Nowhere to Go
(Why Donald Trump Won)
~ January 20, 2017
s there have been a plethora of answers on this, we’ll keep it simple: Donald Trump won because America has no Left party of any size or strength. Most Americans don’t even know what the Left is, and so don’t notice that its party is missing. How can you blame them?
The Left, simply, is the economic interests of working people, and a Left party (the Labor Party of Norway, the New Democratic Party of Canada, the Red-Green Alliance of Denmark, etc.) is the party that looks after those interests. You can read about it, about Left politics, in other countries.
Because working people have been abandoned, politically and economically, and often culturally as well, they have been up for grabs by Right and center-Right parties that have no real interest in them. America, to paraphrase Gore Vidal, is a weird airplane with two right wings. So, yeah, it doesn’t fly so well.
“I get accused of being kind of moderate and center. I plead guilty,” she said.
In a 2016 book (Listen, Liberal!) and a 2016 Harper’s article (The Swat Team), Thomas Frank has dropped this situation on the doorstep of the Democratic Party, the erstwhile Party of the People. He documents the party’s move away from working people, and toward the “professional class,” upper middle class people with good jobs and a good education. With nowhere to go, working people followed their instincts—some headed for the Republican Party, with its vague promises, and some headed for the Democrats, because, what else? And the rest stayed home.
A lot of working people guessed that Trump wasn’t a great choice for them, but they knew that Hillary wasn’t, either. She was for the middle class, she said repeatedly, and working people understood that she didn’t mean them. “I get accused of being kind of moderate and center. I plead guilty,” she said. (Watch the video.) Look at her pride in saying this—she’s owning her roots (the former Goldwater girl) and her predilection (for center-Right politics), like a teenager announcing to her friends (listen to the cooing in the audience) that she’s in the cool kids’ club. This was the guilty plea that working people were really interested in, far more than the email scandal. They know they’re not the cool kids.
Those social democracies that Michael Moore periodically invades, the ones with health care and affordable college, those countries have something we don’t—actual Left parties. Labor parties, and Social Democratic parties, and Socialist parties are strong in places like Germany and Norway and Denmark.
The two factions of the Business Party of the US have prevented, so far, the outbreak of real Left parties of any size. They have gathered to themselves the vast waters of working voters in America, damming them and damning them. In 2016, the dam broke. But without real parties and real party politics, without anywhere to go, this ocean of voters will evaporate.