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"Although most commentaries on the Democrats’ working-class problem have focused on working-class white voters, the last several election cycles suggest that Democrats have a working-class problem tout court."

The use of "tout court" here elevates this to the Hall of Fame level of self-parody. If it was intentional, then I congratulate the authors on their comedy-writing chops.

In DougJ's frame, this would go, "At Dolly's Diner in this abandoned mill town, working-class patrons are divided over whether "tout court" or "sans phrase" does a better job of capturing the flavor of "uberhaupt". But they all agree that they love the flavor of Dolly's apple pies."

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I would have gone with “full stop” there, but the audience for this piece is obviously elites, running as it is on this paid private politics junkie newsletter.

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What's wrong with that? Maybe the people reading this newsletter aren't generally the cohort being analyzed. But that just indicates an interest in understanding other people and/or grappling with their own problems. It would be much worse to just ignore this issue.

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I thought the issue in the previous comment was whether “tout court” was appropriate language to use, not whether the subject of the essay was appropriate.

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Yeah, that. "Tout court" may be alienating to non-college voters, but that's not the audience for this piece, so it's not the kind of self-refuting faux pas suggested above.

There probably is a broader point that we should practice using more straightforward language, but that's more a topic for gentle chiding.

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Very fair!

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Even my 4 years in a humanities major at an Ivy undergrad didn’t teach me the meaning of “tout court.” They must reserve it for PhD programs.

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Really? No one ever taught you what "tout court" is?

But then what *do* you call a legal forum for adjudicating disputes over advice on gambling in horse races?

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Welcome back, dt.

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Are you assuming that because someone is working class, they can't figure out meaning from context?

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I'm not working class in any sense. And context be damned, I have no idea what the phrase means. It stopped me in my tracks. Just write for your audience, please.

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Same

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That's legit. If you personally found the phrasing jarring, then objecting to it is helpful feedback.

I just have a problem with people who object to language because _other_ people might find it problematic.

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I think it is more that that is a clear social signal that will repel a lot of working class people.

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Any working class person who is reading Slow Boring is probably not your average working class person, so I would not make assumptions about what would offend them.

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Honestly, very few things code as elitist as much as policing language.

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In fairness, one suspects this blog isn't number one reading material with members of bowling leagues. Especially candlepin. At least they didn't use soi-disant.

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Reason Magazine holds a trademark on "soi-disant" in policy writing: https://reason.com/search/soi-disant/

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LOL. Yglesias should be hearing from their lawyer any day now...

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That was my immediate reaction, too.

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This also jumped out at me, both for the camp factor and for the fact that it should have been italicized.

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founding
Jun 17, 2023·edited Jun 17, 2023

First, good essay and very helpful in terms of exploring the set of messages that can help win back what used to be the core constituency of the Party.

Did your analysis explore WHY the Republicans have picked up votes in this area? Polling test questions is good, but I think it has proven less predictive than we'd all like. We know the working class agrees with Dems on specific economic questions, but the losses have continued. What positions did Republicans take that attract, or that Democrats take that repel?

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I do not know how politically relevant it is, but the failures of COVID policy, especially the excessive costs of NPI's harmed working class people more than middle and upper class people. Who's children lost more from school closings?

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Adjacent to the Covid schooling issue, was the masking issue. It was working class people that had to wear masks while working in hot conditions or in store swore working in warehouses or working outside. For hours upon hours. Yet the white-collar workers in people who worked at home all they had to wear them occasionally. Think about all the times, you saw people at restaurants, living it up, while the waiters and servers had to wear masks.

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Jun 17, 2023·edited Jun 17, 2023

This is a fantastic point, and one I must confess I hadn't really thought of. It's one thing to wear a mask when you're a work-from-home financial analyst who slips it on for 30 minutes while making a Trader Joe's run. It's quite another to wear a mask for 11 hours at the Amazon warehouse.

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It wasn’t just people that work from home. Think about someone that had to go into the office but you had an office job. They were able to take their masks off in the cubicles or their offices.

Even if the working class person supported masks, there’s still that feeling of resentment that they have to wear one while other people get it easy.

I worked through the entire pandemic. On power plants. I’ve had to wear masks in hundred degree heat, while working in open outside areas where there is no other people around. But the plant management and safety guys who were able to take them off inside their offices, loved the Nazis about whether our masks slipped below our nose.

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Your stories and examples just reminds me how horrible and toxic masks and the debate around them were. I still get triggered when I people wear them, and I wonder if I always will.

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Oh, the irony of my views on this issue is that I was early on wearing masks. I was wearing them in March 20 20, and getting people giving me dirty looks. It amazes me that people couldn’t see through the lies about masks don’t work.

What everyone misses in this issue, is that masks do work, but not perfectly. What they failed to acknowledge is that with everything there is a cost benefit risk analysis that has to be done. We had in perfect information for much of 2020. But by the time we did start getting information, the whole issue had become so polarized that people on both sides became irrational.

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FWIW, they've have gotten me on planes again. I use construction masks with seals and vents, and from the standpoint of individual protection they really do seem to work (combined with a few other residual paranoid precautions.) I will probably wear them on planes forever.

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I had to work in person for part of the pandemic and was required to wear a mask in a relatively hot room. I felt like I was being suffocated. Whenever someone starts going on about how masking is no big deal, I have to walk away before I give them a piece of my mind.

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This was the absolute worst, the people claiming it was just a mild inconvenience and was hardly bad at all. Some of the angriest arguments I've ever had with people were on that.

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I had a number of very unpleasant conversations with my white collar friends and family members about masking. My friends and family were furious about working class people complaining about wearing masks all day or, one of my favorites, upset about a service worker they interacted with for only a couple minutes wearing a mask improperly and saw that as the service worker endangering them. I always pushed back.

They insisted wearing a mask wasn't a big deal because they didn't mind it. I pointed out that wearing a mask for 8 hours a day 5 days a week is not the same as wearing one for an hour once a week when you make your weekly grocery run. (The "I wore a mask for a 4 hour run and I was fine so nobody has any business complaining about having to wear a mask" line from the laptop class was particularly clueless. ) I also pointed out that when it's hot a mask quickly gets soaked with sweat and a sweat-soaked mask is really uncomfortable. A mask that's been worn for 6 hours straight takes on a particular odor and that odor is really gross and if you have never experienced that odor, you probably shouldn't be scolding other people for being insufficiently diligent in their masking. Not to mention, in retail, this created a new excuse for customers to mistreat retail workers.

These friends and relatives were just clueless. Some of them just got mad at me. Others eventually came to understand that there might be a point in there. Many of them thought that they were actually standing up for working class people in demanding strict mask policies with strict punishments for scofflaws because that's what their favorite news sources told them. It never occurred to them that actual working class people might have other opinions or might understand something that they did not.

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You are basically me. Or I am you.

This comment x 1000.

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A lot of angst caused my suboptimal recommendations by CDC.

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Paper masks drenched in sweat. I was working with a metalforming plant that had 12 hour shifts and no AC on the floor. Awful. Then I’m the poorly ventilated break room, small circular tables with plexiglass dividers where people unmask and eat.

People working from home had no idea how stupid and harmful this stuff got.

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If we had a choice between increased ventilation and strictly enforced mask mandates, increased ventilation would have been much more effective. Somehow we wasted all our effort on mask mandates and pretty much ignored ventilation, which would have been far less controversial.

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You know brother. In Peru we had to double mask. Arggg

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I still see working people occasionally wearing masks even though they are not required to--it’s more a matter of them being exposed to large numbers of people and thus greater risk of disease. Many of the people who died early on in the pandemic were working people forced to work in conditions that exposed them to COVID while the remote workers were safe at home. The problem was masks becoming a symbol of identity for some (people who posed with masks for their profile pics, etc) and thus forced people on the other side to refuse to wear them even in situations where they were necessary. Another big failure was closing opportunities for outdoor recreation, which could have allowed people to relax and gain some sanity in a low-risk environment where masks were not needed.

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Your last sentence correctly nails one of the biggest covid fails that happened--maybe even the biggest.

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There’s a difference between some people choosing to wear a mask, enforcing every person to wear masks.

The vast majority of people that died were elderly, followed by people who what medical complications including obesity.

And yes, given the large numbers, there were people who were working class or from a wide variety of different backgrounds, who unfortunately died. And these people made the news, where is your 89 year old grandfather, who died in the nursing home didn’t.

This was on purpose, because it’s sort of intensified the worry, and got the media better ratings.

Since I travel for work, and I work with different people every job, for a while, I was asking people whether they knew anyone that had died. Very few people did. No, I’m not talking knowing of people who died, I’m talking to people that they associated with that had died.

And when you run the numbers, it actually makes sense. The biggest risk for Covid was among the elderly. So here’s the thing, people social network tends to be age stratified. In other words, you know a disproportionate number of people that are your age or close to your age, and then less and less people who are quite a bit younger or quite a bit older.

So for this reason, if you were maybe 60 or 70 years old did you probably knew people who died.

However, if you were a 20 year old are 30 year old, it was unlikely that you had anyone in your social networks that died.

And then let’s say you were in your 50s and you know one or two people that died. Chances are it was one of your grandparents or elderly parents, or perhaps someone that lived a very unhealthy lifestyle. The type of people who honestly use sort of wouldn’t be surprised if they died of some random heart attack or some other issues. Now I am not saying that this isn’t tragic or sad, but people have come to expect a certain amount of death. It’s just a part of life.

However, for many of us, it kind of became evident that the media for trail of Covid risk didn’t match peoples real world experience. And because of this, the media lost credibility among many.

Now going back to the mast issues. I was on board with masks until omicron came. The bottom line was that omicron and later variants were so contagious that they overwhelmed the benefits of masks. Think of it like this… A bulletproof vest might help you if one person takes a single shot at you randomly. But in a hell of bullets, a bulletproof vest is virtually the same as no vest.

This is why you see countries like Argentina, which head virtually start Covid in its tracks, New Jersey to Cecconi and measures, get overwhelmed when omicron came out. Many Asian countries were the same.

But you are absolutely right about the mask issue becoming polarized.

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>Another big failure was closing opportunities for outdoor recreation, which could have allowed people to relax and gain some sanity in a low-risk environment where masks were not needed.<

Big?

In 2020 I spent February, March, April, May and some of June in the Bay Area. This was the first part of the US to institue "shelter in place" orders and also among the most zealous adopters of NPIs in general. The gorgeous park in Menlo Park a few blocks from me was open throughout. I also did extensive hiking in the Santa Cruz Mountains (mainly state or county parks).

My next stop in 2020 was Seattle. Pretty much ground zero for West Coast uber-liberalism. Again, no restrictions whatsoever from what I could see. Lake Washington beaches were open. I made extensive use of the Gilman-Burke trail. I whiled away many a pleasant summer hour in Golden Gardens Park.

I'm not suggesting a few localities in the US got the outdoor space thing wrong. But I'd be interested in just how widespread the phenomenon was. And also, how vigorously were the regulations enforced? I feel this urban legend-ish meme is used by the right as a "gotcha" opportunity to stir up resentful memories of the United States in 2020, when in fact life was generally freer and less restrictive than in other rich countries (though we paid a price in Covid mortality).

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Most came around on the outdoors in general, but there were still major hangups on crowds outdoors. That irked me because it didn't take into account harm reduction: people devoted to gathering were going to gather, and if you shut that down in public outdoor locations, they'd do so in much more dangerous indoor locations that are privately held.

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I don't know, I remember quite a few playgrounds and outdoor spaces that were closed to my daughter in Pittsburgh. Our closest playground was closed for a few months, and I particularly remember the Zoo playground being closed because it already probably June or July when I took her there.

Some people may be making too much of it, but it's not based on nothing

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National zoo was closed!

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Also the aggression from customers mask wearing service people had to deal with. I was on a flight when the DoT mandate was struck down and the happiest people on the plane were the flight attendants.

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Also because they were all sick of wearing them.

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Wearing a mask in these jobs sucked, absolutely and as one of those workers, I might have resented being lectured to by smug elites with their comfy WFH jobs.

You know what else sucked? Getting COVID. Is the conventional wisdom now that all NPIs were bad, worthless, and unneeded?

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Covid did suck. 24-hours of hell.

I would gladly voluntarily get Covid once a year not to have to wear a mask. I imagine most blue collar workers would agree.

Risk reward cost benefit.

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I'm glad you got better. There is this thing called tail risk however. Plus any transmission from you to other people who might not have the same risk calculus.

I agree that we often went overboard on masks (I can't believe we were still expected to wear masks on beach walks) but in limiting the spread of the disease, especially before vaccines, masks were a good thing.

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I agree. I was 100% on board with reasonable masking until the vaccine came out and became widely available. After the vaccine, it became obvious that it was inevitable that every single person would get exposed and get it. At that point, masks, didn’t matter.

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But notice what the fundamental flaw was: not giving decisionmakers in each venue the information and tools (this would have included availability of cheep screening, not diagnostic tests) to decide the net benefit level and protocol for mask wearing, social distancing, venue closing, capacity setting.

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I think that will run into the teeth of the problem that working class parents in cities were consistently the most likely to prefer stricter lockdowns. That makes pretty good sense when you consider a bunch of ancillary factors, but it still cuts against Covid explanation. Also, these trends were already running long before Covid.

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Interesting, I've never heard or read that before. Do you have a source, and is it true if you exclude teachers?

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Jun 17, 2023·edited Jun 17, 2023

I heard this a lot at the time because it was the opposite of what officials expected. I know when my own school district, which is a Title I (i.e. mostly working class and/or poor) and 80% non-white, gave families a choice of in-person or remote in fall of 2020, about 45% chose in-person - so more than half remained fully remote. We never figured out exactly why, but speculated that those who stayed home had family members who already had increased exposure due to their jobs and were more likely to have multiple generations living in the same home, so were nervous about exposing elders.

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I don't have time for digging (headed out the door), but Google is your friend, obviously. You might have more luck searching for Covid views by race, which is an important part of the divide, and maybe all of it. Keep in mind that the working-class communities in cities tend to be non-white; that was why I specified the phenomenon as city-based.

I became aware of the divide because of being a parent living in Philly and following that school reopening debate but also because I was teaching undergraduate public health and health care policy, so all those debates interested me. You see a similar trend in churches: Black churches (which are almost always dominated by working-class parishioners) re-opened for in-person worship much later than White churches (haven't see data on Latino congregations--would be interested, though).

I am willing to allow that when I hear "working class," I tend to think of non-white urban people, which I get is a quirk of my academic training. I think most people these days use "working class" as a proxy for "White non-urban."

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That is a considerably smaller population than Thomas' original "working-class people".

Either way, I'm skeptical that the pace of church re-openings in a given community are closely correlated to that community's parents' attitudes about school re-openings or quarantine protocols, especially since church populations skew older (more vulnerable) than schools.

As an aside, while I understand that we can't always provide sources in the midst of busy lives, "Google is your friend" is less true every day. Their search quality has been degrading for a long time, and while still useful, it requires increasing amounts of additional work to wade through the SEO spam, poor algorithmic choices, and unreliable results.

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In re Google, I feel like they've dialed the geographic location factor in the algorithm up to 11, because even when I search for very generic terms I get a clear slant toward sources about Colorado.

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"...'Google is your friend' is less true every day..."

It's also exceedingly supercilious.

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The reason the church thing matters is what I said about race; it gives you another, more clearly delineated example of that dynamic, since the factor you cited (age) is actually pretty similar across Protestant Christian congregations, but race is not, and the breakdown in church attendance broke much more cleanly along racial than along age lines. And as I indicated, I do think that race might be the controlling factor in the discrepancy around schooling.

This more or less brings me back around to what you said, which I think is exactly right: TLH wants to implicate a much larger population of "working class people," and the essay above explicitly mentioned GOP gains with Black men. That's a pretty clear indication that he doesn't just want to do white guys in coal towns or whatever. But I think the attempt to lump all those folks together as "working class voters" just isn't a very useful category of analysis once you have sheared off the race, density (urban / rural), education, geography, etc. And predictably, the findings of the study end up very vague--you basically could have entitled this essay, "Joe Manchin really is the right kind of candidate for Trump Country" and called it a day, except that the authors instead go down this weird, vague rabbit hole of economic issues, except those aren't really the most important, but everyone likes them, or...something. It just feels like pretty weak tea.

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I do recall that being the case, but I feel like I've already forgotten why that was the case, and as such I'd be up for some articles as refreshers to (re?)learn why.

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This article is pretty thorough: https://educationrealist.wordpress.com/2022/04/04/the-real-reason-for-school-closures/

More focused on non-white vs white preferences than a working vs upper class preferences but there’s some correlation there.

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Thanks. Yet after reading the article, and also reading JCW's reply, it seems clear that the divide was overwhelmingly on race, which is interesting in its own right but not looking very useful to crosstab with occupation type even if there is overlap.

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They got more working class voters in 2020 than 2016. So no, it's not COVID policy.

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Sorry if I gave the impression that I thought this was the only or even a politically important cause.

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True. It is just an example where an elite favored policy had differential negative impact on lower income people

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I'll toss in some guesses:

- immigration

- pro-life (ref: https://news.gallup.com/poll/244709/pro-choice-pro-life-2018-demographic-tables.aspx ), though maybe the pro-choice minority is big enough that this can be a useful wedge?

- views on policing, and perhaps "race relations" to a lesser extent

- anti-elitism (which was NOT the GOP I grew up with, but wow did that spread like wildfire)

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See: Marie Gluesenkamp Perez talking about catalytic converter theft.

Democrats are awful at acknowledging the disruption and instability aspect of crime.

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That's my girl! MGP 2024!

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As wages stagnate the only way to see more income is to reduce taxes. If the Democrats can’t make wages better for people and if the services provided by government are not get exponentially better then lots of folks think they are being had.

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Closed border and China tariffs. It's all in Trump;s book that no Democrat has read: Time To Get Tough.

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Isn't it obviously the extent to which Trump ran a populist economic campaign message? Hilary might have talked a lot about jobs but Trump made it an everyman against the elite campaign.

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I'm probably a version of the kind of person they are trying to appeal to. I am open to a more progressive economic agenda, but I do not like woke. I also perceive that if democrats are elected, a more progressive economic agenda is not likely to materialize, but a more woke social agenda is. That's where all the action is these days. A universal jobs program might be great, but democrats cannot credibly promise that. The woke threat, on the other hand, is credible.

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Jun 17, 2023·edited Jun 17, 2023

I think your third sentence is the key point: implementing a progressive ECONOMIC agenda would require being able to pass legislation through Congress, which is hard; implementing a progressive SOCIAL agenda can be done primarily through the courts, administrative agency actions, and the bully pulpit, which is easier (although still somewhat constrained at this time by the composition of SCOTUS).

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Well, a lot of permitting reform and allowing more high-skilled immigration can be done w/o Congress.

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Yes, but that's not the sort of "progressive economic agenda" that the authors here appear to be contemplating (I identify as a lower case "L" libertarian and I'd support those) and I highly doubt either of those things would do much to boost the Democratic share of working class voters in the foreseeable future.

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Would love an explanation on what exactly a ‘woke’ social agenda is and how elected office has anything to do with it.

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Freddie DeBoer (a writer for whom my feelings are otherwise complicated) has an excellent article-slash-extended rant that always comes to mind in response to this type of comment, titled "Please Just F**kng Tell Me What Term I Am Allowed to Use for the Sweeping Social and Political Changes You Demand":

https://freddiedeboer.substack.com/p/please-just-fucking-tell-me-what

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Interesting read, thanks for sharing.

That rant feels like he’s painting with an overly broad brush to tie a small but loud minority as representative of every Democrat (sorta like any economic redistribution gets tarred as communist by the right).

And then if I don’t like this ‘woke’ bucket of unspecific grievances with for which there’s no clear political solution, then I have to vote for the party that wants to gut the FBI and fill it with political hacks? No thanks.

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The problem is that that small but loud minority is highly influential in liberal spaces, and especially among the intelligentsia, and so more mainstream journalists, policy analysts, etc become wary of using the disfavored term, and that effect percolates down to a broader audience. Conservatives don't care what that crowd thinks and so eventually they're only ones still using the term, and now that it's coded as conservative, no one can use it without sounding like a Breitbart columnist.

So now Normie #1 can't have a reasonable discussion with Normie #2 without spending 90% of their time and energy on defining "woke" for the n-th time, even though both know exactly what it refers to. It's not good for discourse.

And I will fully admit that I don't even remember what you were responding to (and I'm too unfamiliar with this app to figure out how to easily check) or if they had a reasonable point. If they were actually suggesting anyone should vote for GOP out of wokeness fatigue, then my answer to that would an emphatic "are you crazy?" My point is, if you know you're right on the merits, and it sounds like you are, then I'd suggest skipping straight to the merits. It's so much more compelling than just mocking the term.

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I agree - which is why instead of using vague undefined and polarizing terms like ‘woke’ people should be specific about what they are referring to.

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Jun 17, 2023·edited Jun 17, 2023

I don’t think that’s accurate. Under Biden Dems most certainly had a pro healthcare pro labor agenda, and if progressives had their way they would have gone much farther on both fronts. It’s moderates that prevented that, and of course the gop. With some woke issues by contrast it seems to me that the executive can do more on its own, and even that is limited. The states matter tons too and stuff below them (school boards etc).

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How is a jobs guarantee going to work in an economy with record-low unemployment? What are people going to do? Use spoons to dig holes?

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Exactly. It’s like this article was pushing a specific policy that’s not necessarily needed.

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Wouldn't working class people always want more jobs to exist? Hiring people into and paying for those jobs isn't as often a working class task.

