The left's impotent rage against the working class

  • 24 March 2017
  • NormanL
The left's impotent rage against the working class

The liberal columnist Frank Rich has a very long piece in New York Magazine urging liberals to stop wasting time pursuing white, working class people who voted for Donald Trump. Why? Because Democrats will never be able to find a way to appeal to these self-destructive folks. And so, good riddance to all that white trash:

There’s no way liberals can counter these voters’ blind faith in a huckster who’s sold them this snake oil. The notion that they can be won over by some sort of new New Deal — “domestic programs that would benefit everyone (like national health insurance),” as Mark Lilla puts it — is wishful thinking. These voters are so adamantly opposed to government programs that in some cases they refuse to accept the fact that aid they already receive comes from Washington — witness the “Keep Government Out of My Medicare!” placards at the early tea-party protests.

Perhaps it’s a smarter idea to just let the GOP own these intractable voters. Liberals looking for a way to empathize with conservatives should endorse the core conservative belief in the importance of personal responsibility. Let Trump’s white working-class base take responsibility for its own votes — or in some cases failure to vote — and live with the election’s consequences. If, as polls tell us, many voters who vilify Obamacare haven’t yet figured out that it’s another name for the Affordable Care Act that’s benefiting them — or if they do know and still want the Trump alternative — then let them reap the consequences for voting against their own interests. That they will sabotage other needy Americans along with them is unavoidable in any case now — at least until voters stage an intervention in an election to come.

There's much, much more at the link. For those of us who recall Rich's days on the New York Times op-ed page, his blistering contempt for anyone who does not share his worldview is as palpable as ever. But beyond the snark is genuine anger -- something Rich says the left should not waste on those who appear so comfortable wallowing in their own, delusional wasteland:

So hold the empathy and hold on to the anger. If Trump delivers on his promises to the “poorly educated” despite all indications to the contrary, then good for them. Once again, all the Trump naysayers will be proved wrong. But if his administration crashes into an iceberg, leaving his base trapped in America’s steerage with no lifeboats, those who survive may at last be ready to burst out of their own bubble and listen to an alternative. Or not: Maybe, like Hochschild’s new friends in Louisiana’s oil country, they’ll keep voting against their own interests until the industrial poisons left unregulated by their favored politicians finish them off altogether. Either way, the best course for Democrats may be to respect their right to choose.

Clever -- if bloody minded -- to the last. But we are forced to wonder whether a national party like the Democrats, which Rich admits has lost control in in DC and most state capitals, can find its way back to power by telling a segement of the population to go pound sand.

Elections are about addition, not substraction. Adding voters to one's side guarantees electoral success. Subtraction leads to defeat, demoralization, and, as Rich demonstrates, old fashioned, impotent, rage.