Our National Conversation on Race

Snips from an ongoing national conversation —

In What Americans Do Now Will Define Us Forever, Adam Serwer describes the futile attempts of the conservative intelligensia to either distance themselves from Trump or provide a respectable fig leaf over whatever it is he is doing.

The [National Conservatism] conference stood solidly within the conservative intellectual tradition, as a retroactive attempt by the right-wing intelligentsia to provide cover for what the great mass of Republican voters actually want. Barry Goldwater did not break the Solid South in 1964 because the once Democratic voters of the Jim Crow states had suddenly become principled small-government libertarians; voters who backed Donald Trump in 2016 did not do so because they believed a nonracial civic nationalism had been eroded by liberal cosmopolitanism.

Likewise, Ronald Reagan’s appeal to blue collar whites in 1980 had less to do with his sunny disposition than with their belief he was going to take food stamps away from the “Welfare Queens.” The connection between the “conservative intelligensia” and the mass of Republican voters is a complicated thing that shifts over time, but the two are rarely on the same page.

Trump’s nationalist innovation is not taking pride in his country, supporting a principled non-interventionism, or even advocating strict enforcement of immigration laws. The only thing new Trump brings to the American nationalism of recent decades is a restoration of its old ethnic-chauvinist tradition. Conservative intellectuals cannot rescue nationalism from Trump, any more than they could rescue Goldwater from Jim Crow, because Trump’s explicit appeals to racial and religious traditionalism, and his authoritarian approach to enforcing those hierarchies, are the things that have bound conservative voters so closely to him. The failure of the conservative intelligentsia to recognize this is why it was caught so off-guard by Trump’s rise to begin with.

They’re still off guard, seems to me.

The argument that Omar’s criticisms of her adopted country for failing to live up to its stated ideals justify revoking her citizenship substantiates the very criticism she lodged. Trump has said, “If you hate our country, or if you are not happy here, you can leave!” but his entire 2016 campaign was premised on the idea that many Americans not only are deeply unhappy, but also have every right to demand that things be better. That Trump’s supporters believe Omar’s sins justify her banishment, and Trump’s similar transgressions justify his presence in the White House, helps illustrate exactly what is going on here. Under Trumpism, no defense of the volk is a betrayal, even if it undermines the republic, and no attack on the volk’s hegemony can be legitimate, even if it is a defense of democracy.

Although the German word volk can have a more benign meaning, I suspect Serwer is using it in the sense of the Nazi Idea of Volksgemeinschaft — a nation or people made up of the “most superior” of the human races. From the article on the subject:

The Volksgemeinschaft didn’t just exclude different races, as competing ideologies were also rejected. The Volk was to be a one party state where the leader—currently Hitler—was accorded unquestioning obedience from his citizens, who handed over their freedoms in exchange for—in theory—their part in a smoothly functioning machine. ‘Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Fuhrer’: one people, one empire, one leader. Rival ideas like democracy, liberalism or—especially repugnant to the Nazis—communism was rejected, and many of their leaders arrested and imprisoned. Christianity, despite being promised protection from Hitler, also had no place in the Volk, as it was a rival to the central state and a successful Nazi government would have brought it to an end.

Sound familiar? As Trump has done, Hitler forged an alliance with conservative elements of Christianity, who praised and supported him, but it’s the consensus of historians that he would have dismantled the Church once he no longer needed it.

Now, back to Serwer:

Faced with the president’s baldly expressed bigotry toward four women of color in Congress, Republicans turned to reporters to argue that his attacks are part of a clever political strategy, elevating four left-wing women of color into the faces of his opposition. I suspect these Republicans, and some political reporters, believe that this somehow exonerates Trump from the charge of bigotry, as though prejudice ceases to be prejudice if it becomes instrumental. In fact, the admission that fomenting racism and division is central to Trump’s strategy is a stunning rebuke to those political reporters and pundits who, for four years, have insisted that the rise of Trump is about anything else. Trump and his most ardent liberal critics are in full agreement about the nature of his appeal, even as they differ on its morality. Only the Trumpists, and those who wish to earn their respect, fail to see it.

“He’s not racist if he’s just fomenting racism to serve his own ends” is not something I’m going to dignify with a counter-argument. See also John Cassidy, There Is Nothing Strategic About Trump’s Racism:

To restate the obvious: the President is unpopular. Despite this, it is often argued that he knows what he is doing, and he’s concentrating on turning out his base of disaffected white voters, particularly those living in the Midwestern states that tipped the Electoral College his way in 2016. In an analysis posted on Friday, Nate Cohn, the Times’ election analyst, argued that, given Trump’s advantage in the Electoral College, he “could win while losing the national vote by as much as five percentage points.”

