What? No Emerging Democratic Majority?

Back in the Oughts, John B. Judis and Ruy Teixeira hit the big time with The Emerging Democratic Majority. They told liberals exactly what they wanted to hear: that women, minorities, educated, and young people were voting Democratic, and there would be more of them every year. The future was ours, comrades.

But now Judis, writing in the New Republic, says he was wrong. Why?

The answer is really rather simple. His prophecy relied on a Census Bureau assumption, that Moses supposed erroneously.

[The Bureau] projects that the same percentage of people who currently identify themselves as “Latino” or “Asian” will continue to claim those identities in future generations. In reality, that’s highly unlikely. History shows that as ethnic groups assimilate into American culture, they increasingly identify themselves as “white.”

Oh no!

Whiteness is not a genetic category, after all; it’s a social and political construct that relies on perception and prejudice.

Remember when “Irish, Italians, and Jews were not seen as whites?” Probably not, because they were “other” a century ago.

“In the 2010 Census, 53 percent of Latinos identified as ‘white,’ as did more than half of Asian Americans of mixed parentage.” And that percentage is bound to grow.

So no Emerging Democratic Majority after all, because everyone ends up wanting to be white. Who knew?

But surely there is hope. Surely, Asian Americans at least can be tempted into the “educated” voting category and bribed with government-funded academic sinecures so that they identify with the urbanist metrosexual Creative Class rather than the international capitalist conspiracy.

Only now, according to Richard Florida, the Creative Class and its “ideopolises” are Very Bad Things that increase inequality.

The way for Democrats to win, writes Judis, is the way that Democrats from Andrew Jackson to Barack Obama won, not by identity politics but by “portraying themselves as the candidates of “the common folk” and “the middle class” against Wall Street and other special interests.”

There is no need, in short, for Democrats to choose between appealing to white workers and courting people of color. By making a strong and effective case for economic justice, they can do both at the same time.

Allow me to translate. Democrats should fight elections based upon offering the greatest amount of free stuff to the greatest possible number of voters, and not limit their appeal by offering free stuff to small subsets of the electorate.

But, for me, the notion of “economic justice” bears a frosty sound. It is eternally forward-looking from a Year Zero, imagining and implementing what Frankfurt School’s Max Horkheimer called “the right kind of society.”

What the “economic justice” believers do not begin to confront is the accumulated injustice of over a century of “economic justice” politics.

  • They do not care about the white working class, that they cast aside half a century ago.
  • They do not care about ordinary middle-class citizens, that obey the law, go to work, and follow the rules.
  • They do not care about a generation of college students, that were impoverished by student debt slavery so that university administrators might diversify and include.

And yet John B. Judis is all about selling the American people on “economic justice.”

I say there is no such thing as justice, only injustice. The most that government can do is ameliorate some of the injustice, the road-kill it has carelessly cast aside through its blind pursuit of economic justice.

The recent hurricanes in Texas and Florida point this up. What price “economic justice” when your home is flooded and the power and water are shut off? People don’t care about economic justice then, they only care about surviving, and then, helping other people survive.

Black Swan guy Nassim Nicholas Taleb understands this when he writes:

Survival comes first, truth, understanding, and science later[.]

And “economic justice” comes after that. Because economic justice isn’t worth a nickel to me unless I survive.

I am reading an analysis of the Frankfurt School -- so you don’t have to -- and the maddening thing is the way that these lefty intellectuals sneer at “the preservation of contemporary society” and lust for “its transformation into the right kind of society.”

They think that the economic problem has been solved, and that all that remains is to award the prizes to the deserving. In fact the economy, like all life, must constantly renew and revive itself, from the individual to the family, to community and nation, and a society that forgets this basic fact of survival is heading straight for the fate of the Soviet Union and Maoist China.

I tell you what I think. I think it is a crime against humanity that we normals have not made “economic justice” as much a pejorative as “white supremacist.”

Maybe the Hispanics and Asians will figure it all out for us as they explore their essential whiteness in the years to come.

Christopher Chantrill @chrischantrill runs the go-to site on US government finances, usgovernmentspending.com. Also get his American Manifesto and his Road to the Middle Class.

