Friday, 4 Dec 2020

Opinion | The Mixed Messages in the Election

To the Editor:

In “What Voters Are Trying to Tell Us” (column, Nov. 6), David Brooks argues, “Election after election, the emerging Democratic majority fails to emerge,” because of a supposed emphasis on political correctness rather than policy. Yet Joe Biden, a good man but not an especially charismatic candidate, will take the presidency by restoring the blue wall of Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, perhaps flipping Georgia (!) and probably Arizona, and winning the popular vote by around five million votes.

Democrats may yet take the Senate by winning two runoffs in Georgia, and have retained a majority in the House. This follows a blue wave in 2018 and a near miss in 2016 by a historically polarizing candidate, Hillary Clinton, who nonetheless won the popular vote by more than three million. And Donald Trump may have been unique among Republicans in his ability to galvanize disaffected, white, male working-class voters, who in any event comprise a shrinking demographic.

I am not blue about the future of the Democratic Party.

Jesse Siegel
Greenlawn, N.Y.

To the Editor:

I am a registered Democrat and a moderate. David Brooks’s interpretation is exactly my take on the election. I have said many of the same things to friends in the past few days, believing now, though, that the country is ripe for a third party that is centrist.

Ouida Vincent
Cortez, Colo.

To the Editor:

Working the polls on Election Day, I saw two Americas: In one America Republicans and Democrats had respectful, cordial disagreements. I saw the Republican candidate for the North Carolina House of Representatives, Don Pomeroy, and his Democratic competitor, Brandon Lofton, have a cordial conversation for about 15 minutes. I saw Republican and Democratic poll workers have polite conversations.

In another America, I saw a Republican man yell at a young Democrat about the Brett Kavanaugh hearings. I saw a “woke” Democrat call out a friend on social media because of his Halloween costume. In this second America both sides thrive on moral outrage, but it frequently alienates the moderate voter.

The news media focuses on the angry America, but the calm, respectful America exists. I hope and pray that the America of civil, productive debates will win.

James Horton
Charlotte, N.C.

To the Editor:

One need only look around David Brooks’s own newspaper to understand why he and other members of the public see Democrats as “smug, self-congratulatory and off-putting.” As I sit here in the heartland and read The Times, I can’t count the number of references I’ve seen to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and “the Squad.” I’m sure President Trump and the other Republican leadership are delighted every time you spotlight them.

Meanwhile, my reasonable and responsible Democratic representative (Mark Pocan) and senator (Tammy Baldwin) are largely ignored by the national media. Certainly they are much closer to the typical Democratic voter and could share important insights if you asked.

I guess you will pay attention to them only when the president includes them in a rant and gives them childish nicknames.

Bruce Harville
Madison, Wis.

To the Editor:

After I read David Brooks’s column describing the continuing state of polarization, and how the Democrats have failed to connect with a large group of working-class voters who supported Democrats in the past but have shifted their support to Republicans recently, an idea emerged: As soon as his term starts, Joe Biden should send a high administration official on a listening tour around the country to try to understand voters’ concerns, and then work on addressing those concerns. I think this would build good will and hopefully strengthen the Democratic Party’s connection to the voters.

That administration official could be Kamala Harris, or a cabinet member or perhaps a special adviser hired for just that effort.

Andrew Roth
South Orange, N.J.

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