But, even for a candidate focussing on the Electoral College rather than the popular vote, Presidential contests aren’t merely about motivating the base. To win an election in which more than a hundred and thirty million people vote, a candidate has to make some inroads into the center ground. By adopting the language of barroom bigots everywhere, Trump is narrowing his potential voter pool and incentivizing some key groups whose participation could be key, such as suburbanites in Michigan, minorities in Milwaukee and Philadelphia, and millennials who voted for the Green Party in 2016. Could he still pull out a victory? After 2016, only a fool or an eternal optimist would say it’s inconceivable. He didn’t boost his chances this week, though.

Back to Serwer:

It also speaks to the futility of trying to somehow rescue a Trumpian nationalism from Trump. Racism is at the core of Trumpism. The movement cannot be rescued from its bigotry, and those at the National Conservatism Conference who believe it can are in denial. Conservatives can make their case for limited government, or for religious traditionalism, but as long as it is tied to Trump or Trumpism, it will be tainted. Trump is not a champion of the civic nationalism Hazony and others claim they want to see. He is a mortal threat to it.

Conservative elites come in multiple flavors, such as neocons and small-government libertarians. Trumpism supports none of it. But also note:

In the face of a corrupt authoritarian president who believes that he and his allies are above the law, the American people are represented by two parties equally incapable of discharging their constitutional responsibilities. The Republican Party is incapable of fulfilling its constitutional responsibilities because it has become a cult of personality whose members cannot deviate from their sycophantic devotion to the president, lest they be ejected from office by Trump’s fanatically loyal base. The Democratic Party cannot fulfill its constitutional responsibilities because its leadership lives in abject terror of being ejected from office by alienating the voters to whom Trump’s nationalism appeals. In effect, the majority of the American electorate, which voted against Trump in 2016 and then gave the Democrats a House majority in 2018, has no representation.

Yep. I couldn’t have put it better. And if Trump wins again in 2020, it will be miscalculations by Democratic Party leadership that made it possible, just as their miscalculations made his election possible in 2016. They don’t learn.

Jamelle Bouie writes in Trump Voters Are Not the Only Voters that there are far more anti-Trump voters than pro-Trump voters. Yet, somehow, anti-Trump voters aren’t important.

Trump galvanized his supporters at the cost of energizing the opposition. But somehow, this has fallen out of political memory, with many observers focused on the president’s base of non-college-educated whites as the only voters who matter. And that includes some prominent Democrats. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s opposition to serious and aggressive oversight of the president — up to and including impeachment — is arguably tied to a belief in the singular importance of these voters. They must be catered to, even if it angers and disillusions the Democratic base.  …

… African-Americans are the most heavily Democratic group in the country, with a large presence in many of the most competitive states. Small increases in their participation would have an outsize effect on the electoral landscape. The projections bear that out. Given population growth since the last election, if black turnout and support return to 2012 levels, Democrats win handily, with as much as an estimated 338 electoral votes and a five-point margin in the national popular vote.

I have seen news analyses saying that Trump has lost support among blue collar voters in the upper midwest, which suggests that a portion of people who voted for Trump in 2016 know better now. On the other hand, as David Atkins argues, people who still support Trump today are not going to be persuaded by appeals to “centrism.” Those people are all in for Trump. Dems need to stop dreaming they can be won back. Let them bleeping go.

Similarly, Charles Blow wrote back in April,

But there is part of the Biden enthusiasm, and to a lesser extent the energy around candidates like Bernie Sanders, that focuses too heavily on the fickle white, working-class swing voters and is not enough focused on the party’s faithful.

Indeed, in political circles, Biden’s chief attribute in this election feels like his apparent appeal to these white voters.

I think that we need to question why the presence of the white male elder seems to ease anxiety among these white voters, and why the Democrats seem to be banking on that.

Barack Obama ran phenomenal campaigns in 2008 and 2012, and there is no doubt that choosing Biden, an elder white man, helped grease the skids among a certain section of white working-class voters. But, these are the same people who in the next breath — or next election — could reverse course and vote for a flagrant white supremacist.

