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November 10, 2016 Comments Off on Dear Fellow Leftists: It WAS The Economy, Stupid Views: 2138 *The Strangeways Report, 2016 Presidential Election, Editorials, Elections, My Soapbox, News

Dear Fellow Leftists: It WAS The Economy, Stupid

detroitrustbelt

Stop blaming Florida.
Stop blaming “hicks”.
Stop blaming racism. Or misogyny.

Hillary lost Pennsylvania. And, Wisconsin. And, Michigan.
Those are all traditional Blue swing states. Those were all states the Dems counted on and had to have to win the election.

Oh, and Ohio, which along with Florida IS a true swing state. A Democratic candidate for president can win the election without Ohio and/or Florida but that means they HAVE to win ALL the Blue states, even the “light” Blue swing states. Like PA/WI/MI.

In those states, angry blue collar people voted for Trump. Men and women. White but also not white. OR, didn’t vote at all if unhappy with both major options. And, they weren’t voting (or not) based on gender issues, or gay issues, or any kind of social issues.

She lost the Rust Belt because they’re unhappy they’ve been in an economic decline for the last 30+ years…and, no one cares. Since Wall Street dumped them and traditional politicians haven’t done much for them, they turned (in desperation) to a renegade who doesn’t play by the rules. The outsider. The crazy guy with the big mouth. The so called business superstar/billionaire with all the answers. The success story with the brand name.

Yes, they picked a TERRIBLE choice and one who’s probably going to inevitably fail them and not deliver on any of those grand promises. But, desperate people tend to gamble recklessly when they crave salvation. The American people (not just the Rust Belt) made it quite clear during primary season that they wanted change…and, non traditional candidates. It’s not really a shock that they went with one after being so vocal about it for the last year.The Democratic National Committee refused to listen to that voice. Frankly, so has the White House and Congress.

So have we. All of us sitting in successful Blue states on the West Coast and New York and New England. The places with economies far more robust than the Rust Belt. Jaded liberals and progressives who don’t really pay much attention to flyover land…even if that’s where we originally came from.

Would you drink the water in Flint?
Who here plans on moving to Akron or Erie or Green Bay in the next year?

So, yeah. Continue bashing and blaming the usual suspects…dumb bubbas and truck stop bimbos and cretinous oldsters….obnoxious frat boys and pious Bible clutching housewives and all the other right wing stereotypes. The ones who always vote for the idiot in the red tie.

Continue sniping at Bernie Bros and Third Party Voters and Non-Voters. Blame misogyny. Blame white men. Blame everyone and everything. Don’t face the reality.

We lost the election because we lost the Rust Belt. We lost the election because we didn’t listen.


 

I wrote the above essay and posted it on my personal Facebook wall and then immediately saw this fantastic essay by Robert Reich published in The Guardian, the pundit, economist and former Labor Secretary under Bill Clinton where he basically says the same thing but in greater detail (and with greater skill). I strongly encourage you to read the whole article (and all posts/articles by Robert Reich; he’s a brilliantly astute commentator) but here’s an especially important section:

The Democratic party once represented the working class. But over the last three decades the party has been taken over by Washington-based fundraisers, bundlers, analysts, and pollsters who have focused instead on raising campaign money from corporate and Wall Street executives and getting votes from upper middle-class households in “swing” suburbs.

Democrats have occupied the White House for 16 of the last 24 years, and for four of those years had control of both houses of Congress. But in that time they failed to reverse the decline in working-class wages and economic security. Both Bill Clinton and Barack Obama ardently pushed for free trade agreements without providing millions of blue-collar workers who thereby lost their jobs means of getting new ones that paid at least as well.

They stood by as corporations hammered trade unions, the backbone of the white working class – failing to reform labor laws to impose meaningful penalties on companies that violate them, or help workers form unions with simple up-or-down votes. Partly as a result, union membership sank from 22% of all workers when Bill Clinton was elected president to less than 12% today, and the working class lost bargaining leverage to get a share of the economy’s gains.

Bill Clinton and Obama also allowed antitrust enforcement to ossify – with the result that large corporations have grown far larger, and major industries more concentrated. The unsurprising result of this combination – more trade, declining unionization and more industry concentration – has been to shift political and economic power to big corporations and the wealthy, and to shaft the working class. This created an opening for Donald Trump’s authoritarian demagoguery, and his presidency.

Basically, we (on the Left) need to sit back and realize it’s not just about us, the allegedly well educated, well informed “faggy/waggy, hippy/dippy, arty farty” left living in our Ivory Towers in Soho and Williamsburg and Berkeley and Portland and Seattle…progressive/liberal politics aren’t only about queer causes and women’s rights and equality and “Black Lives Matters”. All those things are very important planks of a progressive platform but in our disdain of such vulgar issues as money and commerce, we’ve lost sight of the fact that labor issues ARE the framework of the progressive movement…fighting for the rights of labor and especially the forgotten blue collar class in this country. We need to fight for ALL rights which include the right to be a proud worker…regardless if that collar is white or blue.

We have to listen to the cries of all the people.

 

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