by William Skink
The Democratic rift between labor and environmentalists was recently detailed in this NYT piece. What seems most worrisome to Democrats about this rift is that it could negatively impact the efforts to elect more Democrats.
Glossed over in the NYT piece is the fact a rift exists within the environmental movement itself between collaborators–organizations corrupted by corporate cash–and groups resisting the siren-song of well-funded political triangulation.
The resistors are probably just as leery of hedge fund environmentalists donating millions of dollars to elect Democrats. From the NYT piece:
Two of the Democratic Party’s most loyal constituencies, labor and environmentalists, are clashing over an effort to raise tens of millions of dollars for an ambitious voter turnout operation aimed at defeating Donald J. Trump in the November election.
The rift developed after some in the labor movement, whose cash flow has dwindled and whose political clout has been increasingly imperiled, announced a partnership last week with a wealthy environmentalist, Tom Steyer, to help bankroll a new fund dedicated to electing Democrats.
That joint initiative enraged members of the nation’s biggest construction unions, already on edge about the rising influence of climate-change activists. The building-trades unions view Mr. Steyer’s environmental agenda as a threat to the jobs that can be created through infrastructure projects like new gas pipelines.
Both labor and environmentalists are constituent groups that Democrats have been taking for granted for decades now. Democrats should be especially worried this election cycle as the angry white faction of the labor demographic increasingly ignores the smug style of liberalism in favor of the loud volume of a demagogue. While I referenced this piece on the smug styler earlier, I’ll quote at length from it today. Here is the opening of the argument:
There is a smug style in American liberalism. It has been growing these past decades. It is a way of conducting politics, predicated on the belief that American life is not divided by moral difference or policy divergence — not really — but by the failure of half the country to know what’s good for them.
In 2016, the smug style has found expression in media and in policy, in the attitudes of liberals both visible and private, providing a foundational set of assumptions above which a great number of liberals comport their understanding of the world.
It has led an American ideology hitherto responsible for a great share of the good accomplished over the past century of our political life to a posture of reaction and disrespect: a condescending, defensive sneer toward any person or movement outside of its consensus, dressed up as a monopoly on reason.
The smug style is a psychological reaction to a profound shift in American political demography.
Having been on the receiving end of this sneering condescension, non-collaborating enviros and other cranky leftists know this smug style quite well. And it sure as hell isn’t expanding the base or improving the chances of Democrats getting elected.
Over at Intelligent Discontent–our local MT blog that perfectly embodies the smug style–Pete Talbot is trying his darn best to redirect this rift against Trump in a post titled This schism is getting old:
No one ever said this chasm would be easy to bridge but in this purple state of ours, Democrats cannot afford to lose either blue collar or green votes.
Now, party leadership hasn’t solicited my recommendations nor have I been tapped to replace DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Shultz, but I have some ideas.
There’s a common goal called sustainability: long term, good paying jobs along with a stable environment. Organized labor needs to work with environmental leaders to advance intensive clean energy legislation that includes high-paying union jobs in the alternative energy sector. Environmental organizations must make job creation a priority in their push to create a clean environment.
Basically, it’s time for leadership from both sides of the debate to sit down and plan what’s best for workers and the planet. A starting point could be booting from office the common enemy of the people — the living wage and climate change deniers — a.k.a. Republicans.
No where in Pete’s post is Hillary Clinton mentioned, and that’s too bad. Instead, what I think is getting old (besides the author) is the reliance on boogeyman politics to keep members of the herd from bolting.
Here is the inconvenient reality Democrats like Pete Talbot seem to want to ignore: the DNC’s choice for president is a deceitful political creature who supported NAFTA and used her position at the State Department to sell fracking to the world, so there’s something for both environmentalists and the working class to despise in the candidacy of Hillary Clinton. Making things even worse, that latter group is liking what they are hearing from Trump as he criticizes the trade agreements that have negatively impacted their lives.
Doing damage control means Democrats will continue to ignore reality. Here is more from Talbot:
I don’t believe this blue-green schism comes close to approaching the debacle that is currently the Republican Party. The destructive potential is there, though, and Democratic Party leadership better bring the factions together and get a handle on this.
What is it going to take to get Democrats like Talbot to wake the fuck up and vehemently oppose the coronation of Hillary? Like it or not, Republicans are coalescing around Trump. The Democrat dream of a contested Republican convention isn’t going to happen. What seems more likely, if the Nevada melee over the weekend is any indication of things to come, is the Democratic convention in Philadelphia turning into Chicago, circa 1968.
Here is another little dose of reality for Democrats: Trump leads Clinton Nationally for first time in latest poll. From the link:
Clinton has a net negative honesty rating of -35 points. That’s because a new low 31 percent say she’s honest, while a record 66 percent say she isn’t. Trump does better on this measure, although he is still underwater by 17 points: 40 percent think he’s honest and 57 percent say he’s not.
Ironically, as The Clinton campaign pushes for Bernie to “know when he’s beaten,” the same FOX News poll finds Sanders polling well above both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.
Democrats can continue ignoring reality if they want to, berating dumb hicks for supporting Trump, but refusing to come to terms with the dynamics pushing once loyal constituents away from the blue tent will quite possibly help put the demagogue they detest in the White House.