These people are not experiencing conversion, they are being coddled. Democrats want to hold constant their support from women and minorities even as they chase the votes of people hostile to the interests of women and minorities. What does it say that the Democrats lust after disaffection rather than rewarding devotion? Democrats tell their base that this must be done, that the prodigal children must be brought home, as if that is their only path to victory. It is not. That is a lie. And, it’s a lazy lie.

Back to  Jamelle Bouie:

You could make a strong case that the future success of the Democratic Party depends on its ability to mobilize and win over black Americans, a key group in a broad coalition of voters. We have post-Obama proof that this is true from the 2017 elections — where strong black turnout drove those Democratic victories in Virginia and Alabama — as well as in the 2018 midterms, where greater support and participation from black voters put black candidates within striking distance of statewide victories in Georgia and Florida.

But the press isn’t hyper-solicitous of the views of black voters. Cable news doesn’t constantly turn to swing-state focus groups of black Democrats to gauge their opposition to the president. And Democrats in Congress aren’t worried about demobilizing a group that may determine the next election. Just the opposite — some moderates believe the party has spent too much time challenging the president’s racism and showing solidarity with their nonwhite constituents.

See also Bouie’s The Joy of Hatred and This Is What Evil Looks Like from the Mahablog archives.

In Trump Sets the Terms on Racial Division. Do Democrats Know What to Do?, Astead W. Herndon and Jennifer Medina write,

But even as Democratic candidates universally denounced Mr. Trump’s comments, they did not agree on how the eventual presidential nominee should combat the racial division embedded in those words. Do you, on the campaign trail, talk directly about the president’s inflammatory language, racism and discrimination in this country? Or do you talk about jobs and the economy?

Democratic Party leaders, particularly establishment figures with ties to Barack Obama’s and Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaigns, have largely followed a strategy of careful avoidance: responding to the president’s most inflammatory moments, while attempting to redirect the political debate to what is often described as “kitchen table” issues, such as health care and wages.

However, an increasingly vocal group of Democratic grass-roots organizers and pollsters believe that Mr. Trump’s words and legislative actions amount to a cohesive playbook of white identity politics, meant to court white voters of all economic tiers around the idea that their fates are linked, and are under threat by an increasingly diversifying America. They argue that racism and the public performance of it is a “kitchen table” issue for many voters — black and white — that must be dealt with head-on.

“Just as much time and resources as the nominee spends on targeting and messaging around health care and wages and climate change, they should spend an equal amount of resources around an alternative racial vision for the country,” said Cornell Belcher, a prominent pollster who worked with Mr. Obama. “This isn’t a goddamn distraction.”

Herndon and Medine quote Sen. Cory Booker: “This election will be a referendum, not on Donald Trump, but a referendum on who we are and who we must be to each other.” It is time for Democrats to decisively choose to stand wholeheartedly with nonwhite voters and to let the fickle racist white voters go. I believe — I sincerely hope — the majority of white Americans will see the rightness of the Democratic Party’s position and will vote for Democratic candidates against the fascists.

“This is how low Trump has taken us. We are a debased nation fighting over the scraps of our former principles,” writes Timothy Egan. Are there enough of us to put an end to the disease of Trumpism? That’s the test of our time.

20 thoughts on “Our National Conversation on Race

  1. Nancy,

    Shoot the Moon!

    Sometimes, ya just gotta shoot the Moon!

    You let Dick & W go quietely.  Remember how much shit they pulled?  How much "blood and treasure" hemorrhaged?  For what?  Nothing tangible – except huge profits for people and companies in the MIC, of course.

    And now it looks like you're afraid you might lose some votes because you folks in the House  do what the Constitution DEMANDS – impeach our grifter POTUS?!?  Like, ya know, ASAP!!!!!

    Show some spine:  Shoot the Moon, Nancy!

    Lest you prove that we Democrats don't fight because we're spineless.    I'm not spineless.  You?


  2. Re "let them bleeping go" vs "turn back the clock":

    Centrists, being objectively conservative, want to turn back the clock: but turning back the clock is physically impossible. The Second Law of Thermodynamics forbids it. Once the minute hand passes 12:01, the only way back to noon is through evening, midnight, and morning.

  3. The choice in the 2020 election is pretty stark: either "America" elects to stay on the current destructive and divisive path towards fascism and maintenance and furtherance of white supremacy with Trump, or (hopefully) decides to pick up where we left off with the imperfect but promising "experiment" of democracy as envisioned by the Founders.

