Admittedly, that’s a ‘dog bites man’ headline, but this juxtaposition is pretty amazing, even by the witless standards of your typical Democratic political operative (boldface mine):
Politico reports that Bernie Sanders was booed by House Democrats in a private meeting today on Capitol Hill. Apparently they were irked with Sanders for withholding his endorsement of Clinton, and reacted badly after he said this: “The goal isn’t to win elections. The goal is to transform America.” One Dem even accused Sanders of “squandering” his movement.
But if Sanders is squandering his movement, it is odd that he continues to rack up meaningful victories in the battle to transform the Democratic agenda, if not the country.
Today Hillary Clinton announced that she was moving dramatically in the direction of one of the most important pillars of Bernie’s agenda. She substantially expanded her proposal for improving access to a college education so it ensures that families below a certain income level will not pay tuition at in-state public colleges and universities.
This, taken with other recent Sanders victories, basically means that Sanders’s movement is succeeding. That doesn’t necessarily mean that it will continue to succeed. We don’t know whether it will meaningfully impact Clinton’s presidency, should she win. We don’t know if it will transform itself into a vehicle that can successfully advance its causes in Congress or on the level of the states, or produce any major policy victories down the road. That remains to be seen. But right now, it actually is succeeding, in a way that bears some preliminary parallels to previous progressive movements throughout American history.
That’s right: the same day Congressional Democrats accuse Sanders of squandering his movement, Clinton …embraces…yet…another…Sanders…goal. As the kids used to say, boom.
But Sanders should have conceded and stepped aside months ago anyway, because that way he would have achieved his goals…. wait a minute…
This division within the Democratic Party, one based on The Identity That Shall Not Be Named™ isn’t going away either (boldface mine):
This wrinkle is the fact that the “99%” actually has multiple classes within it. The main division is between the “upper middle” class and various “lower” classes.
At about 10–15% of the population, the upper middle class is made up of doctors, lawyers, university professors, various skilled professionals, and owners of successful local businesses around the country. These people don’t need universal health care, they just need their excellent employer provided health care to have its cost increases managed and they need to not be dropped from health care rolls for preexisting conditions. Their kids don’t need tuition free college, they just need manageable interest rates for their financial aid. They get generous amounts of paid vacation, they don’t need it provided on a mandatory basis. The Democratic Party, in all its incrementalism, tweaking the status quo with modest policy adjustments, represents this class.
Then there are the lower classes. Making up 85–90% percent of the population, this group is the true “working class.” This is the most diverse group in the country, it ranges from “middle class” semi-skilled office workers to truly “lower class” day laborers. While some members live more comfortably than others, this group, by and large, exchanges its labor for just enough money to get by. Their jobs have few, if any, benefits. These people would greatly benefit from policies like universal health care, tuition free public college, mandatory paid time off, and many of the other worker-empowering policies, funded by progressive tax rates, that are standard procedure for most of the developed world outside of the United States. This class has no political party.
The divide between the top 1% and the top 10% makes our political system look competitive, and there are legitimate diverging interests between those two classes. That said, in practice, our two political parties split the vote for the working class, then both ignore it in favor of their primary constituencies. The simple reality of this dynamic is that the majority of the population’s interests go unrepresented.
(Note: what the author calls the upper-middle class, I’ve called the gentry class)
Regrettably, too many professional Democrats are so stupid they can’t understand there is a massive political opportunity here–a huge unserved political constituency. Leaving aside that ignoring the middle class (and below) is bad policy, one would think they would comprehend their own political self-interest.