An interesting piece at TheHill.com today highlights a major problem confronting the Democrat Party – namely, that decades of divisive policies have alienated white voters and put the party at a severe disadvantage with the largest racial group in America.
White voters pulled levers for Republicans over Democrats by a nearly two-to-one margin in last November’s midterms, and as a result Democrats found themselves blown out of Congress in stark numbers not just in the South but in the Midwest as well.
So on a day when Democrat Sen. Kent Conrad of North Dakota announces he’s not running for re-election in 2012 amid relatively hopeless prospects for his party, his ideological mates are talking about a full-court press to regain competitiveness among white voters.
Highlighted are quotes from Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), a former civil rights leader whose name surfaced prominently in accusations last year that Tea Party protestors made up a chorus of racist epithets at him and other Congressional Black Caucus members as they ascended the Capitol steps to pass Obamacare over the objections of a majority of the country. Lewis now says recapturing white voters is a priority.
“We’ve got to go all out and get white voters, especially white men, to come back to the Democratic Party,” he told The Ballot Box. “I just think it’s important for the Democratic Party to roll out and try to reveal itself and not become a party that is split along racial lines.”
Lewis’ “all-out” message reflects some rather high hopes. After all, for two years the Democrats have responded to any and all criticisms of President Obama by reflexively accusing the critics of racism. Democrats reflexively branded the Tea Party movement as racist while pointing out how supposedly lily-white its membership is – only to find two Tea Party Republicans gaining Congressional seats, Allen West in Florida and Tim Scott in South Carolina, happen to be black and another black Tea Party favorite, Herman Cain, is now a presidential candidate who won a straw poll of sorts at the conservative site Redstate.com. Democrats have also pushed a succession of policies designed to alienate and antagonize white voters – the DREAM Act, the refusal to prosecute the New Black Panthers for voter intimidation, the Pigford giveaways and the Justice Department’s filing suit against Arizona’s immigration law, among others, in the past two years. It would be difficult to imagine how such a record wouldn’t drive white voters away.
Particularly when those policy decisions have come contemporaneously with Attorney General Eric Holder’s in-your-face comment that America was a “nation of cowards” on race, Obama’s “acted stupidly” gaffe which engendered the necessity for an embarrassing Beer Summit, the President’s “Apology Tour” across the world after taking office and a cacophony of statements by Democrat officeholders and media figures displaying contempt for middle-class and working-class white people.
But The Hill found a pollster willing to sing a happy song about Democrats’ chances to undo the current damage, particularly in the South. Hayride readers will recognize him – Alabama and D.C. – based John Anzalone, whose recent record includes putting out a push-poll in 2009 which misled Democrats into thinking Obamacare would be popular and who most recently served as Charlie Melancon’s pollster in last year’s Senate race against Republican David Vitter. Anzalone’s polling indicated Melancon was within striking distance of Vitter, numbers which fell apart amid a 20-point blowout on Election Day.
But that was last year. This year, Democrats are coming back, he says.
“The difference between now and 2010 is in 2012 [President] Obama will be in control of his message,” said John Anzalone, a pollster with offices in Alabama and Washington.
“In 2010, he was not only not on the ticket, but really wasn’t being welcomed around, and so in a way he was kind of muted in being able to control what he is so good at. I think the fact that he is controlling his message [in 2012] will be helpful to Democrats and possibly bring more white voters to the table.”
“We had this same conversation after the 1994 elections,” he said, before citing a series of Democratic victories over the last two decades. “The reality is that white voters are up for grabs for Democrats.
“You’ve got to be patient, you’ve got to build your argument. Will it come immediately after a big swing like this? Not with big gains,” he said.
White voters will come back to the party when they feel “comfortable” with a particular Democratic candidate, Anzalone predicted.
“If we have quality candidates out there, you’re going to see us slowly pick off seats just like we did post-1994,” he said.
Anzalone’s delusional rhetoric aside, the current numbers will likely only worsen for Democrats. With the majority of the American people demanding a rapid drawdown in the size, scope and expenditure of the federal government – a majority largely driven by white voters – and with the bedrock of their philosophy being opposed to such a direction, Democrats have little to offer white voters from a policy standpoint. And from a rhetorical standpoint Democrats are even worse – decades of disparaging Christianity, the 2nd Amendment and other key cultural mainstays of Caucasian American life have sown distrust that will not be quickly repaired.
Democrats chose a monolithic black vote and an energetic move for Hispanic support, with the expectation that at some point in the future the majority of the electorate would no longer be white. But in doing so, they’re alienating a group which currently is a majority in America and will remain the largest demographic group for generations to come.
The 2010 election was the first indication of a bill coming due for that choice. It won’t be the last, regardless of Anzalone’s optimism or Lewis’ sudden realization.