The Idea That the Republicans Can Become “The Party of The Working Class” Is Beyond Absurd

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Readers, I apologize for the clickbait headline, because the ludicrous claim that the Republicans are the party of the working class is so easily disposed of. Where is Republican support for unions? Where is Republican support for a $25 minimum wage? Where is a Republican program for the precariat, especially gig workers? What about occupational health and safety, especially respirator and ventilation requirements for health care workers, and all others who must “meet the public”? How about a single payer health care system, so healthcare coverage is portable across employers? And on and on and on (of course, Democrats aren’t doing much here either, beyond making performative gestures of support to the cowed union leadership in election years, but that’s off point for this post.

So that wraps it up, right? Not exactly. First, the idea that the Republicans can become, or are becoming, or have already become the “party of the working class” has generated an enormous literature since Trump’s victory in 2016, if “literature” is the word I want, which I would at least like the gesture vaguely at. It’s also clear working class voters were abandoned (or, indeed, repelled) by Democrats, and that many gravitates to the Republicans. However, it turns out that there is very little serious thinking being done — at least within the national political class — about what “working class,” and class generally, might mean (the clarification of which is, in fact, my hidden agenda for writing this post). Finally, if we grant that Trump has brought about, or taken advantage of, a shift to the Republicans, can we offer a useful speculative account for this behavior by voters?

Here is my vague gesture toward the literature; I don’t think you, dear reader, being a Naked Capitalism reader, need to dig into them, because you most likely already know what they will say. But here are some headlines, organized by year:


The White Working Class and the 2016 Election (abstract only) Perspectives on Politics

Head of the Class The New Yorker

Trump: GOP will become ‘worker’s party’ under me Politico


The unhappiness of the US working class Brookings Institution

Does the White Working Class Really Vote Against Its Own Interests? Politico


Democrats beware: the Republicans will soon be the party of the working class Guardian

The Day the White Working Class Turned Republican New York Times


The GOP is rapidly becoming the blue-collar party. Here’s what that means. NBC

Top Republicans Work To Rebrand GOP As Party Of Working Class NPR

Republicans Unveil Policies to Match ‘Working-Class Party’ Claim Wall Street Journal


Why Democratic Appeals To The ‘Working Class’ Are Unlikely to Work FiveThirtyEight

Can the GOP Become the Party of the Working Class? The Free Press. The deck: “Marco Rubio is betting on it.”

Republicans want working-class voters — without actually supporting workers Guardian

Democrats Keep Handing Working-Class Voters to Republicans Jacobin

Working-Class Voters or Donor-Class Leadership? The GOP Must Choose Newsweek

Hispanic and minority voters are increasingly shifting to the Republican party NPR

How GOP Is Becoming the Party of the Working Class RealClearPolitics

Latino Voters, Once Solidly Democratic, Split Along Economic Lines Wall Street Journal

How Republicans will keep working-class voters Washington Examiner


What Does The Working Class Really Want? The Atlantic

How Working-Class White Voters Became the GOP’s Foundation The Atlantic

No, the GOP Has Not Become the Party of Workers Jacobin

I Was Wrong: The GOP Will Never Be the Party of the Working Class Newsweek

Biden Aims to Win Back White Working-Class Voters Through Their Wallets New York Times

Can the party of Trump really become a multiracial coalition? Vox

Can the GOP Become a Real Working-Class Party? Wall Street Journal

4 major flaws in calling Republicans the ‘working class’ party WaPo

We now turn to the transition by some “working class” voters from the Democrat Party to the Republican Party. It’s clear from the above reading list that by “The Party of The Working Class” is meant “The Party of The Working Class Voters,” which has the pleasant effect of relieving the Republican Party of delivering any universal concrete material benefits to them, or granting them any agency. This being an oligarchy where the ruling class rules through a governing class (“the investment theory of party competition“) of elected, appointed, and otherwise affiliated officials (“our democracy”) one would expect no less.

It’s clear enough that Democrats abandoned the working class base founded on the success of the New Deal, and transitioned to a narrower base in the Professional Managerial Class (PMC, which we will see The Bearded One having trouble with below). Thomas Frank’s hilarious and coruscating Listen, Liberal is, of course, the canonical text on the one-hopes-final degradation of this process under the Clintons, but Frank was instantly banished from polite society after publishing it, so I’ll have to go with Frank’s mini-me, Ruy Teixiera (he of “coalition of the ascendant” fame, but “Honey, I’ve changed!”). From Ruy Teixeira in 2024, “How the Democrats Lost the Working Class” (transcript):

But Democrats historically had this anchor to working class voters, they were sort of the tribune of these voters, the party of the common man and woman. And that really gets lost in the late 20th century, with the way that industrialization was affecting different areas of the country, you had the Democrats’ embrace of NAFTA, then China’s accession to the WTO, and the big China shock in the early 2000s—these are things that voters reacted very negatively to; that Democrats weren’t on their side and basically didn’t care about them. That didn’t mean that they therefore understood what the Republicans’ economic policies were, and all this stuff, but they definitely felt the Democrats were no longer their party. So this is what happens when a party becomes identified with policies and outcomes that are different from what the voters who historically supported them expected. And they sort of move in the direction of the Republicans.

And Teixiera in 2022, “Democrats’ Long Goodbye to the Working Class“:

America’s historical party of the working class keeps losing working-class support. And not just among white voters. Not only has the emerging Democratic majority I once predicted failed to materialize, but many of the nonwhite voters who were supposed to deliver it are instead voting for Republicans….

From 2012 to 2020, the Democrats not only saw their support among white working-class voters—those without college degrees—crater, they also saw their advantage among nonwhite working-class voters fall by 18 points. And between 2016 and 2020 alone, the Democratic advantage among Hispanic voters declined by 16 points, overwhelmingly driven by the defection of working-class voters. In contrast, Democrats’ advantage among white college-educated voters improved by 16 points from 2012 to 2020, an edge that delivered Joe Biden the White House

Just as a pre-emptive strike:

A rigorous accounting of vote shifts toward Trump, however, shows that they were concentrated among white voters—particularly those without college degrees—with moderate views on race and immigration, and not among white voters with high levels of racial resentment. The political scientists Justin Grimmer and William Marble concluded that racial resentment simply could not explain the shifts that occurred in the 2016 election. In fact, Trump netted fewer votes from white voters with high levels of racial resentment than Mitt Romney did in 2012.

(Teixiera wrote in 2022, a midterms year when the Supreme Court — not looking quite so closely at the electoral calendar as a branch of the Republican Party might have been expected to do — overturned Roe v. Wade, allowing Democrats to exceed expectations. However, the overall trend away from Democrats by working class voters is clear. It is true that Democrats are making the usual performative gestures on abortion in 2024, but I think it’s pardonable to classify 2022 as a “dead cat bounce.” What, after all, have Democrats actually done? Let’s wait and see!)

And from the Desert News, “Perspective: When did the Democratic Party become the party of the upper class?”:

[A] new poll conducted by HarrisX for Deseret News shows exactly how much the Democratic Party has changed: Once proudly the representative of the working man and woman, Democrats are now, by a notable margin, the party of choice of the upper class.

In the poll, respondents were asked to identify as one of seven categories: lower class, working poor, working class, lower middle class, middle class, upper middle class or upper class. A majority (39%) made their choice based on income rather than their job (10%) or education (7%), categories which are commonly used by researchers when defining the working class.

(One bucket for the “working class,” and three separate buckets for “the middle class,” which, by exclusion, must be the PMC. Wowsers.) And:

Some findings that stand out:

Many in the upper class seem tone-deaf about how the rest of the country is faring. Large majorities of the middle class and below, for example, say that the working class is being left behind when it comes to economic development, while 80% of the upper class say that everyone is benefiting equally. That finding, in particular, screams “elite.” Similarly, 62% of the upper class thinks the working class “is in a good position.” Only 30% of the working class agree.

And as for Biden:

Perhaps most significantly, 74% of upper class respondents want Biden to run again, in stark contrast to large shares of the middle class and lower who don’t want to see Biden run. Sixty-seven percent of the working class and 68% of the lower class don’t want Biden to be their president again. That is significant, and as the Democratic establishment prepares to again present Joe Biden as the solution to America’s problems, it does so at considerable risk.

If Democrats leave power lying in the street, Republicans will pick it up, however clumsily. Teixeira once more, “The GOP’s working-class tilt is causing havoc in its ranks“:

However, blaming the GOP’s bad situation on Trump overlooks the ways in which he is not just a cause but a symptom of the party’s fundamental problem: its tilt toward the working class.

Since the breakup of the Democrats’ New Deal coalition about half a century ago, the GOP has become steadily more working class and therefore more dependent on appealing to that base. Initially Republicans were able to take advantage of the breakup of postwar Democratic voting blocs by promulgating an anti-welfare, anti-tax agenda that, along with an aggressive cultural conservatism, appealed to many working-class voters.

But this was not a sustainable strategy. Working-class voters, as many of their communities continued to deteriorate, lost faith that lower taxes and less government were really the solution to their problems — however much those principles might appeal to business supporters of the GOP. It was Trump’s genius to break with orthodox Republican economics, particularly on trade, entitlements, deficits and corporate priorities. In other words, he leaned into the working-class tilt of the GOP instead of simply exploiting it when it overlapped with standard GOP priorities.

As a result, Trump has deepened Republicans’ working-class base, first by bringing in even more White working-class voters, particularly in the Midwest, and then by adding non-White working-class voters, especially Hispanics. But that deeper working-class base presents challenges that the GOP appears ill-prepared to handle.