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The leading way I've seen a job guarantee described, as it was in the initial Humphrey-Hawkins act, was to establish a legal right to a job, and to enforce it by giving citizens the right to sue the government for a job. The suit could be satisfied by connecting workers to jobs in the private sector, and then if the private sector is unable to provide one, that's when the government could be forced to create jobs via fiscal policy.

To be clear, I'm pretty skeptical of this on the merits, but in a full employment economy there would then automatically be little need for a job guarantee because hardly anyone would be suing for one.

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Sounds like a job guarantee for lawyers

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Of course full employment economies (like everything else) tend not to last forever--at some point this guarantee would come due.

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Should be easier with low unemployment that rampant joblessness.

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Jobs guarantee is challenging through the short-term debt cycle

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But which voters would care?

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I’d consider a guaranteed job policy if it was a replacement for most welfare and unemployment benefits. In other words, if you want public assistance and you’re not an invalid on a feeding tube, you WILL report someplace for eight hours a day, even if it’s just to dust the file cabinets at the DMV.

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In matters of style swim with the fishes, in matters of principle stand like a rock. Does this seem more like a style moment or a principle moment? Break out the spoons folks.

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Genuinely I’d just use a lot of rhetoric about “there should be a job for anyone who’s willing to work at one” and leave the policy conversation until after I was elected

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There's a lot of room in the economy for more teachers and caretakers of infants and the elderly. And there's lots of buildings that need solar panels and better insulation installed. Lots of parking lots could benefit from those panels too.

And the best part of a tight labor market is that then people can ask for higher wages.

You really don't have the imagination to see how these things benefit folks who have nothing to sustain themselves besides the labor they can provide, huh?

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I am surprised that the authors ignored the elephant in the room, the Democratic Party's wholesale adoption of the woke agenda. Even the most recent Supreme Court nominee was unable to answer the question, "What is a woman?" Until the Party's candidates can honestly answer that without equivocation, it will continue to lose the working class voters, all of whom can answer that.

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Super like this comment. How are working class voters to take seriously someone who can't answer the question: what is a woman, or writes or says, pregnant person on non-man? Working class people live in the real world, not a gender studies seminar at some fancy pants university.

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This is exactly correct - I have many working class friends who, if you press them, agree with most progressive economic policies but as soon as they hear things like “people who give birth” they immediately tune out. It’s a non starter for most people.

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Jun 18, 2023·edited Jun 18, 2023

Dude I am a college educated Brooklyn liberal and I just had to turn off an episode of the Ezra Klein show because the guest would not stop with the weirdass academic speak. "people who nurse" etc

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As much as I like to make fun of republicans like Ron DeSantis who use insane terms like “biomedical security state”, the same goes for the left wing of the Democratic Party - they basically don’t speak english. I just don’t get why the party leadership pays any lip service to these weirdos. It’s not like they’re going to vote for the party who wants the country to return to the 50s. IMO if Biden and other top dems condemned these lunatics they’d actually gain a lot of working class voters who love their views on economics.

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I think if you took a survey you’d find that “people who give birth” is actually very rare rhetoric within the Democratic Party and coalition. To the extent it gets hi-lighted it’s mostly an exercise in “nut-picking”

Like I am fairly confident that Joe Biden, the leader of the party, has never talked like that.

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Famously, philosophers couldn’t define “a man” in a way that did not also include a plucked chicken, so this seemingly obvious question maybe harder to answer in a rigorous way than you assume

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Yes, the authors failed to actually look at how far the Democratic Party has shifted left on social issues.

During the Obama era, "socially liberal" on LGBT issues meant you supported equal rights for everyone. The most socially liberal supported gay marriage, but it wasn't considered a mark of bigotry if you opposed it.

Now, being "socially liberal" means:

-Believing that some people are born in the body of the wrong gender, that it is possible for men to become women and vice versa, and that we should celebrate people who do this

-Believing that the above should be taught in schools to kids, that doctors make a guess about what the baby's gender is but can be wrong

-Believing that novel medical treatments like puberty blockers, opposite sex hormones and surgeries are the appropriate treatment for people born in the wrong body, and that these should be made available to kids, and that the government can take kids away from their parents if they do not consent to their kids receiving these treatments

-Believing that women should have to have compete against biological males identifying as women, and that women should have to share bathrooms and locker rooms with intact biological males

-Believing that the English language must be changed to incorporate this ideology, for example saying "People who menstruate" instead of "women"

-Believing that anyone who disagrees with the above is a bigot.

If we want to win working class voters back, we need to consider how far to the left the party has gone on social and cultural issues.

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If you mentioned these points to the median Democrat who sees themselves as socially liberal they would have no idea what the hell you're talking about. "Intact biological males" wtf? The "socially liberal" position is that all people should be treated with respect and dignity and that difficult medical decisions should generally be left to the person who's going under the knife and their doctor, or -- if a minor -- them, their parents, and their doctor. This isn't very complicated actually.

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You're right, the median voter wouldn't say "intact biological male", that's the language I was using on this board. The median voter would think of the issue as a man who says they are a woman having their penis exposed in a woman's locker room.

If "all people should be treated with respect and dignity and that difficult medical decisions should generally be left to the person who's going under the knife and their doctor, or -- if a minor -- them, their parents, and their doctor" was seen as the default liberal position, I don't think it would be controversial. It's controversial because "people are sometimes born in the wrong body and this should be treated medically, and we should celebrate people who do this" is taught in schools and promoted in the culture.

You can see this in this article about a majority Muslim City Council banning the pride flag: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2023/jun/17/hamtramck-michigan-muslim-council-lgbtq-pride-flags-banned

Note how their objections aren't about the existence of LGBTQ people, instead it's about them wanting to protect their own children from being taught about it- from the article:

Mayor Amer Ghalib, 43, who was elected in 2021 with 67% of the vote to become the nation’s first Yemeni American mayor, told the Guardian on Thursday he tries to govern fairly for everyone, but said LGBTQ+ supporters had stoked tension by “forcing their agendas on others”.

The easier thing to do is to assume that's just bigotry- the tougher thing to do is to think about why people might feel the agenda is being forced on them. Moving back towards Obama era liberalism of "live and let live" would be a more popular position.

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A lot of live and let live liberalism is a pride for me and mere toleration for thee though.

Like the amount of cisgender and heterosexual affirmation that goes on in schools is just fucking omnipresent and not at all controversial. Mere acknowledgment of anything else is shoving it in people’s faces and illegal. Like it’s not just in schools while everyone’s somewhat uncomfortable with pda they’re a hell of a lot more uncomfortable with pda between men or involving trans people of either gender who don’t wholly pass. As a bi person it’s so noticeable.

Like that standard really was a lot of low key bigotry mixed with toleration.

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Even if true, there are enough crazies out there who would seek to cancel and shame the erstwhile social liberal who still believes that there are two and only two sexes. That used to be a rather non-controversial position.

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Literally no one except online politics weirdos actually cares how many genders there are, Biden's answer of "don't play games with me" was the winning one. Not a single persuadable voter cares about this stuff, it's a bean bag for hard-core Republicans to get their rage off on or hard-core Democrats to self-flaggelate aover.

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Perhaps, but it's out there enough to turn off those in the working class that Matt's article is addressing. I'm sure it's not the only reason or even a major reason that those historically Dem voters are voting R, but it's certainly a reason.

