What does blue/urban America see in the Democrats?

In the “What does Middle America see in Trump” thread, **Ann Hedonia **wrote a terrific post - a liberal trying to show things from the perspective of a Trump voter. It is very long, so I have it spoiled so as not to clutter up the thread.

In the same thread, someone also complained that liberals are told all the time how they must learn to understand how Trump voters think, but that the favor is never returned - that conservatives aren’t told that they need to understand how urban liberals think.

So it is only fair to have a counterpart thread - what Trump voters need to understand about why urban liberals vote the way urban liberals do. Can someone write up an opposite version of what Ann Hedonia did - write about what explains the urban/blue voter mindset, **in a way that Trump voters can sympathize and relate to? **

[spoiler]Some starter stuff:

Seeing numerous mass shootings, but conservatives only offer up thoughts and prayers and call for even more guns;
Being born gay/lesbian, but conservatives then insist that LGBT convert to being straight, or at least don’t get married;
A woman wanting an abortion, but being told that she can’t or shouldn’t;
Struggling on minimum wage and unable to get by in an era of spiraling living cost;
Being atheist, Muslim or other, and frustrated by living in a nation that is majority Christian;
Being alarmed over climate change; but seeing conservatives doing nothing and indeed flat-out denying it;
Seeing a defense budget of over $700 billion annually;
Seeing big companies like Boeing get bailouts instead of having to run a properly tight financial ship;
Being frustrated at seeing the top 1 percent control or amass an immense amount of wealth;
Having tough questions about God and Christianity, but Christians only offering up trite cliches and platitudes;
Having a healthcare system that charges tens of thousands of dollars and bankrupts patients;
Seeing conservatives call for “fiscal responsibility,” yet run up huge Bush and Trump deficits[/spoiler]

That might be an issue though, because politics is largely about moral values at this point and our moral values are divergent.

As an urban liberal I value a sustainable society where we make life better for our kids generation, even if it means hardships for our generation (higher taxes for example). I think society functions best when everyone is able to contribute their talents and perspectives. A society where only 20% of people are allowed to become politicians, scientists, business leaders, etc. will be run less effectively than a society where nearly 100% of people have the opportunity to contribute. In Japan for example due to sexism there aren’t many women in science, but I’m sure a lot of women could make amazing contributions to their scientific system if they were more egalitarian.

Also having a broad voting base of all genders, races and religions is a good way to thwart fascism. It isn’t always perfect, but having people who know they will be targets of dictatorship having the ability to vote and contribute to politics means they know their rights will not be infringed. If the 40% of MS residents who were black people living in Jim Crow Mississippi had been able to vote in fair elections, they would’ve been treated somewhat better.

Also I feel that while people have personal responsibility for their choices, environment also plays a role. A society where people are politically/socially marginalized, exposed to environmental toxins, malnourished, etc is going to produce more dysfunction and less productive members of society than one where people are treated fairly and where we invest in everyone’s health and education.

Plus seeing how our current plutocratic system is unsustainable. Not only does our plutocracy make life very hard for large numbers of people, the belief that neither party will confront plutocracy causes people to either become despondent or push for more radical solutions that may not work. People like Bernie Sanders are the compromise candidate to a lot of citizens, and if nothing is done about plutocracy it makes it easier for someone like Chavez or Orban to come to power. You need economic justice to have political stability and a high quality of life.

So fundamentally, it largely comes down to what Jnathan Haidt says.

I value egalitarianism, sustainability, encouraging human capital and checks/balances that help keep democracy stable.

I’m going to think about this some more. I see several bullet points up there that are valid from a Democratic point of view, but are worded in a way that makes them seem immoral to a Republican (AIUI). For example, non-Christian wants rights vs nobody should be non-Christian.
I do think this is a valuable exercise. Anything that fosters mutual understanding can only help.

Unless you’re using “a lot” in the sense of, “hey, a few hundred thousand to a couple million is a lot of people!”, this is just not remotely true. Very few Americans have views to the left of those that Sanders publicly states or see a Social Democrat as a compromise position. It’s still the far left of American politics.

I see the Democrats as a tool to help achieve good outcomes. I don’t admire the Democratic Party or its members for being Democrats. I don’t worship the Democratic Party or its members. I don’t revere the Democratic Party or its members. When the party or one or more of its members does something I consider appropriate, I give it credit. When it does something I consider harmful, I give them a demerit.

