October 10, 2014

Democrats, minority voters and thinking beyond 2 social issues

Fort Worth Star-Telegram political columnist Bud Kennedy pens an insightful piece on these issues as gubernatorial voting nears. He starts with a Hispanic opponent from Wendy Davis' first Fort Worth City Council election.

The general tenor of his piece is that many minorities still care more about employment, job security and income, rather than two hot-button issues of abortion and gay rights.

Indeed, as many Hispanics reinvigorate their personal religious lives by leaving Catholicism for conservative Protestant churches, like African-Americans, they may be opposed to liberal stances on those two issues.

As a newspaper editor, at the community level, in a majority-minority small town, I can attest to black religiosity, and the conservativeness of it.

Because of Republicans' bad history with blacks on civil rights, other than the occasional poster child for the Tea Party like Herman Cain or Allen West, the GOP is no threat to make serious inroads on black votes, these issues aside. (And, with things like the attempts at vote suppression through the just-struck-down photo ID law, it's not getting better.)

However, their history with Hispanics is, comparatively, not as bad. (Not that that says a lot, and with things like photo ID, it's not getting better.)

Democrats have a tightrope to walk.

Unfortunately, in many states, as at the national level, more and more Democrats are becoming more neoliberal. And, they haven't learn to riff off the Occupy movement and talk to working-class white voters about socioeconomic class inequality, and solidarity with minorities as part of this.

That's why pundits who keep saying growing Hispanic numbers in particular, and minority numbers in general, will turn Texas blue, or guarantee long-term national Democratic advantage?

Wake up, smell the coffee, and drink about 5 cups of it instead of your current Kool-Aid. You're wrong, or, at a minimum, you're nowhere near being guaranteed right.

That's you, Battleground Texas. That's you, Lone Star Project.

At the same time, liberal white Democrats, with agreed liberal minority allies, shouldn't back off on the reproductive choice (with flexibility), or gay rights issues.

Black storefront church pastors? If you don't like gay marriage, nobody's forcing you to have one. But, 47 years ago, "they" weren't allowing you to have a black-white wedding. Civil rights is civil rights, and "pecking order" battles on civil rights are ultimately no-win games.

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