President Trump’s ongoing efforts to protect the American worker through his trade policies and commitment to crack down on illegal immigration have made him a natural magnet for working-class support. Democrats were too late to understand the significance of this in the “change” election of 2016, and it cost them the White House. But their party has only become more radical in the years since, leading some to wonder how Dem candidates can reach out to voters they ignored the last time around without losing their place in the ranks of wokeness now required of all members.
Faux Blue Collars
Six announced Democrat presidential candidates attended an April 27 labor forum to showcase their pro-union bona fides. At least, that is the way CNN reported it. In fact, the gathering was organized by the Service Employees International Union, in conjunction with the Center for American Progress Action Fund, a George Soros-funded leftist group. The union represents maids, janitors and kitchen workers and is unsurprisingly heavily pro-illegal immigration.
Each of the six candidates at the forum was able to discuss comfortable progressive talking points such as an increased minimum wage and Medicaid for all. They were not challenged in the slightest on how the party’s strident backing of illegal aliens and constant pandering on social issues may affect their ability to woo other unions and white working-class voters who backed Trump in 2016.
In other words, the event was a canned production for the progressive wing that has taken over the Democratic Party. Quite simply, concern over the legal status of kitchen help at trendy gastro-pubs in the upscale urban areas that vote overwhelmingly blue is not going to sway the Rust Belt workers who helped push Trump to victory in states like Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin.
Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) is currently pushing a bill to allow illegal alien Dreamers to get paid internships on Capitol Hill. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) ardently supports the DREAM Act, which would grant amnesty to millions of illegal aliens who came into the country before they turned 18.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and former Colorado governor John Hickenlooper have both pledged their support for a bill pushed by Al Sharpton’s National Action Network to give financial reparations to blacks on account of slavery. Harris also vowed to sign such a bill.
Former San Antonio mayor Julian Castro wants to put an end to criminalizing unauthorized border crossings into the U.S. And ex-Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX) has confessed “the truth of the criticism that I have enjoyed white privilege — absolutely. Undeniable.”
Lessons From 2016
It should go without saying that none of this is remotely appealing to heartland Americans worrying about their next paycheck. The leadership PAC of Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-IL) produced a 2018 report titled “Hope from the Heartland: How Democrats Can Better Serve the Midwest by Bringing Rural, Working Class Wisdom to Washington.” In the report, Democrats from the very areas that national progressive party bigwigs are neglecting, warn how the party must change its radical course.
“The 2016 election wasn’t about Trump. It was an anti-establishment vote,” former Ohio State Rep. Nick Barborak is quoted as saying in the report. “It’s not that people voted for Trump, but they voted against the Democrats. We’re (seen as) the party of big cities and social issues.”
“Rural voters feel the Democratic Party used to represent working-class issues. We seem focused on things manifested in identity politics that don’t apply to rural,” Illinois state Sen. Andy Manar said. “There was a vacuum with these voters, and Trump filled it. Democrats didn’t have a coherent message to rural voters and weren’t reaching out.”
Dems seem determined to repeat their mistakes in 2020. Even when Senator Warren acknowledged the struggles of the working class, she immediately fell right back into identity politics tropes by demonizing whites with the next words out of her mouth.
In a commencement speech at historically black Morgan State University in December, Warren said that the “rich and powerful” had attempted to “pit white working people against black and brown working people so they won’t band together and demand real change.” Amazingly, she then followed up that remark by pitting white people against others. “Two sets of rules: one for white families. And one for everybody else. That’s how a rigged system works.”
If there is one Democrat candidate who can capitalize on the party’s inability to discipline itself enough to successfully appeal to working-class Americans, it would be the democratic socialist himself, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT). Sanders strongly spoke out against illegal immigration and for the idea of the “nation state” specifically as a way to defend the American worker during his 2016 run.
“It would make everybody in America poorer — you’re doing away with the concept of a nation state, and I don’t think there’s any country in the world that believes in that,” Sanders said. “Bring in all kinds of people, work for $2 or $3 an hour, that would be great for them. I don’t believe in that. I think we have to raise wages in this country, I think we have to do everything we can to create millions of jobs.”
But 2020 Sanders has caved, showing that he cannot avoid the identity politics mousetrap that will seriously blunt his economic message. On the reparations issue, Sanders told ABC’s The View program in March, “I think that right now, our job is to address the crises facing the American people and our communities, and I think there are better ways to do that than just writing out a check.” But when queried by Al Sharpton one month later, he meekly replied, “If the House and Senate passed that bill, of course I would sign it.”
These are the kinds of warped priorities that spell election defeat. How can Democrats expect working Americans to support a party that is apparently determined to prove to them that it flatly refuses to put their interests first?
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