THIS MINORITY is tired of being bashed and has put the
Democratic Party on the alert - ignore it at the party's peril.
The minority in question?
White males. They've had it.
That's the message that some say was delivered loud and clear
in the November election - nationally and in Missouri.
Some exit polls reported that only 37 percent of the nation's
white males voted for Democrats for Congress on Nov. 8.
Missouri, ever the bellwether state, fits the national mold. A
pre-election Missouri poll conducted by the Public Policy Research
Centers at the University of Missouri at St. Louis found that more
than 60 percent of the white male participants were leaning toward
Republican U.S. Senate nominee John Ashcroft, who subsequently won.
The losing Democrat, Alan Wheat, had the backing of only one in
five white males surveyed, said research centers director Lance
LeLoup. He supervised the poll, conducted late in October.
With such findings as a backdrop, it shouldn't be surprising
that talk of white-male rage was rampant at the Democratic
Leadership Council's national meeting in Washington last week. The
DLC sees itself as the party's moderate wing; many of Missouri's
top Democratic officeholders are members, including Gov. Mel
Said Toby Paone, one of the Missouri delegates: "There was open
discussion about the need for the Democratic Party to attract
whites in general - and white males in particular - who abandoned
the Democratic Party to a significant degree in the November
Black voter turnout, a variable often blamed as a contributor
to poor Democratic showings, couldn't be a scapegoat this time,
Paone said. The DLC got figures showing that more blacks went to
the polls this November than in 1992 and 1990. The exit polls show
that the percentage of black voters siding with the Democrats
remained unchanged this November - about 90 percent.
The Missouri poll numbers were slightly different; about 15
percent of the likely black voters said they planned to vote
Republican on Nov. 8.
Nationally, exit polls show that the Democrats lost about 20
percent of the independents who voted Democratic in 1992, and about
one-seventh of their 1992 supporters who earned $15,000 a year or
The Missouri poll made no conclusions based on income. But, in
its query of likely voters who call themselves independents, the
poll found that only about 20 percent planned to vote Democratic.
Almost half leaned Republican.
As a white male himself, Paone adds that he understands what's
going on in many white-male minds. …