Democrats: Caught between Arugula and Bubba Bait

If you believe in my notion that politics is division, the art of dividing a people by uniting 51 percent of them to your banner, then you understand identity politics as merely a tactic, one way of bidding for political power by uniting a fraction of a people while “otherizing” the rest.

Marx was the genius that invented a class politics that divided the middle class from the working class. It was the Frankfurt School that modified the Marxist class politics into an identity politics of race and gender. Divide the classes! Divide the sexes! Divide the races! Then conquer!

Down the road, a problem occurs when naive scions of the leftist tradition do not understand that the whole class and race and gender thing is not Holy Writ but just a path to power. Every politician must figure out how to divide the electorate, and one way is as good as another. But the cunning politician never forgets that it is all just bait to hook the bubbas. It is the fool that believes his faction’s lies.

That is the way to understand the current mess in the Democratic Party. You have the wise old men like Bill Clinton and his creatures who invented the New Democrat line back in 1990 in order to balance the power project of the left with the actual political bubba bait that wins elections. Then you have the lefty ideologues that believe what their lefty professors taught them at their special snowflake colleges, but don’t know why.

This allows Matthew Continetti to have fun with a meet-and-greet at the Obama Foundation, complete with “caprese salad with arugula and pesto, followed by spinach and gorgonzola tortelloni with caramelized pears and bleu cheese cream” and a chalkboard where people can advertise their thoughts on toxic masculinity and woke-ness.

Here is where the left has ended up: preciousness in food, and counting the number of non-binary genders that can fit on the head of a pin.

Meanwhile chaps like Jonah Goldberg are whimpering that both political parties are coming apart. Well, of course they are. The guys that dug up the bubba bait for each party as a good way to hook the bubba vote are long dead in their graves, and the present incumbents are still baiting the hook with the same rotting bait and wondering why it doesn’t catch fish.

Earth to the ruling class: the same bubba bait doesn’t fool the rubes forever!

I was in the supermarket the other day and my regular checker had just intercepted a shoplifter on his way out the door. That prompted this honest 30-something Seahawks fan to descant on shoplifters and welfare and Section 8 housing and paying his taxes and working at his job and paying his rent. Can anyone spell President Trump?

I come back again to Charles Murray and Coming Apart. The top 20 percent of college graduates and arugula eaters are doing fine, the middle 50 percent of supermarket checkers and other middling people are doing okay, but in the bottom 30 percent the men don’t work much and the women don’t marry much.

Is this really the best we can do after a century of the welfare state?

Or have we returned to the world of a Jane Austen novel where the well-to-do visibly pirouette in their well-appointed drawing rooms and marry for money while the poor invisibly starve out on the land?

Can the left ever understand that today’s upper-class hypocrisy and lower-class squalor is the natural and inevitable result of a century of their identity politics? Do they not understand the monstrous injustice they do to the middling sort of people and their middling sort of jobs and lives when these folk get to see the little darlings of the ruling class misbehaving without consequence while the middling sort struggle along under a cloud of ruling-class scorn?

If only people would listen to me! I’ve got the Perfect Plan that would resolve all our problems and let us all live happily ever after.

Part One of my Perfect Plan understands that the great fact of our time is the immense migration from the country to the city. So the great challenge is to help country folk learn how to be city people. The French for city people is bourgeoisie. The left teaches people to make war on the bourgeoisie.

Part Two of my Perfect Plan is to teach the arugula eaters some compassion and tolerance, not for their little darlings, the marginalized and the oppressed, but for the ordinary middling sort of person, my supermarket checker. We Americans have a name for this middling sort of person: white working class. The left teaches people to sneer at the white working class.

But my Perfect Plan wouldn’t divide anyone. So no politician would be interested.

Christopher Chantrill @chrischantrill runs the go-to site on US government finances, Also get his American Manifesto and his Road to the Middle Class.