I've put a one week ban on "Galetta" for being an overall jerk. If when he comes back he's a jerk again, he'll get an indefinite ban. Don't be assholes on here.

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The killer catch phrase that liberals decided to use was that a bad thing like COVID or poverty “disproportionally affects Black and Brown communities” which was supposed to make a case more persuasive, but politically did the opposite

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Your last paragraphs seem to get to the deeper problem.

Seems to me the basic issue with the Democratic Party is that virtually all of its leaders (not its rank and file) are college educated and have high levels of trust in institutions. And so they can't relate to the viewpoint of non-college educated people with low social trust. Which is a huge percentage of Americans (maybe a majority?).

Take this whole debate about "free college" or student loan debt relief. I bet Democratic leaders think this is a populist idea. But if you're an average person, and most of your social circle hasn't been anywhere near college — it sounds like an elitist idea, not a populist one!

Not that this is enough to fix the problem, but Democrats should start an "affirmative action" program of their own, seeking out talented non-college educated people and promoting them to national leadership levels. Joe Biden should appoint a non-grad to his Cabinet and draw attention to it (there are plenty of great people in the union and entrepreneurship fields). Same goes for party committees, congressional staff, candidate recruitment, and so on.

I see this as not just smart politics, but almost a moral imperative. Descriptive representation matters. It isn't remotely acceptable that the two-thirds of Americans who lack a degree are represented by only about 2-3% of Congress. If we were talking about race or gender instead of education level, that would speak for itself.

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This phenomenon is both heart wrenching on one end as Black man, but such an obvious political imperative for our current realities.

In many ways Kendi calls for this in his book when he discusses moving from “feel good advocacy” to “outcomes based advocacy”. And affirmative action is the perfect policy to apply it too. It sure would feel good for this country to explicitly do something that recognized historical and current racial injustice, but the reality is that if we make the policies about class solidarity we will be able to drive real equitable outcomes.

Sheryl Cashin in “Place not Race” does a fantastic job of arguing for class/place based affirmative action policies, while offering the perspective as a Black Women and how angering it is that we can’t put race front & center when the policies actually don’t empower us vs disenfranchising us.

I tend to take Cashin’s view, and want outcomes more than I care about people agreeing that policy should put race front and center.

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Nov 17, 2020Liked by Matthew Yglesias

There's a reason why Fox News, Breitbart and Ben Shapiro don't talk about the virtues of conservative economic policy very often.

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It seems to me that, especially post-2016, there has been a desire to do antiracism in a way that isn't merely a general leveling of society. The proximate reason for this desire is that if you allow general leveling to count, then it's always the case that the most far-left egalitarian agenda is the most antiracist agenda. That then means Bernieism is peak antiracism, which is a repugnant conclusion to the Hillaryites who are still among us.

The problem with this desire is that there are actually very few antiracist things you can do that aren't general leveling. The solutions to this problem have been (1) to flock to the few things that are not general leveling such as affirmative action, calling out racism in discourse, microaggressions, etc., and (2) finding a few problems that do actually require general leveling to solve -- like fixing the criminal justice system or reducing maternal and infant mortality -- and aggressively branding them as antiracism issues even though they help people of all races.

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Another lesson here seems to be that unbundling Democrats' popular policies and putting them on the ballot in purple states has electoral downsides - why should Florida voters care about what Biden (or state legislative a candidate) supports if they can get the popular policy they want without voting for him? And unlike some GOP-led ballot measures on social issues, these don't seem designed to drive partisan turnout.

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The argument about people carrying forward their campus politics makes a lot of sense to me. I work at a large DC non-profit that's currently going through a diversity, equity, and inclusion review. I tried to introduce the concern that we tend to exclusively hire interns and entry level staff from private (expensive) universities, which has led to a pretty uniformly wealthy staff (at least among the Americans. We have a lot of foreign born staff to which this does not apply). These staff from expensive universities in turn bring their race/gender-focused politics to the organization and perpetuate the cycle. My concern was not not taken up by the DEI committee. To be clear, I think there are very legitimate race and gender concerns, but the unequivocal dismissal of my class concern was telling.

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1st post. Last paragraph has my specific thoughts.

Hey everyone. I’m just subscribed. Ive followed Matt for about 10 years I think. Part of it hate following. But, I paid money for this… Good work Matty for convincing me you would be worth it. So I want to be respectful.

Might as well do a quick bio. Raised in New Zealand and Los Angeles. 22 years in the Air Force. Deployed many times. Im a swing voter. I’d like to think of myself as a reasoned moderate.

I have five kids, I live in Idaho, I work in the power industry, in a skilled blue-collar field, traveling all over the United States (not glamorous places) and Latin America. 220 days a year. I work side-by-side with a diverse set of people. But a lot of flyover country Union Millwrights, welders, laborers. I hear firsthand every day what these people care about. I should add, that my wife’s family is in the restaurant business as well. Small business owners.

