“Unfortunately, today, when you talk about the ‘American left,’” he says, “as often as not you’re talking about wealthy folks who are concerned about the environment (which is enormously important) who are concerned about women’s rights (which are enormously important) and who are concerned about gay rights (which are enormously important). “But you’re not really referring to millions of workers who have lost their jobs because of disastrous trade agreements,” he says. “You’re not talking about waitresses who are working for four bucks an hour.” As often as not, he says, you’re talking about “sophisticated people who have money.”
Bernie nails it. I also think Matt Taibbi is correct when he states,
Progressive politicians in Washington frequently complain that the political mainstream’s abandonment of working-class issues opens the door for Republicans to seize the ignored middle-American electorate…To them, the essentially patrician structure of the political left is mostly a logistical political problem, one that can theoretically be solved, as Sanders solved it in his state, by shunning corporate campaign donors, listening to voters again, and re-emphasizing working-class issues.
But having rich college grads acting as the political representatives of the working class isn’t just bad politics. It’s also silly. And there’s probably no political movement in history that’s been sillier than the modern American left.
Ben Brothers had a piece awhile ago about authenticity, and I think he blew the concept off way too easily. Kerry, Gore, Clinton etc. going after the working class vote looks pretty silly because they lack authenticity. Similar to the silliness of 2004 when Kerry looked like a baboon trying to get the hunter votes, or an idiot when he couldn’t pronounce Lambeau. Even this year the closest we get to a working class authenticity is a trial lawyer. What would working class authenticity look like, maybe something like the 1977 Humphrey speech to the AFL-CIO on Proletariat TV.