VIDEO Interview With Author Thomas Frank: Liberal Elite Doesn’t Care Much About Inequality


By Mark L. Taylor
The Commoner Call (9/11/17)

Political observer and author Thomas Frank (What’s The Matter With Kansas? and Listen Liberal) was interviewed recently by Real News anchor Paul Jay for a fascinating look at just what the hell is wrong with the bumbling Democratic party. In his most recent book Listen Liberal Frank documented the party’s long, slippery slide from being the champion of labor and the middle and lower classes to a protector and promoter of Wall Street greed and Silicon Valley entitlement. Frank argues that the slide from relevance of the party to average Americans began with the presidency of Bill Clinton, who passed the kind of banking and trade deals republicans love. In the process Clinton hit men like Rahm Emanuel and Larry Summers elbowed aside the traditional FDR progressive wing of the party.

Empty platitudes

In the years since there has been a kind of entranced death march as many democratic candidates mouth largely empty platitudes about the working class while pressuring union leaders and members for endorsements, dollars and campaign foot soldiers. Of course, once in office, those same candidates pivot back to protecting their real constituency – the wealthy, while venerating a supposed meritocracy of a supposedly “elite” class of high tech, high-achieving hustlers and enabling bankers.

Drawing upon history, Franks offers a powerful accounting of how we got here and outlines a path to the future that could help the democrats and save the nation.

While the con and Clinton cult worked for awhile, as families and laborers found it increasingly difficult to pay the bills, send their kids to school, obtain health care and be hopeful of the future, the shine and BS of the democratic party PR grew more threadbare by the year. That was the opening for the astroturfed populist Tea Party Rebellion and, in 2016, Trump’s upset victory. Economic populism was created by the political malpractice of the democratic party and then cashed in on by republican fake populists.

That economic populism – grounded in legitimate complaints – combined with exploitation of social issues like abortion and gay rights and leveraging old-fashioned race hate has proven to be a powerful combination that has sidelined the dems in all branches of the federal government and a majority of state houses across the nation.

Until and unless…

Frank makes a strong argument that until and unless the democratic party breaks its trance with Wall Street and Silicon Valley billionaires the party will continue to wither. As corporate Third Way democrats like Hillary Clinton, Rep. Ron Kind, Rahm Emanuel and most of the DNC leadership wage a war to marginalize or, at best, co-opt some of the progressive wing’s messaging, the lines for the future of the party – and the nation – are being drawn.

As Frank notes, the old republican party was derailed and taken over from the inside by an insurgent corps backed by truckloads of money from the Kochs and Mercers of the world. Many two-time Obama voters cast their lot with Trump once Sanders was sidelined by the DNC. The good news is that Bernie Sanders’ 2016 campaign showed that you don’t need that sticky corporate cash to challenge and change a party. There is as much hope as there is work to be done to rescue the democrats from themselves.

Drawing upon history, Franks offers a powerful accounting of how we got here and outlines a path to the future that could help the democrats and save the nation.

Link to 32-Minute Video

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(Commoner Call commentary by Mark L. Taylor, 2017. Open source and free to use with link to )