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The Wave
Monday, August 22 2016
Attachments:
Download this file (Dcor_The Wave_8.22.2016.pdf)Memo[ ]181 Kb

America is about to experience a once-in-a-lifetime earthquake of an election, but progressives do not seem to trust the new American majority and its ascendant values and thus, continue to be tactical, reactive, and fight old wars. As a result, they may miss the chance to create a governing majority after November 8th.

Hillary Clinton is beginning to emerge with the kind of lead you would expect in a country where over 60 percent of the electorate will be racial minorities, single women, millennials, and seculars and where the positive sentiment about the Democratic Party is 9 points higher than for the Republicans.[1]

Progressives, pundits and the media are consumed with the pivotal role of angry white working class men when their vote share is declining every presidential election and will be only 18 percent of the electorate this year.  When Clinton’s margin was only 3 points, their share of the electorate would have to jump to 25 percent to push the overall vote to parity.[2]

I am the person who invented the term “Reagan Democrats” and took Bill Clinton to Warren in Macomb County, Michigan. But then, the white working class men’s share of the electorate was twice what it is today.

Today, I want progressives to embrace an economic narrative that seeks to “level the playing field,” because that is key to motivating working class voters, white and minority, including women who are now a majority of the working class, not because of its appeal to Reagan Democrats.

Because progressives did not trust the new American majority, they thought Donald Trump’s dark convention and speech was effective and waited for the polls to be sure.  They thought Pennsylvania would be close, underestimating the new dynamics in the state. And their priority and strategy was to stop Trump in the Rust Belt states to stamp out any chance of Trump being elected.

But Trump already lost this election before his disastrous last week, as only 6 percent of Clinton voters would even consider supporting Trump. The number of potential switchers in this election has shrunk to just a third of what it was in the last three presidential elections.

This misplaced priority comes at the expense of efforts to produce the biggest possible wins in the elections for the U.S. Senate and House and state elections.

Campaigns and media should be focused on this number: 38 percent. That is the percent of the vote that Trump is likely to win in this multi-party election, matching the vote share for George Bush in 1992 when he lost to Bill Clinton by 5 points. That 38 percent should concentrate the mind on what is the real opportunity for Republican votes and voters to disappear down the ballot.

This memo outlines what progressives should focus on to maximize that opportunity.

READ THE MEMO.


[1] Huffpollster average, August 11, 2016. Democrats viewed favorably by 44 percent, Republicans by 35 percent.

[2] In a three way race, white non-college educated men vote for Trump over Clinton, 58 percent to 22 percent. In a two way ballot, 61 percent vote for Trump and 35 percent vote for Clinton. With all else equal, white non-college men would need to count for 25 percent of voters in order for Trump to tie Clinton in a competitive three-way race and they would need to count for 36 percent of the electorate in order for Trump to tie Clinton in a two way race.

 
Greenberg's America Ascendant Sparks Big Debate
Friday, November 20 2015

What Senator Elizabeth Warren says:
"Stan called me a few weeks ago and he said, ‘I have a book that I finished and I think you’re going to like it.’ He sent it over and boy was he right. It was exactly my kind of book. It was full of all kinds of fabulous history, data, and wonky tidbits. It was just delicious, three hundred pages of deliciousness. I could nerd-out all night on this book...Stan is right. Our diversity is what makes us strong. Our diversity is at the heart of how we build the middle class, of how we will build a middle class. Americans are tough. Americans are resourceful. And Americans work hard. And that’s going to make us always, so long as we do that on the ascendancy. Reading through Stan’s book, and just seeing how page after page, he puts pieces of that together and makes it work, was truly an inspiration...Stan, I hope many many people read your book and are inspired by your book, to have the kind of courage it takes to fight for the America that we believe in. An America of progressive values, an America that will build a stronger future.”

