To Which Voters Should Democrats Appeal?

There’s lots of soul-searching going on in the Democratic Party, former home of Rust Belt, rural, and other white working class voters. That’s the group that decamped to Trump in 2016, and which clings to him with the ferociousness of a cult. Should Democrats try to win them back?

These are voters for whom the 1950’s linger in memory as some mythic state of grace. I was ten in 1955; I remember the pictures in Life magazine of fourteen year old Emmett Till, murdered in Money, Mississippi, purportedly for acting inappropriately toward a white woman. That woman later recanted. Till’s killers were acquitted with barely any deliberation by the jury at trial.

We know, because of the disparity between the popular vote and the Electoral College, that a presidential candidate doesn’t have to win the majority in order to move into the Oval Office. As a lifelong Democrat, I don’t much want to move in the direction of people who long for that bygone era. I think we’ll have to cobble together a different kind of coalition, like the one that elected President Obama twice.

Am I calling the 35-40% of voters who cling fanatically to Trump deplorable? If being anti-science, anti-immigrant, mindlessly pro-gun and anti-choice, dismissive of people of color and exalting of white superiority is deplorable, then pretty much.

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