Friday, February 24, 2017
Some Democrats Are Waking Up
There are three reasons I think it’s shortsighted to direct liberal fury at the entire mass of Trump voters, a complicated (and, yes, diverse) group of 63 million people.
First, stereotyping a huge slice of America as misogynist bigots is unfair and impairs understanding. Hundreds of thousands of those Trump supporters had voted for Barack Obama. Many are themselves black, Latino or Muslim. Are they all bigots?
Second, demonizing Trump voters feeds the dysfunction of our political system. One can be passionate about one’s cause, and fight for it, without contributing to political paralysis that risks making our country ungovernable.
Tolerance is a liberal value; name-calling isn’t. This raises knotty questions about tolerating intolerance, but is it really necessary to start with a blanket judgment writing off 46 percent of voters?
The third reason is tactical: It’s hard to win over voters whom you’re insulting.
You have to love the double standard, self congratulation inherent in the sentences about tolerance, which is not merely a liberal value, it is a human value to be encouraged as often as it is reasonable. If it wasn't for double standards the left might have no standards at all. Who died and made them the arbiters of what is tolerance and what isn't? If it is bad for Republicans to be intolerant, it is equally bad for Democrats to be intolerant.
But on the bright side, Kristof seems to be getting a clue that "Vote for me you bitter-clinger, deplorable racists!" is not the best campaign slogan ever invented. He warns his fellow Democrats not to do that any more. Good luck with that, Nick.
As Glenn Reynolds points out, the Democrats' undeserved feeling of superiority to the stupid and evil Republicans is one of benefits of being a Democrat
But here is the strange part. He writes:
If Democrats want to battle voter suppression, it's crucial to win local races -- including in white, working-class districts in Ohio, Wisconsin and elsewhere.
What? What voter suppression? Requiring all voters to produce a photo ID? Are you talking about passing laws, completely constitutional (see Crawford v. Marion Count Election Board, 553 U.S. 181 (2008)), which don't appear to stop anyone entitled to vote from voting? Is that the voter suppression you're talking about here?
You really have to be a racist deep down in your heart to think that black Americans, and other Democrat voter blocs, are less capable of getting a photo ID, an essential document for leading a normal life in the 21st Century, than white people and other Republican voters are.
But that tired, racist accusation is not the weird part. How in the world will winning local races, especially in white working-class districts in some states, battle the mythical voter suppression? It might be a formula for ending the current trend of ever fewer Democrats in public office, but how it specifically does anything to stop voter ID laws is a complete mystery.
The reason Democrats are losing is so clear it must take considerable effort for Democrats not to see it. The party has gone too far to the left for a majority of most states' voters. But you see in Kristof's plea to stop the name calling the Vital Lie the Democrats are constantly telling themselves. The tell themselves that we didn't lose because we're unpopular with voters. No! That couldn't possibly be it. They say we lost because of any of the myriad of false excuses the Democrats are clinging to (bitterly?) recently. Here the excuse seems to be the alleged (and apparently magical) voter suppression by the Republicans. That is really what's keeping our candidates out of office.
If you say so, Nick.