Q. What do Jeff Gahan’s toadies say when the Bud Light stops flowing?
A: Wow, this regime really sucks.
First, author Thomas Frank previews the Clinton campaign.
Why must the Trump alternative be self-satisfied, complacent Democrats?, by Thomas Frank (The Guardian)
… In reality, Donald Trump is a bigot of such pungent vileness that the victory of the Democratic candidate this fall is virtually assured. Absent some terrorist attack … or some FBI action on the Clinton email scandal … or some outrageous act of reasonableness by Trump himself, the blowhard is going to lose.
This, in turn, frees the Democratic leadership to do whatever they want, to cast themselves in any role they choose. They do not need to move to “the center” this time. They do not need to come up with some ingenious way to get Wall Street off the hook. They do not need to beat up on working people’s organizations.
That they seem to want to do all these things anyway tells us everything we need to know about who they really are: a party of the high-achieving professional class that is always looking for a way to dismiss the economic concerns of ordinary people.
Hmm. Adam Dickey’s local Democrats in a nutshell.
Concurrently, Robert Reich posted the following at his Facebook account. I’ve highlighted the passage that most clearly explains Jeff Gahan’s local governing preferences, and his prioritization to date. Union jobs at Pillsbury were lost, with nothing to replace them — but Gahan’s suburban Eastridge voters wanted parks.
How did Democrats lose the white working class to Republicans, and now to Donald Trump?
One answer is for years Republicans have skillfully played the race card (“welfare queens, “Willie Horton” the battle over affirmative action). The bigotry spewing forth from Donald Trump is an extension of this old race card, now applied to Mexicans and Muslims – with much the same effect on the white working class voters.
But this isn’t the whole story. Democrats also abandoned the white working class. Democrats have occupied the White House for sixteen of the last twenty-four years, and controlled Congress for four of those years. In that time they’ve scored some important victories for working families – the Affordable Care Act, an expanded Earned Income Tax Credit, and the Family and Medical Leave Act, for example. But they’ve done nothing to change the vicious cycle of wealth and power that has rigged the economy for the benefit of those at the top, and undermined the working class.
In some respects, Democrats have been complicit in it. Both Bill Clinton and Barack Obama ardently pushed for free trade agreements, for example, without providing the millions of blue-collar workers who thereby lost their jobs any means of getting new ones that paid at least as well. They also stood by as corporations hammered trade unions, the backbone of the white working class. Clinton and Obama failed to reform labor laws to impose meaningful penalties on companies that violated them, or enable workers to form unions with a simple up-or-down votes. Partly as a result, union membership sunk from 22 percent of all workers when Bill Clinton was elected president to fewer than 12 percent today, and the working class lost bargaining leverage to get a share of the economy’s gains.
In addition, the Obama administration protected Wall Street from the consequences of the Street’s gambling addiction through a giant taxpayer-funded bailout but let millions of underwater homeowners drown. Both Clinton and Obama also allowed antitrust enforcement to ossify – with the result that large corporations have grown far larger, and major industries more concentrated. Finally, they turned their backs on campaign finance reform. In 2008, Obama was the first presidential nominee since Richard Nixon to reject public financing in his primary and general-election campaigns. And he never followed up on his reelection campaign promise to pursue a constitutional amendment overturning “Citizens United v. FEC,” the 2010 Supreme Court opinion opening the floodgates to big money in politics.
What happens when you combine freer trade, shrinking unions, Wall Street bailouts, growing corporate market power, and the abandonment of campaign finance reform? You shift political and economic power to the wealthy, and you shaft the working class.
Why haven’t Democrats sought to reverse this power shift?
In part, because they bought the snake oil of the “suburban swing voter” – so-called “soccer moms” in the 1990s and affluent politically-independent professionals in the 2000s – who supposedly determine electoral outcomes. Meanwhile, as early as the 1980s they began drinking from the same campaign funding trough as the Republicans – big corporations, Wall Street, and the very wealthy.
Democrats could still win back the white working class – putting together a huge coalition of the working class and poor, of whites, blacks, and Latinos, of everyone who has been shafted by the shift in wealth and power to the top. This would give Democrats the political clout to restructure the economy – rather than merely enact palliatives that papered over the increasing concentration of wealth and power in America. But to do this Democrats would have to stop obsessing over upper-income suburban swing voters, and end their financial dependence on big corporations, Wall Street, and the wealthy.
Will they? Could they? What do you think?