“You know, the one thing I will say about Donald Trump,” Slotkin began. “He doesn’t talk down to anybody. He is who he is, but he doesn’t talk down to anyone. And I think that there is a certain voter out there because of that who identifies with him and appreciates him.”…

“It’s not just that he eats cheeseburgers at a big celebratory dinner. It’s not just that he does things that the common man can kind of appreciate. And it’s not even because he uses kind of simplistic language—he doesn’t use complicated, wonky language, the way a lot of Democrats do,” Slotkin said. “We sometimes make people feel like they aren’t conscientious enough. They aren’t thoughtful enough. They aren’t ‘woke’ enough. They aren’t smart enough or educated enough to just understand what’s good for them. … It’s talking down to people. It’s alienating them. And there’s just certain voters who feel so distant from the political process—it’s not their life, it’s not their world. They hate it. They don’t like all that politics stuff. Trump speaks to them, because he includes them.”

This was a central thesis of Slotkin’s argument. It has long been perceived that Democrats, in the post-9/11 era, are the party of inclusion and big-tent politics. But Slotkin has begun to question that notion. She fears that Democrats have created a barrier to entry, largely along cultural lines, that makes the party fundamentally unwelcoming to anyone with supposedly retrograde views of the world around them. This is not merely about race and racism. The schisms go far deeper, to matters of faith and conscience, economic freedom and individual liberty. Indeed, for the heavy losses Trump sustained among affluent college-educated whites, he nearly won a second term because of his gains with Black and brown voters. That these Americans were willing to support Trump, often in spite of his rhetoric, reveals an uncomfortable truth for the left. There are millions of voters—working-class whites and working-class minorities—whose stances on social controversies put them out of touch with the Democratic Party. It’s a truth they might be willing to overlook, if only the party could do the same.