Wilentz Skewers the Obamaites Disdain of Working Class Voters
The Obama advocates declare, though, that we have entered an entirely new political era. It is not only possible but also desirable, they say, for Democrats to win by turning away from those whom "progressive" pundits and bloggers disdain variously as "Nascar man," "uneducated," "low information" whites, "rubes, fools, and hate-mongers" who live in the nation's "shitholes."
Having attempted, with the aid of a complicit news media, to brand Hillary Clinton as a racist -- by flinging charges that, as the historian Michael Lind has shown, belong "in black helicopter/grassy knoll territory," Obama's supporters now fiercely claim that Clinton's white working class following is also essentially racist. Favoring the buzzword language of the academic left, tinged by persistent, discredited New Left and black nationalist theories about working-class "white skin privilege," a vote against Obama has become, according to his fervent followers, "a vote for whiteness."
Talk about transformative post-racial politics.
In fact, all of the evidence demonstrates that white racism has not been a principal or even secondary motivation in any of this year's Democratic primaries. Every poll shows that economics, health care, and national security are the leading issues for white working class voters - and for Latino working class voters as well. These constituencies have cast positive ballots for Hillary Clinton not because she is white, but because they regard her as better on these issues. Obama's campaign and its passionate supporters refuse to acknowledge that these voters consider him weaker -- and that Clinton's positions, different from his, as well as her experience actually attract support. Instead they impute racism to working class Democrats who, the polls also show, happen to be liberal on every leading issue. The effort to taint anyone who does not support Obama as motivated by racism has now become a major factor in alienating core Democrats from Obama's campaign.
Wilentz points out that only one Democrat in more than 170 years has won the presidency without winning both Pennsylvania and Ohio - two states where Hillary Clinton buried Obama by capturing the white working class vote by more than 2-1. And his trying to construct a "new Democratic" coalition of rich white liberals, African Americans, and students is reminiscent of what McGovern and Dukakis tried to do in 1972 and 1988.
Wilentz is a Hillary partisan. But his observations about the Obama campaign - that it is the most racist since Willie Horton because of its blatant attempt to brand those who oppose the candidate as racists - are spot on. Watch the comments to this post. Invariably there will be two or three from Obama supporters who will accuse me or Wilentz of being racists. It is a tactic they will use against Republicans and try to shame white people into voting for him.
The candidate may talk of a "post racial America" but he is perfectly willing to use old political tactics to achieve victory.