HOW DEMOCRATS LOST THE WHITE VOTE?
So media and Washington and the interwebs are giving their own hottakes on why Democrats lost the working class/middle class vote.
The common ground is: Democrats lost the middle class vote because we failed to talk to the white working class and we focused too much on the cultural war.
As a WOC, here’s how I hear that: giving space and a seat to minorities was the wrong move. Treating the working class as not just white people but also black and hispanic and asian and native american people was the wrong strategy.
Did Hillary lose because she said “Black Lives Matter” not “All Lives Matter’?
Was it because she said we all have implicit bias and we need to do a better job in listening to minorities, white people took that as she’s calling them racist?
Was it because she told the hard truth that coal mining jobs aren’t coming back anymore but Donald Trump lied and said he can bring coal mining jobs back?
Was it because she was strongly pro-choice and white evangelical pro-lifers simply can’t compromise that “Christian value”?
Was it because she refused to say radical Islam even though she has a record and plan to beat terrorists like ISIS?
Was it when she called the fringe element in Donald Trump’s campaign (who is now getting a high level appointment in his administration) a basket of deplorables and the average white evangelical voter thought she was talking about them instead?
Was it becuase when in 2008 Obama worked to convince America his blackness is non threatening, Hillary in 2016 embraced Obama too tightly together with minorities, and never let go?
Saying that we lose the white working class because we failed to speak to their economic anxiety fails to to take into account how Donald Trump actually rose into power. That he is not a normal candidate and this wasn’t a normal election. It also fails into account the actual results of the election.
Donald Trump won because he won the electoral college, but even then, he didn’t win it by a landslide. This election was razor thin close. This election was tipped to his favor from a few thousand votes in WI, Michigan, PA, normally reliable blue states. While we don’t decide our president from popular votes, his votes received is even lower than Mitt Romney’s and Hillary has the highest number of popular votes of any presidential nominee except for Obama. So while Donald Trump won the elections by the rules, it’s disingenuous to say he has a political mandate.
I’m not saying ignore how or why we lost the traditionally reliable blue states and why we lost the white vote. But let’s take a look at the facts and not quickly fall back to old arguments that are patently false and not the reason why we lost the white vote.
Data shows Democrats lost the white vote across the board: in all age brackets, income brackets, genders, college educated, not college educated. We also won with minorities across the board. We also lost the Rust Belt with only 127,000 votes. To simply narrow it to “we lost the elections because we lost the white working class” is simplistic and only harmful for Democrats moving forward.
For me specifically, I am more interested on why we lost the white women vote, coz that’s where the anomaly is. We’ve always lost the white male vote but still won the White House. But why did we also lose college-educated women, we lost white millennials that previously went for Obama. Why?
Was it because white millennials initially went for Bernie and Hillary failed to win their support? But why did majority of them go to Trump? Or them voting third party is what really did it?
Is it because that for white women, ethnicity trumps gender? Is the solidarity (or lack there of) between white women and women of color has a wider divide and gap than we initially thought?
We’re we overconfident that Republicans for Hillary was a sure thing, and missed that they would come home to GOP on election day? Were we wrong about there’s a secret women vote for Hillary, when we thought they were voting for Hillary even though their husbands were voting for Trump, they were actually voting for Trump too?
I’ve seen interviews of white rural and suburban middle-aged women now publicly coming out on why they voted for Trump, they say because they weren’t voting for a sunday school teacher and it’s about the economy for them. But Trump doesn’t have real economic plans, he only spoke to their baser instincts. People argue Hillary didn’t do enough or failed to communicate her policies to them, but I’ve seen how many times she traveled to the rust belt even on the last day of elections, people were criticizing her for spending too much time there and now they’re saying she spent too little. So to me, what they’re saying is if we want to win, lie to Americans instead, coz the truth doesn’t work.
But what about the urban young white women? Why did they go for Trump? Is it simply a generational divide that having the first female president don’t mean as much to them?