The Democratic National Convention (DNC) just finished. For four nights, the lineup of speakers highlighted an increasingly diverse country that could soon see the first female president.
There was a major problem with the four-day event. The stream of women, African-Americans, Latinos and gay Americans served as a reminder of the party's struggle to relate to white heterosexual males.
Vice-President Joe Biden confronted the reality Wednesday. The Veep said on MSNBC that the party "has done the right thing for white working-class voters, but has regrettably not spoken to them".
Guns, Gays, and God
The "three G's" are pushing men into Donald Trump's corner.
Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi recently told PBS's Judy Woodruff that "Guns, gays, and God" are foreign to Democratic ideology. Pelosi also said that the only way Clinton can counter the migration is to have "an economic agenda for creating jobs, good-paying jobs and increasing paychecks."
White Working-Class Males Don't Feel "The Privilege."
Hillary Clinton, the Democratic choice, has a struggle with one group: white working-class males.
Donald Trump has co-opted a message that fits with this crowd. With a populist note, he has left behind key components of the Republican program that injured the party with white-working class Democrats.
It is conceivable that numerous white working-class men don't feel privileged. From many people's perspective, the Democratic Party may resemble a political patronage operation - affirmative action, migration and "political correctness."
Imagine that you are a white male who left college because the tuition was not manageable. You worked in construction, but many of those jobs have disappeared. At the moment you are unemployed, possibly have child support, debts backing up and family members with mounting problems of their own.
You drive an old beater of a car that has one tail light broken — because you can't afford to get it fixed. The tail light means you often get stopped by law enforcement.
If this were your situation, could you relate to a faction that settled on white right as the core of its social vision?
Of course not. Doing so would appear at variance with the struggling white people in your network. It would signify that failure presents you as a special kind of a loser and shift the locus on race to the exclusion of other factors.
Then, you view the Democratic National Convention where Michelle Obama, Cory Booker and other people of color, who are more fortunate than your peers, take the spotlight. And they tell you that YOU are the privileged one.
Despite the care the DNC used to manage this message, it is still connected in the memories of working-class white males with the verbose excesses of a college campus and personality politics.
While Hillary and her agents trumpet uplifting messages for black voters, for Latinos, for gays and lesbians and undocumented immigrants — do they have any uplifting message for white working-class men lacking college degrees?
It's The Economy, Stupid
White men makeup roughly a third of the presidential electorate and could be crucial to Trump's campaign in Rust Belt states which have seen a decline in the middle class. They could also be the deciding factor in battleground states like Virginia and Florida: states that President Obama won twice.
When James Carville managed Bill Clinton's campaign in the early 90s, he placed a sign in the central office: "It's the economy stupid."
That's not a cliche. It is fact. Many times, white, working-class males have voted Republican. Some of them were never going to vote Democratic anyway.