On the evening of May 6, 2008 on CNN, Donna Brazile took a knife to the Democratic party and deftly excised the parts that were no longer needed:
You can read the whole exchange here. Here’s the money quote from Donna:
BRAZILE: Well, Lou, I have worked on a lot of Democratic campaigns, and I respect Paul. But, Paul, you’re looking at the old coalition. A new Democratic coalition is younger. It is more urban, as well as suburban, and we don’t have to just rely on white blue-collar voters and Hispanics. We need to look at the Democratic Party, expand the party, expand the base and not throw out the baby with the bathwater.
Paul Begala had a “Are you MAD, woman??” response but the Obama contingent was so giddily orgasmic, no one was paying attention.
Then the crash happened and the Great Recession when a lot of the old coalition lost their jobs. The ACA was not the panacea we were told it was. The policies are very expensive still, not everyone gets a subsidy, the deductibles are too high and the networks too stingy.
But the new coalition told us to suck it up because the pre-existing conditions were covered. And who could argue with that? It was a neat guilt trip that was played on us.
In the subsequent years, there have been a lot of things that have happened to the working class and the people who are in the middle class but just one devastating layoff from sliding out of their socio-economic group. Oh sure, there are jobs now. But there are also a lot of contingent workers, part time workers, full time contractors without benefits. Ooo! But now you can buy one of those expensive new ACA policies on the exchanges.
There are now two classes of employees out there, the ones that are covered by an employee health plan and the suckers who aren’t. When you are in the second class, you really feel the difference and it can cause resentment and anger. I have *been* there, people. I have had snooty, lucky liberals look down on me and tell me that if I don’t maintain an expensive health insurance policy on my low contractor worker’s salary, then I was being irresponsible, the equivalent of a dead beat. This after years of paying the equivalent in taxes to what I was then making in salary for one year. Yes, the fortunate were telling me I was irresponsible after all the money I paid year after year before Pharmageddon and we all lost our jobs. It’s hard to forget that. I was =><= close to feeling the Bern.
Let’s not even start on who retires with a full pension today and who doesn’t and who is forced to put their retirement savings on the global craps table controlled by the finance industry when not even one banker went to jail. Dodd Frank means nothing if there’s no punishment in sight and the malefactors of great wealth get off with a tidy payment of weregild.
Meanwhile, the old coalition shambles by on $10/hour jobs with Medicaid for their kids.
And for the last eight years, they’ve been told that if they complain about their shitty lot in life, they’re racists. I don’t know how many times I have read Paul Krugman or Digby or some former Obama campaign troll tell me this. I think the last straw was when Digby accused the Republicans of being racists for not approving Merrick Garland’s appointment to the USSC. The reason they weren’t going to approve Garland is because they are Republicans and they didn’t want to tip the balance of the court in a progressive direction. It had nothing to do with racism or at least not directly. Witness the approval of Elena Kagan and Sonya Sotomayor. They didn’t have a problem with those two new justices for Obama. And Garland is a white guy. He’s Jewish but so are Kagan and Ginsburg. So, it wasn’t a race issue or a religious issue. It was purely a power issue.
And yet, Digby told us over and over and over again that it was racist for the Republicans to not approve him. It was the last straw that made the out of touch voices on the left lose all credibility.
I think the Democrats took us for suckers for many many years. I am a Democrat and I worked almost every weekend since July to get my party’s representatives elected. I truly believe that Clinton was the best presidential candidate that we have ever had. I have no regrets working to get her elected. She made me proud to be a Democrat.
But I will not miss the Obama years and the tone deaf assholes who wrote off the “old coalition” and dismissed the anxiety of the Bernie Sanders middle class voters I met. Clinton did her best to reach out to them and wisely adopted much of the Sanders’ platform. That is to her credit and many Sanders volunteers recognized that.
But she could not overcome the insults to the intelligence and the invalidation of the feelings of so many working class people of all races and ethnicities. When Obama wrote off Appalachia and the rust belt and Donna praised the new coalition and put the old coalition on an ice floe, it was only a matter of time before the old coalition’s future looked dire enough to strike back.
They were wrong, of course. They didn’t drain the swamp. They just got more swamp monsters and these are going to eat them. But if I learned anything from Hillary and Bill it’s that you can’t afford to alienate anyone in politics.
It’s a lesson the Obama contingent is only now starting to understand.
More on The Rage, misogyny and the media’s shameful part in this catastrophe from Todd Gitlin at Moyers.