The expected backlash against the Democrats

By all accounts, the Democrats are about to be crushed in the elections this fall.

That is because the Democratic establishment is on the side of elites and not on the side of ordinary Americans.

Because they are on the side of a cultural elite, they are failing to curb the excesses of the “woke” cultural revolution.

Because they are on the side of economic elites, they are failing to do anything to address the growing economic distress and U.S. decline generally.

The problem is that the Republican establishment also is on the side of economic elites.  There is a clash of economic elites.  Democrats generally align with Silicon Valley and the Republicans with the fossil fuel industry, but neither represents the interests of the majority of Americans.

On the cultural front, the Republican leadership can be as wrong-headed as the Democratic leaders.  At the one extreme, there are Democrats who favor gender reassignment surgery, including castrations and mastectomies, for teenage children.  At the other, there are Republicans who want to go after a physician for giving an abortion to a 10-year-old victim of rape.

The best possible outcome on the cultural front would be a return to the old live-and-let-live liberalism, which many people now consider conservatism, without the extremes of the radical right.

The best possible outcome on the economic front would be victory for the economic nationalists who represent domestic business interests, over the free traders who represent the global tech and financial firms.  And also victory for the few scattered pro-labor populists.

Both parties are war parties—the Democrats now even more than the Republicans.  I see little hope on that front.


Here’s a blogger called Policy Tensor on the changing Republican Party:

At the heart of the GOP’s coalition of elite interests is what we may call the deregulators.  These are largely business interests whose main beef is with the regulatory-administrative state.  This is not libertarian ideology — although libertarians are largely sympathetic.  This is pure business interest.  They just want the damn regulators off their backs.  This is the hegemonic bloc of the GOP.  There is no appetite among GOP donors for any expansion of regulations.  If you have any such ideas, you’re not welcome within the GOP.   Firms that are open to some regulation live in the Democratic party; firms that are opposed live in the GOP.  This is largely a question of the nature of the industry — roughly, the “E” in ESG.  Dirty industries — above all, oil and mining interests — are a natural GOP constituency, just as globally-oriented banks and tech firms with low national environmental footprint are natural Democrats.  [snip]

The second mainstay of the GOP are the traditionalists.  Think evangelicals, anti-abortion ideologues etc.  Since their ideological convictions are totally incongruent with professional class ideology, they’re essentially captive GOP voters who have no electoral choice.  The only impact of this bloc comes from motivation and turnout.  For instance, the Court’s decision on Roe v. Wade is likely to generate enthusiasm and turnout in this bloc, just as much as among pro-abortion liberals.

These mainstays of the GOP coalition — the deregulators and the traditionalists — provide continuity amidst change.  The real action is elsewhere. The GOP is now caught in an all-out war between free traders and economic nationalists. The free traders — “Rocky Balboa” — were the heart of the neoliberal coalition in both parties. In both, they’ve lost ground to economic nationalists.

Here’s Andrew Sullivan on the changing Democratic Party.

We’re now two years out from what may in retrospect be seen as peak “social justice.” In the summer of 2020, a hefty section of the elite was enthralled with the idea of the police being defunded, demobilized and demonized. Critical theory’s critique of liberal democracy as a mere mask for “white supremacy” everywhere.  Countless people were required to read woke tracts — from DiAngelo to Kendi — as part of their employment.  Corporate America jumped in, shedding any pretense of political neutrality; mainstream media swiftly adopted the new language and premises of critical theory.  The Trump madness, and his attempted sabotage of an election, largely silenced liberals in their clash with the left.  They had a more immediate threat.  And rightly so.

Last year, Eric Adams became mayor of New York City, propelled by minority voters horrified by surging crime and chaos. This past week, DA Chesa Boudin, scion of leftwing terrorists, was ousted by minority voters in San Francisco, after he allowed much of the city to become a chaotic hellhole in pursuit of “racial justice.”

