07 September 2008
Will the Reagan Democrats support McCain?
They are called Reagan Democrats because Reagan managed to woo them from their natural home and made them part of his coalition. Blue collar industrial workers in places like Michigan, people who believe in strong unions and manual labour. Socially they are very conservative and they tend to be more hawkish than any Neo-Con when it comes to foreign policy.
There has always been some doubt as to whether Barak Obama could hold them, especially given his foolish remarks on guns, religion and the bitterness of people who hold on to both of them. In June when he visited Michigan he was met with protests which the Democrats pursuaded themselves were nothing more that Hillary Clinton's supporters cheering on their candidate. Actually, that was more likely the first stirrings of the old Reagan Democratic element getting fired up before they moved into the John McCain camp.
On Friday McCain and Sarah Palin held a tumultous Michigan rally in which at least 6,000 people turned out to cheer them to the echo. McCain looked stunned by the reception, but Sarah Palin was clearly in her element as she wowed the crowd.
Here's the rub: if those Great Lakes' denizens cannot be held for Obama then the election is lost for his party. He has to hold the Atlantic North-West, the Great Lakes and the Pacific coast to be in with a chance. Then he must take the likes of Florida and New Mexico to really tip the election his way.
The evidence up to now is that Michigan, Minnisota and Wisconsin might be slipping away and that means that Obama now has to dedicate time and money to shoring up a position that a week ago was taken for granted. He won't be able to take the fight to the GOP marginal states because he will be too busy in his own backyard.
It is hard to believe that there are still people on the left in both Britain and America who think that Sarah is a liability to the McCain campaign. The American left has to come to terms with her appeal and listen to what the people want. Michigan working people are unhappy with the Democrats' social agenda. It is time that the party came to grips with that simple truth.