Opinion

You’d think the left might have learned from Hillary Clinton’s humiliation in 2016: unrepentant snobbery and insulting half the population isn’t a big vote-winner. Unfortunately, most of the left these days are ensconced in the wealthy suburbs of a handful of big cities. In fact, wealth seems to correlate strongly to “progressive” politics: the Greens’ and Teals’ biggest vote is in the wealthiest suburbs of Melbourne and Sydney.

For all their blatherskite about “the party of the worker”, the Labor party today is exclusively made up of MPs with Humanities degrees, and, all too often, inherited wealth. Erstwhile leader Bill Shorten, for example, is the son of an engineer and a legal academic, and educated at prestigious Xavier college in Melbourne’s snooty Toorak.

The media are cast from the same mould as the left parties: university-educated, middle to upper-middle class, and firmly rooted in the inner suburbs.

These are people who wouldn’t know a worker if they called someone in to change the filter in their espresso machine. As for people in the outer suburbs, let alone, gasp! the countryside — they may as well be some lost tribe in darkest Africa. Except that the left-media fawn at the feet of African savages. It’s working-class whites they just can’t stand. As Julie Bindel writes, the only group it’s safe to publicly mock and denigrate are the white working class.

And the left media are mocking and denigrating for all they’re worth.

Enter Paul Waldman, the Washington Post columnist whose new polemic, White Rural Rage: The Threat to American Democracy, makes it clear that his white whale is still the white working class. His quest to paint them as undereducated rubes blinded by their own gleeful racism, sexism, and xenophobia has been going strong since at least 2016. “If you have any sense, you’re coming to the realization that it was all a scam. You got played,” he wrote about Trump voters in a postelection 2016 Washington Post column. “While you were chanting ‘Lock her up!’ he was laughing at you for being so gullible.”

Cowritten with political scientist Tom Schaller, White Rural Rage is a book-length version of that argument — but with the MSNBC-friendly amendment that rural whites aren’t just dumb hicks, they’re Public Enemy #1. “More than at any point in modern history, the survival of the United States as a modern, stable, multi-ethnic democracy is threatened by a White rural minority that wields outsize electoral power,” they proclaim.

This is nothing more nor less than old-fashioned leftist snobbery. It’s ever been thus since Virginia Woolf and her wealthy circle of Bloomsbury socialist snobs wrinkled their noses at the working-class oiks.

And of course, when the media left gibber and clutch their pearls over their greatest bogey, the Bad Orange Man, you know who they blame for unleashing the rough beast.

For Waldman and Schaller, these democracy-hating conservatives hold disproportionate electoral sway […]

In the New Republic, the authors warn that it’s only getting worse, that “as the rest of the country moved away from Trump [in 2020] rural whites lurched toward him by nine points, from 62% to 71%.” If Trump wins in 2024, “it will be — once again — because rural white people put him there,” they conclude.

There’s only one problem with this hateful Jeremiad: it’s a load of bollocks.

Waldman and Schaller […] ignore the fact that only 20 percent of Trump’s support actually comes from rural America, while some fifty-eight million votes in 2020 were cast for Trump in cities and suburbs. The country’s eleven largest metropolitan areas gave Trump more total votes than all of rural America combined. Los Angeles County handed Trump 1.1 million votes, but no one is writing a book called What’s the Matter With the San Fernando Valley?

The overt race-baiting is a farrago of lies, too.

Over 40 percent of working-class Latinos also voted GOP in the last election, while black votes for Trump jumped from 8 percent in 2016 to 12 percent in 2020. For better or worse, the Democrats have increasingly become the party of highly educated, socially liberal urbanites.

Jacobin

Well, as any, ahem, decent person knows, they’re the only people worth knowing, anyway.

Punk rock philosopher. Liberalist contrarian. Grumpy old bastard. I grew up in a generational-Labor-voting family. I kept the faith long after the political left had abandoned it. In the last decade...