But what is this “working class” of which you speak? (Obviously, Teixeira’s formulation of “the party of the common man and woman” is vacuous and completely unusable. I’ve helpfully underlined the usages, most of them sloppy and vague. You can be sure that none of the articles that use the phrase “working class” actually define it, although the HarrisX poll makes an effort.)

What would a definition of class look like? As I wrote in 2017:

When I think of the concept class, I think of a set, and a set membership function to determine who or what is a member of that set.

(This idea is reinforced in this discussion of Griffin, where the issue is how to “ascertain” that a given individual is a member of the set of “insurrectionists.”) Here is the conventional approach, from Demos: “Understanding the Working Class.” In fact, there are three potentional set membership functions:

Social scientists use 3 common methods to define class—by occupation, income, or education—and there is really no consensus about the “right” way to do it.

Oh. One would think that developing a clear definition of “working class” would be top-of-mind for a putatively left-wing think tank, but perhaps that’s just me. More:

Michael Zweig, a leading scholar in working-class studies, defines the working class as “people who, when they go to work or when they act as citizens, have comparatively little power or authority. They are the people who do their jobs under more or less close supervision, who have little control over the pace or the content of their work, who aren’t the boss of anyone.”

Using occupational data as the defining criteria, Zweig estimated that the working class makes up just over 60 percent of the labor force. The second way of defining class is by income, which has the benefit of being available in both political and economic data sets. Yet defining the working class by income raises complications because of the wide variation in the cost of living in the United States. An annual income of $45,000 results in a very different standard of living in New York City than it does in Omaha, Nebraska. Incomes are also volatile, subject to changes in employment status or the number of hours worked in the household, making it easy for the same household to move in and out of standard income bands in any given year.

The third way to define class is by educational attainment, which is the definition used in this paper. Education level has the benefit of being consistently collected in both economic and political data sets, but, more importantly, education level is strongly associated with job quality. The reality is that the economic outcomes of individuals who hold bachelor’s degrees and those who don’t have diverged considerably since the late 1970s.

I have helpfully underlined the various weasel words (“more or less”), weird methodological assumptions (“standard income bands”) and vague terms (“job quality”). As Nate Silver remarks:

[T]he definition of “working class” and similar terms is fuzzy

So, I think it’s fair to say that all the “literature” I collected above can be tossed out, since there’s no “consensus” on the “common methods to define class” in social science, and the conventional wisdom is “fuzzy.” Could there be an alternative? One that is rooted in actually existing and ascertainable power relations, instead of being fitted to “data sets”? I think there is.

Enter the Old Mole in the cellerage, the Bearded One. Capital, Volume III, p. 652 (PDF):

The first question to be answered is this: What constitutes a class? – and the reply to this follows naturally from the reply to another question, namely: What makes wage-labourers, capitalists and landlords constitute the three great social classes?

At first glance – the identity of revenues and sources of revenue. There are three great social groups whose members, the individuals forming them, live on wages, profit and ground-rent respectively, on the realisation of their labour-power, their capital, and their landed property.

However, from this standpoint, physicians and officials, e.g., would also constitute two classes, for they belong to two distinct social groups, the members of each of these groups receiving their revenue from one and the same source. The same would also be true of the infinite fragmentation of interest and rank into which the division of social labour splits labourers as well as capitalists and landlords — the latter, e.g., into owners of vineyards, farm owners, owners of forests, mineowners and owners of fisheries.

[Here the manuscript breaks off.]

(“Here the manuscript breaks off” [pounds head on desk]). This holds up pretty well, IMNSHO. We have the set membership function (“the identity of revenues and sources of revenue,” or, in the vulgate, “follow the money”). The Bearded One would be the first to admit that his schema, developed in the UK in the 19th Century, might be usefully modified for the 21st. For example, we might distinguish between international, national, and regional (“local gentry”) subclasses of capitalists (“globalism”). We might also conceptualize the owners of intellectual property (Silicon Valley) as akin to landlords. And interestingly, Marx, hitherto so crisp, goes a bit mushy when he merely alludes to “physicians and officials,” what today we would call the PMC, without attempting to analyze this class? subclass? any further. Finally, the “infinite fragmentation of interest and rank into which the division of social labour splits labourers” might usefully be seen as foreshadowing the identity politics of today. We might also wish to think about new forms of wage labor derived from the “sharing economy.” Still, all in all, not too shabby for 1894! In all cases, the same set membership function would apply. So Marx is quite the analyst, and I’m going to put the above quote under a notional magnet on my notional refrigerator.

* * *

Now let’s do a little speculation. Suppose we agree with what seems to be so: That the Republicans are picking up working class votes across the board (“working class” as defined by Marx, not by “social scientists”, feh; not Hispanic voters who happen to be working class, but working class voters who happen to be Hispanic, and so on for the litany of the usual identities). Is there a common factor that unites them, besides their class membership? I think there is.

When I think about the state of the Union, I think about the systems I might need to enter to live (that is, to reproduce my labor power): The health care system, the financial system, the law enforcement system, the judicial system, the educational system, the welfare system, and so on. There is not one of these systems that I would enter without fear or anxiety, or that I would entrust family or friends to. They are one and all infested by administrative caltrops and rental extraction, such that the delivery of actual service to a citizen is the result of luck, as much as anything. They ruin the quality of life and, for that matter, death. And, as I point out here, these are, one and all, institutions controlled and managed by the Professional and Managerial Class. So one might urge that a major factor in Trump’s success is that for the first time, working class voters can give a “gigantic upraised middle finger” to the officious betrayer sitting on the other side of the desk, to their class enemies in the PMC[1]. Trump, in his person, incarnates this gesture, verbally, through his behavior, through the enemies he has made, and in every way. Do note, however, that there is no policy aspect to “giving the bird.” That is, I think, too much to ask.[2] So in that sense, and that sense only, the Republicans are the party of (and not by, or for) the working class.


[1] I am laying it on a bit thick, here. There are exceptional, as well as hegemonic, PMC. Nurses who treat their patients humanely, for example, being exceptional. But the tendency of all these systems is hegemonic, and they are as productive of fear and loathing as I have described.

[2] But if that’s what you want from the first Trump administration, it’s there: (1) Trumped nuked a second NAFTA, the TPP, on his first day in office; (2) the CARES Act actually reduced poverty (and Biden promptly took it away); and (3) Trump didn’t start any land wars, and so there were no casualities in the rural and heartland districts that disproportionately fill the ranks of the military. And even though the capitalists got a big tax cut, (4) Trump did away with the Obama mandate penalty, saving me, by a happy coincidence, $600 in taxes.


I looked at “Republicans” and “working class” in Google Trends:

I guess the moral is that the discussion embodied in this post takes place in a very small segment of the population!

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. flora

    “Beyond adsurd” as the Dem party would have it. (And also the current estab GOP party.) Except, GOP pres Teddy Roosevelt made a working class, then populist party, pre-New Deal working class voters’ claim on the US DC polity. His claim was the forerunner to the New Deal. Who knows how these things go.

    1. steppenwolf fetchit

      After TR left office, the mainstream Hannah(McKinley)-Taft Republicans quicky took the Party back over, re-took command of it, and put a stop to all that “pro-working class” and “progressive” nonsense.

    2. hk

      “Beyond absurd,” it might not be, but it’ll take a lot of transformative changes among both the “working class” and the Republican Party that it won’t be achievable for generations, if it does happen.

      The first problem is that the Republican Party is not really built to accommodate “working class” interests. It is, at its core, still a chamber of commerce party. It can attract some members of the working class for reasons independent of “working class,” like cultural mores, but it won’t by making substantive “economic” conditions to the working class. Non-mainstream interests (e.g. Trump) may be able to wrest operational control of the party for a while, but that’s possible only because they can somewhat credibly draw in supporters that the GOP cannot normally recruit for short term (and that will not be achieved by undermining the interests of the “chamber of commerce,” unless GOP really does implode.) Or, in other words, if the GOP is to become a real “working class party,” it will have to be thoroughly blown up from within, with not just incumbent leadership but also the incumbent core interest groups thrown out. If that can and does happen, it will be something totally different.

      The second, who are the political expressions of the working class who can actually cut deals and deliver the votes? Historically, those were the unions. A lot of unions are much weaker than they were, and those that have remained fairly strong or have gotten better organized in recent years (e.g. service workers) remain politically tied to the Democrats. While there is a lot of inertia, it’s not simply that: they have some voice in the Democratic Party, although they are forced to “behave” themselves to fit in with other interests in the Democratic Party. They can’t credibly threaten to ditch the Dems and take their supporters elsewhere, especially if that “elsewhere” is made of their class enemies (e.g. “chamber of commerce”) who can’t be expected to cut a believable deal with them. Again, maybe there will be some powerful and incredibly credible “outsider” who can broker a deal like that (TR came close, maybe…?), but I won’t count on that.

      What is more likely (but not particularly likely) is that the existing party organizations collapse and realign over a decade or two, like what took place in 1840s-50’s. That will not be easy: it will take a lot of savvy political operators who can genuinely cut deals among each other to deliver the votes and actually pull it off–and clever brokers who can get disparate operators in the same room and get them to work out grand bargains. We don’t really have either any more. Instead, we have teetering, but still serviceable institutional superstructure of the incumbent two party system that we don’t know how to adjust any more. Our legalistic fetish, i.e. existing rules are somehow durable and we can manipulate them to milk everything that we can regardless of the strain put on them, can only bend the existing institutions out of shape…but we are too busy dancing on the bridge to notice that it’s collapsing under our feet.

    3. Adam Eran

      Yep, best not to focus on the class of the ruler, then. FDR was a plutocrat’s plutocrat with the compassion added by his paralysis from polio. As for Teddy’s GOP, we’ve had Nixon turning Dixiecrats into Republicans since he was around, so perhaps not a fair comparison.

  2. John Steinbach

    Not sure Republicans/Democrats move the needle much for most of the working class. To the extent that partisan politics play a role in how people see the system, it is the Democrats that are blamed for the de-industrialization that has immiserated so much of the electorate. Immigration/record homelessness/record rental costs/sky high healthcare costs/student loan costs/continuing inflation/more endless warfare, partisan lawfare… are all driving the reasons why the electorate is sutging toward Trump. Meanwhile, the PMC remains clueless.

  3. Mark Gisleson

    Jerry Addy just died. Old time Iowa labor leader. I was surprised because I had assumed he was dead. Most all the Iowa labor leaders I knew back in the day drank themselves to death after failing to dump Jimmy Carter which was the only hope the old labor-friendly Democrats had of stopping Reagan. Ever since that election the Democrats have been moving right at the expense of labor. [Btw, personal opinion only but teachers and white collar government workers are NOT labor.]

    I honestly have never understood why organized labor didn’t just run its own slate of candidates everywhere. If the Democrats field a decent candidate, they could endorse them on their ballot line (in some states). And they could reward good Republicans (of which there are some) in much the same way.

    Trusting either party to advocate for working people is foolish. Both parties have proven incapable of keeping their promises and both parties have chased after Wall Street dollars. Both parties stink.

    1. flora

      A new and younger modern Dem. Tom Harkin in Iowa would have a heck of a time getting elected in Iowa today, maybe even especially having a hard time getting on the modern Dem ballot, imo.

      1. Mark Gisleson

        First political event I ever organized was for Tom Harkin. Three of us showed up: Tom, me and someone from the facility we were using.

        I don’t think that’s why he lost that year (first time he ran), but my event sure didn’t help.

        I do think a young Tom Harkin could get elected in Iowa, even today. I don’t think the actual octegenarian Tom Harkin could ever get elected from Iowa again. Went along to get along a few too many times…

    2. JonnyJames

      Both parties stink, but we are told that we must “choose” one. Both parties represent the interests of their donors: the oligarchy. Democracy? Yeah right.

    3. Michael

      Trusting either party to advocate for working people is foolish. Both parties have proven incapable of keeping their promises and both parties have chased after Wall Street dollars. Both parties stink.

      I honestly have never understood why organized labor didn’t just run its own slate of candidates everywhere.

      trusting union suits to act on behalf of the rank and file is uninformed, and equally foolish, i’m afraid.

    4. Feral Finster

      “I honestly have never understood why organized labor didn’t just run its own slate of candidates everywhere.”

      Because triangulation. Because both Team D And organized labor discovered The High Life and decided that they liked it and, besides, no need to mess with icky proles, many of whom are fat and have poor taste.

  4. JBird4049

    When I think about the state of the Union, I think about the systems I might need to enter to live (that is, to reproduce my labor power): The health care system, the financial system, the law enforcement system, the judicial system, the educational system, the welfare system, and so on. There is not one of these systems that I would enter without fear or anxiety, or that I would entrust family or friends to. They are one and all infested by administrative caltrops and rental extraction, such that the delivery of actual service to a citizen is the result of luck, as much as anything. They ruin the quality of life and, for that matter, death.

    This is one of the most cogent of explanations for why so many Americans are scared and angry that I have read. Thank you.

    I would add that always being thought of and treated as greedy, thieving children, and having to prove your innocence and worthiness for help, by the entire system is soul crushing.

    Also Trump leaning into the working class makes him more likely to die unexpectedly and tragically. Giving aid to the bottom sixty percent gives them hope for change and perhaps the power to get it. It has nothing to do with ideology, but power and resources, which Trump might give some out to get elected and increase his personal power. Some very powerful and selfish people do not want this.

    See JFK, RFK, MLK, and Malcom X. They all died after they were aligning themselves with the many needy, gaining power against entrenched elites. Four different people who ultimately wanted something better for everyone, not just the wealthy and powerful.

  5. watermelonpunch

    It’s about emotional buzzwords and orientation.
    Republicans promise various results – realistic or not, or whether they’re palatable to me or not is beside the point.
    Democrats promise “bringing jobs” – which basically sounds like an offering of drudgery. They “PRIORITIZE JOBS” in call caps my Senator Bob Casey tweeted out on January 23rd. He says “good-paying jobs” (in lowercase) and maybe he means that. But what does it mean? we’ve been promised that in Northeastern Pennsylvania for years. I printed my blog post out and sent him that last week:
    The Republicans “get” the other axis here rather than just left or right.
    When I see a politician promising jobs what I hear on an emotional level is that they’re promising business owners a pound of flesh to abuse and exploit.
    And maybe that’s exactly the message Bob Casey is attempting to send to small business tyrants and the managerial class and that tweet was never really meant for me anyway. Or maybe he’s just out of touch and listening to political consultants who want that message sent. Either way it’s bad.
    I think mostly that’s why people respond poorly to that.
    But they don’t examine being manipulated or having emotions triggered because heaven forbid anyone admit they can have emotions triggered. (No one is immune to propaganda but nobody likes to admit that.)
    So they just see promises of jobs and think: “Fn bs liar thinks he’s better than us”
    And they see promises of the RESULTS of labor or business that the Republicans promise as amenable, even if it’s just a case that the Republicans are leaving out the part where people get exploited in crap jobs.

    I’m not saying Democrats merely have a “messaging problem” – let me be clear I’m saying Democrats have a PRIORITIES problem.

    1. Jams O'Donnell

      I don’t see the Democrats as having a priorities problem. Promises of non-existent well paid jobs is only a tactic. Their priority (as with the Republicans) is getting re-elected and getting their snouts back into the Big Pork Barrel. From an outside point of view, it seems to me that US politics is thoroughly corrupted, right down to the roots, by the obscene amount of money required to become a candidate, and the ability of very rich firms and/or people to further their own interests by supplying this money. I can’t see this changing except through a complete breakdown of the whole system/society. Luckily, this is on the way. Unluckily, there is no way of ensuring that the end result will be any improvement, but there’s a chance.

      1. Paul Art

        Yes, totally agree. No solution until and unless the system completely breaks down. Unfortunately when that does eventually happen, the Proud Boys and their ilk will be there to ‘take the flood on to fortune’ because essentially there is no organized Left in America.

  6. KD

    Historically, the pre-WWII Republican Party had a decent working class base focused on immigration restrictions and tariffs, which protected capitalist profits from reduced foreign competition, and which protected labor’s wages from reduced competition from immigrants. In fact, in its original, 19th century form, it incorporated the Free Soil movement, which opposed slavery primarily due to a fear that free slave labor reduced wages for free white workers. There was a class-based (as well as race-based) economic rationale for opposition to slavery, which was arguably more powerful than the moral case.

    The Democrats won the hearts and minds of labor through the New Deal, but that was shut down and replaced with ID politics in the late 60’s, so why would any working class voter care about the Democrats half a century later? The Democrats today have no interest in shifting the political economy in a way comparable to FDR, its all cultural issues and identity politics all the time.

    There is another distinction between capitalists, the capitalists who tend toward the Democrats are based around finance and IT monopolies whereas the Republicans tend to pick up extractionist industries and manufacturing. that is to say businesses that produce stuff. I suspect that the GOP business base skews to industrial capitalism and pro-industrial capitalist policies, and the Democrats are based in finance capital. If Michael Hudson is correct about the relationships between finance capitalism, industrial capitalism, and socialism, then the capitalist base of the GOP is probably more favorable to the evolution of policies in favor of workers. They would certainly benefit from reduced labor costs as a result of universal health care, for example.

    Right now, the Republican Party is up for grabs, as Trump has shown. They can’t keep running on Ronald Reagan, he’s dead, given the demographics, Reagan would lose if he ran today. The old GOP has too narrow a base to win a national election, so outreach to the working class is the only way they can keep their power. On the other hand, the Democrats don’t appear to be in trouble, and they are incapable of changing even if they were in trouble.

  7. kj1313

    I don’t think you can give Trump any credit for not starting land wars when there was a laughably bad coup attempt in Venezuela and an attempt to confront Iran by assassinating Soleimani. Both sides of the aisle are bloodthirsty neocons who should have been put out to pasture in retirement years ago.

    1. JonnyJames

      True. Not to mention the illegal siege warfare against Venezuela and Cuba. 10s of thousands of people died and were forced to emigrate as a result. DT bombed Syria as well. Despite the cheap BS, he also continued sanctions on Russia, and ramped up sanctions on China and others. DT also one-upped the BO regime in bending over for Israel and supporting Israeli attacks on Iran, as well as moving the embassy to Jerusalem. They have named towns and streets after DT in Israel. DTs son-in-law is Jared Kushner.

      Despite all these facts, some still WANT to believe in Santa Claus, or the Orange Claus.

      The US has no functioning democracy – it is an oligarchy. The facts speak for themselves, yet millions refuse to see it, and get lost in the forest for the trees. There is no way to “vote” against the interests of the oligarchy.

      1. Starry Gordon

        Actually, I don’t think I know anyone except paid actors who profess belief in democracy. Maybe some people do who perceive it as an unrealized ideal.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > I don’t think you can give Trump any credit for not starting land wars when there was a laughably bad coup attempt in Venezuela and an attempt to confront Iran by assassinating Soleimani.

      Sure I can. “Land war” has a clear definition, and those two examples don’t conform to it. I don’t think Trump is any kind of a peacenik, but by not electing Clinton, we put wars in NATO and the Middle East off for a Presidential term, not a small win.

      1. Googoogajoob

        Especially in the case of the Soleimsni case, it’d be the Iranian’s restraint that didn’t cause a conflict to break out. One could even point out the lingering effects of Trump pulling out of the nuclear deal with Iran and how that’s impacting the Gaza conflict.

        The Venezuela coup also had the potential for a wider conflict but seemingly the USA has lost its touch on overthrowing countries in the modern era (and dont forget the attempted drone assassination of Maduro which was heavily suspected of having CIA involemment).

        So yeah, one the face of it Trump didnt start any land wars but not for a lack of trying. The most I can concede is that he does have the ability to recognize when a war is a stinker and isnt platying well to the public (granted, he let the Beautiful Generals twist his arm into not withdrawing from Afganistan). Otherwise, with the rhetoric from Repubs in general about China and TBD on the Gaza conflict I have a feeling Trump’s peacnik ways are not long for the worls.

      2. JonnyJames

        Sorry Lambert, but that sounds like pathetic excuses for a sham democracy and oligarchy. The lesser evil is still evil. MILLIONS of people died, were displaced etc. as a result of siege warfare. I guess the price was worth it eh?

        Why do so many highly informed and educated people still WANT to “believe” in US democracy. “La religion civile”

        No worries, DT will be POTUS again and peace will break out, and “merka will be

    3. Feral Finster

      Not to mention Trump attacked Syria twice on laughable pretexts and increased American involvement in Ukraine.

      Hardly the achievements of a peacemaker.

    4. Paul Art

      Another source of the problem apropos ‘put to pasture’ is the tenure system in Universities where Neocon lunatics once tenured work till the day they die like Donald Kagan who was still teaching at Yale. He was the mother lode that hatched the other lunatic neocons like Robert Kagan his son and the completely unhinged Vicky Newland who married into the family and wants to out-neocon the entire clan. If we did not have tenure then these demagogues could have been fired much earlier. The same thing applies to the Economics departments now peopled with Share Holder Value theory morons and Free Market Ayn Randers.

  8. steppenwolf fetchit

    The Republicans don’t have to beCOME the ” working class party”. They just have to preTEND to be the “working class party” well enough to retake power at all levels long enough to bury what is left of the New Deal and then maybe even implement and achieve the Koch-ALEC new Constitution.

    Lincoln once pointed out that you can’t fool all of the people all of the time. But maybe you don’t have to.
    Maybe you just have to fool enough of the people enough of the time for just long enough to get what you want and make it irreversible.

    And to paraphrase Hunter Thompson from a way different context: The Republicans are running amok in the vacuum of the Democrats’ hopeless bullshit.

    1. steppenwolf fetchit

      After memory surfacing, I think the word Thompson wrote was ” wild” rather than “amok”. I think the quote I paraphrased was . . . ” with Nixon on the loose, running wild in the power vacuum of Lyndon’s hopeless bullsh*t”.

  9. Rip Van Winkle

    George Washington was correct to warn again political parties, but he wasn’t running cable ‘news’ networks running fake wrestling 24/7/365.

  10. Vicky Cookies

    H.G Wells, in The Outline of History, specifically from the chapter on ‘The Science of Thwarting the Common Man’ (dealing with Rome c. 1st C. B.C), called to mind by your description, and my experience of both public bureaucracy and office, and the general topic:

    “There is no record of a single attempt to make the popular assembly a straightforward and workable public organ. Beneath the superficial appearances of public affairs struggled a mute giant of public opinion and public will[emphasis mine], which sometimes made a great political effort, a rush to vote or suchlike, or broke into actual violence. So long as there was no actual violence, the Senate and the financiers kept on on their own disastrous way. Only when they were badly frightened would governing cliques or parties desist from some nefarious policy and heed the common good.

    The real method of popular expression in Italy in those days was not the comitia tributa, but the strike and insurrection, the righteous and necessary methods of all cheated or suppressed peoples. We have seen in our own time, in various European states, a decline in the prestige of parliamentary government and a drift towards unconstitutional methods on the part of the masses through exactly the same cause, through the incurable disposition of politicians to gerrymander the electoral machine until the community is driven to explosion.

    For insurrectionary purposes a discontented population needs a leader, and the political history of the concluding century of Roman republicanism is a history of insurrectionary leaders and counter-revolutionary adventurers who try to utilize the public necessity and unhappiness for their own advancement[emphasis mine]”.

    Hope fellow readers found this worth quoting at length.

    Thank you, for this careful and serious, if still witty, examination of the subject, and especially for using Marx’s own words. For those who, like me, have a different copy of Vol. III, the quote appears in Chapter 52.

    1. JonnyJames

      Yes thanks, good quote. Hudson’s Collapse of Antiquity is also a good source on the subject.

  11. JonnyJames

    I don’t mean to be a pain but: The Citizens United case formalized unlimited political bribery, money is now legally equated with free speech. This fact alone negates any claims to a functioning democracy, even loosely defined. Yeah, we have Elections Inc. but do we have meaningful choice? Even before this case, Sheldon Wolin wrote Democracy Inc. (2007) and introduced his concept of “inverted totalitarianism”. Many others have written about the lack of democracy as well. Chris Hedges has done a good job of it recently. Even Jimmy Carter called the US an oligarchy.

    It’s time to accept the post-democratic society, and act accordingly. I think we should boycott Elections Inc. reject the MassMediaCartel narratives, and protest/picket the elections with a specific list of demands. I know that won’t happen, but I believe it would be a good start to emerge from the denial phase. Let’s admit it: The US has no functioning democracy.

    1. VietnamVet

      This is a case of going back for a future. FDR was elected in 1932 because the Great Depression was in its third year. Now the West is an oligarchy. Elections are bought and sold. To return to sovereign true democratic nations (not free trade institutions where ocean choke points are closing one by one) will require an equivalent upheaval. Unfortunately, that means WW3 escalating to a defeat. It isn’t clear if Joe Biden can get the troops out of Syria and Iraq safely. He may double down.

      Israel’s current government to solve its Palestinian problem needs a NATO war with Iran. Israel, US/UK, France, Russia and China have nuclear submarine ballistic missiles. The current conflicts are hugely more dangerous than 91 years ago when the New Deal was implemented. The western plutocracy is in complete denial of the danger. But government by and for the people is the only system that has worked and will keep the earth habitable.

  12. MartyH

    The Democrat DRUMBEAT for the $25 minimum wage? The Democrat LEAGERSHIP in more unionization the the trades … as opposed to applauding bottom-up activism?

    I am afraid your first paragraph is begging for either party to care about the people. The Democrats are not seriously in that game IMHO.

    1. Ben Joseph

      (of course, Democrats aren’t doing much here either, beyond making performative gestures of support to the cowed union leadership in election years, but that’s off point for this post.

      This can’t be ignored. In a two party system with both serving oligarchy, why would either choice be ‘more wrong’ if neither is ‘more right?’

  13. Lefty Godot

    Wouldn’t a simple definition of working class be anyone who must work for a living or face impoverishment in a relatively short timeframe, plus all those who are dependent on such persons (in order to themselves avoid poverty)? That might include people at a very low managerial level (supervisor, foreman, etc.) and the self-employed or very small business owners, but not most people more more elevated than that. So you may be working, but if you have a trust fund or stock portfolio that lets you take a year off to “find yourself” or “decide what’s next”, then it’s very unlikely that you’re working class. But the way health care is tied to employment in the US means more people are working class even if their paychecks look quite remunerative, because health care expenses can bankrupt you fast.

    Most of the issues that are highlighted as important in the media are not class issues but divisive clan feud banners centered around religion, sex, guns, race, etc. The Republicans have been playing the “Democrats are chablis-sipping atheistic elitists who look down on you” card for decades now. So their appeal is not based on economic class interests but on a cultural sense of aggrievement. And the Democrats turn all the mountainous class issues that occasionally get raised on the campaign trail into molehills of trivial achievement (or, sometimes, conspicuous inaction) once in office. So class issues appear and disappear briefly like a blip on the political radar.

    1. steppenwolf fetchit

      ” Wouldn’t a simple definition of working class be anyone who must work for a living or face impoverishment in a relatively short timeframe, plus all those who are dependent on such persons (in order to themselves avoid poverty)? ”

      And by that reality-based definition, “working class” also includes teachers and government workers.

      1. Keith Newman

        Definitely includes teachers and government workers.
        Personal story: I got a job as a teacher several decades ago in Montreal. I had only been on the job three weeks when all 100,000 public school teachers in Quebec went out on strike. As a very recent hire I wasn’t a union member yet (needed 4 weeks) and so wasn’t protected by the contract. My shop steward recommended I cross the picket line to save my job. Instead I joined my colleagues on the picket line. Several came over to thank me. One later told me that when the union executive recommended we defy government back to work legislation he thought of me putting my job on the line and voted “yes”. We had flying squads ensuring all picket lines were respected and that every workplace was shut. We had some of the most fiery speeches I have ever heard. To wit: after a hearing a couple of defeatist speeches a Home Ec teacher who worked in my school, a very diminutive woman whom I never underestimated again, stood up and said in a strong voice: “I’ve heard some defeatist talk here. But I remember 198x when the police were beating my husband in front of the school board building and I threw myself on top of him to protect him from the blows. I swore then I would never lie down in front of another government again!!” Two thousand people rose to their feet as one and cheered. And voted overwhelmingly to defy the government. So yes, teachers are working class.

        1. marym

          I agree that teachers (and librarians), and government workers (what we used to proudly call civil service workers) are working class.

          They and other segments of the working class – union workers and organizers, election workers and volunteers, immigrant workers, birthright citizens, Dreamers, jurors, girls and women of childbearing age, people who live in large cities – are explicit targets of Republican hostility.

      2. Lefty Godot

        Yes, many government jobs are definitely working class. My father grew up dirt poor and latched onto a job with the US Postal Service, since that was one of the employers that would deign to hire Italians, Irish, Jews, Armenians, Blacks, and other ethnicities that were considered somewhat suspect at the time (this was 100 years ago). That gave him some financial security for most of his working life (the overseas World War II stint was a three year interruption to that). Most government workers are not in the upper strata, and they’re the ones you rarely see on the news.

      3. Lambert Strether Post author

        > And by that reality-based definition, “working class” also includes teachers and government workers.

        Very much so, although as usual there would be a smallish-number of cases to look at carefully, like GS-15s in the United States, or people like Bernard in Yes, Minister. If the set membership function is correct, these numbers will be smallish, even fine-grained to the point of considering individuals (Bernard), and that’s OK, because we’re a examining real world phenomena, not spreadsheet cells.

        1. Paul Art

          Talking about Yes Minister, I wonder if there was ever any book written about this series having a strong brainwashing effect on the viewers to the effect that Government as personified in the series by the Civil Service is essentially evil. I also often think of similar parallels in Are you being Served. The constant interplay between Packing and Maintenance (Mr.Nash, Mr.Armand) and the workers in the Gents and Ladies department (Mrs.Slocombe, Captain Peacock) brings out very beautifully in many episodes the hatred the White collars have for the Unionized Packing and Maintenance staff.

          1. Mark Gisleson

            Responding to this subthread, insufficient income is not a determiner of labor.

            To clarify, Labor is NOT the Working Class. Labor uses its hands and is a subdivision of the working class. Labor can get out of hand (just barely once within my lifetime but still…) but the working class in general is not very supportive of labor.

            Only a theory because it’s impossible to get meaningful data, but my very strong suspicion is that Pete Buttigieg’s strong showing in Iowa in 2020 was due to teachers. That wasn’t very labor friendly but, imo, teachers are always a wild card. Being a teacher doesn’t make you sympathetic to workers, it just makes you a teacher. Ditto govt office workers who have never struck me as being in solidarity with snow plow drivers.

            If the odds of you being physically injured at work are nil, I don’t think of you as labor. Working class, sure, but if you’ve got all your fingers and toes and no interesting scars, you’re probably not labor, not in my book.

            We used to have guilds for a reason. Some working class professions would do better by guilds (workers imposing standards on employers!) than they can get from simply unionizing. Would our healthcare crisis be this bad if doctors and nurses had guilds negotiating with hospitals? Professional should set their own standards, not employers. Unions are for folks doing contracted labor.

            tom-ay-toe not to-mah-toe!

    2. JR

      This is brilliant: “Wouldn’t a simple definition of working class be anyone who must work for a living or face impoverishment in a relatively short timeframe…”

      So, one could look for politicians at every level of government who, for every decision, ask: what is best for those “who must work for a living or face impoverishment in a relatively short timeframe.” Oh how nice that would be. IOW, LeftyG’s definition suits the purpose.

      To me, the to-ing and fro-ing of the electorate, using LeftyG’s definition, between and PMC-Centrist Dems and Repubs represents that group’s efforts to find a champion or champions who can alleviate the suffering caused by the gale-force, asset-stripping headwinds of the modern predatory economy.

      One other note, and for people who want life to be better for themselves and others, I believe each of the “traditional values” listed below can be used to criticize the current status quo and to suggest improvements for the population that LeftyG describes. Thus, I would argue, these traditional values are absolutely part of what needs to be taken up to change things for the better.



      Community service





      Preserving tradition
      Personal honor
      Hard work

      1. Feral Finster

        Whether or not you call them “traditional”, in a world run by sociopaths, these values all are for chumps.

        Winners lie, cheat and steal. The problem is that, not only does such an ethos create little of value, not only does it destroy value, it is very hard to win when the other side can cheat with impunity.

        Therein lies the fundamental conundrum of power.

  14. Screwball

    There is now way to flush this punch bowl unless we figure out a way “none of the above” wins which normally happens if I remember right. And we probably couldn’t do it fast enough anyway. Look at the states, counties, townships, and cities; an assembly line of corruption, bribery, lack of morals and ethics. Swamp creature apprenticeship training.

    We ain’t votin’ our way out of this. All we can do is watch it unfold. I wonder if Vegas has odds on death numbers by starvation or war?

  15. TimD

    Marx keeps it nice and simple, it does not need to be complex. If you work for a salary or wage to make your living – you are working class. Teachers, engineers and laborers all fit in this group. A good test is asking yourself, “If I stopped working where would my income come from?” If you own a factory, or enough shares in a company – your income would come from profits or dividends. If you own land or property and rent it out – that makes one a landlord. If your income stops, except for saving and unemployment insurance – you are a worker. Sure, highly-educated people with lots of decision latitude over work, great pay and benefits have a great job; but their relationship to the economy is that of a worker. Marx’s Capital was a study of the capitalist system and the economic relations in that system it wasn’t about job engagement or social status.

    When the Democrats embraced Neoliberalism and focused on the PMC, they looked down on those grubby workers and instead wanted to cozy up to professionals. Bill Clinton, when asked about how unions and workers were going to react to one of his policies said something to the effect of, “well where are they going to go?” This question was answered in 2016 when they went to Trump. Let’s see how plan B – for Biden – works.

    1. LifelongLib

      I haven’t read enough of Marx to have a worthwhile opinion of him, but could it be over-simple to look at everyone’s politics in terms of their current economic status? If you once worked with someone who now owns his own business, has he become an economic alien? Or is he someone you hope to emulate? Or just someone you still wish well to? If you’re an adjunct professor, who are you going to talk to at a party? A tenured professor or a barrista? More likely the former, even if your lifestyle more closely resembles the latter’s (and if by some miracle those two are at the same party). Not sure how any of this translates into politics, just that it may not be as simple as we think.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > I haven’t read enough of Marx to have a worthwhile opinion of him, but could it be over-simple to look at everyone’s politics in terms of their current economic status?

        Totally. That’s economism, and it was a bad record. All I am saying is that if you want to talk about class, you need to start with clear concepts, not the mush I quoted.

        1. tricia

          The ruling class has worked hard to ensure everyone in the working class- ‘lower class’ & poor included -focus’s on anything but class.
          This includes a massive well-funded effort through education and the media (including news, movies, sports, advertising, publishing), largely determining if only generally (ie keeping w/in acceptable boundaries) what we learn, watch, read, consume, with the aim of keeping us ignorant, socially apart, relatively resigned & obedient, entertained enough to cope, and not questioning the inevitability of it all.
          OK to complain about this or that as long as they’re looked at separately and we’re only demanding a tweak here and there. Rant about the 1%- but feel cynical & helpless while doing so, that’s ok. Take sides for Ds or Rs & continue to get hopeful when anyone comes along saying something, anything that suggests they might be on our side- important to offer ‘saviors.’ Allow- even encourage- hatred of the most despicable corporate elite. Make fun of them. Both are necessary as pressure valves (the Bernies & the Shkrelis).
          But to read & understand the big picture & get out from under this massive propaganda/indoctrination & unite & organize in large enough numbers to really have a chance to overturn it…that’s a seemingly-at-times insurmountable struggle. I do appreciate your work here. It feels insurmountable today- sorry about the rant.

      2. TimD

        Marx wasn’t talking about social or economic status as much as he was talking about someone’s relation to production.A McDonald’s worker and an adjunct professor who rely on their work income to survive are both in the working class; even though they don’t have much in common socially.

        North American society has divided the working class many different ways and this has led people to think that they make too much money to be a worker, or they are too educated, or just different from them workers. Surely they are, but they are still members of the working class if they make their living from wages or a salary. I think Marx would say that these types of divisions are used by the capitalist class to aid their exploitation of workers.

  16. Willow

    Republicans have become the party of ‘spite’ which currently is a very broad ‘church’ as a result of elite/woke-ish policies. Spite is powerful and can drive revolutions, rebellions and civil wars. Trump a later day Oliver Cromwell? .

    1. Feral Finster

      “Trump a later day Oliver Cromwell?”

      More like a parody of a Cromwell. For one thing, Cromwell was nothing else if not supremely competent, at least at generalship and at organizing, motivating and managing the army.

      Cromwell never lost a battle, and The New Model Army smashed professional armies led by experienced and capable generals, even when outnumbered.

      In addition, Cromwell was both determined and ruthless. Trump is weak, stupid and easily manipulated. Contrast “lock her up!” (or maybe not….) with Cromwell’s driving role in the trial of Charles I (*Charles Stuart, that man of blood….”).

  17. David in Friday Harbor

    Defining the uniparty factions by their supposed appeal to the “working class” is based on a false premise. Class consciousness no longer exists in America. There are only Our Billionaire Overlords, their PMC Servants, and Everyone Else. Everyone Else are defined by being on the “outs” when it comes to just about everything, including health care, secure housing, nutritious foods, and access to justice. The only self-consciousness of any of these groups exists in the shallow narcissism and self-absorbtion of social media and consumerism.

    The “working class” abandoned the Democrats long ago. The Democrat leadership are still reeling from the trauma of the 1968 and 1972 elections, when substantial swaths of the then-working class raised their middle-fingers to the anti-war and civil rights movements and voted for Nixon. The “lesson” that the young Clintons took from those fiascoes was to abandon the New Deal — and to vow the destruction of the fickle working class who had voted for Nixon via relentless deindustrialization and the complex financialization of everything.

