Thursday, August 19, 2010

Democrats Problem with the Elusive White Male Voter

In the winner-take-all system of politics, a candidate for office doesn't have to gain the votes of every citizen. What he has to do is to gain a majority in enough counties so that he has the majority of the total popular vote votes.

Thus much strategy in statewide elections revolves around determining which counties each party can pretty much assume they'll win ( for example Chatham County for the Democrats, Lee County for the Republicans) and which ones are less certain and which might be won if contested closely.

But the parties also tend to divide the overall vote in other ways, such as along lines of education and employment. Historically the Democrats tended to do much better among industrial workers than they did among professionals, although there were certain sub-categories in each case that were exceptional. It also turns out that there are voting patterns which tend to correlate with age.

And there are voting patterns associated with race and gender. The Democrats have long tried particularly hard to appeal to "minority groups", and in most elections will tend to get the majority of votes cast by Blacks and Hispanics.

But there's one minority where they have difficulty or never do well with: White Men. Making up just shy of 40% of the voters, it's pretty much a foregone conclusion that more white men overall will vote Republican than Democratic. Generally speaking, it's not really so much of question of whether the Democrats can get a majority of White Male votes as of how big the Republican margin will be. If the margin is sufficiently small, the Democrats have a chance of compensating for it with majorities in other demographics. If the margin among White Males is too large, however, then the Democrats will lose.

That's because as a group, White Males maybe more Jacksonian,a s well as Jeffersonian than any other race/gender demographic.

The way that when the nomination in a party is contested during the primaries, that this forces the candidates to pander to extremist elements of the party, who are far more influential within the primary process than they are during the general election. Since it seems as if the Democratic candidates are most concerned about the so-called "Democratic wing of the Democratic party", they have been delivering a particularly extreme message during their campaigning.

If you look at the candidates who ran for governor this year, neither was a liberal democrat. All were moderate to conservative democrats compared to 2006, when Mark Taylor ran to the left of then Secretary of State Cathy Cox to win the nomiantion.

Traditionally, the strategy has been to take extreme positions during the primary process, and to try to move towards the center and to deliver a more moderate message during the general election campaign. But not this year as Roy Barnes ran in the democratic primary as a centrist, at times going conservative on Key issues like the AZ Immigration Law for example.

The main reason why democrats have had problems attracting White Male voters is due to the Civil Rights Revolution. The rhetoric by extremist elements that was infiltrating the democratic party denounced white men as racist and oppressors, exacerbated these effects. Conflict within the Democratic Party sparked by the events of 1968 led to rules changes that diminished the power of labor unions, for decades centers of white male political influence and social standing.

The reason politicos like Sam Nunn was so successful in attracting support of White Male voters is (1) He was a hawk on National Defense (2) Support of Gun Rights (3) Favored School Prayer & was a cultural conservative.

The white male voter is not an endangered species for democrats. They just need the "right" democrat that'll appeal to the mostly center-right demomgraphic.

Some white male voters support Republicans to defend their upper-class interests, while middle and working class white men who vote Republican are generally voting against their economic interests, arguably more so than any other demographic group. The proportion and why of this second group are questions of huge import for the future of the Democratic Party.

Democrats can't just rely on mimorities & white liberals to carry the torch for them, they have to start appealing to the white male voter in order to win elections. That has been a problem here since 2002 & I really believe this year will be different. Michael Thurmond knows how to atrract them, Roy Barnes knows how as well, Ken Hodges, J.B. Powell also. So does Carol Porter & Darryl Hicks.

But as for the rest like Joe Martin, Georganna Sinkfield, Mary Squires, I don't know.


J said...

I think after a while, some Deal supporters will catch on to the ridiculous grandiose machismo of Deal and conservative ideology and will start to feel ashamed...

Keith said...

I don't know if they'll start to feel ashamed, but Deal isn't the person he makes himself out to be. That's the truth!

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