Obama to Blue-Collar America: Adios!

When I was a kid growing up in the Bronx in the 1950s I knew a lot more about the Yankees than I did about politics.  In fact, I didn’t know anything about politics, except for one thing:  I knew we were Democrats.

My father was a blue-collar worker and like all “working class” men he voted a straight Democratic ticket.   We lived in a lower middle class neighborhood and pretty much all the men were FDR blue-collar guys. I never took a survey, but I’m pretty sure there wasn’t a Republican within miles of our tenement.

That’s how it was back then.  Not anymore.

Now, an opinion piece on the New York Times Web site by veteran political reporter Thomas Edsall tells us that for the first time the Democratic Party will “explicitly abandon the white working class.”

The blog goes on to explain that, “All pretense of trying to win a majority of the white working class has been effectively jettisoned in favor of cementing a center-left coalition made up, on the one hand, of voters who have gotten ahead on the basis of educational attainment — professors, artists, designers, editors, human resources managers, lawyers, librarians, social workers, teachers and therapists — and a second, substantial constituency of lower-income voters who are disproportionately African-American and Hispanic.”

But before President Obama and his team decided to abandon white working class Americans, they pretty much decided to abandon him, along with a lot of other Democrats.  For decades, white blue-collar workers have been jumping ship.  And for good reason.

For years now, white men without college degrees have felt that the Democratic Party didn’t care about them and their families.  Take affirmative action.  A black kid gets to check off the race box on his college or job application and gets an automatic boost – even if his parents are professional people.  The white kid whose father works in a coal mine isn’t entitled to affirmative action.  How is that kid privileged?

Sure Democrats are always telling blue-collar workers how much they care about them, but then the president – paying due respect to his progressive base — refuses to okay an oil pipeline from Canada to the United States that would have put tens of thousands of blue-collar Americans to work.  Why?  The pipeline might hurt the environment.

Then there’s the gnawing feeling that the Democratic elites – college professors, journalists, the Hollywood ditzocracy — seem to enjoy blaming America for all sorts of sins and apologizing for the country’s supposedly oppressive role in the world.  If that’s the case, the “unsophisticated” blue-collar guy wonders, why are so many people trying so hard to get to America?

The divorce between the Democratic Party and blue-collar workers isn’t exactly amicable, but since it’s been coming for a long time both sides understand that they  just can’t live with each other anymore.  Call it irreconcilable differences.

My blue-collar Democratic Party father isn’t with us anymore.  I’m guessing if he were, he’d be a Republican.

(Update:  The Obama campaign team has issued a statement saying it is not abandoning white blue-collar voters.)

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  • Dreamer

    After attending Inglewood high school, where busing from Morningside and Dorsey turned our white world upside down with bangers carrying chains and walking the playground like the yard in Chino State Pen, and before I enlisted in the army, I worked two years in the Whino District at Second and L.A. Avenue manufacturing speed controls for $2.25 an hour. I worked my ass off. I was the only white guy in the production end. I was a democrat, because my father was democrat and a lawyer. After the army, my dad lawyered me out on a chapter 32 because he didn’t want me to die under Ronald Reagan’s Regime, I worked for BofA and then Wells Fargo, both at minimum wage, where after 7 years I was passed over for promotion that went to two green card carrying non-citzens who barely spoke English. The corporate statement, of what I refer to as MULTI-DIVERSITY, failed me and I had to quit – I did not speak Spanish and in Van Nuys, if you work somewhere and don’t speak Spanish, you can not get a job. I went to Ventura, same thing.

    All I can say, Bernie old buddy, after reading, yes I can read. I CAN READ!. After reading NR’s latest copy article entitled “Repo Men”, about how Wall Street has stolen this country with the blessing of the Congress and the White House, I support all goals of OWS, and just today Occupy West Coast Ports, where cheap trash from cheap labor is the second variable of the equation that defines why we have lost jobs, Wall Street being the first, open borders with South America being the third, all I can say to the ones responsible is “LET US HAVE AT THEM, WITH OUR GUNS”. Voting does not work. There is NOTHING in our Constitution that says we can not have another Revolution. What is happening now, is far worse than the tyranny we had under the King of England.