What conservative Michael Barone says in the WSJ:
"With “America Ascendant,” the widely respected Democratic pollster Stanley Greenberg has written an ambitious book, part history, part social analysis, part campaign memo. Along the way, he provides an interesting diagnosis of America’s ills. Mr. Greenberg believes that “America’s path is to a unified, multicultural identity,” but he is not exactly keen on bringing us together. Like most political practitioners, he looks forward not to ending partisan polarization but to helping his side build a permanent majority. Mr. Greenberg and his focus-group participants aptly describe the problems that candidates of both parties now face. Mr. Greenberg cites both Robert Putnam’s and Charles Murray’s analyses of family disintegration and failed social interconnectedness among Americans who haven’t graduated from college. Amid much fair-minded recounting of Republican opinions, Mr. Greenberg can’t resist some partisan spin. Republicans are so hostile to government and “blue America” that they “nearly disqualify themselves from the public debate.” 

What Walter Isaacson, bestselling author of Steve Jobs, says:
“With a great sense of history as well as a deep understanding of the hopes and fears of today's Americans, Stan Greenberg lays out how reformers must lead a new national renewal. Our demographics and the nature of the workforce are changing in ways not seen since the industrial revolution. We now need a spirit of political reform that will match these challenges.”

 
Why 2016 could be shattering for Republicans
Monday, November 16 2015

By Stanley B. Greenberg, author of the new book "America Ascendant." This article appeared in the Washington Post.

Election Day 2016 will produce a shattering crash larger than anything the pundits anticipate because the revolutionary economic and social changes occurring in the United States have now pushed both the burgeoning new majority and the conservative Republicans’ counterrevolution beyond their tipping points.

The United States is being transformed by revolutions remaking the country at an accelerating and surprising pace. Witness the revolutions in technology, the Internet, big data and energy, though just as important are the tremendous changes taking place in immigration, racial and ethnic diversity, the family, religious observance and gender roles. These are reaching their apexes in the booming metropolitan centers and among millennials.

As the revolutions interact, they are accelerating the emergence of a new America. Consider that nearly 40 percent of New York City’s residents are foreign-born, with Chinese the second-largest group behind Dominicans. The foreign-born make up nearly 40 percent of Los Angeles’s residents and 58 percent of Miami’s. A majority of U.S. households are headed by unmarried people, and, in cities, 40 percent of households include only a single person. Church attendance is in decline, and non-religious seculars now outnumber mainline Protestants. Three-quarters of working-age women are in the labor force, and two-thirds of women are the breadwinners or co-breadwinners of their households. The proportion of racial minorities is approaching 40 percent, but blowing up all projections are the15 percent of new marriages that are interracial. People are moving from the suburbs to the cities. And in the past five years, two-thirds of millennial college graduates have settled in the 50 largest cities, transforming them.

Shifting attitudes were underscored in this year’s Gallup Poll when 60 to 70 percent of the country said gay and lesbian relations, having a baby outside of marriage, sex between an unmarried man and woman, and divorce are all “morally acceptable.”

The United States is emerging out of its revolutions as racially blended, immigrant, multinational and multilingual — and diversity is becoming more central to our multicultural identity.

Further, these revolutionary transformations have accelerated the growth of a new majority coalition of racial minorities, single women, millennials and seculars. Together, these groups formed 51 percent of the electorate in 2012, but our analysis of census survey data and exit poll projections indicates that they will comprise fully 63 percent in 2016. With these growing groups each supporting Hillary Clinton by more than 2 to 1 in today’s polls, it is fair to say that the United States has reached an electoral tipping point.

The Republican Party’s battle to defeat this new majority has reached a tipping point, too. The brand of the Republican Party today has probably not been as tarnished since the Watergate era.

Republicans have joined a ferocious and intensifying decade-long counterrevolution in an attempt to stop this new majority from governing successfully. In 2004, George W. Bush campaign strategist Karl Rove launched the battle for American values when he gave up on the so-called swing voter and worked to engage millions more evangelicals. That has required pouring ever more fuel on the fire — including warning of Armageddon if the liberal Democrats were to govern.

This battle has left the Republicans with mostly married voters, as well as the oldest, most rural and most religiously observant voters in the country. That creates formidable odds against its winning an electoral college majority.

It has also left a Republican Party where three-quarters of its base voters are tea party supporters, evangelicals or religiously observant. That in turn has catapulted to the top of the Republican presidential race candidates who promise to challenge this new America before it’s too late.