    The actual author of Nixon’s 1972 strategy, the late lapsed-Republican Kevin Phillips, predicted that the majority of voters could only raise their middle fingers to both parties, and that eventually elections would swing wildly between “throw the bastards out” sentiments. Thomas Frank understands what Phillips predicted; so does the Orange One.

    More importantly, voter-suppression is more significant to election results than voter-appeal. A third to half of the eligible voters don’t even show-up for presidential elections, another great big middle-finger to both factions of the uniparty.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Class consciousness no longer exists in America

      Class consciousness does not for the working class as a whole. I think emerged for the PMC around 2016, and I think it likely exists for capitalists and rentiers, too (though their numbers are so small its not a mass phenomenon).

      Anyhow, I said class exists and took a view of what it means. Did I say the working class was class-conscious? No. The gulf between those propositions neatly defines the failure of today’s left (or rather, its success, if you view their transmogrification into liberals as a success).

      1. Jams O'Donnell

        The biggest ‘success’ however, is the long campaign by US capital to a) destroy any effective unions, by brutal strike-breaking using organised thugs such as the Pinkerton organisation, and by comprehensive anti-union / workers organisation laws and really, anything else that came to hand, and b) to make the words ‘communist’, socialist’ etc mere terms of abuse in US society, aided by the propaganda of ‘individual freedom’, ‘pioneering frontier spirit’ etc. I come across this rubbish every day in comments sections (not this one, usually) where the Democratic Party – a entrenched liberal and capitalist party, is characterised as ‘communist’ or ‘leftist’ – if only! But such ignorance is both wide and deep, and the Education system, as one of the tools used to further this campaign, is of no use in combatting it.

      2. David in Friday Harbor

        I don’t see Our Billionaire Overlords as having class consciousness either. The kakistocracy is not an aristocracy.

        People such as Bezos, Gates, Musk, Rubin, Dimon, Rubenstein, the Drexel High-Yield Alumni, et al come from the former meddle class. They are selfish children who have not the slightest consciousness of how to act as a ruling class.

        Which is why the Military-Industrial Complex uniparty security consensus — formed by the Bush mafia’s obsession with controlling oil and gas and profiteering from arms via Military Keynesianism — is about to destroy America as a functioning society by self-immolating in World War Three.

  18. Tommy S

    Great info and clear thinking here.Gave me a head hurt, to think he went through all this work! I always note that when people talk about some ‘swings’ in elections, they almost never cite percentage of voting population to back it up. Trump election saw no real surge in percent of VAP. Neither did Nixon. and we still have barely an average of 55% turnout ever. As you all know, turnout drops drastically down the income level. People whose income relies on playing this partisan football game, are unable to say or realize, that the stadium is only half full at kick off. The other half don’t bother with either team. And many have a seething anger at both. WE are many, they are few. Sadly, ‘we’ are blind this fact….Lifelong indoctrination hasn’t helped our lack of clarity either.

  19. eg

    A couple of commenters have already noted that almost half of the electorate doesn’t even exercise their franchise. What are we to make of this behaviour? To what extent is this imposed upon them (by any number of means) by those who stand to gain by their non-participation? To what extent are they exercising a form of “exit” by themselves choosing their non-participation? Finally, however “working class” is defined (income, occupation, education), what proportion of non-voters fit this definition? My instincts tell me most, if not all, but that is speculation on my part.

    Perhaps related is Piketty’s “Brahmin Left vs Merchant Right” which explores the original parties of labour’s (US Democrats, UK Labour, various European Social Democratic Parties) abandonment of their erstwhile constituency among working people in favour of urban, educated elites between 1948 and 2020.

    The title of the paper reveals working class people increasingly have no natural political home in two party structures, being themselves neither Brahmins nor Merchants — they are structurally politically homeless and disenfranchised. Yet their numbers, no matter how they are defined (income, occupation or education), make them the single largest constituency. Their absence, both in terms of representation and participation, is a FEATURE for various Brahmin and Merchant interests, yet their size remains a tantalizing prospect for exploitation at the ballot box if they can be convinced to vote, yet by various schemes have their own interests excluded between elections.

    Presumably this arrangement is unstable, as perhaps implied in David Priestland’s “Merchant, Soldier, Sage” which posits ongoing struggles between three “active” classes which variously combine with one another to exclude the third, each with a wary eye on the labourers below them, either from fear of revolution or as a potential source of power for themselves (or their enemies) in their eternal wars against the other two (“Oceania and Eurasia have always been at war with EastAsia”).

    So “the working classes” are usually an object of politics rather than its subject. What is to be done?

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > however “working class” is defined (income, occupation, education)

      The post rules those social-science definitions out.

      I read that Piketty paper awhile back but I can’t say I retained much from it. I will say that I distrust binaries in general. One reason I find the Bearded One’s scheme aesthetically appealing is that it’s not a binary; it’s not just working class vs. capitalists because there are rentiers, too; and of course the mishegoss of PMCers floating about, and the engineered divisions in the working class. The scheme is more like a polyhedron than a line between two opposites. Of course, if your world-view is in-group vs. out-group, say, or tribe vs. enemy (see under Carl Schmitt) a polyhedral view may be hard to accept, especially if the dimension of time is included, as it ought to be (making the politics of it all not so simple and appealing, but Holy moley, working class people cope with enormous complexities all the time, and not just in navigating the institutional caltrops deployed by the PMC; both games and, if taken seriously, sports embody complexities on a non-linear, polyhedral* level. So why not politics?).

      NOTE * Obviously, I’m taken with “polyhedral” but nobody will know what it means. Perhaps that’s an advantage; a clean slate, connotation-free. Is there a similar concept in the gaming world?


      Leonardo Da Vinci

      Of course, the vertices and connections of a polyhedron almost certainly do not map one-to-one with the geometry of The Bearded One’s scheme, so this is not a rigorous definition…

      1. Steve H.

        As a moth to a flame am I drawn to intersections of Leonardo and Buckminister Fuller.

        I have a multi-faceted crystal, many faces all pointed to the center, symmetrical so each face has an opposite. If I move it, I focus on the outer surface, as the inner seems disjointed. But when I look directly at a face, the interior snaps into place, like lenses at an optometrist. I can see many opposite inner faces, but none of my neighbors, whose views are nearest my own.

        > One reason I find the Bearded One’s scheme aesthetically appealing is that it’s not a binary

        Pandit et al*:

        > in humans, the emergence of two or more classes is inevitable in any group in which individuals can profit from exploiting the resources produced or possessed by others, who are prevented from leaving the group.

        > The model predicts that the bottom class has a near flat, low payoff and always comprises at least half the society. The upper class may subdivide into one or more middle class(es), resulting in improved payoff for the topmost members (elite).

        It begins binary in the first case, but if the power difference is not extreme, elites encourage the development of multiple classes, divide et impera. Identity politics allow those divisions to proliferate to the point that an individual can be divided against themself, looking at the same center through many different facets.

        * I’m violating the social science exclusion on grounds of mathematical rigor. Most of the objections seem to be due to language-based fuzziness.

      2. eg

        Thank you for the thoughtful reply. I agree that the binary doesn’t map onto actually existing classes (however they are sliced) but it DOES map onto the political duopoly in America so jealously guarded by those who benefit from the arrangement. Whose interests are thus served? Not working people, that much is certain.

    2. Feral Finster

      “A couple of commenters have already noted that almost half of the electorate doesn’t even exercise their franchise. What are we to make of this behaviour?”

      The average frustrated American has little to gain by choosing Team R Tweedledee or Team D Tweedledum, other than which brand of idpol that American might prefer.

  20. badphoton

    I’m not sure why this post, after all these years of reading daily with no comment, has triggered me so. Maybe it was DfromFH’s comment.

    I’m not sure the class analysis that many Americans learned in an institution of higher learning, either Marxian or vanilla Murican social studies, is of much use in talking about politics in the US. Clearly something is pretty different about us from the rest of the ‘first world’. And I think the idea that there is no class consciousness is almost right but not quite. Americans are very conscious of their class. Or their ‘place’. Until recently it was the common (mis)perception of the vast majority of Americans that they were ‘middle class’. Whatever that meant to them. Maybe the root of some of the discontent today is that more people are figuring out that, even in their own eyes, they aren’t any more. But it’s something they are at least increasingly unsure of. People’s views of themselves has a lot more to do with their perception of how they fit into the racial and social structure than which political party they might vote for.

    And I think the whole ‘lower upper middle class’ or even PMC, etc are just kind of ideological dodges. People sort of think that way but not as if it was anything important or would guide their voting. You could say that going into massive debt for a post high school degree is fighting to join the ranks of the PMC or the upper middle class, etc. But I don’t think people think that way in the sense that people have worked hard to essentially then get their kids into another class. Just a better off version of the class they themselves are in. Kind of fatalistic in a class consciousness sort of way. Not exactly fighting words.

    I hate to buy totally into the settler/colonial trend but I think it’s important to look at America that way. (We’re a third world country with a few first world enclaves.) And to consider its effect on politics and the possibility of class consciousness. Unlike most of the developed world we were a colony. But unlike other colonies we broke away early and the settlers have been a majority from a pretty early stage because of early extermination of the hoped for slave labor pool. First via a devastating series of epidemics that then morphed into wars of extermination as Europeans struggled to divide up the other basic reason to colonize; land and resources.

    Indentured servitude was an early attempt at alleviating the shortage of cheap labor but indentured servants had at least contractual rights. Not optimal for a landowning settler class that had hoped for slave labor. So, they imported slaves. Lots of slaves. Especially in the plantation economies that reigned everywhere in the Americas south of the northern tier of US states. And obviously later in the growing industrial areas of the northeastern US as waves of poor European immigrants were actively encouraged. Until they weren’t. But those people were different. They got wages. And had to be convinced of things rather than just ordered around. (Nascent rights) And you had to keep those two groups from getting the idea in their head that they were more alike than different, at least in their economic enemies. So. What to do? What to do? Aha. The whole white/non-white thing.