Recent polling suggests a sea-change in attitudes. Pew found that only three percent of African-Americans put “racism/diversity/culture” as the most important issue to them while 17 percent cited “violence/crime,” and 11 percent said “economic issues.” (Among Democrats overall, “49% now view racism as a major problem, down from 67% about a year ago.”) New York City voters now put “crime” ahead of “racial inequality” as their most urgent concern by a huge ratio of 12:1. Polling in San Francisco found that 67 percent of Asian-Americans wanted Boudin gone — a sign that the Democrats’ ascendant coalition of non-whites is now fast-descendant.

Hispanics also appear to be fleeing the left. In the usually Dem-friendly Quinnipiac poll last month, “48% of Hispanic registered voters said they wanted Republicans to take control of the House of Representatives, while just 34% said they wanted Democrats in power. In addition, 49% of Hispanic voters said they wanted the GOP to win the Senate, while 36% said they wanted Democrats to remain in control of the chamber.”  Biden’s approval among Hispanics is now 24 percent.  I’m not sure what to make of this, but even if it’s half true, it’s an electoral emergency for Democrats.

Some Dem pols have noticed the vast cultural gap between most Latino voters and wealthy white leftists, and adjusted. Democratic Congressman Ritchie Torres last week criticized the use of the absurd term “Latinx” — because denying the sex binary is not exactly integral to a culture where the language itself is divided into masculine and feminine. AOC, of course, demurs.

Elite imposition of the new social justice religion — indoctrinating children in the precepts and premises of critical race and gender theory — has also met ferocious backlash as parents began to absorb what their kids were being taught: that America is a uniquely evil country based forever on white supremacy; that your race is the most important thing about you; that biological sex must be replaced by socially constructed genders of near-infinite number; and that all this needs to be taught in kindergarten. Yes, some of this was politically exploited or hyped by the right. But if you think there is no there there in this concern about schooling, you’re dreaming.

Blogger Carl Bejier writes of the other side of the coin.

Does anyone really believe that if Democrats were providing Medicare for All, universal childcare, UBI, free college, and so on — that voters would throw all that out the window because Kamala Harris talked about her blue suit? If you could have real economic security, would you actually trade that away because a politician said “birth giver” instead of “mother”?

Socialists have long insisted that workers are not going to accept egalitarian rhetoric and gestures as a substitute for real economic gains, and that Democrats are going to lose working class voters if they proceed otherwise. The right loves this point; they’ve been so aggressive about co-opting it in recent years that I doubt many of them even remember where they first heard it.

But there’s a second half of this critique that you almost never hear: if you give voters real material security, people who get annoyed about wokeness will still support you.

This is probably the most threatening point you can make in contemporary politics. Liberals hate it because it embarrasses the economic agenda of Democrats and suggests that reactionaries can in fact be persuaded not to vote like reactionaries.  The right hates it because it shows just how superficial support for their agenda, and for the GOP, really it.  Pundits hate it because it reminds everyone that their obsession with culture war — something that even the laziest, most ignorant poster can write about ad nauseum — misses the central issue of contemporary US politics under capitalism.

But it’s not just that the leaders of the leaders of the two major political parties have the wrong idea about things.  It is that the economic and financial elite, and also the military establishment, have so much political and governmental power.  There is the question of campaign finance.  There is the revolving door between government service and corporate jobs for those who play ball.  There is the growing political influence of the military and war establishment on journalism and the economy.

Even if the elected leadership woke up, there still would be resistance to constructive change that would be had to overcome.  Nothing important will change until a grass-roots populist and labor movement makes itself powerful enough to demand change.


The Class Arithmetic by Policy Tensor. (Hat tip to Steve from Texas)

The Vibes They Are A-Shiftin’ by Andrew Sullivan for The Weekly Dish.  (Another hat tip to Steve from Texas).

Wokeness Isn’t Why Democrats Are Unpopular by Carl Bejier.

In the GOP’s New Surveillance State, Everybody’s a Snitch by Pema Levy for Mother Jones.  



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