January 30, 2015

Some progressives are openly hostile and accusatory toward Jim Webb, but pretty much every progressive organizer and campaign operative I know agrees with his main point. We can win the White House, but we will never get a lasting majority and get to accomplish our agenda without reclaiming the white working class demographic. The numbers just aren't there without them, so it would behoove us to acknowledge this and figure out what to do about it:

Washington (CNN) If Jim Webb had his way, the Democratic Party would return to its "Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Andrew Jackson roots" and put a greater focus on "white working people."

Webb, the former Democratic senator from Virginia who is entertaining a run 2016 presidential nomination, told NPR Friday morning that his party has not focused enough on white, working class voters in the past elections. In order to be successful in the future, Webb said, that will need to change.

"I think they could do better with white, working people and I think this last election showed that," Webb said, referencing the 2014 midterms where Republicans took control of the Senate and added more power in the House. "The Democratic Party could do very well to return to its Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Andrew Jackson roots where the focus of the party was making sure that all people who lack a voice in the corridors of power could have one through the elected represented."

Pressed on his statement by NPR's Steve Inskeep, Webb said that he doesn't think Democrats' distancing from white, working people was a byproduct of President Barack Obama's election.

"This was happening before President Obama," Webb said.

Looking ahead to a 2016 race that he may run in, Webb added: "You are not going to have a situation again where you have 96% of the African American vote turning out for one presidential candidate. ... We need to get back to the principles of the Democratic Party that we are going to give everyone who needs access to the corridors of power that access regardless of any of your antecedents. I think that is a fair concept."

In 2012, the last presidential election, Republican Mitt Romney won nearly 60% of all white voters, compared to Obama's 40%. That difference is an increased split from 2008, when Obama won 43% of the white vote and Republican John McCain won 55%.

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