by James Billot
Thursday, 29
April 2021
Chart
15:00

How Democrats can increase support among moderates

New research shows that even their own voters don't like it
by James Billot
Joe Biden addresses a joint session of Congress, with Kamala Harris and Nancy Pelosi. Credit: Getty

Are Democrats too woke for voters? It’s a charge that’s often levelled at the party from outside – and within. Most recently, former Bill Clinton adviser and Democratic strategist James Carville accused the Democrats of using “faculty language” that alienated ordinary voters. Suggesting that using terms like “Latinx” was “not how people talk”, Carville said that race needed to be addressed through a different lens:

We have to talk about race. We should talk about racial injustice. What I’m saying is, we need to do it without using jargon-y language that’s unrecognizable to most people — including most Black people, by the way — because it signals that you’re trying to talk around them. This “too cool for school” shit doesn’t work, and we have to stop it.
- James Carville, Vox

Carville isn’t the only one. A few days ago, former Democratic senator and presidential candidate and Tulsi Gabbard implored Americans to “please stop the racialisation of everyone and everything”.

New research out this week suggests that they both might be onto something. Despite the increasing emphasis on race in Democrat messaging around progressive issues, the paper argues that there is ‘no evidence’ that Americans are persuaded by this policy framing.

In fact, when Democrats racialise issues that aren’t even necessarily race-related (infrastructure, student debt, the Green New Deal etc), it is more likely to alienate Republican and moderate voters. 

The paper tests these claims by framing six race-neutral progressive policy proposals in racial terms, class terms and class and race terms combined. It took six statements from leading Democratic politicians and applied those framings to each one.

For instance, a neutral statement would read: “President Biden is calling on Congress to make a historic and overdue investment in our roads, bridges, rail, ports, airports, and transit systems…” Framed in racial terms, it continued: “These investments will advance racial equity by providing better jobs and better transportation options to underserved communities.” 

As the chart shows below, support for each proposal was lower when it was framed in racial terms. By contrast, when it was framed in class terms, its appeal grew.

 

Perhaps unsurprisingly, race-explicit messaging deters independents and Republicans from the policy proposal, as the next chart shows:

More interesting, however, is the racial breakdown of the respondents. According to the study, black respondents are just as responsive to a class framing as they are to the race framing:

Which leads us to question, cui bono? If black respondents are no more drawn to a racial framing of the same issue than they are by a class framing, then why won’t Democrats focus their messaging on the latter? 

The problem, it would seem, lies with white liberals, who are more Left-wing than black and Hispanic Democrats on almost every issue: from taxes, law and healthcare to even racial issues. As Democrat strategist David Shor noted earlier this year, Joe Biden lost 2% of African-American support and 10% of Latino support compared to 2016 thanks, in large part, to liberal slogans like ‘Defund the Police’.

In the context of the upcoming midterm elections next year, this matters. Over the past 70 years, the incumbent party has gained seats in the House and Senate only twice, the last time being 2002. If non-white Democrats continue to leave the party at this rate, chances are that Joe Biden will be without a majority in Congress in 2022. What will that mean for the liberal agenda?

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Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
1 year ago

Most of what we hear is insulting and patronizing to blacks and offensive to whites, but that’s what happens when identity is a party’s animating force. The left here treats black people like some form of exotic wildlife rather than as individuals.
At some point, the shelf life of victimhood reaches its expiration date. Opportunities today are exponentially greater than generations ago, but grievance is more comfortable (and lucrative) for some than freedom. Freedom, of course, means making decisions but it also means being accountable for the results.

Brian Dorsley
Brian Dorsley
1 year ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

Well said.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
1 year ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

No one worries if it seems insulting or patronizing to minorities, they care that it is utterly contrived, agenda driven, false, wrong, and destructive to use the big lie to form policy.

Dorothy Slater
Dorothy Slater
1 year ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

Today it was announced that the FDA is going after menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars because 70% of blacks smoke menthol cigarettes as opposed to only 30% of whites . Smoking is now a”huge” health equity issue that the FDA is out to fix Turns out it is not just a race issues – it is also a “low education” issue which really puts the menthol smokers in their place.
It is unbelievable to me how blacks can put up with the whites in this country infantilizing them and insulting them as they try to fix the ever increasing equity issues.
Wish the FDA had gotten to my 15 year old son who had a 25 year long health issue smoking cigarettes. . They might have succeeded where I failed to get him to stop.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
1 year ago

The Biden administration is so totally insane I can only conclude they wish to destroy USA, maybe to then rebuild it in their ideal, but more likely just to destroy it.

