Will Democrats Be Responsive to the White Working Class?

Since the election, I’ve had discussions with various Democratic friends about the Caucasian non-college educated voter phenomenon.

While all have acknowledged non-college Caucasians’ grievances and no one has disparaged the demographic, it seems to me that even in the large shadow of the electoral impact, some have inadvertently blown off this group.  The false step is the view that all working class and poor people struggle, so why should the “white working class” (WWC) set themselves apart from similar minorities and demand that their issues be separately addressed?

Ironically, I think this is the crux of the WWC’s complaints and anger – being patronizingly ignored.  Frankly, the cultural issues could have been minor if the demographic felt economically secure or if government was working reasonably and steadily in advancing solutions to their concerns.

In the end, we talk about the black single mother experience, the unfairness to the Dreamers and their obstacles, the transgender challenges, now residual and even continuing discrimination and harassment of middle and upper class African Americans, and even salary discrepancies among young professional Caucasian women.

We have no problem with defining groups of people by race and accompanying characteristics when specifying public policy problems and seeking their solutions.  Why not with the WWC?  Especially as a group that is chafing under identity politics and struggling to be comfortable in today’s mainstream culture?

Aside from the minimum wage, on what issues for the WWC have either major party expressed the urgency and the substance in attention as with other demographic groups?  Disproportionately, the WWC has been negatively impacted and handicapped by issues such as globalization, shorter life spans, dislocation, aging of the local population, and the opioid epidemic.

There exists a distinct culture experience that warrants solutions attuned to those communities – not excluding ethnic minorities, but certainly considering the unique operating environment.  (I keep getting asked, if Trump is not proposing credible solutions or standing by ones favored by the WWC, why did that demographic support him so overwhelmingly?  My guess:  Trump spoke their language.)

Case in point, an elected Democrat in a rural area shared this:  HUD announced making all public housing “smoke free.”  In that rural area, drugs are the top issue.  Ostensibly, any drug is easier to break the habit of than tobacco.  The local head of public housing stated “there are bigger issues that face communities and public housing authorities around the country that should be the priority, such as poverty, homelessness, drug abuse and misuse issues …”

In a nutshell, DC imposes a mandate for their favored (“elitist”) issues rather than allow very limited resources to be allocated according to the needs of localities.  Not to say that eradicating smoking is not a worthy campaign, but comparably in terms of priorities where does it rank?  Especially considering our stereotypes of the white working class and the part smoking plays into their lifestyle.  (One of the reasons why I have been a Republican – block grants in many cases allow localities to better craft broad solutions that fit their communities.)

In any case, a fatal tragedy would be for the Democratic Party not to learn from this election and instead be more responsive and thus more competitive among their historical WWC base.

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We Make Racial Issues Way Too Complicated

Simple, common-sense solutions to angst-curdled and fraught-with-antagonism race relations:

  • We should not treat someone of a specific race or ethnicity with any less dignity and respect than you treat persons of any other race or ethnicity – this applies to everyone.
  • We should limit our definition of racism to actions with malice towards a specific race or ethnicity or specifically meant to exclude based on race or ethnicity.
  • People are individuals who come from different backgrounds and have different worldviews of social engagement. If people are well-meaning, we should treat them as such in cases of social faux pas, mistakes and misunderstandings.  These can be worked out in the course of social interaction.  There is no need to make them a capital case if there is no intent to harm anyone.
  • You may have racial issues. But that does not mean others need to be part of them.  You should not take it out on others because of their race.  If someone means no disrespect and does not mean to cause harm in the course of actions that raise racial concerns, you should not judge, condemn and destroy.  Instead, if such incidents do not involve you, keep your feelings to yourself and work it out; if it does involve you, work it out with the other parties.

 

Below is a column that expands upon my thoughts and another that raises a salient angle on race relations today in America.

We Need A ‘PC’ That Includes White People  

Declining Status Leads to Resentment of Political Correctness

Resting on Our Country’s Laurels

The rise of US protectionism comes from more than growing economic anxieties.  I believe it is facilitated by a fallacious belief about America’s current role in the world.

For over 70 years since World War II, we have been the dominant nation in the free world or the dominant nation in the world, period.  In international affairs and in international trade, our dominance came from engagement.  Engagement in resolving foreign problems and in trade deals that opened up and invigorated markets for American goods and services.

The current American demagogic movements that reject free trade and the expenditure of American resources to enact a free world would diminish our stature and our influence to effect our vision and our interests.  Our leaders have not explained this well nor have they (both Republicans and Democrats) implemented transitions that are acceptable for dislocated American workers.  The latter being the linchpin of our failures here.

Many Americans are nostalgic about America’s influence and the strength of our economy in past decades.  Yet, circumstances change and we must adapt if we wish to maintain and grow our stature, our economic competitiveness and our way and quality of life.

Since World War II, America has worked to rebuild countries devastated in the war, encourage democracy across the global and encourage international policies that promote self-sufficient nations.  We did the right thing and have been successful in many areas.

But that also means countries that become increasingly less beholden to us and whose populations increasingly stand for their interests and positions not necessarily aligned with ours.

Our heritage is stellar, but we get little out of it if we rest on our laurels.  Our influence, stature and the economic prosperity which provide our optimal quality of life – to maintain it, we must continually engage with other nations and earn it.

As the Wall Street Journal notes, there are options to the Trans Pacific Partnership.  If not the TPP, we need to implement other free trade options.  Otherwise, China could become the center of economic power in the Asia/Pacific and the nations there will gravitate towards her for closer partnerships and relationships.  Shocked that Democratic nations would work with the Red Menace.  Negotiations already have begun.

If we are not in the game, others will take our place.  We cannot set ourselves aside and expect to dominate or win.

Wall Street Journal

China Picks Up the U.S. Trade Fumble

Beijing advances a deal to draw 15 countries further into its orbit.