More Pills the Democrats Will Find Hard to Swallow

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President Joe Biden addresses a joint session of Congress as President Kamala Harris (left) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) applaud at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., April 28, 2021. (Chip Somodevillaat/Pool via Reuters)

As I wrote in October, “Ruy Teixeira is the co-author . . . of the 2002 book The Emerging Democratic Majority. He is probably more responsible than anyone for the rise of smug Democratic projections that demography would sweep them into power and consign Republicans to the dustbin of history” — and he has been raising ever-increasing alarms that Democrats are now fatally out of step with ordinary voters by virtue of their capture by “woke” academic cultural leftism. As he writes in a recent newsletter, “It’s not a good look for the party of the working class to be losing so much working class support that it’s no longer, well, the party of the working class. But of course it goes way beyond the look to the realities of electoral performance and political power. Put simply, there’s just no way Democrats can maintain a consistent hold on political power with this level of working class support.”

Teixeira has some very good advice for Democrats:

A Democratic brand reset is clearly in order to stop the bleeding among working class voters, along the lines suggested by the Jacobin study. A good way to start would be to embrace widely-held American views and values that are particularly strong among the multiracial working class.

  • Equality of opportunity is a fundamental American principle; equality of outcome is not.
  • America is not perfect but it is good to be patriotic and proud of the country.
  • Discrimination and racism are bad but they are not the cause of all disparities in American society.
  • No one is completely without bias but calling all white people racists who benefit from white privilege and American society a white supremacist society is not right or fair.
  • America benefits from the presence of immigrants and no immigrant, even if illegal, should be mistreated. But border security is still important, as is an enforceable system that fairly decides who can enter the country.
  • Police misconduct and brutality against people of any race is wrong and we need to reform police conduct and recruitment. But crime is a real problem so more and better policing is needed for public safety. That cannot be provided by “defunding the police”.
  • There are underlying differences between men and women but discrimination on the basis of gender is wrong.
  • There are basically two genders but people who want to live as a gender different from their biological sex should have that right and not be discriminated against. However, there are issues around child consent to transitioning and participation in women’s sports that are complicated and not settled.
  • Racial achievement gaps are bad and we should seek to close them. However, they are not due just to racism and standards of high achievement should be maintained for people of all races.
  • Language policing has gone too far; by and large, people should be able to express their views without fear of sanction by employer, school, institution or government. Good faith should be assumed, not bad faith.

Besides positively embracing these views it is necessary for major Democratic officeholders and candidates to actively dissociate themselves and their party from the woke stances that contradict these views and tarnish their brand among working class voters. That entails not just saying that one does not endorse now-familiar strands of cultural leftism but in some well-chosen places directly criticizing by name some who hold extreme views that are associated with the Democrats. That will be of great assistance in getting the message through to average working class voters.

I predict that some Democratic politicians will be smart enough to take a good deal of this advice at the state, local, and House district level, but not until they receive a 1988-style national repudiation is the party’s elite likely to truly internalize the message.

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