Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Recognizing the New America

I have said before that I consider David Simon to be a prophet for our times. Here is what he wrote the day after Barack Obama was re-elected in 2012.
America will soon belong to the men and women — white and black and Latino and Asian, Christian and Jew and Muslim and atheist, gay and straight — who can walk into a room and accept with real comfort the sensation that they are in a world of certain difference, that there are no real majorities, only pluralities and coalitions. The America in which it was otherwise is dying, thank god, and those who relied on entitlement and division to command power will either be obliged to accept the changes, or retreat to the gated communities from which they wish to wax nostalgic and brood on political irrelevance.

You want to lead in America? Find a way to be entirely utilitarian — to address the most problems on behalf of the most possible citizens. That works. That matters...

Regardless of what happens with his second term, Barack Obama’s great victory has already been won: We are all the other now, in some sense. Special interests? That term has no more meaning in the New America. We are all — all of us, every last American, even the whitest of white guys — special interests. And now, normal isn’t white or straight or Christian. There is no normal. That word, too, means less with every moment. And those who continue to argue for such retrograde notions as a political reality will become less germane and more ridiculous with every passing year.
As Hillary Clinton prepared to announce her candidacy for president, she chose that "entirely utilitarian" approach of reaching out to the Obama coalition with proposals on things like police, criminal justice and immigration reform - as well as messages that resonate across the board on concerns about growing income inequality in this country.

A recent PPP poll highlighted why this is important.
Bernie Sanders may be gaining momentum in recent New Hampshire polling but Hillary Clinton is more dominant than ever in the national polling. She's at 65% to 9% for Bernie Sanders, 5% for Martin O'Malley, and 4% each for Lincoln Chafee and Jim Webb...

Clinton continues to be dominant nationally with every segment of the Democratic electorate- she's over 60% with liberals, moderates, women, men, Hispanics, whites, and voters in every age group and she's polling at 83% with African Americans. The lack of racial diversity in New Hampshire is one reason Sanders is coming closer to her there given her dominance with black voters nationally.
In other words, it might be possible to make it a close race in New Hampshire by relying on the old "normal," but it won't gain you much ground nationally.

That message seems to be getting though to Sen. Sanders lately. While his website still focuses solely on the issues of income inequality, money in politics and climate change, he has started talking about issues that are a priority to Latinos and African Americans on the campaign trail.

As Republicans continue to cling to the old "normal" as if it were a dying beast in it's death throes, Democrats are demonstrating that it is perhaps past time to recognize the "new America."

1 comment:

  1. Agreed on all counts. I've liked Simon's work for years. He brings so many threads of American urban life together in a way that can resonate with anyone.