The Democratic Party, unlike most of its left-of-center brethren in the developed world, has never been a true labor party, but it seems plausible that many voters view it as a party representing a state that never helps them, even as they, personally, practically beg for a large and powerful state that would step in to improve their lives.
The question Democrats now face is whether saying they will empower the state to improve people’s lives will actually work on anyone.
By background, I should be a leftie. I’m not. One major reason is that the American Left has always struck me as a group of people who are really good at starting movements, taking moralistic positions, and passing rules when they get into power. But they’re not builders. And, of course, they’re good at getting themselves good bureaucratic positions (from whence the rules come) but poor at really solving problems and moving things forward.
Need to reduce carbon in the atmosphere? Can’t bring themselves to embrace nuclear power even as a transitional phase because they’re afraid they’ll grow the suburbs, those bastions of phoniness. We’ve wasted at least twenty years of progress on this because their tush is in a wad on the subject. Need to address income inequality? So why has every President since Richard Nixon, Democrat and Republican, presided over growing income inequality and wealth distribution? And why do Democrats gleefully take the money of the plutocrats and then expect greater “social justice?” (They expected to win a few Senate races, and that didn’t happen either…)
But the biggest drain to the left’s claim to fame on “social justice” is their obsession with identity politics. How can they claim to be “Marxists” when they, in classic suburbanite fashion, hide in shame class differences and obsess over every identity difference they can amplify?
So are people finally figuring out the disconnect between rhetoric and action? Perhaps in a visceral way, but that visceral way may explain why the left cannot quite finish the job in the way they’ve always hoped to do.