The Left’s Elusive Voters: The Anglo – American Case

  • ORIENTUL EXTINS
  • 0
  • 322 Views
  • 3 September 2017

Anyone paying attention to the US Senate race in 2018 will know the Democrats have a huge problem on their hands; most seats up for reelection are not just held by Democrat incumbents, they are in states that Donald Trump carried by large margins.

Across the pond this summer, those paying attention (who are not die hard Jeremy Corbyn fans) can also point to why Labour lost; they didn’t talk to the middle classes or what I sentimentally refer to as ‘pub dads’.

In 2015, Labour suffered its worst loss since the 1980s, with one of the main reasons cited its failure to connect with working class voters. Many switched over to UKIP or the Conservatives feeling that Labour was no longer on their side.

The uncomfortable truth for Labour (and the Democrats) is at any given time, a third of working class voters are socially conservative. The kind who might put up an England flag for sports games and leave it there. They talk about values and think they are the only people who do any work. What’s more, is that that work is being exploited meanwhile those in the city are getting all the benefits. Even those who cannot afford to rent a tiny room in Hackney.

As horrible as it may seem, the so-called fly over states and postindustrial parts of Britain live lives that center around not very much at all. You will catch them in the pub or working men’s clubs of a weekend pouring their wages into a fruit machine and explaining why West Ham’s manager should be them and how they almost went professional. Labour doesn’t seem all that interested in such people. In the televised debates in Britain’s last election, two ‘pub dads’ asked Corbyn about nuclear weapons and immigration. All they needed to hear him say was yes, I feel your crazy, of course I would bomb the hell out of that country you cannot find on a map and wouldn’t let their refugees in afterwards. He couldn’t even do that.

But read Labour’s manifesto, and it offered nothing to the middle classes either. Whether Corbyn fans like it or not, Labour won’t win again without them. Seats in rural England mean more than those in Scotland and Wales. Another election may happen again soon and though Corbyn sits ahead in the polls, Labour wouldn’t win these votes back if this election were tomorrow.

The answer to getting and keeping such voters actually lies in Trump country. Red-state Democrats are all mindful of their tight Senate races, and their game plan is quite simple; this isn’t a national election, it is a local one. Joe Manchin of West Virginia (where Trump won by a 46% margin) is sticking to coal and guns. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota is a folksie prairie gal, Jon Tester of Montana has been taking steaks to DC whereas Claire McCaskill is, as a recent radio ad stated, “a daughter of rural Missourah.”

This is a different kind of identity politics that the DNC would rather not touch, yet their unenviable position in 2018 means it cannot but allow such candidates to distance themselves from the party; Obamacare and climate change won’t get them re-elected here.

The most ambitious race for the Democrats and certainly the one to watch would be Texas. The Democrats haven’t won a statewide election here since 1994. Who is the Democrat opponent to ultra conservative gun, oil and Jesus loving Ted Cruz? A three term liberal progressive congressional representative from El Paso who is presentable, charismatic and fluent in Spanish, named Beto O’Rourke.

What could a liberal running in deep red Texas possibly have to offer? In his own word, bi-partisanship. Working with Republicans across the aisle to get things done for Texas in Washington. He isn’t using a PAC, is getting no backing from the DNC and Texas Democrats are extremely unorganised. His answer is to do a Bernie Sanders; travel, listen, rally, raise money, repeat. He hasn’t specifically attacked Cruz yet either.

Cruz certainly cannot claim success in bi-partisanship and most of the GOP dislike him. His fellow Texas Senator, John Cornyn, won’t even endorse him. Cruz is also quite unpopular in Texas for a variety of reasons. While not a suicide mission, O’Rourke is certainly in an uphill battle, but one that should be taken seriously and one the left across the pond ought tolook into.

If Labour wants to get back middle class voters and pub dads, it too should localise elections more to suit the constituency. That means not being ashamed to fly the English flag occasionally or go to a farmer’s market for kale and cheese. Listening to constituents might be old fashioned, but it works better than any rhetoric could.

These constituents need to be beyond likely voters, as well. That’s why Red state Democrats aren’t pursuing a liberal message; they’ve already won those voters and that battle. As Missouri’s McCaskill told Politico, winning isn’t just travelling from St. Louis to Kansas City with stops in Columbia, nor is it solely talking to Fox News or MSNBC viewers; it means talking to Dancing with the Stars viewers.

People may not, in principle, be opposed to re-nationalisation, and raising the minimum wage is the right thing to do. The problem is nobody wants to earn the minimum wage. What happens when truck drivers eventually lose their jobs to driverless vehicles? More to the point, Labour’s manifesto, however left wing it was, did not really talk about ‘kitchen table problems’.The left both sides of the Atlantic needs to be mindful of the future and those issues discussed at the kitchen table so that the majority feel included.