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What's the evidence for this besides people whining in comments and on twitter? We just had a mid-term where Republicans ran 110% against "trans! Trans! TRANS!" and the "they/them military" and "pronouns" and got trounced. On actual policy questions, 66% of adults and 66% independents support transgender people openly serving in the military -- THE MILITARY [Gallup]! Only 10% of adults oppose protecting trans people from discrimination, 64% support protecting and 25% have no opinion [Pew]. 12% of adults say you shouldn't use someone's new name, 18% say you shouldn't use their new pronouns [Pew]. 68% of adults and 76% of moderates who lean Republican say they DO NOT follow proposed transgender-related bills [Pew]. Cruelty towards transgender people is an enormous, resounding loser of an issue and the vast majority of people simply don't care about it and don't want to hear about it.

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How does Democratic support for unions impact their standing amongst working class voters? It seems a bit odd this was not mentioned in the article. My guess is that since most working class voters aren’t in a union and don’t have much of a chance of joining one that Democratic union support doesn’t move the needle much, but probably serves to maintain union members as a Democrqtic voting block. Meanwhile, democratic support for government unions seems like a losing proposition among blue collar voters, just a guess.

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Got it; these represent the current views of the Democratic party.

I'd appreciate it if you could link to the passed (or even just proposed!) congressional legislation that Democrats have put forward on all these points.

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The Democrats, though, *haven't* adopted the "woke agenda" wholesale. (Slow Boring, Jesse Singal, and HistoryBoomer are examples of this.) There are plenty of internal tensions among the Democrats about so-called "wokeness", and it would hardly be unexpected for a working-class Democrat to engage in some good old-fashioned hippie punching.

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You're right but the closer you get to some corners of Academia the more the woke agenda really is adopted wholesale.

And elite Academia really has a huge influence on the Democrats. It's relatively easy to move from somewhere in academia to start moving up the rungs of the D party apparatus or to left-journalism. It's much harder for the up-and-coming to go the Eric Adams route.

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I work in academia, and I am not sure the woke agenda has been adopted wholesale. It is true that most of us believe that DEI are important values, but there is not a lot of agreement about what those values mean or how they should translate into policy.

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Bob, but what exactly is "DEI"? To many the D seems to apply only to chromatic diversity. Heaven forbid that there be any philosophical diversity other than perhaps between Bernie Sanders and those to the left of Bernie. Inclusive? Well, inclusive of those who think the same, but utterly rejecting of those who don't. And Equity? We all kind of understood what equality was when that was the goal, but now that it's morphed into Equity, what is it exactly? Is it something that those outside of the academy agree on?

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"...I am not sure the woke agenda has been adopted wholesale. It is true that most of us believe that DEI are important values..."

Ha! That you do not see the contradiction is good evidence.

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Gotcha - you're perspective is probably less skewed than mine. But I'm not sure DEI and Woke are equivalent. DEI has been around for years, long beore the "woke" movement. But also, I have some connections in Academia who report it as more in lockstep than you observe.

And it does seem to me that there are areas of thought where diverging, yet reasonable and somewhat mainstream views are unwelcome. One example is John McWhorter, who has recently described being uninvited and / or deposed from various committees and positions he's held in the world of linguistics, simply on account of his being opposed to certain woke positions.

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I think the only "lockstep" we have is getting through the trainings as quickly and painlessly as possible, whether or not we believe in what we're reading. And politics within the upper echelons of departments and disciplines are WAY more petty and cutthroat than political ideology. I'd imagine McWhorter's high-profile platform makes him a good target for someone looking to advance their career.

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Jun 17, 2023·edited Jun 17, 2023

That’s imprecise. My impression is that the biggest offenders are not elite academia in the sense of the big research universities but rather the small liberal arts colleges that are far more vulnerable to “consumer demand”. There is certainly also some institutional capture in the big universities but it’s mostly on the admin level. My sense is that the professors are deeply (if quietly) divided on the issues and much happier to talk (among themselves) about how bad trump is (a unifying theme about which there is indeed near consensus in these parts).

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Jun 17, 2023·edited Jun 18, 2023

You may be correct that, "professors are deeply (if quietly) divided on the issues". It's the "quietly" part that is the problem. The impression from those of us not in the academy is that the ones making all the noise represent the point of view of all.

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Agreed. There is too much fear of being cancelled. The great majority of professors don’t have tenure after all.

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Even with tenured Faculty there can be penalties for going against the grain. I can't recall the exact details but in a recent podcast John McWhorter spoke for about 15 minutes about the various positions and things he's been removed and uninvited from. And this is a guy who is able to write in the NYTs and whose research and expertise has almost nothing to do with "woke" issues

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I mean, i don’t think a single democrat in my state legislature is from academia. Not a professor among them!

Unless we’re counting teachers at working class public schools to be from the ivory towers of academia now, cause we’ve got three of four of them in elected office

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JJ, that may be true, but the "influencers" all seem to have adopted the "woke agenda" and also seem willing to cancel those who stray from it in even the slightest degree. I live in an area that is very Hispanic. I can assure you that they mostly see gender as binary, the way we all used to see it.

Now, it very well may be that it's only a small percentage of the left this out there canceling and shaming those who don't fall in line, but they are exceedingly vocal and get a great deal of coverage in the national media and on social media. And it's all fodder for Fox and the conservatives. Why give them ammunition?

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But that's a huge movement of the goal posts. There's a huge differences between claiming that the "Democratic Party [has done] wholesale adoption of the woke agenda" and claiming that "'influencers' all seem to have adopted the 'woke agenda'", especially when the influencers have had mixed success. Most of their "success" is in providing examples for Fox to use as part of a "Chinese robber fallacy" type of argument.

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Well, I agree that Democratic voters as a whole haven't adopted the woke agenda, but I do think the party has. Witness KBJ not being willing to define "woman" at her confirmation hearing. I expect that the question was not only expected but that she had been coached to answer it as she did (that she couldn't answer because she wasn't a biologist) specifically because giving the obvious answer (a woman is an adult human female) would be toxic to the poobahs in the Democratic Party. You don't have to agree with me, but that's how I see it. The influencers have had mixed success with Democratic voters, but have had a great deal of success with Democratic elected officials.

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This is wrong. "Wholesale adoption" is an exaggeration, but only a small one. I'm thinking of how the Biden administration embedded "health equity" in the COVID vaccine priority system, and how even strategically critical bills like the CHIPS act include provisions to bolster woke constituencies on explicitly woke grounds (even if there are also - imo - transparently weak attempts to offer other justifications).

The authors you listed are not remotely central examples of Democrats - they're practically dissidents, bordering on heretics (or, if you prefer "centrist scrum!"). It's true that MY has influence on policy-oriented folks but the activist heart of the party is ascendent and committed to (for a lack of a better term) "woke" prescriptions, beliefs, and attitudes.

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But that leads into the question of what you mean by "woke" when you use it negatively. Typically, I tend to think of it as a matter of striving for left-leaning goals in a counterproductive or unjust way, e.g., being grossly racist when trying to be antiracist, or engaging in science denialism in an attempt to help trans people.

