Wednesday, November 9, 2016

William K. Black — The Liberals Didn’t Listen: The Immense Cost of Ignoring Tom Frank’s Warnings

I am writing this article late on election night in my office at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, about a mile from the home in which Tom Frank grew up just over the state line in Kansas. Beginning with his famous book, What’s the Matter with Kansas, first published in 2004, Tom Frank has been warning the Democratic Party of the increasing cost it was paying by abandoning and even attacking the working class, particularly the white working class. Some political scientists tried to savage his work, pointing to Bill Clinton’s electoral success and arguing that the disaffected members of the working class were also less likely to vote. Frank returned to the theme just in time for this election with a new book – Listen, Liberal – that documents in damning, lively narrative the New Democrats’ war on the New Deal, their disdain for organized labor, and their antipathy for what they viewed as retrograde white working class attitudes.…
Democrats stopped being Democrats beginning with Jimmie Carter's fiscal conservatism. Carter believed in the virtue of a balance budget.

Bill Clinton decided that Ronald Reagan was onto something, and Democrats needed to get aboard or be left out. So the New Democrats tacked right.

Obama continued in that mold even though he had run on "hope and change," disappointing the rank and file to please the donor class and to pursue his dream of bipartisanship based on wishful thinking rather than reality.

Hillary promised to double down, dissing her base in the belief that she would win by courting moderate Republicans disaffected with their party's extremism, as well as further cozying to Wall Street.

The party establishment was too tone deaf to appreciate the message that Bernie and the Bernie bots were sending.

Only morons could miss this. The Democrats defeated themselves.

New Economic Perspectives
The Liberals Didn’t Listen: The Immense Cost of Ignoring Tom Frank’s Warnings
William K. Black | Associate Professor of Economics and Law, UMKC

Of course, Democrats don't get this.

Counter Currents
Trump Steals Election After Losing Popular Vote
Thomas Frank

New Republic
The “Deplorables” Got the Last Laugh
David Dayen
Neoliberalism– putting the market in charge of social policy and actually encouraging industries to move abroad for higher profit margins (but for fewer industrial jobs at home)– had much the same effect on the white working class as the fall of the Soviet system had on the Russian working class.…
And among the prime operators of the Neoliberal system were the Clintons.…
In other words, the Clintons were inextricably entangled in the very policies that white workers saw as having ruined their lives. And objectively speaking, they weren’t wrong.
And the white working class punished the Democratic Party for not being a Left party.
Informed Comment
Why the White Working Class Rebelled: Neoliberalism is Killing Them (Literally)
Juan Cole


Matt Franko said...

They aren't 'tone deaf' they are corrupt... where is "Sheriff Bill"?????

Bob said...

Ye reap what ye sow.

berko said...

From outside the US, this looks like one of history's greatest 'own goals' by the Democrats.

Joe said...

I like how you put that berko.

This is entirely the fault of the neoliberal elites of the Democratic party.

All the racism and xenophobia is a perfectly predictable result of declining prospects for a large majority of the population due to the neoliberal assault of the last 40 years.

From ww2 to the early 70s, a guy with a high school diploma could get a job, buy a house, a couple cars, send his kids to college while his wife stayed home (sexism aside), point is you could do that on one income. That is completely gone now. Mom and dad are both working low wages jobs, up to their eyeballs in debt. Owning a home is out of the question with the low wages and inflated prices. Paying for your kids' college? Forget it, you have a hard enough time keeping them clothed and fed. Instead, if you do go to college, you start your career loaded with debt. And a college degree in a good field isn't necessarily a ticket to middle class either.

So no, this is not surprising in the least. Blaming the most powerless instead of the rich fuck ceo who actually sent your job overseas, is also predictable. Getting the victims to fight each other has been an elite strategy since the beginning of time.

Magpie said...

This is entirely the fault of the neoliberal elites of the Democratic party.

I used to believe those people were arrogant and that was their main problem. I have to admit I was wrong.

They are arrogant, for course. But the problem is not only or even mainly that they are arrogant. There is another problem.

They are stupid and inept, too.


Speaking of which. This reminds me of an obese economics professor who not long ago was flying his neoliberal freak flag high on the benefits of free trade. He must be grieving Hillary's loss.

There's a silver lining to Trump's victory.