Q: How might conservatives win the minority vote from progressives?


Tod Kelly

Tod is a writer from the Pacific Northwest. He is also serves as Executive Producer and host of both the 7 Deadly Sins Show at Portland's historic Mission Theatre and 7DS: Pants On Fire! at the White Eagle Hotel & Saloon. He is  a regular inactive for Marie Claire International and the Daily Beast, and is currently writing a book on the sudden rise of exorcisms in the United States. Follow him on Twitter.

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71 Responses

  1. Avatar Rod Engelsman says:

    I first caught wind of this by a posting on FB from ThinkProgress. They quickly called ProgressKentucky on the carpet for it, as did practically all the liberal commenters on the site.

    There really is a difference between the two sides.Report

    • Avatar Rod Engelsman says:

      Should have linked to the article.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird says:

      as did practically all the liberal commenters on the site.

      There’s been a number of comments on the site since you posted this.Report

    • Avatar Koda says:

      That difference you noticed exists because there are large numbers of minorities on the left- more than a third of the party is non-White. Tod’s guess that liberals would be defensive and deflect criticism back towards the right missed this I guess.

      If the Democratic party was made up of nothing but White people like the Republican party, then sure, they might react that way. Hell, they might not even notice the racism.

      But when a third of the party is non-White? When a third of the party feels personally attacked by things like this and aren’t just White people abstractly debating the ethics of it or angling for political advantage?

      Racism like this always going to be far more likely to provoke condemnation by the left than the right, and no amount of chiding the racists in the GOP to better or faster will change the fact that they don’t really have a personal stake in it the way the Democratic party’s minority members do.Report

  2. Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto says:

    I don’t think it’ll take long for them to be brought to the mat for their stupidity.

    Judd was quick to condemn them, and all the coverage I’ve read so far has been negative rather than defensive.Report

  3. Avatar zic says:

    Kudos to the Kentucky Democratic Party. If we’ve learned anything of value from the GOP of late, it’s not to give in to the crazy. When sitting members of Congress continued to waffel on Obama’s citizenship, they showed complete lack of leadership and respect for both the office and the voters.

    As to the broader question: For conservatives to win over minorities, they’ll have to actually start talking conservative policy that’s both conservative in a sense of ‘conserving,’ and respectful. Minorities have a vested interest in conserving their heritage and preserving their right to participate in the political and economic life of the nation. Until conservatives recognize that; until they realize this nation is diverse, and until the recognize that urban Americans are Americans, they will continue to dissuade minorities.

    Not to mention that from my view, Obama’s enacted most of the good ideas that conservatives have put on the table in a long while; and in being the party of not-Obama and falling back on social conservatism, all they’ve done is turn into a joke. Perhaps, by voting Democratic, minorities are voting conservative. I know I think I am.Report

  4. Avatar greginak says:

    TPM has had two stories up about this for a couple of hours. One is a response from the DSCC calling this out as wrong and their own story noting the criticism. Yeah some chumps on the liberal side have been defensive or not gotten it, but plenty have and quickly called those dufuses on it. D’s not great or even always good or better then meh, but still better.Report

  5. Avatar Shazbot3 says:

    Liberals can be racist, too. And anti-Asian racism is probably spread pretty equally amongst voters of all persuasions.

    But it’s a matter of degree.

    Give me a call when

    a.) Mother Jones spends a decade arguing that Japanese internment camps were a good idea and maybe we should go back to an era where they existed

    b) DailyKos and other liberal websites call for Buddhist shrines and various Asian cultural centers not to be built too close to Hawaii or Pearl Harbor or various other sites.

    c.) The Democratic party comes up with dog whistles that signal awful anti-Asian stereotypes that are used by the majority of successful candidates for the D-nomination for POTUS.


  6. Avatar M.A. says:


    Explain, exactly, what qualifies them as a “progressive group” aside from the name?Report

    • Avatar Tod Kelly says:

      Um… It’s how they self identify, they raise money for progressive causes, they fund ads looking to elect more progressive candidates, and progressive news sites are calling the m progressive?Report

      • Avatar M.A. says:

        It’s how they self-identify you say?


        Nothing there about being”Progressive.”

        “Progressive news sites” are calling them progressive?


        Seems to me it’s the right wing conspiracy theorists at The Blaze, Daily Caller, TPM doing the calling, not “progressive news sites.”Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP says:

        A quick look around the block — I don’t see anything Progressive about their agenda. It’s a strictly anti-Mitch McConnell operation.Report

        • Avatar Tod Kelly says:

          Would political action committees started to defeat Obama have therefore been unrelated to conservatives?Report

        • Avatar Chris says:

          It’s a group started by a Democratic Party operative with the express purpose of defeating McConnell. Their plan, apparently, is to primary him from the right, and then run against him in the general election from the left. There might be nothing progressive about defeating McConnell, but they are at the very least a Democratic group. Perhaps in the OP Tod should have predicted that Democrats would try to disown the group, rather than try to say Republicans are worse.Report

          • Avatar Tod Kelly says:

            Tod-Tod fully admits he was wrong about how liberals might respond.

