June 30, 2014

There is a class war, and Dems won't win by not talking about it

This blog post starts withe the review of a book, one that notes that we probably need to move from race-based to class-based, affirmative-action type programs.

Place, Not Race: A New Vision of Opportunity in AmericaPlace, Not Race: A New Vision of Opportunity in America by Sheryll Cashin

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Sheryll Cashin writes a solid book on something I, and certain other liberal-minded people, have been saying for some time.

It's time to move affirmative-action programs beyond race and on to socioeconomic class instead.

She cites two main reasons:
1. A shifting, usually eroding, legal landscape for race-based affirmative action in the federal court system.
2. White "resentment," which is not always racist per se, over seeing black benefits from affirmative action.

Cashin focuses her eyes on collegiate admissions as being a good place to level the playing field.

I agree, but think she's too optimistic, not just optimistic. This will cost most colleges some serious money. With status holding flat or cutting their support to public colleges and universities, and higher education in both the public and private sector, in general, doubling down on neoliberal-driving academia as Big Business ideas, I think Cashin's a bit naive about the reality of this all happening.

And, that still leaves de facto residential segregation by class, even more than race, and its effects on K-12 schooling, all standing in place.

That said, Cashin does note the degree of class division here in the US, greater than in Europe.

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That said, beyond the seemingly naive overoptimism, Cashin needs to look at today's political parties.

The great majority of state-level and national-level Democrats flinch whenever Republicans accuse them of practicing class warfare. That's even with President Obama talking about increasing the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour.

Worse yet, most Democrats won't even talk about how there is class warfare — and how the rich have started it.

Would a policy like this play out in Texas? I'm not sure. A lot of statewide candidates get out-of-state money, and it's unclear about how well many rich Democratic donors would take to this issue. A few rich independent liberals, like George Soros, do talk about class differences, but he's the exception. So, donations might dry up. And, on the collegiate issue, Cashin is right. Black "legacies" at places like Ivy League schools would be threatened even more than now, just like white "legacies." It would be an uphill sled getting this passed.

Money aside, would such a move at least tempt a few rural and suburban whites, ones not too, too invested in black resentment, to at least consider the D lever? Would it improve the chances of getting Hispanics, especially in the Valley, out to vote?

Maybe. It couldn't make things on the ground any worse, could it?

Meanwhile, the Green Party has yet to realize that work like this requires ... party organization, among other things. Look at the Libertarians — organized enough to have a candidate for every state senate race this year.

And, claiming that its urbanites vs. rural areas on things like water and eminent domain, the Libertarians almost sound like they're talking about class war more than Democrats are.

Maybe they are, but, of course, their answers are all wet. More on that later this week.

So, we have too many Democrats still ready to sing Kumbaya, Greens a useful angle as a protest vote against that and little more, and Libertarians sometimes having the right ideas, but always the wrong answers on economic issues.


PDiddie said...

Spot the fuck on.

Oh, and we'd be okay living in Dallas County I suppose, but most specifically Deep Ellum or as close to it as we could afford. it looks like it has the diversity and reasonably-priced upscale hipness of inside-the-Loop Houston.

Outside of that... no. I don't live in the 'burbs for several reasons, and the best one is Republican representation. So that would apply in North Texas just as equally.

Gadfly said...

The south Dallas burbs, where I was, don't have a lot of hipness, but were reasonably priced for housing, and that's the more Democratic side of Dallas. And, contra worries, crime there's not much higher than, say, Richardson.