And the politics of contempt.
Ruy Teixeira's spirit guide is Neville Chamberlain
To echo both Mona and Charlie I'll share an example of billionaire contempt and narcissism together:
A case where a bunch of Silicon Valley billionaires decide they don't like their neighborhood and decide they want to ruin somebody else's neighborhood to make themselves happy. Their disconnect from the people and the place is best described by a local rancher who turned down the billionaire money because of her deep connection to the land her family lived on for generations, "He couldn't understand why I would value this idea more than I would value the money." Because the county has a plan that preserves the land the billionaires scooped up for agricultural use only, county residents have to vote to approve their utopian dreams. The November 2024 election is going to be a fight to the death. The good thing is that there is pretty universal opposition to the scheme no matter what political views one has. Nothing like a bunch of narcissists to bring everyone together.
Biden keeps missing the opportunity to have the clear fireside chat moment that shows with visuals what right to work states have done to the working class. Standing in a factory hoping the mainstream press will emblazon his image of pushing for factory revitalization and a living wage will never happen. The public supports his actions, they just have not been shown the connecting dots on a weekly basis. So they cannot understand the foundation of growth and resiliency the Presidents bills are laying.
As Will Bunch so honestly details: “67% of the public are supportive of unions, consolidating a trend that began when the economic crisis of 2008-09 dramatized how far the pendulum of inequality had swung toward corporations and billionaires, and away from the U.S. worker.”
They know the system was broken, they just are led down primrose paths by power hungry liars about how the nation was hollowed out. The democratic party should be wallpapering images across the country of what government investment supports and builds. They are horrible at selling accomplishments and work product. Union workers also deserve news interviews about how many gave up rights and pay after the Great Recession and that a good paying job in an government/tax payer subsidized factory, is the least labor should receive.
With respect, Charlie, I would take all this "YOU SHOULDN'T TALK DOWN TO THE WORKING MAN, DAVID, YOU DADGUM ELITIST" stuff seriously if it weren't bullshit.
Since it is bullshit, I don't.
When middle-to-upper-class people are being hammered far harder by the inflationary, overcooked economic state than the working class is (a fact, no matter how deeply people *feel* to the contrary), and economic inequality is on a heavily downward trend, I can only take so much of people, pundits, and politicians sticking their fingers in their ears (and eyes) and saying la-la-la-I-can't-hear-you-Facts-are-for-losers before I call it irrational AF and throw up my hands.
Of course, I'm not a political professional or campaign strategist, so I have that luxury. To those who are and have the responsibility of defending democracy against impending doom in the face of this horseshit, I wish them luck. (And if they succeed, I will owe them many, many beers in the future.)
I'm a day late but whatever. Half of this article seems to refer to working-class voters and white working-class voters interchangeably. They are not one in the same. One is a subgroup of the other that is often at odds with the rest of the group so they cannot be used as interchangeable terms. The focus on white working-class voters specifically rather than working-class voters more generally is the normal beef certain Dems, including myself, have and conflating the terms doesn't help that.
Secondly, of course the solution is to screw another portion of the Dem coalition by casting doubt on an already inadequate push to help with climate change by smoothing the transition to EVs. Why not propose a policy FDR really would have approved of like raising the minimum wage or overriding state level right to work laws to allow the unions to spread? The latter would even have the knock on effect of forcing the red states to compete on education, infrastructure, and healthcare support rather than just a race to the bottom on taxes, wages, and worker rights.
TL;DR - Why are white working-class people the only focus when they are usually at odds with the rest of the working class at large and why are the proposed solutions to this Dem "working-class" problem always Republican Lite rather than historical Dem solutions?
“We are getting very far indeed from FDR’s party of the common man and woman.”
FDR’s party was the party of the common White man, which is the crux of the matter for Democrats today. The civil rights movement--and, later, the feminist movement--persuaded a significant number of White Democrats that if their party did not stand for the rights of all men and women, it stood for nothing. Many Whites have been unable or unwilling to accept that. Ruy Teixera seems unable to accept that the dilemma exists.
Wait, so now Mr. Teixeira (aka Dr. Doom) is opposed to technological transitions? Why, I recall an article he wrote two years ago lamenting the fact that too many progressives were becoming luddites in their opposition to technological advancements. So which is it? Are we only to be opposed to technological advancements because WWC voters are unsure about them? Oh but AI advancements are fine because it mainly impacts college grads? Talk about class warfare.
Also, if people will only be happy when prices return to pre-COVID levels then they may as well jump off a bridge now because that will never happen. Prices never return to their original level; the baseline permanently shifts. That is why the government measures prices and economic activity in todays dollars and costs dollars. Inflation is not an increase in prices; it is the rate of the increase. The best way to fix this is to increase wages so that they are higher than the inflation rate. This is why you need unions.