"Health equity" looks fairly boring to me: trying to better serve minorities that have often had worse outcomes. Getting into a panic about "wokeness" because "equity" or even race is involved is either missing the point or obfuscating it. If I look at the CDC page on health equity, it looks like brass-tacks, pragmatic stuff, not Portlandian nonsense: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/health-equity/cdc-strategy.html

"even strategically critical bills like the CHIPS act include provisions to bolster woke constituencies on explicitly woke grounds"

And this tells me nothing, because I can't tell from what you're writing whether the "woke" you speak of is Portlandian junk or just, "Oh noes, equity!"

"The authors you listed are not remotely central examples of Democrats"

Fair enough, but I also see plenty of Democratic politicians, the majority even, reject the crazy stuff like defending the police. We also see de facto center

-left institutions like the New York Times tack back towards the center. You have to myopically focus on Libs of TikTok or Fox News to think that the Democrats are being taken over by "wokeness," at least when it's used in its most toxic senses.

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Equity, as used by progressives, generally is a euphemism for affirmative action. “Give people a boost because of their race” is not a popular position, so that’s why the left keeps obfuscating it through jargon.

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Jun 17, 2023·edited Jun 17, 2023

I think your definition of "pejorative wokeness" is nearly perfect, and Andrew's original post focused on that, but I don't think his overall point depends on people rejecting *the worst excesses* of social justice progressivism, just that people find ordinary social justice progressivism distasteful (see below for what I mean by this). That's why I think it's only necessary to show that the Democratic party embraces those ideas and not just the illiberal excesses, in order to justify Andrew's position (or my variation on his position, if he disagrees).

Having said that, I chose my examples for presumed familiarity: they were both slow boring topics: "Give the vaccine to the elderly" (https://www.slowboring.com/p/vaccinate-elderly) and the recent "Every policy objective, all the time, all at once" (https://www.slowboring.com/p/every-policy-objective-all-the-time). But I think the vaccine episode fits clearly into your negative model. To quote from Matt's article, "the CDC itself seems to disagree [with vaccinating the oldest people first and then going down the chain], saying that racial equity considerations militate against prioritizing the elderly even though they concede that doing so would save the most lives of people of all races." The CHIPS act fits more into "counterproductive" category, in my view, but my main point is that it embeds the social justice worldview into its provisions.

-----------

These are the ideas that I'm referring to when I say "woke" or "social justice progressivism" (not a quote of anyone, just my mental model):

> Identity is the central source and instrument of political conflict where "identity" refers to a group of traits that drive social inclusion and exclusion, especially sexuality, sex, gender, race/ethnicity, and ability. For almost all of recent history, normative ideas about those traits have privileged cisgender, heterosexual, abled white men, producing gross disparities in political and material outcomes that characterize modern life.

> It is important to address this by challenging these normative ideas at every level, including the language we use, which not only reinforces, but in a very real sense creates these disparities because they constitute our ideas of what is neutral or default. All western institutions and standards have been shaped by these normative forces, and consequently they are all under suspicion: from the police to our system of education to concepts like free speech, due process, and equality before the law, all of which reinforce the hierarchies that immiserate those outside the normative core.

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It’s a wedge issue for the party and thus they are bleeding voters over it.

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Perhaps the problem is that, as always, Democrats aren’t all on the same page. The party is more of a coalition than a party-line type party where everyone is always pulling in the same direction.

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I think the audience for this post already knows that wokeness polls badly. If there is a way to get woke Democrats to shut up so we can win elections, that would be great, but I think we are stuck with them. What I would like to know is, if prominent Democrats spoke out against wokeness, would that attract voters, or would it just increase the salience of the issue, and it's better to ignore it and talk about economic issues?

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Jun 17, 2023·edited Jun 17, 2023

I wish Dems could thoroughly clean house in pursuit of a super majority just like British Labour are doing right now (a marvel to behold!) but there are tons of factors preventing this happy scenario.

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I think most of us realize that the "woke agenda" is not going to take over the world, or even academia, education or government, but that's only because we've been paying very close attention in venues like this, comments in the NYT, WaPo, and in conversations with friends and acquaintances. DeSantis et al would have the nation believe otherwise, of course and that is a major problem.

I think about my sister, maybe even smarter than me (!) but who has spent the last four decades effectively but narrowly focused on mental health issues rather than constantly surveying the political landscape as I've been doing. She reviles DeSantis. And yet, I was gobsmacked awhile ago to discover that she was unfamiliar with the idea that people could be "socially liberal or conservative" but "politically conservative or liberal." These days our conversations usually include a reproof if I happen to use an "older" expression (more accessible in old age in a quickly moving, intimate conversation) "Oh no! you might say that to someone whose feelings it would hurt." "Well, no, I'm not really worried about that." (There's no time for one of my discourses on "woke" or CRT from the philosophical, political, theological, psychological and linguistic standpoints that I've been studying for the last three years.)

Well-intentioned liberals like my sister might be reluctant to abandon some of the latest, more extreme socially liberal Democratic pronouncements in favor of winning over socially conservative working class voters on economic issues. Then of course we have the impatient youngsters for whom perfect, universal social tolerance must happen immediately (and whose impatience inadvertently has been feeding ammunition directly to the right.) Some of these attitudes can never be surveyed because no one has any idea what some of these words mean (what the heck is gender-affirming care anyway).

From the standpoint of personal disposition, we really need to quit ignoring voters on the basis of genuine and deeply felt ethical opinions that are different from ours. The evolving culture will get to them (or to their kids) eventually.

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Jun 17, 2023·edited Jun 17, 2023

Thing is- what’s your sister’s alternative? Would she not vote for Biden over Trump if Biden came out with a strong “Sister Souljah” moment? Would she not vote blue on senate for a moderate dem senator over a crazed election denying trumpian? In short , with only two parties and the gop so far beyond the pale in almost every respect, isn’t there tons of space for the Dems to move right, with the far left remaining with no alternative ?

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You're right. I guess I'm thinking that Democratic content-creators are afraid of somehow alienating people like her. But probably more afraid of the more extreme voters who will split off to Cornel West or whomever it ends up being.

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They did address that. They didn’t use the word woke, but they addressed social issues.

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“Progressive social issues” is a large menu extending from abortion to pronouns. Although it seems obvious to me what the answer is I’d be interested if a more granular analysis would yield some insight on which aspects of the menu have the greatest cross-class appeal.

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Missed opportunity to say "extending from abortion to zygotes," although I realize that would technically be saying the same thing!

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Their evidence there was very limited. And even the linked Jacobin article doesn't contain much more.

I suspect that there are a lot of working class voters that strongly oppose at least one progressive social issues, and that those are deal breakers for them.

Anti-illegal immigration OR anti-anti-racist (or just racist) OR anti-LGBT, etc.

Obviously Democrats can't and won't and shouldn't roll over and moderate on all those issues, but some choice probably needs to be made to win them over.

Even if you do popularism like Matt likes, eventually those still become salient and you can't ignore them any longer.

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I think it’s important that the idea of the article’s imperative is not to get every working class voter, but to pick off the ones who’s first concern is the working conditions for Americans, and who don’t have strong opinions on the social issues either way.

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Fair enough.

I doubt there are that many that are completely apathetic to all social issues, but I'm basing that on my personal experiences instead of rigorous analysis, so I could be wrong.

I'm also in a deep red state, so our working class people may not be representative.

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I too have mostly lived in GA and FL since early adulthood.

Again, we are needing to pick off a few percent points.

