10 July 2016

Let’s be honest, Bernie and Hillary don’t represent the same class.

Devin Reynolds

We traditionally think of the Republican/Democrat divide in terms of the “ruling class” and the “working class,” or “the 1% v. the 99%.” Democrats are thought to faithfully represent the interests of the working class. The Republicans, carrying the torch for the richest of the rich, manage to stay competitive by dubiously securing votes from the working class. They do this by exploiting the economic ignorance and racial prejudices of low information working class voters. While there is a significant amount of truth to this model’s description of Republicans, there is a wrinkle to the makeup of the Democratic Party that this model neglects to mention.

This wrinkle is the fact that the “99%” actually has multiple classes within it. The main division is between the “upper middle” class and various “lower” classes. At about 10–15% of the population, the upper middle class is made up of doctors, lawyers, university professors, various skilled professionals, and owners of successful local businesses around the country. These people don’t need universal hearth care, they just need their excellent employer provided health care to have its cost increases managed and they need to not be dropped from health care rolls for preexisting conditions. Their kids don’t need tuition free college, they just need manageable interest rates for their financial aid. They get generous amounts of paid vacation, they don’t need it provided on a mandatory basis. The Democratic Party, in all its incrementalism, tweaking the status quo with modest policy adjustments, represents this class.


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