As for the UAW members, well as the child of a woman whose as a Union member for 40 years, let me assure you that is is not a surprise. In the 80’s I remember my mother telling me stories about all of her co-workers who were Republicans. She used to say, “a Union worker voting Republican is like a Black KKK member.” Where is Dave Chappelle when you need him?
It is really sad to read something like this in the Bulwark. I expect little else from Dr. Doom but I do expect more from Charlie.
Is anyone else getting really tired of hearing what Ruy thinks? I mean, his whole argument essentially boils-down to "voters don't agree with what some rando's are saying on Twitter". No shit, Ruy! Thanks for your insight! How long are we doomed to be subjected to this asymmetric analysis where the Republican Party gets judged by what their actual elected officials do and say, while the Democratic Party only gets judged by what random nobodies, who just so happen to support Democrats, say on Twitter or at protests? I recommend to everyone that whenever you hear or read Ruy's opinions, replace the word "Democrat" with "people on Twitter" and all of his analyses will make WAY more sense.
One giveaway as to Rudy Teixeira’s analysis of “why white working men “ are what they are is, I hate to break the news to him, is absolutely race. As a member of that class for over 50 years, I have never had a political discussion while ay work, or even while socialising, that these men especially, havent gone directly to race whether it started out with economics, education or cultural subjects.
"And you know, there’s sort of a bubbling underlying resentment among many working-class voters in general about ‘What if I don’t want an EV?’ You know, you know, I like my car, you know, and the idea that we’re going to have this super rapid transition to electric vehicles, I think flies in the face of the reality of consumer behavior."
When a technological revolution takes place, that "underlying resentment" is not inevitable. A lot depends on how inherently attractive the new technology is, and to a greater or lesser extent, on how well it's marketed. The next time Ruy Teixeira travels through O'Hare, or any other airport thirty years old or more, rather than rush through the baggage claim area as we all do, I invite him to take a few minutes and look around, at that strange area of empty structures between the baggage carousels and the street. That, twenty years ago, is where banks and banks of pay phones used to be. Those missing pay phones are the avatars for several whole industries, with supply chains and support networks, that disappeared in just a few years. Who misses pay phones today? How many people even miss landlines? The same technology, the miniaturized computer that we all have in our pockets, yet continue to refer to as just a "phone", simultaneously destroyed virtually the whole photographic film manufacturing and processing industry, and the camera industry, and who but a relatively small number of hobbyists regrets that?
The lesson of the cellphone is that "consumer behavior" can be a lot more flexible than it's given credit for, if the consumer is presented with a really attractive value proposition. Assuming bitter resistance shows a lack of imagination, and could become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Didn't the same thing happen when they invented cars? People thought it was ridiculous and foolish that there were people who wanted to replace the horse. What happened? People still used horses for a long time, but everything changes. I want to get a care robot for my old age. I'm sure I could hire someone who would need the job, but I'd rather have a robot.
This is do stupid. If you work for living, you are working class. The politicians and media try to divide us. But a nurse or school teacher is just as much working class as an electrician or construction worker. The nurse and teacher probably don't get paid as much.
I followed your discussion with Ruy Teixeira with interest and general agreement. I found it curios that he identifies as a progressive while criticizing progressive excess, when I have come to think of a progressive as a liberal absent constraint of excess. I did find his seeming disdain for climate initiatives, especially coming from a self-styled progressive, to be off-putting, both in tone and substance. While voters may be put off by policies that would seem to ignore individual preferences as expressed by market forces, their preferences in general might often seem to elevate immediate gratification over any widespread sense of responsibility for the common good. If government is be the guarantor of individual liberty as well as guardian of the commons, in ways in which private markets often fail or for which those forces are conceptually inadequate, some aspects of industrial policy would seem to be (guardedly) appropriate. As one who values my personal freedom, i.e. the right of choice, I prefer my older, less efficient, gas guzzler to the prospect of a ‘clean’ electric replacement. It’s paid for, and in regards to fuel cost, I don’t put that many miles on it. It will probably last me for the duration. (They will have to pry the steering wheel from my cold dead hands.) However, I am in general supportive of rapid, even costly, replacement of the transportation system in general with electric vehicles and of the rapid and costly transition away from carbon based energy sources. I am aware that this cannot happen overnight and depends in large part on technologies, some of which are nascent or yet to be invented. Indeed, market forces are nudging us in that direction.
But time would seem to be in short supply. One does not, as Bob says, have to be a weather man to know which way the wind is blowing. In the absence of propaganda sources I do not have to look far to see for myself the looming threat of the apocalypse—it is enveloping rather than "looming" and increasingly contributes to the general feeling of anxiety that is driving cultural and political instability.
