Friday, June 17, 2005

Democrats and the Bubba Vote

There is an ongoing debate within the Democratic Party about its failure to address the economic concerns about culturally conservative “Bubba” vote in the south, who are voting against their economic interests by supporting Republicans. It is the principal subject of a much discussed book that laments the phenomenon: What’s the Matter with Kansas by Thomas Frank. I found the book to be analytically weak and not all that helpful.

It seems to me this post by Kevin Drum poses the issue well:

So exactly what economic interests are they voting against? Forget the Krugmanesque (or Drumesque) arguments about regressive taxes or rising income inequality. They may be true, but they're way too abstract. If you want to convince these guys that their economic interests lie with Democrats, we need to offer them something real: local clinics, free healthcare, tax rebates, something. Right now, I don't think these voters believe that Democrats are actually promising anything that would make a genuine difference in their lives.

I think the most important answer to the “dilemma” posed by Drum is for the Dems to push for single payer health care. However much they are fought by special interests, at the end of the day the program would clearly be in the interests of the white working class “Bubbas” and many others.

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