Roseville, CA: Prima Publishing, Yet it is not a Christian book. Nor is the author a Christian. Though a feminist and lesbian, she criticizes feminism and the gay agenda, saying they have lost their way. Originally NOW fought for equal rights for women.
Today it fights for supremacy and domination. Originally the gay movement fought against abuse and mistreatment. Today the gay movement wants special privileges. It means your mouth will drop because you will be shocked. Bruce shows that it is terribly evil and moving kids to rape and murder and brutality. I thought movies and TV and the media had a liberal agenda, but their effectiveness was fairly small. Bruce shows that I highly underestimated their influence and power in our society.
The author reveals how secular universities today are teaching kids to check their brains at the entrance of the school. That left her facing a cantankerous, aging democratic socialist with a small following. Even Sanders—a luftmensch who ran his operation with about the same attentiveness he brings to getting dressed—seemed to doubt the potential of his own candidacy. A year before the first primary, he told Elizabeth Warren that he would cease his campaign preparations if she wanted to run.
But Warren demurred.
See a Problem?
Sanders, however, would prove a flummoxing rival. To win the Democratic presidential nomination, it helps to secure the African American vote. But another path to victory involves rallying white voters with a populist bent. This can create an uncomfortable dynamic in presidential primaries, where race vies with class to become the defining concern of the party. Politicians rarely vocalize the tension. But the socialism of Bernie Sanders—which hindered his efforts to explain the centrality of race to American life—made this split less subterranean than usual.
Of course, Hillary Clinton would have preferred to avoid an argument about the primacy of race versus class. But African American voters provided her the surest path to primary victory. They gravitated to her, in no small measure out of loyalty to Obama. He never dedicated himself to making meaningful inroads with African American or Latino voters, and so Clinton doubled down. After she lost New Hampshire in February, she began traveling with the grieving mothers of Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, and other African American casualties of violence.
Criminal-justice issues became an elevated feature of her standard pitch. This was an inversion of the primary campaign. The Democrats had slowly transformed themselves since the s, when working-class voters of every ethnicity had been reliable constituents. As the party had shed white southerners, it had trodden less tentatively on issues of race. That direction suited white urban professionals, who considered themselves tolerant members of a globalized world.
Sanders hardly represented a mortal threat to her nomination, but his campaign did real damage to her chances in November. Alert to her flaws, he portrayed her as a greedy insider, tightly tethered to Goldman Sachs—an image that would reappear in the closing ads Trump ran against her.
Clinton, meanwhile, could hardly take the African American vote for granted—a worrying number of black Millennials distrusted her, and some blamed her husband for ushering in the age of mass incarceration. She needed to prove the authenticity of her critique of that system, which meant she returned to that issue far more than any strategist focused on a general election would have deemed prudent. The extent of their loathing was surprising—she polled far worse with them than Obama ever had, especially in states like Ohio and Iowa.
Trump compounded her challenge. From the moment he announced his candidacy, he aimed his message at the white working class. He pursued that group with steadfastness. Her campaign theorized that dentists, accountants, and middle managers needed to fully understand how Donald Trump surrounded himself with bigots and anti-Semites. Trump had spent the entirety of his campaign trying to foment a culture war, and Clinton zealously joined it. She never fully met her most important political challenge: the need to both celebrate multiculturalism and also cushion the backlash against the celebration.
All the while, as Clinton groped for a summation, Trump never veered from the words stitched onto his red hat. Democratic presidential candidates have traditionally closed on a populist note, arguing that while Republicans are for the rich, Democrats fight for the working stiff. The pitch might sound hackneyed, but it has a solid record of bolstering support. Nonetheless, neither Clinton nor her campaign manager, Robby Mook, had any apparent interest in that appeal.
One Clinton adviser describes watching drafts of speeches begin with a strong populist message. But with each revision, as the drafts advanced to the highest reaches of the campaign, those lines would steadily weaken and then disappear. So instead of having to rebut the traditional Democratic attack, Donald Trump came to own it. He ran ads that portrayed Clinton as a puppet of Wall Street. While Clinton sought to copy Barack Obama, his example in fact suggested a more nuanced approach. Even though many on the left have come to consider him an avatar of the neoliberal establishment, Obama ran two of the most populist campaigns in recent American history.
