Obama Strategist: The Forgotten Man Is A Republican Now, Anyway
FDR Would Be So Proud
By Dan McLaughlin Posted in 2008 | David Axelrod | Obamafiles | Rube-gate — Comments (18) / Email this page » / Leave a comment »
So, Barack Obama has this little problem: he can't seem to win working-class white voters. With rare exception (Iowa, Missouri), he basically only wins states - and in particular only wins primaries - where all the working-class white voters are already Republicans, leaving the Democrats a stripped-down shell of African-Americans and college towns. Obama's biggest victory in the past two months was in Mississippi. But if Obama wants to win a national election, he's going to have to win the states where the Democrats are in better shape than they are in Mississippi.
Time was, working-class whites were the backbone, the very reason for the existence of the Democratic Party, FDR's "forgotten man." What Obama is running on instead is, essentially, the McGovern coalition. But even in its headiest days, most of the old McGovernites realized that it wasn't such a great idea to just kick FDR's old stalwarts to the curb.
The smart play for Obama at this point is to run out the clock, squeeze out the delegate margin he needs, say nothing bad about these folks for supporting Hillary, and try like heck to win them back in November. As we saw with the now-infamous San Francisco fundraiser, Obama forgot that lesson when he thought nobody was listening, and Pennsylvania voters were understandably, er, bitter about that. But this is a new one even for the Obama campaign: his chief strategist now says that Obama doesn't need those people because, nationally, FDR's old Forgotten Man is a Republican anyway:
"The white working class has gone to the Republican nominee for many elections, going back even to the Clinton years. This is not new that Democratic candidates don't rely solely on those votes"
(Audio here). As the Politico's Ben Smith notes, this ignores the fact that "[t]he whites getting surveyed in exit polls are people who voted in a Democratic Primary." In any event, it's nice for white working class voters to know where they stand with Obama's campaign. Not to worry, though: the GOP is happy to have your votes. And we're perfectly happy to see the national Democratic Party achieve the success it has had in, say, Utah or Wyoming or Mississippi.