Monday, July 23, 2018

Democrats have to discover Populist Resentment soon...

There's an unexplainable mental block that keeps Democratic candidates and politicians from learning anything from the past. If Democrats want to win over conservatives and moderates who actually support most of the Democratic party platform anyway, you don't do it by focus on abortion; or promise to kill the Foxconn deal and jobs, instead of promising to negotiate a better deal for taxpayers. Paul Soglin recommends cutting off Foxconn payments to bring them back to the table.

The Politics of Populist Resentment: The politics of resentment plays off the idea that someone is getting something you're not. That's the ugly side of GOP politics. But there's a good side too.

What we haven't seen is a pronounced Democratic move toward "populist resentment" focusing specifically on the class divide; health care, tax cuts, wage disparity, abortion, and the privileged elite. Democrats need to brainstorm ways to reframe every social issue as a class issue. It's not a scheme or a ploy, it's an honest comparison, nothing like the GOP's agenda.

To drum up right-wing resentment, Republicans had to create myths about the Democrats like how they want the government to make all our decisions for us, or replacing capitalism with socialism blah blah blah.

Since the idea is fairly new to me, I didn't have time to come up with a few quick examples. Thankfully, I've found one created by an actual Democratic candidate on the abortion issue. "Resentment" here is defined as "progressive populism:"
In West Virginia, the leader of that state’s teacher strike, Richard Ojeda (oh-JEH-da), is waging a strong campaign to take an open House seat long held by Republicans. Ojeda, a Democratic state senator who voted for Trump himself, is running as an out and out progressive populist

Ojeda is so good that he manages to redefine social issues as class issues. Speaking at a pro-choice rally in Charleston, Ojeda told the crowd that he didn’t really like abortion, but that if it were outlawed, rich women would still get abortions. West Virginians knew exactly what he meant. Indeed, many other supposed social issues, such as pay equity and parental leave, are really class issues if narrated well. Deft Democratic candidates promise hard-pressed voters a better deal on economics, but reflect the views of their districts on hot button social issues.
One more thing...
When Mr. Ojeda graduated from high school, he said he had just three options: “Dig coal, sell dope or join the Army ... I’ve got 13 names on my back of brothers that did not come home,” he told a gathering of teachers and other union members, referring to some of his many tattoos. “They did not die so we could come home and find children struggling, people dying of the opioid crisis and companies and groups greasing people’s pockets.” Ojeda is known for his big personality ... He is George Patton with an Appalachian twang and minus the profanity.
The Economy: Populist resentment can also work well with the countries economic future. Baby Boomers have showered themselves with tax cuts for today, while leaving future generations with a massive bill to pay, despite stagnant wages, increased automation, consolidation, fewer jobs, huge health care costs, a downsized public education system, and crushing student loans that put off home purchases and starting a family. And how will the next generation deal with the now shredded trade policies in a dog eat dog global economy? Our once stable framework is gone now, and the U.S. is on the outside, instead of taking the lead.

Note: There's a certain irony over Scott Walker's Foxconn deal; While it may be a tech company, the deal Republicans made with Foxconn was based on an old 20th-century concept of long-term manufacturing and steady generational employment. That's why it leaves a knot in most peoples stomachs. Industries and jobs are set to change every 10 to 15-year. Without beginning a dialog about a national broadband push to encourage entrepreneurs, converting to green energy, a universal basic income, and national health care, I'm not sure we'll be able to take the shock that comes with a faster-moving global economy.