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The battle for the presidential nomination has exposed ideological and class fault lines within the Democratic Party. The opposition to Hillary Clinton’s position on trade and other economic issues reveal the sense among many registered Democrats that the Party establishment has abandoned their economic concerns. The shift in the class interests of the Party has not been a sudden one, precipitated by the Trans-Pacific Partnership or even NAFTA, but part of a longer story of transformation, a shift of the Democratic base away from its roots in the labor union halls in northern cities and toward white-collar tech workers in the suburbs and . Since the 1960s, suburban knowledge professionals and high-tech corporations have supplanted urban ethnics and labor unions as the party’s core constituency. This shifting base intensified structural inequality and constrained the party’s ability to create policies that support economic equity.
This focus on stimulating high-tech growth and expanding opportunity has been crucial to the Democratic Party’s competitiveness, especially in presidential elections, since the 1980s. Bill Clinton (see John Judis and Ruy Teixeira, The Emerging Democratic Majority, Scribner, 2002). Barack Obama’s campaign combined class-blind notions of equality of opportunity with promises of high-tech employment and entrepreneurship, offering tax cuts for the middle class, and providing improvements to public education. In both elections, Obama handily won areas where a large concentration of residents had advanced degrees, and he secured the support of high-tech workers nationally by an . He earned the votes and campaign contributions of workers at companies like Google, Microsoft and Apple at astonishingly high rates, on the forged between tech companies and the Democratic Party by the Atari Democrats. This emphasis, however, further alienated lower-income voters and led to among this constituency. As a result, the chasm between voters and non-voters has widened. Non-voters, who tend to support unions and public spending on jobs and health insurance, face falling real incomes while higher-income voters, who are , continue to see their incomes rise.
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The Atari Democrats retreated from New Deal issues and from New Deal voters, particularly members of the unionized white working class. These shifts led many to charge that the Atari Democrats had abandoned a commitment to economic concerns. Yet in championing the high-tech economy and suburban quality-of-life values, the Atari Democrats did not abandon class politics. They merely advocated policies that reflected the class interests of the party’s rank-and-file base, which by the 1980s had shifted from auto-workers to knowledge workers.
As their sobriquet suggests, no sector was more important to the Atari Democrats than tech. The cohort’s emphasis was on expanding the tech sector both in the United States and globally. This, plus their focus on improving quality of life and keeping taxes low, made the Atari Democrats popular among suburban professional voters, as I explain at length in my book (Don’t Blame Us: Suburban Liberals and the Transformation of the Democratic Party, Princeton University Press, 2015). This approach, however, made employment overly dependent on the boom-bust cycles of the tech economy and produced an economically and geographically uneven distribution of economic growth that privileged middle-class professionals and exacerbated structural inequities. The high-tech industry primarily created jobs for scientists, engineers, computer programmers, and data analysts that paid well, but these opportunities demanded a high level of expertise, experience, and training, and were non-unionized. High-tech manufacturing, however, increasingly moved overseas. The manufacturing jobs that did exist at computer companies in places like Silicon Valley and Route 128 outside of Boston were not just non-union, but low-wage, offering little long-term security (see Barry Bluestone and Bennett Harrison, The Deindustrialization of America: Plant Closings, Community Abandonment, and the Dismantling of Basic Industry, Basic Books, 1982).
Democratic Party – Sample Essays
- A research paper on American Politics discuss the politics in the United States, that is marked by a two-party system; the Democrats and the Republicans.
- Democratic Party research papers discuss one of the two major political parties in the United States that represents the liberal side of the political debate.
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Democratic-Republican Party Essay Examples
Many Americans no longer view Silicon Valley as a site of opportunity and democracy, but instead see it as a source of elitism and inequity. This attitude coincides with, and has contributed to, the success of Sanders’s bid. Sanders has helped to place the issue of the unequal distribution of wealth at the center of the Democratic Party’s agenda for the first time in generations. His populist platform and stump speeches have put redistribution back on the Party’s agenda, emphasizing issues that have been antithetical to the tech sector since the Atari Democrats appeared on the political stage. Sanders’s candidacy might very well represent a longstanding shift back toward a more class-inclusive base and a return to the types of thirties or New Deal-style solutions that Atari Democrats and their successors eschewed.
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These voting patterns have shaped the strategy of the Democratic Party and amplified the power of both affluent voters and high-tech corporations. For instance, Clinton’s and Obama’s tech-friendly policies reflected their close and personal ties with many of Silicon Valley’s leading tycoons and companies. In her 2016 campaign bid, Hillary Clinton has sought to further solidify the bonds between the tech industry and the Democratic Party. She has surpassed candidates from both parties in individual donations from employees at the ten highest-grossing companies in Silicon Valley, including, Google, Facebook, eBay, and Apple. balancing these relationships with gaining the support of other constituencies has proven increasingly difficult, leaving an opening for Bernie Sanders.
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Hillary Clinton embodies this transformation. While Hillary is often associated with the “New Democrats” of the 1990s, her lineage — and the cleavage between her supporters and those of Bernie Sanders — can actually be traced back to the “Atari Democrats” of the 1970s and 1980s. This group included many of the politicians — and embraced many of the issues — that would come dominate the Democratic Party after 1992.
The Democratic Party has many basic beliefs
- Jacksonian Democracy research papers look into the split of the single poltical party of America that led to the development of the modern two-party system.
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