That this counterrevolution has reached its own tipping point is evident in the shrinking proportion of people who think of themselves as conservative. When Republicans challenged President Obama in the off-year elections of 2010, 46 percent of the country was conservative at the high point. That figure is now 37 percent.

For Republicans, 2016 will prove to be no normal election, because it will confirm that the new America is here and that the counterrevolution has lost. That is why I expect the result to be shattering for the Republican Party as we know it.

But it may not prove to be so shattering for the Republican Party that emerges afterward, or for the republic.

For the GOP, 2016 may look like 1984 did for the Democratic Party. It emerged divided out of a bitter primary, and the Democrats’ mainstream candidate, Walter Mondale, lost in a landslide. Afterward, the modernizers got the upper hand. They might well have elected Gary Hart in 1988 and did elect Bill Clinton in 1992.

It is easy to imagine, then, that after the coming shattering election, some Republican leaders will repudiate this campaign’s anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim appeals and actively embrace the United States as an immigrant nation. Other leaders might accept the sexual revolution and the new gender roles and work to help the modern working family. Others might embrace again the need for national investment in education and modern infrastructure.

That would allow a different kind of debate within the Republican Party and, perhaps, a different kind of politics in the country.

 
Progressive Strategy for the White Working Class
Tuesday, July 21 2015

Two months ago, a number of progressives who are part of a group called the TDS White Working Class Roundtable gathered under the auspices of The Democratic Strategist and the Washington Monthly to discuss a strategy paper I authored. The group, moderated by Ed Kilgore, included Ruy Teixeira, John Judis, Mark Schmidt, Joan Walsh and Karen Nussbaum, as well as a number of other respected political strategists.

The members of this roundtable group share two central convictions: first, that Democrats urgently need to win more white working class votes if Democrats are going to create a stable Democratic majority in America and second that this goal can be sought without having to compromise a solid progressive agenda or alienate members of the Obama coalition.

And my discussion paper proposed a specific, poll tested strategy for taking a significant step in this direction. Based on Democracy Corps massive database of poll results and focus group research, I have found that a substantial group of white working class people—and white working class women in particular—would be open to an impressive range of progressive policies if the massive suspicion and hostility toward government that many white working class people feel could be overcome.

In the course of its discussions, members of the Roundtable group made the following specific recommendations about how you and other Democratic candidates in 2016 can overcome these obstacles and reach white working class Americans, which the Democratic Strategist has compiled in a new must read strategy memo:

  1. An agenda of government reform has to come before, not after, the presentation of a progressive platform.
  2. A government reform agenda must include not only populist measures to reduce the control of big money and corruption but also improvements in government systems and structures to actually make government more genuinely representative of the average citizen.
  3. Progressive policies must be “Loud and Clear” and not get bogged down in details.
  4. Progressive proposals must show that Democrats understand the complex reality of today’s new economy.
  5. Democrats must recognize the political implications of the changing social values of young workers.
  6. Racial attitudes do present a significant obstacle to Democrats in winning the support of white working class voters—but not enough to prevent Democratic candidates from winning the number of votes that they really need.

Read the full Democratic Strategist memo here.

 
Polarization of the white working class modestly helps Democrats
Monday, July 13 2015

A quick headline might say, “Democrats are doing a little better with the white working class than they were in 2012,”  though their vote still  hugging 35 percent may give you pause.  A more considered headline would tell you a big gender story.  Hillary Clinton and congressional Democrats (in a named ballot) are running considerably better with white working class women, produced by a sharp pull back from the Republicans.  But amazingly, Democratic gains with working class women are partially offset by losses with white working class men.  With the men, Clinton is trailing Obama's performance by 5 points.

For now, the white working class women are having their say and Clinton and the Democrats are eroding some of the Republicans' working class firewall. 

alt

Based on a national survey of 950 likely 2016 voters conducted June 13-17, 2015 by Democracy Corps, 60 percent cell and national post-election surveys among 3,617 2012 voters conducted by Democracy Corps in 2012.

 
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