Sen. Bernie Sanders (
D, I, S -NY) took to Twitter Monday to express his dismay that the party he adopted for his presidential bid had been tone deaf when it comes to the concerns of white, working class voters in America.
I come from the white working class, and I am deeply humiliated that the Democratic Party cannot talk to the people where I came from.
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) November 14, 2016
Indeed, Sanders elaborated on the point Sunday morning on CBS’ Face the Nation by lamenting the Democrats’ focus on white, college educated elites rather than working class Americans:
“How does it happen that they win elections and Democrats lose? I think what the conclusion is, is that Democrats have focused too much with a ‘liberal elite’ that is raising incredible sums of money from wealthy people… but has ignored to a very significant degree, working class, middle class, and low income people in this country.”
It should e reiterated that Sanders is new to the Democratic Party as he has identified as an Independent for his career in Congress and as a Socialist when not worrying about getting votes. But, his history of being an outsider looking in at the power base of the Democratic Party establishment might actually give him some insight that the party infrastructure led by the Clintons, Pelosis and Braziles might not be able to grasp.
Think of the imagery of the final weeks of the Clinton campaign. It was a parade of millionaires lecturing voters to vote for a person they couldn’t relate to and didn’t like. Jay Z, Warren Buffet, Beyonce, Bruce Springsteen, Lena Dunham, President Obama, it goes on. All people with either their own planes or at least their own security details, lined up for the “Party of the little guy.”
Frank Bruni, in the New York Times echoed this point in his post-mortem of the Democrat’s losing week:
“A party that prides itself on looking out for the little guy went with the biggest names it could find.”
In fact, one of Obama’s final messages to voters two days before the election was tantamount to “I know you don’t like her, but take your medicine and vote for her.”:
“You can’t say you care about those things and then suggest somehow that you’re feeling cynical or you’re not sufficiently inspired. Michelle and I, we talk over the dinner table, we explain to our daughters, not everything’s supposed to be inspiring. Sometimes you just do what you have to do, and one of the things you’ve got to do right now is to make sure to vote for Hillary Clinton.”
Perhaps one other benefit of last week’s political Trump-quake is the deathblow to the myth that the Democratic Party is “the party of the little guy.” It’s an inexactitude at best and has always been a puzzling meme accepted by those who peddle in conventional wisdom without ever challenging it.
As the character of John Dickinson says in the classic musical 1776: “Most people with nothing would rather protect the possibility of becoming rich than face the reality of being poor.”