Just as many have pointed out, neither of our major political Party’s gives a damn about working-class Americans. Few Republicans ever have, and Democrats abandoned us 35 years ago. The results – completely unexpected by anyone – have given rise to America’s worst political nightmare ever: Donald Trump. But the reason for that disaster could very well turn out to be the catalyst that returns the government to the people.
The phenomenon known as a ‘perfect storm’ could be used here as an analogy for what has happened over the past 16 years.
First was GOP President George W. Bush. He abandoned just about all the core principles of the Republican Party. So much so, the Party has barely mentioned his name in the eight years since he left office. But some outsiders did, and they ‘came into power’ riding on Bush’s failures under the banner of the tea party. Unfortunately for them, their popularity faded quickly, which came as no surprise; especially after it was revealed they were nothing more than ‘bought & paid-for’ lackeys for the Koch brothers.
Hot on their heels was tea party 2.0: The House Freedom Caucus. As it were, they’re only capable of causing complete chaos within the Party with no sensible viable solutions. They’re probably on their way to extinction too.
All the while, the GOP establishment was sure they had the support of their Party base when they decided to govern for eight years on a single policy of bashing & obstructing President Obama. But they learned differently when Donald Trump defeated 16 other big-name GOP candidates based strictly on a campaign of hate. What that told them is that their working-class base, while hating Obama as much as they did, is fed up with them. But are they listening?
On the other side of the isle, candidate Barack Obama emerged in 2008 sounding somewhat like candidate John Kennedy in 1960 relative to the working class. But that turned out not to be so; President Barack Obama’s “change” never happened. As far as the Democratic working class is concerned, Obama lost favor by spending too much valuable time trying to make nice to Republicans and show he could get along with anyone.
Now comes Hillary Clinton: another ‘bought & paid-for’ politician; a Democrat who once had a good, strong & deserving reputation with the working class but now, knowing that most have become Republicans, has to be concerned that too many will go to the pols come November. Now that’s really sad given Democrats and the working class was once synonymous.
Norman Solomon, a Sanders delegate from California, wrote an open letter to Clinton expressing his concerns with her and the Party, which reflects most Sanders supporter’s view.
In the letter Solomon tells Clinton right off that, in spite of her being one of the most honest of dishonest politicians, he doesn’t trust her but is willing to support her if she makes a “major course correction”. Solomon says “If there’s an effective tactical alliance to be had, you’re screwing it up”, pointing to the fact that 88 percent of Sanders delegates find Tim Kaine unacceptable yet she chose him, and that she named disgraced Debbie Wasserman Schultz as “honorary chair” immediately after her forced resignation as DNC chairwoman.
A gifted sign for Clinton and the rest of the establishment Democrats was the reaction of Sanders supporters at the Democratic convention. Immediately after Clinton was nominated they began to chant many of the anti-Hillary remarks typically heard from Republicans. It didn’t help that more than 60 superdelegates at the convention were registered lobbyist with another 30 or so being shadow lobbyist, all supporting Clinton. Everyone knows who lobbyists represent and it certainly isn’t the working class. They represent wealthy people and corporations that are typically anti-working class.
Solomon tells Clinton that she will be making a huge mistake if she takes Sanders and his 13 million supporters for granted, and he is absolutely right. A small group of progressives are already organizing into what could be the Democrats ‘tea party left’: “Leaders of the Working Families Party, a progressive party backed by labor unions and community activists, were in Philadelphia this week to make the case to Sanders supporters that the WFP should carry the torch.” (I wrote in-depth about a new ‘People’s Party’ idea just last week.)
Trying to organizing a working class Party has been tried before, even as late as 1996; but it didn’t get very far. However, today’s political atmosphere and wide-spread disappointment didn’t exist 20 years ago. Today’s biggest challenge for reformers will be preventing Wall Street, corporate America – and their public relations ‘news channels’ – from overpowering them just as they did to the Occupy Wall Street movement in 2011 / 12.
Clinton, like the 16 GOP candidates that lost the Primary, still believe all they have to do is give lip service to the working class during a campaign then drop them like a hot potato once the election is over. Former GOP Presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty recently pointed that out when he said both Parties are guilty of years of empty promises, meaning that’s what brought us both Trump and Sanders this election season. That is probably true, but the empty promises by Democrats were made to the working class.
So, will Clinton, if elected, and established Democrats start listening? Probably not. But if they don’t, it could very well set the stage for a GOP-like revolution that gave rise to Donald Trump.
The Donald Trump factor could prove to be exactly what is needed.