    Here you go, 500 MEN – if we have than many in this country – I will take point, we will rush the Capital steps [not the NPR singing group], half of us would be shot by the D.C. police, and the other half would get inside and take hostage of the entire Congress. And I’m a Republican…
    That’s how I feel about this country, that is owned Slide, Firing Pin, and Barrel by those who are cuticured, coiffured [like The Donald], and chauffered. They have offshored, outsourced, and sold us out for the very last time. So help me God!

  • Rick Daniel

    My dad was a lifelong democrat, would never ever consider voting republican. When I was grown, and switched sides on him I noticed that although he always voted democrat, almost all his views and opinions were conservative. I’ve known several other folks since then who were the same way, but it made no difference to their voting habits. One was so adamantly opposed to illegal immigration that she posted her views everywhere she could, yet she always votes Dem. My dad complained constantly about “tree-hugger” wacko environmentalists, be he kept voting for them every time. I still don’t understand it. Are they brainwashed?

  • Joshua Zambrano

    Bernie, I would argue that Obama is more similar to George W. Bush than people realized, and not even necessarily a true Democrat. He simply campaigned as a Democrat, telling people what they wanted to hear based on polling, and skirting controversial issues like abortion (“that’s above my pay grade” to Rick Warren). Obama lied about being anti-war, he’d voted in Congress for Iraq War funding. He lied about supporting privacy, he’d voted in Congress for the Patriot Act. He’d lied about opposing outsourcing, he voted for a free trade agreement with Oman while in Congress. He’d lied about being fiscally liberal, he voted for Bush’s budgets including 19 spending bills and the bailouts. An excellent article mentioning these and other similarities by CNN is “Commentary: Obama and Bush are not so far apart”. Also, if you are like me, you might find it enlightening to look into the pro-life Democrats, DFLA, or the Blue Dog Democrats, or 3rd parties like the Constitution Party. In 2008, Americans did not endorse the Democratic Party, they remained conservative, and in frustration at Bush’s warmongering, chose to elect conservative Democrats, which is why DFLA gained so much power after 2008.

  • Drew Page

    Bernie — I agree with you. The Democrat party of today, for all their bleating to the contrary, have no ties to the working middle class. You have correctly identified their new constituency. And that new constituency has less and less to do with a working middle class.
    The Democrats, with their taxation and over-regulation of businesses have made American businesses uncompetitive in world markets, resulted in jobs being outsourced to other countries, made us more and more dependent on foreign oil, weakened our currency and turned America into a debtor nation.

    • Lonesome George

      Drew, I disagree with you and Bernie. And Bernie I hardly ever disagree with you. My son-in-law (whom I love)is a lifetime union member and is completely brainwashed by his union propaganda. He is a social conservative (he lives to hunt & fish) who kills animals with guns!! He just can’t get beyond the fact that jobs are produced when capital is invested; not provided by union bosses(democrats). I suspect that he is not alone as a union member in his thinking. There is no argument with him as he believes that Obama is not the problem it’s Republicans sic “the rich”

  • Robert A. Hall

    They will just have to cling to God and their guns. I will link to this from my Old Jarhead blog.

    Robert A. Hall
    Author: The Coming Collapse of the American Republic
    (All royalties go to a charity to help wounded veterans)
    For a free PDF of my book, write tartanmarine(at)gmail.com

  • Joel

    Thanks for a great column Bernie.

    The Dems have embraced eco-fascism, socialism, redistributionism, Euro-envy, victimhood, bigger-than-big government, technocracy, abortion mills, open borders, etc. All of these are very far from working class values. Thus, values-wise, the Dems parted ways from blue collar workers long ago.

    To borrow a term from the wretched Marx, too many modern white, blue collar workers still have a false consciousness. That is, they still believe that the modern Democratic Party represents them.

  • T Ivison

    Also Bernie, the children of blue collar workers always overwhelmingly do the fighting and dying in our military.

  • IndependentLasVegas

    When I was speaking to a University of Iowa grad student, she was explaining how her black college professor was spending 1/2 the class time calling Fox news racist. He was also instucting his students not to watch Fox news.

