Monday, November 12, 2012

We Just Had a Class War

And the middle class won.

by Jonathan Chait
November 11, 2012

If there is a single plank in the Democratic platform on which Obama can claim to have won, it is taxing the rich. Obama ignored vast swaths of his agenda, but by God did he hammer home the fact that his winning would bring higher taxes on the rich. (And) polls consistently showed the public was on his side.

Obama’s goal was to prove to the GOP that their rigid defense of the richest one percent was political poison and to force them to bend. More than three fifths (of voters) want to leave Obamacare in place rather than repeal it; a mere 12 percent agree with the Republican position of closing the deficit entirely through spending cuts. 

The harsh truth--that fend-for-yourself economic libertarianism is a worldview mainly confined to the shrinking, aging white electorate--is a reality Republicans prefer not to acknowledge.

American voters had a chance to lay down their marker on the major social divide of our time: whether government can mitigate the skyrocketing inequality generated by the marketplace. For so many years, conservatives have endeavored to fend off such a debate by screaming “class war” at the faintest wisp of populist rhetoric. 

Here it was, right before our eyes: a class war, or the closest thing one might find to one in modern American history, as a presidential election. 

The outcome was plain. The 47 percent turned out to be the 51 percent.