The GOP has weaponized social issues for so long, and DEMs with power and money have under-focused on economic issues for so long, it’s hard to determine what will break the log jam, but my contention is that a strong workers rights focus will attract plenty of the younger less inspired voters.

Trump brought in a new group of angry voters, DEMs could do the same.

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Jun 17, 2023·edited Jun 17, 2023

What is a woman?

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founding

A helpful link: www.Twitter.com

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What is the answer conservatives are looking for? Anyone that has a vagina?

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Do you have an uncle?

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Yes

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"And even the linked Jacobin article doesn't contain much more"

Surprising, because Jacobin is usually so astute and informative.

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It gestured in that direction, but the list of social issues they polled appeared to be things that activated democrats, not republican crossover voters (immigration aside).

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I'm not sure how much that matters. The author points out that working social issues don't have the same impact specifically on working class voters. A bigger problem is when they prioritize environmental concerns over jobs. Given the power of the environmental wing in the party I think that's a much bigger hurdle.

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"Even the most recent Supreme Court nominee was unable to answer the question, "What is a woman?""

The Japanese have a wonderful word describing the best response to such an idiotic question: mokosatsu (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mokusatsu)

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Kind of amazing that the wikipedia article you linked to suggests that mokosatsu led to the Hiroshima and Nagaski bombings. I think that suggests "treating with silent contempt" in politics is likely to lead to bad consequences...

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Well, I didn't say we wouldn't get our hair mussed.

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"We found that working-class voters prefer candidates... who place blame for the problems facing working Americans on the shoulders of economic elites"

BUT, what if I don't think that is true?

I guess I'm not excited to choose left-wing anti-elitism over right-wing anti-elitism.

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Jun 17, 2023·edited Jun 17, 2023

Placing blame is much easier than fixing problems, so our politics inevitably moves in that direction. Additionally, if someone else is to blame, that means the one laying the blame doesn't have to change (see: Donald Trump).

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Yes, that phrase stopped me cold.

It's part of my elitism, no doubt, but I really hate this mindset of "your problems are the fault of the nefarious [economic elites/kulaks/Jews/fill-in-the-blank." It's not that the economic elites are blameless, of course, but the truth is closer to "the world is complicated, there are difficult tradeoffs and cost-benefit analyses to be done, sometimes bad stuff happens that isn't anyone's fault, decent people can do bad stuff due to ignorance and/or bad incentives." But that isn't nearly as catchy I guess.

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I know, right wing economic populism is part of what brought me over to the Democratic side. I might be one of the voters they lose if they start trying to win back the populists.

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The Jobs Guarantee program runs counter to the Shor pilled idea that voters inevitably react against attempts to make large changes. Universal health care is popular until you try to pass it.

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Jun 17, 2023·edited Jun 17, 2023

I can't see a federal jobs guarantee turning into anything but a horribly bureaucratic make-work program that people stay on forever because it is easier than having a minimum wage job.

And the pay of the program would probably be put to the discretion of the executive (or his appointees), and thus give it a lever to effectively raise minimum wage unilaterally.

I -want- to like it, dignity of work, and all that. But I have no faith it would be a net good.

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This is why both Obama and FDR focused on construction work which is hard to portray as “make-work,” even if the specific projects weren’t necessary. For instance FDR’s WPA built a lot of county courthouses here in Texas (many of which still stand and are in use today), which might be “make work” in terms of the necessity of the project but nobody is going to argue that somebody building something isn’t earning a paycheck.

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It would also be a terrible way of providing dignity/respect at a broader cultural level too. Imagine we passed a jobs guarantee tomorrow - what will be the holllywood portrayal of job guaranteed workers 10 years from now?

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I think this was why the public option was a good solution: it allowed people the option of basically buying in to Medicaid instead of essentially throwing everyone onto a government health care program right away.

People don’t necessarily hate change but they do hate radical change.

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Expanding Medicaid enrollment is a bad idea. Medicaid pays way under cost of delivering healthcare. It would likely increase the number of hospitals and private practices that close. I support a public option, but not through Medicaid.

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>I support a public option, but not through Medicaid.<

So you want the public option to be a lot more expensive?

It's a fair question. I'm aware Medicaid rates are bottom of the scale. And yes, I acknowledge this is problematic in the here and now, never mind after an expansion. On the other hand Medicaid's monopsonistic power (especially if hugely expanded) would be helpful in holding costs in check.

I'd probably opt for blowing up Medicaid, naming it something else, like UHA ("Universal Healthcare for America"), tweaking payment rates a bit if necessary, and then subsuming all federal healthcare spending except Medicare and VA (too toxic politically) into the new system. With automatic enrollment for all Americans not covered by these two programs or by private insurance. And I'd make it fully federally funded (would give the states a windfall). Substantially financed by a payroll tax. More or less Buttigieg's "Medicare for All Who Want It" except the cost-basis would be Medicaid-oriented (hence the need to change the name) and I'd add in automatic enrollment.

Anyway, TLDR: Medicaid's better from the perspective of public finances.

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Jun 17, 2023·edited Jun 17, 2023

I'm like half-way to your position. My biggest concern is avoiding the healthcare supply constraints the UK and Canada experience. I don't see how that can be avoided if Medicaid payment rates rule the day.

I want something like an American version of the Australian system. Get rid of employer-sponsored health insurance, either through an outright ban or ruinous taxes. Make one lightly-regulated, unsubsidized, national private health insurance market. There are no coverage requirements, beyond mandating incredibly large punitive damages against insurance companies in failure-to-pay and breach of contract suits. Anyone can sign up for a private health insurance plan of any coverage level at market rates. I would also combine Medicare, Medicaid, CHIP, the Indian healthcare system, and the VA/Tricare system for retired soldiers into one giant public option called Medicare. It would offer one full-coverage plan. Premiums and co-pays would be based on age, income, and employment history. Anyone who doesn't have insurance will be automatically enrolled in the public option and sent a bill by HHS/IRS.

Edit: The new Medicare would set payments at current Medicare rates. Or really, the Medicare rates that are always a few years away. This should not hurt providers and incentivize them to be more efficient. And upper class people would not be subsidized at all. They would pay similar premiums on the public option as they would for the same private insurance coverage.

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Very important caveat. I'm neither British not Canadian. Having said that, does the concern about healthcare supply constraints apply to the NHS or to UK healthcare in general? I don't really know, but I find it hard to believe that people who aren't satisfied with the NHS don't have private options there (and at lower prices than the US).

My view on this is informed from growing up somewhere in the EU. We all had mandatory health insurance, but most people I knew rarely used it. Still, the mandatory part of the system was useful for two reasons. First, it was necessary for the people that couldn't afford private options. Second, it kept prices low on the private sector, as patients have more bargaining power when they can say "I have this other option which is certainly inferior, yes, but also happens to be free. How much would you charge me for your superior service?".

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I'm not familiar with private providers in the UK beyond the NHS besides knowing they exist. The private option for Canadians is the United States.

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>My biggest concern is avoiding the healthcare supply constraints the UK and Canada experience.<

For sure. In an ideal world the "Universal Healthcare for America Act" would include (indeed would pretty much *require*) measures to boost supply, as in, gobs of money for medical training, rationalization of the gawdawful credentialization process for foreign MDs, etc.

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My understanding is that Medicaid is run like a federal/state partnership unlike Medicare or the VA. If that's true, then I think that's your best option. I think it would be extremely hard to manage American healthcare centrally at the federal level due to the country's size and population. The "pay more" problem seems easier to fix than the potential organizational problems of scaling either Medicare or the VA.

