The Elites v. the Folks
In my lifetime, there have been seven Republican presidents and six Democrats. Since 1995, following the Newt Gingrich-led Republican takeover of the Congress, Republicans have had outright control eight times, Democrats have had control three times and there have been three occasions when one party controlled the House while the other party controlled the Senate.
All to say that a constant back and forth between Democrats and Republicans has defined American politics for over a century.
As we covered last week, such is not necessarily the case today. Somewhere back there (we suggested last week that it was during the presidency of Bush the Elder), the contest quietly shifted from Democrats vs. Republicans to Elites vs. the Folks. In a sense, it’s almost as if new political parties got formed. And because the Folks were slow to notice, the Elites have had the upper hand for upward of four decades. For the most part, the Elites are aligned with legacy Democrats. But there are plenty of Elite-aligned Republicans. One of them was the GOP nominee in 2012.
The Elites have given us $30 plus trillion in national debt, debilitatingly costly foreign wars, a near complete breakdown in public education, decaying cities, a wide-open southern border, rampant crime, a couple of near economic collapses and now crushing inflation.
All the while, the Folks have had a time of it. Except for an all-too brief (but altogether great) interlude during the last three years of the Trump presidency, middle class incomes failed to outpace inflation and aggregate American wealth declined.
That’s not to say that no one got wealthy. A small cabal of mostly coastal, mostly Democratic Elites got filthy rich.The fact that you got poorer — widening the income gap about which they never stop pandering to their base — bothers them not in the least.
The Elites are divided into three groups.
The Political Elite. The Political Elite hold leadership positions within the respective parties. They mouth appropriate words to their respective bases and make all the requisite campaign promises. But their only real concern is the retention of power with the concomitant perks and financial rewards.
The Corporate Elite. The Corporate Elite sit in the executive suites of the largest companies. They have largely co-opted the legislative and regulatory apparatuses for the furtherance of their own personal and financial interests. The Corporate Elite can promote leftist causes such as gender equity and critical race theory with the impunity of knowing that as a practical matter, you can’t take your business elsewhere.
The Cultural Elite. The Cultural Elite control television, the movies, music, entertainment, theater, primary and secondary schools, universities, book publishing and journalism (if you can still call it that). From their commanding heights, the Cultural Elites can impose upon us a never-ending diet of liberal grievance, gay and gender grievance, racial grievance and environmental grievance.
About one thing you should be crystal clear. Elites of all stripes hold you — one of the Folks — in utter contempt. If you don’t live near the coast, if your college diploma (assuming you even have one) isn’t from a very short list of Elite-approved universities, if you earn your living in any way that involves actual physical labor, if you regularly go to church, and if you don’t know the finer points regarding the ordering of wine in a Five-Star restaurant, the Elites think you are smelly and deplorable. And they don’t think you are smart enough to order the affairs of your own life.
But for all that, there’s some good news. A growing body of evidence suggests that the Folks have had it with the Elites and are ready next week to make their displeasure unmistakably clear. Let’s hope so. Because time is short and the very future of the republic depends on restoring the political primacy of the Folks.