“I can’t stand a Democrat for President,” is how Joe Biden, the former vice president, put it to me when I asked him to name the most effective Democratic Party presidential candidate since Franklin Roosevelt.
“The reason I don’t really like Democrats is because they are too willing to be the party of the elites.
They have too much money.
They’re too willing and able to talk about economic policy.
They’ve never been about anything but the economy.
They don’t care about women, minorities, or the poor.
They talk about the economy, and then they talk about foreign policy.
And that’s it.”
Biden’s comments were the most substantive I’ve heard from a former president about the Democratic Party in a while, and he was absolutely right: The party has always been about the elites, and it’s time for it to stop being the party that has always stood for the forgotten.
But, Biden’s words were also an indication that the Democratic leadership doesn’t understand the issues of the day that resonate so powerfully with the working class.
In this post-Trump era, the Democratic party has lost its way, and its priorities are not serving working-class Americans.
As the party continues to focus on white working- and middle-class voters, the party’s agenda has become increasingly neoliberal.
The policies pursued by the Democratic leaders since President Barack Obama’s inauguration in 2009—including massive tax cuts for the wealthy, increased infrastructure spending, and massive increases in the minimum wage—have not worked for working- class Americans, and they are only making matters worse.
A recent analysis by the Center for American Progress found that the vast majority of working- Americans, even those with high-earning jobs, do not see a significant difference in the economic status of their families in the aftermath of the financial crisis and the Great Recession.
In fact, the number of Americans in poverty in 2016 rose to the highest level since the Great Depression, with the poverty rate among black Americans reaching its highest level ever.
The Great Recession and the resulting recession led to an estimated 7 million jobs lost, as well as an estimated 11 million people out of work.
The recovery from the Great Crash, however, has not been smooth.
The number of unemployed Americans rose by over 50 percent between January and July, while the unemployment rate for white Americans remained unchanged at 4.9 percent.
The Democrats have failed to offer the people of this country an alternative to the two-party system that has dominated Washington for the past four decades.
The 2016 election has not only shown that working- people are no longer a voting bloc, but that they have become a party of one, and a partisan one at that.
With the rise of populist movements across the country and the rise in nationalism in Europe, the Republican Party has taken a major step back from a party that represents the interests of the middle class and working people.
The Republicans are no more willing to confront the working classes or the issues that concern them than the Democrats.
In an interview with Vox, Republican National Committee Chair Reince Priebus called the 2016 election a “miracle” for the GOP, because it was the first time that a majority of the American people voted for a major party of a major economic class, and the party made a clear choice to take a position on key issues like immigration and the minimum-wage hike.
“This is the only time in our history that we’ve been able to take our message to the middle and lower classes, and I think it’s the only opportunity for the party to move forward, to really take on a broader and broader set of issues,” Priebus said.
The GOP’s failure to appeal to the working-classes is emblematic of a broader problem.
The Democratic Party has failed to appeal in many areas.
While Democrats have been able successfully to portray themselves as the party for working people, they have been unable to do so with voters who are not middle class.
They failed to win over women voters in 2016, and voters in Appalachia who have been suffering from years of unemployment and poverty have remained out of reach for Democratic candidates.
The lack of outreach and the inability to address the issues affecting working- families is also evident in the 2016 presidential campaign.
While there were signs in the primaries that Democrats were beginning to realize the importance of addressing the issues facing working-Class Americans, the 2016 race is not a referendum on the Democratic agenda, but on the failure of the party leadership to take on the issues Americans are most concerned about.
“If the Democratic nominee had been in charge, I think the party would have been very different in 2020,” said Steve Haus, an organizer with the Working Families Party, a labor and community group that has been leading the charge against the Democratic establishment.
“There are so many things that have happened in the last two years, the country has moved so much faster than the Democratic National Committee could have anticipated.
We have seen the rise and rise and growth of the Tea Party movement, and people are angry