I Am So Tired Of Chasing Reagan Democrats

by: Chris Bowers

Fri Mar 07, 2008 at 16:48

Back in 1988, I became obsessed with a compute game called President Elect 1988, which was an early PC game that simulated a variety of historical and ahistorical presidential elections. One of the lessons I learned from the game is that it was a lot easier for Democrats to win if they nominated a southerner, and especially if another southerner was also on the ballot as vice-president. As such, four years later, when I was barely old enough to vote in the Democratic primary in New York, I liked Jerry Brown (despite his horrendous sales tax proposal) but also didn't mind if Bill Clinton won, because I figured Clinton could win some southern states and take the general election. When Clinton chose Al Gore as his running mate, I was pretty happy, since my lesson from playing hundreds of games of President Elect was that there was pretty much no way such a ticket could lose during an economic downturn.

That was all well and good, and it worked well for its time. The civil rights backlash had fractured the New Deal coalition, and white, socially conservative, working class and middle class voters were turning to Republicans in droves. The vast majority of these voters lived in the south, which had once been a solid Democratic region and gave Democrats a nearly unbreakable partisan hold on power in Washington, D.C. The so-called "Republican Revolution" of the time was basically flipping conservative southern whites. These were the so-called "Reagan Democrats" who Dems became obsessed with winning back after the Mondale general election fiasco. While Clinton used them to win in 1992, in 1994, Republicans flipped these voters for good, and took control of Congress. Now, this is a group of voters that chooses Republicans in general elections by margins of more than 2-1.

While this treads into "votes that don't matter" territory, the truth is that after watching politics for more than twenty years, at this point trying to win back those "Reagan Democrats" feels like a lost cause. I've had enough of it. I'm tired of how trying to appeal to these voters basically never seems to work, but always succeeds in pushing the Democratic Party to the right. I'm tired of how it has created a perception in the Democratic Party that the progressive base don't matter, except as an ATM machine. And I'm tired of it because it has just gone on for so long at this point that we now have massive, emerging Democratic voting blocks that we should appeal to instead: non-Christian whites, the "creative class," and Latinos / Asians. While the once-Democratic and now Republican "Reagan" Dems are growing pretty darn old, the future of the country and the electorate can be found elsewhere. Why continue to chase after voting groups that are shrinking in size, that push the party to the right, and who we never seem to win anyway, when instead we can chase after far more fertile voting blocks that will push the party to the left and who represent more than 100% of the population growth in the United States?

One of the reasons is that Reagan Dems are still voting, and still on the brink of swinging not only the 2008 general election, but also the 2008 primary for the same stupid, racist reasons that they put Republicans in power back in the last quarter of the 20th century . Consider the following chart from Brendan Nyahn:

More in the extended entry.

Chris Bowers :: I Am So Tired Of Chasing Reagan Democrats
Clinton's primary coalition thus far has been largely kept afloat by older Reagan Dems who also tend to be white southern Baptists. And yes, they also tend to be older, as exit polls have shown. And yes, it is all about the same racially charged political battles of older generations that Reagan and other conservatives exploited to rise to power during the final quarter of the 20th century. John Judis:

Obama has to worry about the Reagan or Bush Democrats, white working class voters who used to be Democrats, but often back Republican presidential candidates. Bill Clinton won many of these voters back; but Al Gore lost them in 2000 and John Kerry lost them in 2004. Many of these voters are not participating in the Democratic or Republicans primaries--and they'll make the difference in November in states like Ohio and Missouri. But of the voters that are participating, Clinton did much better among them, winning over 60 percent of them in Ohio.

Could Obama win these voters in the fall? There is no precise way to tell from the polls, but one rough measure is to look at how racial factors affect voters. Many white working class voters abandoned the Democrats in the '80s because of the complex of issues that surround race--including crime, education, and welfare. Obama could have a problem among these voters because he is an African American.

The exit polls ask voters whether the "race of the candidates" was "important" in deciding their vote. If one looks at the percentage of Clinton (and earlier Edwards) voters who said it was "important," that is a fair estimate of the overall percentage of primary voters who were not inclined to vote for Obama because he was black. In Texas and California, this number is complicated by presence of Latino voters, some of whom might also be less inclined to vote for a black candidate.

In some February 5 states, the overall percentage of white (or Latino) primary voters who voted for white candidates partly because of race was pretty high. It was 9.5 percent, for instance, in New Jersey. In the general election, that percentage is likely to double; and some of these additional voters will be white working class or Latino voters that a Democratic candidate needs to win. In Wisconsin, the number was very low--only 6 percent. But in Ohio, a crucial swing state, it was 11.4 percent. That's a real danger sign for Obama in a state where elections can be decided by one or two percentage points.

I don't doubt that there is a probably an equally sizable portion of Obama voters who are supporting him because they can't vote for the "overly ambitious," "calculating," "cold," and whatever other conservative adjectives have long been used to cover up blatant sexism toward Hillary Clinton. Still, that doesn't make me feel any better that after all this time we are still slogging through the wake of Reagan Dems who are basically conservatives who bought into the backlash against the civil rights movement and moved the country to the right as a result. Obama is getting crushed among these voters, as exit polls, the above chart, and the analysis of Judis demonstrate. And basically, he is getting crushed among these voters because he is an African-American.

