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Democrats Are Losing the Culture Wars

Party leaders are moving leftward, naively assuming they can win over working-class voters with a socialist-minded message.

Josh Kraushaar writes: In the af­ter­math of the elec­tion, shell-shocked Demo­crats struggled to pin­point a reas­on be­hind their stun­ning loss to Don­ald Trump. Hil­lary Clin­ton blamed FBI Dir­ect­or James Comey. Demo­crat­ic op­er­at­ives cri­ti­cized the Clin­ton cam­paign team for tak­ing the Rust Belt for gran­ted. Bernie Sanders and his as­cend­ant left-wing flank of the party blames the party’s close­ness to Wall Street.

“On is­sues ran­ging from the pres­id­ent’s hes­it­ance to la­bel ter­ror­ism by its name to an un­will­ing­ness to cri­ti­cize ex­trem­ist ele­ments of protest groups like Black Lives Mat­ter to ex­ec­ut­ive or­ders man­dat­ing trans­gender bath­rooms, the ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fen­ded the sens­ib­il­it­ies of the Amer­ic­an pub­lic.”

No one is point­ing a fin­ger at the most glar­ing vul­ner­ab­il­ity—the party’s cul­tur­al dis­con­nect from much of the coun­try. On is­sues ran­ging from the pres­id­ent’s hes­it­ance to la­bel ter­ror­ism by its name to an un­will­ing­ness to cri­ti­cize ex­trem­ist ele­ments of protest groups like Black Lives Mat­ter to ex­ec­ut­ive or­ders man­dat­ing trans­gender bath­rooms, the ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fen­ded the sens­ib­il­it­ies of the Amer­ic­an pub­lic.

[Read the full story here, at nationaljournal.com]

Among lib­er­al-minded mil­len­ni­als, Pres­id­ent Obama’s ac­tions were a sign that he was chart­ing “an arc of his­tory that bends to­wards justice.” But to older, more-con­ser­vat­ive Amer­ic­ans, it was a sign that the ad­min­is­tra­tion’s views were well out­side the Amer­ic­an main­stream.

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“Among lib­er­al-minded mil­len­ni­als, Pres­id­ent Obama’s ac­tions were a sign that he was chart­ing ‘an arc of his­tory that bends to­wards justice.’ But to older, more-con­ser­vat­ive Amer­ic­ans, it was a sign that the ad­min­is­tra­tion’s views were well out­side the Amer­ic­an main­stream.”

Clin­ton tried to win over mod­er­ates by rais­ing red flags about Trump’s for­eign policy and his ra­cially charged, miso­gyn­ist­ic rhet­or­ic. But she didn’t have a Sis­ter Soul­jah mo­ment to cri­ti­cize the ex­cesses of the Left—as Bill Clin­ton fam­ously did dur­ing the 1992 cam­paign—for fear of ali­en­at­ing the Obama co­ali­tion. In fact, her line that “im­pli­cit [ra­cial] bi­as is a prob­lem for every­one” dur­ing the first de­bate was a mo­ment that couldn’t have been more re­pel­lent to those white Rust Belt voters who deser­ted the Demo­crats this year.

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“Demo­crats will be spend­ing their time in the polit­ic­al wil­der­ness fig­ur­ing out how to re­build a shattered party. But early in­dic­a­tions sug­gest that party lead­ers are veer­ing even fur­ther to the left in­stead of mod­er­at­ing their rhet­or­ic.”

As New York Times colum­nist Ross Douthat pres­ci­ently wrote in Septem­ber: “The new cul­tur­al or­tho­doxy is suf­fi­ciently stifling to leave many Amer­ic­ans look­ing to the vot­ing booth as a way to re­gister dis­sent.” Op­pos­ing polit­ic­al cor­rect­ness was one con­sist­ent theme in Trump’s very muddled cam­paign mes­sage.

Ross William Hamilton/The Oregonian Dick and Gloria Shafer, pictured with their 9-year-old son, John, run an excavation business in Elgin. They are so frightened of drug violence, especially after a triple homicide at their town, that they say they sleep with handguns close at hand. Gloria Shafer keeps her 9 mm gun under her pillow.

“They’ve con­cluded—with the as­sist­ance of Sanders, Eliza­beth War­ren, and po­lemi­cist Mi­chael Moore—that they would have per­formed bet­ter with work­ing-class white voters if they only ar­tic­u­lated a more pop­u­list eco­nom­ic mes­sage. They’ve shown no in­clin­a­tion to re­ject Clin­ton’s con­tro­ver­sial no­tion that half of Trump’s sup­port­ers were de­plor­able and ir­re­deem­able.”

Demo­crats will be spend­ing their time in the polit­ic­al wil­der­ness fig­ur­ing out how to re­build a shattered party. But early in­dic­a­tions sug­gest that party lead­ers are veer­ing even fur­ther to the left in­stead of mod­er­at­ing their rhet­or­ic. Read the rest of this entry »

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[VIDEO] Van Jones, Mary Matalin Get into Heated Exchange Over Race in 2016 Election

MATALIN: Can I have an honest moment here people, Van has to my mind retracted your whitelash with what you just said, no, that we have to not focus on the toxic stuff — okay, but you — if you don’t, you’re wrong. You are not — that’s not the path for progressives. We’ve all agreed at the outset that the path which is Ellison’s message is to go back to the rust belt and the rednecks . You’re not going to get there with climate change and Putin.

JONES: I said and stand by it. I said that race was a part and there was a part that alt-right part is part of the whitelash. If you listened to the whole quote you would agree with what I said So i don;t take that back–

MATALIN: I did listen and you said what do I tell the kids. I’m a black man in America who went to Yale and written books who served a president and now —

JONES: I’m a ninth generation American and the first born in my family with all my rights. Ninth generation American, so we have not escaped because I went to Yale all the problems of this country.

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MATALIN: You should not be a racial polemicist you should be a racial reconciler.

JONES:  You should be ashamed about yourself to say that about me to my face.

MATALIN: Should I say it behind your back would be better?

JONES: I spent more time than you have trying to be a racial reconciler.

MATALIN: Really? how do you know that? Do you know anything about me?

JONES: Apparently you don’t know anything about me. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Author J.D. Vance on His New Book ‘Hillbilly Elegy’


J.D. Vance chronicles his life and the history and issues of hillbillies in America. Vance, a former marine and Yale Law School graduate, writes about growing up in a poor Rust Belt town and how his family never fully escapes the legacy of abuse, alcoholism, poverty, and trauma in their lives. Vance paints a broad, passionate, and personal analysis of a culture in crisis—that of white working-class Americans.

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