So there we have it: Abortion hurts Democrats just as it hurts Republicans, but in a different way. Whereas Republicans get in trouble for saying idiotic things about abortion, women, and rape, Democrats have essentially sacrificed the economic portion of their agenda”something that used to be very important to them”on the altar of abortion rights and other SJW issues. Donald Trump (who is almost certainly not an actual enemy of the oligarchs and “banksters”) can talk about economic reforms to benefit the working class all he wants, but the left will never be on board because of his statements on Muslims, immigration, and (now) abortion. Bernie Sanders can talk about economic justice all he wants, but he”ll never attract the all-important black Democrat demographic because he’s not seen as sufficiently obsessed with racial issues.
The simple truth is, Democrats can drone on and on all they want about giving “the poor” a voice in national politics, but, as Gilens points out, “more equal representation” of the poor will inevitably lead to more support for restrictions on abortion rights, a rollback in accommodations for gay and trans people, calls to restrict illegal immigration, and the return of “traditional morality” as a thing that actually matters in public policy. And leftists will never stand for that. They”d much rather have their aborted fetuses and unisex bathrooms and smug, contemptuous atheism than “economic equality.” Living in L.A., I know quite a few leftists who are poor. Dirt-poor. As in, no-money-for-weed-or-ramen poor. Yet they”d never make common cause with a pro-lifer or a “homophobe” or a “racist,” even if it would benefit them economically. They”d rather starve. They”d rather their kids starve. If Gilens is right regarding how the affluent have played this one, all I can say is, good show. Well done. The left is now squarely on the side of the 1%. The demands for “economic reform” (juvenile and inchoate as they were) expressed during the Occupy demonstrations have given way to the inflexible, angry racial myopia of Black Lives Matter.
Unexpectedly, I saw Professor Gilens” thesis play out as I was doing background for this piece. In 2014, the Huffington Post welcomed left-wing economic “expert” Eric Zuesse as a regular contributor. Zuesse, author of They”re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910″2010, styles himself as an unashamedly progressive fighter for the poor and disenfranchised. HuffPo brought him on board and gave him carte blanche to stick it to the man. Indeed, Zuesse was one of the people tasked with writing lengthy, breathless odes to the work of Professor Gilens. Unfortunately, on a different blog, Zuesse said a few things about President Obama that the HuffPo editors considered racist, so he was unceremoniously canned; no hearing, no probation, just fired.
According to Zuesse, with whom I corresponded before and after he was dumped by the Huffington Post, the Daily Kos has similarly banned him. A left-wing fighter for economic justice, a progressive author trying to give a voice to the poor, a committed foe of the oligarchs, sacked and banned because he said something mean about a black guy. Behold the left’s priorities, in a nutshell.
Leftists, National Review-style “respectable” conservatives, establishment Republicans and Democrats, and the superrich are all on the same page now regarding the working-class poor. Those lowborn homophobic racist anti-choice Jesus freaks deserve to be disenfranchised.
Trump may or may not be an actual threat to the “oligarchs,” but many of his supporters certainly believe he is, and they”ve rallied around him with enthusiasm. If Trump is taken out, whether by the abortion issue or something else down the line, there is no replacement. Sanders” followers might give good lip service to the concept of empowering the working poor, but in the end, as Professor Gilens so astutely points out, to do so would work against the priorities of today’s Democrats.
As long as there is even one abortion going unperformed, one man in a wig barred from the women’s bathroom, and one white guy who dares to think he can wear dreadlocks, the fight against the 1% can wait.