Pursue a 50-State Strategy in Lieu of Red and Blue: Sanders, Ocasio-Cortez Call on Progressives to Re-Draw the Electoral Map on Basis of Class

As Mid-terms approach the most pressing issue of our time in North America and the European Peninsula is mass immigration. But House Democrats–office holders, the so-called establishment because they are established–plan to make a great noise about health care and prescription drug costs, infrastructure spending, and charges of Republican corruption. The populist left urges yet another plan equally at odds with reality: mobilize the poor and working classes without respect to race or region against the so-called 1%.

About the immigration issue see:

Frank Newport of Gallup: “Over a Third of Republicans Say Immigration is Top Problem”

About House Democrats messaging see:

“For the People”–the Formula Decided Upon by Democratic House Leaders to Mobilize the Democratic Party Base of Urban Minority Voting Blocs and the White Swing Voters of Affluent Coastal Suburbs

Exhibits (a) and (b):

Exhibit (a): In an Associated Press story titled Democratic socialism surging in the age of Trump, Steve Peoples writes,

[…] PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — A week ago, Maine Democrat Zak Ringelstein wasn’t quite ready to consider himself a member of the Democratic Socialists of America, even if he appreciated the organization’s values and endorsement in his bid to become a U.S. senator.

Three days later, he told The Associated Press it was time to join up. He’s now the only major-party Senate candidate in the nation to be a dues-paying democratic socialist.

Ringelstein’s leap is the latest evidence of a nationwide surge in the strength and popularity of an organization that, until recently, operated on the fringes of the liberal movement’s farthest left flank. As Donald Trump’s presidency stretches into its second year, democratic socialism has become a significant force in Democratic politics. Its rise comes as Democrats debate whether moving too far left will turn off voters […]

Exhibit (b): In a story for theintercept.com titled Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Went to War With Partisanship in Kansas the estimable Briahna Gray writes,

[…] Where electoral battles have long been viewed as a struggle over red states and blue states — an effort to dominate the map like advancing armies, on Friday, that partisan dichotomy was evoked only to be dismissed in favor of a narrative that highlights the universal struggles shared by residents in locales as diverse as Kansas and Vermont and the Bronx. Yes: Trump is a racist. Critiques of his immigration policy and calls for criminal justice reform received enthusiastic applause. And yes: Kansas went red in 2016. But Sanders, Ocasio-Cortez, and Thompson each emphasized that the enemy was not a color–not red or blue, nor black or white. It was the 1 percent, people like the three families who, as Sanders pointed out, have more wealth than the bottom half of Americans.

Where there are working-class people, exhorted Ocasio-Cortez, there is hope for the progressive movement. Later, Thompson echoed that sentiment. It’s not about Republicans or Democrats, he said, but about working people coming together.

There’s some evidence for this — both in Sanders’s surprising 2016 primary success, and in a recent Demos study, which showed that “persuadable” voters are best convinced by a narrative that calls out those who would divide working class people on the basis of race, while asking them to unite against a common corporate enemy […]

Observations:

(i) All politics reduces to centrism, a contested balance of interests in support of a contested political centre. This is how politics presents itself. Its inner logic assumes the form of a dominant factor, a class, an industry, an enterprise e.g. colonialism or conquest. This dominant factor identifies the larger system with itself; it will see itself as source and centre of the political community. Without this system in the form of a continuous struggle of interests there is no politics, no political facts. Politics would reduce to management, which it often does.

The task of the political actor with executive authority or discretion, or the member of a deliberative assembly, is to develop a line of law or policy in the interests of a political unit or community. The outward form of many if not most lines of law or policy is compromise or concession, which means the balancing of contradictory interests or lines of historical or social development, hence, centrism, hence even dictators will preen themselves as possessed of wisdom and good counsel in the weighing, testing, and evaluating of clients, claimants, or petitioners. But for even the most bold, innovative, or unprecedented move by a political actor, a dictator, or to use a more extreme example, a field commander at arms, in combat conditions, and who operates with complete discretion, this line of policy or conduct will be also be conditioned by contradictory concerns or interests, hence despite appearances of initiative or independence its inner form will be always compromise. This is the universal aspect of centrism, and it is true in all cases.