The message can be as ideologically pure as you like and the campaign extremely hard fought. If it fails to hit home, it makes no difference.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

A Russian History Lesson

  • 0
  • 336 Views
  • 7 September 2018

History has long been an object of reform since the collapse of the USSR. It has been used as an impetus for championing democratic change and explaining the chaos of the Russian Federation’s first decade. In addition, it is an important part of Vladimir Putin’s policy rhetoric to champion Russia’s ‘great powerness’ (derzhavnost’).

In the last twenty-eight years, history in schools has journeyed from one single view en

citește mai mult

Russia – four paintings from July

  • 0
  • 298 Views
  • 20 July 2018

The World Cup Is Over – What’s Next For Russia?

This was a successful world cup on many fronts. The Russian people showed the world a different side to themselves often overlooked in the media – one that was welcoming, warm and hospitable. It was a world cup where some of the ‘non-traditional’ broke through. It was well organised and greatly received by the fans at home and abroad.

citește mai mult

Russians Love Flowers, It Isn’t A Putin Thing

  • 0
  • 452 Views
  • 26 May 2018

When my mother came to visit me in Moscow, one of the first things she noticed was the amount of 24-hour florists everywhere. Flower etiquette is of particular importance in Russia. Simply put, you won’t survive here without it.

I write this piece because to anyone who knows anything about Russia, Putin presenting flowers to world leaders and their spouses is not altogether surprising.

The f

citește mai mult

Azebaijan, cheia geostrategică a Asiei Centrale

  • 0
  • 446 Views
  • 13 February 2018

După destrămarea URSS, Azerbaijanul a fost statul ex-sovietic care alături de    republicile Baltice a avut o dezvoltare constantă și durabilă. Desigur, aici pot fi adresate unele critici regimului de la Baku cu privire la democrație, care în opinia multor analiști este doar mimată la Baku. Însă faptul adevărat este că acest stat a reușit să își gestioneze eficient resursele de care dispune pentru a deveni o societate prosperă. I se atribuie Azerbaijanului etichet

citește mai mult

What Can Democrats Learn From Alabama’s Doug Jones?

  • 0
  • 452 Views
  • 30 November 2017

In ordinary circumstances, Doug Jones would already be preparing to move to Washington DC. The former prosecutor famous for convicting KKK members for a church bombing is up against gay bashing, God and gun lovin’, twice kicked out of elected office, Judge Roy Moore. A man who has eight accusers of sexual assault, all of whom were underage at the time of the allegations.

Yet, if one looks at all the recent polls, they show a ti

citește mai mult

Azerbaidjanul, petrolul și românii

  • 0
  • 1032 Views
  • 7 October 2016

Întotdeauna, statele sunt nevoite să își apere poziția pe marea tablă a geopoliticii, uitându-se cu grijă la vecini, dar și la puterile regionale. Această regulă presupune nu doar poziția ofensivă, ci și valorificare atuurilor, astfel încât să devină piese care contează pe „câmpul de analiză”, iar nu elemente neglijabile, care sunt măturate dintr-o dată de cei ce au suficientă putere să mânuiască piesele.

Caucazul, ca regiune geopolitică, nu face nici ea excepție

citește mai mult

Falii și axe geopolitice de impact pentru securitatea globală (II)

  • 0
  • 171 Views
  • 26 September 2018

  1. Statele Unite ale Americii: de la puterea globală la superputerea într-o lume multipolară

Mai întâi de toate SUA în perioada lui Donald Trump și-au însușit o abordare neoconservatoare în proiecțiile sale geopolitice. Spre exemplu, în viziunea strategică a lui Holms – de la Fundația Heritage, Statele Unite trebuie să se repoziționeze confor

citește mai mult

Falii și axe geopolitice de impact pentru securitatea globală (I)

  • 0
  • 273 Views
  • 15 September 2018

Introducere

Geopolitica se ocupă de istoria frontierelor și a diverselor regimuri pe care le are aceasta, utilizând conceptul de frontieră, graniță, izobare, etc. Și aici se relevă o luptă a formelor geografice, construite și proiectate în afara resurselor politice și ale puterii[1]. Teoria frontierei a istoricului american F.G.Terner a devenit una referințală în mediul geop

citește mai mult

Falii si axe geopolitice de impact pentru securitatea globala (I)

  • 0
  • 37 Views
  • 14 September 2018

Introducere Geopolitica se ocupă de istoria frontierelor și a diverselor regimuri pe care le are aceasta, utilizând conceptul de frontieră, graniță, izobare, etc. Și aici se relevă o luptă a formelor geografice, construite și proiectate în afara resurselor politice și ale puterii[1]. Teoria frontierei a istoricului american F.G.Terner a devenit una referințală în mediul geopolitic, ea fiind însușită și obținând o dublă semnificație citește mai mult