If they want to win future elections, Democrats are going to have to find something better to say in the Rust Belt. Their current message is not resonating with residents who have seen manufacturing jobs disappear and who want to return their towns and states to how things used to be. Democrats “remain obsessed with cultural issues,” University of California-Hastings professor Joan C. Williams wrote, in a Harvard Business Review essay shortly after the election. “I fully understand why transgender bathrooms are important, but I also understand why progressives’ obsession with prioritizing cultural issues infuriates many Americans whose chief concerns are economic.”
But the question is what Democrats should say. The biggest problem Democrats face now, and will face in the future, is that there are no simple solutions to the economic crisis in the Rust Belt. Democrats have tried, with proposals like infrastructure projects, science and technology education, and tax credits for companies that offer apprenticeships, but few of the policy prescriptions that could begin the process of getting millions of white, working-class men back to work are very sexy. “There’s no silver bullet,” Ned Hill, a professor at Ohio State University and the faculty affiliate for the Ohio Manufacturing Institute, told me. “This is an adult conversation so easy answers aren’t there.”
Daily Archive: November 25, 2016
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