Friday, April 25, 2014

US politics: Ivy League Liberal Elitism Will Make Sarah Palin President - How Only Union Organizing Can Prevent It

Conservatives win many votes saying that liberals are elitist. I am here to tell you that the liberal movement is indeed very elitist. Its organization's staffs are composed mainly of Ivy leaguers whose life experiences are dramatically different than the 70 percent of Americans that never graduate from college. Very few of them have any actual experience living with or knowing working-class people. As a graduate of Bucknell, I still feel out of a place and most glaringly underdressed when I get in a room with the Ivy Leaguers running our movement.
As garbageman turned United Electrical Workers (UE) in Political Action Director Chris Townsend put it to me:

"When I am in meetings in Washington, DC, with organizations that presume to speak for workers or on behalf of workers - I ironically find myself the only worker in the room. As a worker with a GED - and 30-plus years of labor union experience - opinions like mine are rarely sought and universally dismissed as being too extremist when most workers feel the way I do about things. This is why it is so common for liberal and left-wing staff and activists to completely misunderstand workers."

The experiences of liberal elites are so outside of the mainstream that, very often, they just don't understand the working class. They fail to communicate to workers because most of them have never talked to a worker in real life, except for to ask for fries at McDonald's. Instead, when they fail to understand the misdirected anger of the working class at its economic anxiety, they tend to engage in intellectual snobbery and narrow-mindedness that only serve to alienate the white working class further.

Such snobbery was expressed to me in an email recently sent to me from a Democratic media strategist who said the message of the day was, "Conservatives face a choice about the future of their movement: Will they come to the table to get things done or 'stick with the angry people'?"

Well, let me think about that for a second. If I am a poor white guy, do I want to go with the polite people (Democrats) who are going to beg for change with their sophisticated intellectual arguments that I don't understand? Or do I want to be with the party (Republicans) that embraces my anger and wants to get out in the streets to yell about how awful this economy is?

Americans are screaming now about the economic hell we are in. Republicans are screaming about how awful the economy is and winning many of them over. Albeit, they're winning them with the wrong solutions, but they are trying to win Joe the Plumber, not Joe Stiglitz, so the details don't really matter.

On the economy, the Democratic message is, "Sit tight, don't get out in the street and protest, everything will be alright." White working-class guys would choose the angry people who are willing to stand up and say how frustrated they feel. The progressives who are telling me to be cool and not get upset with things are just merely talking down to me. They have the privilege of telling me not to get upset, when I have every right to be upset.

Sarah Palin indeed represents all the rage of the working class that liberals of this country are trying to quiet down. Many liberal elites engaged in revisionist history say that McCain's defeat was caused by Palin. However, anybody who actually worked on the Obama campaign like I did knew that McCain's defeat was caused by the financial crisis and McCain's baffling response and coddling of Wall Street.

As an organizer for the Obama campaign on the ground in Western Pennsylvania during the election, I remember how white, working-class, swing voters couldn't stop talking about Sarah Palin for weeks on end. For the three weeks between Palin's selection as VP candidate and the financial crash, we were scared shitless the Republicans were going to win as Palin led to McCain surging in the polls.

Many white, working-class people loved her because here was a politician who finally was working class and ready for a fight. They loved her even more as Ivy League liberals denounced her as basically "white trash." It felt to white, working-class people like liberal elites were calling them "white trash" too.

Liberals still treat Palin and the right-wing populist Tea Party Movement that she leads as "white trash." They spend more time attacking them as "stupid racists" than actually trying to win them over and address their concerns. Its as if liberals are saying we know better than you stupid working-class people.

To understand how easily Sarah Palin could be the next president, we need only look to another vice presidential candidate widely denounced by the liberal elite when he was announced in 1952 - Richard Milhouse Nixon. Nixon became president by mobilizing resentment of the working class against elites. By framing elites as talking down to the poor and working class, Sarah Palin, with the right slick ad men, could mobilize that same type of sentiment against the elitist "eggheads" of the Democratic Party... read more: