Senator Elizabeth Warren on Monday [April 24, 2017] responded to a poll showing the majority felt the Democratic Party was out of touch by saying party identification is shifting – and everyday people can see the US political system as a “rigged game.”
No, Senator. No. It’s got nothing to do with party identification shifting, or rigged games. Working people think the Democratic Party is out of touch because they think it is out of touch with them. Pure and simple.
It’s taking me a while to piece all of this together. But I’m getting there. Slowly. It’s a combination of a number of things. Which at one and the same time are very complex and yet amazingly simple. Forgive me if I stumble with my own analysis.
Democrats need to work out who and what they stand for. They say, at one and the same time, that they are progressive and that they support working folk. But working people are no longer automatically what Democrats have classically defined as progressive.
I think this is what lies behind my increasing irritation with folks who use what I describe as outdated definitions to describe outmoded situations. The world has changed dramatically since the Great Recession. And too many Democrats continue to treat the political world, and especially what they have always viewed as their natural constituency, as also unchanged.
And so, we have Elizabeth Warren, who I believe to be a good and honest politician, earnestly addressing her interviewer, and possibly without even thinking about it, and I’m sure without a hint of irony or disingenuousness, saying things she genuinely believes to be true, about why she thinks Democrats are out of touch, things which only prove that she herself is hopelessly out of touch.
Yes, Senator, the upper echelons of the Democratic Party have lost touch with the grassroots. A grassroots which has always been made up of ordinary working folk, because that is who the Democratic Party have always represented.
But Senator. You are a part of that same upper echelon. You too are a college-educated, intellectual elitist. Making the same mistake as those you decry in the Democratic ivory tower. You are assuming that working people automatically believe today that what is best for them is progressivism. But Senator, are you actually talking with working folk?
Many of the working people I speak with want no truck with the Democratic progressivism of the past 30 years. A progressivism that has embraced globalism, unfettered immigration, interventionism abroad, identity politics and the like. A progressivism that you still seem to espouse today.
For sure, these working folk want no more to do with the stuffed shirt, elitist, intellectual, liberal snobs at the top of the Democratic Party. The ivory tower brigade, who wouldn’t dream of getting their hands dirty, and actually asking working people what they want. They prefer simply to prescribe solutions they think are best for the hoi-polloi.
But what you don’t understand Senator is that those same working folk equally eschew the centrist, globalist, interventionist brand of politics advanced by the Clintonistas, and the leftist, socialistic, busybody politics embraced by you and Senator Sanders.
The problem that I am beginning to grasp is that too many Democrats, even Democrats like Senator Warren, say the word ‘woman,’ and in the same breath say, ah yes, progressive. Say the word ‘black,’ and have a similar knee-jerk reaction. Say the words ‘working people,’ and without pausing to catch breath, produce a litany of the liberal policies that, of course, would have to be the living gospel for all working people.
This is why I find myself expressing such irritation with the ossified political definitions that too many of my progressive friends automatically use when compartmentalizing working folk. It’s not as simple as that any more.
What I’m beginning to realize is that before the Democrats can truly find themselves, they must first ask themselves who and what they want to be. What is more important to them: blindly representing working people, or advocating a particular plank of what they may describe as progressive policies? Because I’m not sure the two are synonymous any more. Democratic ‘thinkers’ may view the two as the same. But I’m not sure that working people do.
In this regard, even if she did not mean it this way, Senator Warren may well have been correct when she said that party identification is shifting. I think that the way working people identify is shifting. And the Democratic Party may have to shift either its policies or its identification in response.
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