Here is the thing: I don't care if Democrats ever make up any ground among Reagan Democrats, as long as we lock up the support of expanding groups like the creative class, white non-Christians, Latinos and Asians for a generation. I'll take that trade any day of the week, and twice on Sundays. Importantly, it feels to me as though we can make that trade if Barack Obama becomes the nominee, but that we will be making the opposite trade if Hillary Clinton becomes the nominee. While Clinton's advantage among Latinos and Asians does not make it a perfect match, Obama's primary coalition is far closer to the coalition we need for an expanding future of the Democratic Party, while Clinton's primary is a lot more like the coalition we have been chasing after for the past twenty-five years or so. It is in this demographic sense that I partially accept Obama's message about "moving beyond the political divides of the past" and into a new America. I'm tried of the old coalitions, and eager for the promising new ones that hold such tremendous potential for a generational progressive majority.

I am so sick of chasing after the "Reagan Democrats" whose backlash against the civil-rights movement has held progressivism in America back for so long. While I freely admit that there are many people opposing Hillary Clinton for equally chauvinistic and offensive reasons as there are people opposing Barack Obama, overall those voters are probably a minority of the same Reagan Democrats after which I am tired of chasing. I'm just sick and tired of this group being the dominant swing voting block in the United States, and I want to move past it. Demographically speaking, Obama does appear to be the candidate who can do that better than Hillary Clinton, and I freely admit that is one reason I would prefer for Obama to be the nominee.  

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Hear, hear! (4.00 / 8)
It's about time somebody said it.

My thoughts exactly. (0.00 / 0)
The difference between states like South Caroline and Ohio is that in south carolina all the racists are somewhat open about it and in the republican party.  In Ohio the racists are quiet about it and have split party affiliations.  So it seems like that northern state is open and tolerant but when they're standing in the booth that black candidates name might as well be the devil himself.  And it sure doesn't help that the Muslim smears are perpetuated by the right and left (or whatever Hillary is these days).

[ Parent ]
You hit the right notes but don't hear the music (4.00 / 1)
This was a great post until you ruined it by inserting the primary into it. From that point out it became a thinly veiled knock on Clinton

Has anyone else noticed that every time Obama wins the media and blogosphere say look at all the good things Obama did to win!

However anytime Clinton wins its "I can't believe that just happened. How could people vote for her! It must be racism, smearing Obama,lying,etc,etc"

I think Samantha Power's comments reflect this mentality. If you read past the "monster" line the bigger point that she seems to make is " I CAN'T BELIEVE PEOPLE LIKE THIS WOMAN!!!"

Its what I call Bush Syndrome. Where people in an opposing group seem to literally not comprehend why anyone could support a certain person. This causes them to try and tear down that person with personal attacks "Bush is a fascist, Clinton is a monster" or trying to create rationalizations for why that person could win.

So what's my point? People like Hillary Clinton. A lot of them. And no amount of cognitive dissonance can change that. She hasn't gotten this far because of some shadowy coalition of voters that are tricked or vote with malicious intent.

And you might say that you get it with some passing comment but it really feels like you don't " GET IT"

We often seem to forget that a big tent includes many different people. As a moderate democrat, I haven't gotten any more of the pie than you have in the last eight years. So please don't make me, or my candidates, out to be the bad guy. Instead, remember that while we might disagree on somethings, we have a HUGE landscape of things everyone in the democrat party can agree on. And if a liberal wants my vote, show me why your liberal policies can do for a moderate like myself.


[ Parent ]
Let Rove and Co. keep 'em (4.00 / 1)
... and since we're on the subject of that crowd, are these Reagan Dem/Repub's the people I should picture when I look at the 32 percent approval number for Bush and ask, "who in hell are they?" ??

Doubt many of the reagan dems are in the bunker (4.00 / 2)
But you can bet they love McCain even more than they loved Bush in 2000.

These are basically the guys who defected from the democratic party around the same time "liberal" began to be thrown around as a slur and substitute for "wuss". they're gonna eat up pilot hero McCain like they ate up belt-buckle cowboy Bush.

The Reagan Democrat, a ripe target for psychoanalysis...

[ Parent ]
I've Never Thought of Reagan Democrats As Southern Evangelicals (4.00 / 3)
I thought they were more typically blue-collar, anti-communist, culturally conservative and often Catholic whites in the Midwest and Northeast who were part of the New Deal coalition.

Things You Don't Talk About in Polite Company: Religion, Politics, the Occasional Intersection of Both

Agreed (4.00 / 3)
At the time, the characteristic Reagan Dem was a white, Catholic maybe union but definitely blue collar urban guy who had never gotten over the DFH's protesting the Vietnam War.  

Those Southern Baptist whites were the Nixon Democrats.

The Reagan dems have been succeeded by former Catholics and other seculars who are trending Dem.

And I thought that Gingrich and the GOPers won in 1994 because the women (esp single ones) who had voted for Clinton stayed home in the midterm election, not that men switched back to the GOP.  I think 1992 was the first election where women voted more heavily than men.  Not like the current 54-46% and higher (up to 42-58% in Dem primaries), but higher than previous.

John McCain--He's not who you think he is.

[ Parent ]
great post (4.00 / 1)
It is about the past vs. the future and you've articulating something I've been feeling for a long time.

Election games (4.00 / 5)
Where my wildest political dreams can still come true  :(

The irritating thing about the chase for southern conservatives is that it's used to justify all sorts of economic conservatism, when the issues that actually matter are things like 'the culture war'(racism) and jingoism.  Huckabee and Edwards attracted the most conservative elements of both parties this cycle, and were the most economically populist among viable candidates  

So now the white working class are Reagan Democrats? (3.00 / 4)
It's not enough that they are losing their livelihoods, now you want to marginalize them, too?  

As for that "creative class", it would be a lot bigger if people didn't have to chain themselves to crappy jobs for the health insurance.  Without universal healthcare, we are throwing away much human potential that would emerge if people weren't so afraid.

You're not very nice, today.  Is this the new kind of politics?  

Hello--are you new to politics? (4.00 / 1)
"Reagan Democrats" were members of the New Deal coalition (or at least part of a demographic that had been part of the New Deal) that voted for Reagan in 1980 and 1984.  Chris didn't make them up, they were widely discussed at the time.  They were hardly marginal--they swung the election in many people's minds.

John McCain--He's not who you think he is.

[ Parent ]
Perhaps I misread you (4.00 / 1)
I see now your point was the opposite--Chris is calling white working class folks "Reagan Dems", thus marginalizing them.  Working class voters' fears of economic competition from black job seekers was much played upon in the '80s opposition to affirmative action, also the crime issue.  now that has largely been supplanted by immigration fears.

Either way, there is a definite "divide and conquer" strategy that the GOP uses with the working class, to their benefit and workers' detriment.

John McCain--He's not who you think he is.

[ Parent ]
Huh? (4.00 / 2)
The Clinton Coalition is now made up of "Reagan Democrats?" Who knew there were so many white Southern Baptist males in NY, CA, and OH!  And speaking of Reagan Democrats, which nominee was it who made a point of going after "values voters?"

Can we please get a grip here? I'm beginning to think that lefty bloggers need to take a deep breath and get away from the primary for a few weeks. Number of visits may be shooting up, but in this poisoned atmosphere posts like this do little more than further polarize/inflame both sides of the nomination divide which ain't good for the Party. I have now seen two posts today where supporters of one nominee or another are threatening riots in Denver if their candidate is not nominated.  

[ Parent ]
Good pt. about the healthcare, though. (0.00 / 0)
chris, did the bloggers' healthcare ever come through?

[ Parent ]
My thoughts exactly (4.00 / 1)
I am so sick of being told that Democrats HAVE to select a southern male as our nominee and HAVE to move our entire platform to the right so that we can have a hope of maybe picking up a state or two in the most conservative region of the country.

It looks like we're finally ignoring this conventional wisdom and hopefully a win this year will put it to rest for good.

"Never separate the life you live from the words you speak" -Paul Wellstone

To The Extent This Matches Tom Schaller's Non-Southern Strategy... (4.00 / 2)
I have some supporting good news in a diary I'll be posting tomorrow.  While these aren't identical arguments, they are similar ones.  And the supporting info I'm using has already been posted here--it's from the SUSA match-ups.

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3

What happened to the 50 state strategy? (4.00 / 4)
I live in West Virginia.  There are loads of poor white Southern Baptists here who voted for Carter in 1980 and Dukakis in 1988 and Clinton in 1992 and 1996 and Bush in 2000 and 2004.  Do you want to write them/us off?  My state doesn't matter, because it's populated by people who work with their hands more than their brains and is mostly white?  It depresses me, deeply, to hear that coming from the (virtual) pen of a progressive.

I don't think that the Democratic party should shed its values (of fairness and justice for all) to appeal to my more bigoted neighbors, but how is it reasonable to write us off otherwise - our anxieties and our very real poverty?  Don't we matter?  Back in 2000 and 2004, the media created this division, writing a new elitism into the Democratic party, claiming that Al Gore and John Kerry were some privileged suits compared to "down home" Bush.  None of it was true; but now we want to embrace that narrative?

I spend a fair bit of my time volunteering for local causes, and do a lot of financial literacy stuff so I see a lot of individual budgets, and individual paychecks, and whatnot.  I know plenty of local people, white and black, who survive working full time but earning than $12,000 a year.  This week, I helped a group of senior citizens living in subsidized housing complete the IRS forms necessary to qualify for stimulus package payments.  One woman was particularly memorable.  Her only income is Social Security.  Her benefits in 2007 amounted to just over $5000, but I guess she doesn't matter because she's old, or poor, or Baptist, or something equally objectionable to the creative class.

He's talking about the voters (0.00 / 0)
who won't vote for an African American.  The ones who have voted conservatively as a backlash to the civil rights movement of the 60's and 70's.  It's got nothing to do with poor or old.  It's got everything to do with ignorance and bigotry.

[ Parent ]
Speak for yourself (4.00 / 2)
You forgot to mention the voters who won't vote for a woman.
People are not inclined to be intimidated by this sort of attack right now.

[ Parent ]
It's how we win those voters (4.00 / 1)
If we're taking that voting bloc back, we need to do it on a populist strategy of denouncing corporate greed, imperialism and fake piety, and the Republican Party as the avatar of those tendencies.

