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What's the Matter With White People? Longing for a Golden Age That Never Was

In her new book, Joan Walsh discusses the complex story of why many in the white working class turned conservative.

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So the Democratic Party was no longer the party of working-class people and working-class ideas. There are lots of reasons to be unhappy with the Democratic Party and Barack Obama. I’m just stuck being a “lesser of two evils” person. In Chris Hayes’ book “Twilight of the Elites,” he argues that progressives are divided into institutionalists and insurrectionists. I’m such an institutionalist! I still call myself a Catholic, because they’re not going to drive me out. I call myself a Democrat because the DLC is not going to drive me out.

I don’t think Mitt Romney is going to change any of the civil liberties policies that I find abhorrent. The only thing for the left to do is build up its strength, and organize at the congressional level and the local level. We have obviously not been successful in building our case that this kind of continued military adventurism makes us less safe, and that we can afford a different way. Trashing Barack Obama is not the way to win people over to our side. On those issues I am really disappointed, but having him go away in January wouldn’t make anything better for anyone.

 

Andrew O'Hehir is a senior writer for Salon.

Joan Walsh is Salon's editor-at-large, and the author of "What's the Matter With White People: Finding Our Way in the Next America." Read more of her work at Salon.

 
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