    BTW, the feel good "we're better than that" is just as destructive as "we've come a long way" was with respect to race, as a way to tamp down honest discussion about the issue we currently face.  2020 will give us an opportunity to get real though.

    Not to get cute but, it really comes down to hate vs. hope.  

  4. " And if Trump wins again in 2020, it will be miscalculations by Democratic Party leadership that made it possible "

    So if the democrats don't impeach and Trump loses it won't be a miscalculation?

    " It is time for Democrats to decisively choose to stand wholeheartedly with nonwhite voters and to let the fickle racist white voters go "

    Isn't that playing the same game as Trump, choosing race over democracy? I'd prefer a party that stands with Americans of all races. Just because Trump has sought to divide the country on racial lines doesn't mean the democratic party needs to play along. Oh and for all the Biden bashing and focus on how he wants to court Trump voters, Biden leads in almost every poll amongst African American voters? Trumps racism is deplorable but is it impeachable? I'm not so sure, I don't see him as any more racist than the last three republican presidents, the difference is he's not hiding it anymore.


    • “Isn’t that playing the same game as Trump, choosing race over democracy” No, and only a racist would have asked that question. If you want to continue to have commenting privileges here, I strongly suggest you choose your words more carefully. In a white privileged culture, to fully support nonwhites is to finally acknowledge systemic racism and to work to eliminate it.

      • Preach!

        I don't always agree with you (see Clinton, Hillary), but in this matter, hell yeah. Confrontation with Trump's authoritarian Herrenvolk racism must be unequivocal in its focus. The very nature of our society is at stake. There is no neutral ground on which to stand.

        • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herrenvolk_democracy

          I like the word Herrenvolk. It describes exactly what I'm seeing in Trump's politics, but I didn't have the word to articulate the concept.

           I think what disgusts me the most is the idea that anybody with even a shred of dignity and self esteem could find it acceptable to allow Trump to define what it means to be an American or challenge their patriotism and love of country. He's such a bag of shit!


      • I won't enter into an argument about whether you should bake or fry Unicorn meat. I don't believe in Unicorns and I don't think for a minute that serious Democrats believe there's a significant white faction that will leave Trump if Democrats are more moderate. 

        Not only is the white-pro-Trump-moderate-willing-to-be-swayed-by-policy as rare as a unicorn, but the professional establishment Democrat (in office or in the party machine) who believes such a political animal exists is also just as rare. (non-existant)

        The argument is as phony as a flat-earhter denying photos from space. Ever since Bill Clinton sold Wall Street on the wisdom of buying both parties on financial issues (leaving the political arguments of race and sexual orientation as the only significant difference) the $$$ folks have kept the pressure on Democrats to stay true to the deal which the flow of money into Democratic pockets depends on. 

        PLEASE, don't pretend the discussion about moderate white voters has a damn thing to do about a mythical class of citizens. It's about money. Democrats have superPACS to support their campaigns funded by big business – they retire from Congress into cushy corporate jobs. It's the donor class the Democrats are worried about when they talk about moderate white voters.

        This time four years ago, nobody (not even Bernie) was talking about corruption and Wall Street owning government. This cycle, Bernie is full-in with his rhetoric – so is Liz. Minorites and young people are not frightened of putting a saddle on corporate America and the ultra-rich to make them pay for what we need. After all, they got rich by milking consumers dry. Catering to the unicorn of moderate whites is a Democratic dog-whistle for corporate America – we aren't going to cut into your profits. You can keep sending money.

        • I agree; ultimately, the dems feint toward “moderate” voters, translated as Trump voters, is really nothing more than to prove to their paymasters that they will do them no harm by going after those who effectively support, duped though they may be, doing no harm to the status quo, for whatever reason.  The real, ultimate constituency is thus the same as the GOP, wealth. 

          That said, the problem is while the democratic party really doesn’t care about any significant policy needs of these voters, they are spending valuable resources going after them that could and should be spent on turning out their own. 

          It’s not the fact that the voters in question are “blue collar whites” – it just so happens that they are, but they could be of any persuasion, racially or socially; but the fact that the cost benefit, financially or politically, doesn’t justify the investment in going after them.

      • I'm done commenting here, you call me a racist, really? It is racist to ask that all people of all races be treated equally, your way off base. You just continue on the road you where on in 2016, trashing the democrats at every opportunity, keep on that track, you'll help get Trump elected again, just like you did the first time. Maybe your on the Russian payroll? This blog is a waste of my time.

        • I went back and read what Maha said, "let the fickle racist white voters go" You must have read it because you copied the quote into your comment.

          You disagreed with Maha – and I have to interpret that in reverse. You favor opening the big tent to include mildly racists voters. Not OK with me. Modifying Democratic principles to attract halfway-bigots, people who think people of color should not be abused but they are inferior to whites, isn't acceptable. Also stupid. Trump owns those people and we should not be going after them. 

          As I read the data, the success of 2018 was in no small part due to turnout by women of color. This despite the obstacles of gerrymandering and voter suppression. What message do we send to citizens of color who overcame deliberate schemes to disenfranchise their votes if Democrats adopt policies to cater to white bigots?  

          I don't expect you care (nor should you) but I think you blew this one.

          • " You favor opening the big tent to include mildly racists voters "

            I never said that, I said the democratic party should treat all races equally. For that I've been deemed a racist. I didn't ask for nor do I believe we should be catering to racist Trump voters, I said the party should treat all races with equally and with respect. This site has turned into a "smear the democratic establishment" at all costs for everything. Every post is the same, Trumps is bad, noun, verb, It's Nancy Pelosi's fault. I'm only responding to you because I have respect for you and many of maha's commenters, but I am done pointing out maha's obvious attempts at dividing the party, she is either working for Trump or she is too naive to see that she is doing exactly as he wishes. Good luck Doug and the rest of the commenters here, I'm out.

  5. I am impressed with the Serwer article and find it properly critical and thoughtfully written.  Trumpism is treated correctly as a stand alone from Conservatism as an ism or doctrine.  Trumpism is racist at it's core, and has a white nationalist bent which lends itself more toward a mutation of fascism than Conservatism.  I think Sewer's  point was well made that conservatives efforts to intellectually embrace Trumpism are fruitless.   Many noted Conservatives such as George Will and the late Charles Krauthammer filed for intellectual divorce at the onset of Trumpism.   David Brooks (though not conservative enough for some of the faithful) is of a similar bent.  Trumpism used popular ideas from conservative and libertarian doctrine to hijack the Republican Party, but it is a mistake to think Trumpism is either.  True Trumpism is in evolution, a mutation in progress.  My guess is it is terminal for Conservatives, Libertarians, Democracy, both political parties, and this country as we know it if not treated and eradicated as soon as possible.  Right now it is feeding on liberals, progressives, non-whites, and the vast majority of females that are not total subservient lackeys. It is delusional to think this malignant growth will quit there. All will be fodder in due time if left to evolve.

  6. “Jamelle Bouie writes in Trump Voters Are Not the Only Voters that there are far more anti-Trump voters than pro-Trump voters. Yet, somehow, anti-Trump voters aren’t important.”

    I think this can be attributed to the MSM’s slant towards reporting not so much to inform but to entertain, thus focusing on train wrecks, and Trump voters are train wrecks, to say the least.  Which is why they are constantly going into those damned diners to interview the same people. 

    For democrats, it is not an issue of race, but of numbers: they do not need these Trump voters to win.  It makes no sense to spend valuable resources trying to persuade them when they are less likely to provide support the regardless of what the Democratic Party does.  A much better use is focusing even more resources on turning out democratic voters and the anti-Trump voters, which is a lot larger than the media focus on Trump diner-dwellers would have you believe.

    This election is winnable for the democrats.  Focus on GOTV, mobilize the anti-Trump vote, put resources into countering “voter fraud” suppression schemes, and make the election a referendum on Trump’s dark, hateful, authoritarian vision.

  7. "The Democratic Party cannot fulfill its constitutional responsibilities because its leadership lives in abject terror of being ejected from office by alienating the voters to whom Trump’s nationalism appeals."

    "… if Trump wins again in 2020, it will be miscalculations by Democratic Party leadership that made it possible …"

    "… Pelosi’s opposition to serious and aggressive oversight of the president … is arguably tied to a belief in the singular importance of [Trump] voters."

    All the above are nonsense based on false assumptions. There is no "constitutional responsibility" to impeach a president. The Constitution only spells out the mechanics of impeachment. Democrats are providing oversight to the extent their influence currently allows. House Democrats voted down Al Green's impeachment resolution by 137 to 95 because a large majority of the public don't believe the threshold has been met.

    Putting the blame for Trump possibly winning re-election on Democrats ignores the voters that respond to his nationalism, racism and constant boasts about the economy. It also ignores voter suppression, possible Russian and other foreign interference, and the influence of unlimited dark money.

    There is some interest in voters for both Obama and Trump, but it's an absurd lie that Democrats believe they can win over the Trump base. On the other hand, divisive, sensationalized, both-siderist chatter could help re-elect Trump.

    • Winston — the quotes in your comment were not just about Congress’s failure to impeach the president. Why don’t you actually read the linked articles from which the quotes were taken? If you are denying that the Dems have, for many years, blown off what Democratic voters want in favor of appealing to a mythical center, this tells me you were either born yesterday or haven’t been paying attention.

      • I responded to the quotes that were featured in your post, not the entire articles. Why would doing that make sense?

        The Democrats went wrong with the radical centrism that gave us the Clintons, draconian criminal law, a NAFTA with little protection for American workers, the financial deregulation that eventually led to the crash of 2007, and all else that discredited the party to many of its traditional supporters. The defeat of Hillary should mean the last nails in the coffins of both radical centrism and "the third way" for Democrats.

        At the moment, however, we're facing a real threat of fascism in the US and real damage to the republic we all rely on. While criticizing the Democrats' past is perfectly legitimate, a sense of proportion is called for. It is not helpful to beat them up at the expense of diminishing what's at stake now. Implying the Democratic party is just as bad as the Republican party is more than just factually wrong.

        • “I responded to the quotes that were featured in your post, not the entire articles. Why would doing that make sense?” The quotes were not just about impeachment. For decades, Democrats have been kicking a large part of its base to the curb in order to cater to “swing” and “centrist” voters. It’s a long-standing pattern. I assume people who are regulars here know that. Even so, on the issue of impeachment I think we’re past the point of avoiding it. It’s the duty of Congress to defend and protect the Constitution; by avoiding impeachment of a president who took us into constitutional crisis territory some time back, Congress is shirking its duty. Remember, to begin the impeachment process is not the same thing as voting to impeach. By formally designating investigations as “impeachment inquiries,” Congress disarms the executive branch of claiming investigations have no legislative purpose.

          • I'll admit to some cherry picking and that he clamor to impeach yesterday, not just on this blog, has become annoying.

            For the most part we're in agreement about the Democratic leadership. After Jimmy Carter was perceived as a weak president and "radical chic" had been made the outrage of choice by the press, Republicans began their coordinated PR and psychological onslaughts and Democrats suffered a humiliating defeat against Reagan. They tried to recover with radical centrism which only made things worse in the long run, and the PR and psychology are up to 11. They deserve some sympathy but have been acting like whipped dogs since 1981.

            Caution is necessary, but Trump should be impeached after the public is wised up a bit. We don't want him to get ahead of public opinion.

  8. First, there's been a more lively debate in the comments to this post than I've seen in years in the media. Democrats need to be direct instead of tiptoeing around the subject in a quest to offend nobody. Some people here have taken offense and I don't feel bad. It's time to take the padded gloves off – this is a brawl, not a boxing match. The GOP is making an organized effort to suppress minority votes with racial gerrymandering, with ID requirements (often linked to making it hard in minority areas to get ID.) In other cases, they have moved election centers to inconvenient venues where the town is predominately Democratic. It's real. It's racial. It's effective.

    An attempt to rig the system so a numerical minority in elections can prevail can either further depress voter turnout as minorities disengage from the process OR it can motivate minority voters to turn out the bums. The GOP is betting the farm on the first option – they haven't moderated their policies to appeal to people with dark skins or women. If minorities are going to rise up and vote – if young people are going to rise up and vote – if women are going to rise up and vote, we Democrats have to reach out to those groups, explain how their chains are being forged, how their rights are being eroded, how their children will be enslaved. If you want to say this is "identity politics", maybe it is. We're going to the classes of people with a GOP bulls-eye on their backs and warning them they better vote before it's too late.

    I'm a 65-year-old white guy. Nobody in the Democratic party has turned me away. As long as I share the values of equal rights for all citizens, I've been more than welcome in any party meeting and organization even when the group tends younger and darker. I understand that some with sincere progressive values see outreach to women and people of color as cynical pandering. It can be and I find that repulsive. But young people and people of color are on the cusp of deciding if they will or won't accept a system where elections are truely a ritual and representation of their concerns a joke. It's become an either-or and there's no more time.

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