Columns

The Problems of the Left-Rich Woke Alliance

AP Photo/Vincent Yu

In lots of places, people feel like second-class citizens in their own country. The defining characteristic of many Third-World societies and all totalitarianisms is that a tiny elite, whether called the party members or oligarchs who call the shots. Generally speaking, only the democratic West was the exception to this rule. The U.S. long avoided the aristocrat/peasant split through growth in middle- and lower-class income. But beginning with Ronald Reagan or Barack Obama, depending on what economist you believe, this income growth stopped and trends started splitting America into two halves.

Unchecked, the combination of stagnating middle-class incomes and increasing ‘elite’ control over government would inevitably fuel a Third-World-ization of America and spark a populist rebellion against the status quo. The idea of the ‘elite deep state,’ already prevalent, was unwittingly given credence by a Time magazine article detailing “The Secret History of the Shadow Campaign That Saved the 2020 Election.”

Hundreds of major business leaders, many of whom had backed Trump’s candidacy and supported his policies, called on him to concede. To the President, something felt amiss. “It was all very, very strange,” Trump said on Dec. 2. “Within days after the election, we witnessed an orchestrated effort to anoint the winner, even while many key states were still being counted.”

In a way, Trump was right.

There was a conspiracy unfolding behind the scenes, one that both curtailed the protests and coordinated the resistance from CEOs. Both surprises were the result of an informal alliance between left-wing activists and business titans. The pact was formalized in a terse, little-noticed joint statement of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and AFL-CIO published on Election Day. Both sides would come to see it as a sort of implicit bargain.

Notice Time describes two ways into the inner sanctum: membership by culture, i.e. “left-wing activists,” and by money, i.e. “business titans.”  Lee Smith, writing in Tablet, offers an explanation for the strange left-rich alliance that at once accounts for American social polarization and the odd composition of its ruling coalition: globalization.

For my last column I spoke with The New York Times’ Thomas Friedman about an article he wrote more than a decade ago, during the first year of Barack Obama’s presidency. His important piece documents the exact moment when the American elite decided that democracy wasn’t working for them. …

The one-word motto they came to live by was globalism—that is, the freedom to structure commercial relationships and social enterprises without reference to the well-being of the particular society in which they happened to make their livings and raise their children. …

Why did they trade with an authoritarian regime and send millions of American manufacturing jobs off to China thereby impoverish working Americans? Because it made them rich. They salved their consciences by telling themselves they had no choice but to deal with China: It was big, productive, and efficient and its rise was inevitable. And besides, the American workers hurt by the deal deserved to be punished—who could defend a class of reactionary and racist ideological naysayers standing in the way of what was best for progress?

For reasons of their own, the members of the globalist coalition wanted to get rid of the Deplorables, along with their ideas of high wages, vacations, God, and American exceptionalism. Here was the basis for the greatest alliance of convenience since Detroit built trucks for Stalin during WW2. “A decade ago, no one would’ve put NBA superstar LeBron James and Apple CEO Tim Cook in the same family album, but here they are now, linked by their fantastic wealth owing to cheap Chinese manufacturing.”

In desperation, the Deplorables reached outside of Washington and sent the Trump wrecking ball their way. It cracked but did not shatter the system.

Because of Trump’s pressure on the Americans who benefited extravagantly from the U.S.-China relationship, these strange bedfellows acquired what Marxists call class consciousness—and joined together to fight back, further cementing their relationships with their Chinese patrons.

Although it is not the focus of the article, Lee Smith’s thesis also illuminates Joe Biden’s principal political dilemma: how to preserve the 2020 left-rich alliance while remaining at least equal to Xi Jinping. For example, the environmentalists want to shut down China’s manufacturing, whose aluminum sector alone uses more electricity than Germany produces. But what would “the business titans” say?

Of course, there is the coronavirus, whose effects threaten to deep-six the entire global world now that Donald Trump is no longer available to blame. Biden, to his chagrin, is eating crow because he cannot let China get away with it.

WASHINGTON — The White House on Saturday called on China to make available data from the earliest days of the Covid-19 outbreak, saying it has “deep concerns” about the way the findings of the World Health Organization’s coronavirus report were communicated.

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said in a statement that it is imperative that the report be independent and free from “alteration by the Chinese government”, echoing concerns raised by the administration of former President Donald Trump, who also moved to quit the WHO over the issue.

The left might object to the racism implied in considering that Wuhan might have something to do with it. However, in recompense, Hollywood might be willing to let the Mandalorian’s Gina Carano be ousted from Star Wars as a sop to the Woke wolves. By such stunts will the alliance be maintained while the contradictions between the left-wing activists and business titans fester.

But none of the fires have been extinguished. Discontent among the Deplorables will grow, undampened, and perhaps even stoked by the 2020 elections and the Covid endemic lockdowns. China will continue to harden in tyranny. The left-wing activists will continue to use tech to spread their statist creed. The powder train will burn toward the magazine. And somewhere in the middle will be Joe Biden with an hourglass runnning out of sand.

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