That - what John Edwards was moving towards - is a respectable strategy. Running on tax cuts and bans on gay marriage isn't either respectable or smart, and I think that's what Chris was getting at under the frustration.

Forgotten Countries - a foreign policy-focused blog

[ Parent ]
It's about time (4.00 / 2)
I'm amazed that the term "Reagan Democrat" is still being used today.  At least a third of the electorate wasn't even of voting age when Ronald Reagan was running for president.  America has changed enormously since 1984.  The fact that we are still cow-towing to cultural conservatives and national security hawks who left the Democratic fold in the 1980's is delusional.

Obama isn't chasing Reagan Democrats - (4.00 / 4)
he's chasing Republicans!! - pushing them to "be a Democrat for a day" then switch back to Republican in Nov.

[ Parent ]
If they vote for him once in the primaries (0.00 / 0)
then their minds might open up and they'll probably vote for him in Nov too.  You have to get some people to dip their to toes in first before they dive.

[ Parent ]
I wasn't thinking of Obama (0.00 / 0)
I was commenting on the media myth of Reagan Democrats as an important political force, and Senator Clinton's courting of this bloc with right-wing smears against Obama on national security.

Neither candidate needs this vote, and if they seek it out in the general by pandering, they're still unlikely to get it.  This is John McCain's demographic.

[ Parent ]
This is satire right? (4.00 / 5)
Just think the Obama coalition of white non-christians, Latinos, Asians, and the creative class would be just great.

Except that those pesky Latinos, Asians, and white working class men are supporting Clinton in record numbers.  How much kool-aid have your drank today?

Enough to get him chasing his... (4.00 / 2)
............tail again, metaphorically speaking.

Look Chris, either this 'creative class' widget you've cooked up is enough to take the electoral college or it ain't.

Frankly, I think the dice come up 'ain't' on this one.


We, progressives and Dead Loser Caucusites just discovered the South is infested with racists? That the ReThug party's appeal to racists, wherever they live....and a bunch live in the SouthWest, is why they've been winning consistently by doing this is news?

And the fact that it's gonna be very hard to elect a black guy...a 'librul' black guy....

And that that's wrong!

Sheesh...talk about the obvious.


How does 'The One' do it then? How does he win?

I'll tell ya how he thinks he's gonna win.

He'll run to the right.

Bet ya the first beer next time yer on the left coast hangin' with us D/L, Oaktown folks.

Peace, Health and Prosperity for Everyone.

[ Parent ]
Clintons already running far to the right on national security (4.00 / 2)
No future tense about that one.  She's playing right into the "toughness" national security CW.  All it's done is silence progressive viewpoints in primaries, and paled in comparison to Republicans in November.  After all, why vote for a quasi-militarist when you can vote for the real thing in McCain?

[ Parent ]
Hawkery Clinton (0.00 / 0)
You are right on. This election we have a choice. The foreign policy debate can be about smart effective policies versus macho posturing, or it can be about "vote for me because I'm almost as stupid as the Republicans." The latter is so fucking regressive and it's going to be really fucking depressing.


[ Parent ]
White men in Ohio supported Hillary (4.00 / 1)
That is the only state in which she won that demographic.

[ Parent ]
That is the point (4.00 / 1)
white men usually do not fall the categories of non-Christian whites, the "creative class," and Latinos / Asians. White men usually supported Obama in all other states.

Obama is the one courting "Reagan democrats" by praising reagan. Even if he wins the primary, he will need a lot of support from Latinos and women who are known to support Clinton so far.

[ Parent ]
I'm so tired of the media choosing our nominees (4.00 / 3)
and the media has given Obama an easy ride.

This post is absurd (4.00 / 1)
You can't really believe this crap.  I know you wrote it but that doesn't make it so.

Please back up what you're saying (0.00 / 0)
If you wish to add to the discussion, please do so.  It's hard for me to be persuaded by your argument when you haven't made one.

These kinds of comments don't add to the discourse, don't make anyone think, and do nothing to improve the general tone of this site.  I'm sure that you have very valid points, Tracy, but how are we to know what they are?

Republicans can't fix our country; they're too busy saddlebacking.

[ Parent ]
Obama is openly courting them (4.00 / 3)
Reagan Dems, I mean, so I wonder what strategy his team has in mind to actually win them over.  It's disconcerting to say the least to learn that his appeal is sinking amidst his millions of dollars to appeal to this very group.  

Did I mention that the term "Reagan Democrat" seems bizarre, and even like an oxymoron?

Not nearly as much as Hillary (0.00 / 0)
with dog-whistles like "McCain and I are tough, but Obama isn't."

Obama may say he's courting this bloc, but I have a strong feeling the Republicans siding with Obama are not hawks who place "toughness" above good sense.

[ Parent ]
Neither are immune, to be sure (4.00 / 2)
but I have to argue that Obama's platform/alignment with Reagan's GOP as the "party of ideas", comparing his speaking style to Reagan's and his ability to "bring Dems into the Republican fray" like Reagan, really set him apart from progressive ideals.  Not to mention his NAFTA votes, his (anti) votes on discounted heating oil for the poor, his support of "clean" coal, and his ever waffling health care plan and we have the makings of a "Reagan Democrat." Well, I guess I just cleared up my own bewilderment about the term.

