Democrats? Championing Opportunity?
Not till they've lost Congress and the Presidency
Veronique de Rugy, who writes a lot of libertarian economic commentary, wants the Dems to run on “economic opportunity.”
To the Democrats in charge right now, let me offer an idea as you try to fight poverty, inequality, and corporate influence: Transform yourselves from the party of handouts and regulations into the party of opportunity.
To which I say: what planet are you living on?
First, the Dems are the party of the educated class. That class sees opportunity in jobs for regulators, jobs for activists, jobs for transitioning the economy to green energy.
Second, the Dems are the party of the lower class. That class looks to its political leaders to provide for it. That’s a polite word for “handout.”
Third, politics is about fighting the enemy. The enemy could be economic royalists, or greedy bankers, or white racists, or unjust patriarchs. No matter: the only point is to have an enemy and rally your supporters to vote against the enemy.
Fourth, politics is about rewarding your supporters. That is what spending 35 percent of GDP on government spending is all about. And that is what the regulatory state is all about.
Now Joe Biden ran for president on two main issues. First, he ran on fighting climate change. Second, he ran on fighting systemic racism.
How do you fight climate change? You fight it with regulations to stop the production of fossil fuels, stop the building of car-friendly suburbs, encourage the production of wind and solar plants, and empower activists to hinder a fossil-fuel-powered economy.
How do you fight systemic racism? With diversity, with set-asides for non-whites, non-males, and general stigmatization off all things white and male.
So long as America’s educated class believes the climate-change-systemic-racism agenda, so long will it be completely closed to a politics of fighting “poverty, inequality, and corporate influence” with an agenda of creating economic opportunity.
It goes deeper than that. If you believe that politics is good for anything more than fighting a foreign enemy on the border and a domestic enemy stealing from other people and murdering folks on the street then you don’t believe in just setting the controls for economic opportunity and then sitting back to watch what happens.
And that’s the problem with our educated class. It really believes that, with an educated, evolved, knowledgable elite in charge of government, politics can bend the arc of history towards justice. And up to the present moment, nothing has persuaded it that its belief is false and unjust.
Therefore it is utterly premature to get the ruling class to change its beliefs and adopt a hands-off approach to government. Only one thing will change its mind: complete and utter failure at the polls.
The closest thing we experienced on the complete-and-utter-failure-at-the-polls front was the 1992 presidential campaign of Bill Clinton. After Republicans had won three presidential elections in a row Bill Clinton wanted us to know that he was a “new Democrats.” The people believed him and next thing you knew he appointed his wife to do a government takeover of health care. So in 1994 the American people voted in the first Republican Congress in 40 years.
But did the Democrats learn their lesson? Not a bit of it. Next thing you knew, Barack Obama was promising “fundamental transformation.” In other words, the Democrats had learned nothing and forgotten nothing. And that’s why we got Trump.
In my view, Democrats will never go for economic opportunity that allows the market to signal what to do. The whole point of their over - under political formula is precisely to run everything for the greater status and glory of themselves, the Anointed, and hand off baubles to the lower class Mascots. And pay no attention to the bitter-clinger deplorable Benighted of which you’ve heard tell.