Although political scientists use different events as turning points in the process of the Democrats rejecting their labor/working class roots, it still took time for that emerging consensus to translate into policies that amounted to betrayal of their former base. Many point to NAFTA as a key event, although it took time for its effects to play out.
In some parts of the country, the repudiation of the interests of ordinary people was more abrupt, and the backlash sharper. Amfortas explained how it played out in Texas in the 1990s. And notice a key element: the sudden (and relatively recent) emergence of evangelicals as a political force. Reagan made much of the support of Billy Graham, but the Christian right then as only learning to flex its muscles.
And that is why I keep harping on the failure of the women’s liberation movement, as it was called then, to have abortion rights protected by statute during Peak Feminism, the 1970s. That was a winnable fight, but they put all their political chips on the quixotic goal of passing an equal rights amendment. In that era, conservative Christians were generally seen as retrograde cranks.
Stillfeelinthebern kicked off the exchange by taking offense at Hillary Clinton elbowing her way back into the press via reading her 2016 acceptance speech:
Saw the “Master Class,” in an article headline earlier this week and thought it was parody. The Clintons and the DNC have no clue how much real people across the political spectrum hate the Clintons.
Living in flyover county this is constantly evident. People in central Wisconsin feel the same way as Amafortas says about his area of Texas.
Bernie represented someone who was true to his principles, he cared about regular people, he was trusted. He carried every county against Hillary in Wisconsin. The treatment of Bernie by the consulting political class is shortsighted and more evidence of their “lack” of any expertise other than raising $$.
Having Hillary pop up constantly is pouring salt on the wounds.
out here, it was the farm bill, that ended both the peanut subsidy as well as the agora/mohair subsidy for this whole region.
i think that was 1996, but i’d hafta go look to be sure.
put my county into an immediate depression.
prior to this, this county…and the broader swath of rangeland, cotton plain and goat and sheep herds to the north and west…was solidly democratic.
LBJ(from just down the road, and who got us paved roads) and FDR(who got us electricity) were still openly revered and remembered.
but that farm bill sent us’n’s into the waiting mandibles of the Right Wing, who had already been making major moves in texas(see: Lil George as goobernator)
that opened the door to the Rightyfication of all and sundry, out here…i watched it happen.
suddenly, Rush, et alia, were on every radio(hadn’t even thought about that guy since i escaped from austin, several years prior)…and as cable came to town(town only) Fox came with it(prior to this, noone could get a broadcast TV signal without elaborate and expensive giant antennae and boosters)….and then dialup crept out this way…and that was that.
interestingly, the local preachers were instrumental in this shift to righty ideology…this place has always been small-c conservative…that’s just small, rural america(see: wendell berry)…but apparently, the lutherans, baptists and methodists got a memo from on high right around the end of the 90’s…because the sermons, etc changed into political indoctrination.
Then, the 2 steeplejacking groups arrived, and started in on dividing up various congregations…engendering fights over racial inclusion and the way they talked about the poor. several churches split asunder due to this behaviour…went from 14 churches to 23(!!)…and have finally settled into around 18(in a county with a population around 4400).
this steeplejacking had a major impact on public politics and ideology…fox and rush and the GOP couldn’t have done as well without it.
but this apparent strength of the Righty narrative is utterly reliant on such reinforcement….sustained and with the ability to exclude any alternative.
if the internet went down…or fox crumbled…it would not be possible…because the policies and the hatreds aren’t sustainable by themselves….
too many folks hurting….and way too many folks with brown people in their extended families.
that’s how little ol’ me made such giant strides in singlehandedly promoting Bernie and a New New Deal…i sit out here and think: what if it hadn’t been just me?
what if the demparty had actively campaigned out here for stuff people actually care about?
as it stands, the county demparty hasn’t had a storefront or working phone number since 2004.
the PMC rump of the local dems are all in hiding…afraid of being killed…or merely wanting to avoid having to defend themselves when uncle billy learns that they’re pinko commies who want to turn us all gay.
a few of them did manage to do a black lives matter “rally” on the courthouse lawn(2 black folks in whole county…anti mexican is the local racism that matters, here)…attended by all of 10 people..all obnoxiously wealthy and woke and wholly white…and all it did was serve as fodder for ugly jokes in the local online righty spaces(i still surveil,lol)
Nice history encapsulation, Amfortas.
Much the same in Warren County, Pennsylvania, which nestles up to Chautauqua County, NY. The latter leans a bit more to the left, due to SUNY Fredonia in ‘north county.’ And the remnants of an industrial base in Jamestown.
Warren County, where my spouse’s family settled and where dozens of descendants still live, is a mix of agricultural and extraction economies. The City of Warren has a major refinery, as well as dozens of large and well-maintained early 20th century houses. But, on the whole, poor and white. His family, chosing agriculture over extraction, was active in the Grange movement: they rallied against the monopolistic practices of railroads and espoused suffrage for women (who actually held Grange leadership positions.) And published cookbooks, of course.
And, somewhere along the way, they all became Republican. Because Republicans stand for self-reliance, small government, low taxes, business (with a small ‘b’), family, patriotism. They don’t want a ‘handout,’ or ‘free’ college. They want a job after they graduate from high school. One that pays them a decent salary with raises and a chance to become a supervisor, a couple of weeks of paid vacation, decent health insurance, and a respectable pension. Or, they want to be able to work in their own business; auto repair, plumbing, electrician. Or they want to farm; raise beef cattle or pigs, grow strawberries and sweet corn, keep the small dairy operation their great-grandfather started.
There are always the outliers, like my spouse. Who have itchy feet or ace high school calculus and want to see Silicon Valley or Broadway.
Warren County is awash in ginormous TRUMP banners and signs. On flagpoles, lawns, barns and front porches. If there is a polar opposite to ‘chosen people,’ that’s how most Warren County residents think of themselves.
Eclar: “….they want a job after they graduate from high school. One that pays them a decent salary with raises and a chance to become a supervisor, a couple of weeks of paid vacation, decent health insurance, and a respectable pension. Or, they want to be able to work in their own business; auto repair, plumbing, electrician. Or they want to farm; raise beef cattle or pigs, grow strawberries and sweet corn, keep the small dairy operation their great-grandfather started.”
a fella could win in a landslide on all that out here…if it could be credibly sold.
I am 100% certain that at least 90% of the voting public around here…and at least 70% of the rest(if it’s explained) want just that.
a life with dignity, and not too much hardship(just enough of the latter to “build character”, and such)…and a fair shake and a fair deal and some semblance of security…and of continuity…
but when you get into the nitty gritty of HOW to do all that…that’s when the cognitive dissonance kicks in.
because we had that, before…at least a lot of the grandparents of these people did(wife’s people…not so much…Bracero program, and so on)…but it was under FDR and LBJ and IKE!…and all those other damned commies that they’ve been taught to hate and fear over the last 40+ years.
“we” are 40 years behind on the indoctrination front.
Study after study has shown that once people earn enough to pay for their needs at a decent level and have some safety buffers, more money does not make them happier. In fact, high income inequality produces great positional precarity: slip a bit and you can no longer afford the tutors for your kids, your board seat at your pet charity, your ski vacations, or even your second home. These may seem silly but loss of standing translates into loss of (perceived) friends, not being able to network at the right level, not being able to send the kids to the right college, maybe even a divorce if the spouse is attached to a certain lifestyle.
These are big concerns among the professional managerial classes. They are so removed from survival needs and what it takes to have a good life that it’s not hard to see why many regular Americans view the Democrats with loathing for being fixated on these intra-caste pursuits.