Liberal Writer: U.S. Left Is America's Elite
One of the more persistent myths in this country is that lower income people are liberals. Anyone who's spent more than a weekend in the Midwest, South, or West can tell you that in many places, it's the richer neighborhoods that tend to vote Democrat.
The fact that the left now has money (and lots of it) has significant benefits for it but there are downsides, especially if you're one of those liberals who is obsessed with wealth redistribution. The trouble for these folks is that now that in many ways the left has made peace with capitalism, it simply doesn't have the stomach to engage in the extremist regulation that statist liberalism demands philosophically. Instead, the left focuses on "higher-order needs" such as environmentalism, identity politics, and political correctness.
That's very frustrating for many who long for the days when being liberal wasn't synonymous with pampered, rich media elites as Matt Taibbi writes in the left-wing "Adbusters."
Here’s the real problem with American liberalism: there is no such thing, not really. What we call American liberalism is really a kind of genetic mutant, a Frankenstein’s monster of incongruous parts – a fat, affluent, overeducated New York/Washington head crudely screwed onto the withering corpse of the vanishing middle-American manufacturing class. These days the Roosevelt stratum of rich East Coasters are still liberals, but the industrial middle class that the New Deal helped create is almost all gone. [...]
“It’s also a cultural thing,” [Vermont socialist senator Bernie] Sanders says. “A lot of these folks really don’t have a lot of contact with working-class people. They’re not comfortable with working-class people. They’re more comfortable with environmentalists, with well-educated people. And it’s their issues that matter to them.”
This is another dirty little secret of the left – the fact that, at least when it comes to per-capita income, those interminable right-wing criticisms about liberals being “elitists” are actually true. According to a 2004 Pew report, Americans who self-identify as liberals have an average annual income of $71,000 – the highest-grossing political category in America. They’re also the best-educated class, with over one in four being post-graduates.
The same is true of the political media in Washington – not just the few journalists on the left, but all of the media. Reporters in Washington of both the liberal and conservative variety tend mostly to be interested in issues that they themselves care about, and as a result they end up defining the political landscape in terms of orthodoxies that make sense to them.
“With the media, it’s like, ‘Are you pro-choice? Yes? Then you’re a liberal.’ It’s bullshit,” scoffs Sanders. The senator went on to point out that a recent Senate hearing on veterans’ issues attracted over 500 angry war veterans – and no reporters. “It’s just not their thing,” he sighs.
[H]aving rich college grads acting as the political representatives of the working class isn’t just bad politics. It’s also silly. And there’s probably no political movement in history that’s been sillier than the modern American left.