Alternate title: The Democrats demonstrate their tin ear on populism. Again.
So. When Joni Ernst gave the official Republican response to the State of the Union address, she included a homely detail from her childhood: in the wintertime, she and all the other kids would have bread bags placed over their shoes in order to protect them from the weather. …And why am I bringing that pretty much commonplace, throwaway line? Well, I’ll let Peggy Noonan explain.
Leftism too has its class tropes, only they come from the opposite angle. Response on the left to Ernst and the bread bags was snobbish, superior and dumb to the point of embarrassing. First, they couldn’t believe it—no one wears bread bags on their shoes in a storm, how absurd, she must be developmentally challenged. Then they denigrated what she said, putting pictures on Twitter of themselves wearing bread bags on their feet, accompanied by comments that had all the whiff of the upper class speaking of the quaint ways of the help. Andy Borowitz, surprisingly, wrote a dumb, leaden spoof in the New Yorker that seemed a companion piece to Politico’s earlier use of a photo of Ernst that gave her crazy eyes.
And this is why left-populism never goes anywhere in this country: the Left’s agitprop is written by people who are remarkably disconnected from the actual populace. I mean, I was raised in 1970s/1980s coastal suburban New Jersey… and when I was a kid, my parents would indeed put bread bags (or other plastic bags) over my shoes when it was winter. Because we were a middle class (and Democratic too, mind) familly, which meant that we didn’t have snow boots as a matter of course. And everybody else did it, too. It was no big deal.
Now, I understand that this pitch is aimed at younger voters, preferably the ones who don’t idly ask their parents Bread bags? – and then get a story about the old days. Two problems with said pitch, though. First off: making it may more resonate unfavorably with older voters than it would resonate favorably with younger ones. Second, and somewhat related: the Democratic party shouldn’t be assuming that it knows what actually resonates among younger voters*. They will so assume – if I thought that they might not, I wouldn’t have written this – but they shouldn’t.
Moe Lane (crosspost)
*And then there are the upcoming crop of new voters for 2016. They’re the ones currently glumly staring at their school lunches and wondering how the heck the Democrats expect them to live on that [expletive deleted].