While the navel-gazing about why blue-collar voters abandoned the Democratic party continues in the political media, most campaigns and strategists have long ago turned to fixing the problem. This memo is an effort to highlight one point-talking about skills training-that has been effective in persuading historical Democratic voters to return to the fold. Not only has talking about skills training helped win us special elections across blue-collar America in the last year and change, it's also consistently one of the best-polling reasons to support Democratic candidates across the Midwest/Great Lakes region of the country that swung so hard against us in 2016.
This is not to suggest Democrats stop talking about the value of classroom/college education and the need to get costs/debt down - they still have message value with many voters. It's more to suggest highlighting alternatives in our messaging and realizing post-recession, many voters view non-college paths as a viable and successful alternative. We do well to hit on this issue that speaks strongly to voters who can't, don't want to, don't want the debt, or for other reasons don't see themselves sitting in college classrooms for four years.