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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Teixeira: To Beat the Intersectional Left, We Need More Class Traitors!

The following article by Ruy Teixeira, senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, politics editor of The Liberal Patriot newsletter and co-author with John B. Judis of the new Book “Where Have All the Democrats Gone?,” is cross-posted from The Liberal Patriot:

In a recent outstanding piece for The Liberal Patriot, sociologist Musa al-Gharbi noted:

The key schism that lies at the heart of dysfunction within the Democratic Party and the U.S. political system more broadly is between professionals associated with ‘knowledge economy’ industries and those who feel themselves to be the ‘losers’ in the knowledge economy—including growing numbers of working-class and non-white voters.

I believe this is correct. And it leads me to make a suggestion to all those knowledge economy professionals out there who can’t bring themselves to deviate from current Democratic Party orthodoxy because it would supposedly undermine the cause of “social justice”: become a class traitor!

Ask yourself who the social justice you prize so highly is really for. Is it really for the poor and working class who have the short end of the stick in our society or is it to make your feel righteous and onside with Team Progressive? Are your social justice commitments and priorities what the poor and working class actually want? Does the language you speak on these issues even make sense to them?

If not, you should consider that a politics that is appealing to you but not the working class is intrinsically limited and cannot achieve the objectives for a better society that you presumably harbor. You should, in short, consider becoming a class traitor.

At the top of the list for aspiring class traitors is decisively rejecting the intersectional left, the ideological vanguard of today’s knowledge economy professionals. According to this vanguard, actions or arguments should be judged not by their content but rather by the identity of those involved in said actions or arguments. Those identities in turn are defined by an intersectional web of oppressed and oppressors, of the powerful and powerless, of the dominant and marginalized. With this approach, one judges an action not by whether it’s effective, or an argument by whether it’s true, but rather by whether the people involved in the action or argument are in the oppressed/powerless/marginalized bucket or not. If they are, the actions or arguments should be supported; if not, they should be opposed. Finally, all the political stands that follow from this “analysis” are linked together and constitute a social justice catechism that must be uncritically embraced by the knowledge economy faithful.

This whole approach is completely bonkers, defying reasonable standards of logic, evidence, and common sense. Yet it has remarkable influence within the Democratic Party and has associated the party with many positions that are both substantively wrong and politically toxic. Consider the following:

  • It is not the working class that sees the police as an unnecessary evil and opposes rigorous enforcement of the law for public safety and public order.
  • It is not the working class that believes public consumption of hard drugs should be tolerated, with intervention limited to reviving addicts when they overdose.
  • It is not the working class that believes many crimes like shoplifting should be decriminalized because punishing the perpetrators would have “disparate impact”.
  • It is not the working class that believes you should never refer to illegal immigrants as “illegal” and that border security is somehow a racist idea.
  • It is not the working class that believes an overwhelming surge of migrants at the southern border should be accommodated with asylum claims, parole arrangements, and release into urban areas around the country.
  • It is not the working class that believes competitive admissions and job placements should be allocated on the basis of race (“equity”) not merit.
  • It is not the working class that views objective tests as fundamentally flawed if they show racial disparities in achievement.
  • It is not the working class that believes America is a structurally racist, white supremacist society.
  • It is not the working class that sees patriotism as a dirty word and the history of the United States as a bleak landscape of racism and oppression.
  • It is not the working class that thinks sex is “assigned at birth” and can be changed by self-conception, rather than being an objective, biological reality.
  • It is not the working class that thinks it’s a great idea to police the language people use for hidden “microaggressions” and bias against the “marginalized”.
  • And it is definitely not the working class that believes in “decolonize everything” and manages to see murderous thugs like Hamas as righteous liberators of a subaltern people.

No, my fellow knowledge economy professionals, it is not the working class that saddles Democrats and American politics with this nonsense, it is the intersectional left that insists on these absurdities and demands your acquiescence. But you don’t have to give it!

Declare your independence and become a class traitor instead. Decide you’re more interested in the views, priorities, and welfare of the working class that you are in the approbation of your fellow knowledge economy professionals and, especially, their vanguard formation, the intersectional left.