But the point is the overall outcomes. Someone has to be in charge. A choice must be made. So long as having Democrats in power achieves better outcomes than Republicans in power, I will support Democrats.

I want policies based on outcomes, not based on arbitrary “moral” principles. What are good outcomes?

  • Are more people free to make individual chhoices?
  • Are more people given truly equal opportunities?
  • Are more people put in a position to contribute positively to the society?
  • Do we live in a good environment?
  • Is the air clean, is the water clean, do we have access to good food?
  • Is the system fair?
  • Are more people free from harm and oppression?
  • Is the economic system optimized to produce results that benefit the maximum number of people?
  • Are people not victimized for personal life choices or for inherent characteristics, such as religion (or not) or language, or birthplace, or skin color, or economic background, or gender, or sexuality?

I don’t much care about identifying “evil” and punishing it.

In the current climate, supporting Democrats is closer to benefiting everyone, and supporting Republicans tends to benefit a small elite at the expense of everyone else.

I’m neither Democratic nor liberal nor urban, but here’s what I see in the Democratic party as a lifelong and utterly dissatisfied Republican.

The Democratic party cares about individual people. The young, the hungry, the sick, the poor, the foreign, the helpless, the criminal, etc. And they want to help those individuals. The greatest commandment is “love God with all your heart and mind and soul and strength”, and the next is “love your neighbor”. America is the greatest country and it’s our Christian duty to use our blood and treasure to help all people as our neighbors. The Democrats will.

To mix metaphors: the Republican party are the rich men trying to squeeze through the narrow gate. They follow false prophets who eat poisonous fruits. They throw stones at each others’ eyes. They are Pharisees who put custom above righteousness.

It is clear to me which is the party of sheep and which is the party of goats.

Human beings have value regardless of their race, class, religion or how much money they make. Government should represent and support that. So that means things like supporting public education, health care, equal rights, keeping people out of poverty, keeping people safe from gun violence, LGBTQ rights, worker’s rights & union support, immigration rights and treating immigrants of all kinds as human beings even as they wind through the legal process, a right to vote without obstruction, etc. The Democrats aren’t 100% on this stuff, but they’re miles ahead of the GOP.

Not to nitpick on one specific issue, but the difference between this and many of the other issues (such as LGBT) that you listed are that I think many Trump voters would agree, “Yes, we indeed do want to deny and restrict LGBT rights” but when it comes to “keeping people safe from gun violence,” most gun supporters are in favor of the same thing - they want guns *because *they think guns stop gun violence (in a paradoxical but logical way.) Not a single Trump voter would say, “We want more gun ownership because we love those Sandy Hooks, those Las Vegas, we want more Columbines.” They tout gun ownership as a way of being able to *terminate *such mass shootings much more easily (the “good guy with a gun stopping bad guy with a gun” logic.)

What does blue/urban America see in the Democrats?

Look at a group of Democrats, you’re gonna see a diverse group of people. Sure, like anything else in our society, you’re gonna see a lot of men. But it will be a diverse group when compared to, say, a group of Republicans. Look at a group of Republicans, and you’re gonna see a bunch of white guys. Urban America is diverse, so is the Democratic party.

I’m aware that that’s their public argument. It, uh, doesn’t come through via the guy with twenty AR-15s bragging about how he’s going to murder any feds who try to take them away 'cause America.

Hard to tell looking at their candidates.

You don’t see diversity among Democratic candidates at all compared to Republicans? Or are you just talking about the 2020 candidates for the presidential nomination? And are you suggesting that the diversity among nominated candidates is somehow a better measure of diversity than looking at the party as a whole, meaning everyone who works for some aspect of the party or votes for it?

For example, you don’t see more diversity among Democrats than Republicans in these pictures? – The historic 116th Congress, in 17 pictures - Vox

You should take a look at my local representation in the south suburbs of Chicago. And on a federal level I agree that there have been lots of white guy Presidents.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Illinois's_2nd_congressional_district

In both threads, there’s the underlying theory that people have reasons for doing things.

If you grow up in Pillowton and the Pillowton Cowhawks are the pro baseball team and, as you’re growing up, everyone is telling you that you need to support the team, wear the team colors, go to the games, cheer for your guys, and push new and younger people into doing the same - well, that’s what you do.

In the cities, for example, you’re told often and dogmatically that gay people are good, kindly people, who are being attacked for no reason, and who need to be supported. In the rural areas, you’ll be told often and dogmatically that gay people are people who live in sin, mocking God, and act at the devil’s orders to try and corrupt youth and lead them away from God’s laws.

Functionally, neither of these viewpoints is objectively correct and, more importantly, very few people have taken either of these viewpoints on through conscious consideration of the merits or pros and cons.

On this forum, perhaps, the average person might have a justification for their view. But even there, did you have the viewpoint before or after you found and understood the justification? Among the average middle schooler, what percentage of them do you think looked up a debate between a variety of philosophers on the subject and watched through to hear the different angles on the topic, went out to a nearby hill and sat on it staring up at the sky in consideration, and came down with a personal answer when they came down from the hill?

Our brain likes things which are familiar and that we’re already favorable to. It will always prefer an answer or justification that allows it to continue the status quo. If you backed gay people before you got to college, you’ll probably find a justification that allows you to maintain the view, and not challenge the view. You’ll be inclined to be dismissive of counterarguments and naturally favorable to ones that are already on your side. Years later, you’ll think that you made a clear decision on the topic and that you were completely rational in how you arrived at your current place in life.

And yet, there’s no reason to believe that you’re so different from a person who was raised 500 miles away in a red state, got similar grades in all their classes, and went to a college in Oklahoma. Somehow, that person will have come to the opposite viewpoint, through all the same processes as you, with all the same innate ability, and similarly come out thinking that he arrived there through full rationality and deep introspection.

You would not see the geographic divide on views if logic was really the underlying factor.

If you can see it on a map and it’s not a question of something like “Should the government give money to the rural folk or the city folk”, with a concrete and practical relevance to geographical considerations, then it’s tribalism, generational indoctrination, and propaganda and not anything else.

Didn’t they prove that Pillowton Man was a hoax?

What if you’re a gay person in a rural area?

:dubious:While the first is not 100% correct, as I’m sure there are gay people who aren’t good or kindly as in any group, it’s a helluva lot closer to being objectively correct than the latter. A city dweller ends up meeting gay people, knowing they’re gay because they’re not hiding it, and knowing that gay Joe down the hall or lesbian Jane at work is a good neighbor or coworker. And city dwellers see churches that welcome LGBTQ congregants rather than railing against them from the pulpit, so they know that being anti-gay isn’t an inherent or essential part of Christianity.

:dubious: I’ve never known a candidate for public office from an urban area to run on “no money for farmers or rural areas” as part of their platform or campaign, and I would be very surprised if anyone could come up with an example of one,* while there are candidates in rural areas who use anti-urban rhetoric in their campaigns, refusing to “bail out” urban public schools while taking state funds for their own schools, or insisting – completely contrary to the objectively correct :stuck_out_tongue: state account books that the metropolitan counties generate more tax revenue than expenditures and the rural counties vice versa – that their district or county would be better off if those metropolitan counties were split into its own state. Urban dwellers may make rude comments about rural dwellers, as they probably have been since there’s been cities, but at least IME they don’t ask/vote for a government that screws rural citizens.

*NOT just a frustrated “clinging to their guns and Bibles”-style remark, but “Vote for me and I’ll oppose state/federal funding for rural roads/rural counties/farmers.”

  1. I suspect that there are more gay people living straight lives in rural areas.
  2. Claiming logic when one has a personal benefit isn’t strictly kosher from a philosophical standpoint.

Satan is a wily bugger, ain’t he. You’d hope that he’d make ‘em evil across the board, so it’s a easy choice. But nooooo, he gotta make his demons act all nice n’ friendly to lure you in.

That’s when he gets ya.

Prove me wrong.

Well, my experience is that if you are bright, questioning, talented, or sensitive, if you are a woman, or Jewish or Asian, or Middle Eastern, or a homosexual person who wants to be treated as an individual rather than as a despised or even hated lesser class, and you get born in a typical conservative area, you get out of there as soon as ever you can and head for a liberal city where you stand a chance. It isn’t tribalism when you are pre-kicked out of the tribe just for not fitting in.

In cities people get to rub shoulders with others who are not just exactly like themselves. THAT is why they are “liberal”. Because they have experience with the scary other and have discovered the humanity that is in everyone. Conservatives, they really haven’t. They stay in their white white enclaves and build walls against the terror of the other.

That’s why I am a Democrat. Although I am far to the left of most Democrats, it’s a big tent, and republicans are more like an armed camp than a tent at all.