National Commentary

Who Wants the Blue Collar Vote?

nfbenton-mugWhat a sight to see! Otherwise dignified leaders of the Republican Party establishment, the likes of Mitt Romney, Lindsey Graham and Jeb Bush, almost literally holding their noses to either endorse or at least announce publicly they’re voting for the one guy in the Republican presidential field even more crazy and dangerous than Donald Trump–Ted Cruz.

It makes one wonder why these mewling puppets of the nation’s ruling class are so willing to demonstrably humiliate themselves in this way. I trust it is not because they hold any genuine moral disgust toward Donald Trump, who remains on a fast track to winning the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination, no matter how much he is deserving of it.

A very good argument could be made that, in fact, Trump would fare better than Cruz in a general election against Democrat Hillary Clinton in November. So why are these establishment Republicans so adamant to stop Trump?

An explanation comes from considering not Trump, himself, but his impassioned electoral base. Here’s where the problem really exists for the ruling class. While there is a distinctly racist element to this constituency, it is also marked by other things, most importantly anger and frustration over the failure of their leaders to return them to any measure of the economic gains they’d achieved prior to the Great Recession.

There are deeply troubling statistics showing that the U.S. is at the flat bottom among developed nations in the percentage of the national wealth that’s in the hands of its middle class. The rich are getting richer, faster now than ever before. It’s definitely a state of affairs that no establishment Republican wants to see upended, but fears a national revolt could.

Of course, Trump’s solutions to his constituency are largely nationalistic and xenophobic with patently unachievable proposed solutions. On the other hand, he has also pointed his hoary finger at Wall Street and the ability of multinational corporations to continually get the upper hand through legislation in Washington and trade deals to their advantage.

In other words, Trump is sitting on top of an unprecedented social powder keg that could blow the fortunes of the ruling class to smithereens. Ironically enough, so is Bernie Sanders, the ostensible opposite of Trump but appealing to more rational, doable and equitable remedies for the middle class.

The Democrats, including Hillary Clinton, should be thanking their lucky stars for Sanders and his ability to turn the same middle class rage that is animating the Trump campaign into a better Democratic direction.

An argument made by Thomas Frank in his book, Listen, Liberal!, claims that the Democratic Party in recent decades abandoned its historic blue collar base in favor of a more upscale, whiter collar technocratic electorate, creating a vacuum that now accounts for much of the Trump phenomenon, and could undo the Democrats in November.

There are a lot of reasons for this, not the least of which has been, in my view, the ruling class’ social engineering since the early 1970s with a dystopian, cynical and self-centered “post-modern” mindset in the core fabric of our national culture. It has represented a form of class warfare in itself, arising from the proto-fascist theorems of the “New Age” philosophies directed against the “solidarity” of the labor movement and its traditional alliances with the FDR-brand of Democratic Party.

This new paradigm repudiates any notion of legitimate economic class distinctions, and Democrats since the 1980s have fallen for it. Among other things it has undermined an ability to address the economic roots of many of the nation’s and planet’s most challenging foreign policy problems.

The singular menace represented by the “neo-conservative” zeal to break up and impose a unilateral “democratic” solutions in the Middle East under George W. Bush, was substituted in place of a sober recognition of economic, not merely cultural or religious, causes for conflict.

The ferment now roiling the Middle East, Europe and the U.S., alike, all have at their root the global ruling class’ engineered efforts to alienate and separate, by enfranchising cult-driven religious extremism, for example, serious political commitments from core economic realities.