Now to get to the point. I think the positions that target white non-college educated voters, are also going to be very appealing to Hispanic non-college educated voters. I think Matt is absolutely right, on trying to target these concrete things to help the poor/working class.

Unfortunately because of tribalism, white non college educated voters have resisted things that would be good for them, because of the associated social views that go with them. But as I travel around the country, I’m starting to notice that the white and Hispanic non-college educated voters are starting to merge culturally. Especially as Hispanics have penetrated in to fly over land.

I think there’s a good chance that this is going to open an avenue for more of this demographic to open up to the things they actually need.

Minimum wage. Labor Unions. Child care. Quality schools. Healthcare. Unemployment Benefits, etc...

The secret is can Democrats appeal to these people. Gridlock in Congress makes it hard to do anything concrete. The Republicans don’t really offer them anything, except for resentment. Some of this resentment is made easier by the perception that many Democrats have gone to this bourgeois social elite partial socialism view. I think with many in this new persuadable demographic need is respect. But not in a token way. Imagine being a welder or an auto mechanic… You work hard to support your family. You feel like you contribute to society. But in the back of your mind, you know that all the people on TV, and violence in ministration, admonish their kids to get good grades and go to a good college, so they can be anything except an auto mechanic or a welder. We can only have so many marketing consultants, or coders, or social workers. The simple fact is, not everyone can go to college. I just don’t think the Democrats have done a good job of connecting with these people.

I’m not sure what the answer is. Change in small increments maybe.

Last comment. Blanket student loan forgiveness will backfire unless it is partnered with other policies.

I’m dictating on my iPhone. Forgive any grammatical mistakes.

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This is the first substack I have ever subscribed to, so I might just be naive, but someone with the username of Galleta seems to be needlessly harrassing commenters. I am unsure if their ideas are any good, but their tone is pretty flippant.

Is this the way it usually is in substack?

I have been really impressed by the earnestness of the conversation over these past few days, but if this is the way substack comment sections typically head, I understand.

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Interesting article, and while I recognize that this a very parochial perspective, from my perch in upper NW DC it seems like a small part of the problem is that the vast majority of people who live here have two different type of interactions: interactions with their wealthy, predominantly white neighbors, and then interactions with "workers" that are predominantly nonwhite. "Working class whites," "poor whites," or whatever you want to call them, are largely nonexistent here, and so I wonder if therefore the wealthy professionals that live in places like NW DC end up ignoring broad class-based policies because in their minds, class becomes associated with race in a way that is not representative of the majority of the United States.

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I basically agree with everything here, but consciously downplaying race to pass redistributive policies does start to smell like "Trojan Horse" politics that Fox News has a hypersensitive nose for. Isn't it better to be explicit that these policies will help address racial inequalities while, critically, also materially bettering the lives of millions of white Americans? If the problem is that conservatives have primed large swaths of white voters to flinch at any policy that helps people who don't look like them, even though it would also help people who do look like them, how do we address this without demotivating progressive voters who seem to be equally sensitive but in the other direction? Feels like we're past the point of being able to just not talk about race while trying to address inequalities.

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I find way Kamala Harris talks about race and gender politically clumsy.

During her victory speech, praised Joe Biden at length for having "the courage and audacity" to pick her as VP. The virus and the economy she mentioned just in passing. Leaving white people aside, I wonder if this sort of rhetoric appeals even to the non-college male Black voters who have started shifting slightly Republican: if the daughter of two immigrants with PhDs can make it here, so can you!

Obama talked a lot about the historic nature of his candidacy as well, but from the way he framed it you could tell he always knew who his voters were. With Harris I'm less sure.

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I'm from a place in the deep south where almost everyone is poor. There is a small percentage of white people who are middle class or wealthy but that's about it. In places like that any argument that tries to frame one racial group as having it worse is immediately met with vicious scorn by most poor white people. They could care less if the rich white people agree with them or not. It will be hard to make any sort of argument to these people from a progressive standpoint but refocusing on economics would help. The problem is that this refocused message probably needs to be persistent and produce results for a decade or more to start swaying anyone. The anti-socialists pitch is as strong in these communities as with Cubans in Florida.

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I have heard that in liberal policy and political circles Twitter is part of the problem. It creates a highly curated environment that leads policy makers and politicians to believe that certain terms and polices are vastly more popular than they are actually are with the median voter.

To Matt K's point - someone uses a term like "disproportionally affects Black and Brown communities” and fellow progressives retweet approvingly not realizing how off-putting that term is to the median voter.

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I think this is a really solid argument on minimum wage--I thought that was Biden's best moment in the debates. I wonder if Affirmative Action might be a uniquely unpopular issue, though. When I was a high school government teacher, I was never even able to convince my (majority Black) students that there were good arguments for it--they just thought it was wildly unfair.

I'm more interested in the implications of the failure of Prop 15--raising taxes on businesses to fund public education should be such a core Democratic message that its failure in California worries me.

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