The Democrats Abusive Relationship with its "Multicultural Coalition"
To match the Rebublican supremacy among white voters, the Democratic Party relies heavily on support from minorities, especially, African Americans, of whom 88% voted for Hillary Clinton in the recent election. Combined with Hispanic voters, women voters and to a lesser extent other minority groups such as Muslims, the LGBTQ community, and so on, this represents the "multicultural coalition" that Democratic candidates now rely upon to win elections.
Today’s Democratic Party is a coalition of relatively upscale whites with racial and ethnic minorities, concentrated in an archipelago of densely populated blue cities. [...]
The rise of populist nationalism on the right is paralleled by the rise of multicultural globalism on the center-left.
For multicultural globalists, national boundaries are increasingly obsolete and perhaps even immoral. According to the emerging progressive orthodoxy, the identities that count are subnational (race, gender, orientation) and supranational (citizenship of the world). While not necessarily representative of Democratic voters, progressive pundits and journalists increasingly speak a dialect of ethical cosmopolitanism or globalism — the idea that it is unjust to discriminate in favor of one’s fellow nationals against citizens of foreign countries.
Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons, including voter suppression, this strategy of focusing on what many label "Identity Politics" failed Democrats this year as it failed them in the 2010 and 2014 elections.
Indeed, Clinton lost among white women overall, earning only 43% of their votesr. She was especially hard hit by the support white working class women gave Trump (62%). In addition, compared to Clinton's support among African American women, far fewer black men gave the top of the Democratic ticket their votes this year. Indeed, some have been making the argument that African American enthusiasm for Hillary Clinton, and the Democrats in general, was extremely low.
As Sabrina Tavernise explains, turnout in Wisconsin, a high-turnout state relative to the rest of the nation, was the lowest it had been in 16 years. And the decline was concentrated in poor areas. “Milwaukee’s lowest-income neighborhoods offer one explanation for the turnout figures,” she writes. “Of the city’s 15 council districts, the decline in turnout from 2012 to 2016 in the five poorest was consistently much greater than the drop seen in more prosperous areas — accounting for half of the overall decline in turnout citywide.”
The biggest drop occurred in District 15, “a stretch of fading wooden homes, sandwich shops and fast-food restaurants that is 84 percent black,” so Tavernise spoke with voters there to try to figure out what happened. For the most part, the residents there who spoke with Tavernise simply saw no affirmative reason to vote for Hillary. Some saw her as corrupt; others noted that they had not seen their economic situation improved during the Obama years.
“Ain’t none of this been working,” said a barber who had trouble finding health care, is now shelling out $300 a month for a plan he can’t afford, and who didn’t vote.
Black voters are critical at this point for the Democratic Party, but at present one has to ask, what has the Democratic Party done for these people? Establishment Democrats, along with establishment Republicans, support globalization and free trade agreements, deals that are quite profitable for transnational corporations, but which have devastated members of the working class in America, regardless of race or gender. To quote the Milwaukee barber, "none of this been working." And the statistics bear this out. Let's look at the most significant member of the Democratic Party's "multicultural coalition," African Americans.
A large majority of African American are poor or struggling to get by in our current economy. Figures from this US Census Bureau report from 2015 show that the median income for African American households was barely over $35,000 per year ($35, 398). In short, at least fifty percent of all black households earn less than $36,000 per year. Of that number, roughly 21 percent, or one fifth, of black Americans earn less than $21,500 per year. Officially, 26% of all African Americans live below the poverty line.
And when you add in the number of African Americans who earn no more than $62,500, that percentage increases to nearly 78 percent. That is correct, almost 80% of all black households earn less than $62,500 according to our own government. This level of income is the very definition of the working class.
Yet, what have the last two Democratic administrations offered poor and working class African Americans? We all know the legacy of Bill Clinton' presidency regarding the African American community: mass incarceration that disproportionately affected black Americans, and "welfare reform," which effectively killed off the social safety net for the poor, again disproportionately hurting black families. However, the Obama administration has hardly been better Over the past eight years, while Obama was our President, wealth and income inequality widened along racial and ethnic lines.
The wealth of white households was 13 times the median wealth of black households in 2013, compared with eight times the wealth in 2010, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of data from the Federal Reserve’s Survey of Consumer Finances. Likewise, the wealth of white households is now more than 10 times the wealth of Hispanic households, compared with nine times the wealth in 2010.