[ Parent ]
Whistling Past Dixie (0.00 / 0)
Chris, I could not agree with you more.  Your post reminds me of Whistling Past Dixie, Tom Schaller's book, which basically says you can forgot the South because those Reagan Democrats are never coming back.  I have read the Emerging Democratic Majority and that book makes many of your points.  

The demographic trends are very interesting.  Minorities, and professionals  (dare I say Obama voters) are become a larger and larger part of the voting population.  For example, Asian-Americans (of which I am one) are steadly growing as a group.  Younger asians-americans are democrats.  Mississippi is seeing a slow and steady increse in the AA population.  The states we need to focus on are Virginia, Florida (trending democratic due to declining Reagan democratic vote and larger minority population), Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona (although not this year).  

Perhaps, a case can be made that Obama fits better with the coming democratic majority (minorities, professionals); Clinton with the old democratic majority (catholics, working class voters, etc).    

We're all monsters now. (4.00 / 1)
All you guys do is talk about winning and numbers and strategy.  You don't actually care a whit about the people who are actual Democrats, many for a lifetime.  You don't seem to care that you are trying to hijack our party.  

Well you can't win without us.  You can't.   We are not going to give you what you need to defeat us.  We're not that dumb.

[ Parent ]
You've lost me... (0.00 / 0)

"...We are not going to give you what you need to defeat us...

I have my bubble -- I need to hear where you are coming from?


[ Parent ]
screw those Catholics and Latinos and the working class (4.00 / 2)
and women over 50. And women in general, for that matter. Yeah! we don't want them anymore. They're old politics. They're the old base of the Dem party.

Stupid Democratic base. We need a new party, of Asian Americans, the creative class, and people making over 100,000 dollars a year.

Paid for by Naderites for Nader

[ Parent ]
Yeah (0.00 / 0)
That's what I meant.  I didn't think I had to spell it out so plainly.  Thanks.

[ Parent ]
Respectfully, (0.00 / 0)
I'm not a mind reader, but I'm not sure anyone is wanting to lose the base of voters who already vote Democratic.  I think the discussion here is meant to be about those so-called "Reagan Democrats" who are actually now Republicans.  

I think Chris's point was that these people are NOT Dems any more, they are Republicans, and that trying to appeal to these voters by moving farther to the right has been an unsuccessful strategy.

The discussion, to me, is about keeping the Dem voters we have while reaching out to different ones -- NOT the perhaps fictitious "Reagan Dems" -- such as Latinos, the so-called "creative class", Asians, non-Christian whites, etc.  This is savvy, because all these are expanding percentages of the population.

All of this conversation seems to be about adding voters to the party, not about taking them away.  (A sound electoral strategy, I'd say.)  The question is, then, WHICH voters to try to add?  I think Chris's point is that if we try to add "Reagan Democrats" we are continually doing so at the expense of a more progressive ideology.  If, instead, we try to add different types of voters, we may be able to do so while maintaining this ideology.

Republicans can't fix our country; they're too busy saddlebacking.

[ Parent ]
Unfortunately (0.00 / 0)
Some of us have been inferring that what the "new" Democrats want is our votes but not our voices.  We fear after the election that we will be shoved aside.  They want committment from us, but we don't hear any kind of committment to us in return.  And we want to hear it from Obama's mouth.  Loud and clear.  If he can't do that, we have no reason to believe he's for us.  It's a two-way street.

[ Parent ]
And (0.00 / 0)
I've never been a Reagan Democrat.  I voted for Carter and Mondale in 80-84.  I've always been a registered Democrat and have always voted that way.

[ Parent ]
I'm curious (0.00 / 0)
What are you concerned about, from a policy perspective?  Are there specific issues you feel that "your voices" will not be heard about?

Also, I'm unclear what specific demographic you are speaking for here.  You obviously don't identify as a "Reagan Dem."  

Help me understand ...

Republicans can't fix our country; they're too busy saddlebacking.

[ Parent ]
The issue is (0.00 / 0)
That Latinos and Asians, may exactly NOT be the coalition that you are speaking of.  Sure, they can be, with some moderation. But clearly, given the candidacies of Clinton and Obama, there's an identity break in the coalition.

Bravo (4.00 / 1)
We bend over rightways to accommodate Reagam Democrats and now we have a Democratic candidate who wants to accommodate all Republicans. It's as much of a losing strategy, and unprincipled, as vying for Democrats who refuse to vote for a black or female candidate.

You are referring... (4.00 / 1)
"now we have a Democratic candidate who wants to accommodate all Republicans."

You are referring to Obama, right? Mr. reach-across-the-aisle, post-partisan, Reagan-restored-dynanism, Social-Security-must be-fixed, Chuck Hagel-will-be-my-Sec Def?

[ Parent ]
Games (4.00 / 1)
As someone who's written computer games (and non-computer games) since before "President Elect 1988" came out, I'd just like to point out that a game's relation to reality is only as good as the underlying assumptions used in the game.

If you assume that two Southern Democrats would make a better ticket, then you're going to write the simulation so that it comes out better that way. Someone else could have written a game that looked exactly the same but with different parameters that would have required a dual ticket of a white woman and a black man to win big. I know that the designer of the game put a lot of effort into making it as accurate as possible (and tooted his own horn with regard to the 1984 landslide), but games are indeed simulations, and necessarily lack the complexity of the real world.

