HolyCoast: Why Would Democrats Write Off White Working Class Voters?

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Why Would Democrats Write Off White Working Class Voters?

James Taranto attempts to explain the inexplicable:
Let's consider the current psychological state of liberal Democrats. As we noted in August, the summer's debt-ceiling deal left these people thoroughly demoralized. Some of them blamed the American people, some blamed Tea Party "terrorists," some blamed Obama--but all had the sense that Obama was a loser.

The rise of the so-called Occupy Wall Street movement, combined with Obama's more confrontational tone, lifted their mood, but it was a temporary high. The urban encampments turned out to be squalid Obamavilles, not an American Arab Spring or a liberal Tea Party. Most of them are gone now, victims of bad weather or health-and-safety ordinances. And with Obama having scored few victories on Capitol Hill or in public opinion, the left could return to its summer funk any day.

It is important for them not to believe that all is lost--that Obama still has a credible shot at re-election. Openly ceding the WWC to the GOP, even if it actually ends up harming Obama's re-election prospects, may be the price these strategists feel they have to pay in order to make credible their claim that Obama has any path to victory at all.

To be sure, all is not lost for Obama. This column is of the view that he has been on a losing trajectory since very early in his term, but any number of things could happen in the next 11 months to alter that trajectory. The economy could suddenly improve. An international crisis could arise to which Obama responds with mastery (or luck). The GOP could nominate a candidate who repels independent voters for reasons of ideology, competence or character. A third-party candidacy could split the Republican vote.

We're not saying any of these eventualities are likely, or that they would necessarily help Obama. (Jimmy Carter had an international crisis, an "extreme" challenger, and a third-party GOP candidate, and he lost badly anyway.) But a necessary condition for an Obama victory is that his own party not throw in the towel months before the election. Abandoning the WWC may be a desperation move to forestall that possibility.
Frankly, I could understand a Republican candidate saying it's not worth trying to win black votes when we know that 95% of those votes will go to Obama. However, any other constituency is very much up for grabs, so for Democrats to so openly write off white working class voters just doesn't make electoral sense.

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