Democrats, whose most important supporters have long been super-wealthy coastal plutocrats with guilt complexes, are talking about class again. Going back to the same formula that worked so well for Walter Mondale and George McGovern and Adlai Stevenson and Ted Kennedy, the Democratic candidates for President are all babbling about the middle class and raising taxes on their biggest fundraisers.
Bill Clinton, the only successful Democratic politician since LBJ, was the first Democrat to realize that no one gave a shit about poor people anymore. Bill didn’t ramble on and on about poverty and wages, he just played the saxophone on the tv and signed bills allowing rich people to start Citigroup and become even richer.
Of course, nowadays, Democratic populism is all about pandering to something called “the middle class” and promising them health care and job security. The “working class” is still pretty unpopular, on account of them all being abortion-hating Republicans or dirty Mexicans.
But many Democrats argue that this is an inevitable response to the dislocation and unease in much of the country, which was a crucial factor in the party’s victory in Congress last November. The case for populism is made most powerfully by the Democrats who were elected to Congress last fall. Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio, who defeated a Republican incumbent with an attack on the trade and economic policies of recent years, said he was convinced that the populists were on the rise. He noted that he carried Ohio by 12.5 percentage points two years after John Kerry, the 2004 Democratic presidential nominee, lost the state by only about 2 percentage points, and with it the presidency.
Some observers note that the Democrats won the midterm elections because the Republicans were losing in Iraq and fucking little boys.