Nothing has been revealed of the class divide in America like runaway inflation and skyrocketing gas prices. But in addition to the economic impact the staggering inefficiency of the Biden administration is having on the working class, there is also a political one; it’s driving flawlessly working class voters Beyond the Democrats and towards the GOP.
But it’s not all good news for conservatives. Recent amazon vote Union formation could be the harbinger of something less appealing to the right: a nascent insurgency among vast armies of service workers who have lived on the lower economic rungs for decades.
In fact, the rising tide of class struggle is problematic for both sides. The Amazon vote challenges the GOP’s anti-union stance and its free market dogma. but Democratsalso, it faces an embarrassing conundrum, as the companies most likely to face continued union drives – among them Amazon and Starbucks – are themselves. core funders and media manager of the Democratic Party.
This is not the discussion that liberal elites or right-wing activists want. They would rather fight climates like hot buttons of the media, Casteand rather than meaningfully addressing gender, working conditions, wages or fast rising rent,
In other words, no party has developed any program to promote the aspirations of the proletariat.
And this despite the fact that growing class divisions may be the major issue of the next decade. Middle and working class Americans are widely and rightly pessimistic about their economic future. Even before the civil unrest and pandemic of recent years, Pew reported that most Americans believed that our country was in decline, shrinking middle classincreased debt, separation from leaders And increasing polarization,
about 70 percent of Americans Last year, pollsters were told that the next generation would be worse than their parents. And it’s not just the public. young people There are also pessimists across the country: Most people ages 15 to 24 also think that life will be worse for them than for their parents.
They are not wrong. The share of American adults living in middle-income households has dropped from 61 percent in 1971 to 51 percent in 2019, and the pandemic appears to have accelerated this pattern, hitting low-income workers. the hardest While recovery helped him at least.
Meanwhile, those at the top are increasing it. CEO Compensation This year hit record highs, rejoicing investment bankers on Wall Street record bonus And giant tech firm Now boast a market capitalization higher than the bloated federal budget.
This could prove to be a favorable moment for America’s working majority to speak out, not least because the labor market is tighter than ever. US population growth Falling from 20 percent in the eighties to less than 5 percent in the last decade. To make matters worse, the presumed A third US working-age men not in labor force, suffering high price on incarceration, drug and alcohol abuse and other health issues.
and while the pandemic Largely affected low-wage workers, as the economy opens up, labor is more in short supply, especially in the service class. There is a constant shortage of workers severe shortage On the employment front – from nurses and delivery people to farm workers, retail and hotel workers, truck drivers And restaurant staff,
Nearly 90 percent of companies surveyed US Chamber of Commerce Blame a lack of available workers for slowing the economy, more than doubling blamed pandemic restrictions. and there is a shortage of such labor wage pressure, corporations like target and walmart has announced a comprehensive pay hike, while an estimated 500,000 manufacturing jobs left unfinished,
Some prefer traditional leftists Bernie Sanders hoped workers could benefit from the new leverage labor unionespecially in large chains such as starbucks Or Amazon. But given the number of strikes, the chances of a full withdrawal in the unions seem slim. well below of previous years and private sector association membership has declined through epidemics; The overall unionization rate of young workers now approaches 4 percent of the workforce.
Given the weakness of the unions, the policy of the government should come forward to promote social mobility. The question is how.
Many working people do not want to depend on alms from aristocratic-dominated government, as they are growing rapidly. in California and in proposals like Green New Deal. In form of pew research center found over and over again, most Americans do not want handouts, but would prefer make a living,
for a long time Democratic Strategist Ruy Teixeira has pointed out that the majority of working class voters will not rally on issues such as transgenderism, critical race theory, defiance of the police or harsh climate policies. Anyone who wants their vote will need to speak to their daily, important concerns; Imposing cultural issues from above will only drive away voters.
Democrats need to transcend the obsession with academy and media talking heads in their Washington or New York studios — overpaid and untouched — and focus on the more popular things instead. Traditional Social Democratic Policies For the purpose of raising wages, expanding health policies or resuming production from abroad. Gallup found that only a small proportion of Americans view Biden’s core concerns over climate, race or gender as a nation’s priority; Instead the focus is on voters of all castes highest inflation In 40 years, government incompetence, and pandemic shocks.
Of course, the right wing has its challenges when it comes to talking to the working class. If the pressure of the green and tech oligarchs outweighs the Democrats, the GOP’s campaign for support of the working class may have to do with their residual laissez-faire free-market religion and their corporatist roots, Republicans love to talk about the dangers of waking corporations, but they don’t care about whether companies can lay off their employees.
The GOP also faces a cultural conundrum: the vast majority of Americans cannot accept the extreme agenda of new-style progress, but the extreme Republican position on issues such as abortion or the validity of 2020 elections Voting is not widely shared by the public.
At the end of the day, our political future will not be shaped by the cultural war that defines more prosperous times, but by pocketbook issues. wages, cost of buying a house or RentThere will be issues defining the fate of small businesses against the cost of food, and the battle for leverage between employers and oligarchs. The class politics that have long dominated Europe are now here with a vengeance, and will stick around until they are addressed.
Under his headstone in Hampstead Heath, Karl Marx must be smiling.
Joel Kotkin is Presidential Fellow in Urban Futures at Chapman University and Executive Director of the Urban Reform Institute. his new book, neo-feudalism, is out of combat now. You can follow him on Twitter: @joelkotkin,
The views expressed in this article are those of the author.