Carey Roberts, ifeminists.com, Jun. 2
As President Bush’s polling numbers falter, Democrats are beginning to salivate over the prospect of winning the November elections. So everyone is asking, what is the demographic group that holds the key to election success?
The answer: white men, who represent a whooping 45 million of the total U.S. electorate.
Back in 1976, Jimmy Carter attracted a majority of white male voters to seal his underdog Presidential bid. But around that time, the Democratic Party began to view women as one of its core constituencies, and to define women’s needs through the lens of radical feminism. Not surprisingly, white men began to abandon the Democratic party in droves.
So by the time the 2000 elections rolled around, only 36% of white men voted for Al Gore, compared to an impressive 60% for George W. Bush. To Democratic pollsters like Celinda Lake, that was a demographic disaster. During the 2002 mid-term elections, white men came through again, handing Republicans control of the Senate.
So now Ms. Lake is arguing the Democrats will never win the White House unless they begin to reach out to the massive voting group she has dubbed the NASCAR Dads. Indeed, the male gender gap has become so worrisome that the liberal New York Times recently ran an article offering advice on how to rev up the NASCAR vote.
But the jocular tone of the article, “Yes, Democrats Can Win (Some) White Male Voters,” betrays the fact that the Democratic establishment has no intention of taking the concerns of white men seriously. Donna Brazile, Al Gore’s former campaign manager, says breezily about Kerry’s efforts to connect with this group, “The only thing he hasn’t done is sit down with a six-pack and chew tobacco with them.”
Brazile further confirms how clueless the Democrats are when she makes this pronouncement: “White males, especially working class males, care about their jobs, and they care about things like health care.”
That statement is about as profound as saying that mothers care about their babies. That’s because Brazile fails to explain why millions of men have fled the Democratic Party since 1976.
If the Democrats really want to attract the white male vote, they will need to overcome two major hurdles:
First, white men are likely to be the primary breadwinners for their families. They view higher taxes as an obstacle to their ability to be good providers. An ABC News/Washington Post poll found that 70% of men favored smaller government, but only 48% of women believed the same way. So men are far more likely to view big government as part of the problem, not the solution.
Second, men (and many women, as well) have grown tired of the Democrats’ endless pandering to female voters. On his website, candidate John Kerry promises, “As president, I will put American government and our legal system back on the side of women.” Really, it is doubtful that there is anyone left who truly believes the U.S. government is NOT on the side of women.
The fact that the Kerry campaign would run these canards reveals an unsettling truth — that in order to win the female vote, Kerry believes that he needs to continually nurture women’s sense of grievance and victimization. Is that John Kerry’s concept of female empowerment?
True, Kerry has begun to appear in photo-ops attired in full hunting regalia, thinking that will get him in good with the redneck crowd. But how many millionaire preppies who hail from Massachusetts know the difference between a shotgun and a pea-shooter?
Despite all the consciousness-raising by Celinda Lake, the Democrats have made no headway in bringing white men back into the fold. According to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll, John Kerry is stuck with exactly the same numbers as Al Gore: 36% of the white male electorate.
That’s why it looks like history is going to repeat itself on Tuesday, November the second.