Now that I’m retired, I have more time to listen to podcasts. Actually, I’m finding that it is a great era to be retired. I can listen to podcasts, binge-watch TV shows, watch YouTube videos, listen to Audible books on my iPhone, google random topics which leads to more googling, and read internet blogs (like this one!).
Getting back to podcasts: last week I listened to two podcasts back-to-back that offered contradictory advice to the Democratic party. After the first podcast, I said to myself, “That makes sense.” An hour later, I listened to the other podcast and said to myself, “I’m not sure what makes sense now.”
The first podcast was The Gist from Slate.com and is hosted by Mike Pesca. It’s a news and culture podcast, and Mike is very entertaining and clever as the host. (http://www.slate.com/articles/podcasts/gist.html and @slategist) His guest was Joan C. Williams (@JoanCWilliams). She has written extensively about the need for the Democratic Party to improve its message and policies for the White Working Class. For example, she said there are two policies that have been much discussed by the Democrats, but are unimportant to WWC voters: increasing minimum wage and making college education more affordable. The WWC voters want real jobs with higher wages and are not concerned about going to a four-year college. The WCC voters see Democrats more concerned about issues like environment, gender, race, and LGBTQ, rather than being focused on creating more jobs.
The second podcast was a new podcast for me called Pod Save America (@PodSaveAmerica). It’s one of the podcasts from Crooked Media (https://getcrookedmedia.com) and it provides a no BS conversation about politics. The hosts were interviewing Joy-Ann Reid from MSNBC (@JoyAnnReid) and Symone Sanders (@SymoneDSanders) from the Bernie Sanders campaign. They both made the point that for most campaigns, it’s more productive to spend time getting more of your voters to vote, rather than spending time convincing independent voters to vote for you (a.k.a. GOTV). A successful campaign knows its voters and then designs the message to energize those voters. The Democratic party’s most active voters are minorities and college-educated whites. Let’s get more of those people voting rather than working to attract Trump voters.
Symone Sanders was critical of the newly announced Democratic Economic Agenda called “A Better Deal.” She said that it should be called “Dear White Working Class People of America, We Are Here For You.” She noted that 94% of black women voted for Hillary and those voters “are still waiting for a thank you note” from the Democrats. I thought her comments were pretty funny and spot-on.
After becoming conflicted by the two podcasts, I did the most logical thing. I googled “Democrats and White Working Class Voters.” Boom. Thanks to the already mentioned announcement of the new Democratic Economic Agenda, there were lots of articles to read. It’s a hot topic.
I don’t think there needs to be a conflict between white working class voters, minority voters, and progressive college educated voters. In the past few months, we have found that quality healthcare is important to everyone. Other issues like more jobs, income inequality, and a strong defense are also issues that appeal to everyone. We are also finding more voters who agree that we need rational competent political leadership rather than an egomaniacal, narcissistic, game-show host as president.
Minnesota Democrats don’t need to look far to find successful politicians who appeal to the WWC voters and can set an example for democrats in the rest of the country – Amy Klobuchar, Tim Walz, Rick Nolan and, heck, even Al Franken in his last election. Tim Walz’s ability to get votes from rural working class voters and still win the Minneapolis and St. Paul progressive voters is the primary reason that I am supporting him to be the next Minnesota governor. http://www.walzforgovernor.org/
If you have made it this far, I encourage you to check out the podcasts I mentioned and read the articles about this issue which I included below.
For additional Reading:
Here are two articles by Joan C. Williams:
Article by Stanley Greenberg at American Prospect:
An article on Slate.com that advocates the GOTV strategy:
An article by Max Ehrenfreund at the Washington Post: