Back in the 1992 election, I was sitting in what we used to call a working class bar. This was a downscale neighborhood in Boston and people still worked so working class was the correct label. Nowadays, “working class” almost always means not working. As soon as you hear the phrase, “working families” you know that no one is working and there’s no father around to make it a family.
Anyway, this bar was white Irish working class. I was just killing some time so I stopped in for a beer. The place was busy, but not so loud that you could not hear the TV. Pat Buchanan came on and the Irish girl next to me started to hiss. I was a little surprised, but then she volunteered that Buchanan was a racist and hated immigrants. She was as white as a ghost and her people came over in the 19th century.
As these things go, others joined her in talking about Buchanan and some other pols. I no longer recall most of the details, but the main take away for me was that these working class whites were trying real hard to not be working class in their attitudes. They may work in service jobs and construction, but they were not going to be blue collar. Class for them was not about economics. It was an aesthetic. It turns out Engels was sort of right.
Sam Francis said back in ’92 that Buchanan, while being right, was too nice for electoral politics. He was right about the last part as the managerial class painted Buchanan as a quasi-Nazi bigot and anti-Semite. About the former, the conventional wisdom was that Buchanan was a yesterday man, advocating policies that went out of style in the 1950’s. The future was technology, mass media and working class Irish gals worried about racism.
What happened, of course, was that the credit boom following the Louvre Accords allowed the people in charge to keep the party going, without the people taking notice of the great hollowing out of the middle. Cheap credit meant buying better stuff made in foreign lands so everyone could feel like they were doing well. Cheap credit also sent the stock market soaring so everyone felt like they were rich.
I was at lunch today with someone who is a solid suburban Republican. We were laughing about politics and he said something odd. He said, “You know, old Bernie is a nut, but his description of what’s wrong with this country is not that far off. He’s the only guy talking about this stuff. I’m not kidding. If his solutions were not so crazy, I’d probably vote for the guy.”
I was a little surprised, but I had to agreed. In fact, I have agreed for a while. Somewhere along the way we deified rich people and they get to run wild. Look at all the bankers who walked away from their wreckage with millions in bonuses. The robber barons of Silicon Valley are trying to bring back slavery and supposedly sensible people defend it. Liberal Democrats defend open borders. Then there is the political class that seems to live a life without consequences.
That’s the thing about this election that does not get discussed. Bernie Sanders lacks all of Trump’s media savvy, yet he is about to drop a house on Hillary Clinton. These are Democrats so some portion of the vote really thinks communism is the answer, but the great bulk of those planning to vote for Sanders are doing so out of spite. It is a big middle finger to the political class.
Trump, with all his faults, is a better candidate than Sanders, simply because he does not have a head full of nutty ideas. Even so, he is no one’s idea of a great candidate. He’s rude and he is often crude. His speeches don’t make a lot of sense most of the time. My bet is most people planning to vote for him get that, but they want to send a message. They also trust he will not do anything crazy if he ends up in the White House. That and he is right on the big issues like immigration.
I think what were seeing is the long overdue reckoning for the mistakes of the 60’s and 70’s. The disastrous welfare programs, the massive expansion of the federal state, the rise of Cultural Marxism as the official religion of the ruling elite. The squalor of the 70’s should have forced a roll back of all these things. What should have happened in the 80’s and 90’s was a return to normalcy. Instead, the credit boom put all that on hold.
Worse still, it fueled the growth of the managerial class that is decidedly hostile to normal people. Turn on the TV and you see an endless stream of degeneracy that mocks the foundations of western civilization and the traditions that have preserved and nurtured it. Traditional America is treated as a hate crime. The people in entertainment live like royalty, while accusing middle American of an endless list of crimes.
Pat Caddell, the veteran pollster and social observer, is calling this a revolution. He may not be way off base. It is a revolt, but a revolt against thirty years of a ruling class papering over the mistakes of the past. Egalitarianism, anti-racism and multiculturalism are fine in the faculty lounge, but they are a cultural dead end as a ruling class religion. The people in charge have run out of ways to hide this truth and now the long overdue hell is going to be paid.