Back in the Oughts, John B. Judis and Ruy Teixeira hit the big time with The Emerging Democratic Majority. They told liberals exactly what they wanted to hear: that women, minorities, educated, and young people were voting Democratic, and there would be more of them every year. The future was ours, comrades.

But now Judis, writing in the New Republic, says he was wrong. Why?

The answer is really rather simple. His prophecy relied on a Census Bureau assumption, that Moses supposed erroneously.

[The Bureau] projects that the same percentage of people who currently identify themselves as “Latino” or “Asian” will continue to claim those identities in future generations. In reality, that’s highly unlikely. History shows that as ethnic groups assimilate into American culture, they increasingly identify themselves as “white.”

Oh no!

Whiteness is not a genetic category, after all; it’s a social and political construct that relies on perception and prejudice.

Remember when “Irish, Italians, and Jews were not seen as whites?” Probably not, because they were “other” a century ago.

“In the 2010 Census, 53 percent of Latinos identified as ‘white,’ as did more than half of Asian Americans of mixed parentage.” And that percentage is bound to grow.

So no Emerging Democratic Majority after all, because everyone ends up wanting to be white. Who knew?

But surely there is hope. Surely, Asian Americans at least can be tempted into the “educated” voting category and bribed with government-funded academic sinecures so that they identify with the urbanist metrosexual Creative Class rather than the international capitalist conspiracy.

Only now, according to Richard Florida, the Creative Class and its “ideopolises” are Very Bad Things that increase inequality.

The way for Democrats to win, writes Judis, is the way that Democrats from Andrew Jackson to Barack Obama won, not by identity politics but by “portraying themselves as the candidates of “the common folk” and “the middle class” against Wall Street and other special interests.”

There is no need, in short, for Democrats to choose between appealing to white workers and courting people of color. By making a strong and effective case for economic justice, they can do both at the same time.

Allow me to translate. Democrats should fight elections based upon offering the greatest amount of free stuff to the greatest possible number of voters, and not limit their appeal by offering free stuff to small subsets of the electorate.

But, for me, the notion of “economic justice” bears a frosty sound. It is eternally forward-looking from a Year Zero, imagining and implementing what Frankfurt School’s Max Horkheimer called “the right kind of society.”

What the “economic justice” believers do not begin to confront is the accumulated injustice of over a century of “economic justice” politics.

  • They do not care about the white working class, that they cast aside half a century ago.
  • They do not care about ordinary middle-class citizens, that obey the law, go to work, and follow the rules.
  • They do not care about a generation of college students, that were impoverished by student debt slavery so that university administrators might diversify and include.

And yet John B. Judis is all about selling the American people on “economic justice.”

I say there is no such thing as justice, only injustice. The most that government can do is ameliorate some of the injustice, the road-kill it has carelessly cast aside through its blind pursuit of economic justice.

The recent hurricanes in Texas and Florida point this up. What price “economic justice” when your home is flooded and the power and water are shut off? People don’t care about economic justice then, they only care about surviving, and then, helping other people survive.

Black Swan guy Nassim Nicholas Taleb understands this when he writes:

Survival comes first, truth, understanding, and science later[.]

And “economic justice” comes after that. Because economic justice isn’t worth a nickel to me unless I survive.

I am reading an analysis of the Frankfurt School -- so you don’t have to -- and the maddening thing is the way that these lefty intellectuals sneer at “the preservation of contemporary society” and lust for “its transformation into the right kind of society.”

They think that the economic problem has been solved, and that all that remains is to award the prizes to the deserving. In fact the economy, like all life, must constantly renew and revive itself, from the individual to the family, to community and nation, and a society that forgets this basic fact of survival is heading straight for the fate of the Soviet Union and Maoist China.

I tell you what I think. I think it is a crime against humanity that we normals have not made “economic justice” as much a pejorative as “white supremacist.”

Maybe the Hispanics and Asians will figure it all out for us as they explore their essential whiteness in the years to come.

Christopher Chantrill @chrischantrill runs the go-to site on US government finances, usgovernmentspending.com. Also get his American Manifesto and his Road to the Middle Class.

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