Thomas Frank appeared on Chris Hayes' show Friday night to discuss Kansas after Hayes' in-depth look at what has been going on there, from the failure to expand Medicaid to nullification of all gun regulations.For Democrats the strategy right now seems to be not to rock any boats, keep the bankers happy, and appear to be the relatively sane party until "demographics" make them the permanent majority or whatever.
"The gravity of discontent pulls to the right," Frank said. He also said it was "a failure of Democrats to win places like Kansas."
It's hard to imagine Democrats winning big in a state like Kansas where so much of the political lubrication comes from Koch Industries and their converts. Still Frank has dished up some real food for thought for Democratic voters and the Democratic party as a whole.
When Chris Hayes suggested that Democrats are trying to win by running on a "lets get back to the center" strategy, Frank shot back with a stinging indictment. "The people who are saying that are very well-intentioned, but you can't have a center if you don't have a left!" He went on to explain.
This is a dubious strategy. For one thing, it didn't work that way last time.
Now that was a demographic time bomb that encompassed the most radical left-wing young generation in history. And guess what happened? A powerful conservative movement happened that culminated in the election of Ronald Reagan just 14 years later. Perhaps it’s not genetics that is determining their behavior but rather their own experience.I wouldn't bank on fear and resentment going out of style any time soon.
This is not to say that millennials will not be much more liberal than their baby boomer forebears turned out to be, but it would likely have been predicted by many after 1964 that the Republicans had better figure out how to cater to “the youth” or they were doomed. But they didn’t. They catered to fear and resentment and anger and loss and they built their movement around it.