Economic Update - Working Class History and the 2020 Election

16Aug

This special program discusses how the history of the US working class shaped US politics. We start with how and why the 1930s Great Depression married the US working class to FDR's Democratic Party (New Deal Coalition). We next show how and why after 1945, US business leaders and Republicans broke up that marriage to undo the New Deal. By re-building working class divisions - especially around race and gender - males and whites moved toward the GOP. A weakened Dem party responded by appealing to (and thereby dividing) business interests to support them. The two parties thus became almost identically pro-capitalist and both presided over growing inequalities in income, wealth and political power between the richest 10% and the working class. Building to 2016, working class disgust with both parties showed in disinterest, ambivalence, and the growing role of "cultural" differences in place of working class solidarity. It boiled over when an "outsider" (Trump) defeated first the Republican and then the Democratic establishment candidates, an expression of the working class's history since 1929. We end on the implications of this history for the 2020 election.