Both parties are addicted to populist appeal as their claim to legitimacy. Hence the deep appeal of the idea of a movement toward the creation of a third party appealing to ideals of good governance. Statesmanship has long been replaced, except in occasional residual or isolated instances, by celebrity grifters with wet fingers to the wind of popular opinion. Elected officials need be reminded that leadership is their job description, rather than that of being poll readers, charged as thy are to analysis and action on the basis of principles for which they were chosen by voters who will register their opinion of their performance at the next election; and need be reminded that integrity requires not being overly anxious of losing one’s position for having done one’s job.
It is hard to imagine how we may effectively address our current problems, including the depths of despair and cynicism that inhibit meaningful progress, without a return of local state and national leadership of a caliber now in very short supply, of leaders devoted to ideals of personal freedom and initiative but of personal and collective responsibility as well, of leaders prepared to tell constituents what they may not want to hear, but of such stature and integrity that those, who sent them to office in respect of their character may be inclined to listen, to be open to rational arguments in support of the common good, even when at their own expense. Moral action is first unilateral rather than transactional, and its influence spreads from the epicenter of its expression. Such a resurgence of political integrity presumes a resurgence of national ethos to the extent of a shared sense of commonality, of an awareness that civic duty may entail personal sacrifice, and of a concern for continuation of that which is left behind our personal demise. The return of local, state and national leadership within the confines of democratic republican concepts will only occur with a general resurgence of individual morality and recognition of personal and communal responsibilities sufficient to the growth of civic participation and enlightened leadership. Such transformation must happen a mind at a time, no magic conversion wand, but can be built around the germ of personal integrity and unilateral moral action and, subsequently those individuals so defined acting in concert in pursuit of the common good. Good and evil both have the quality of being contagious. Enough with the bread and circus, let’s get back to civic responsibility and good governance.
Biden would seem to be crossing a line when taking a partisan stance in support of the UAW, consistent, of course, with his old school image of the now rare Democrat concerned with the interest of the common man, other than of those represented by well-defined identity/interest groups. Rather than a voice of consensus in support of an integrated relationship between capital and labor, he frequently extols the value of labor, as the engine of prosperity, while discounting the importance of capital formation and the role of management in the role of concept and direction of the enterprise, as if labor, with adequate pay and benefits, could, on its own, get the job done. An economist might be forgiven for seeing prosperity as dependent on a synthesis of those elements—no products or profits to be made without labor and, without capital and its managerial direction, the hands of labor idle.
Both sides of the current issue would seem to have legitimate elements of their arguments. The companies have rebounded from the brink of extinction thanks in significant part to radical concessions made by the union in recognition of the real threat of the loss of the jobs of all workers as a result of the imminent collapse of the industry as a result of foreign competition. A protected industry having grown fat and complacent was producing low quality products that consumers were not buying, enthralled as they were by products with less in the way of fins but with higher reliability and lower operating costs. Labor had grown fat as well, able to wring pay and benefits from companies that could pass along bloated costs to a captive market. When that situation was no longer viable the piper came calling. A return to the status quo ante in terms of relative pay and benefits would inevitably recreate, without protectionist measures and the elimination of non-union shops in the Republican Southeast, a repetition of the crises. It would seem that Ricardo’s law is still a relevant constraint. Henry Ford’s insight, that better pay would enable his workers to buy his cars, and along with better working and living conditions would produce a more productive workforce, is also relevant.
In the podcast with Mona, Charlie mentioned he had gotten a lot of blowback over the Texeira podcast.
Here's the problem with Teixera:
It's not that he's wrong about the mistakes and tone-deafness of the Democrats he allegedly supports. It's that he's so relentlessly negative about Democrats and he never stops to emphasize that the Republicans are so, so much worse and a dire threat to our country. He comes across as being more influential in providing reasons not to vote for Democrats.
And let's not forget how badly wrong he was about the 2022 elections.
Anyway, Teixera's unforced assists to Republican talking points and his failure to emphasize how dangerous the Republicans have become are why I stopped subscribing to his newsletter.
Maybe he ought to frame the Democrats' shortcomings in the context of what's coming if Republicans once again control the entire government.
I read the comments here regarding the working class as a group, and for the life of me I can't understand why those people don't understand that the Democratic party really knows what's best for them. Why can't just listen?
It isn't that Ruy didn't have any good points to make; he just interspersed so many Bullshit Mosquitos and triggers that my brain had to keep swatting away, it became too irritating to listen.
Do democrats have to stop tuning out the concerns of the working class and start listening to them, understanding their concerns, even perhaps while disagreeing? Absolutely.
I am here at Bulwark+ so I don't have to deal with bullshit. Please filter it out? kthnx.