Stateside

NASCAR Dads

Aren’t trendy political demographics fun? First there were Angry White Males, then Soccer Moms, then (briefly) Office Park Dads, and now NASCAR Dads.

“They are middle- to lower middle-class males who are family men, live in rural areas, used to vote heavily Democratic but now usually vote Republican,” explains Larry J. Sabato, director of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics.

Actually there is something to this. In the 2000 election Al Gore (a white southern male himself) lost white southern males (the core of NASCAR fandom) to George Bush by 27 percent to 70 percent. Even those with incomes less than $15,000 a year– basically poor folks– favored Bush by 57 percent to 42 percent. Is it possible for Democrats to reach out to white southern males without without abandoning commitments to civil rights, gay rights and abortion rights? To an extent, I believe the answer is yes, though it will take a lot of creativity and effort. (Gun control is a trickier issue.) The Republicans have done an excellent job in recent decades of painting the Democrats as a party of elitist snobs who don’t understand the values of ordinary people. Democrats have done almost nothing to counter this impression. Maybe putting their names on stock cars is a good place to start.

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