Martin Longman takes a look at white, working class America and what Democrats need to do in order to win them back.
Now, it's been frustrating to watch white and black progressives argue about priorities in this election, and both sides need to learn. White progressives need to better understand that these class issues are so ingrained in our minority communities that they simply don't seem all that pressing. It's like complaining that there are too many alien invaders on Level 12 of your video game. It's like complaining about potholes or bad schools or things that never change. Those things are always a concern, but they're different in type from being denied the right to vote or getting gunned down by the police. Basic civil rights are what's on the minds of minority voters, and white progressives need to respect that.
Black progressives, however, need to understand that something is changing. Where once they had few natural allies on class issues and structural biases in the system, they now have a cohort of working class whites who should be welcomed into the tent.
That's not easy when a lot of those working class whites are still kicking and screaming and acting out their frustration with racist acts and statements. But, with your eyes open, you can see that whites are having their own crack epidemic with heroin and oxycontins. They're beginning to support sentencing and prison reform. They're as fed up with the post-Citizen's United campaign finance system as anyone. They're pissed off at Wall Street.
I don't don't know if Hillary can bring these whites into the fold and I don't know if Bernie can bring blacks into his fold, but between them they have the basic idea right.
Perhaps what's needed here is for blacks and whites to give permission to their politicians to go after each other's votes. And this is just a suggestion, but I'm guessing that the folks who've been playing the game of life on the harder difficulty setting will need to be the folks who offer the first olive branch.
It should surprise no one if the minority community figures this out first.
I categorically reject the notion that once again, black America has to make the first move when we're the ones being goddamn murdered in the streets by police for the crime of being goddamn black.
And secondly, when Democrats reached out in Kentucky to help working class white voters in a 92% white state get insurance for 400,000, those same voters told Democrats to go to hell.
The only thing the minority community has figured out is that racism still runs the show. And changing that is not on us.