White Males and the Democratic Party

Now that the Democrat Party has, on at least the second occasion, decided to forgo the votes of white males while seeking the presidency, hasn’t the time also come to cleanse the party’s leadership of white males?

Look at the groups whose votes Hillary Clinton seeks in 2016. White men, who are alleged to be racists, aren’t included.

In November 2011, Thomas Edsall blogged in the New York Times the revelation that the Obama campaign had decided to write off noncollege-educated whites in the contest for the presidency in 2012.  This was only a small step from 2008 presidential candidate Barack Obama’s assertion that rural Pennsylvania voters -- who are overwhelmingly white -- were “bitter clingers,” i.e., country bumpkins who clung to their God and their guns and disliked people who did not look like them.    

Obama and those of his ilk have declared that working-class whites, and perhaps whites generally -- unless they’re radical feminists, LGBT persons, and/or Muslims -- are racist, sexist, homophobic, and Islamophobic.

Could it be that the day of the white, heterosexual male in a position of leadership within the Democrat Party has past, and that it is time leadership roles in the U.S. legislature, and, at the state level, governors, key legislators, etc., were assumed by women, blacks, Hispanics, Asians, and LGBT persons?

Perhaps we shouldn’t be too surprised if the days of white male dominance in American society are ending.  Haven’t we heard, again and again and again, that a combination of immigration patterns (documented or otherwise) and disparate fertility rates will, sometime in the not-too-distant future, result in America becoming a majority minority country? And if whites per se will be in the minority, won’t white males, who comprise just about half that population segment, be even more in the minority?

(The U.S. Supreme Court is not yet an overtly partisan institution, so for now let it stay the same, sans any new white, heterosexual, male nominees. The Republican Party has not yet become as rabidly committed as the Democrats to identity politics, so for now leave the GOP aside as well.)

Chances are good that if one is a Democrat, he/she believes that only white men can represent white men, only women can represent women, only blacks can represent blacks, and so on through the identity groups that are recognized by America’s ruling class. A representative must be able to get inside the minds of her/his constituents, and left-wing Democrats tell us that can only be done if he/she shares basic racial, gender, gender-orientation, etc. identities with core constituents.

If this be true, then how can white males such as Chuck Schumer and Dick Durbin, just to name two prominent Democrat chieftains in the U.S. Senate, or Stenny Hoyer in the U.S. House of Representatives, remain in leadership positions? (I don’t mention Harry Reid, since he’s already announced his impending retirement.) It doesn’t matter how left-wing California governor Jerry Brown is; how can he claim to represent the millions of Hispanics, documented or not, who live in the Golden State? Virginia’s Democrat governor, Terry McAuliffe, can shill all he wants for blacks, but, because of white privilege, he can’t begin to fathom their mindset. New York City’s mayor, Bill DeBlasio, is so far to the Left that he’s off the charts, but he can’t relate to the daily lives of the millions of blacks, Hispanics, Asians, and even white women, who inhabit the Big Apple.

All Democratic white, heterosexual, males holding public office should resign immediately, in favor of women or approved minorities, who can better represent the party’s base.

Here is a teachable moment. To properly understand the logic behind this essay’s argument, we need to explore what the notion of representation entails.

As founded, the United States’ political system is a representative republic. As James Madison put it in The Federalist #10, a republic is a type of political system in which “the scheme of representation takes place.” 

Amazingly, given the importance of the notion to American politics, Americans have had remarkably lackadaisical attitudes about the notion of representation. 

The Constitution says relatively little about representation and who is qualified to represent the American people, either in the national legislature or as Chief Executive. There can be no religious test for holding public office. Beyond that, the Constitution stipulates that senators and representatives must be residents of the states they represent. The Constitution also sets age limits, and minimal residency requirements for legislators and presidents. Chief executives must also be natural-born Americans, whatever that means.

Even before the Constitution was written, constituents could instruct their legislators on how to vote. In the Republic’s early days, annual elections were said to keep legislators more attentive to their constituents. 

Both practices are now long gone.

Over the years, Congress has passed a few statutes governing, among other things, the total number of seats in the House of Representatives (435, set by the Apportionment Act of 1911), and each district should have roughly 700,000 citizens. (Some House districts contain well beyond the number specified by law.)

Informal limitations once put on U.S. legislators, and especially presidential candidates, have fallen by the wayside. Read the list of informal restrictions on presidential contestants Clinton Rossiter noted in his classic study, The American Presidency, in the 1950s. Before JFK, no Roman Catholic need apply. Ditto for a Jew, until the Democrats nominated Joe Lieberman for the vice-presidency in 2000. If Lyndon Johnson wasn’t the first southerner to be elected president since 1865, Jimmy Carter certainly fit that bill. Ronald Reagan broke the informal restriction on divorced men in 1980. Hillary Clinton’s nomination seems to have broken new ground this year.

Are there still any (informal) constraints on the characteristics of someone seeking the White House? We may soon see first LGBT person. And so on.

There are, in short, far more informally set -- probably originating in social norms -- restrictions on who’s qualified to serve (in either executive or legislative office) than there are formal restrictions.

In addition, federal courts, especially the U.S. Supreme Court, have placed some restrictions on state legislatures. In Reynolds v. Sims, 377 U.S. 533 (1964), SCOTUS ruled that state legislative districts must, as closely as possible, follow the “one man, one vote” principle.

Some states have gotten into the game. Fifteen states limit how long legislators can hold office.  Four states once had such limits, but saw them overturned by state courts. In two states, the legislature itself voted term limits out.

This brief review of American practices governing representation ought to reassure us that an idea like cleansing white males from the Democrat party’s leadership is not beyond the pale. 

After all, it’s the Democrats themselves who’ve specified their preferences for the demographic attributes of their constituents. Unless the party’s leaders want to admit their Leninist proclivities -- Lenin believed that only a knowledgeable and well-trained cadre was qualified to lead his party -- they ought to go willingly into that good night of retirement.

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