If you can take the heat from social media and your less open-minded friends, becoming a class traitor has a number of important advantages.

1. You will encourage other members of your class to take the same step. It’s not exactly a state secret that there’s a lot of “preference falsification” going on in professional circles—agreement, tacit or reluctantly voiced, with many, many claims that people do not actually believe. The more people who stop practicing preference falsification, the closer we get to a “preference cascade” where more and more people feel free to express their underlying beliefs, which leads to more and more people doing the same, which cascades onward and decisively undercuts the intersectional left’s mass base.

2. Over the short-term, you will increase the probability Donald Trump loses in 2024. Democrats and Joe Biden have many liabilities going into 2024. And those liabilities show in the polls. As political scientist David Faris noted in Slate:

[T]here’s no sugarcoating it: This might be the worst polling environment for an incumbent president one year out from an election since the advent of the polling era in the 1930s and also the most dire situation facing any Democratic presidential candidate in decades. Panic is entirely warranted.

One of these liabilities is precisely the Democrats’ image as the knowledge economy professionals’ party, heavily influenced by the intersectional left. It’s impossible to completely change this image overnight but anything that mitigates this problem would likely hurt Trump by making the Democrats a more attractive choice for the working class.

And right now, the Democrats are just not in the working class’ wheelhouse. The new New York Times/Siena poll has Biden trailing Trump by 17 points among working-class (noncollege) voters. That compares to just a 4-point deficit for Biden in 2020. Among nonwhite working-class voters, the situation is deteriorating faster: Biden’s advantage in 2020 was 48 points (which itself was a sharp decline from Obama’s 67 lead in 2012) and the new poll has his current lead among these voters at just 17 points.

If Biden does lose to Trump in 2024, it will almost certainly be due to crumbling Democratic support among the working class. Financial Times columnist Edward Luce puts it starkly but correctly:

The deeply uncomfortable reality for Democrats is that the US’s working-class electorate is increasingly turned off from their brand. This stretches to non-white blue-collar Americans, including Hispanics of both genders and African-American males.

Become a class traitor and do your bit to turn this around!

3. Over the long-term, you will increase the probability that Democrats can forge a durable, effective majority coalition. Regardless of the outcome in 2024, the idea that Democrats can sustain a dominant majority as the knowledge economy professionals’ party is absurd. There are just too many working-class voters and they are too uncomfortable with the Democrats. Without a substantial improvement in their image and performance among these voters, the party will be unable to truly vanquish their opposition, even if that opposition is riddled with weaknesses and liabilities (see Trump, Donald).

But that turn to the working class cannot be accomplished as long as knowledge economy professionals keep genuflecting to the intersectional left. That’s why we need more class traitors who reject the intersectional left and embrace working class priorities and preferences instead.

So think about it. If not you, who? If not now, when? It’s time to stand up and be counted for both the long-term health of the Democrats and of the country as a whole.

[Note: All class traitors, current and aspiring, should seek out my new book with John Judis, Where Have All the Democrats Gone?, for a deeper look at how the Democratic Party went off the rails in the 21st century. Essential reading!]

2 comments on “Teixeira: To Beat the Intersectional Left, We Need More Class Traitors!

  1. pjcamp on

    I hate to point this out, but competitive admissions and jobs are not awarded on merit either. That’s laughable. There is nothing in this country that has anything to do with merit, except possibly in the military and even then not always. People are tribal. Admissions and jobs are awarded based on connections to the right tribe and nothing else.

  2. jim Thompson on

    Very few elected Democrats and almost zero Democrats with a constituency larger than Congressional district espouse any of the position identified in the laundry list of dichotomies presented in this article. This list seems like almost a catalog of every Ring Wing talking point. They aren’t Democratic policies. Biden isn’t going to defund the police and certainly isn’t purposely opening the border to migrants. What messaging and/or policy changes are you recommending to appeal more to working class without abandoning any effort to address police brutality and the residual racism that exits in the USA? How do you deal with immigration when Republicans don’t want a solution. They want to keep it unresolved because it is a winning issue for them. A call for class traitors doesn’t see to be a concrete solution to the Democrats’ dilemma. We do need to move away from using academic jargon excessively to frame every issue but that alone is not a solution.


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