Forget Michigan

If Democrats focus on winning back the Obama states Hillary lost, they’re doomed.

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Media Outlet: Slate

Yascha Mounk wrote for Slate about Democratic strategy going forward: 

Just as generals are always fighting the previous war, campaign strategists always seem to be fighting the previous election. And so every professional analyst and armchair pundit I’ve asked about how Democrats might win in 2020 has immediately offered me an answer to a subtly—but importantly—different question: “Here’s how you win back the white working class.” Which is really just shorthand for: “Here’s how you win back Michigan!”
Hillary Clinton, the standard story goes, lost the 2016 election because of some 80,000 votes in three Rust Belt states: Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. And she did poorly in those states in large part because a lot of white, working-class voters who had supported Barack Obama in the past voted for Donald Trump. The implication seems obvious: To take the White House in 2020, Democrats need to win back white, working-class voters in the crucial states that defected last time around. And so Katrina vanden Heuvel, the publisher of the Nation, has been musing aloud about “How Democrats can win back the working class.” To “get their mojo back,” David Leonhardt argued in the New York Times, “Democrats have to find a way to win more working-class votes.” (The piece makes clear that, while Leonhardt is talking about the working class, he mostly means poor whites.) John Stoehr summarized the emerging consensus most succinctly: “Democrats Need the White Working Class,” he wrote a few weeks ago. “No future Democrat should believe that he can win without them.”

Author:

Yascha Mounk is a fellow in New America's Political Reform program.