The combination of super-rich Democrats and poor Democrats would exacerbate internal party tensions, but the party would probably resort to forms of appeasement that are already in use. To their rich constituents, Democrats offer more trade, more immigration, and general globalism. To their non-rich constituents, they offer the promise of social justice, which critics might call identity politics. That’s one reason why Democrats have devoted so much attention to issues such as transgender rights, sexual assault on campus, racial disparities in criminal justice, and immigration reform. The causes may be worthy—and they attract sincere advocates—but politically they’re also useful. They don’t bother rich people.Catch that "offer the promise" with "social justice" mutating into "identity politics." Or, stated simply, symbolism over substance. Rhetoric, but never results. That sounds like the past fifty years, from Great Society to Hope and Change.
The challenge, however, is for Republicans, or some other coalition of Not Democrats, to encourage the gentry's mascots to stop letting themselves be treated as mascots. The gentry have a long history of sticking their metaphorical fingers in the eyes of what used to be mainstream Americans, and I've been documenting the push-back over the past year or so.
But in the following paragraph is an outline of the strategy by which Not Democrats might be able to liberate the mascots.
The more that Democrats write off the white working class, which has been experiencing a drastic decline in living standards, the harder it is for them to call themselves a party of the little guy. The more that the rich can frame various business practices as blows to privilege or oppression—predatory lending as a way to expand minority home ownership, outsourcing as a way to uplift the world’s poor, etc.—the more they get a pass from Democrats on practices that hurt poorer Americans. Worst of all, the more that interest groups within the Democratic Party quarrel among themselves, the more they rely upon loathing of a common enemy, Republicans, in order to stay united.Inasmuch as those predatory lending practices wiped out the net worth of the poorest and least liquid homeowners first, with ethnic minority communities hardest hit, while the Congressional Diversity Caucus mau-maued the people who pointed out that a disaster was coming, the opportunity for Not Democrats to win hearts and minds exist.
It does not have to become a tribal tussle, Mr Frank notwithstanding.
Things get darker still, for, if the G.O.P. becomes ever whiter, failing to peel away working-class voters of other races, then partisan conflict could look more and more like racial conflict. That is the nightmare. Our politics are bad enough when voters are mobilized mainly by culture-war issues, such as abortion, because compromise is often impossible. But when voters are mobilized by issues of identity, something most people can’t change, then nothing works. It’s just war.Here's your mission. "Put another way, there has to be a traditional conservative message that expands the base of support for law enforcement and against the pernicious cult of authenticity that enables the crazies as somehow deserving of celebration."