The politics of resentment, of green eyed envy, has been at the top of the Republican list of talking points for decades.
And yet Democratic strategists -if there are any - haven't done squat to fight back.
Insane Problem: Americans resent lazy undeserving people getting what they get, without working for it. So instead of raising the minimum wage, providing health care, and a "free" college education that would raise "lazy" people up out of poverty, they bring everybody down, including themselves.
Democrats pushed for expansion of health-insurance subsidies for low- and middle-income Americans; investments in education and retraining; middle-class tax cuts; and a higher minimum wage. These are core, standard-of-living improving policies. They would do far more to help the economically precarious — including and especially white working-class voters — than Donald Trump’s top-heavy tax cuts and trade wars ever could.Resentment is at the heart of union bashing; workers in the private sector don't get the same pay and benefits as union workers, so thanks to envy, instead of bringing the private sector up, we've decided to bring everybody down. It's counter intuitive but oddly effective for Republicans.
The Washington Post's Catherine Rampell brought a whole bunch of articles together to prove how powerful envy and resentment is. It's elected Trump, and is about to hold all of us back again:
Why the white working class votes against itself: Why did all those Economically Anxious™ Trump voters reject policies that would have helped relieve their economic anxiety?
Maybe they believed any Big Government expansions would disproportionately go to the “wrong” kinds of people — that is, people unlike themselves. Across rural America, the Rust Belt, Coal Country and other hotbeds of Trumpism, voters have repeatedly expressed frustration that the lazy and less deserving are getting a bigger chunk of government cheese.
1. In Kentucky, consumers receiving federal subsidies through the Obamacare exchanges complain that neighbors who are less responsible are receiving nearly free insurance through Medicaid. “They can go to the emergency room for a headache,” one woman told Vox’s Sarah Kliff.
2. In Ohio, white working-class focus group participants decried that women who “pop out babies like Pez dispensers with different baby daddies” get “welfare every month” and “their housing paid for, their food.” These women seem to live large, one participant said, while people like herself are “struggling to put food on the table.”
3. The Institute for Family Studies Focus Group, were also skeptical of efforts to raise the minimum wage. Opponents argued either that higher pay wasn’t justified for lower-skilled, less intense work or that raising the minimum wage would unfairly narrow the pay gap between diligent folks such as themselves and people who’d made worse life choices. “That son of a b---- is making $10 an hour! I’m making $13.13. I feel like s--- because he’s making almost as much as I am, and I have never been in trouble with the law and I have a clean record, I can pass a drug test,” said one participant.
4. In Wisconsin, rural whites are similarly eager to “stop the flow of resources to people who are undeserving,” says Katherine J. Cramer, a political scientist at the University of Wisconsin at Madison and author of “The Politics of Resentment: Rural Consciousness in Wisconsin and the Rise of Scott Walker.” The people Cramer interviewed for her book often named a (white) welfare-receiving neighbor or relative as someone who belonged in that basket of undeservings — but also immigrants, minorities and inner-city elites who were allegedly siphoning off more government funds than they contributed.
5. We’ve known for a long time, through the work of Martin Gilens, Suzanne Mettler and other social scientists, that Americans (A) generally associate government spending with undeserving, nonworking, nonwhite people; and (B) are really bad at recognizing when they personally benefit from government programs. Hence those oblivious demands to “keep your government hands off my Medicare,” and the tea partyers who get farm subsidies.
6.Rhetoric this election cycle caricaturing our government as “rigged,” and anyone who pays into it as a chump, has only reinforced these misperceptions about who benefits from government programs and how much. It’s no wonder that Trump’s promises — to re-create millions of (technologically displaced) jobs and to punish all those non-self-sufficient moochers — seem much more enticing.
No American likes the idea of getting a “handout” — especially if they believe that handout is secretly being rerouted to their layabout neighbor anyway.