(i) The basis of U.S. centrism is race. This is the particular character of U.S. centrism, and the the general character of centrism in any multicultural social order. The task of the U.S. political actor is to balance the material and social demands of

(a) the professional and technical managerial classes of the managerial state, corporations, NGOs and cultural institutions including top universities,

with

(b) the mass-populations who sustain it with the products of their labour, their tax contributions, and sometimes their lives–hence, centrism. These populations divide themselves along lines of race. This takes the form of a divided white majority and coherent, cohesive ethnic voting blocs.

(iii) U.S. “Centrism” at this precise historical moment, and in its various expressions, presents both (a) a regional and a (b) biological character.

(a) Regionally, because the social-institutional basis of the managerial classes whether federal government organizations and agencies, large corporations and NGOs, or cultural production in the form of news, entertainment, and top schools and universities, concentrates itself along the super-prosperous, super-populous, super-diverse, and globally-exposed cities and financial-logistical hubs of the East and West coast megalopolitan corridors. These concentrations of wealth and population contradict the relatively under-developed, under-populated, dispersed, decentralized, and inwardly-directed character of the U.S. hinterlands.

and

(b) Biologically, principally because of the developing distribution of people who identify as white. The white division between red and blue follows the lines of gentrified city neighbourhoods, super-affluent suburbs e.g. Cresskill, Englewood, Arlington or Fairfax County, and under-developed, under-served exurbs and rural districts.

(iv) Traditionally the task of Democratic centrists in electoral contests is to mobilize blocs of urban minority voters without alienating the moderate whites barricaded in their suburbs or urban enclaves. Conversely, the task of the Republican centrist is to mobilize the working and middle-class white majority without alienating affluent or moderate whites. The so-called “swing voter” is identical with “white voter”.

(v) Whether consciously or unconsciously Trump effectively pursued the so-called Steve Sailor strategy, a national strategy that consists in urging the issue of immigration to develop a larger share of the white vote. Whether consciously or unconsciously, the task of the Democratic presidential candidate in 2020 will be to effectively counter the Steve Sailor strategy by developing a larger turn-out among ethnic voter-blocs combined with the command of a larger share of the white vote.

But what combination of issue positions could deliver such an outcome? Or will mass-immigration deliver conditions such that Democrats at the national level only need to mobilize ethnic voting blocs as some predict?

(iv) It is in this context that the Sanders, Ocasio-Cortez Social Democratic proposal has any meaning at all. The proposal would be to redraw the electoral map not on the basis of race but rather on class. To redraw the electoral map not on the basis of urban concentrations along coasts combined with ethic blocs and a divided white vote, but rather on the basis of working classes organized to oppose the interests of the owning classes, the so-called one percenters or the rich.

(v) Problems: (a) Do enough Americans identify as working class, or with the interests of the working classes as Sanders, Ocasio-Cortez would have them, to develop the electoral pluralities or majorities necessary to control the houses of Congress or the White House? (b) A class analysis is necessarily a register of wealth distribution; but the most reliable predictors of class are gender and race. So the primary division of the U.S. centrist remains in play: cohesive ethnic voting blocs and a divided white majority. This means that the same U.S. centrist formula remains effective: Mobilize ethnic voting blocs without alienating moderate white voters. The electoral problem remains unresolved; the regional and biological divides described in (iii) remain effective. Further, (c), the Sanders, Ocasio-Cortez analysis fails to address the effects of mass immigration on the U.S. poor and working classes: Mass immigration suppresses wages for workers whether skilled or unskilled, and in so doing redistributes wealth along generational lines from young to old as Wall Street valuations soar at the expense of fierce competition for entry-level positions. The most pressing issue for the so-called working classes is mass immigration, which both Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez support.

Am I missing anything?

yours &c.
g.v. wilkes iv

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