The current gap between blacks and whites has reached its highest point since 1989, when whites had 17 times the wealth of black households. The current white-to-Hispanic wealth ratio has reached a level not seen since 2001.
However, African American voters likely feel trapped into voting for Democrats or not voting at all. The Republican party has become the de facto party of white people. Indeed, 63% of all white males this year voted for Trump, with less educated white men giving Trump a 72% to 23% margin over Clinton. He won majorities among white men whether or not they had a college education. Trump also won over 62% of white women without a college education.
These numbers suggest that lower earning whites gave Trump the margin he needed to win the critical states necessary for his electoral college victory. College educated whites, men and women alike, were much less likely to vote for Trump. The argument that has been made repeatedly by Democratic apologists is that these working class Trump voters were motivated primarily by racism and sexism. Yet, that analysis is shallow and disingenuous. In 2008 and 2012, Obama captured a higher percentage of these same white working class voters than Clinton did in 2016.
Clinton underperformed Barack Obama's 2012 results among not only non-college educated whites, but also white men; black men and women; Hispanic men and women; Asian men and women; men and women of other races; every age group except voters over 65; liberals, moderates and conservatives; Protestants, Catholics, adherents of other religions and those who claim no religious affiliation; married men and unmarried men and women; union and non-union households; self-identified Democrats; straight people; people who think undocumented immigrants should be given legal status; and people who think the country is going in the right direction. [...]
It's true that in 2016, non-college whites swung to the GOP by a 15-point margin relative to 2012. But Clinton underperformed Obama among voters of all races who make less than $30,000 per year by an identical margin.
What was the critical difference between Obama's opponents in those years, McCain and Romney, and Trump this year? McCain and Romney promised traditional Republican establishment economic programs: more trade agreements, lower taxes for the rich and less regulation on big business. The GOP's racial appeals to whites, particularly in 2008 when Palin was on the Republican ticket, was just as heavy handed, if not more so, than Trump's rancid rhetoric regarding Muslims and illegal immigrants. The big difference between the GOP nominees who ran against Obama and Trump was his populist economic message, one that most prominent establishment Republicans did not embrace.
The current leadership of the Democratic party, beholden as it is to large corporate donors, and especially the TBTF banks on Wall Street, pays lip service to the growing income inequality that their own economic policies helped bring about. Yes, they did adopt their "most progressive platform" ever, but no one believed Clinton would follow through on the platform concessions she made to Bernie Sanders to gain his endorsement. Her choice of Tim Kaine, a prominent free trade Democrat, as her running mate was a clear sign to voters she had no intention of abandoning policies backed by her corporate donors. She never made the Democrat's "progressive economic" agenda a prominent part of her campaign, relying instead on running attack ads against Trump that highlighted his racist and sexist remarks and behavior, but never directly challenged him on policy grounds.
In any case, she was a tainted candidate from the start, one favored by, and in the pocket of, Wall Street and other big corporate donors to her campaign and the Clinton Foundation that insist on globalization and austerity, the misery of the masses be damned. Establishment Democrats, through the DNC and their contacts in the media, did everything they could to install her as their candidate, and block Sanders popular insurgent campaign based on a progressive economic message. The Democrats ignored economic appeals to counter Trump, and ran arguably the least popular candidate in its history. They relied on big turnout from women and minorities, assumed to be the party's natural constituency, to put her over the top. Instead the opposite occurred.
Now, Bernie Sanders is furiously mounting what at times seems like a one man campaign to radically alter the Democratic Party into one that emphasizes economic injustice over favoring Wall Street and large transnational corporations. Unfortunately, the early signs are that the Democratic elites are doubling down on their failed neo-liberal doctrines of the past that emphasize "globalization" and free trade policies, and that reject reject progressive economic alternatives. The election of Chuck Schumer as their minority leader in the Senate is one example. I expect whoever is ultimately chosen to head up the DNC will also be someone acceptable to the current powers that be within the party.
If Dems persist in trying to generate electoral victories in this old, narrow and divisive manner, it won't matter how badly Trump and the Republicans perform in office, because there will be no real alternative offered to the American public in 2018 and 2020. Just more of the same "New Democrats" trying to triangulate their way back into power. I don't think the elites in the Democratic party, even now, realize that ship has sailed in the wake of this year's election.