If left-liberals take for granted that the white middle class is essentially racist, hate the federal government, oppose progressive taxation, don’t think big banks and dark money are a problem … and so on, then indeed many of the remedies that progressives have to offer will fail to resonate and there is little that can be done. But why should we assume that these are the givens of political life?
A large literature in social psychology and political economy suggests that identities are malleable as are voters’ perceptions of how the world works and therefore which policies serve their interests. A large part of the right’s success derives from their having convinced lower and middle class voters that the government is corrupt and inept. Can’t progressives alter that perception?
Note that what is required here is not one more well-designed program. It is a narrative, a marketing device – a bumper sticker.
If you asked this group what was in it for them in Hillary’s platform, I believe most would say, “Nothing.” You can’t win by telling people everything’s fine when their lived experience says that’s bullshit.