By Michael Patrick, Ph.D.
“Real Time” host Bill Maher asked a fresh and politically impertinent question this week of former Democratic candidate, Andrew Yang. Yang’s reply offered an observation that has baffled me since Hillary’s defeat. I was in New York and saw all my friends their in mourning. Yet few offered any rational explanation.
In rare moment of partisan self-awareness, Mr. Yang gave voice to what I see as the harsh reality that the Democratic Party has not fully grasped about what was lost in the trade from a “liberal” to a “progressive” identity. That is, Dems have traded away a giant core of its base. It cost them the last election when the falling away became obvious, and it could cost them this presidential election too.
Maher asked, “Biden’s ahead, but he’s not, to my view, comfortably ahead. Not for my comfort,” Maher said. “I mean, Hillary was ahead by more at some point. And I just got to ask: What is your party doing against this walking disaster [Trump] that you can’t close the gap better than that?”
Yang replied, “When I was campaigning around the country, I said, ‘I’m running for president,’ and someone would say, ‘What party?’ and I’d say, ‘Democrat,’ and you could see this negative reaction oftentimes.”
Yang told Maher. “And this is from truck drivers or waitresses or retail clerks that I thought the Democratic Party was fighting for. And the fact that our message is not reaching certain Americans. I think the Democrats need to do some soul-searching and say, ‘Why is it, why is it that so many people think the Democratic Party isn’t speaking to them, isn’t fighting for them, is patronizing them?”
Yang continued, “I think the Democratic Party has a tendency to deliver a message in a particular way and then say, ‘If you don’t get that message, it’s your fault.’ Instead, we should be going to the people where they are and speak to them in a way that they appreciate and understand.”
“I think Republicans, unfortunately, get that to a higher degree than Democrats do. And as a result, we’re in danger of being perceived as this urban party or the party of the educated elite and that’s what’s created an opening for Republicans to make their case over the last number of years.”
The move away from listening to suburban and blue-collar working class has gone rapidly. Remember Biden losing it with a hard-hat factory worker? Dems no longer make an effort to persuade, but now proudly declare themselves the “woke” party, made up mostly of urban, hyper-identity political interests, the deconstructionists, and educated elites.
If the party doesn’t make room for their original base, they will wake up again to their worst nightmare of another election defeat in 80 days.