    This was a physical education class.. So the left is totally in control of our educational system..

    • EddieD_Boston

      Wow. They are a sick bunch aren’t they?

    • gringoviejo

      Yeah, I found out which was which in 9th grade English “show’n’tell”.
      Teacher asked if we’d read something interesting, I said yes then told the class about it.
      Teacher said that was nice, very interesting, and where did you read it? I said Readers’ Digest and she just blew up – “that’s right-wing rubbish, you should never read that, its right-wing rubbish, blah-blah right wing, blah-blah rubbish, blah-blah . . . . ”
      Thank you ma’am, now I know you must be Left-wing, and I know which I prefer.
      I’m eternally grateful. Her political education efforts were fruitful, just not in the direction she intended.

  • Kathie Ampela

    Your best column yet, Bernie, thank you. I was thinking about this just the other day. I know many Democrats who don’t realize how drastically the party has changed. They are still holding on to the idea that the “D” letter represents the working class. My step father was a local 3 electrician and a democrat, still is. How do you reach them? The arrogance and stupidity of the Democrats is stunning…I can’t even wrap my mind around it. Bad strategy, much??

    By the way, I could get into a long rap about the pitfalls of a college degree, but if you read this article, it lays it all out better than I ever could..hilariously, too!

    Team Obama and the dems will be playing the reactionary anger card to the hilt…that’s the key. The media will do their best to advance the agenda. Stay tuned.

  • sam

    wow,good job!so i guess dat al da white blue-collar americans are gonna b voting republican in 2012!great!

  • Fred Pasek

    I don’t believe it. My liberal white blue collar friends are firmly dug in on the left. None of them has ever pulled the lever for an “R”, and they aren’t about to because they believe the Dems are for the little folk. It won’t be until the financial system implodes, and they realize there’s no more money to spend on government functions that they’ll see the light, and maybe even then they’ll blame the Republicans. These people get their news from the Daily Show and the Kolbert Report, Rolling Stone, and American Idol.

    The silver lining is that Hispanics are not in the tank for the Dems like everyone assumes. As their wealth grows, and they have stories of how they came here and made it on their own, etc…That deomgraphic will become increasingly Republican.

    • Ron Kean

      Good points. We’ve been waiting for the media to change but there’s no sign of that even with Fox doing as well as it does.

      • EddieD_Boston

        Patience my friend. Financial collapse may be on the horizon for a lot of these old media outlets. Let the marketplace decide.

  • Ken Besig, Israel

    The Democratic Party campaigns as the working man’s party, but runs the government for the elites. And yet working class voters still flock to the Dems. Look, even though the Democratic Party has been largely hostile to Israel and Obama plainly despises Israel and Israelis, American Jews still vote mostly Democratic and will continue to do so.

  • RecknHavic

    There might be enough (conservatives, tea party-iers and blue collar white guys) to fight back politically right now, but this is a battle of attrition… in the very near future we’re gonna be seriously outnumbered. W/in a couple of decades Republicans/conservatives, probably won’t be relevant.
    The only real hope is in the Hispanic communities. If we can rationally explain conservatism to Hispanic-Americans we may have a chance to stem the tide of socialism. But it’s a BIG if.

  • Lonestar Conserv

    I wish my mother would read this. Like Bernie, the only thing I knew about politics as a kid was that we were democrats (the first time I saw Dad cry was whatching JFK’s funeral on TV). Into early adulthood, I became an independent, but not very political (which has changed since Fed. of 2010). Unfortunately, Mom has not seen the change that has come over the democrat party in the last 20-30 years. Old habits die hard I guess. In my most recent attempt to get her to “see the light”, I mentioned that her 5 sons are conservative and she didn’t raise stupid kids. I may have made a point with that one…..

  • EddieD_Boston

    Hit the nail on the head as usual Bernie.
    Even some unions are slowly grasping Obama is a union jobs killer. The coal-miners are jumping ship b/c they finally understand environmental fundamentalist are their worst enemy.
    The future of the democrat party will be the egg-heads who work but contribute nothing to society (professors, artists) and gimme creatures that take whatever they can from the rest of us.
    As a legendary Boston Irish pol once said, “makes ya sick”.
    Quiz…anyone know the pol’s name?

