The first rule in elections is: Go for the votes you can get. By that measure, Hillary Clinton is right to try to put the old Obama coalition on steroids.
Donald Trump will expand the Democrats’ opportunities among nonwhite Americans and produce Clinton landslides among Latinos. These groups have good reason to fear and despise the man who has demeaned them.
And watch Republicans for Clinton become a major force in American politics, an alliance of mostly well-off, well-educated voters — plus women of all classes. The members of the party of Lincoln who support Clinton will see that against Trump she is the safe and even, by the non-ideological definition of the term, conservative choice.
But Clinton also has to challenge Trump for at least a share among angry and struggling white, working-class voters with real economic grievances. Their votes matter if she wants to keep Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania in the Democratic column.
Clinton’s visit to Appalachia last week reflected this realism, but it was about more than electoral calculation, because she is highly unlikely to carry either West Virginia (most Democrats think she’ll lose its primary on Tuesday to Bernie Sanders) or Kentucky this fall. Believe it or not, there are moral obligations in electoral politics. This is why her Appalachian outreach represented one of the admirable moments of her campaign. A progressivism that writes off the white working class is not worthy of being called progressive.
Technically that's right. But if President Obama has taught the Democrats one thing, it's that the white working class is no longer necessary for a Democrat to win the White House, either. On the other hand, if the Democrats want to break the GOP grip on these states at the local and state level, the white working class votes in these states are needed, and besides as Dionne says, it's a moral obligation as well.
It's a good long-term strategy unless you think it's a good idea for Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky and WV to be under or near total Republican control. And as someone living in Kentucky, having Democrats at a national level pay attention to Democrats at the state level here instead of the usual condescending "why the hell don't you just move to a blue state already since you're surrounded by hicks and racists" is a good idea.
There are people who can be won over by the Democrats again, and unlike Republicans trying to "win over" black and Latino voters, Democrats are honest about trying to do so.