric.

Now, as others have pointed out, if your vision of the enemy to be fought is “illegals” or “them lazy people”, then I don’t think an inclusive Democratic message will work.

I don’t think any of that matters since we are in a post truth era of identity politics.

Meaning, the fact that on the issues the democrats do these things is irrelevant. What matters it that people think and feel the dems will take their guns, raise their taxes and eliminate their jobs.

Also there is identity politics. The GOP (rightly or wrongly) is seen as the party of being tough, patriotic and able to defend yourself while the democrats are seen as the party of wimps, dependents and ingrates. Lots of people in the GOP are influenced by this form of identity politics.

What I don’t get is why the dems do not push their own identity politics. The dems (or liberal progressives at least) are the party of justice and egalitarianism and have pushed for endless numbers of positive reforms in the US’s history. They never play on that (social security, medicare, medicaid, abolishing child labor, the 40 hour workweek, environmental regulations, car safety regulations, minimum wage, etc). ah well

They hate the ACA.

They also dont care for Minimum wage.

Not many can afford tuition.

The guy who tried to mug Mrs. Plant (v.3.0) was from a middle class Black family. He had a job and a car. His father made enough money to wear a suit as regular attire. He and his buddy went to the grocery store parking lot and mugged women at 3:00 AM, they said to buy marijuana. The police found him passed out from prescription drugs in a car from Mrs. Plant’s (v.3.0) description. I think they stole from peer pressure, to be cool. I understand that marijuana isn’t terribly expensive.

“An object at rest cannot be stopped!” - The Evil Midnight Bomber What Bombs at Midnight

I think one thing working class whites value is tradition. (I think aorking class blacks do too, but racial aspect makes social issues moot for them) That’s why Democrats ought to stay the hell out of things like the Washington Redskins, don’t get involved with small shops that might not do a gay marriage cake, and find a balance between tolerance and promotion (to see what I mean, see “Death Camp of Tolerance” scene with Garrison and Mr. Slave).

What is “promotion”, that’s being balanced against tolerance?

Yes, but it’s not going to be by cutting this tax or adjusting that law. Most people vote mostly based on identity.

The Democrats main identity groups are social progressives, racial minorities, and urbanites. The Pubs main identity groups are religious, white, and rural. Most working class whites are more likely to identify with that second list than the first, which is why they’ve been heading that way for 36 years. Bill Clinton was able to appeal to them because 1) he was plausibly described as religious, white, and rural and 2) he made affirmative efforts to separate himself from the more extreme parts of the Democrats’ identity groups.

To recapture the white working class, your hypothetical future Democrat would have do one or both of those. Of course, some would consider doing #2 (e.g. distancing from Black Lives Matter the way Clinton distanced himself from Sister-Soulja-types; accepting DADT-type compromises) to be “abandoning their values,” so YMMV.

It just isn’t the same now as then, though.

Back in the 1980s and up to Clinton’s campaign, the “save the left-handed gay whales” sorts of groups were a real thing in the Democratic Party. Clinton had his Sister Souljah moment, and it worked: they haven’t been much of a presence since then; to the extent they’re still around, they’re over in the Greens.

Black Lives Matter is hardly the same thing. They’re an organization whose central issue is the shooting of blacks by police for no apparent reason. They’re against that, and so is pretty much every other reasonable person. What do you ‘distance’ yourself from, exactly?

(Meanwhile, the GOP isn’t doing much to ‘distance’ itself from those advocating Hillary Clinton’s execution, and “Lock her up!” has become the GOP battle cry. When are they expected to ‘distance’ themselves from their more unsavory elements that they’ve largely given into this year?)

Now about ‘religious, white, and rural’: Trump is white. Romney is white and religious, but it’s a very different religion from what most WWC voters are comfortable with. McCain is white. Besides whiteness, the cultural markers seem to be about having the ‘right’ stances on guns, gays, abortion, not helping out people with darker skins, and being against whatever Dem stuff has been sufficiently demonized by Fox News and talk radio. (Not necessarily in that order.)

We Dems can make the lives of WWC men better, if the GOP will ever get out of the way and let us do it. We can raise the minimum wage, make sure they’re paid for working OT, make it easier for them to unionize and fight their own battles, and improve Obamacare so that it’s more affordable and all-encompassing, easier to understand and less of a paperwork hassle.

But we really don’t expect to win their votes back. It’s not about that stuff anymore. It’s about cultural identity.

But if the GOP will kindly get its stinkin’ ass out of the way, we’ll help them anyway. Because it’s who we are as a party, and because it’s the right thing to do. But there’s no point in catering to them on cultural issues, because it won’t work. All it does is make us look like we don’t have the courage of our convictions, which if the Dems have had a core problem over the past 30 years, that’s it: too many Dems running away from being Dems.

No, the best thing for the Democratic Party to win anybody is to be proudly for the things we’re for, to own them and sell them to more voters. If there’s any cultural way that Dems can win over some WWC voters, it’s by having a freakin’ backbone. WWC men respect that.