            Evil-Tod still wants to point out you’re making this point in a thread where liberals are saying of course it’s a conservative conspiracy.Report

            • Avatar Chris says:

              Tod, sorry, I didn’t mean to pile on. I was trying to say that you were right that (at least some) Democrats would try to deflect, even if you had the particular method wrong. I just didn’t express it very well.

              My immediate reactions when I read M.A.’s comments were, a.) dude, it took me like 20 seconds to figure out who was behind this group, b.) this is not any better than what Tod thought liberals would do, and c.) I’m not surprised that it came from M.A.Report

          • Avatar James Hanley says:

            It’s only okay when Democrats do it?Report

            • Avatar Tod Kelly says:

              I think Chris was not giving approval when he said hey are at least a Dem group. I think he was saying they aren’t a conservative-funded group being misreported as being left-wing.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley says:

                Heh, my target was unclear. I was riffing off Chris and inverting the “it’s only okay if Republicans do it” line that I see so often from liberal bloggers. It wasn’t directed toward Chris.Report

            • Avatar Chris says:

              Tod’s right, I’m saying that contrary to M.A. and his half-assed attempt at saying the group is not reallyprogressive, the group is at least Democratic, if not full-blown progressive (whatever that label means these days).Report

          • Avatar BlaiseP says:

            The phrase “Tea Party” in the singular betrays the ignorance of all who use it. It’s plural. They’re all over the map, politically. They are little populist groups here and there, intent upon dragging down the Washington Establishment. So what, the Democrats are trying to get some populists on board to cast votes against McConnell. The Democrats have made a good many populist noises over the years, going back to the foundation of their party.

            Now for my money, they hate Republicans as much as they hate Democrats. There are no friends in politics: there are only allies of convenience. This is a matter for Kentucky voters. If the Democratic Progressives want to ally themselves with the local populists as a strategy to evict an odious buzzard like Mitch McConnell and replace him with a fresh faced Ashley Judd sorta Democrat, it’s not like Progress Kentucky put the local equivalent of Michelle Bachmann on their much-ballyhoed poll of late.

            The Progressives of this country are too stupid to live. The very idea, that they won’t reach out to populists and get them on board, acting like they’re too-good to touch these people. Let me tell you folks a little something to which I alluded a while back: my girlfriend backs populist principles and has attended “Tea Party” rallies in Wisconsin. Me, a big old liberal, her, a down to earth kid raised on a dairy farm. The Democrats and Progressives are entitled to scoff at morons like Herman Cain and Michelle Bachmann. They are not entitled to scoff at the honest populists in the audience.Report

            • Avatar Kim says:

              Indeed. I’ll go right on scoffing at the dishonest populists. They’re far more dangerous anyway.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP says:

                There is an old logic parable called the Pilgrim to Jerusalem. At a fork in the road stand two brothers: one will always lie and the other will always tell the truth. The Pilgrim may only ask one question of one brother to find his way to Jerusalem. What is the question the Pilgrim must ask?

                “Which fork in the road will your brother tell me to take?” is the question. When the questioned brother says “A”, the Pilgrim must take the “B” fork.

                In like manner, Kim, you are a sovereign guide to which road not to take.Report

              • Avatar Tod Kelly says:

                Can I just say here quickly, Blaise, that these moments when you take myths/folktales/archetypes and weave their meaning into current events, are one of my favorite things on this site?Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

                “If I asked you which fork to take, what would you say?” also works. In that case, you do what’s suggested rather than its opposite. (Raymond Smullyan is the king of this kind of puzzle.)Report

              • Avatar Chris says:

                Mike, how does that work? Since you don’t know whether he’s the liar or the truth-teller, you can’t know whether he tells you the actual path or the wrong path, can you?Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

                Say the correct path is A. The truth-teller will correctly report that he would say A. The liar, who would say B, will lie and claim he would have said A. That is, asking what he would say rather than asking the question directly makes the liar lie about lying, which results in the truth.

                If you like this kind of puzzle, Smullyan’s The Lady, of the Tiger has lots of them, and as a bonus works through an explanation of Godel’s Incompleteness Theorem much less hand-wavy than the one in Godel, Escher, Bach.Report

              • Avatar Chris says:

                Ah, I see what you’re saying. I misread the question you said you should ask.

                I hadn’t thought about that answer though (this is a puzzle I remember from high school).Report

              • Avatar Tod Kelly says:

                I prefer the Romney solution to the puzzle:

                “You ask which fork you should start on, and if the person doesn’t say either salad or charcuterie fork then they are probably poor and you shouldn’t listen to them.”Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

                “There are 47 percent of the pilgrims who will lie no matter what .”Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP says:

                Chris has pointed out my omission of that important aspect to the parable. You wouldn’t know who’s the liar.Report

              • Avatar zic says:

                The parable only works when the liar lies 100% of the time.

