T Nation

Middle Class Flight

From the Democratic Party that is.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/05/27/AR2005052701259.html?referrer=email&referrer=email

The Democrats’ Class Struggle

By Dan Balz

Saturday, May 28, 2005; Page A05

This is the kind of headline Democrats have come to expect from their opponents: “Middle Class Voters Reject Democrats at the Ballot Box.” But this time, the charge comes from inside the party, in a new report issued by the centrist group known as Third Way.

The study represents a slap in the face at Democrats who pride themselves on being the party of working families and a challenge to party leaders as they prepare for next year’s midterm elections and the 2008 presidential race.

“Rather than being the party of the middle class, Democrats face a crisis with middle-income voters,” the study argues.

“The 45% of voters who make up the middle class – those with household incomes between $30,000 and $75,000 – delivered healthy victories to George Bush and House Republicans in 2004.”

The study is based on Third Way’s analysis of 2004 exit polls. Among the five principal findings are that white middle-income voters supported President Bush by 22 percentage points. The study concluded that the “economic tipping point – the income level above which white voters were more likely to vote Republican than Democrat – was $23,700.”

Black voters supported the presidential candidacy of Sen. John F. Kerry (Mass.) and House Democrats by significant margins regardless of their income levels, but white middle-class voters tended to vote more like wealthy voters. “Democrats were not competitive at all among the white middle class,” according to the study.

The report also contained alarming news for Democrats about Hispanic voters. The more Hispanics move into the middle class, the less they vote Democratic.

Based on the analysis of exit polls, Kerry’s margin over Bush among Hispanics with household incomes below $30,000 was 21 percentage points, but among those with incomes between $30,000 and $75,000, it was 10 points.

“Democrats talk and legislate a great deal about issues that they believe are of concern to the middle class, such as better schools, affordable health care and job security,” the report concludes. “This has not translated into middle-class votes.”

This was a great article and kind of proves what many have been thinking on both sides of the aisle.

The trend does not seem hopeful for the dems and you really have to question the ability to call themselves the party of the middle class and working people.

Just a couple of quick points. I am hispanic (Mexican American) and grew up in a heavily populated hispanic area (Southern Colorado). My parents were both college educated My mom a Professor of Nursing for many years and now working as a nursing consultant for the State my dad retired from the Colo. State Hospital. I grew up very middle class and subsequently knew many other middle class hispanic families. I can attest to the fact that the many Democrat hispanic families I know are still loyal democrats to this day.

This last hunting season I did run into two younger hispanic hunters both about age thirty and what I would classify in the middle class ranks. They were both Bush supporters and former democrats. I had a conversation with them one night around the campfire and they shared with me their turn to the Dark side (jk). The one and only reason they switched was due to 9/11 and the feeling that if Kerry was President we would have done nothing to avenge 9/11.

They didn’t really have a knowledge base of the economic factors surrounding the parties and what the ramifications of going one way or the other would have on them financially and economically. They were caught up in the patriotic fervor and the false belief that only Republicans would do anything to avenge 9/11.

My second point is what I have heard lately from some of the conservative posters here and elsewhere concerning the crystal ball opinion that the democratic party is near death. I think this is more wishful thinking on their part and now when they seemingly have full power they believe if they say it to enough people it will indeed come true. Their main man has I believe to be the lowest approval ratings in his Presidency. They call many of us the any body but Bush (abb’ers) but in reality maybe many who voted for Bush were really any body but Kerry (abk’ers).

So, in my opinion the democratic party is far from dead and as I have said before the pendulum will swing the other way. Also more and more people who are losing sons and daughters daily with seemingly no end it sight are going to get less war tolerant and more war opponent.

[quote]Elkhntr1 wrote:
My second point is what I have heard lately from some of the conservative posters here and elsewhere concerning the crystal ball opinion that the democratic party is near death. I think this is more wishful thinking on their part and now when they seemingly have full power they believe if they say it to enough people it will indeed come true. Their main man has I believe to be the lowest approval ratings in his Presidency. They call many of us the any body but Bush (abb’ers) but in reality maybe many who voted for Bush were really any body but Kerry (abk’ers).

So, in my opinion the democratic party is far from dead and as I have said before the pendulum will swing the other way. Also more and more people who are losing sons and daughters daily with seemingly no end it sight are going to get less war tolerant and more war opponent. [/quote]

I agree with a lot of this elk, as I voted way more, against Kerry than for Bush. Another great aspect of this was that both the house and senate are republican controlled, this would have made any job kerry did 50% harder right off the bat. And yes with our lip still freshly bloddied from 9/11 I voted for action over someone who I thought would pander alot. I honestly doubt if Kerry was president when 9/11 occured that he would have even commited troops to afghanistan, which I think we can all agree was the right move.

V

Elk,

“My second point is what I have heard lately from some of the conservative posters here and elsewhere concerning the crystal ball opinion that the democratic party is near death.”

I personally don’t think so - I think there is a sea change/realignment in the future. Possible split? Could be, even if informally.

“So, in my opinion the democratic party is far from dead and as I have said before the pendulum will swing the other way.”

This I agree with this as a possibility - Democratic strength is also a function of Republican failure - and the GOP has some work to do.

I doubt that the Republicans will have a 50-year run like the Dems did as a result FDR, the New Deal, and Court packing. But I think the pendulum has swung decisively to the right.

What I do think you are seeing is the last vestiges of the old guard sluffing off. The new guard in the DNC has not a clue what to do. They’ve never been here before. No message. No audience. No votes.