Shor concedes that some version of this class of highly-educated neophytes has been a permanent feature of Democratic Party politics since at least the 1960s, but he argues that the downstream political effects of this demographic imbalance have gotten worse as the rise in education polarization — i.e. the tendency of highly educated voters to lean Democratic and less-educated voters to lean Republican—has exacerbated the ideological divide between Democratic staffers and the median voter. “It’s always been true that this group was higher socioeconomic status and younger and all these other things, but the extent to which those biases mattered has changed a lot in the past ten years,” said Shor. The way to compensate for these biases, Shor says, is twofold. The first is for Democratic candidates and their staff members to engage in more rigorous messaging discipline — in short, to “talk about popular things that people care about using simple language,” as Shor has defined his preferred brand of messaging restraint before. This approach would not preclude Democrats from talking about progressive-coded policy ideas that enjoy broad popular support, such as adopting a wealth tax on high earning individuals or mandating that workers receive representation on corporate boards. In the longer term, however, the party will have to elevate the policy and messaging preferences of its moderate Black, Hispanic and working-class supporters over the preferences of young, highly-educated and liberal staffers. “We are really lucky that we have a bunch of relatively moderate, economically progressive people in the Democratic Party who have close to median views on social issues and religiosity and all this other stuff, and the only thing is, most of them aren’t white,” Shor said. “Someone derisively told me that what I was saying is that we should be booking Maxine Waters instead of random [Black Lives Matter] activists, and I think that’s right. I think we should probably care what [Congressional Black Caucus] members think about things.” Of course, Shor’s theory might be entirely off the mark — and many on the left think it is. “It’s both mixed up and wrong,” said Steve Phillips, founder of the political strategy group Democracy in Color and senior fellow at the Center for American Progress. Ironically enough, critics like Phillips agree with Shor’s premise that the demographic composition of the Democratic Party’s staff does not reflect the demographic make-up of its key voters, but they maintain that the primary problem is that these staffers are too white, not that the staff is too young or too liberal. From this modified premise, they draw the exact opposite conclusion about the party’s message: that Democrats need to double down on a bolder vision of progressive change rather than retreat toward the center. “It is true that the leadership as well as too much of the staff of the Democratic Party — and in particular in the progressive ecosystem — is largely white … [and] the problem with having the political leadership of the progressive part of the Democratic Party be disproportionately white is that you don’t have people who have cultural competence [in communities of color], you don’t have people who are fighters, and so the approach is to compromise, soften, avoid and tiptoe at a time when we’re in a pitched battle,” sai . . . read the full article here.
Keywords: party, demographic, ideological, democratic, collegekid, phillips, privileged, black, voters, shor, democrats, problem, progressive
DATE: 2020, at least the 1960s, the past ten years
NORP: Black, Hispanic, Democrats, Democratic, Republican
ORDINAL: first, second
PERCENT: 60 percent, only 20 percent
CARDINAL: four, three, only one