    Who follows a US political party fits much more into those divides than their classification by class, by income’ or relationship to the means of production. But the public ‘platforms’ of those parties have been only occasionally politically meaningful for them.

    I would argue that the Democratic party was probably never the working man’s friend either. Certainly there were those like FDR who were personally committed to helping those less well off that they felt an affinity with. And they seem to mostly have come to that from personal conviction and experience rather than because the Democratic Party selected or trained them that way. Remember that southern Democrats were a large part of the party. Also recall how it was the Democrats who were very keen to make sure FDR would be succeeded by a tool of a machine politician, Harry Truman, rather than the actually progressive Henry Wallace. A man who was arguably a huge part of what made the New Deal effectively a new deal.

    And race was always important. Why did Social Security originally exempt farm laborers and domestic servants? Were they not ‘working man’ enough for their elder poverty to matter?

    I think party membership has always been sort of identitarian. Inherited from your parents. Northeastern Democrats might have come to the party by way of unions and ethnic political machines (funny how Italian was ethnic and black was not), but southern Democrats just inherited it because it wasn’t the party of Lincoln. Most people I grew up with never thought much about WHY you might or might not be a Democrat or a Republican. It was more what you identified with than what you believed. It was your hometown team. Have to show up and support the team. And ‘those people’ would never be part of your team. For any personal definition of ‘those’.

    I grew up in the Midwest. Not exclusively in areas that were Democrat. (This was some time before the Reagan revolution but we won’t talk about how long before.) I don’t remember the sainted FDR even being meaningfully mentioned in my public school social studies or history classes. And the Depression, while still vivid in our parents/grandparents memory and conversation, got only passing mention. Wars, great men who directed wars (except for FDR) and that whole War Between the States thing, with little more than passing mention of slavery. And Jimmy Hoffa was a lot more familiar to people when they thought about unions than any of the others who should have been remembered.

    In my father’s generation the Democratic Party was unions. Not working people in general. And what little feeling that the party did anything for the ‘little people’ was wholly tied to Social Security and later Medicare. And there was a general approval of the idea that Social Security had not been meant for ‘those people’. The sort of unanalyzed undeserving. But of course, we all knew who they meant. Or assumed we did. And as the movement of Hispanic laborers and their families spread beyond the immediate southwest, there was some definite schizophrenia over how to fit them into this world view. (For instance, resulting, possibly, in why there is so often a distinction between ‘white Hispanics’ and other Hispanics.

    But for whites, the impending loss of their majority status, not historically the normal state to most settler colonists, is unsettling for the average white American’s image of their place in society. I also think affirmative action and the now long familiarity with ‘those people’ being in jobs, educational status, and often relative wealth that starts to blur exactly where the line of ‘those’ stands. The phrase ‘I’m free, white and 21” to emphasize the idea that you felt you had some status/rights/freedom of thought and action and were deserving of consideration in society was widely used in my youth. I used it even in front of my black friends (yes, I’m one of those other ‘colors’), and rather than being offended generally they seemed to agree it actually meant something real. Might have had something to do with how I actually used it though.

    Anyway, I’m wavering badly in getting across what I think is my point. I don’t think class means much in any realistic political sense in the US. If Americans are fundamentally conscious of anything it’s race or how they think they would be treated by a police officer. Just the existence of our party system has made it clear to almost everyone now that Carlin was right. It’s a club and they aren’t in it. And you aren’t allowed to form your own political club. The label on the club isn’t that important. And it doesn’t have much effect on their lives in any way that they can control by voting.

    What is important is us vs them. And I think tribalism is a poor description of what is going on. Americans want to be in the ‘us’. They want to be on the winning team. Not because they see that team representing them in any specific way. They just want to be on the ‘us’ team. The ‘us’ team is more protected than the ‘them’ team. It might or might not mean much realistically but Americans believe it’s important. Most of them are willing to switch to whatever banner they feel most safe under.

    And right now most Americans don’t trust the Democrats. Not because they are Democrats so much, just that they are politicians and Americans can see what they thought they might stand for being let slip away. And that’s not something they can affect. Non-wealthy Americans don’t trust either party. Throw in the long process of draining the financial and social status of local elites into the pockets of national or international corporate elites and even they are willing to jump to another ship in a storm.

    So you are unhappy with both parties. What to do? Do what Americans have been trained from birth to do. Follow a winner. And who confidently assures them he’s the biggest winner of all time. What other choices do they have? At least for voting. Does that make them Republicans in any meaningful way? I don’t think so. Historically I think the only thing that motivates most party shifts is just the feeling the party you were voting for shafted you somehow. Or are becoming the party of ‘them’. Not that you actually believe in, in any meaningful way, the other party.

    The Democrats, riding on the coattails of FDR, could count on a lot of ‘regular’ Americans. The Republicans mostly drew those a little better off. But today it’s not clear at all what effect voting for either A or B has on whether you are going to be an ‘us’. So you can bounce back and forth depending on whatever seems important from the last attack ad you saw. Americans vote against who they feel has most recently wronged them.

    Or they can just stop voting. And maybe buy guns. Because there is nobody on THEIR side. Whoever ‘they’ are.

    For any that made it to the end. Thanks for you time.

    OK. Back to lurking.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > I don’t think class means much in any realistic political sense in the US.

      Yes. That is the problem, and it’s a catastrophic failure by the left. “…[T]he point is to change it,” as the saying goes. Sadly, and frighteningly, all the revolutionary energy is on the side of reaction (I had thought “Compact Theory” went out with the Nullification Crisis of the 1830s and died with John C. Calhoun, but the past is not dead). Good essay, though! Lots to think about.

      Adding: “I don’t think oxygen means much in any realistic scientific sense in France. Everybody knows combustion is caused by phlogiston.”

      1. badphoton

        I’m sure no one is likely to see this but I’m going to take a little exception to your comment by asking you “What left? Who is this left you speak of?”

        A more ‘awake’ (not woke) Republican I know, of substantial age and hard earned wisdom, often comments that liberals/Democrats/lefties/communists/etc are just “dirty hippies with a grievance”. And I kind of feel like he is right. Where is the effective political left?

        Why was Bernie Sanders, a very flawed candidate in many ways, so popular with even rank and file members of the Democratic party? An increasingly vanishing breed. People who believe that party can actually make a difference still. I think it’s because he at least got part of the equation right. Here is the problem. Billionaires and their corporations. That resonates with a substantial number of Americans. When I was young many people I knew would actually defend the corporation they worked for. Many of my mother’s siblings worked in the auto industry in the Gary, Indiana area. You had better not say a bad word about whichever auto maker they built cars for. They were proud of their product and the organization that made it possible. Who do you hear that from today? There was a brief period when the tech industry could garner such support but not today.

        But what ‘the left’, whatever that is, completely lacks is a plausible case for “What are you going to do about it.” Where is “a chicken in every pot and two cars in every garage”? Where is the roadmap to a better life, a better community, than you have now? How do they intend to do any of the things we need. Green New Deal? Sounds a little green but not much New Deal in that sandwich.

        People aren’t stupid. And they’ve heard all of the dodges and marketing tricks before. Stopping a pipeline might be great but as long as I have to have a car to get to work what happens to gas prices. Some billionaire essentially owns my state, how does your plan fix that?

        And stop saying “This is how we’re going to pay for it.” As long as money just keeps appearing out of thin air for stuff to blow up people in another country why can’t that money just appear to make sure the situation you make me live in is actually something I can manage on the wages I get.

        Where is “the left” that says we intend to not only break up corporations but essentially make them illegal. If a person owns something we should be able to look up their name and make their life miserable until they learn to behave better? Where is the party who says they believe your Constitutional rights don’t end at the workplace door and here is how we are going to make that happen?

        Where is the left that both points to the enemy and tells you exactly, in plausible terms, what they will do to defeat them.

        “Never before in all our history have these forces been so united against one candidate as they stand today. They are unanimous in their hate for me—and I welcome their hatred.”

        What candidate does that most sound like today?

        1. Mark Gisleson

          The Left exists in America. We are battered and broken, down and out but not defeated. We simply have been ignored even when our numbers were great (MILLIONS marched against the Iraq War and yet were not seen).

          We’re here, we just lack a platform/tv network/uncensored social media. Give us a reasonably fair shot at electing our candidates and we might even try voting again. Not a new thing. When I was at peak Democrat, the people who seemed to understand the world best were the party drop outs I’d meet at parties. They’d tried and failed and had shifted their focus to their local community.

          By the time Bernie ran I’d given up. It does not flatter Bernie to say that he was the best candidate I’d seen in decades but it was enough that he got domestic politics right, however flawed he was on foreign policy. He got a lot of Lefties to perk up and knock on doors again but then the party slammed the door in our face. Again. The lawfare against Trump pales in comparison with the way the Carter/Clinton neoliberals bricked up all the entrances to the Democrat party. No stinking grassroots allowed!

          There is still a Left in this country whether it’s visible or not. To paraphrase from ‘The Old Man and the Sea,’ “The Left is not made for defeat. The Left can be destroyed but not defeated.” I wrecked my life more than once on behalf of leftist causes but I have never waved a white flag and have left instructions that I be cremated with my boots still on.

          1. badphoton

            I took my major lumps during the late 70’s. The final blow was getting a lesson in the ultimate power of monied elites while working on a US Senate election in 1980, I came to the conclusion that the Democratic Party was irredeemable. Occasionally over the years a Democratic candidate has gotten my hopes up a bit. Enough to bring me back out of my hiding place briefly. But only briefly. It never took long to get my hopes dashed if I talked to any of the people really involved.

