Pluralistic: Working class Dems who campaign on economics beat Trumpists in elections (20 Mar 2024)

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Working class Dems who campaign on economics beat Trumpists in elections (permalink)

The Democratic Party Pizzaburger Theory of Electioneering is: half the electorate wants a pizza, the other half wants a burger, so we'll give them all a pizzaburger and make them all equally dissatisfied, thus winning the election:

But no one wants a pizzaburger. The Biden administration's approach of letting the Warren/Sanders wing pick the antitrust enforcers while keeping judicial appointments in the Manchin-Synematic universe is a catastrophe in which progressive Dem regulators (who serve one term) are thwarted by corporatist Dem judges (who serve for life):

The Democrats – like all parties in two-party systems – are a coalition; in this case, a "progressive" liberal-left coalition with liberals serving as senior partners, steering the party and setting its policies. These corporate dems like to color themselves as "neutral" technocrats with "realistic, apolitical" policies that represent what's best for the country:

This sets up the left wing of the party as the starry-eyed, unrealistic radicals whose policies are unpopular and will lose elections. But for a decade, grassroots-funded primary challenges have made it possible to test this theory, by putting leftist politicians on the ballot in front of voters, especially in tight races with far-right Republicans (that is, exactly the kinds of races that the corporate wing of the party says we can't afford to take chances on).

The 2022 midterms included enough races to start testing these theories – and, unlike traditional midterms, these races enjoyed high voter turnout, thanks to the unpopularity of GOP positions like abortion bans, book bans and anti-trans laws. Jacobin teamed up with the Center for Working-Class Politics, Yougov and the Center for Work and Democracy at ASU and analyzed those races:

Their conclusion: candidates from working-class backgrounds who campaigned on economic policies like high-quality jobs, higher minimum wages, a jobs guarantee, ending offshoring and outsourcing, building infrastructure and bringing manufacturing back to the US won with a 50% share of the vote in rural and working-class districts. Dems who didn't lost with a 35% share of the vote:

In other words, in the kinds of districts where Trumpist politicians are beating Democrats, running on "left populist" policies beats Trumpist politicians.

That's the good news: if Dems recruit leftist, working class politicians and put them up for office on policies that address the material reality of voters' lives, they can beat fascist GOP candidates.

Now for the bad news: the Democratic establishment has no interest in getting these candidates onto the ballot. Working-class candidates, by definition, lack the networks of deep-pocketed cronies who can fund their primary campaigns. Only 2.3% of Dem candidates come from blue-collar backgrounds (if you include "pink-collar" professions like nursing and teaching, the number goes up to 5.9%):

All of this confirms the findings of Trump's Kryoptonite, an earlier Jacobin/CWCP research project that polled working-class voters on preferences for hypothetical candidates, finding that working-class candidates with economically progressive policies handily beat out Republicans, including MAGA Republicans:

Since the Clinton-Blair years, "progressives" have abandoned economic populism ("It's not a burning ambition for me to make sure that David Beckham earns less money" -T. Blair) and pursued a "third way" that seeks to replace half the world's supply of white, male oligarchs with diverse oligarchs from a variety of backgrounds and genders. We were told that this was done in the name of winning elections with "modern" policies that replaced old-fashioned ideas about decent pay, decent jobs, and worker power.

These policies have delivered a genocide-riven world on the brink of several kinds of existential catastrophe. They're a failure. The pizzaburger party didn't deliver safety, nor prosperity – and it also can't deliver elections.

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This day in history (permalink)

#20yrsago Teresa dissects a troll

#20yrsago Aftermath of Bruce Sterling’s open-door SXSW party

#20yrsago SXSW Friendster keynote

#15yrsago Clips of Bill O’Reilly reading his porn novel

#15yrsago Canada’s science minister is a creationist

#15yrsago Duelling “Obama” cafes set up on the same block in Toronto

#10yrsago Australian attorney general wants the power to launch man-in-the-middle attacks on secure Internet connections

#10yrsago Miami Crimestoppers head eats a tip rather than hand it over to defense lawyer

#5yrsago Myspace lost all the music its users uploaded between 2003 and 2015

#5yrsago Majority of London’s newly built luxury flats are unsold, raising the spectre of “posh ghost towers”

#5yrsago The story of how Buffalo’s oldest, best-established Black neighborhood was literally wiped off the map is a perfect parable about systemic bias

#5yrsago China’s “pawn shops” have loaned $43B, mostly secured by real-estate

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