The idea of a "nine week campaign" sure sound good, though.

Those who have had a chance for four years and could not produce peace should not be given another chance. --Richard Nixon, 9 October 1968

Hell yeah (4.00 / 1)
The demographic trends are so obvious, what you're saying is so self-evidently the right course of action.

Remember when John Edwards said "If you're thinking of not voting for Barack because he's black, I don't want your vote"?  I do.

I was obsessed too! (0.00 / 0)
I found President Elect around 1984 and became obsessed with running against Ronald Reagan and trying to beat him with all types of Dem candidates.

I played that game religiously for months and months and months. I planned it out on notepads so that I could maximize my spending at the right times and capitalize on the impact of the debates.

It was awesome! I don't think I ever got to see the 1988 version, though.

Thanks for the blast from the past.

Speaking of which, did you ever play the game Chimerica, where you played the game as the president of a small Central American country caught between cold war giants, just coming out of a civil war, trying to get on track? That was a real lesson in geopolitics, let me tell you.

The game you are thinking of is "Hidden Agenda"-- (0.00 / 0)
--and it can be downloaded here, direct from the guy who wrote it. (All you have to do is email him and promise to donate to an NGO working in Central America.) What an incredible game; it's so beautifully written and executed. A forgotten classic.

[ Parent ]
Who says it's only white Southern males who vote on race? (0.00 / 0)
Didn't you look at the racial split in Ohio? Clinton took white voters by a hefty margin. Lots of Northeast voters will refuse to vote for Obama on grounds of race.

You're the one who keeps talking about coattails. What do you suppose happens to the downticket races when a substantial percentage of white voters decides to split their ticket? You don't want ANYTHING that gets in the way of getting voters to pull the big D. Yes, I wish it was different. But it isn't.

If it was all that rational and reliable, we could just run a computer model and get it over with. It's never that simple.

RE: Who says it's only white Southern males who vote on race? (0.00 / 0)
I hear Clinton is pushing the argument with super delegates that her coalition of working class whites and Hispanics won't vote for Obama but his coalition of African Americans and educated whites will vote for her.

Sadly, Reagan Dems have been the swing voters for many elections which is what the fuss is all about. In my Poli Sci classes it was argued that African Americans would be better served if they split their vote more often. I don't know.  Working class whites have been swinging since Reagan and they continually get shafted.

Anyway, you write:

Lots of Northeast voters will refuse to vote for Obama on grounds of race.

This doesn't sound like a political party I want to be a part of.

[ Parent ]
Go West young man, but not exclusively (0.00 / 0)
In the electoral vote polling matchups this week, it showed Obama would hold OR, WA, NM, IA add CO, NV, ND and VA to the Democratic side. But he would lose PA and not pull OH, WV, AR, FL like Clinton would.

The reality is that both candidates would campaign for all those states and more. But they should not bend good policy platforms to cater to any of them, because good policy aims for 'all'.

Yes, Obama might demonstrate that he can win with zero or one southern states. Winning's the goal, not labeling those who don't wish to change. Generational change won't change the minds of Reagan Democrats, but it will eventually displace them. That's the goal: evolution not exclusion.

And if Southerners get lefy out of an electoral victory or two, it's likely to accelerate that evolution, as long as the candidates continue to put some campaign effort there.

In short, don't shun the South. But by necessity, more campaign effort should be spent on states where victory is obtainable. And some Southern states should only see the candidate once or twice, while others - potentially winnable in 2008 - deserve a stronger effort.

Reagan and FDR are dead. Let the old labels die with them to break the outdated frames.

"President Elect 1988" can be downloaded-- (0.00 / 0)
--right here. (From Home of the Underdogs, a now sadly-defunct abandonware site. DOS gaming galore.) A similar game to try is Power Politics, which is more recent (1992) and goes more to fantasy scenarios.

Sheer narcissism (4.00 / 1)
"I've had enough of it."

"I'm tired of how ..."

"Still, that doesn't make me feel any better ..."

"I am so sick of chasing after the 'Reagan Democrats' ..."

"I'm just sick and tired of this group ..."

"I want to move past it."

... and my personal favorite:

"I'm tried of the old coalitions."

Allow me to quote Atrios:

"As the season progresses and I read my 4 millionth 'I CAN'T POSSIBLE VOTE FOR AND/OR SUPPORT CANDIDATE X' post/diary it's useful to remind us all that presidential politics is not a contest to woo your little narcissistic self, it's a contest to get 50%+1 of the electoral college votes.

...nobody gives a shit. It's not about you."

Don't be a d**k. (0.00 / 0)
You are taking issue with a stylistic choice that Bowers makes -- a choice that, in my view, makes his post more engaging and readable.  

And you are being personally insulting, without basis.  Its called an ad hominem attack...

Got a problem with the analysis?  Say it.  Otherwise. Stuff it.  

[ Parent ]
Chris is pretty open that he'll support Clinton in the GE (0.00 / 0)
But that doesn't mean he can't be an Obama supporter in the primary, particularly when he has a a position of some influence in a coming primary.

