I 'm a working class white male (WCWM) who doesn 't want to be a Republican and isn 't welcome to be part of the Democratic Party. I 'm part of the group that the Democratic Party not only seems to dismiss as lost to the Republicans but seems to do everything possible to alienate. I understand why when Howard Dean said he wanted to bring guys back into the party who drove pickup trucks with gun racks and confederate flags stickers to the party, he was greeted with all of the welcome of a leper at a swingers party and why that is exactly what we need to do.
While, I never see articles about bringing back WCWMs to the Democratic Party, I routinely see articles about bolstering up the traditional constituencies of minorities, women and labor as the only way to return Dems to power. The Democratic leadership has ignored and denigrated WCWMs. Both they and many of the single issue constituencies buy into the portrayal of WCWMs (unless they belong to a union with a large PAC) as ignorant, knuckle dragging, misogynistic, racist, gun toting, testosterone driven, war mongering miscreants not worthy of the effort to get them back. The failure of the Democratic Party to connect these groups and WCWMs is the reason they will continue to lose elections.
Buying Votes With Virtual Manhood
WCWMs don 't necessarily agree with George Bush, but at least he doesn 't make them out to be the bad guys. They don 't think, lying aside, that he talks down to them. Even his lies appeal to their machismo, a virtual substitute for the loss of real power over their lives. This virtual machismo is routinely proffered in the place of real personal power by the Republicans. This is the core of he Republican framing to the WCWM. The Democrats attempts to effectively counter this has been a miserable failure because: 1) They have failed to offer a more effective macho archetype; and 2) The party leadership doesn 't want too because of its fears of offending its corporate contributors. Instead they have become shadow Republicans, echoing them on war, crime, trade and social issues like "welfare reform ".
The purposeful failure of leadership and the dissertation style polemics used by most Democrats doesn 't convey a message that the average white male is either understood or cared about. Since neither party addresses their primary concerns, they are motivated to support Republicans by the archetypal fear of emasculation.
The History of Pecking Order Politics
What little status or power WCWM 's had in the world to start with was always tenuous, and mostly dependent on the favor of the elite. They could easily lose what power they held and be virtually emasculated in front of their family and community. This emasculation fear is ancient in human behavior going back to the widespread practice of jus primae noctis, or first right. Whether real or symbolic, lords from ancient time through the middle ages used their claim for sexual favor from virgin wives to humiliate, show dominance, and extort money from the male peasant population.
When assistance was needed to maintain control, limited power was shared with subgroups for their assistance. In days of old this process was fairly simple. If someone distinguished himself and had some potential leadership ability that might cause you problems, you made him a knight, let him eat at your table, sleep with your dogs, give him his pick of the servant girls and let him routinely beat the peasants who complained about their conditions.
After the American and French Revolutions the elite got worried about the impacts that improved communication had on the mass 's ability to organize. The concept of strength through solidarity arose. In truth Tom Paine 's printing press probably had more power than George Washington 's army. It seems that pissed off little people could rise up and chop off your head.
So the strategy changed, you had to enlist a larger group on your side. You had to get one part of the peasant population to believe that it was threatened not by the elite but by another part of the peasant population. In a Democracy this became an especially important skill. So propaganda was promoted the idea that WCWMs status was being undermined and threatened by their natural allies, minorities, women, and immigrants. It is an unfortunate human phenomena that people view it better to be a guard then an inmate, even though both suffer the same daily degradation of the system. The No-Nothings, the Klan, the NRA are all examples of this fear mongering to WCWMs to get them to work and vote against their own economic interests.
Throughout the history of mankind including that of the United States, the working class and poor have been pitted against one another by the financial elites in order to maintain their power. Repression, reform and reward for specific subgroups are routinely used to redirect and reduce the cry for change in the basic political structure. By doing so the financial elites have been able to prevent what they fear most, the unification of the masses.
Censored: The History of the Exploited in America
In an industrialized society where groups of compliant workers were needed to fuel capital collection, organization and solidarity caused problems. The rising impact of mass communication on organizational ability increased the need for propaganda and the evolution of more subtle forms of manipulation. Overt brutality was only used after the appropriate group could be properly demonized to make it appear that their interests were separate from the rest of the masses. Propaganda was not only made about the present but also the past through revisionist American domestic and diplomatic history.
For example most immigrants were not dreamy eyed seekers of the good life but were sent as prisoners, slaves, or refugees from war, persecution and poverty imposed on them by the financial elites of Europe. Once here they were exploited on the frontier to open the west and serve as a buffer against the Native Americans. When their usefulness was exhausted, most settlers were forced off their land by banks, railroads , debt holders and sometimes violent theft by the economic elite. The image of the rugged homesteader and settler never tell the rest of the story of when they were forced off their land during times of drought, market manipulation or outright theft.
Likewise the great wars of American history are presented as an advance of human rights instead of their reality as a quest for economic expansion for the benefit of the upper classes. Hence the Revolutionary war was supposedly for everyone, even though only white male property owners who wanted to run their own show gained the right to vote or hold office. The War of 1812 is presented as a second revolution, not a war primarily to defend the trading rights of commercial interests.