One of the best commentators today, MSNBC's Joy Ann Reid is not afraid to tell the truth to the people who think that Democrats will win if they just offer white working class voters single-payer healthcare. In her appearance on The Daily Show this week, she explained to Trevor Noah exactly what's bedeviling the Democrats right now. The whole interview can be seen here and is well worth your time, but the video below is of the most relevant excerpt, some of which I've quoted below:
NOAH: You would think, in any other time, in any other place, going up against Donald Trump would mean you are a shoo-in...and yet it feels like the Democrats themselves are experiencing rifts, they're experiencing a lack of focus. It doesn't seem like there is a concrete message that's going to move them forward.
REID: The Democrats...are now a party that are looking for consensus, and they're looking for it so desperately that they never come up with a coherent frame for themselves.
NOAH: What do you mean when you say that?
REID: Because Democrats, although they understand, I think, deep down that they are the party of black and brown people, of gay people, of marginalized people...they still long to be the party of the...Pabst Blue Ribbon voter...the Coors Lite-drinking voter.
NOAH: Could they not be both? Why could they not be both?
REID: Because those voters are Republicans...that vote has migrated from being a Democratic Party vote to being a Republican Party vote, and Democrats haven't accepted it...The way I put it is this way: people say, "Why do people vote against their economic interests? Why don't they vote values?" Democrats vote against their economic interests! If you live in New York, and you make New York salary, you're voting against your economic interests whenever you vote for Democrats...why do you think people on the other side don't do the same? They're not voting because of economics; they're voting because the Republican Party represents their values. They don't care about economics.
Why the DNC is doing such a poor job with fundraising right now? It's because of moves like the ill-fated Unity Tour with Tom Perez and Bernie Sanders, or the endless debates over whether to replace primaries with caucuses, led by people like Nomiki Konst, who have no business being in the Democratic Party. But given the longevity of Bernie Sanders's primary campaign last year, and the Democrats' failure to win in the rust belt states of Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, the party feels that doubling down on economic populism, and listening to Bernie's backers, is the way to go forward. In doing so, they are ignoring their true base - namely women, POC, and LGBTQs, all of whom favor the Democratic Party by massive numbers.
The best way forward, as Reid later goes on to point out, is to register more voters of color and put states into play like Arizona, Georgia, Florida and yes, Texas, the subject of Mother Jones's cover story this month. I'd recommend reading that, and also Steven Phillips's Brown is the New White. If you're an organizer who believes the changing demographics of America are key to the Democrats' future, it's critical to remember that voter registration and strong grassroots work is the key to getting the Republicans out of office in 2018 and 2020.
And also, keep following and watching Joy Ann Reid. MSNBC, if you're reading this, please give her a permanent primetime slot, and soon.
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