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Tue Apr 6, 2021, 05:37 PM

Democrats need to soft-pedal social liberalism, play up economic populism

If we do enough of that, we can win over the red states.

Let's face it, the American culture war was already WON, for all intents and purposes, when Buchanan declared it in 1992. All progress since then -- legalizing SSM, the ongoing normalization of transgenders -- has been in the nature of what military types call "mopping up." There is no possibility of going back -- the religious-right agenda is doomed by demographics, not racial but generational: Studies show the Millennials are less racist than any elder generation, less xenophobic, less sexist, less homophobic -- and less religious, with at least 25% of them avowed atheists or agnostics.

The REAL fight remains -- real because a lot of very rich and powerful interests will be fighting hard and to their last breaths on the other side, because it's about money, income inequality, distribution of wealth -- the things that matter most, even to a socially-liberal CEO.

I'm not saying Democrats need to go backwards on gay rights, transgender rights, or anything else; there is no need. I'm only talking about a change in priority and emphasis. We need to start publicly and repeatedly hitting the message that America's Public Enemy Number One is our own plutocracy -- rich people wielding political power far, far out of proportion to their numbers, and mostly not on the left side -- there are many more and mightier Koch types than there are Soroses or Buffetts.

Trump appealed to the white working class, partly through their racism, but also with a whole lot of vague economic-populist talk.
Well, what the white working class really wants, more than anything else, is an adequate supply of blue-collar jobs that will allow a person with only a high-school education to earn a middle-class income, like it was in the 1950s. If we can only deliver that, or even show a plausible path to it, they will vote D, and swallow their frustration about immigrants and abortion and the browning of America.

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Reply Democrats need to soft-pedal social liberalism, play up economic populism (Original post)
politruk Tuesday OP
SoonerPride Tuesday #1
politruk Wednesday #2
lagomorph777 Wednesday #7
Hortensis Wednesday #3
politruk Wednesday #4
Hortensis Wednesday #9
WhiskeyGrinder Wednesday #5
a kennedy Wednesday #6
politruk Wednesday #8

Response to politruk (Original post)

Tue Apr 6, 2021, 05:40 PM

1. Weclome to DU.

I think it depends on the district.

All politics is local.

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Response to SoonerPride (Reply #1)

Wed Apr 7, 2021, 01:50 PM

2. But, the problem of inequality is national.

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Response to politruk (Reply #2)

Wed Apr 7, 2021, 03:46 PM

7. Yes, and inequality especially hits LGBT, women, people of color...

Reducing economic inequality cannot be separated from reducing social injustice. It's different aspects of the same issue.

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Response to politruk (Original post)

Wed Apr 7, 2021, 01:59 PM

3. Don't like your terms. No to "economic populism." Populists as

a group tend overall to have elements of social conservatism, mild for those who chose the LW populist movement, strong for those who chose Trump's. For both groups, though, "economic populism" tends to mean progressivism for "me and mine," but not so much for "them."

Liberals want the benefits of economic and social progressivism for everyone.

As for "social liberalism," the real thing, it's who liberal Democrats are. Our liberal ideals are in everything the Biden administration is doing and promising to do. We're not going to downplay anything.

What liberalism is NOT is the anti-democratic univeralism advocated by proponents so far left that they can claim liberals are just conservatives with conceits of being better. And believe it. OR the rantings of various lunatic fringes, such as those who want to literally "defund" the police.

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Response to Hortensis (Reply #3)

Wed Apr 7, 2021, 03:28 PM

4. I was thinking "economic populism"

is a less inflammatory term than "social democracy," which sounds so [*shudder*] European.

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Response to politruk (Reply #4)

Wed Apr 7, 2021, 06:09 PM

9. Lol, oh dear! Actually, socializing a few more national services --

as our VA is -- which retaining the capitalism engine of prosperity, would work because it's proven to in capitalism-based (shudder) European nations.

I mentioned the scary word "populism" because there's a pernicious effort to defang it, to redefine it so it'll sound nice, like something that sensible people would support so we won't be alarmed at hearing about populist movements, leaders and followers.

Instead of what populism really is: Deliberate inflaming and directing of the worst, most aggressively antagonistic and resentful elements of society against existing governments to overthrow them.

We must have a word for populism because it's extremely dangerous.

Trump's populist techniques are as obvious as Hitler's were.

When you know what to look for, Sanders' are also, even if his "revolution" is much smaller and draws genuine socialism idealists, with only whiffs of the anti-democratic ruthlessness and white nationalism needed to compete for energizing populists. The "bros," male and female. No surprise, though, that some of Sanders most hard-core, supposed "class warfare" populists moved to join Trump's "white nationalism" far-right movement in 2016 to continue their fight, or that many are once again working from the left. For hard-core populists it's far more about bringing down "the establishment" than what would replace it.

Btw, when people say we need to stop driving people away, they usually mean back off on the galloping advances in equality that Democrats have had a huge part in making happen. We all see the giant, scary backlashes to women's, gender/LGBTQ rights, religious and racial equality. We're living their very real threats. But it's not in our power to straighten out that arc of justice even if we would. And we won't.

It is possible to read the history of this country as one long struggle to extend the liberties established in our Constitution to everyone in America. ~ Molly Ivins

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Response to politruk (Original post)

Wed Apr 7, 2021, 03:31 PM

5. What the white working class wants more than anything else is to be at least one step above

BIPOC and other marginalized people. They would rather give up economic benefits if it means others also don't get those benefits. This is what they vote for again and again, and it's what they say they want in a million different "parachute into the diner" articles.

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Response to politruk (Original post)

Wed Apr 7, 2021, 03:44 PM

6. I've always been partial to ECONOMIC FAIRNESS.

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Response to politruk (Original post)

Wed Apr 7, 2021, 04:17 PM

8. Now, by "economic populism,"

I don't mean "producerism" -- the idea that the productive middle is under assault by nonproductive classes above AND below it.

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