Blue-Collar Workers are Now Solidly Republican
Barack Obama squandered the opportunity of a lifetime to become a transformational president. That was his signature ambition, obvious enough in his infamous remarks about how he would fundamentally transform the country. He ended up focused on identity politics, rather than any transformation for the better of the economy. But the economy is what concerns ordinary Americans, not identity politics. Had Obama addressed that while he was president, he could have solidified a winning coalition for the Democrats that could have lasted for a very long time. At this point, history will now find him responsible for his party losing the working classes and paving the way for Trump's emergence and election as a populist hero.
It started from Obama's 2008 campaign as a moderate, capturing the imagination of millions of Americans as a highly attractive and smart candidate who seemed to be bringing people together after President Bush's two terms of polarizing governance, especially with the highly unpopular Iraq war and the amorphous war in Afghanistan that continues to this day. The combination of Obama's soothing rhetoric and his status as the first black presidential candidate, had appeal.
For the most part, it turned out to be a ruse. When he became president, he almost immediately shed the pretense of the moderation presented to the American people during his 2008 campaign against John McCain. Instead of being a moderate, he immediately moved to the far left after his election with Obamacare and the $800 billion bailout for Wall Street, both of which proved to be highly unpopular with a large percentage of the people who helped put him in office. Those voters were the middle and working classes who had been historically a significant part of the Democratic Party base. But that loyalty was severely tested by Obama as he went on to further alienate them with his highly partisan posturing in three high-profile incidents that occurred on his watch: the arrest of Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates in Cambridge, Massachusetts early in his term, the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and then the death of Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida.
In each situation the victims were black men and the perpetrators were white men. In all of them, Obama jumped into the controversies with a rush to judgment to declare the white men racist for their actions, joined by the media and left-wing politicians. They were all examples of what has been and continues to be, guilty before innocent, a post-modern phenomenon that's inverted the entire premise of the American legal system. It's has since continued in many odious ways in the Trump era, example one being that it is essentially what happened with the phony quid pro quo claim against Trump as the basis for impeaching him where every single leading Democrat declared his guilt from the start.
In retrospect, had Obama maintained a much more middle-of-the-road posture on such matters during his two administrations, he would have kept the large numbers of the middle and working classes as part of the Democrat base and what had been a long-standing coalition with blacks and other constituent groups. But Obama's radical emphasis on identity politics, (which additionally includes his projection of rainbow-colored lights onto the White House the day the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage), only served to alienate most likely forever those people in the middle who felt like they he wasn't addressing their concerns, especially with pocketbook issues.
And to rub salt into their wounds, they felt betrayed because they were the ones who were being called racist by proxy when those accusations were made against the white and Latino men who all turned out to be exonerated in the Gates, Martin and Brown cases. It became apparent Obama was only interested in radical left-wing ideology, especially when he was turned out to be essentially a Trojan horse who spoke one way before he was elected president and an entirely different way afterwards.
So with the campaign for the presidency, Donald Trump came out of nowhere to win the Republican nomination in 2016 because he spoke to so many in middle America who were tired of the double-talk that came out of Obama as well as the politically correct Republican presidents, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush. Somewhat reminiscent and paralleling the Reagan/Thatcher eras, we now have the Trump/Johnson era where the emergence of a new form of conservative governance, or rather a neo-populism, is mirroring itself in the United States and Great Britain.
The Democrats are in serious trouble and the impeachment charade may be the last gasp of a dying political party that is desperately trying to regain political power. But it is most likely too late, especially as demonstrated by the landslide win by Boris Johnson propelled the blue collar workers in Great Britain who made it happen.
This most likely foreshadows a big win for Trump next year, possibly a landslide victory similar to what happened with Reagan's victory in securing a second term in 1984 or earlier with Nixon's re-election in 1972, both of which entailed bringing large numbers of the middle classes with large numbers of blue collar workers into a Republican coalition that insured those victories.
British journalist Melanie Phillips could very well be writing about what will happen next November here in the U.S., too.
In her Jewish News Syndicate column, she describes how blue-collar workers in England "saved Britain" with their overwhelming support for Boris Johnson in the most recent election:
What happened was something most people had believed was unthinkable. As I observed on my own blog in September, however, a tectonic shift was under way in the Labour heartlands.
The white working class, those blue-collar workers who had been tribal Labour supporters for generations, voted en masse for the Conservatives for the first time ever.
Boris Johnson effectively smashed the “red wall”, the swathes of hitherto rock-solid Labour-held seats in the north of England and the Midlands which all turned [Tory] blue overnight.
Although the loyalty of the working classes still wasn't entirely solidified with Republicans in previous presidential elections, Obama catalyzed that shift when he veered to the far left during his two administrations and led his party to the extremely radical left-wing 2020 Democrat candidates. Now with Trump's attention and big wins on issues most important to these same working classes, it's possible the Democrats will be out of power on a national level for many decades to come, in large part because they have squandered and lost such a large and important of their base.
As Boris Johnson converted blue collar workers en masse to vote for the British Conservative Party, Trump did the same thing in 2016 in winning the all-important battleground states of Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin and he will now solidify and expand on those gains in November of 2020 by completely taking away a formerly reliable Democratic voter bloc that they have now lost.
What started with Reagan and now has extended to Trump, is that the Republican Party has now transitioned from what was once known as the "party of the rich" and upper classes to now officially the party of the middle and working classes. One only has to watch Trump's rallies to see that he's created a new base for Republicans for generations to come.
Image credit: Gage Skidmore, via Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0