E.J. Dionne Jr.’s Nov. 19 column “What Democrats owe the country,” did not go far enough. Indeed, the party of opposition should, “lay out very bright lines against the most odious and alarming aspects of Trumpism.” This, however, misses the fundamental transformation that’s needed of the Democrats.
The liberal establishment arrogantly dismissed the legitimate economic motivations that many people had in voting for Trump. In painting the opposition as uniformly bigoted – a “basket of deplorables” – the left conveniently marginalized the grievances of working Americans who have been forsaken by the neoliberal policies of both parties.
From Reagan to Obama, the assault on the middle class has been relentless. Democrats and Republicans alike abandoned ordinary Americans by deregulating Wall Street, bailing out banks while forgetting about homeowners, promoting corporate-friendly globalization and generally selling themselves to private power. The effects have been devastating.
The middle class has shrunk, wages have stagnated and inequality has skyrocketed. Neoliberal Democrats like Hillary Clinton and Chuck Schumer unquestionably are responsible. Progress necessitates the left rid itself of its establishment. A new broad-based movement is needed – one not beholden to corporate interests. That’s what the Democrats truly owe the country.