            Bernie was against my better judgment. It felt hard to see how a leopard could change its spots after so many years of playing by the rules he was given in order to hang on the edge of the Democratic party. And in the end, he couldn’t. But he sure had half the message right.

            I’ve met a lot of ‘fellow travelers’ along the way. But mostly they just work on niche issues within groups with very limited scope. And even those suffer constantly from the American misleadership syndrome. And very few have real hope any more.

            But if Bernie and Trump have proven anything it’s that internet enabled social media has altered the game. At least complicated it. And elites are always slow to catch up. But there is still no message to push. No new tactics that the political consultant class has not already devised responses against.

            If you organize you become visible. If you successfully organize, your life will never be the same again.

            The only successful long term strategy is to be a minor irritant to one of the parties until they scratch your little itch. Grievance -> reaction. We’re all just little reactionaries now.

            And in the end it has just made Americans hate and mistrust each other. Constantly bickering at each other over things the current system will never solve.

            Strangely I have confidence that Americans can see the problem. And I actually think Americans would be surprised to find that quite a majority might agree on the solutions. But we spend our time arguing over which color socks will be acceptable at work while the house burns down around us and we know the fire department isn’t coming.

            I’ll go up in the flames, too. But I think at this point, it will be in my house slippers.

            1. Mark Gisleson

              This is one of those very rare occasions when I’d like to give someone a fist bump.

              Didn’t meant to imply I’d necessarily be wearing my boots when I died, just that I want them on when I’m cremated. If there is some kind of life after death I’m pretty sure I’m going to need my boots.

    2. Brian Beijer

      Americans vote against who they feel has most recently wronged them.
      Or they can just stop voting. Because there is nobody on THEIR side.

      I would say that this accurately describes the “democratic” situation in all Western countries, not just the US. Here in Sweden, the Social Democrats abandoned the working class decades ago. The Left party trashed all their copies of Das Kapital and took up the DEI agenda instead. No party here speaks for the working class except for the communist party, and they have been so thoroughly denigrated that no one would support them for fear of being called a Ruskie traitor. That’s why Sahra Wagenknechts new party in Germany gives me a little hope. But I’m afraid it will be 100 years until Sweden has our own Sahra Wagenknecht… or at least until the US no longer has the power to assassinate our Wagenknecht…

    3. Keith Newman

      @badphoton, 3:31 am
      Interesting and thought-provoking piece. I hope you’ll make further contributions in the future.
      And I did read your piece to the end.

    4. David in Friday Harbor

      Thank you, badphoton. So gratified that I successfully provoked such a thoughtful comment. Especially the part about respect coming from the barrel of a gun. With no discernible aristocracy to overthrow, this is already resulting in a circular firing-squad, from coast to coast.

    5. Robert

      I enjoyed reading your contribution. Thanks for taking the time to post your thoughts. Hope you share with us again.

  21. Colonel Smithers

    Thank you, Lambert.

    I note the link to the Grauniad, centrist log rollers for the Dixiecrats and Starmer.

    Last week, I attended an event organised by the Labour in the City Network for representatives of foreign banks operating in the City to meet the Labour Treasury team. The idea that Starmer’s New New Labour can become the party of ordinary Britons seems equally laughable.

    I will send Yves and you a read-out, but can summarise a bit now:

    “Every day, every month and every year of a Labour government, Labour will maintain its credibility with the markets and relationship with the City”.

    Other than an implied, but not explicit, mention of an increase in funding for and decentralisation of oversight for nurseries and apprenticeships, there was no commitment to increase public spending. Labour’s definition of an active state is political and financial stability, joined up measures (“making sure all the policy levers pull in the same direction”, incentivising private capital (at national and local levels) and partnering with private firms (at national and local levels). This includes having private sector, implied to be investor, professionals being seconded to central and local governments and making the regulatory system “competitive”.

    The Labourites were largely young, well turned out and middle class. Nothing to suggest people struggling.

    1. Jams O'Donnell

      The so-called ‘Labour’ Party began life as a project of the Fabian Society – a group wedded to a very slow form of ‘gradual’ reform of the state. Its high spot was just after WWII, driven by a tide of leftist sentiment from ex-servicemen. It has been under a process of constant undermining of any even slightly socialist elements ever since. The Labour Party under Starmer has now been completely co-opted by the establishment, with the demonising and neutralising of Corbyn and his supporters as being dangerously radical and worst of all ‘anti-semitic’. In reality Corbyn was no more radical than Harold Wilson, who was pretty much a right-winger in his own time as Labour leader in the late 60’s, and the anti-semitism was completely concocted from valid anti-zionism by pro-zionist voices both in Israel and in the UK. The ‘Labour’ party is now just an animated corpse.

  22. Steve H.

    Was Jeb Bush the hero of the Working Peoples in 2016? Romney in 2012?

    Donald Trump is the Counter-Elite who conducted a hostile takeover of the Republican Party.

    If I call his Republican successor, who picks up the phone?

  23. William Beyer

    For additional perspective and a much longer view, I recommend SD Senator Richard F. Pettigrew’s fine book, “Triumphant Plutocracy,” published just over a century past (free pdf online). Also, see Anastasia Nesvetailova & Ronen Palan on Veblen’s saboteurs, which I probably found here in NC links.

  24. Scott R

    Great article Lambert, a lot to digest. As others have noted, this part of your ultimate paragraph encapsulates modern US:

    “When I think about the state of the Union, I think about the systems I might need to enter to live (that is, to reproduce my labor power): The health care system, the financial system, the law enforcement system, the judicial system, the educational system, the welfare system, and so on. There is not one of these systems that I would enter without fear or anxiety, or that I would entrust family or friends to. They are one and all infested by administrative caltrops and rental extraction, such that the delivery of actual service to a citizen is the result of luck, as much as anything. They ruin the quality of life and, for that matter, death.“

    Yes, I try to be in the right frame of mind when I open an EOB.

    Query though, what countries have far superior systems or at least fewer caltrops? I’ve been led to believe its Scandinavia countries but do I really know.

    D’s make the suck much, much less bad. As then VP Biden said, the ACA is a BFD. It eliminated job lock and preexisting condition BS. It’s heavily subsidized. R’s want it eliminated. I guess they bristle at the 3.8% extra tax for high earners.

    I’ll never overlook SCOTUS when I vote. The Republican / Federalist Society roll back of women’s rights and knee capping environmental legislation (among others) is, in a word, deplorable.

  25. lyman alpha blob

    Some of the journalists I’ve been following for decades now have gained increasingly right-leaning audiences as they justifiably criticize the debacle that is the Democrat party. Russell Brand has gained in popularity in recent years and he has lately been reluctant to criticize conservative leadership as much as I think he should anyway, so I was pleased to see that he and Greenwald had a chat a few days ago where they called out conservative leadership, and specifically Trump, as not likely to deliver on any real help to the working class.

    Only listened to about half of this one, but I was glad they were reminding their viewership of what they’re likely to get by voting Republican – just another kick in the head.

    I’d would like to see the framing change to note that we essentially have two Republican parties these days, but you can’t have everything in one video.

    As long as voters understand that, and I think most do, then middle finger away at the ballot box.

  26. spud

    many years ago around 2008, maybe 2009 after the blowout, i read a article, might have been ellen brown, or lori wallach that someday the democrats will have to come clean on what bill clinton did, if not, nothing will get reformed.

    we see how well that advise was taken.

    the real left cannot gain traction as long as their story leaves out what has to be done first to reform, and why.

    trump keeps the story short, and truthful. MAGA, bill clinton did this to you with free trade, and he sold us out to china.

    its plain for all to see but the left can’t see that.

    so it matters not if the GOP is pro worker or not, it matters not what the left seems to think they can reform a system, run by the rich world wide, the greeks tried it and failed, i said it would right away, not to hard to fathom it would.

    what matters is what the left will not do, and that leaves the door wide open to frauds.

    the left is associated with bill clinton and obama,

    the left is seen as supporting bill clinton and obama, its because they did, and apparently still do, even though there have been a few slight murmurs.

    the left is seen as supporting free trade and the globalists, and its because many do.

    the left needs to demonize the policies and drive out bill clinton, obama and others they have tied themselves to out of civil society, trumps done it, it was easy, MAGA.

  27. Yaiyen

    I’m my opinion republicans party have better chance to become working class party than Democrats. These are the two reason, there party primary follow democracy better than a party who call them self Democrats, second reason Republicans congress members are afraid of their base can you say the same about Democrats base.

  28. Kyra

    Attempting to prevent 6 million illegals from entering the country and thus out of the job market could be considered good for working people, who were, post Covid in a position to demand raises and better working conditions.

    Not anymore with all those “migrants” about to get work permits once Biden/Harris get reelected. It’s minimum wage for the rest of your life baby.

    1. spud

      how many in the left support open borders and free trade? lots from what i see. they make vague statements like we must reform policies. what policies? what reforms to policies that are global, how ya gonna do that? how ya gonna do that when you support those policies, as well as the world wide billionaire class.

      trump states that even latino’s and blacks hate open borders and free trade, and its because its affecting their wages also. and they are starting to back him in droves.

      so much for the left stating protectionism is white entitlement. they have discredited themselves that badly.

  29. Jorge

    The Repubs have lost the public allegiance of the banking classes. If they come out for the return of usury laws, and use their remaining Evangelical allies to push this, they can punish the bankers for abandoning them and gain the trust of working people.

    Everybody knows credit is a trap.

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