Chasing the votes of white men

Ones Who Got Away: White Men

NY Times

“Realistically, winning votes from working-class white men has just been a very tough political challenge for Democrats,” said Geoff Garin, a Democratic pollster. With demographic trends favoring Democrats nationally and in many states, strategists say it makes sense to concentrate resources on mobilizing women, young people, Hispanics, blacks and other minority voters.

Democrats generally win the votes of fewer than four in 10 white men. But they win eight of 10 minority voters and a majority of women, who have been a majority of the national electorate since 1984, while white men have shrunk to a third, and are still shrinking.

White male voters have been crucial in some past midterms, most clearly in 1994, when they helped Republicans take control of the House for the first time in 40 years, and again in 2010...

While this makes sense, giving effort and dollars to do outreach to those most likely to vote for Democratic candidates, it does not have to be an all or nothing strategy.

But women's votes are mostly taken for granted, and they are not recruited strongly enough to run nor rewarded with appointments and jobs after successful elections. White men--who still run both parties--tend to look for and feel more comfortable with folks like themselves They will reach out to minorities before they will reach out to white women.


Genetic defect

We (as a species) are not so far removed from our ancient ancestors. We still play dominance games in our social circles, and we still strut around flashing our plumage in order to attract a mate. Since long before the beginning of our nation, white males have been the default leaders of whatever environment they've found themselves in, and giving up that position doesn't come easy. Especially for those who have done absolutely nothing to deserve it.

And that is why the NCDP needs to take extraordinary measures to put women in leadership roles. If left to our own devices and without some framework to make that happen, it simply won't happen. Not soon enough to save us, anyway.

So glad to see this story posted here

Thanks, Martha.

This is one of the untapped

This is one of the untapped areas that the party should be working hard to win back. White middle and working class men have the same common interests as middle class and working class Democrats regardless of sex, ethnicity, or religion. It is mostly an image problem. As a rural middle class white man I can testify that there is a great deal of peer pressure to conform to a conservative, pro Republican mindset. A couple of years ago I walked into a superbowl party to be greeted with, "come on in, it's good to see you even if you are a dern Democrat." Everything stopped and all eyes were on me with a mixture of shock, scorn, pity and disbelief expressed on the faces. We really are a very small minority within our peer group, with many showing great tolerance towards us.

I'm a moderate Democrat.

Required reading for any liberal or progressive

The NY Times article does a good job at identifying the problem. But what is surprising to me is that no one in the Democratic party figured out this issue years ago.

Even though the book was released in 1999, Susan Faludi's "Stiffed: The Betrayal of the American Man", zeroed in on what was happening with men in American culture. A feminist scholar and journalist, she travelled around the US and interviewed different men for her book and came to the conclusion that as women and minorities have found new roles in society and our national debate about political issues, men are left floundering to figure out where they "fit in" with society.

The Republicans, with their "us versus them" politics, took advantage of white male anger and channeled it into trying to preserve or turn back the clock on a range of issues, drumming into white men what they're "loosing".

Democrats, on the other hand, have done a dreadful job articulating what men are gaining in a more just and equal society.

I'd recommend Faludi's book - you can get a taste of some of what she was thinking when she wrote it at this Mother Jones interview.

"Us versus them" = Populism

I just want to point out that "us versus them politics" is the definition of populism. Here is a great article that spells it out:

Populism comes in different flavors but generally involves reducing politics to a struggle between a long-suffering virtuous majority (us) and an objectionable minority (them). There are many variants: the people against immigrants, against foreigners, against the idle poor, against intellectuals, against criminals. In the U.S., liberal populism frames politics mainly as a struggle between working people and the rich. Conservative populism sees mainly a struggle between citizens yearning to be free and an overreaching federal government.

I mention this to point out that both sides use divisive politics to rally the masses. It feels good to feel like you belong to "us" (i.e. "the people", "the 99%", "real americans", "the silent majority", etc.) while you fight back against "them". This isn't new, nor unique. I hope that the enlightened readers of this website can contain their rhetoric within the bounds of honest debate and substantial policy.

Splitting hairs

I think you're splitting hairs over semantics.

Republican populism has been based on bashing minorities with little political or monetary power. Democratic populism has been based on minorities - the rich, corporations, or others - that have considerable political and economic power.

It's one thing to use populist politics to limit the rights of minorities versus creating a fair and level playing field where everyone plays by the rules.

Martha and Scharrison nailed it!

Tradition? History? Patriotism? Religion? A great number of white male voters seem to find some excuse - generally rooted in one of those rationales -- as justification for voting against democrats -- and women.

Upon closer inspection, it appears these rationales are steeped in what can only be the fear of losing perceived control over others. Traditionally, historically, white males were at the top of the American food chain, they were in control over their women, their employees, their soldiers, their church members, their customers (i.e. do company stores ring a bell before unions?), business and industry, the legal system, the election process, medical research etc. It was an accepted fact. White privilege was a male domain and still is for the most part.

Need proof? Today, just about any sane white male takes extreme exception, regardless of party affiliation, to being called out as a racist. Some, even in their eagerness to avoid any waft of perceived bigotry to their reputation will exuberantly promote non-white candidates, as long as they're male. Being a bigot is viewed, and rightly so, as being a malicious, narrow-minded, intolerant and hateful idiot. But call out a guy as gender bigot and there is absolutely no equivalent, common-placed knee-jerk paranoia from men of any color. Men treat an accusation of sexism as laughable or worse, impossible. Because sexism is so insidiously prevalent - be it subtle or overt -- that any woman who protests it runs the risk of becoming the target of derision instead of the sexist. People of color who call out racism are not equated to crazed Nazis the same way as people who call out sexism (Feminazi ring another bell?)

Thankfully, there are some educated, non-misogynistic men of all races out there who recognize equality of the sexes. Problem is, they tend to be in the minority. Were it not for grudgingly enforced legislation, women would not have broken any barriers. Think about it, we even have it required that women be at least one of the five party leaders elected at the state, county and precinct levels in our NCDP bylaws. Were it a natural habit to view women as equal contenders, we wouldn't need this type of regulation in our own party.

The concept of pursuing white, republican-voting males as the new "it" strategy is unnervingly short-sighted. Rather than focus on the democrat-hating white male voters, why presume that "most" women will vote democratic? There are a large segment of conservative women (young and old) registered voters (republican and independent) who aren't being targeted by democrats.

As we've seen, Susan Faludi's 15-year-old book proves it takes a long time to sway more white males to vote democratic. As a democrat and a woman, I would hope we put our party strategy and money on the better odds than on these long shots.

I'm not sure but I think I

I'm not sure but I think I got insulted pretty badly in that post. ^

I'm a moderate Democrat.