Sarah Palin, Working-Class Hero

11/10/2010 10:52 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011
  • Joan Williams Founding director, Center for WorkLife Law; Distinguished professor of law, University of California, Hastings; Author

Last week's midterm election is being called a radical turn to the right. But it isn't quite as sudden as it may seem. Although union members and African-Americans still trend Democratic, nearly two-thirds of whites without a college degree voted Republican last Tuesday, according to exit polls; only 35 percent voted Democratic.

How did New Deal Democrats become Tea Party Republicans? The answer: class conflict.

In the early 1970s, Republicans used class conflict to forge a coalition between white nonunion workers and business interests, creating a Republican alliance that has won seven of the last 11 presidential elections -- and has dominated many lower offices as well, as happened last Tuesday.

Sarah Palin knows how to bond with these white nonunion voters. Unless Democrats want Palin as president, they need to stop alienating those voters. Here's how:

1. Quit the insults

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