Friday, July 21, 2006

The core of a progressive resurgence


You'll almost never find positive comments on foundations, the main U.S. dispensers of non-profit cash, on this site. Because I am lucky enough to work in politics as a consultant, often with organizations that are not dependent on this form of philanthropy, I can take potshots that someone working in a 501(c)(3) couldn't risk.

But lately I've been shown a little pamphlet, "Building the New Majority," from the New World Foundation that lays out some simple truths that most blogosphere activists in Democratic Party politics too often ignore. New World doesn't put this document online or make it available for download, so I am going to quote extensively.

How many of our political sites and pundits propose as a first principle this simple advice? Don't ignore the core. New World enumerates our core constituencies on the basis of how groups voted in 2004:
  • Union members: 25 percent of the electorate; voted 65 percent Democratic
  • African Americans: 12 percent of voters; voted 88 percent Democratic
  • Latinos: 11 percent of voters; 56-65 percent Democratic (data is disputed)
  • Young voters (18-25): 18 percent of voters; 54 percent Democratic
  • Single women: 22 percent of voters; 62 percent Democratic
  • Jews: 3 percent of voters; 74 percent Democratic
  • Muslims: disputed percentage of voters; 93 percent Democratic.
  • Furthermore, "there are other groups in the core as well: liberal people of faith, environmentalists, civil libertarians, the gay rights movement, the anti-war movement, Native Americans, Asian Pacific Islanders, consumer advocates."
They conclude:

All together, the core groups consistently represent 35-45 percent of the electorate...Our core base is predominantly people of color, the working class and poor, and women heads of households. Yet our national leaders remain predominantly white, male, and highly privileged. Whether in public office or other institutions, they appear unable to articulate or implement a vision of racial equality and social justice....

The pamphlet goes to spell out how New World thinks we can go about correcting this situation and building support outward from the core; it is not hard to quibble about the specifics of their prescription. However, it seems madness to me to argue that our future doesn't depend on the core they've so clearly enumerated. We in the blogs ignore this central insight at peril of futility.

2 comments:

parnellpr said...

Quite, too often political parties ignore the electorate and get caught up in their own agendas for what's apparently best for us. I came to u via snoos blog btw. I have been blogging loads on the sitations in gaza and lebanon. BTW i don't support the israeli actions in either, but i was just wondering why you thought israel had it coming?

dusty said...

There is a good poll up about the swing voters..those are the folks that put the Shrub back in office in '04. You can see the data here:

http://www.usaction.org/site/pp.asp?c=eiJPJ5OVF&b=1811571

If you don't wish to wade through it, I also broke it down on my blog.

Very good post..glad I found your blog.

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