And where Clinton found herself bogged down in the quagmire of a culture war, Obama had stepped around such debates.
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Indeed, his most effective ads against Romney sympathetically portrayed precisely those voters and blamed the Republican nominee for their suffering. He spoke of his desire to broker a compromise on immigration—an issue he framed as a matter of good governance. His campaign explicitly targeted rural counties. That blue wall, of course, turned out to be less sound than Democrats allowed themselves to understand.
In an election so close, any number of explanations for defeat are plausible. White voters without college educations remain a vast voting bloc—especially important to Democrats in Senate races and in contests to control state governments. But if the county was a trope, it became so thanks to the work of Stanley Greenberg. Once upon a time, Macomb was a testament to the force of the New Deal, a vision of middle-class life made possible by the fruits of American industry.
The county rewarded Democrats for this prosperity in overwhelming numbers. John F. Kennedy carried it with 63 percent of the vote. But over the years, Macomb grew distant from the party, and then furious with it. Greenberg is diminutive and prone to mumbling. But in the small focus groups he convened in the backs of restaurants and in hotel conference rooms, his style yielded brutal candor.
Many political analysts who puzzled over Democratic losses described how the backlash against the civil-rights era had propelled white voters away from liberalism, but none gave racism quite the same centrality as Greenberg did. Denizens of Macomb—the county was 97 percent white—did little to disguise their animosity.
African Americans, they complained, had benefited at their expense. Their tax dollars were funding a welfare state that plowed money into black communities, while politicians showed no concern for their own plight. That plight was real: The auto industry, which provided the undergirding for middle-class life in Michigan, had collapsed in the face of foreign competition.
Bill Clinton hired him in , and in his presidential campaign he spoke directly to the racial anxieties revealed in the focus groups. Clinton distanced himself from the welfare state, which he damned as bloated and inefficient. He promised to pour money into the middle class itself, through tax cuts and spending on education and health care. The strategy that Bill Clinton pursued worked, eroding the Republican advantage in the county. Then Barack Obama won Macomb in , the first of his two victories there. That was a wishful farewell.
When Greenberg traveled to Michigan in February, to conduct his first focus groups in Macomb in nearly a decade, he was genuinely unsure of what he might find. To probe their disaffection, Greenberg pulled together voters who, for the most part, had defected from Obama to Trump, who had gone from voting for the first African American president to siding with his racist successor.
I joined him as an observer. When they figure out that they all belong to the same politically incorrect tribe, the shock of familiarity and solidarity, like a shot of whiskey, frees the conversation of inhibition, especially since many feel the stigma of supporting Trump. Over the years, Greenberg had heard the worst from Macomb.
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The mere mention of Detroit would send people into paroxysms of rage. When the moderator mentioned Flint, the largely African American city whose drinking water had been steeped in lead, the focus groups professed sympathy for the community. The lack of angry responses seemed to shock Greenberg.
Prejudice, however, remained very real. The old complaints about African Americans had affixed themselves to immigrants. Dearborn, which has a thriving Muslim immigrant community, is a short drive away. When asked to explain their greatest hopes for Trump, many cited his promise to build a border wall. There was a strong element of self-loathing in the hostile view of immigrants.
A year-old woman described her work as a cashier at Kroger. That they exist on par with newcomers to the country feels like a betrayal of what they thought to be the natural order. Many of the voters Greenberg had gathered seemed beyond the grasp of any plausible Democratic appeal, their hatred of immigrants racialized, paranoid, and unshakable. But not everyone harbored those convictions. To test their view of multiculturalism, Greenberg played a Coca-Cola ad that had aired a few weeks earlier, during the Super Bowl.
Plenty of people objected to it. But the ad also seemed to have performed its intended trick, spurring a patriotic appreciation for the ethnic patchwork of the country. The anger directed at the ad was counteracted by defenses of it. The focus groups were designed to probe for weakness in Trumpism, to test lines of attack that might neutralize his appeal. His moderator asked the subjects whether it worried them that Trump had stocked his administration with Wall Street chieftains.
The spectacle of Democratic elites flagellating themselves for their growing distance from these voters has the whiff of the comic—the office-tower anthropologists seeking to understand Appalachia from their Kindles. If the stagnation of the middle class and the self-reinforcing advantages of the rich are among the largest issues of our time, the Democrats have done a bad job of attuning themselves to them. The party that has prided itself on representing regular people has struggled to make a dent in the problem—and at times has given the impression of indifference to it. A healthy party, arguably, ought never to write off a whole category of voters.
Anita Dunn, the communications czar in the early days of the Obama White House, told me in March that a group of party insiders had recently met socially and compiled a list of potential contenders, both those actively exploring a run and those who were likely mulling the idea. Donald Trump profited from such a densely populated Republican field in , which raises the possibility of an outsider similarly prevailing in a many-sided melee among Democrats. The current politics of the Democratic Party make it less likely than usual that the nominee will be a centrist in the traditional mold.
That was the natural cycle of politics: Getting repeatedly clubbed by conservatives suggested trekking in a more conservative direction.
Are Liberals on the Wrong Side of History?
But as a candidate, Trump placed little priority on traditional conservative positions, and often flouted them. A self-proclaimed democratic socialist captured 43 percent of the primary vote. Then Trump was elected, an event that was received by the party as a catastrophe and that has extended the activist spirit to a far broader audience. Anger and activism are an opportunity for Democrats to grow their nucleus of supporters motivated to vote in midterm elections.
The main question is whether those energies will be channeled in a way that reinforces the long-building demographic divide in American politics or in a way that—at least to some extent—blurs it.
Or to put it another way: whether the Democrats accept the continued outflow of the white working class into the arms of the GOP as a fait accompli, or whether they try to stanch it. There are in fact two different lefts in bloom today, with differing understandings of American politics. One strain practices what its detractors call identity politics—it exists to combat the bias and discrimination that it believes is built into the system.
It squares, for the most part, with the worldview of socially liberal whites, and is given wind by the idea that demography is destiny. It has a theory of the electorate that suits its interests: It wants the party to focus its attentions on Texas and Arizona—states that have growing percentages of Latinos and large pockets of suburban professionals. These states are also said to represent an opportunity because the party has failed to maximize nonwhite turnout there. It celebrates the openness and interdependence embodied in both globalization and multiculturalism.
While this cultural left has sprung into vogue, the economic left has also been reenergized. It has finally recovered from a long abeyance, a wilderness period brought on by the decay of organized labor and the libertarian turn of the post—Cold War years. While the cultural left champions a coalition of the ascendant, the economic left imagines a coalition of the despondent. It seeks to roll back the dominance of finance, to bust monopolies, to curb the predations of the market. It wants to ply back the white working-class voters—clustered in the upper Midwest—whom Greenberg deemed persuadable.
Neither strain of activism has much disagreement with the broad goals of the other. On paper, they can peaceably coexist within the same platform. But political parties can have only one main theory of the electorate at any given time—and the prevailing theory tends to prioritize one ideology. The tensions between the cultural left and the economic left were evident in the last Democratic primary, and they have persisted. In a November talk after the election, Bernie Sanders railed against identity politics with an abandon that would have been foolish on the campaign trail.
In a way, this squabbling is a prelude to the next presidential primary, a contest that will be packed with candidates, each attempting to show him- or herself as the truest champion of minorities or women or the working and middle classes. Seeking victory, candidates will accuse their competitors of not authentically believing in the cause they themselves elevate most highly. The semiotics of Cory Booker are highly intentional.
He is the embodiment of the Obama coalition—his moderate economic views comfort professionals while his pursuit of racial justice pleases the cultural left. Just before making my way to Booker, I had met with Bernie Sanders.
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Interviewing Sanders requires some fortification—and my exchange ended when he peremptorily dismissed me from his office for asking a question about his political relationship with Elizabeth Warren. Sanders had expected Warren to endorse him in the primary, and her failure to do so sent him into a funk.
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But Booker waved this argument away. Booker said that he has no interest in high-minded discussions about the future of the party and pointed to the map on the wall. The term itself bothered him, he said: Too many people were throwing it around without bothering to define what they meant by it. Identity politics might make for a fair description of the environment on some college campuses.
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