Democrats must broaden their appeal

By The Florida Times-Union, Jacksonville

If the Democratic Party wants to take back power, it must have a message that appeals to the white working-class voters who comprise much of President Donald Trump’s base.

The reality is there are Midwestern counties full of white working-class voters who voted for Trump in 2016 but also supported his Democratic predecessor, former President Barack Obama, in 2008 and 2012.

Both candidates were charismatic; both offered a sense of hope to voters (albeit dramatically different versions of “hope”).

But many white working-class voters have grown to share Trump’s distaste for the political and media establishment — and his complaint of being shown little respect by America’s elites.

The new book “The Great Revolt” — written by Republican Party operative Brad Todd and conservative columnist Salena Zito — explores the continuing disconnect between white working-class voters and the Democrats.

The authors quote a Michigan store owner who voted for both Obama and Trump, and resents being called a racist.

The authors also identify numerous reasons why white working-class voters were drawn to Trump during the election.

They note that evangelicals, for example, aligned with Trump because they wanted a conservative appointed to the Supreme Court. Meanwhile, many business owners in the struggling Midwest saw Trump as someone who would focus on their economic concerns.

Hardly any of the voters in “The Great Revolt” mention race as an issue, yet that’s what the mainstream media tend to focus on.

A strong emotional pull for Trump voters is they feel they’ve been let down by the government and the economy alike — and that no one wants to understand them.

Washington Post reporter Dan Balz spent 16 months interviewing voters in the upper Mississippi River valley. Many of these people are deeply religious Americans who are proud gun owners, but they feel these things are being held against them in current American society.

If the Democratic Party blithely writes off these voters — if it makes no attempt to appeal to them — it risks handing Trump another four years in the White House.

Russia and the election

The 2016 presidential election was determined by about 80,000 votes in just three states; certainly a race that close is decided by many factors — not just one.

But there is a real possibility that Russian interference had more to do with the outcome than many of us want to believe.

In a new book, former CIA Director James Clapper declares the Russians did more than just influence the election — they helped to determine it.

Whether people believe Clapper or not, the fact is 13 Russian nationals have been indicted by special counsel Robert Mueller in connection with tampering with the 2016 election.

The suspicion that Russia meddled in our election is not based on some hoax — and the fears being raised by Clapper and others shouldn’t be dismissed as mere “witch hunt” fodder.

The return of paper ballots

The ongoing unease that America’s voting systems can be hacked has led to a renewed interest in an old technology: paper ballots.

Since the 2016 election, some states have returned to paper ballots or paper receipts for electronic ballots, The Wall Street Journal reports.

After seeing a demonstration of how electronic voting machines can be hacked, Virginia phased out its touch-screen machines.

In Kentucky and Pennsylvania, meanwhile, all new voting machines will have paper backups.

Some states are still working on getting paper backups for their electronic voting machines; they need to get cracking and get those safeguards in place.

To its credit, Congress has made $380 million available for states to upgrade their voting systems.

But if that’s not enough, Congress shouldn’t hesitate to invest more funds to protect the sacred rite of American democracy.

This article provided by NewsEdge.