Slowly but surely the Democratic Party and its pals on the left are figuring out how they have managed to lose most presidential elections for the last 30 years or so—by alienating white males.
Now they are working on what they might do to get the white guys back, but progress on that front seems sketchy.
Last month the New York Times carried an article titled “Yes, Democrats Can Win (Some) White Male Voters,” and more recently the feminist website “ifeminists.com“(for “individualist feminists”) ran an editorial on the importance of the white male as “the demographic group that holds the key to election success.”[White Males: Hot Demographic For The 2004 Elections, June 2, 2004 by Carey Roberts]
If feminists can figure it out, why not Republicans too?
Both articles note out that the last Democratic nominee to win the white male vote was Jimmy Carter (and he lost the white vote in general to Gerald Ford, 47 to 52 percent). Concentrating on the strategy of winning women, blacks and Hispanics, the Democrats adopted a plan that lost them the White House.
Even today, despite efforts by Al Gore in 2000 to win more white guys, the Democrats are still uncomfortable trying to do so. Last fall Howard Dean was raked by his rivals for even suggesting that “guys with Confederate flags in their pickup trucks” ought to be an important target for Democratic efforts and that the party couldn’t defeat George Bush “unless we appeal to a broad cross-section of Democrats.”
But, as the feminists also note, the tone of the New York Times article, as well as the occasional comments Democratic strategists make about appealing to white males , “betrays the fact that the Democratic establishment has no intention of taking the concerns of white men seriously.”
They cite the remark of Donna Brazile, the black female manager of Mr. Gore’s 2000 campaign, that “the only thing [Kerry] hasn’t done is sit down with a six-pack and chew tobacco with them.”
Indeed, the analogy is more exact than it may seem. Each party has built itself along racial and ethnic lines—the Democrats by appealing to minorities, as noted above, and the Republicans by capturing white males (and even whites pure and simple), and each harbors a more or less negative stereotype of the ethnic groups it can’t capture.
Neither is very interested in or even knows much about the missing ethnic groups, and the only real interest either party has is how to grab their votes.
Aside from the ethics of this situation, and despite the mass immigration that has brought more and more non-whites into the electorate, the pragmatic truth is that the ifeminists are right—white males are the demographic key to election success, far more so than low-income non-white voting blocs that may vote more solidly but don’t turn out as much.
Miss Brazile also noted that the Democrats remain largely clueless about how to win white males, and she’s no doubt right too—John Kerry currently enjoys the support of a whopping 36 percent of white males, the same miserable share Mr. Gore won in 2000, in contrast to Mr. Bush’s 60 percent.
But at least somebody in her party grasps that white guys even exist. If you listen to Republicans in recent years, you’d think the white male had gone the way of the smallpox virus. Appealing to blacks, Hispanics,homosexuals and women seems to be the main GOP plan to win elections and keep its majority.
That’s what you hear if you listen to Republicans. But what you see when you watch how they run their campaigns is that they depend on the white male vote. They just think they can take it for granted as long as the Democrats are so inept at cutting into it.
And they’re right too.
White males are far from being the beer-guzzlers and tobacco-chompers Miss Brazile imagines, but they do possess a unity that makes them vote together. During the last 30 years (since they started moving out of the Democratic Party actually), they’ve seen themselves stripped of their jobs, their cities, their sex roles, their values, their culture, their country, and their race.
If white makes still have any group identity left, they need to work toward building a movement that identifies their values, their interests and their needs as voters and citizens that both parties ignore.
It’s not clear they do share sufficient political interests to make them a solid bloc of votes for a single party, but they might start looking at creating an entirely new party.
They could call it the White Man’s Party, and if they let in women too, they might even start taking back their country.