Thursday, June 01, 2017

Has the Democratic Party Gotten Too Rich for Its Own Good?

The New York Times reports:
In the 2016 election, the economic elite was essentially half Democratic, according to exit polls: Those in the top 10 percent of the income distribution voted 47 percent for Clinton and 46 percent for Trump. Half the voters Sanders would hit hardest are members of the party from which he sought the nomination.

The problem for the Democratic Party is that “them” has become “us.”

In the past, Democrats could support progressive, redistributive policies knowing that the costs would fall largely on Republicans. That is no longer the case. Now supporting these policies requires the party to depend on the altruistic idealism of millions of supporters who, despite being relatively well off, often feel financially pressed themselves.

This problem applies not only to tax policy, but even more to social policies concerning education and housing.

Richard V. Reeves, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, highlights the contradictions of modern Democratic liberalism in his new book, “Dream Hoarders: How the Upper Middle Class is Leaving Everyone Else in the Dust.”

Reeves argues that those in the top 20 percent of the income distribution have become an increasingly isolated class; if the country is to restore the American tradition of upward mobility, this elite will have to pay for it.
Imagine that.