The BLM Rioters burning, wrecking, injuring, for no purpose but to wreck – the Biden administration is using its powers in exactly the same cause.

Hardee Hodges
Hardee Hodges
1 year ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

The BLM rioters seem to have an excess of young white people of privilege who can well afford the time. The have found their cause and within their social group can enjoy their attack ‘on the man’. The use of 60’s B-52 peace signs only reminds us that they are missing their foreign war. Isn’t prosperity fun.

Cheryl Jones
Cheryl Jones
1 year ago

The thing that strikes me is that with all the unrest and violence and strife that we see where ‘racial injustice’ is at the centre, it just kind of demonstrates that all this multiculturalism and immigration has NOT brought any benefits. With white Britons as a minority and non white/non Britons of multiple stripes all mixing harmoniously together, London should be a veritable utopia shouldn’t it?? If white people are so irredeemably racist then it proves, surely, that the multicultural experiment and mass immigration was never going to be anything but a disaster, right? Immigrants choose to come here, surely some responsibility has to be put on them to accept the irredeemable racism of the West or make a different choice?

Johannes Kreisler
Johannes Kreisler
1 year ago
Reply to  Cheryl Jones

Always look at the state of the place the immigrant comes from. Because that will be the state of your place too if you let a critical mass of them in.
(Same applies to colonisation too – choose your coloniser well, and you may benefit from the experience. See “What did the Romans do for us“)

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
1 year ago

You make no distinction here between people and governments. So Chinese people introduce totalitarianism wherever they go?

Most studies and experience show that people willing to migrate are more go-getting, work harder than average. There are other issues of integration, especially 2nd generation so this isn’t an argument for unlimited immigration.

Johannes Kreisler
Johannes Kreisler
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

So Chinese people introduce totalitarianism wherever they go?

Of course not; much on the contrary. The Chinese flee a hellish communist regime, and they are the ones with legit asylum claims. That aside, China is historically one of the oldest, most civilised cultures on earth.
I was talking about black Africa in particular. And the rapidly devolving muslim world.

Johannes Kreisler
Johannes Kreisler
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

Most studies and experience show that people willing to migrate are more go-getting, work harder than average. 

Which studies are those, and among which immigrant groups were they conducted? Do you believe that “immigrant” is a species of its own, with common traits and characteristics? Which may be true for a French, Japanese, Estonian, Icelandic etc. immigrant will be wildly inaccurate for a Nigerian, Pakistani, Zimbabwean etc. immigrant.

Andrew Thompson
Andrew Thompson
1 year ago
Reply to  Cheryl Jones

I live in Nottingham and every single area/suburb they moved into and taken over they’ve dragged down around their knees. Parts of the city look like a third world country, dont give me this poverty excuse who was it once said ‘You’ve never had it so good’?

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
1 year ago
Reply to  Cheryl Jones

Modern Britain has its faults but isn’t a disaster. I live in London – ordinary people get along, inter marry, are largely law abiding etc.

Politicians and ideologues want to create and exacerbate divisions, that does not mean we should write off entire groups.

Johannes Kreisler
Johannes Kreisler
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

I don’t think anybody is talking about “entire groups”, there are always atypicals and outliers. It’s when a critical mass of an imported group (which doesn’t even need to be an absolute majority of said group) is detrimental to society’s wellbeing when you have to ask yourself what’s the point of having that imported group in society.

are largely law abiding

What’s your definition of “largely”.
I don’t really give a toss about blacks knifing blacks – it’s their “community business” -, except that it’s a major burden on the taxpayer-funded justice system (policing, courts, prisons etc.). And from time to time unblacks get caught up as victims of those who are not-so-largely law abiding. Some dead, many mugged, robbed, assaulted. Got any excuse for that?

Last edited 1 year ago by Johannes Kreisler
J Bryant
J Bryant
1 year ago

In the short term, the democrats can’t stop racializing everything. It’s what pushed them over the top in the recent national election. Currently, Biden is promoting massive spending bills and he has no choice but to hitch the messaging for those bills to the high level of energy in his party toward racial/equity issues.
He’s looking to maximize legislative achievements in the first few months of his administration before the shine wears off. This race-based strategy might alienate people in the longer term, but by then he hopes to have implemented the bulk of his legislative agenda. It will be up to the republicans to try to undo that legislation if they prevail in the midterms, and that will likely be an uphill task.

M Spahn
M Spahn
1 year ago
Reply to  J Bryant

I don’t think it’s what pushed them over the top, I think they won in spite of it. And it will be their undoing in the midterms, probably.

