That the last 20 months have inflicted great damage on middle America is without doubt.
But the most interesting aspect of all the Biden-era hurt is the lack of interest manifested by the powers that be. The question arises, “Why?”
The answer begins with a familiar chapter of American labor history.
It was FDR’s New Deal that cemented working class support for Democrats almost a century ago. Indeed, generations of blue-collar families — both black and white — were inculcated in the notion that only the Democratic Party cared about those who worked with their hands, those who came home every night with dirt under their fingernails and those who punched clocks at the end of a workday.
With the notable exception of the Reagan era, American workers continued their affinity for the Democratic Party through the Clinton-Bush years.
And then — seemingly without warning — appeared an agenda far beyond traditional liberalism, carried forward by certified progressives such as President Barack Obama, Sen. Bernie Sanders, “the squad” and (at least as president) Joe Biden. It is a self-described transformational program, never to be confused with the mainstream liberalism practiced by Biden during his 40-year Senate career.
The primary policy initiatives herein (an end to fossil fuels, defunding the police, limited economic horizons, borderlessness, abortion extremism, limits to free speech) are becoming increasingly familiar during the Biden era. The accompanying rhetoric is startlingly new as well; no longer do leading Democrats shy away from accusations of socialist influence or their wish to federalize everything from voting rights to local zoning decisions.
Still, a differentiating aspect of the New Left is the leadership’s seeming indifference to the plight of the working class.
You see, working people are truly hurting at present. Inflation is eating away at their standard of living and retirement accounts. Illegal labor competition keeps unskilled and semi-skilled wages depressed. A war on oil and gas (and the pipelines that carry these fossil fuels) has cost tens of thousands of highly paid, highly skilled union jobs. And now comes a Democratic president with a plan for high school graduates to pay down college debt for college graduates.
So why the indifference/resentment from the crowd that for so long bled blue, as in blue collar?
A likely explanation comes to mind: It is this group of working-class voters that helped invent, celebrate and sustain one Donald J. Trump. As a result, FDR’s coalition was officially put out to pasture. Why bother with that crowd? The great unwashed have their new hero, so why not just write them off? Who needs a bunch of uneducated America Firsters, anyway?
If you doubt my theory, take a look at speeches by Biden and New York Gov. Kathy Hochul over the past week. Both contained brutal shots at Trump voters. Hochul invited Trump supporters to leave New York for Florida, while Biden seemingly characterized half of America as “semi-fascists.” Such sentiments are wholly consistent with the “Who needs them anyway?” approach described above.
That both pitches occurred on the East Coast (the former in Maryland, the latter in New York) speaks to the ascendant bicoastal coalition that is now firmly in charge of the Democratic Party.
A cautionary note: If the polls are accurate and things go south for progressives in November, this New Left may call the Old Left out of the bullpen. But what if nobody answers?
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