Politicians love to talk about how they support the working class, the people who are seen as the backbone of any nation, the ones who keep things going. But if one has a mental image of the working class, it might be that of a middle-aged, white man working in a factory or on a farm who is in the middle-income bracket, definitely not wealthy but not poor either. It is this demographic that is much sought after by politicians, and it is their supposed steady defection from the Democratic party to the Republicans, a process accelerated by Donald Trump, that is blamed for Hillary Clinton’s defeat in 2016.
Michael Moore challenges that view. Moore is seen as a humorist and political documentary film maker but he is also one of the shrewdest political observers of politics who predicted Trump’s win last time because he would carry Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania. He says that many people still do not realize that the working class now is quite different from what it was a few decades ago.
“The majority of the working class in this country are women,” Moore stressed. “When you say working class, you’re talking about young people, 18 to 35. They make the least amount of money. When you talk about the working class, you’re talking about people of color; theyi make the least amount of money. That’s who the working class is.”
“But somehow,” Moore continued, “when we have these discussions on these shows, we talk about, ‘Well, we’ve gotta not get too far to the left here or be too progressive because we’ll lose that white working class vote.’ Well, I don’t know, maybe that was true 30 or 40 years ago. But it’s not true (now). It’s not the America we live in.”
Moore says that the Democratic party establishment’s strategy of constantly focusing on the older white male working class is misguided
“I think a lot of Democrats don’t understand – a lot of people who are in the leadership don’t understand: this isn’t 1980,” Moore told Williams. And he added that Democrats will be making a huge mistake in the 2020 election if they forget about their base, which isn’t dominated by older working class white males.
Most working class whites who voted for President Donald Trump in 2016, Moore warned, won’t be voting Democratic in 2020 either.
“News alert: they’re not coming,” Moore asserted. “Some of them will come. Trump got 8 million people who voted for Barack Obama, either once or twice. So there’s a chance: maybe a million of them might come back.”
Obsessing over “the white male vote,” Moore stressed, is a losing proposition for Democrats because Jimmy Carter in 1976, Bill Clinton in 1992 and Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012 were victorious even though they “lost the white male vote.”
He then gives the party this advice on whom they should focus their appeals and what that appeal should consist of.
Moore went on to say that “the majority of Americans take the liberal/progressive position” on issues ranging from criminal justice reform to raising the national minimum wage — and they “will come out to vote for the candidate that’s going to side with them.”
“Let’s get out the Democratic base of women, young people and people of color,” Moore told Williams. “And for the one-third of the white guys who voted for Hillary last time, good on you. Come on back, and bring a couple of your buddies who mistakenly voted for Trump.”
He reminds us that in only two elections since Harry Truman’s time have Democrats won the presidency with a majority of the white male vote: in Lyndon Johnson’s landslide win in 1964 and in Bill Clinton’s second campaign in 1996. He makes the important point that in the next election, 70% of the voters will be women and/or people of color and/or people between the ages of 18 to 35 and the majority of voters support the liberal/progressive positions and they will come out to vote for candidates who inspire them and side with them and will wage a scrappy, street-fighting campaign and not try to soothe the feelings of the mythical ‘moderate’ voters.
Watch the full interview with Moore. It is worth it and should be watched b every candidate who is running for the Democratic nomination. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren seem to be the ones who are currently following this strategy.
I am reposting this excellent Jen Sorenson cartoon because it is so apt.