Meyerson had some interesting stuff
The redoubtable and unpronounceable Ruy Teixeira, Democratic poll analyst par excellence, has been rooting around in the raw data newly released from the 2004 exit poll and has come up with one morsel that should cause Democrats everywhere to gag. It's not just that John Kerry got clobbered by working-class whites. It's that 55 percent of white working-class voters trusted Bush to handle the economy, while only 39 percent trusted Kerry.
... on a broad range of economic matters, Democrats have alarmingly little to say to working-class Americans. For the past 35 years, as short-range share value has come to dominate our form of capitalism and the burden of risk has been shifted to the individual employee, far more manufacturing jobs have been sent abroad from the United States than from any other advanced industrialized nation. As the middle fell out of the economy, the Democrats advocated job retraining and, eventually, some form of managed trade, but these policies were too little and too late.
Today's working class isn't found largely in factories; it's in nursing homes, on construction sites, in Wal-Marts. Republicans talk to its members about guns, gays and God. Democrats often just stammer. And given the imbalance of power in today's de-unionized workplace, Democrats couldn't do much better than Bush when it comes to boosting wages in this raise-less recovery.
Democrats win when they deliver prosperity and security for working Americans, and in today's capitalism, those have become increasingly unattainable goals. Which is why, as they only now gear up their think tanks, Democrats need to promote alternatives to the kind of shareholder-driven capitalism into which our system has descended, to the detriment of millions of underpaid, insecure workers. They need to side with Main Street over Wall Street. Like the conservatives 40 years ago, the Democrats need to offend their own elites to build an America that reflects their best values, and in which working people can and do count on them for support.
This is an important point. The white working class is being killed financially, and they don't even know it--which is why they keep voting Republican. The Democrats must make them understand what is happening and then convince them that they are on their side. In the past, the Democrats could only take this so far, fearing that the meager crumbs they were receiving from the big corporations and Wall Street would dry up if they pushed their case too far. Those days can be over, however, if the Democrats choose--which they should--and we have the new DNC Chairman, Howard Dean to thank for it. Dean and his campaign showed that in this age of the internet the Democrats could field a more than adequately funded campaign from a small donor base (45% of the money came from donations of $250 or less). That means that the Democrats are now free to move in far more progressive and anti-corporate directions--which they should immediately.