Perhaps the most serious potential problem for the Democrats lies in the incompatibility of their base of oligarch support, and the simultaneous embrace of socialist ideology. Trump’s trade and immigration policies threaten the interests of the corporate elite, depriving them of potential markets, cheap suppliers and labor. But an assault on inequality — as proposed by Bernie Sanders and his supporters — would also mean higher taxes and more stringent regulations on the oligarchal overclass.
Ultimately the Democrats may try to square this circle by increasing taxes on the upper-middle class, the only ones, outside the oligarchy, capable of paying for expansive socialist policies. Yet this too creates a problem since well-educated professionals constitute one of the key components of the party coalition. Although all the rage among the intelligentsia and the pre-taxpaying young, socialism’s overall appeal remains limited; according to one recent survey, nearly three-quarters of likely voters prefer a free market to a socialistic system.
As the party drifts left, we may see more hesitation by some to participate in a “resistance” that works against their interests. Some Republicans even see the possibility of an anti-progressive wave that could rise as early as this fall. That too may be delusional, given Trump’s repeatedly demonstrated ability to step on his own talking points. But by threatening to alienate sizable parts of the party base, the resistance may yet fail to depose Trump, largely because of its own fundamental contradictions and endemic foolishness.