Mmmm, pandering

A couple of loosely related thoughts about my previous couple of posts on Nancy Pelosi’s white people problem:

First, I think that Democratic Party elders don’t seem to appreciate that the leadership’s popularity likely has real effects on party discipline. A world in which Jason Altmire runs ads trumpeting his votes against Pelosi isn’t just bad because it makes Pelosi look impotent and makes the party look like a bunch of disorganized clowns. Rather, the main thing that’s bad is that Jason Altmire frequently votes against Nancy Pelosi and he sees doing so as not just good policy, but good politics. Presumably, a nationally popular leadership would cut some of the incentives for Blue Dogs to make these bad votes.

Second, where is the marketing effort to make inroads into the white Republican base? The GOP is investing tons of resources into outreach among Hispanics. It’s cynical pandering, of course, but things can’t get much worse for them among minority constituencies so it’s hard to see even cynical pandering as strategically bad. Just as the GOP isn’t going to do immigration reform or anything else policy-wise that Hispanics want, I’m absolutely not suggesting that Democrats pursue policies that fit the preferences of moderate-to-conservative whites. But it seems a rather more thorough strategy should be tried to woo them than the current short-term plan of “just wait for the GOP to tank the economy” and the current long-term plan of “just wait for changing American demographics to make them irrelevant.”

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