Tuesday, November 25, 2014

How the Repugs and Centrists Have Left Democrats and Minorities Powerless

Short version: Racism.  That's what has powered conservatives for 200 years, and looks to be powering conservatives for another 200.

Enabled by fake centrists and cowardly dems whose repeated solution to electoral defeat is to run to the right.

Where Democrats find only more defeat, and more excuses to run further to the right.

It's political suicide.  It has been political suicide for 40 years, but dems never learn.

There’s no point in sugar-coating this. In the Deep South, the Democratic Party is now the non-white party, and minority politicians don’t have the white partners they need to exercise any but the most local political power. While the problem is less severe in the border states, it has clearly made advances there. You can look at pretty much the whole Scots-Irish migration from the Virginias to Oklahoma and see that the Democrats were trounced last Tuesday. They badly lost Senate elections in West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, Mississippi, and Arkansas, and they actually lost two Senate elections each in South Carolina and Oklahoma. Their seat in Virginia was only (just barely) saved by the DC suburbs in the northeastern part of the state.

This isn’t just a problem for the Democratic Party. It’s a big problem for blacks, too.
This situation is so deleterious for African-Americans in the Deep South because, unlike in Congress, where black Democrats have many white Democratic colleagues—not to mention a Democrat in the White House—in these Southern states, black Democratic state legislators (and, by extension, their black constituents) are completely at the mercy of Republican legislative majorities and Republican governors. What’s more, unlike in Washington, where control of the White House—and at least the Senate —swings back and forth between both parties, the Republican control of Southern state houses seems here to stay for a long, long time.
This loss of power is not what progressives or the black community envisioned when the first black president was elected, but the fury of the blowback is now undeniable. Both the party and its African-American base share a self-interest in doing something to combat the impression and (in these parts of the country) the increasing reality that the Democrats are not a party for white people.

This can’t be done by any simple tweaks to the party platform, and there’s a broader cultural element at play here that implicates more than race. Attitudes about religion and human sexuality are also major factors in what has happened, as the country has galloped ahead at breakneck speed to destigmatize homosexuality, for example, while Republican legislatures have furiously sought to restrict women’s rights.

Asking how the party can get white Democrats elected in these regions again isn’t something that blacks or progressive whites are eager to discuss, particularly when the answers may not be to their liking. But their power is at stake, as well as many of the values that they’ve fought for and thought, perhaps erroneously, that they had secured. At stake are basic civil rights (including voting rights), women’s reproductive health, and even the president’s landmark health care law. The black community’s political power is at stake, too, in a major and urgent way.

These problems will require fresh thinking, by which I mean that reconstructing the Blue Dog Coalition is probably not the answer. It’s not the local Chambers of Commerce we need to court, but the economically pressed white voter who must be cleaved from the plutocratic coalition that has enchanted him.

The Third Way led us here. It does not provide the route out of this maze.

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