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Medicare currently has about 65 million enrollees. I don't see increasing that number will cause more issues than Medicare already has.

Short of getting rid of Medicaid, I want the federal government to fully nationalize it. More people would be covered in the holdout states. And yes, federal taxes will have to increase. But Medicaid currently eats up 1/4-1/3 of state budgets, and they can't change that. Nationalizing Medicaid will allow states to lower their taxes. Republican-dominated states certainly will, but if high-tax, Democratic-dominated states also lower their taxes they will become more tax-competative overall.

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+1

Right. Wouldn't be a large tax increase on net, nationally, at least if states mostly lower their taxes if they no longer have to pay for Medicaid. Would simply be a shift from states to federal. Which conservatives would find problematic of course. But I think by now it's clear you have to choose one in the US: A) a large role for state funding, or B) a truly robust healthcare system that reaches genuine, rich country levels of universal coverage.

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Medicaid's reliance on state management and funding has basically fucked the program from the getgo for millions of Americans. Hence my desire to federalize it. But the Sebelius decision (2012) inclines me to think it can't be reformed/substantially improved provided the states continue to foot half the bill. So just end it and replace it with a federal program.

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And also likely why the individual mandate was hideously unpopular.

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+1 I'm betting the poll participants were just asked about a "federal jobs guarantee" with no specifics of what such a theoretical program would look like.

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right? The "jobs guarantee" seems weirdly radical vs just having decent unemployment insurance and medicaid - normal social safety net stuff...

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Just keep improving ACA.

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Right, so just talk about it a lot and make sure you never actually pass it.

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Could we just call it conservation corps, or Americorps, or the 21st century WPA?

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True, but even so, it's illuminating insofar as it shows the magnitude of economic policies required to move the needle.

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I like the idea, but (as undoubted politics junkies) the authors still assume that the median voter cares about policy, is listening carefully when politicians articulate policy, is taking the time to distinguish between different policies, etc. None of this is true! The median voter just doesn't pay enough attention to or think carefully about policy details, I'm sorry.

As of lots of people said in yesterday's comment section, imagine asking Donald Trump about what the minimum wage should be. "We're going to talk with experts, very smart experts, and they're going to raise the wage bigly, a big beautiful minimum wage. And I think everyone will be very happy." This is the cognitive level that most voters are operating at, trying to woo them with detailed policy wonkery is a waste. It may even be an actual turn off for working class ones! Elizabeth Warren had lots of pro-worker wonkery and she did terribly with the non-college educated.

Just run working-class and/or outsider candidates, and say vaguely populist things. Nominate some independents in any swing states where the Dem brand is toxic. This is the way

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100%. Warren and Fetterman both demonstrated this in their own way. You can have a competent woman with a stack of labor-friendly policies and working-class voters will sneer, or you can have a guy with a traumatic brain injury who wears shorts and a hoodie and says "JOBS" and working-class voters will go ga ga. The whole idea of PhD's trying to reverse engineer what policy will appeal to this kind of voter seems absurd. The only question of interest is how to get more Fettermans to run.

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That fits with the jobs guarantee being a bad policy that sounds like a good policy. If the authors are just using it as an example of something that would attract working class voters, than maybe someone else can come up with something that pushes similar buttons but works better

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But you don't have to run on what your actual policy is going to be. Republicans don't *run* on cutting taxes for the wealthy and increasing pollution- they run on other stuff, then just quietly do it. I absolutely, positively despair that Democrats just cannot figure this out. Why is this so hard?

Run on whatever sounds popular/whatever voters want to hear, then institute progressive policy once you're actually in office

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Jun 17, 2023·edited Jun 17, 2023

Speaking as the resident oddball who has shifted back and forth across the class line multiple times and multiple different ways (and now am moving into a job, nursing, which straddles the line itself), I find this analysis pretty un-compelling. I'm not saying that it is wrong, necessarily; I assume the data shows what you say it shows. But I think that the analysis / arguments don't really follow from the data.

Edit: Realized I shouldn't just level that kind of criticism without an example. So...

Typical of the logical shortcuts was the discussion of sociocultural issues. To its credit, this article told the truth about what the data shows regarding the significance of these issues as exceeding economic issues. But then it just tries to breezily wave off that concern and go back to the jobs guarantee in a way that is totally unconvincing because it doesn't even try to answer the question raised by that data.

If you want to do nitty-gritty analysis of electoral strategy and voter behavior, you need to be willing to do a nitty-gritty analysis of electoral strategy and voter behavior, even if it points in directions that you find uncomfortable.

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Jun 17, 2023·edited Jun 17, 2023

I think the issue is that we don't have a firm definition of "working class". Like, in this analysis I think a car dealer would be working class and a teacher not. But the teacher might be making less, so they could show up as working class in an income-based definition but not an occupation- or education- based definition.

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I was kinda surprised to see teachers and nurses classified as working class. You need a college degree to be a teacher and most RNs have a bachelor's degree. Not to mention, over the past 5 years, teachers' unions have been leaning heavily into the message that teachers are highly educated, highly skilled professionals and deserve to be treated as such.

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I think this is right; "working class" is just not a very useful category of analysis, for the reasons you lay out. The whole question of whether nurses are "working class" could be reasonably answered either way with a dozen different arguments, which kind of exposes the depth of the problem. And I think misunderstanding that is a big problem for the Progressive movement, in particular. It's why the Working Families Party did awful with working families in the Philly mayoral primary.

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Super-like. The traditional class definitions are too flexible to be useful without additional qualification. At any rate, educational attainment is becoming more important than economic and occupational class distinctions in contemporary America - that is, if it hasn't already outright eclipsed them. (The three are related, of course, but not identical.)

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What do you think about the theory that educational attainment is a proxy for openness to experience?

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As I recall, those "open to experience" surveys are pretty biased in terms of what counts as novel experiences.

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It makes a lot of sense, but I know a ton of highly educated people for whom the crucial factor is introversion, and i haven't given it a ton of thought

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Totally agree.

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So doctors, professors, most lawyers and of course most tech workers - working class?

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Yes, the analysis seemed weak and inattentive. I’d give them the benefit of the doubt that their official publications are more nuanced ?

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Apart from anything else, I find the handling of immigration here -- treating it as a "social issue," but not an "economic issue" -- to be kind of strange. Genuinely not sure -- to what extent would the working-class voters whose views are expressed here see it that way?

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At the end of the day dei is also an economic issue. It suggests we should take opportunities away from white men, regardless of class and allocate them to specifically favored minorities, agains regardless of class. Since class objectively disadvantages you the result is an extremely regressive type of class warfare taking from the poor and less educated and giving to the privileged.

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Every DEI training I’ve been to has included being low income or working class as a minority in need of better opportunities and advancement in the workplace.

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I find it insane this passes for what DEI is about. “Give opportunity to everybody” is now extremely regressive class warfare apparently

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Equity (the E in DEI) is the *opposite* of opportunity, it is equality of outcome. This kind of doublespeak is why DEI is unpopular outside of academia and HR.

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It ain’t that popular in academia, either, at least not in its bureaucratized forms

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You’re an SB subscriber, moreover I’ve seen your comments here, I *know* your reading comprehension is better than that…

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