[ Parent ]
Good for him! (0.00 / 0)
Yup, it shouldn't be forgotten that the common goal of all liberals still has to be to prevent a McCain presidency. However, this isn't about Chris being an Obama supporter, Jason was making the point that he is taking the catfight between the camps a bit to personally. Well, I wouldn't go so far as speaking of "narcism", imho this simply shows that all this infighting, and the rapidly deteroriating level of discourse, is straining the nerves even of the best among us liberals.

[ Parent ]
My god, are you mad? (4.00 / 2)
I am so sick of chasing after the "Reagan Democrats" whose backlash against the civil-rights movement has held progressivism in America back for so long.

Who and when exactly in the Democratic party has been chasing after the racist wing of the Reagan Democrats?  Has it been your secret mission or something, making you tired? Democrats gave up on the racist, sexist, "pro-life" part of this demographic a long time ago as far as I can tell. How else did we end up with Obama and Clinton as finalists in this race, and a pro-affirmative action, pro-choice platform every election?

The kind of race to the right I abhor is the one that says we have to compromise with Republicans on every issue even when we are in the majority. You want to talk about tired?  I'll give you tired.

Bizarre and uninformed (4.00 / 1)
Thank you Jason C. Chris seems to think the Democratic Party is his party.

This post is simply bizarre. For instance, this claim:  "Clinton's primary coalition thus far has been largely kept afloat by older Reagan Dems who also tend to be white southern Baptists."

Evidence? Last I checked Obama was doing far better in states with large populations of Southern Baptists and other far-right fundamentalist Xtian groups.

Also, I didn't know that Massachusetts, California, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Nevada, New Hampshire et al were bastions of either Southern Baptism or Reagan Democrats.

Bizarre, and uninformed.

check the graph (0.00 / 0)
did you look closely at the chart Chris used to support his contention? They don't come a lot clearer: Obama's performance varied inverse to the percentage of white southern baptists. I mean, it completely contradicts your whole premise.  

Help us Optimize McCain! Use these widgets to make it crazy-easy...

[ Parent ]
Pls check the graph again! (0.00 / 0)
It clearly says "Proportion of white Obama+Hillary vote". Got it? This is about the combined Obama and Clinton vote. So, this can't be evidence of an Obama discrimination, because we don't learn anything about Obama's share of the vote. It just shows a general disadvatage for Dems in the south.

[ Parent ]
Check the graph again (0.00 / 0)
It's from the primaries, so it just does not make sense to think that that shows a disadvantage for Dems in the south.

What it actually represents is Obama's share of the combined white Obama and Hillary vote.

Forgotten Countries - a foreign policy-focused blog

[ Parent ]
I guess you're right (0.00 / 0)
Brendan's explanation of the data at the start of the story seems to confirm this, but the damn caption is misleading.
Pls note that Brendan's other graphs also show Obama is profiting from support by the black population, and from caucusses, two points that Chris didn't mention here. Also, we don't get any closer look into other factors that may be at work at Southern Baptists, for instance income or education. And no data on possible sexist discrimination against Clinton, either. Well, I still think it's dangerous to base such insulting accusations on such little data.  

[ Parent ]
Getting in here late... (0.00 / 0)
...Wow!  Lots of hostility!  

No one wants to "throw away" the working-class white voter.  After all, they are the base of our party, and have been since FDR.  We would never willingly shed them...

But, I think what Chris is saying is, there is no point of chasing after "Archie Bunkers"... They will never support most of what we stand for, because their bigotry stands in the way....  I agree to a certain point, but I think the beauty of someone like Obama is that he seems to be pulling many "Archie Bunkers" out of the abyss and back into the party that actually stands for working class values...

Although 20% of Ohio's voters said race was an issue in their selection, at least 40% of them overrode their inherent bigotry and pulled the lever for Obama.  Sure, it should be better, but at least 40% gave him a chance.  That's something!

That's what's so great about his candidacy... and Hillary's, too, to a lesser extent...  They are bringing back the "reagan democrats" who want to leave their "archie Bunker" mentality behind.

Personally, I don't think there's enough of the "creative class" democrats to form enough of a sizable group to make a difference.  Obama has shown that he is able to make inroads with all political classes, and that's a real testament to his candidacy and a good omen for the future of the Democratic party.

REID: Voting against us was never part of our arrangement!
SPECTER: I am altering the deal! Pray I don't alter it any further!
REID: This deal keeps getting worse all the time!

Speaking as an activist in the heart of Dixe (0.00 / 0)
I can tell you that it's a lot more complicated than you let on.

There is not a lot of overlap between the southern socons and the Regan democrats who are more libertarian.  Regan democrats may well be a lost cause, but evangelicals are not.

The main issue keeping Southern Baptists and Southern Evangelicals from voting democratic is abortion.  We do manage to get a fair number of pro-life blue dog types elected.  Other big issues are gun control and sometimes a perceived disrespect for people serving in the armed forces.  When Democrats talk about people in the military as being victims it's really insulting.  

The influx of Mexican catholics is going to drastically alter the dynamics of the abortion debate in this country.  It just is.  Were the republican party to move more in the direction of more Huckabee type candidates, populist socons, we just might be screwed.  

