Democrats lost the 2016 presidential election because they were hammered among white non-college educated voters. After spending nearly a decade deriding such voters as benighted racists in thrall to God, guns, and xenophobia, white non-college educated voters – many of whom voted for Barack Obama twice – simply got tired of the routine, and turned on the old white lady lecturing them for their “implicit bias.” Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton like a drum among white voters without a college degree: he won a stunning 72 percent of the vote.
So naturally, Democrats are dealing with their election loss by ripping white people.
Bill Clinton led the way this week, blaming his wife’s catastrophic collapse on those bitter clingers: Trump, said Clinton, “doesn’t know much,” but “one thing he does know is how to get angry, white men to vote for him.” This neglects the uncomfortable fact that Trump also won a majority of white women. But Clinton’s not the only one beating this drum. Time magazine’s Jill Filipovic complained in the days following the election that the results represented “The Revenge of the White Man,” and stated that the election rested on “anxiety about the changing face of power in America.” Hillary Clinton continues to suggest that Trump won because he appealed to racism, as though racists across the country flipped to Trump after Obama because they suddenly realized Obama was black.
Obama himself lectured Americans about how America would be a “browner country,” then stated that he faced headwinds thanks to Americans who couldn’t understand “changing attitudes about sexual orientation, and about race, and about the nature of families.”
And the left believes that this strategy is somehow smart politics.
MTV News has now unleashed a video with recommended New Year’s Resolutions for “white guys.” “First of all, try to recognize that America was never ‘great’ for anyone who wasn’t a white guy” says one rather sarcastic and unpleasant woman. “Can we all just agree that black lives matter isn’t the opposite of all lives matter?” says another woman, who is followed by a refugee from the Pajama Boy University of Performing Arts, who adds, “Also, Blue Lives Matter isn’t a thing.” We also hear these slightly-older-than-college-age-unemployables explain that white men should never use the word “woke,” should learn what “mansplaining is, and then stop doing it,” and should realize that everybody loves Beyonce, and since she is black, she cares about “black issues.”
The Democratic Party has embraced this sort of language. Hence their desire to elevate Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) to leadership of the Democratic National Committee. Ellison accused Trump of winning by throwing “hate and poison on Hillary Clinton.”
So, what’s the goal here? Do Democrats really want to embrace a strategy of alienating the precise population that moved over to Trump? The answer seems to be: absolutely. After all, Democrats believe that demographics are destiny. As good identity politics ideologues, they think that the increasing number of Hispanic voters will guarantee them a leg up in future elections (Hispanics could represent upwards of 15 percent of the vote in 2020); they point out that millenials, who voted 55 percent for Hillary Clinton in 2016 and 60 percent for Barack Obama in 2012, will represent 34 percent of the electorate by 2020, while Baby Boomers, who will represent just 28 percent of the electorate by 2020, voted 53 percent for Donald Trump. For Democrats, the key to electoral victory resides in continuing to drive a wedge deeper between white voters and minority voters, between young and old.
But Republicans need not play this game.
Donald Trump made the admirable attempt during this election cycle to reach out to black voters. That resulted in a marginal gain in vote share from 2012 – Trump won two percent more of the black vote than Romney – and Trump even did better among Hispanics than Romney did, gaining two percent. Part of that is surely due to the fact that he didn’t face Barack Obama as an opponent. But it also provides the beginnings of an opening to reach out to non-white audiences.
If Trump can do that – if Republicans can do that – then the Democrats’ demographic game will come to an end. Democrats rely on racial solidarity for them among non-whites. Republicans must break that cycle. But that will require Trump to implement successful policy, not just double down on his base.