Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) is a rising star in the Democratic Party. The allegedly Native American senator has become a leading liberal critic of the Trump Administration and was even the object of a grassroots movement to draft a challenger to Hillary Clinton prior to Bernie Sanders’ (S-Vt.) insurgent campaign in the Democratic primary last year.
Warren is unquestionably popular on the left, but a Fox News analyst now says that she may be leading the Democratic Party into a trap. Chris Stirewalt, Fox News’ politics editor, said that Warren’s focus on racism is going to cause the party to keep losing.
“What do voters care about at home,” Stirewalt asked. Answering his own question, Stirewalt answered that the voters who switched from Hillary Clinton to Donald Trump in the Midwest “care about jobs and national security.”
“Democrats used to know that,” he continued. “Democrats have forgotten about that. They are running as the party of anti-racism. Americans hate racism, but they hate being poor more than they do [favor] addressing vestigial racism in American culture.”
Stirewalt’s point is a simple one. Politicians get elected by convincing voters that they care about their problems. It is a losing strategy to try to convince voters to care about the politician’s problems. Further, if voters are worried about basic needs such as their jobs and security, those concerns will take precedence over abstract concerns about racism that do not directly affect most voters.
The Democrats have lost several recent elections (2010, 2014, 2016) in part because the voters rejected their emphasis on liberal extremism about cultural issues. Elizabeth Warren is doubling down on this failed strategy rather than offering a prescription for how to make the lives of Americans better.
Republicans would do well to remember Stirewalt’s lesson as well. Donald Trump won because he tapped into voter concerns about Obamacare, the effect of trade on Rust Belt industries and the threat of terror attacks due to Democratic policies.
The Republican victory hinged on very specific promises of repealing Obamacare and fixing the health insurance mess, increasing economic growth and making the nation secure. If the Republicans fail to deliver on these promises and lose sight of the concerns of the voters, then the Elizabeth Warrens of the left may get their chance after all.
Originally published on The Resurgent