Gary Taylor
Gary Taylor
1 year ago

It’s disingenuous to frame this as a messaging/wording problem. The ‘progressives’ believe that MLK was deluded and the color-blind idea is racist. You can’t massage that away with more careful framing.

Ian Perkins
Ian Perkins
1 year ago
Reply to  Gary Taylor

MLK was in no way colour-blind, if that’s what you’re getting at. His children being judged by their character rather than their colour was very clearly and explicitly a part of his dream. The five-letter word which I am apparently not allowed to use here, from a Latin word for black, appears sixteen times in that famous speech.

R S Foster
R S Foster
1 year ago

…it’ll mean they are in trouble, and I – for one – will be pouring a large one. At some point somebody on the Left has to notice that…despite our allegedly being the vilest and most racist societies on earth…Non-White people will risk their very lives (in big numbers) to get themselves under the Union Flag (Old World) or Stars and Stripes (New World)…even from places where those Flags flew during my lifetime and apparently couldn’t be hauled down quickly enough (I’m 63)…

…as far as I can see “The UK/US are vile places full of white supremacists” and “Get to the UK/US at risk to your own life” can’t possibly both be true, and looking at the evidence it is the first that is incoherent nonsense…

Hardee Hodges
Hardee Hodges
1 year ago
Reply to  R S Foster

You are spoiling the narrative. Leave that curtain alone.

Johannes Kreisler
Johannes Kreisler
1 year ago
Reply to  R S Foster

I’ve seen a very good cartoon caricature depicting a group of black africans rushing towards the UK, with the caption “Let’s go to be oppressed!

Last edited 1 year ago by Johannes Kreisler
CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago

Until Mr Biden ‘gets a grip’ and has the killer of Ms Ashli Babbitt arrested & convicted, the US is not better than any other corrupt tinpot, third world, Banana Republic.
QED?

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
1 year ago

Crazy post, so you think you pile on wrongs to get a right? WT F would he need to be convicted of? A terrible thing, but it is what it was, cops have an unenviable job. Bus drivers sometimes kill people, it happens in their line of work handling a dangerous weapon where split second decisions kill or save – same as cops. Would you convict a bus driver who panicked and caused a fatal accident? Crime is when you wish to do a criminal thing, and there is no way I could find, beyond a reasonable doubt, this cop meant a crime.

rosie mackenzie
rosie mackenzie
1 year ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Would you ever dare say this when it is the other way round?

boroka
boroka
1 year ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Sick and sickening Nobody wants Ashli Babbit’s killer convicted out of hand (as the Left would love to do with ALL cops who shoot), but the privilege of hiding this killer’s name makes no sense.

John Standing
John Standing
1 year ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Babbit’s shooting wasn’t an accident. Was it. It was a murder and the murderer must face justice for his crime.
You appear to have no common sense at all.

Stephen Rose
Stephen Rose
1 year ago

The white members among the Democratics need the framing, the catechism. Inchant to recant, it is how they can justify and maintain their dominance in a party, while simultaneously accepting the iniquity of their white privilege. “Hi, my name is Joe and I’m a recovering white person” When will the scales fall from the voters eyes.

Daphne A
Daphne A
1 year ago
Reply to  Stephen Rose

Well, I’m a lifelong Democrat, or should I say that I was a lifelong Democrat. But events of the past year have driven me out. I’m not interested in harassment of people because of their race, including white people. I’m not interested in a government that puts its citizens under house arrest without trial. I’ve discovered my inner libertarian, but it seems to have left me without a party to vote for, especially since I currently live in the UK where the house arrest was instituted by a supposedly libertarian prime minister.

Dorothy Slater
Dorothy Slater
1 year ago
Reply to  Daphne A

Don’t move back to the US especially Oregon where we, as of today, are again under house arrest for three months. I wish all of the protestors would march in the streets against that . I would even march with them.

Terry M
Terry M
1 year ago

“If black respondents are no more drawn to a racial framing of the same issue than they are by a class framing, then why won’t Democrats focus their messaging on the latter? ”
Simple, Dems consider blacks to be mere children who must be catered to in order to keep their votes. In their hearts (and actions) they embrace Al Campanis’ comment that blacks “may not have some of the necessities” for leadership, or even to get a photo ID to vote. They are, and have always been, a racist party.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
1 year ago
Reply to  Terry M

To quote LBJ “I’ll have those ******* voting Democrat for the next 200 years”

boroka
boroka
1 year ago

Labeling / libeling is the favorite blunt instrument of today’s Left.

