|(source: h/t David Ruccio)|
Some weeks ago ("Liberal Panic", Jan 31) I commented on Glenn Greenwald's denouncing a then starting backlash against the Bernie Sanders nomination in the U.S. and how it would parallel the equally hysterical tantrums against Jeremy Corbyn in the U.K.
Greenwald was right on much, although time shows he did miss two important things.
The first one was that the reaction of the Democratic/Labour Establishment against Sanders/Corbyn, for all the attacks on those individuals, is in reality directed against their supporters. No matter how badly they want to do it, professional politicians and pundits -- particularly in supposedly popular parties, like Labour and the Democratic Party -- cannot lambast their electoral base: you don't win votes by insulting would-be voters.
They have no alternative left, but to play the man; there's nothing personal in that: whether a good or a bad choice is irrelevant, he is not their choice.
To quote Michael Corleone: "It's not personal. It's strictly business".
The other thing Greenwald missed is that the U.S. Republican Party would react similarly to the Donald Trump campaign, and for the same reasons, too: it doesn't matter whether good or bad (he does seem dangerously unhinged, though), The Donald is not their choice.
Like pseudo-Left politicians, Republican politicians cannot directly alienate Trump supporters. Therefore, they -- too -- play the man.
But professional Republican pundits -- like David French -- can:
"This weekend, my colleague Kevin Williamson kicked up quite the hornet's nest with his magazine piece (subscription required) that strikes directly at the idea that the white working-class (the heart of Trump's support) is a victim class."
Establishment liberal talking-heads (like Paul Krugman, Brad DeLong, and Paul Starr) and their conservative counterparts (like David French and Kevin Williamson) share something: they are the self-appointed judges of what is and what is not acceptable. And they do not approve of Sanders/Corbyn, on one hand, or Trump, on the other.
The difference between them is that the latter, on unguarded moments, are honest (or less prudent) about their real feelings. The difference is political correctness, and inanities about technocracy and an alleged centrist immunity to ideology.
Let's face it: this isn't a big discovery. That contempt for the hoi polloi isn't new.
If you still hope against all hope to find a champion in the elites, you'll probably refuse to admit it, but I'm sure deep down you already know it.
Those people don't care about us. We, the people, are alone. But we don't need them.
Doug Henwood was more right than he knew when he wrote this:
"The Sanders campaign has certainly sharpened the contradictions, hasn't it? It's been very clarifying to see Hillary Clinton and her surrogates running against single-payer and free college, with intellectual cover coming from Paul Krugman and Vox. Expectations, having been systematically beaten down for 35 years, must be beaten down further, whether it's Hillary saying that to go to college one needs some 'skin in the game,' or Rep. John Lewis reminding us that nothing is free in America. A challenge from the left has forced centrist Democrats to reveal themselves as proud capitalist tools."