October 8, 2015

HOW DID THE DEMOCRATS BECOME FAVORITES OF THE RICH? John Podhoretz dubs this New York Times article “an important piece by Tom Edsell, which is not something I usually say:”

Democrats now depend as much on affluent voters as on low-income voters. Democrats represent a majority of the richest congressional districts, and the party’s elected officials are more responsive to the policy agenda of the well-to-do than to average voters. The party and its candidates have come to rely on the elite 0.01 percent of the voting age population for a quarter of their financial backing and on large donors for another quarter.

The gulf between the two parties on socially fraught issues like abortion, immigration, same-sex marriage and voting rights remains vast. On economic issues, however, the Democratic Party has inched closer to the policy positions of conservatives, stepping back from championing the needs of working men and women, of the unemployed and of the so-called underclass.

In this respect, the Democratic Party and its elected officials have come to resemble their Republican counterparts far more than the public focus on polarization would lead you to expect.

Well, speak for yourself, Tom. We’ve been writing about this trend since at least 11 years ago, when the Democrats nominated the second coming of Thurston Howell as their presidential nominee, a man who makes FDR seem positively plebeian. (As Mark Steyn asked around the same time, “Could Kerry slum it in the White House?”) As to the reason why, well, James Delingpole dubs it “The Drawbridge Effect” — “You’ve made your money. Now the very last thing you want is for all those trashy middle class people below you to have a fair shot at getting as rich as you are.”

This has its drawbacks — the left can’t preach what it practices, Charles Murray memorably wrote in Coming Apart. “That is certainly true,” William Tucker added at the American Spectator in his review of Murray’s 2012 book. “No one who has been through the American educational system can feel comfortable telling high school graduates that they should work hard, get married, and practice the virtues of thrift and honesty—even though they adhere to those values themselves.” Jonah Goldberg named this disparity “hypocrophobia,” noting that the wealthy have a far greater cushion in terms of both money and the protection it buys, when things go wrong:

What drives me crazy is when rich liberal single parents think they have legs to stand on when speaking on behalf of low-income single parents. I certainly understand the defensiveness, and no doubt they have some shared experiences. But the most infuriating problem with elite culture is its refusal to understand that it can afford its sins — or if you prefer something more secular, its mistakes.

People with lots of financial and social capital can afford to make bad choices that would be devastating for others. Rich single parents can afford nannies and tutors and play groups and summer camps. And parenting is only one aspect of it. The elite can afford rehab. If they get a DUI, they can afford a good lawyer. If they lose their license, they can take Uber. In terms of social capital, they get second and third chances from judges, schools, employers, landlords, et al.

But it’s good that the Times has finally noticed that the party for which they serve as house organ is the chief political party of the One Percent, as their (Gray Lady-approved) shock troops back during Occupy Wall Street would have dubbed their fellow Democrats.

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