Weren’t Democrats supposed to be the party of Everyman? If you went to work and obeyed the rules, Dems would “make work pay”–plus give you unemployment compensation and Social Security and medical care in old age. White male workers are sort of the indivisible denominator in American politics–they have no special economic leverage, and no race- or gender-based claim to special privileges. They’re naked as far as favoritism goes, and thus (not unlike Marx’s proleteriat) are the representatives of universal privileges (such as Social Security). The new Obama coalition threatens to abandon this universality, becoming instead the party of non-universal skills, ethnic and gender identities–of special pleaders, victims and causists. Not of citizens.It's pretty sad how far Kaus has fallen since his days at Slate. He basically despises everything the Democrats have done in the last four years, because he's decided that equality among minorities, women, the LGBT community and yes even the working class is nasty zero sum class warfare where white males lose, and that the Democrats could easily win if they just kicked all those groups to the curb, gave them the "What are you going to do, vote Republican?" speech, and just put them in their place at the back of the bus where they belong in pursuit of the only people that matter in politics anyway, white guys.
P.S.: But isn’t this just a question of strategy or political marketing? No. Different coalitions produce different policies–or, rather, the attempt to mobilize different coalitions produces different policies. (Sorry, Weigel.**) Gay marriage is a New Coalition policy: Young voters love it; white working class voters, not so much. “Comprehensive immigration reform”–e.g. legalization or amnesty– is a New Coalition policy: It is quite explicitly framed as an attempt to win over Latinos. But if it attracts additional unskilled illegal immigrants, from Mexico and elsewhere, unskilled working class Americans are the ones who will see their wages bid down even further. Screw ‘em–they vote Republican anyway!
Similarly, if you don’t care that much about ordinary white unskilled workers you might be perfectly willing to raise the Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 67, as Obama has apparently been willing to do. After all, it”s not such a big deal to retire two years later if you are an accountant. But what if you are a coal miner? The worst example of all would be Obama policies that push poorer workers out of Medicare into often-inferior Medicaid, as Scott Gottlieb has charged the Affordable Care Act will do. (I await Jonathan Cohn’s explanation of why Obamacare doesn’t actually do this).
You can’t blame Obama for trying to win, and if white working class voters don’t like him–well, he has to assemble a majority anyway he can.*** But if you’re not Obama you can hope this particular Emerging Democratic Majority un-emerges soon.
He's a not so gentle reminder that not all bigots and fools are in the GOP. The "behind every successful minority person is a white guy giving them a leg up" force is strong in this one, and he's far from the only one.