If you’ve got a stake in politics, I’m sure you’ve heard recent meanderings about the Democratic party and it’s alleged derailed connection to white males. Or, to better sum up this dilemma, allow me to invoke the following words:
The 2008 election offers the most diverse array of presidential candidates in history. But this rainbow campaign will hinge on the most durable reality of American politics: White men matter most… From 1980 on, Democrats never won more than 38 of every 100 white men who voted.
Now, that’s quite a dilemma – especially for Hillary – a woman who is determined to make an precedented mark on American history.
It’s no secret that political analysts desperately try to find ways in which they can pinpoint potential audiences and reel them in. Think about it – you’ve got the gay vote, the evangelical vote – we could go on for decades listing the potentialities. But the fact of the matter is this: White men are a (most likely – the) predominant factor in the race for the White House and the Democrats have failed miserably at engaging this viable constituency.
But, don’t take my word for it:
The "gender gap" has been a fixture in discussions about American politics since the early Reagan years. But it is usually cast as a matter of women being turned off by Republicans. By far the greater part of this gap, however, comes from the high number of white men - who make up about 36 percent of the electorate - who refuse to even consider voting Democratic.
If you take a look at exit polls from 2000 (I’m sure you remember; it’s the election the Democrats are still lamenting), CBS points out the fact that white women backed Gorge W. Bush over Al Bore (intentional) by three percentage points. While this is a relatively close call, the gap among white males was nine times this figure, standing strong at 27 percentage points.
The situation didn’t fare much better for the Democrats in 2003, as the white male gap between Kerry and Bush stood at 26 percentage points – almost identical to figure determined in the 2000 electoral race.
Only time can tell how this will play out, but if the Democrats want to succeed in 2008 one fact remains: They must find a way ngage white males. After all, there has been only one Democratic president during my lifetime (and only two since the late 1970’s). Clearly, there’s a disconnect.
In the past three decades, the only two Democrats to win the presidency, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, were politicians who organized campaigns around rhetorical and ideological pitches that were designed to reassure voters skeptical of liberal values - an attitude that dominates among white males. Even these victories, however, took place amid special circumstances, with the Watergate backlash of 1976 and the Ross Perot independent boom undermining Republicans in 1992.
Talk about hitting the nail on the head:
Over the past two generations, said former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner, "there was a morphing of the Democratic Party from a sense of a common good or a common commitment to each other as fellow citizens to being an advocate for groups. And I think that Democrats were advocates for every other group except for white males."
It’s overwhelmingly clear that the Democrats need to start focusing on the common man. Who knows, maybe one day they’ll even make good on their promise to truly help those who lack a voice in our ever-changing society. After all, white males aren’t the only individuals being overlooked; considering the mass genocide that occurs against unborn babies on a daily basis (otherwise known as fetuses) I’m sure there are plenty of opportunities for the Democrats to better engage themselves.