TRAITORS OF THE CLASS
Thinking about the Federal Election, I found the following report very interesting. It deals with the question of who votes for whom.
It reports the survey done by an economist Thomas Piketty. It shows that in 1970 majority of highest earning and best educated voters in the most of the western countries supported right of centre political candiedates like Christian Democrats, and Conservatives, and Republicans. Meanwhile, the lower earning and the less educated farmers and labourers voted for the left of centre parties like the Democratic, CCF (NDP) in Canada, Labour, and Social Democratic parties. Forty years later in 2010 however, the same researcher found the rich stayed with the right of centre parties, but the well educated have switched their support to the centre left parties.
Picketty calls the wealthy business class who remained right of centre parties supporters, “Merchants Right,” and the educated who moved to the left, “Brahmins Left.” As for the less educated and the low income earners, they have switched their support to the right of centre parties. They are found as the core supporters of the populist right-wing causes like Donald Trump Presidency and Brexit. What happened during those forty years? The report does not say.
My guess as an amateur observer is that the “Brahmin Left” felt betrayed by the “Merchant Right.” The economic meltdown of 2008 had confirmed a suspicion that Market is amoral. The banks exploited the gullible average income public with products like sub-prime mortgage. Banks failed but were bailed out by government funds because they were “too big to fail.” Meanwhile the average income earners lost their homes, pensions, and life savings. Even the Chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve, Alan Greenspan, was appalled by the recklessness and amoral behaviours of the financial sector. “Merchant Right” chose profit rather than fairness. Nevertheless, the middle class youths who joined hippies and anti-war movements safely remained Middle Class.
I have a difficulty guessing what happened to the lower income and less educated masses who became Trump and Brexit supporters. It is possible that they have never embrased left-wing ideology. Their aspiration could always have been joining the filthy-rich class. They might have felt betrayed when they lost the jobs and homes while the elitist Brahmin Left remained comfortably middle class in academia, board room, or bureaucracy. They might have concluded that the educated Left are hypocrites and traitors.
As for those in the agricultural sector who joined the CCF during the depression and the 1940’s in Canada, with the shift from small scale family farms to capital intensive mechanized big business. They joined the “Merchant Right.”
If both Left and Right want to take back the lost ground, the Left must learn to talk to those who work in sweat and blood; and the Right must learn the way to appeal to the people who think.