Listen To You Tell Me Texas Friday 4/1/16
Forgive me if the theme of this piece seems like a continuation of our piece from March 17. In more ways than one, it is.
But the irony of what is now on display on the Republican side of the presidential race is simply too much ignore.
Much continues to said and written regarding the unexpected and, until only just recently, apparently unstoppable rise of Donald Trump. Pundits cite voter “frustration” and “anger” toward Republican Party elites. There is truth in those citations.
Republican leaders, to the eyes of many, have forgotten who mobilized in order to help win back the House of Representatives in 2010 and the Senate in 2014. That memory lapse led to House speaker John Boehner being hounded from office late last year.
Middle class voters – people who live in what is derisively called “flyover country” – are fed up with wealthy elites. They see Republican bluebloods differing only slightly from Democrat bluebloods. Both groups are populated by the hyper-educated and the well-connected. Both groups are getting seriously rich practicing politics as usual. Both groups seem more than content for things to continue the way they are.
But not so the people who actually keep the country running. They’re not content at all. In fact, they’ve never been more restless. The welders and truck drivers and dry cleaners and plumbers and carpenters and air conditioning contractors and car wash owners and independent retailers and salesmen and middle managers and plant workers and, most of all, small business owners of every stripe – have been taking it in the chops now for most of a decade.
They’ve had it.
While incomes in and around Washington, D.C. keep going up, real wages for most working Americans keep going down.
Parents of kids finishing high school and college are looking into the future and seeing that their children will probably not wind up at the end of their careers as well off as their parents did. The impact on the parents of these kids is visceral. Every generation in American history has ended life better off than the previous generation. For that remarkable string to be broken is hard for many Americans to take.
The great American middle class – a cohort never seen prior to the success of the American experiment – is shrinking. For the first time ever, business deaths outnumber business births. Small businesses are shutting down faster than they’re being started. This, too, is without precedent in America.
The GOP leadership has been remarkably blind to all of this. Republican leaders have assumed that the middle class vote is firmly in the bag and that listening to some carping and bitching from that quarter is just par for the course. No big deal.
Thus they get blindsided by a Donald Trump – a wealthy guy from Manhattan who plays golf and jet sets all over the world and goes to all of the best cocktail and dinner parties. In other words, the last guy on Earth you would think could connect so solidly with the middle class.
As we said at the outset, the irony is just too rich.