The bottom line is that in order to keep the new immigrant population voting democratic, abortion rights issues might have to feature less prominently into the overall Democratic platform.  As an atheist I'm parinoid about church and state violations and cringe my teeth at this idea but I don't think it would be all bad.  If Democrats could focus on just economic issues while accepting a plurality of views on social issues, we could attract enough new voters from evangelicals and new immigrants to cut the DLC corporatists loose and move the party line significantly to the left on economic issues.  

Oh, what the hell is "the creative class?"  Is that just a fancy term for hippies or something?  This is the only place I've ever heard it used.  It sounds perilously close to a Penn style attempt to target the sushi eating vote or whatever.  

People who make money by manipulating signs, rather than... (0.00 / 0)
objects.  Admittedly, it's a crude (and problematic, in many ways) opposition, but this division is actually predictive of significant differences in political orientation, so 'creative class' is, in my view at least, a useful shorthand.  I think that many people use the term "middle class" or "professional" as Chris uses the term "creative class."  I prefer his term to the more common ones, since it doesn't imply class stratification (which would be misleading, considering how many 'creative class' folks are poor), and it doesn't make invisible the ways in which people who manipulate objects are often professionals.  It makes other things invisible (the creativity of people who work in factories, the drudgery of much 'creative' labor, etc.), but I think these trade offs are acceptable, considering that all language of this type is highly problematic.... In short, creative class is useful term that is less problematic than most, similar terms.  

[ Parent ]
Hey, Velvet (0.00 / 0)
Just for the record, I haven't heard Democratic politicians making choice a big issue, at least publicly, for quite a while, so I don't know there's much further they can retreat on it without giving it up, which is one of the few things they know they can't roll over on.

But I wonder what your sense is of the attitude of Mexican Catholics.  Seems to me the evangelicals aren't so much against abortion as they are about punishing people for having sex outside of marriage and controlling demon female sexuality, so reducing abortion (or HIV for that matter) has no appeal to them.

Do you think Mexican Catholics can be reached by putting major emphasis on reducing abortions via family planning and rational sex education, or are they just obsessively anti-sex like the right-wing evangelicals and therefore unreachable?

[ Parent ]
huh? (0.00 / 0)
The influx of Mexican catholics is going to drastically alter the dynamics of the abortion debate in this country.  It just is.  Were the republican party to move more in the direction of more Huckabee type candidates, populist socons, we just might be screwed.

Come again?  The Mexican Catholic thing is just crazy.  They are not going to start voting more heavily for Republicans in the near future.  For starters, Mexican Americans don't vote on that issue.  They vote on working class economic issues.  Also, I don't like the implicit idea in your post that Mexican Catholics are some sort of monolith.  Most Mexicans are infrequent worshippers at best.  Remember, Mexico is a Western country, like us, and they have been impacted by many of the same or similar political and social movements that we have.  Their society, like ours, is gradually becoming more liberal.  

Oh, and the Republicans won't be moving in that direction anytime soon.  It's laughable to suggest.  There's a reason Huckabee didn't raise that much money.

[ Parent ]
How do you round up the "creative class" (0.00 / 0)
when they've already left for New Zealand?

[ Parent ]
Hello, Chris, check your graph again, pls! (0.00 / 0)
It clearly says, "Proportion of white Obama+Hillary vote"! How can this be evidence of Obama discrimination???
Imho, if the caption is correct, it just shows that in some southern states, whites don't vote as much for the Dems as in other states. D'oh, big news. And that's what your base your lengthy story on? Which, btw, is extremely one-sided because it doesn't compare the effects of racism (hmm, what about African American racism?) with the effects of male chauvinism, and so doesn't say anything about which candidate is at more of a disadvantage in the south. Like another commenter already noted, all in all a thinly veiled, and imho sloppily investigated, attempt to put Clinton in a bad light.

Not to defend white racism, but... (0.00 / 0)
...what is the percentage of African Americans favoring Obama over Clinton? About 80%? And that's not a possible sign of racist preferences? At least to me, it seems this somewhat counters the effect you are focussing on.

No misunderstanding, pls, I don't want to ewngage in fingerpointing, I just want to state that any accusations of racism at work should be based on very hard facts, and take all parts of the population into account. Simply presenting a cherry picked graph as evidence (which doesn't even show what it pretends to show!), and guesswork as facts is playing with fire. This can only result in decreasing the level of discourse even furhter.

[ Parent ]
Correction (0.00 / 0)
"Englishlefty" now pointed out to me that the y-axis represents "Obama's share of the combined white Obama and Hillary vote". Of course, this makes sense, sry, I was mislead by the shortened caption, which allowed a different interpretation.

However, Brendan's other graphs also show that African Americans, in states where they represent a larger part of the population, favor Obama. Hmm, might there be some racism at work there, too? Who knows, there very well may be other factors involved, too. I stand by my opinion that it isn't a good idea to base such bold statements on such little data.  

[ Parent ]
It seems (4.00 / 2)
that Chris is in a constant State of Denial about Obama. Obama has been more willing to work across the aisle. He is the one who has more support from republicans and independents (according to chris that is where the reagan democrats went). Hillary is the one getting support from the new demographics (women, latinos etc.)

It's high time that the left blogs in general come out of this  state. A few seem to be looking past the charisma and into the real candidate in Obama




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