This recent New Yorker article is a rich vein of information for Democrats wondering how they can connect with the supposed hordes of disaffected and distrustful voters in the next election. It suggests the tremendous opportunities for Democrats in capturing the votes of working-class whites—even some nominal conservatives—who are fed up with leaders who seem more concerned with raising money than listening to the people.
The New Yorker story is actually about Republicans—the so-called reformocons, whose hopes of fashioning a more moderate, broad-minded, Hispanic-friendly party were blown to smithereens by Donald Trump and Ben Carson. But there is much to learn here for Democrats—in particular from the interviews with disgruntled voters looking desperately for a candidate who can channel their inchoate frustrations with government.
The story is yet more evidence that Democratic candidates should be aggressively attacking the issue of reforming government—curbing the influence of lobbyists in politics, reforming campaign finance, and attacking the Citizens United decision.
Democrats must be seen as the party of reform. They cannot allow Republicans to usurp this issue. And it can’t just be Bernie Sanders and a few random candidates calling for reform—it must be a party priority from the top down. It should be a prominent plank of the Democratic platform, it must contain serious proposals, and it must be echoed by every Democrat, including those not up for election this year.
Why? Because, as the story shows, many conservatives and independents, disgusted by big-money in politics, are not that far away from Democratic positions. And because it’s not just white, working-class voters who are disgusted; everyone is fed up.
For example, we were struck by this passage from the story, about a 26-year-old Navy veteran and police trainee named Mark Lynch, “the son of a firefighter and a factory worker” and a Trump supporter, whom the author met at a New Hampshire town hall meeting for Republican candidate John Kasich: