Tag Archives: Middle class

Revolt Of Working Class Voters

In my local community, I’ve heard many explanations, often seasoned with a teaspoon of blame, on how and why Donald Trump prevailed in this week’s presidential election.

White people elected Trump!

Or, men elected Trump!

Or, small-town and rural America defeated the big cities.

Or even, less-educated voters — those without a college degree — elected Trump.

In my opinion, it is more accurate to say that the neglected, aggrieved working class revolted against the Democratic Party and against the perceived elites. The working class AND the middle class! The dividing line between working class and middle class these days is about as thin as a dollar bill.

The working-class vote that elected Trump is mostly white, it is true. But it is not exclusively male. Many working-class women, as well as working-class men, voted for Trump. And many college-educated men who do not hold prestigious, high-paying jobs, voted for Trump as well. Call them working class or middle class. What’s the difference?

Bernie Sanders had it right. The Democratic Party cannot turn its back on working class voters. They should be our voters! Shame on the Democratic Party if it allows Republican candidates to win the allegiance of the working class.

It was the revolt of the working class and the middle class, male and female, high school educated and college educated. And, when we drill down a little deeper into the election results, I suspect we will find that a significant number of working class black men voted the same way as working class white men.

The revolt of the working class, of whatever gender or race, added to traditional suburban Republican voters, made  Donald Trump president.

Also let the record show that the 2016 general election was a low-turnout election. When turnout is high, Democrats can win; when turnout is low, Republicans win. Nothing new or surprising about that!

Some working-class folks who never voted before turned out this year. A few women and men who might have voted for Hillary Clinton, or would have voted for some other Democratic candidate, simply stayed home. Similarly, minority voters didn’t turn out for Hillary in quite the numbers that voted for Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012. At least a few younger voters who were inspired by Bernie Sanders also stayed home, or perhaps voted for the Libertarian or Green party candidates.

Every vote counts. Every Democratic voter who decided to stay home enabled the revolt of the working class and the middle class to put Donald Trump over the top in the electoral vote.

The working class has made it clear that they are angry and worried. Donald Trump is the president-elect.

What will the Democratic Party do now?

— John Hayden

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Cheap TVs And Costly Health Care

Once in a while, a sentence or paragraph in the daily news seems to capture the truth.

“America is a place where luxuries are cheap and necessities costly. A big-screen TV costs much less than it does in Europe, but health care will sink you.”   — Joseph Cohen, Queens College, New York

Makes you wonder, why do so many Americans ridicule Europe, especially the European model of universal health care?

That paragraph is from a story in the April 27, 2014, edition of The Washington Post, under then byline of Carol Morello and Scott Clement. The headline is, “Less Dream, More Reality: America’s middle class is shrinking and is being squeezed by the pressures of diminishing opportunity, stagnant wages and rising expenses.”

The story follows a typical American family with two full-time wage earners and three children. They’re not exactly poor; they qualify as middle class. But as the story reports, they’re “masters at scrimping,” out of necessity.

As the headline says, it’s just a glimpse of reality. Makes me glad I still subscribe to a good daily newspaper.

— John Hayden

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The Big JOBS Plan: What is Possible? What is the Goal?

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The mob is clamoring for a big, definitive “plan” to “create” JOBS.

The problem is, we are all yearning for a return to the prosperity and good jobs of the 1950s. A return to Middle-class America. That model of American prosperity lasted for a half-century, even as it was eroding away. That model lasted through the inflating 1970s, the greedy 1980s and the bubbling 1990s.

The middle-class model of America, with good-paying jobs all around — it’s over. We aren’t going back to the 1950s. It’s impossible. That’s where President Barack Obama’s JOBS plan has got to start.   Continue reading

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“You Say You Want a Revolution?”

A picture is worth a million words. There seems to be a difference of opinion throughout Europe (and in America, too) concerning money, and debt. Also, some mild disagreement about who should pay the price and make the sacrifices, and who should get bailed out.

Schoolgirls link hands to protect a police van during student protests in London. -- Peter Marshall photo.

Baroque in Hackney reports that a younger generation — “The Kids” — is seizing responsibility because their elders are cowed by the powers that be. Ms. B’s post is enlightening. I urge you to read it.

How far will the wealthy elites in Europe and America push the children of the former middle-class? If you want to know which way the wind is blowing, please read this article by Jonathan Jones from The Guardian. Here’s a brief excerpt:

“For this picture tells a lot, very quickly. It tells us the menace of violence is real as anger grows among groups directly afflicted by the coalition’s cuts. Yet it also reveals that most protesters are peaceful, idealistic, with a sense of history and of the gravity of their actions. Most of all it tells us how amazingly young many of them are.

Future historians may well write that the Conservative-Liberal coalition was doomed the day schoolchildren took to the streets to assert their right to a university education.”

People are protesting in the streets in France (Social Security); England (college tuition); Ireland (budget cuts); and the European Union is getting ready to bail out the biggest banks in Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, and maybe Italy. The U.S. already bailed out its bankers, and people protested with their votes.

So this is the way it’s going to be? The rich get richer; the middle-class get screwed?

“You say you want a revolution
Well, you know
We all want to change the world
You tell me that it’s evolution
Well, you know
We all want to change the world
But when you talk about destruction
Don’t you know that you can count me out
Don’t you know it’s gonna be all right
all right, all right

You say you got a real solution
Well, you know
We’d all love to see the plan
You ask me for a contribution
Well, you know
We’re doing what we can
But when you want money
for people with minds that hate
All I can tell is brother you have to wait
Don’t you know it’s gonna be all right
all right, all right”

— The Beatles

I’ve written about the consequences of what I would call “capitalism off the hook” before. I didn’t think the reaction in the streets and at the voting places would be so swift or serious.

With apologies to Buffalo Springfield, I don’t think it’s paranoia. I think, “There’s something happening here. What it is ain’t exactly clear.”

Mr. Jones of The Guardian describes what’s happening as follows:

“We can look at this picture and see a mass movement rapidly evolving as a generation goes beyond merely taking to the streets and starts finding a larger meaning in its rebellion, and imposing order in new ways. What these girls are showing us is that this is not just about rage. It is a defiant stand for youth and hope.”

Do you think President Barack Obama and Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke understand what’s happening?

“The Kids” and their “cowed” parents understand that they’re being screwed. Government leaders understand the consequences of tax cuts for the rich and budget cuts for the poor.

The wealthy elites understand that they’re screwing the poor, and what’s left of the middle-class. The wealthy always believe they have a right to exploit the poor.

So it looks like it’s the Powerful elites against “The Kids.” You can call it “class warfare,” if you want. I’m afraid that the Powerful will make precious few concessions to “The Kids,” at least not without an ugly struggle. How it will play out, no one knows.

— John Hayden

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