CA.) – Trump’s strategy for keeping power is to build up his
coalition of America’s white working class and the
nation’s ownership class.
curious coalition, to say the least. But if Democrats don’t
respond to it, it could protect Trump from impeachment and even
re-elect him. It just might create a permanent Republican majority
around an axis of white resentment and great wealth.
Democrats and Republicans competed over the middle class. They
battled over soccer moms and suburban “swing” voters.
middle class has shrunk while the working class has grown, and vast
wealth has been accumulated by a comparative few who now own a large
portion of America. Some of their wealth has taken over American
whose voters shifted from Obama to Trump in 2016 had lost
economic ground to the rest of America, even more than did
solidly-Republican counties. Trump is counting on the
support of these mostly white working class voters.
the ownership class has come over to Trump. He’s counting on it
to bankroll Republican politicians who are loyal to him.
president, Trump has sought to reward both sides of this coalition –
tossing boatloads of money to the ownership class, and red meat to
the white working class.
the corporate and individual tax cut, of which America’s
richest 1 percent will take home an estimated 82
percent by 2027, according to the Tax Policy Center.
is coming from government itself, which Trump has filled with
lobbyists who are letting large corporations do whatever they want –
using public lands, polluting, defrauding consumers and investors,
even employing children – in order to push profits even higher.
meat for the white working class is initiatives and tirades against
unauthorized immigrants and foreign traders – as if they’re
responsible for the working class’s lost ground – and
other symbolic gestures of economic populism, along with episodic
racist outbursts, and support for guns and evangelicals.
sends more money to the wealthy he sends more red meat to his base.
announcing he’d seek another big tax cut before the midterm
elections – “phase two,” as he termed it – he
threatened China with a trade war; arranged another crackdown on
unauthorized immigrants, including a carefully-choreographed plan to
break up families at the border and attack sanctuary cities; and
vowed to go after pharmaceutical companies.
red meat goes
only so far. At some point, you’d think, the white working
class would realize that the only real beneficiaries of the Trump
coalition are the super-rich.
of immigrants: it won’t raise working class wages. Trump’s
drug price “plan” a big win for drug companies
clampdown on foreign imports and immigrants won’t raise
working-class wages. It’s more likely to erode their paychecks
because it will cause consumer prices to rise. Yet it leaves
American multinational corporations unscathed. They don’t make
their money off trade and don’t rely on immigrants; they
fabricate and sell from all over the world. If a trade war with China
breaks out, they’ll merely shift their sourcing to other
tax cut put a
few dollars in working-class pockets but is already requiring cuts in
services they rely on, and will demand more.
plan to bring
down drug prices won’t make drugs any cheaper. Instead, it’s
a big win for drug companies whose prices won’t be controlled
and won’t have to negotiate with Medicare and Medicaid.
want his base to know that the only way they can permanently become
better off is by reining in the ownership class.
want them to recall that the ownership class is largely responsible
for hollowing out the middle class. For decades the captains of
American industry, backed by the nation’s biggest investors,
have squeezed payrolls by outsourcing abroad, cutting or eliminating
job benefits, busting unions, and shifting to part-time and contract
base can’t see the direct correlation between increasing
corporate profits and wages
they didn’t see that corporate profits – flowing into
higher executive pay and higher share prices – have constituted
a steadily larger portion of economy, while wages have been a
steadily lower portion. Most economic gains have gone to the top. We
have had socialism for the rich and harsher capitalism for everyone
smart they would expose all this – and commit themselves to
reversing these trends by creating a multi-racial coalition of the
poor, working class, and what’s left of the middle.
curious coalition endures only because he’s a clever salesman
and conman. The only way it can possibly succeed at entrenching Trump
is if Democrats say and do little or nothing.
B. REICH is the Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the
University of California, Berkeley, and a senior fellow at the Blum
Center for Developing Economies.
served as secretary of labor in the Clinton administration and Time
magazine named him one of the 10 most effective cabinet secretaries
of the 20th century.
Reich has written 14 books, including the best-sellers Aftershock,
The Work of Nations, Beyond Outrage
and most recently Saving
is also a founding editor of The
magazine, chairman of Common Cause, a member of the American Academy
of Arts and Sciences and co-creator of the award-winning documentary
INEQUALITY FOR ALL.