For the first time, the Democrats are abandoning white working-class voters and will instead try to win in 2012 by strengthening a coalition of elite liberals and poor minorities, according to New York Times columnist Thomas Edsall.
All pretense of trying to win a majority of the white working class has been effectively jettisoned in favor of cementing a center-left coalition made up, on the one hand, of voters who have gotten ahead on the basis of educational attainment -- professors, artists, designers, editors, human resources managers, lawyers, librarians, social workers, teachers and therapists -- and a second, substantial constituency of lower-income voters who are disproportionately African-American and Hispanic.
Edsall says that white voters without college degrees are "an unattainable cohort."
Ruy Texiera, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress said, "[t]he Republican Party has become the party of the white working class" especially after that demographic broke abandoned the Democrats by a 30-point margin in 2010.
Identity politics is a practical way to secure victory, but does not bode well for the unity of the country. When a party pursues a particular demographic group, it wants to promise them things, namely handouts paid for by taxpayers.
A top priority of the less affluent wing of today's left alliance is the strengthening of the safety net, including health care, food stamps, infant nutrition and unemployment compensation.
On the flip side, a party that has no use for a particular demographic ignores it. It stops reaching out to it, stops running candidates that appeal to them, and stops talking about issues they care about. Now that Democrats are abandoning the white middle-class, guess who is going to get the checks in the mail from Democratic administrations and guess who'll be paying for them. The Democratic Party is saying, in effect, "Vote for us and we'll give you their money." And they said George W. Bush was divisive?
Republicans and Democrats used to be divided on economic lines. The Democrats of 20th century supported the little guy--the union workers and the farmers--while the Republicans were the party of Wall Street bankers and CEOs. Now, it's increasingly looking like the Democrats are pursuing voters solely because of their race. If the political divide in the coming years is drawn along racial lines only, then the country is headed for serious trouble.