                In real life, most liars only partially lie, they use enough truth to make the lies seem plausible.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP says:

                That’s true, Zic. It’s just a gated logic problem containing a NOT. The only way to interrogate both gates is to have the first gate interrogate the second. Not knowing which gate will return NOT, you may rely on the NOT output returning intact and taking the other fork in the road.Report

              • Avatar zic says:

                Unfortunately, populists are not binary; their gates are often built on shifting sands.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP says:

                Politics is nothing but shifting sands. Political parties do not espouse principles: they exist to win elections. Look at the misery of the GOP Establishment at present time: so completely out of touch with what America’s becoming as the nation’s skin tone gradually darkens into a pleasing café au lait. The GOP has a long history of connivance with griefers and bigots: look at how willingly they welcomed the Dixiecrats with open arms, look at their continued efforts to suppress voter turnout — Sarah Palin — Michelle Bachmann — has the GOP completely lost its mind? The country’s getting sick of the way the NRA has leaned the GOP over the desk and enjoyed carnal knowledge of their fundaments. It’s truly disgraceful.

                Punk’d does not begin to describe the GOP’s collective debasement in the face of the continuing struggle for equality. Still feebly screaming and kicking, each vote for cloture further diminishing their authority and gravitas, they now get to watch Rand Paul mutter “Aye” when Chuck Hagel’s nomination vote came up.

                Why should the GOP get the populists? Why can’t the Democrats run on populist issues, too? It’s not so far from their own positions. This isn’t the Party of FDR or LBJ any more. It’s the Party of Obama, a guy who came out of left field, quite literally, with the Clintons on his side, to reinvigorate a political party which had lost touch with America. The GOP chitters and squeals like so many squirrels run up so many trees. It’s time for the Democrats to scoop up the discouraged and enraged populists who never really liked the Republican Party anyway. The country’s still in big trouble: unemployment is still painfully high.

                If I could remove any single person from Congress, it would be Harry Reid. He’s simply too old and too out of touch. He’s also crooked as a dog’s hind leg. If the Progressives can tolerate the likes of Harry Reid, why shouldn’t we leverage the populists to oust the single worst Republican in Congress? I wouldn’t care if they were all Satanists or Communists or Lady Gaga Fans, if they vote for a Democrat, I simply don’t care.Report

              • Avatar Kim says:

                Then, the road you’re taking is broad and well paved… and ends in chains.

                I’ll take the third route, please.

                [In case it’s not clear, this is meant far more in jest and considerably more tricksy than it appears.]Report

              • Avatar Kim says:

                And see not ye that bonny road,
                Which winds about the fernie brae?Report

              • Avatar zic says:

                Ah, someone else looking for Door #3.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP says:

                There is no Third Route to the finish line of politics. Someone gets elected. He gets Da Po-wah. The furniture movers arrive, coming and going in the echoing halls of Congress in the wee hours of the morning, moving winners in and losers — out. Randall Jarrell:

                Beginning: Once upon a time there was
                A wolf that fed, a mouse that warned, a bear that rode
                A boy. Us men, alas! wolves, mice, bears bore.
                And yet wolves, mice, bears, children, gods and men
                In slow perambulation up and down the shelves
                Of the universe are seeking … who knows except themselves?
                What some escape to, some escape: if we find Swann’s
                Way better than our own, and trudge on at the back
                Of the north wind to — to — somewhere east
                Of the sun, west of the moon, it is because we live
                By trading another’s sorrow for our own; another’s
                Impossibilities, still unbelieved in, for our own …
                “I am myself still?” For a little while, forget:
                The world’s selves cure that short disease, myself,
                And we see bending to us, dewy-eyed, the great
                CHANGE, dear to all things not to themselves endeared.

              • Avatar zic says:

                Blaise, above you talk about Obama with the Clintons standing beside him.

                But they weren’t; he ran against Hillary; the perceived front runner, the party insider. The only joined him after he defeated her in the primaries. He is a good example of a third way.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP says:

                Both the Clintons are lawyers. Both the Obamas are lawyers. They all put up a tough and bruising fight. And as with all pugilistic pros, at the end of the fight, they gave each other a big hug, bleeding all over each other. Hillary became Secretary of State, Bill became an important advisor. That fight was good for the Democratic Party. Toughened everyone up.Report

              • Avatar Kim says:

                Tell that to Bernie Sanders.

                I think you’ve quite mistaken my position. It was merely that if you’re using me as an anti-guide for whom to support, you’re likely to wind up in chains. Not that you haven’t been in them already, from what you’ve said (which was a small portion of the joke above).

                There are indeed false populists, people who would ride around on all the sound and the fury — dragonslayers who would become dragons themselves.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP says:

                Kim, to put it bluntly, the Road to Serfdom has been pretty well described in a little book by that name. Though I find the Libertarian argument ab initio a tedious and fatuous bit of simplistic chicanery, hurl’d down upon us like so many Cardboard Thunderbolts from the Ivory Tower, the Democrats could do worse than to inoculate themselves with a bolus of the Populist and Libertarian argument.

                The Democrats must stop their collective idiocy of looking at any of life’s problems and proposing a Legislative Solution for it.

                That is all.Report

              • Avatar Kim says:

                As always, we do agree as much as we squabble.

  7. Avatar Citizen says:

    Can’t we just give anarchy a chance?Report