Don Gaughan
Don Gaughan
1 year ago

The marriage of self hating irrational neurotic guilt liberals and discredited obsolete marxist dogma that forms the fanatical intolerant truthless woke left progressive mob forcing its defunct Soviet tyraany on the free democracies and peoples of the west is a bizzare and serious reversal/ threat to the evoloution of western civilisation.
Take a good look, and they are more verifiabely guilty of everthing they falsely accuse .
The left fail because they apply their artifical fabricated self contradictory dogma myopically ignoring human nature.
While we recognise the truthless hypocrisies and fanatical malice ,pathological indifference to the pains/ violations/ damage they inflict, the totalitarian tyranny they impose, the question now is what are we going to do about it.

Last edited 1 year ago by Don Gaughan
Ian Perkins
Ian Perkins
1 year ago

“The problem, it would seem, lies with white liberals, who are more Left-wing …”
Not according to this excellent thinker, a lifelong marxist, who sees it as neoliberalism writ large – and I thoroughly agree. The problem is not that the liberals, Democrats and wokeists are left at all; quite the contrary, they want to make the existing order appear just and acceptable through diversity in inequality:
“What can ultimately ensue is an ideal of society such that if 1% of the population controls 90% of the resources, as long as that 1% were apportioned in a way that more or less faithfully reflects the composition of different ascriptive groups within the population, then that society could be considered just. That is to say, if the 1% were [approximately] half women, 12% Black, 14% to 15% Hispanic, et cetera, it would be a just society, even though 90% of the people are getting the short end of the stick. That’s the logic of a neoliberal notion of social justice.”
Adolph Reed Jr.: The Perils of Race Reductionism, JSTOR – not too long, and perhaps a good antidote for those who conflate wokeism with marxism or socialism.

Last edited 1 year ago by Ian Perkins
John Standing
John Standing
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Perkins

“Wokism” is the latest form of political correctness, which is the attempt to impose cultural Marxism on white populations. Those groups which seek global control adopt cultural Marxism because the levelling of humanity underpins its own position in perpetuity. They include global banks and corporations and the neoliberal internationalists who pimp for them.

Last edited 1 year ago by John Standing
Ian Perkins
Ian Perkins
1 year ago
Reply to  John Standing

I know it’s called cultural Marxism, but I’ve always had trouble seeing what’s marxist about it.

John Standing
John Standing
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Perkins

The dissolution of the pillars of the life of European-descended peoples.

Ian Perkins
Ian Perkins
1 year ago
Reply to  John Standing

Social media are often credited with having a similar effect, but that doesn’t make them marxist.

vince porter
vince porter
1 year ago

The colors that attract working class voters are red and white – meat and potatoes. A political party that forgets that loses them.

William Hickey
William Hickey
1 year ago

The Myth of the Conservative Black Democrat reappears.

It’s amazing, isn’t it? Polls are cited and pundits are quoted to support the idea that black voters really, really, really are moderates on domestic issues. They reject, we are told, the over-racializing of our politics.

But it was two black corporate chieftains, Parsons and Chenault, who spearheaded the racialized business boycott of Georgia over election reform.

A poll last week by CBS News said 82% of blacks favored either “major changes” or a “complete overhaul” of US policing.

The new mayor of predominantly black and declining St. Louis, MO was the most progressive black candidate.

Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar easily won their primaries and elections against more conservative opponents, as did all other challenged members of the Squad.

Blacks continue to provide large majorities for Soros-backed DAs around the country, many of whom are black.

Blacks voted 9 to 1 for the Democrat in the 2020 presidential race, maintaining a decades-long trend. It doesn’t matter who the GOP nominates.

Barack Obama lost one election in his career, to former Black Panther Bobby Rush.

The late congressman “Icon” John Lewis , as well as the rest of the Congressional Black Caucus, were and are fully on board with the progressive agenda. Several members are its most fervent advocates, including Maxine Waters and Barbara Lee. Although any black could win majority-black CBC districts, none ever swing “conservative.” They get more and more Woke.

Black conservatives have no standing in the black community. From Clarence Thomas to Allen West to Kim Klasik, they are anathema in the community and at the polls. Tim Scott couldn’t get elected dog catcher in black parts of Charleston. Black Republicans only win in white electorates where any Republican is a lock.

Blacks are the invaluable and irreplaceable shock troops of progressivism. Conservatives seeking support would be wiser to recognize that and look elsewhere in the multi-national flophouse that immigration has made America.

Last edited 1 year ago by William Hickey
opop anax
opop anax
1 year ago

I wouldn’t worry. There are plenty of ways to win an “election” without fretting about how people vote.

Last edited 1 year ago by opop anax