    • EddieD_Boston

      He also coined the phrase “flaming liberal”. Beautiful guy.

      • cmacrider

        I, of course, recognize that there are fundamental differences between Canadian and American politics. However as a “foreign observer” from north of the 49th parallel the following theory is emerging in my mind. The Democrats are following down the same road as the Canadian Liberal Party. (Both parties are almost on an identical position on a Left/ Right spectrum)
        For the past 20 years the Liberal Party of Canada has been gravitating towards the Left. They formed the same kind of coalitions as are being discussed by the people who have posted here. The Conservative Party of Canada recognized that these coalitions were completely incompatible and drove wedges between them. As a result they picked up the Jewish vote, a goodly share of the recent immigrant vote, and strong support among the non-union blue collar workers and to a lesser extent the union blue collar workers. They did this by openly supporting the family unit .. e.g. elimination of the additional taxes paid by a married couple vs. the non married couple. They supported the family unit with deductions for sports related equipment and giving the family a $500.00 tax credit for child care expenses .. vs. the liberals national daycare centre proposal. Their slogan … the parents know what’s best for the kids not the government. They supported the blue collar guy by increasing his tax deduction for tools by a small amount. They spent the entire last campaign saying two things ..(a) prudent spending means jobs and (b) jobs means the “average Canadian” can look after his family. Result: Conservative majority and Liberals demolished and ended up as the 3rd party in Parliament.

        • EddieD_Boston

          Interesting. Thanks for the insight.

  • kayakbob

    well said. I too have always wondered why we (America) seem to have so many people that are chomping at the bit to blame America for virtually all injustice in the world. And yet, these same people are [simultaneously] chomping at the bit to open our borders to virtually anyone that wants to come here…and it sure seems like a lot of the world wants to come here.

    My mother and father came from Mexico and Ireland, respectively. And my mother spoke Spanish before she spoke English. So I laugh at the notion I am somehow “discriminatory” for those views.

  • Tommy

    Great article, Bernie. Unfortunately, you just know the media is going to find a way to win this election for Obama. One way or another, they’re going to help him pull out victory.

  • Terry Walbert

    The Democrats have excelled in cynicism. If they can get a lot of illegal Hispanic immigrants (“New Americans” in the words of Maryland Gov. O’Malley) into this country and get them voting rights, then they won’t need the white working class or whites in general.

    I love the phrase “voters who have gotten ahead on the basis of educational attainment.” These are the half-educated who unthinkingly support the Democrats in redistributing someone else’s money. These half-educated learned everything in college and grad school except the ability to think for themselves.

    Working class voters should unite with the Tea Party voters to upset the establishment Republicans. Colin Powell, are you listening?

    • Glen Stambaugh

      Colin Powell? He’s an Obama supporter (Republican?) and didn’t see him in any tea party group shots. Great idea though. First maybe the Republicans & TPs should unite!

  • Ron Kean

    And what about the 47% who don’t pay taxes? Obama’s got them.

    I left the Democratic Party 12 years ago. It was just too much. But it took education to switch which is the key.

    We’ve got VDH, Krauthammer and many more (including the host of this site). They’ve got who? Krugman? Maher? Huffington? Who are their heavyweights?

    Karl Marx?

  • waterlilies84

    The democrats are now the erudite class, I doubt seriously if they would even allow Truman to run in today’s climate. He was too plain spoken.

    I am glad to see that the “working man” is realizing that the dem’s are not now and probably never were on their side.

    • theduchessofkitty

      “The democrats are now the erudite class, I doubt seriously if they would even allow Truman to run in today’s climate. He was too plain spoken.”

      Plus, Truman never went to college. That’s a BIG minus for the Democrats now.

    • Ronaldo

      Actually, for decades, the Democrat Party was on the “side” of white working men… with the KKK as enforcers. It was and remains pro-union, because the unions were another way to keep blacks from taking their jobs.
      So the Democrat party has always been racist.. it’s just that now, Democrat elites have picked other demographics with which to attempt to cobble together yet another majority.

      • Rose

        No one is more anti-black than Latinos. Once they get what they want, bye bye blackbird.