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If Poverty is Their Theme, They’re in Trouble

The Boston Globe’s report that poverty is the key theme for Democrats is a combination of wishful thinking and a blind faith in the success of past programs.

The thinking is wishful for one simple reason: the Democrat party is largely controlled by elites who have no concept of what poverty means or how to fix it.  On top of that they have a visceral distaste for those who are in it.  That’s why it’s so much easier for them to support "justice" causes for people more like them: the secularisation of society, homosexuals and the like.  Given that they would end up paying for direct assistance to the poor, I can’t help but think that this sudden interest in the poor is sentimental (or a form of vote buying) up front and a non-starter once in power.

The one candidate who breaks the mould in this regard is John Edwards.  He is, in some ways, one–and maybe one of the last–in a long line of Southern populists like Huey Long.  The media has focused on the $400 haircuts and the multi-million dollar house, but this an accepted part of the genre.  As with preachers, Edwards’ success–and his flaunting of it–is a sign that, if he can do it, his followers can too, which is a way of projecting hope.  Edwards is a bona fide product of the kind of background and people that the Democrats are supposed to be helping in this new emphasis.

But Edwards is swimming against the tide.  The rest of the candidates are too much a part of their party’s elite.  The most complicated case is that of Hillary Clinton.  Like Edwards, Bill Clinton came up from nothing, and in the same culture too.  But Bill was too good of a politician to push a hard social agenda in his day.  For her part Hillary has doubtless found her years in Arkansas too distasteful for her to empathise with people like those in Marks, MS, described in the article.

As is the case with the Episcopal Church, if your organisation isn’t the preferential option of the poor, it doesn’t have the preferential option for the poor.


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