2016: Jim Webb: White Working-Class Voters ‘Whipping Post’ for Dem Activists

AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta
AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta

Former Virginia Senator and potential 2016 presidential candidate Jim Webb blasted left-wing activists for reflexively using the race card and using white working-class males as a “whipping post” in electoral politics.

Yahoo News noted that though Democrats are losing white working-class voters, left-wing activists who view white working-class voters as “inherently racist” are banking on there being enough “black and Latino voters — not to mention women of all races — to tip the balance of any national election into the Democratic column.”

“I think this is where Democrats screw up, you know?” Webb recently told Yahoo News. “I think that they have kind of unwittingly used this group, white working males, as a whipping post for a lot of their policies. And then when they react, they say they’re being racist.”

According to Yahoo, Webb finds it offensive that “in his view, Democrats have focused so much of their rhetoric and their programs on racial minorities that they’ve basically forgotten about all those white, working-class voters who face some of the same economic hardships but feel like all the focus is on the poor.”

In a 2010 Wall Street Journal column, Webb noted that affirmative action programs have “expanded so far beyond their original purpose that they now favor anyone who does not happen to be white.”

“These programs have damaged racial harmony. And the more they have grown, the less they have actually helped African-Americans, the intended beneficiaries of affirmative action as it was originally conceived,” he wrote. “Affirmative action was designed to recognize the uniquely difficult journey of African-Americans. This policy was justifiable and understandable, even to those who came from white cultural groups that had also suffered in socio-economic terms from the Civil War and its aftermath.”

When the mainstream press and Democrats were rushing to judgments about Michael Brown’s death and politicizing it before all the facts were out, Webb was one of the few Democrats who said liberals should be very careful about rushing to judgments. Webb also said that Obama’s executive amnesty, another issue Democrats have used to try to gin up the Hispanic vote while dividing the country, would be an unprecedented overreach of presidential authority.

Because salad-bowl ethnic interest groups dominate politics on the left, Webb has no shot at winning the nomination should he enter the contest. But because he was against the Iraq War before Howard Dean and spoke about income inequality long before anyone knew that Elizabeth Warren had claimed to be “Native American” throughout her career, Webb, I argued, would be the candidate Hillary Clinton should fear the most. Robert Patterson noted that Webb even offers lessons that establishment Republican politicians can learn to appeal to working-class voters.


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