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Hello. We take a look at Democrats’ greatest weakness and why it matters in Georgia.
The Bronx vs. Manhattan
The biggest problem for the Democratic Party today is its struggle to win over working class voters.
After President Trump’s victory in 2016, some political analysts argued that this problem was really about racism. And Trump’s calls for white nationalism certainly won him votes.
But it’s also clear that Democrats’ weakness with working-class voters – defined roughly as people without a four-year college degree – isn’t just a question of race. Many Trump voters, after all, voted for Barack Obama in 2012, which suggests that they are not incorrigible racists.
Perhaps even more telling is the shape of this year’s results. Not only did Trump win again by huge margins among working-class whites, but he also performed better among Hispanic voters than in 2016. Black voters again strongly supported Democrats, but their participation appears to have increased less than that of other groups.
This all points to the same problem: The Democratic message fails to resonate with many working class Americans.
If the Democrats’ struggles were truly racist, several heavily Mexican-American counties in South Texas would not have switched to Republicans this year. Trump would not have increased his share of the vote in New York boroughs either. Queens and the Bronx about 10 percentage points from 2016. He appears to have won a higher share of the vote in the Bronx, which has only 9% non-Hispanic white, than in wealthy Manhattan, which is 47% white. Dave wasserman of the political report Cook pointed out.
This pattern forces Democrats to attract a lot of votes in traditionally Republican suburbs to win many elections. It is a narrow road to victory. Georgia – where two laps on Jan.5 will determine Senate control – is a good case study.
Joe Biden was the only Democrat to win statewide this year, mainly because he made larger gains in suburban Atlanta than other party members. Biden and other Democrats were crushed in heavily white rural areas, often winning less than 30% of the vote, and are also falling short of their 2016 margins among Hispanic voters. “The black part of the electorate has fallen to its lowest level since 2006,” according to a Times analysis of Georgia.
How can Democrats do better with the working class? It is not an easy question. (Left parties in Europe have similar struggles.)
But there are some clues. Many working-class voters, across racial groups, are moderate to conservative on social issues: they are religious, favor well-funded police services, and support certain restrictions on both abortion and immigration. On economic issues, by contrast, they tend to support Democratic positions, such as a higher minimum wage and expanded government health care.
In order for Democrats to do better with the working class, they probably need to moderate their liberal image on social issues – and double down on economic populism.
Related: My colleague Astead Herndon, from Decatur, Georgia, asks if suburbs in Georgia can help Democrats win the next Senate second round.
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ARTS AND IDEAS
The world of Cartel TikTok
Little tigers, fancy cars, semi-automatic weapons and piles of cash: Welcome to Cartel TikTok, a growing genre of platform videos that glorifies drug trafficking groups in Mexico.
Drug cartels have used social media for years to send messages to rival gangs, intimidate the public, and recruit new members. Experts say the TikTok videos are the latest propaganda efforts designed to attract young recruits. “This is narco-marketing,” Alejandra León Olvera, an anthropologist, told The Times.
The #CartelTikTok hashtag has 38 million views on TikTok. The trend dates back to last month, when a clip of a high-speed boat chase went viral. TikTok’s algorithm contributed to the trend by directing viewers to similar videos afterwards. “As soon as I started liking this boat video, there are exotic animal videos, car videos,” an 18-year-old told The Times. It’s “a bit like watching a movie,” he says.
While TikTok’s policy is to remove content that promotes illegal activity, new videos appear just as quickly to replace them. This is another example of how difficult it is for social media platforms to regulate their vast networks and how easily each new platform is co-opted.
PLAY, WATCH, EAT
What to cook
Friday’s spelling pangrams were working day, working day, working day and Gardening work. Today’s puzzle is above – or you can play it online if you have a Games membership.
Here are today’s mini-crosswords and a clue: X (# letters).
Thanks for spending part of your morning with The Times. See you tomorrow. – David
PS CNN Business has written about the success of “The Daily,” which has grown to four million daily downloads and is now topping the podcast charts on Apple and Spotify.
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Today’s episode of “The Daily” includes an interview with Georgia’s election official who called on Trump to stop spreading disinformation. In the latest Book Review podcast, David Sedaris talks about his life as an essayist.
Claire Moses, Ian Prasad Philbrick and Sanam Yar contributed to The Morning. You can join the team at email@example.com.